Unarguably, indiscriminate parking of articulated vehicles and damaged vehicles on highways across the country has contributed to the rate of road accidents.
Concern citizens have, on many occasions, expressed dissatisfaction about the rate of accidents, especially those caused by such indiscriminate parking of trucks and other articulated vehicles.
They cite such parking in Benin Bypass, Obollo Afor, 9th Mile in Enugu; Ogere, Mowe, Ibafo, Sagamu in Ogun, Lokoja, Abaji (FCT) Etobe and Obajana, Kogi, among others, as examples.
They, therefore, suggest the building of modern truck transit parks as a way of controlling such indiscriminate parking and reduce congestion of vehicles and accidents on highways.
But before the outcry for such transit parks, the Federal Government has planned to develop transit parks at Lokoja, Obollo-Afor, Enugu, Ogere, Ogun, Jebba in Kwara and Port Novo Creek, Lagos State, as an alternative strategy to address truck congestion at the seaports in Apapa and Port Harcourt.
Minister of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi observe that these parks will complement the Ore Sunshine in Ondo State and the ones being processed by the Kaduna State Government at the Mararaban, Jos and Tapa on the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
“The Federal Government shall ensure that truck transit parks will be independently developed by state governments and private investors to meet a minimum standard in the number of facilities provided at the sites.
“The Federal Government shall ensure that the parks are economic, creating wealth and employment for the teeming population,’’ he said in an event recently in Lagos.
Sharing similar sentiments, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola, said if the activities of these big vehicles were not checked, they could become hazardous to the society.
Fashola observed that the absence of rail had accommodated articulated vehicles and other heavy vehicles on the highways.
He said although the activities of the vehicles had contributed to the nation’s economy, they ought to be well managed by building modern transit parks.
According to him, the construction of such parks, which will the first of its magnitude in Nigeria, is expected to be completed within the 2017 fiscal year.
Fashola said that when the park is completed, it would decongest the highways and improve economic activities.
He, however, advised that such parks should be replicated on major arterial routes and roads leading to neighbouring countries such as the Lagos-Badagry road, Benin border, Ikom-Mfum road (Cameron border) and Kazaure, among other border towns.
In his view, the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Hassan Bello, said the building of modern truck transit parks had been the initiative of the council.
“There is much deficit in infrastructure and Nigeria will have to modernise its transport infrastructure. Now, we cannot afford articulated vehicles or trucks to park indiscriminately.
“That is why we said we could have a truck transit park. It is a modern way where we have parking spaces off the main way where you have fuel stations, gas stations, hostels, shops, and other facilities.
“It will reduce congestion; ensure the safety and security of cargoes and there will be trackers all over — a civilized way of doing things,’’ he said.
He said that the parks would also promote other transport modes to boost efficiency, competitiveness, safety and enhanced service delivery in the transport sector.
According to him, one of the facilities that will be used in parks is a device to check overloading in trucks.
Making clarification on the construction of modern transit parks across the country, Mrs Antonia Ekpa, Director of Road Transport and Mass Transit, Federal Ministry of Transportation, said it was in line with global practice.
She explained that the parks, also to be referred to as “Rest Stop’’ and “Truck Terminal’’, would provide guest houses where drivers could rest on transit, conveniences, filling stations and restaurants.
“When a tanker driver drives for a longer period of time without stopping, it usually results in accidents whereby trucks can fall and this has claimed lives and damaged goods on daily basis.
“It is important for a driver to find somewhere and park to relax and have access to conveniences,’’ Ekpa said.
For the success of the construction of the parks, Rep. Ovie Omo-Agege, Vice-Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, pledged the support of the National Assembly in in that regard.
He said the parks would go a long way in addressing problems caused by heavy duty vehicles on highways.
“The National Assembly remains prepared to provide every legislative support required to achieve the dream of the Buhari-Osinbajo administration for the transformation of the Nigerian transport landscape,’’ he promised.
Underscoring the importance of the parks, Dr Kassim Bataiya, National President, Nigerian Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO), said that if the parks were established, they would improve efficiency in haulage and increase returns on investment in the trucking business.
“The establishment of the parks will reduce man-hours spent in gridlock and in sourcing for cargoes by both dry and wet cargo truck owners.
“It will also improve the security of trucks and prolong the lives of drivers, as well as reduce the exposure of trucks to hijacks, robberies and extortion.
