The Rivers State Government says that it has identified 28 illegal trading posts in Port Harcourt City, and has since swung into action to demolish them as part of efforts to restore the Garden City status of the state capital, and promote clean environment for residents.
The state Commissioner for Urban Development and Physical Planning, Chinyere Igwe, who disclosed this in an exclusive interview with The Tide in Port Harcourt, pointed out that these illegal trading posts, including illegal motor parks, will not be allowed to function, stressing that the ministry was determined to remove them.
He said that as part of efforts to clear the streets of illegal traders and motor parks, including make-shift settlements and shanties in the state capital, the ministry’s task force on urban renewal was enforcing the ban on street trading in collaboration with the authorities of the Port Harcourt City and Obio/Akpor local government councils.
Igwe also said that the ministry has in its custody, a number of fake building plans, and advised those wishing to put up buildings and construction of any kind to approach the ministry for approval and permit.
The commissioner further disclosed plans by the government to enforce the law against street trading and hawking in Port Harcourt and its environs, and warned those involved to desist in their interest.
He warned against the proliferation of illegal motor parks, particularly at the Waterlines Junction, explaining that the government would soon swing in to crush the illegal structures, trading posts, and motor parks in the city, to restore confidence in the people, and revive the aesthetic character and value of the city of Port Harcourt.
Igwe listed some of the endemic areas to include, Mile 3, Mile 1 and Creek Road markets, Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Nkpolu, Back Gate-Eagle Island-Agip Bypass, Bende, Bishop Okoye, Sangana, Ojoto, and Illoabuchi streets, Education Bus Stop, Garrison, Rumuokwuta, Rumuola and Waterlines junctions, among others.
Also speaking, the Mayor of Port Harcourt City, Mr. Samuel Sunny Ejekwu said that the demolition exercise was in line with the vision of Governor Nyesom Wike to address the poor sanitary condition of Port Harcourt and its environs, and make the city the cleanest in the country.
Ejekwu said in an exclusive interview with The Tide in his office, that the proliferation of make-shift shops, illegal markets and motor parks was a dangerous trend that must be eliminated, if the city must regain its lost glory as the Garden City of Nigeria, stressing that it was in that light that his administration has also embarked on operation keep Port Harcourt clean.
He emphasized that the petty traders and illegal market operators had since been given notice to evacuate from their illegal trading locations on the roads and streets of Port Harcourt, but have refused to relocate, thereby constituting safety and security risks to other residents of the city.
The mayor said that most of the traders conduct their businesses on illegality, trading and selling on the streets, pedestrian ways of rights, and blocking access to vehicular traffic, adding that they were constituting nuisance on the roads by not only endangering their lives, but also causing traffic gridlocks in Port Harcourt City.
According to him: “There has never been an end to relocating this category of traders; I do know that what gave rise to the smaller markets around Port Harcourt is because some elements in the previous governments compromised on the city master plan and allowed the emergence of mini-markets such as Ojoto, Illoabuchi, Okija, Ikoku, among others, in order to accommodate some traders, but even so, certain traders still prefer to sell on the road side”.
The Port Harcourt mayor, said that “as long as the ban on street trading in Port Harcourt City remains in force, the government will continue to do its best to clear the streets of illegal trading spots and structures, and bring sanity to the streets and roads in the city.”
Some of the traders, who spoke with The Tide at Agip-RSUST Back Gate-Eagle Island, Sangana, Bishop Okoye, Garrison, Education Bus Stop, Bende, Mile 1 and 3, as well as Creek Road markets, admitted that government has since given them notice to vacate their illegal trading shops/spots, but added that they did not realize that the authorities were serious this time around.
One of the illegal traders, Mrs Flourish Emmanuel Ekeke, since their only source of livelihood has been demolished, the government should be compassionate enough to assist them by building more markets at strategic locations, where they could display their wares without any harassment in the future.
She added that the ultra-modern shops at Mile 1, Mile 3, and Port Harcourt Township, were very expensive as some of the petty traders start their businesses with as low as N1,000, to buy oranges and pure water, which they sell to feed their families.
A meat seller by the road side along one of the streets listed above, Chinyere Iheanacho, said “government should provide us a place to stay and sell because those selling on the streets are more than those shops inside the major markets”, noting that “chasing the petty traders away would not work without providing them an alternative and affordable place”.
FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.
By: Akujobi Amadi
JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”
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