Trading in various goods is one business in which most Nigerians are engaged, especially in the urban centres like Kano, Lagos, Aba, Ibadan and Onitsha among others, which host markets of various sizes to accommodate the teeming army of traders. In these trying times, trading, a free enterprise which could be embarked upon by anyone who has some capital and is not afraid of competition, is so pervasive, no thanks to the high rate of unemployment in the land. This accounts for the high number of traders of every hue, to the extent that among their ranks are graduates of various disciplines from our tertiary institutions who have become traders as a way of keeping body and soul together. However, the dispersal of markets around Port Harcourt where street trading is rife, following the reconstruction of the Rumuwoji Market or (Mile One Market) and the ultra modern township market in the old Port Harcourt Township by the Rivers State government, has for sometime now constituted a problem to town planners and environmentalists.
As a result, traders on assorted goods, fabrics, electronics, building materials, motor spare parts and vehicles, have taken over every available space and some residential areas in Port Harcourt, thus prompting calls for an international market that would accomodate a vast majority of the traders. It is noteworthy that apart from defacing the city by converting every street corner or available space into a market place, the activities of traders have contributed to the high tenancy rate of residential houses whose landlords prefer traders or shop owners who may pay higher rent. This development which did not go down well with the state government prompted its intervention in the building of the modern Rumuwoji market in Diobu area after the old make-shift market was razed by fire, while reconstruction work is ongoing at the ultra modern Port Harcourt township market along Creek Road, which was allegedly torched by unidentified elements.
However, since the completion of the first phase of the mile one market the authorities seem to have problems allocating the stalls to traders for want of an agreeable allocation formula among stakeholders. Some of the disagreements, sources say, include proper identification of traders who were displaced to give way for the new edifice, identification of new and genuine stall seekers, accommodation of the interests of the “sons- of -the-soil”, rate changeable for the stalls, the interests of other stakeholders, among others.
The Rivers State government has, no doubt, spent a huge sum of money in building this modern market, not for the purpose of enhancing the landscape of Rumuwoji community, but for the purpose of providing a platform for the citizenry to participate in the economic activities available to them. Besides, the market is expected to generate revenue for the government to help it develop the second phase. Thus, leaving the market fallow for longer than is necessary would not be in the best interest of the people and the government that needs money to develop the second phase. Mindful of this need to clear whatever clogs that are militating against just and fair allocation of the stalls, the state governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi recently accepted to meet with the parties with a view to resolving the issues. It is therefore expected that during the meeting which would have the Allocation Committee Members, representative of traders and government in attendance all the knotty issues blocking the allocation of the stalls so far, should be settled. This move would boost economic activities in the state as more converts would become traders as a way of checking unemployment.
It is pertinent at this juncture to note that in allocating the stalls, the interests of those misplaced therefrom should be accorded some significance, even as the stalls may not be let below current market value. Granted that some indigent traders would be affected by this requirement, the need to form co-operatives so as to pool their resources together to meet government demand would make some sense. It should also be instructive to guard against allocating stalls to non-traders whose main interest would be to get the stalls either through community patronage or by government allocation, only to sublet them to real traders at very exhorbitant rates. This practice should be discouraged, because it works against government intention of improving the economic well-being of its citizens. Besides, such move eventually contributes to the high cost of goods as the traders must pass on the incidence of high cost of stalls to buyers.
When the second phase of the market is done with government should as a matter of urgency consider the building of an ultra modern international market in the state to raise economic activities to another level.
Apart from being a money spinner for government the international market has the potential to mop up motor car dealers, car spare parts dealers, dealers on building materials and assorted electronic goods now occupying residential buildings. In addition to forcing down the high cost of accommodation in Port Harcourt, moving certain categories of traders to the international market would help us realise more fully our dream of a Greater Port Harcourt City where change which everyone could see is being unravelled.
ICT Skills’ll Deliver Economic Independence To Nigerian Girls – NITDA
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has said that if Nigerian girls are taught relevant Information and Communication Technology (ICT) skills at a young age, they will be set up for economic independence in future.
The Agency who made this remark through a press release signed by its Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, Mrs Hadiza Umar, joined the global community to mark the “Girls in ICT Day.” The day which is marked annually on the fourth Thursday in April falls on the 23rd April this year.
In the statement, Mrs Umar said that the Agency is highlighting the need to promote technology career opportunities for girls and women in ICT, the world’s fastest growing sector.
She said, “During this year’s celebration, NITDA is drawing attention to the critical need for more girls and women to participate actively in the ICT sector of our economy. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) had estimated skills shortfall of over two million jobs in the ICT sector within the next few years. This opens a huge opportunity for girls and young women who have the ability to learn Coding, Apps Development, Computer Science and other ICT related courses.
“This will not only make them ready for a successful career in the ICT sector, but ICT skills are rapidly becoming a strong advantage for students in just about any other field they might choose to pursue. With technology playing vital role in all manner of careers, from Arts to Social Sciences, and from Law to History, to Graphic Design, learning ICT skills at a young age will set girls up for economic independence. Furthermore, the ICT sector needs more girls and women and celebrating a day like this reminds us that ICT helps to improve the lives of people everywhere.
“It contributes significantly towards better healthcare, better environmental management, better communication, and better educational systems that transform the way children and adults learn. NITDA, in its proactive manner and in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy as well as in furtherance of bridging the gender imbalance in ICT in Nigeria, has embarked on series of Capacity Building programmes for women and girls across the country. Girls with ICT skills can expect to earn good wages and enjoy huge career opportunities.
Keystone Bank Disowns Ex-staff, Fake Investment Company
Keystone Bank Limited has alerted customers of the activities of one Mr. Obinna Onuselogu, who parades a company, Triple C Investment Limited, as an affiliate of the bank with the aim of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank, in a statement yesterday, said Onuselogu, who used to be a staff, was no longer in its employ.
It added that anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of the bank does so at his/her own risk.
“Please note further that Keystone Bank is neither related nor affiliated to any company known as Triple C Investment Limited, which Mr. Onuselogu claims to be its chief executive officer.
“Anyone who transacts any business with him purportedly in the name of Keystone Bank does so at his/her own risk,” the statement said.
It was learnt that the ex-staff has been using the name of the bank and its executives claiming to be in partnership with the bank with the intent of defrauding unsuspecting members of the public.
The bank said it was working on a legal process and security agents to put an end to the unscrupulous activities of the so-called Tripple C Investment and its agents.
Fishermen Union Warn Against Dead Floating Fish Consumption
The Bonny Indigenous Fishermen’s Cooperative Union has set up a 20-man task force to work with the police and arrest any person or group of persons found with the polluted floating fish along Bonny sea and creeks.
President of the union, comrade Promise Bristol, made this known in a chat with newsmen in Bonny.
Bristol observed that a large quantity of different species of fish were found dead, floating on the sea, from the Atlantic Ocean to the communities and fishing ports in Andoni and Bonny Local Government Areas.
According to him, the species of fish included croaker, popularly known as “broke marriage”, “shine nose”, mackerel, among others.
Bristol lamented that the incident had brought untold hardship to the fishermen in the areas, saying that fishing is their only source of livelihood and appealed to government at all levels to come to their aid.
Bristol said the cause of the death of the fishes was unknown and warned members of the public against their consumption, pointing out that consumption of such fishes could be detrimental to human health.
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