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PH Residents Lament High Cost Of Living

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It is therefore not uncommon in the city to see neatly dressed people who hussle in the day time and sleep in shacks and under flyovers in the night.

A young man of about 30 years of age recently made a frantic attempt to climb the gate of one of the oil companies in Port Harcourt.

Despite his appeals and explanation of the purples of his visit, the gate remained shut against him. He was wrapped in a tangle of misery and self pity. In his utter frustration, the barred visitor said he no longer blames people who go into crime as an option for life after facing untold hardship and a rejection from the society.

His predicament represents the collective frustration of many people who throng into Port Harcourt, the Garden City of Nigeria to reap of its supposedly blooming prospect but meet a situation of gloom and despair. Port Harcourt remains the delight of many Nigerians and offers irresistible  attraction because of its strategic location and prime objective, expecially in the oil and gas industry.

Like the story of the youngman who could not access the gate of the oil company, most people that move into the city to eke out a livelihood wrestle with the elusive ghost of cost paradise dreams as hardship stare them in the face. They however bare the strains of struggle and live out their lives in the status they are consigned by fate. Some seek artificial means of enhancing their status symbol and participate first hand in the luxurious indulgence and other trappings of city live. To this category of people, crime proof the most worthwhile option of clearing the bumps on the economic  highway.

Port Harcourt residents are variegated. They consist an odd assortments of individuals operating at various levels of economic existence and status.

There are the employed and the unemployed. The blue-collar and the white-collar jobbers. The business people and the petty criminals. The middle class and the bourgeois,  and they all jostle for live and the fortunes and opportunities offered by the city. No category of resident in the city is exclusively shielded from the harsh wind of economic reality.

Port Harcourt has a bloated Population and economic demands in the city is very high. One of the greatest problems faced by residents in the city is that of accommodation. Because of the teeming population of the city, the available house  because in sufficient and ulitities and existing infrastructures are been stretched.

A one room apartment in the city can be afforded at N5,000 a month, while a self-contain apartment is given within the rates of N130 to N150,000, depending on the location. For many residents of the city, expensive accommodation is out of view. The major thing is how to put food on the table on daily bases.

It is therefore not uncommon in the city to see neatly dressed people who hussle in the day time and sleep in shacks and under flyovers in the night.

To avoid the prying eyes of the city landlord over their rent demands, many presidents of the city, choose to live in the slums and cluster settlements in make shift apartments where about six to seven persons live in a room. They stalk out daily for survival and retire home to sleep vows in the improvised accommodation.

One of the worst victims of the biting hardship in the city are civil servants,  especially those of the lower cadre. A civil servant  who spoke with The Tide On Sunday but will not want his name in print said he finds it difficult take feed his family because of the high cost of living in the city. The civil servant, a middle aged man married with three children, said he had to device a means of coping with the harsh economic realities so that his  family would not starve to death.

“My salary can not pay my children school fee and feed the family well. What do is that I establish a small business for my wife to do, my wife is a petti-trader and it is from their that we eat, I also get my daily transport fare from the proceeds of the little business, my salary is just to pay the children school fees,” he lamented.

But Mr. Calab Chukwu who works with a private firm in Port Harcourt would preffer to be a civil servant. His reasons: ‘Although the money paid civil servants is small, their job is secured and guaranted. As a private firm worker you live at the mercy of your employer who can fire you at any time. The salary also fluctuate as he can reduce or increase it at any time depending on his temperament or state of the business.” Chukwu who is in his late 30s said he plan to marry the girl of his choice shattered because be could not raises enough money to pay the bride price. Chukwu also quit with his uncle as he can not pay  for a private accommodation.  He said his estranged fiancé gave it as a condition for him to secure a privacy for themselves and since he could not meet up the bargain she opted out.

Mr. Timi Akori, a mother of four and also a private firm employee said the challenges of family life is becoming heavier as her husband is a pensioner and has no active job to support the family at the moment. “I can no longer meet up the demand of my family. The salary I receive at the end of every month is too small. I would have opted out of the job but I just have to manage because my family has to eat.?

Market trader are also not spared of the hardship in the city. A cross section of market women interviewed at the mile one market complain of lack of effective patronate.

According to one of the traders, Miss Rose Kpesi that high cost of transporting the goods from the hinterland  is considered in the prices and buyers often complain that the goods are expensive. “It is not our fault, that good cost high this days, most of our product come from the villages and even others  states and the coster transportation is high we have to consider our transport far so that we don’t run out of business.” Port Harcourt is generally assumed to be a wealth city. Business men and women from other states with this mindset love into the city with the though of making much money. But they are astounded by the high cost of living in the city and this affects their business operations.

Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Rivers, A Global Investment Hub

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Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the  early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.”  He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of  Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Wife Battery: Man Forced To Undertaken By In-laws

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In a bid to restore the marriage of a certain couple in Port Harcourt, ( names withheld) the family members and parents of the wife has forced the husband to an undertaken that he will no longer used their daughter as a punch bag. The Port Harcourt Metro gathered the parents of the wife are relatively well to do very supportive to the upkeep of their daughters family. Their intervention came as a result of repeated cases of physical and psychological abuses of their daughter by her husband. It was also gathered that the parents of the wife had made moves to terminate the relationship to secure the life of their daughter but she bluffed their moves and stuck to the marriage based on her professed love for the husband. The husband was said to have been invited to an intense family session during which he was asked to sign an undertaken to be of good conduct and act as a responsible man or gets his wife forfeited. The session became dramatic when the repentant husband and in-law was said to have broken down in tears , with confessions that he was always propelled by some incontrollable forces to act the way he did.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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Metro

Group Plans Grassroots Medical Campaign

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As part of measures of promoting effective medical care at the grassroots, a body under the auspices of Medical  Xray and Imaging Technicians Association of Nigeria says plans has been put in place for mass sensitisation on the need for greater access to medical services at the rural areas. National President of the body, Rev Akiene Nunyor who disclosed this during a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the sensitisation was targeted at rousing the sensitivities of critical stakeholders towards improving health care at the rural areas as well as creating awareness among the rural dwellers. He pointed out that the absence of ultra sound facilities at rural communities was responsible for high mortality among pregnant women in rural communities, as they lacked access to the facilities. Its difficult for women to go for scan exercises for proper medical check at the rural areas. In times of emergencies before they get to the urban areas that have the facilities it becomes late. He called for a synergy between the private sector and government especially in the area of research, training and manpower development in the health sector,  He assured that the body was ready to provide the professional regulatory services for middle manpower development and standards in medical practice. While commending the Rivers state Government for its efforts in promoting care in the state he called for a “ Public/ Private sector  driven “approach in promoting effective health sector delivery.

 

By: Taneh Beemene

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