Nigeria @ 56: What The People Say

President Muhammadu Buhari and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike

As Nigeria marked
her 56th Independence Anniversary, on Saturday, October 1, 2016, governments at all levels have been urged to improve the level of infrastructure in the country.
A cross section of Nigerians who spoke to The Tide news crew in separate interviews also decried the high rate of poverty in the country.
A respondent, Mr. Eze Clement Kenonye said poverty will be reduced in the country if the present administration follows its diversification policy through massive investments in Agriculture.
Kenonye who is the Chief Fishery Officer, Rivers State Ministry of Agriculture said that the mono product economy which the country has operated over a long period of time has done more harm to the country.
“The four regions, Northern, Western, Eastern and Mid-Western were blessed with agricultural resources.
“Each region produced its own product and back then, Nigeria had a company known as Agriculture Marketing Board located at each of the regions and this helped a lot in improving the economic standard of Nigeria as they made lots of income from exports”, he said.
He, however, said that the discovery of oil in Nigeria, led to the abandonment of farming in the country, adding that it has now dawned on Nigeria that the abandonment of agriculture for oil was a big mistake.
“Government has realised the importance of Agriculture which made them to stop the importation of foreign products”.
Also speaking, Acting Manager of Rivers State Agricultural Development Programme (ADP), Mr. G.W. Atuzie commended efforts being made to resuscitate Agriculture in the country and advised the youth to key into the sector to improve their economic conditions.
On her part, Mrs Ijeoma Nwabiwe urged the government to look into the issue of multiple taxation.
Mrs Nwabiwe who is an importer also urged the Government to fulfill its promise of giving loans to farmers to boost food production in the country.
Also speaking, Mr. Ese Peter, a driver, decried the poor condition of federal roads in the country.
“Federal roads are now death traps. Government should use this anniversary to improve the condition of federal roads in the country”.
He also said that the increase in armed robbery and kidnapping across major highways is a wake up call on the government to do something about security.
For Mr. Njoku Francis, the celebration is meaningless if the authority cannot improve the quality of lives of the people, adding that at present, people cannot eat two square meals a day.
“We cannot celebrate with empty stomach. Let the government do something about the condition of living in the country”, he said.
An Environmental Health Officer, Mr. Jeremiah Obioma said Nigeria has not fared very well in the health sector, as the country’s leaders are still flown overseas for medical treatment and it is difficult for an average Nigerian to foot the bill of foreign medical trips.
“If our health sector is properly developed, it will be a tourist attraction to our visitors and will help to boost our economy”, he noted.
Obioma advised that there should be restriction of people going overseas for treatment and our health personnel should undergo training to avoid emergency just as we had during Ebola and Lassa Fever outbreaks.
A retiree, Mrs Susan John, said at 56, we are one of the African countries infested with malaria due to dirty environment.
“Most Nigerians go outside the country for solutions to their health challenges. We need our health facilities to be upgraded and the manpower to be well trained.
Nigerians should look inwards. They should appreciate what they have and help to improve our health sector and also our medical practitioners should do well to handle this equipment with care.
Mr. Chukwudi Okoronkwo from Ogbunabali in Port Harcourt who has a barbing salon said “ he hardly sees customers and he cannot afford the high price of fuel everyday to enable him work as there is no power supply in their area.
Mr. Rufus Kalio who runs a cyber café at Station Road in Port Harcourt said the whole scenario is upsetting as nothing seems to be working and noted that the present power supply is poor and not helping matters, and that he cannot run his business now without generator as he has to buy fuel which still doesn’t allow him make use of some of the equipments. He urged the government to provide constant power supply for everyone’s benefit.
Glory Peter who lives in Marine Base said, “every time you see cash payment officers, but where is the light? If the way you guys source for money is reciprocated in giving light, nobody will be complaining. She pleaded with the Federal Government to provide aids for them, saying that the administration should please put a stop to this problem because it is affecting the whole nation as power is essential for daily activities and everyday living.


Ijeoma Gbufor/Silverline Nkemjika /Mirian Obusele/Mina Dekii/Favour Harry/Chinenye Nwabueze/MaryRose Nwankwo/Linus Akpan/Christiana Edem