He said investment opportunities would also become massive if the idea of developing the parks was executed as planned.
He, therefore, commended the efforts of the Federal Government on the initiative and for revamping the nation’s rail system.
Elebiyo-Edeni writes from News Agency of Nigeria.
Promotion Of Security: The Birth Of Operation Sting
One of the key areas that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has performed exceptionally is the promotion of security of lives and property. Though the state is yet to reach the desired point, marked improvement has been experienced by Rivers people.
At the commencement of his second term, Governor Wike initiated a comprehensive security platform to address the security challenges facing different parts of the state. This was a product of careful planning and implementation.
Right in the presence of all key stakeholders of the state at Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt on Friday, 26 July, 2019, Governor Wike made a major move to improve the security of lives and property across the State. He launched a new Rivers State Security outfit code-named Operation Sting.
Operation Sting is an outfit that involves all the security agencies, working in unison to address security concerns in all parts of the state.
Operation Sting is fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
He said “OPERATION STING” is, therefore, our own specialized and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the Rivers State Government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nip them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.
“Under Operation Sting we have taken concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces”.)
Governor Wike said to ensure that the new security outfit responds effectively across the state, his administration provided the right logistics and equipment.
“76 patrol/operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets; 8 armoured fitted gunboats, to tighten coastal security and protect our waterways from the activities of criminals; 2 Armoured Personnel Carriers for Police swift responses actions; 450 hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering”.)
The Governor said that the State Government has established operational bases in all the 23 Local Government Areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the initiative and ensure effective coordination and synergy between the State headquarters, the local government areas and the communities to achieve the common objectives of providing comprehensive security cover for the our State.
He said: “To achieve quick, timely and effective response we have established 30 toll free emergency call centres with capacity to support and transmit 30 concurrent calls from the public during distress situations and or during ongoing criminal activities in or around our neighbourhoods”.
Governor Wike said the operationalisation of Operation Sting across the State is also expected to increase citizens’ awareness and make the public to be more alive to the dangers of insecurity and their responsibility to be part of the present crusade to stamp this menace out from the State.
While appreciating the officers and men who will participate in the new security architecture, the governor said that the State Government has set up a fund to cater for their families, should they suffer any mishap in the course of service.
He acknowledged that the state has faced major security challenges in the area of kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and community conflicts. He said that the state is not yet as peaceful as the administration desires, hence the renewed effort to stamp criminality.
He said: “It is this spirit that has led us to come to terms with the fact that insecurity, irrespective of the level of manifestation, whether big or small, violent or otherwise, is an insidious threat to our individual and collective development and prosperity.
”This being so, it has become rather compelling for us to bring all elements of State power, Federal, State and Local, to bear against every security threat to our State, our persons and our property, including those posed by pastoral conflicts and kidnappers, in order to create and sustain the right social environment to drive our development.”
Governor Wike specifically assured riverine communities that his administration will ensure their safety. He said that Operation Sting has been mandated to work on security in the waterways.
Speaking during the launch of Operation Sting, the former Garrison Commander of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adeola Kalejaiye, said that the armed forces will leave no stone unturned in ensuring the security of lives and property in Rivers State.
He said that Operation Sting will act on all credible information from members of the public to ensure that any form of insecurity is handled.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura said that the objective of Operation Sting is to get rid of criminals and reduce crime to the barest minimum.
The Commissioner of Police assured Rivers people that the logistics provided by Governor Wike would be used to fight insecurity in the state. He said in the next one month, the improvement of security will be noticed.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, said that Operation Sting is an initiative of Governor Wike to promote security in the state. He said Operation Sting is another strategy by the Rivers State Governor to enhance the security of Rivers people.
Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amanyanabo of Opobo, King Douglas Dandeson Jaja, expressed happiness that Governor Wike has always given priority to the security of lives and property.
In separate interviews, stakeholders commended the Rivers State Governor for his commitment to the security of lives and property in the State.
Selected mobile policemen engaged in drills to highlight their preparedness to tackle security challenges in the state.
On 8th August, 2019, Governor Wike further strengthened the structure and responsiveness of Operation Sting.
The Governor handed over 40 patrol vans fitted with communication gadgets to Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS), See 4 Eye, Police Anti-Kidnapping, Police Anti-Cultism, Federal Road Safety Corps and Eagle Crime at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
Speaking during the presentation, Governor Wike declared that the State Government is fully prepared to tackle insecurity and will do everything required to protect lives and property.
