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Mile I Market Traders Fault Stalls Allocation Process



Nigerians in South Africa cheering the Super Eagles, during their 2010 FIFA World Cup Group B match against Argentina, last Saturday.

Nigerians in South Africa cheering the Super Eagles, during their 2010 FIFA World Cup Group B match against Argentina, last Saturday.

Displaced traders of Rumuwoji (Mile 1) Market in Port Harcourt have faulted the method adopted by the committee set up by the Rivers State Government to allocate the 1000 stalls already completed under the first phase of the market’s reconstruction.

Speaking to The Tide, factional chairman of Mile 1 Market Traders’ Association, Chief Young Georgewill, said while the traders are not opposed to the non-refundable N10,000 application fee required by the committee, they feel the bidding process should not have been thrown open to all public until the 650 displaced traders were allocated their new stalls.

“Paying the N10,000 is not the issue, but we feel that since we were displaced to enable government rebuild the market, we think that they (government) should have considered us first before making the remaining 350 stalls open to the public,” he said.

According to Georgewill, inviting the public to bid means that some genuine traders may lose their stalls for which they have been paying rent to the government.

Also speaking, vice chairman of the traders association, Chief Stainless Emenike, wondered why the 10-man allocation committee set up by the state government did not include any member of the traders association.

He was, however, optimistic that the state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, would intervene on behalf of the already distressed traders by ensuring that justice prevails.

“We feel that government already has records of the 650 displaced traders and should have contacted them to allocate their stalls to them before making the allocation public.”

“However, we are also certain that our governor is not unaware of the true position of things. So, we believe the right things will be done,” he said.

Daniel Iheme heads a parallel executive council of the Mile 1 traders association.

According to him, the members are yet to understand the method government wants to adopt in the allocation of new stalls at the model market.

He, however, assured that his council will soon meet to deliberate on the issue.

Meanwhile, some of the affected traders did not hide their fears and disappointment at the government’s decision.

“When government asked us to temporarily move to Ojukwu Field and Cultural Centre to enable them construct the model market, we readily complied because we though that it will benefit us, but now we cannot understand the government.”

“Please, Governor Amaechi help us and our children”, they lamented. A cloth seller at the market, Mrs Florence Owem, said the new decision by government to make the allocation an all-comers affair portends danger to the traders who are already in possession of allocation papers of the old Mile I market stalls.

According to her, one of the Allocation Committee members and a serving commissioner in the state, Barr Osima Ginah, had initially advised traders with such original allocation papers to keep them intact as government will give these traders preference in any stall allocation exercise.

Owem wondered how old women like herself, especially those who sell vegetable, periwinkle and other petty commodities would be expected to raise as much as N10,000 for a mere application form that does not guarantee allocation.

It would be recalled that the Rumuwoji Market Allocation Committee set up by the Rivers State Government on Wednesday placed a newspaper notice calling for interested members of the public to obtain application forms with a non-refundable sum of N10,000 for the allocation of stalls at the new model Mile 1 market.


Ibelema Jumbo, Sogbeba Dokubo & Collins Walter

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COVID-19: Interministarial Committee Takes Enlightenment Campaign To Religious Leaders



The Rivers State Inter-Ministarial Committee on COVID-19 Enlightenment on Sunday, commenced another phase of its campaign with a focus on religious organisations, beginning with Churches.
Addressing volunteers to the campaign at the State Secretariate Complex, Chairman of the Committee, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, charged the volunteers to take this phase of the campaign as serious as they had taken the previous one.
Nsirim, who is also the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, stated that the need to embark on this phase of the campaign is necessitated by the revelation that many people are not adhering to the COVID-19 prevention advisories of wearing face mask and social distancing.
Recalling that the State Governor noted this in his last State broadcast, the Chairman said the Governor “lamented that people in the State are not observing the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.

“The danger”, he continued, “is that if we don’t adhere to these protocols, we may likely enter community transmission of coronavirus in the state”.