“Rivers State Government is fully prepared and will do everything required to protect lives and property. Without the protection of lives and property, there will be no governance and development.
“We are one State that has suffered neglect from the Federal Government in terms of support to fight insecurity. They have refused to pay back funds that we used in constructing Federal Projects. But that will not stop us from intervening when the need arises”, he said.
The Governor said that he resolved to increase the support to the security agencies because of the successes recorded by Operation Sting.
Governor Wike also declared that the State Government proscribed all Youth Groups operating in the state because they have been hijacked by cultists.
He regretted that cultists have taken over youth groups across the State, necessitating the State Government to proscribe all Youth Groups.
He said: “Anybody operating under a youth body henceforth will be arrested by security agencies. Before you contest for any youth body’s leadership, you must send the names to the DSS and Police for screening. If they are cultists, we will not allow them to operate.”
Governor Wike said that the vehicles and gunboats donated to the security agencies must be deployed to secure Rivers State.
He announced that the Rivers State Government will establish a Trust Fund to cater for the families of policemen who lose their lives while fighting crime.
In his remarks, the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura said the security agencies will use the new security vans to tackle criminals across the state.
He said since the inauguration of Operation Sting, there has been improvement in the security of lives and property in the state. He said that security agencies will continue to dislodge criminals in all parts of the state.
The security outfit has ensured the promotion of peace in the state. Prior to the launch, the Emohua and Ogoni axis of the East West Road use to be flashpoints for kidnapping and armed robbery. That has been addressed. There are similar success stories in different parts of the State.
With improved security, law abiding citizens are carrying out their legitimate businesses, while the overall economy of the state has received a boost. Very importantly, the State Government is carrying out its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
PH Pleasure Park: Nigeria’s Excellent Tourist Destination
The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park is the gift of Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to the nation’s tourism sector. Its popularity is growing by the day.
Daily, tourists from across Nigeria especially the Niger Delta troop to the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park to enjoy the serene environment and first-class security network.
This is Nigeria’s undisputed international tourism destination. This is Governor Wike’s initiative to conserve foreign exchange for the country and attract visitors from across the world to Rivers State.
The project was flagged off as part of the first year anniversary of the Wike administration. Since then, the project site has transformed from the neglected ”construction site borrow pit” to an international leisure centre.
Built by Julius Berger, the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park exudes beauty and serenity. It has a climbing tower, beautifully designed natural lake, sporting facilities, two five-aside football fields, Mini Golf Course, intercontinental restaurants, kids play centres and mobile gyms.
Commissioning the project, former Rivers State Governor, Dr Peter Odili said that the people of Rivers State are proud of the accomplishments of Governor Wike.
He praised the governor for delivering a world class international park which will make the state a prime destination.
The former Governor prayed God to grant all the aspirations of Governor Wike for living up to the expectations of the people.
“I have travelled to at least 26 countries, I have never seen anything like this. God will ensure that all your aspirations are realised “, Dr Peter Odili said.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike announced that his administration will continue to expand facilities at the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
He said that the park will attract tourists to the state and also generate revenue for its maintenance.
PORT HARCOURT PLEASURE PARK CINEMA
To make the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park more attractive, the Rivers State Governor developed a modern world-class cinema within the facility.
The 250-person capacity cinema is divided into three sections. The cinema has standard walls, lighting effects and sound proof .
The project was designed to give the people maximum comfort . The Port Harcourt Pleasure Park Cinema has come on stream following the commissioning of the project as part of the first 100 days of the second term of Governor Wike.
Speaking during the commissioning of the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park Cinema, Governor Wike urged Rivers people to patronise the entertainment industry in the state for the growth of Rivers economy.
He said that Rivers people should expand their funds on relaxation and entertainment facilities in the state capital.
Governor Wike said: “This time, there is no need to travel to Dubai, United States or United Kingdom to relax or be entertained.
“We now have such facilities here in Port Harcourt. We have provided entertainment facilities to stop our people from travelling out for that purpose. Spend your money in our State. There is no need for you to go to Abuja “.
The Governor said that the new Cinema though built by the Rivers State Government, would be administered by a private investor for sustenance.
He added that high level security have been provided in and around the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park to protect the serene and beautiful facility.
He assured that the Rivers State Government will continue to work to satisfy Rivers people and create the right environment for them to live comfortably.
Governor Wike reiterated that the leadership of the State will not succumb to blackmail and negative propaganda.
Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Mr Solomon Eke, commended Governor Wike for executing key projects in the area.
He said the people of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area will continue to support Governor Wike. He said they exhibited their love for the Governor by the way they defended their votes during the 2019 elections.
THE KING OF CASTLES AND RANGE PAINTBALL AND AMUSEMENT INC
The 170 meters long inflatable bouncing castle is a multi-columned obstacle course that has found a home at the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
With this addition to the growing features of the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park, children now have much more fun and excitement when they visit the Park. The King of Castles is noted for, among others, building the physical and intellectual ability of children. Plus the fact that it is engaging and offers super fun.
There is also the Alpha Range Paintball & Amusement Inc at the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park. This is also handled by the managers of the King of Castles.
Since 2017 when the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park was commissioned, it has become a major point of relaxation and fun, especially during festivities such as Christmas, Easter and New Year celebrations.
Nwakaudu is the Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
NEW Rivers: A Glorious Second Term Is In Progress
During his first term, 2015 to 2019, award winning Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike put up a splendid performance that earned him the trust and respect of Rivers people. It was for this reason that Rivers people stood their ground despite the invading prowess of the AAC/APC/ARMY/FSARS Alliance.
On 3rd April, 2019 when INEC concluded the collation of results and declared Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, winner of the Rivers State Governorship election, the Rivers State Governor made a commitment to the people of the state to serve them diligently. He acknowledged the sacrifices of Rivers people in the process of his emergence as second term Governor.
On that day, he said: ”I want to thank the people of Rivers State for showing the kind of love we have never seen before. I thank them for showing the kind of support we have never seen before.
“Those who died not because they were criminals, but because they wanted to defend their votes. We dedicate this victory to God those who were killed .
“They protected our votes and they defended us. We pray God to grant their families the strength to bear the losses. We shall continue to support the families .We will not disappoint the PDP. We will not disappoint Rivers people. We shall continue to serve. “
Truly, Governor Wike has continued to serve Rivers people in the actual sense of the word. All sectors of the economy have been positively impacted for the good of Rivers people.
OPERATION STING FOR RIVERS SECURITY
One of the key areas where Governor Wike has excelled, is the promotion of security of lives and property. Though the state is yet to reach the desired point, marked improvement has been experienced in all 23 Local Government Areas.
This is a fallout of the launch of Operation Sting. This is a security architecture designed by the Wike Administration during his second term.
Governor Wike said Operation Sting will be fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
He said: “OPERATION STING” is therefore, our own specialized and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the Rivers State Government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nib them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.
”Under Operation Sting we have taking concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces”.
PROFOUND MEASURES TO IMPROVE THE STANDARD OF LIVING OF RIVERS PEOPLE
Governor Wike has taken very profound measures to improve the standard of living of Rivers people.
In the course of his second term, Governor Wike abolished the payments of user-fees for persons living with HIV/AIDS who want to access treatment at State-owned Health facilities.
Governor Wike said that the State Government will take over the payment of the user-fees to encourage more Rivers people to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS.
To ensure access to education for the less privileged, Governor Wike abolished all forms of fees and levies in public primary, junior and senior secondary schools in Rivers State.
This was a major second term action. He has since released funds for the running of the schools for the 2019/2020 academic session.
The funds released by the Rivers State Governor would be used by the schools for registers, chalks, dusters, markers, notebooks, pens and other consumables
Governor Wike approved that the State Government will henceforth bankroll the form fees for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) of Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board(JAMB) for all Indigenes and non-indigenes in the state.
This approval by Governor Wike has been implemented for the 2020 UTME to be conducted by JAMB.
APPROVAL FOR UNDERGRADUATE MEDICAL STUDIES AT THE RSU
During the closing days of his first term, Governor Wike ensured that the relevant facilities were on ground for the successful take off of the College of Medical Sciences and the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital.
Since commencing his second term, Governor Wike has created the right environment for the accreditation of the College of Medical Sciences at the Rivers State University.
The National Universities Commission in recognition of the facilities and personnel on ground, approved that the Rivers State University run full-time undergraduate programmes from the 2019/2020 Academic Session in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) and Nursing Science, BNsc.
RADIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, RIVERS STATE UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL
In November 2019, Governor Wike commissioned the New Radiology Department of the State University Teaching Hospital, upgraded and re-equipped by his administration.
Commissioning the new health facility, Governor Wike reiterated his commitment to quality healthcare for the people of Rivers State.
Governor Wike described the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital and the College of Medicine as his initiative, saying that he will continue to invest in their rapid development.
“We will do everything possible to promote quality healthcare for our people. We need good healthcare for people to carry out their daily activities.
“We have good doctors, but there are no good equipment. What we are doing is to provide the right equipment “, he said.
EXCELLENT FIRST 100DAYS
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took the entire country by storm during the first 100days of his second term.
For three weeks, Governor Wike rolled out very significant projects that touched the lives of Rivers people. Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum and Ekiti State Governor, Kayode Fayemi who commissioned the Rumuwoji Market confessed that he has seen why people insist that Governor Wike is Mr Projects.
The projects rolled out during the first 100days of the governor’s second term include:
.Bonny Street, Adaka , Boro/Elliot Henry Streets
• Government Secondary School, Ubima
(Formerly Community Secondary School, Ubima)
•Sea bed Model School , Port Harcourt
•Port Harcourt Pleasure Park Cinema
•Dualised – Birabi Street
•Justice Iche Ndu (Formerly Rumukwurusi -Elelenwo –Akpajo Road )
•Government Craft Development Centre, Port Harcourt
•Civil Servants’ Quarters
•Rivers State NLC Secretariat
•Ogbum-Nu-Abali Fruit Garden Market
•Rivers State University, Students Union Secretariat
•Real Madrid Academy.
KEY PROJECTS SET FOR COMMISSIONING:
MOTHER AND CHILD HOSPITAL, PORT HARCOURT
This is a legacy project that will soon be commissioned by the Rivers State Government.
It was to be a Joint project with the NDDC, but the commission, reneged and Governor Wike had to drive the execution of the project alone.
The contractors are putting finishing touches to the modification works at the facility. Similarly, the equipment contractor is installing the equipment procured by the Wike Administration for the specialist hospital.
This is a mega hospital, the very first in the Niger Delta that will improve access to tertiary healthcare for Women and Children.
This is a legendary project initiated by Governor Wike to promote the Independence of the Judiciary. It is also aimed at ensuring that the welfare of Judges is taken care during and after their service.
The Judges Quarters has been completed. It has been furnished. It will soon be commissioned for use.
RECONSTRUCTION OF OVER 100 BASIC EDUCATION AND SENIOR SECONDARY SCHOOLS
This is a state-wide intervention programme continued from the first term. During his first term, Governor Wike reconstructed and equipped over 250 schools through the Universal Basic Education Commission counterpart fund scheme and through the state’s direct funding.
Once again, the Rivers State Governor is using the two funding models to address issues relating to educational facilities in all the 23 Local Government Areas of the state.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE REBISI, RUMUOGBA AND OKORO-NU-ODO FLYOVER BRIDGES
The three Flyover Bridges already under construction in Port Harcourt are meant to improve traffic flow in the Rivers State capital.
These projects form the most ambitious developmental intervention by any Governor. The construction of the three Flyover Bridges is progressing simultaneously.
To icing on the cake is that Governor Wike has already paid 70 Percent of the contract sum. The contractor, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc is expected to deliver the Bridges by February 2021.
The length of the Flyover Bridges include: Rumuogba (Formerly Artillery 1 and 2) : 517.5 metres, Okoro-Nu-Odo 360 metres and Rebisi (formerly Garrison 360 metres)
MASSIVE URBAN RENEWAL PROGRAMME
Port Harcourt and its environs have become a huge construction site. The Rivers State Government under the leadership of Governor Wike is remodelling different parts of the state capital.
Other key projects like the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo-Nkoro Unity Road, Zonal Hospitals, Sakpenwa-Bori Road, upgrade of different iconic secondary schools are progressing in different parts of the State.
BRIGHTER DAYS AHEAD
Governor Wike is yet to conclude the first year of his second term and the results are everywhere. The future is bright for the state. The Governor has emphasized at every point that he will never be party to the second term failures of State Governors.
His administration will be a departure from the discouraging norm. Every step of the way will be decorated with pro-people projects and programmes to improve the lives of Rivers people.
Nwakaudu is Special Assistant to Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media.
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