Consequently, he explained, “We are going to be doing targeted sensitization. The three Sundays that we have in this month we will use to sensitize churches, and on Fridays, we will also do targeted sensitization to Muslim community”.
He further explained the importance of reaching religious leaders in the fight against the coronavirus, saying they are strategically placed to reach a considerable population.
According to him, the churches and mosques are very important because “the religious leaders wield a lot of influence. Members of their congregation listen to the things that they say. If we are able to get the churches to begin to observe the protocols, we are going to get to a greater number, a greater population in the society”.
He, therefore, charged the volunteers to go beyond the jingles currently being aired by the Committee in delivering COVID-19 enlightenment messages to interfacing with the people, noting that they shouldn’t add the role of enforcement to their assignment.
“As you interface with people, you must be wearing your face mask very well. Don’t put it under your chin.
“You are not an enforcement team. Don’t go and give yourself the power of enforcing the wearing of face mask. Don’t go and harass people that are not wearing face mask. Don’t go and assault people that are not wearing face mask. Your duty is purely enlightenment and sensitization.
“When you see people who are not wearing face mask, you enlighten them on the importance of wearing face mask. We don’t want to hear that any member of this team went and entered into any form of altercation”, he charged.
While assuring them of immeasurable rewards accruable from selfless service to humanity, the Chairman also reminded them of the innate desire of the the State Governor, which is ultimately to make Rivers State safe, as far as COVID-19 is concerned.
“Anyone that is called to do patriotic duty needs to understand that the crux of the matter is that you are here to save lives, and for you to save lives, you must have the passion to render selfless service. It’s important that I underscore that fact”, he said.

Responding on behalf of the volunteers, one of the Team Leaders, Adata Brown, assured that they will do their best to ensure that Rivers

people get the required message to enhance their safety from the virus.
“We want to say we are going to put in our best, we are going to work and make the governor of the state proud, and to make the whole Rivers State proud”, she said.
Other members of the Inter-Ministarial Committee present were the Commissioner’s of Environment, Chieftaincy Affairs and Community Development, and Youth: Dr Igbiks’ Tamuno, Barr Olisaeloka Tasie-Amadi, and Prince Ohia respectively.
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Be Role Models In COVID-19 Campaign, Nsirim Charges Religious Leaders …RSG To Arrest People Who Refuse To Wear Face Mask



In furtherance of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, has called on religious leaders in the State to path the way for their congregation.
The Commissioner, who made the call on Saturday, during a live radio programme in Port Harcourt, hinted that by their status they represent a section of the society with notable group of followers, hence the need for them to be role models.
One way to show this, he said is for them to strictly obey the State Government’s advisories on measures to prevent COVID-19 infection, including ensuring that not more than 70 persons are allowed per session of service.
Citing churches, he noted that they have so far flouted this directive. “and that is something that is worrisome”, he said.
He continued that “Christians need to be role models. If there’s a group of people who should show good example, it should be Chriatians. When Christians begin to flout

government directives, I don’t think there’s any hope for society.
“This is a Clarion call to religious leaders. We shouldn’t sacrifice the lives of our members on the alter of church worship. Jesus Christ is our role model. Jesus Christ was a man who obeyed authority, who did not come in confrontation with the law, and the Bible teaches us to obey those in authority”, he emphasized.
Also, against the backdrop of high non-compliance to the COVID-19 advisory of wearing face mask in public places, the Rivers State Government (RSG) says it will soon begin to arrest defaulters.
This is sequel to the declaration of the State Governor, Nyesom Wike, in his last State broadcast on Wednesday, in which he stated that those who refuse to wear face mask risk arrest.
Confirming the Governor’s statement, the State’s spokesman unequivocally said defaulters will be arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
“If you go around the State since the Executive Order on face mask was introduced, you’ll notice that less than 30 per cent of the populace are really obeying the Executive Order. What we see in the State is that people just put the mask under their chin, including in the churches.
“The Governor is saying that to grant the wearing of face mask the kind of weight it deserves, to save our people, a special Task Force to monitor it will be put in place. That is the only sure way”, he said.
He recalled that the Governor in his broadcast expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols of social distancing and wearing of face mask.
“Government will introduce policies. The onus is on the populace to obey those policies … The COVID-19 pandemic has defied medical solutions for now. So, to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State need to take responsibility.
“It’s important that everyone living and doing business in Rivers State should have the kind of passion that His Excellency has to flatten

the curve. He’s desirous that Rivers State remains safe.
“That’s why every day he’s enunciating policies to ensure that strategically, the State is isolated from the national spread.
“He’s one man who would require the cooperation and understanding of citizens here to ensure that what he has in mind for the State is actualized”, the Commissioner concluded.
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Governor Wike’s Reply To Governor Uzodinma Was Concocted – RSG



The attention of the Rivers State Government has been drawn to the news circulating in the Social Media that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State denigrated his Imo State counterpart, Governor Hope Uzodinma.
The purveyors of the deliberate falsehood alleged that Governor  Wike  replied Governor Uzodinma over a recent statement where he allegedly boasted that “the All Progressives Congress (APC)  will teach the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Governor  Wike how to conduct a  transparent election in the forthcoming Edo State gubernatorial election.”
The concocted story only existed in the imagination of the authors and so there was also no disparaging comment by Governor Wike.
Members of the public are hereby advised to discountenance all the information contained in the said publication as they did not emanate from Governor Wike.
Paulinus Nsirim
Commissioner for Information and Communications
July 10, 2020.
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