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Kpofire In City Centre

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As the onslaught against illegal refineries, “Kpofire ” across Rivers State state intensifies Obio/Akpor Local Government Area seems to be uncovering more sites than others.
Even before the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike announced a price tag for each local government area that records the highest success in their domain during a meeting with the council chairmen in Government House on Wednesday, Obio/Akpor chairman, Barrister George Ariolu had been on the news for the past one week
Within the local government area about five ” kpofire” sites or artisanal refining dumps have been uncovered. Two at Iriebe two at Ogbogoro and another at Rumuosi.
The most shocking one was the one discovered in the heart of new Government Reserved Area(GRA) bordering Eligbam and Rumueme communities.
The premises which has since been sealed by the council authorities after it was discovered sits close to residential area and has been under guise for many months before reports reached the authorities.
A resident of the area who pleaded anonymity told The Tide ,” we only see trucks come in and leave daily and we thought that it was a construction site or a company warehouse.”
Recently however, Barrister Ariolu’s breakthrough had pitched him against officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSDC) at their dumpsite at Ogbogoro.
Officials of the security agency had resisted the chairman and his team when he came to confirm whether their dumpsite was used by illegal refinery operators as cover up.
The chairman had on reaching the dump site alerted newsmen of the alleged deals and cover ups the “Kpofire ” operators use the security operatives for their illegal business.
But the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers State Command has debunked the claims of the council chairman.
In a statement it released after video of the chairman’s visit were displayed on social media, the agency said the site located at NSCDC Jetty, Ogbogoro community in Obio-Akpor local government area, was not a bunkery site.
Briefing newsmen at the NSCDC Jetty Ogbogoro, the State Commandant, Aliyu Bature, said that the place in question is their Marine exhibit yard where arrested suspected oil thieves and illegal petroleum products are paraded.
The Assistant Commandant of the corps, Michael Oguntuase, who spoke on behalf of the State Commandant, said the exhibits in the dump site were arrested by the Nigerian Navy and handed over to them, while some of the arrests were also made by the NSCDC Anti-Vandal Team pending forfeiture.
“This place is our marine exhibits yard and not an illegal dump. The entire press team in the state can attest to the fact that this place is our exhibit Jetty.
The commandant general was here in December 2021, and he is aware that this place is our exhibits yard. Those saying this place is a bunkery site are not current, because if they were, they should have known before now that we bring pressmen to this yard to parade suspect and illegal products.”
Reacting also on the rumoured conspiracy plan by some hoodlums to destroy the NSCDC exhibit dump yard, the Commandant emphasized that such plans will be strongly resisted, in order to secure the exhibits.
“We want the public to be rest assured that these exhibits are secured, any form of conspiracy to damage these exhibits will be met with stiff resistance.
“The Commandant General has deployed personnel to ensure the place is secured, Ogbogoro jetty is a no go area for anybody, because destroying this place means destroying the exhibits to prove that these products were all stolen. We had it on good authority that hoodlums were planning to attack this place in order to destroy the exhibits and we will not allow that.”
He, however, urged the public to report any NSCDC officer involved in the business of oil theft as the Corps will not hesitate to show such person the way out.
“If any of our personnel is caught, please report the person to us and we will discipline the person accordingly.
The NSCDC leadership does not in anyway condone acts of indiscipline.
“We are charged to protect critical national assets and if any of our personnel is involved we will not take it lightly. That is why those who were in charge of the anti vandal unit have been disbanded. And the committee set up to investigate them is ongoing.”

By: Stories by Kevin Nengia

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PH Pleasure Park: Fun Seekers Want Pedestrian Bridge

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Fun seekers and residents have called on the government and managers of the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park to construct a pedestrian bridge across Aba/Expressway into the facility.
The call is coming five years after the park was unveiled by the Rivers State Government.
The Tide Metro investigation reveals that many fun seekers and users of the park are exposed to danger as they cross the busy expressway from the other side of the road to the park.
Many parents and guardians who bring their children to the facility, mostly those without cars are at the mercy of fast moving vehicles, while taking their children across the road into the park.
A young mother of four, Patricia Umukwe told The Tide Metro that she brings her children at least every month end to have fun and relax in the park.
Umukwe however said she finds it very unsafe to take her four kids across the road from the side of the road, where the State ICT Centre and RSIEC office are located to the side where the park is located.
“Sometimes, I have to wait for five minutes to ensure it is safe for them to cross,” She said, while explaining her fears of upcoming traffic, what makes it more fearful is that it is an expressway and there are no zebra crossing or pedestrian bridge.”
A hawker that sells nose mask at the entrance of the park, Phillip Amadi told The Tide Metro that sometimes it is difficult to cross the expressway, especially on Sundays.
“Government needs to construct a foot bridge,” Amadi said, “So far I have not witnessed any accident since I started selling here, but for the sake of the children, there is need for a bridge.”
Francis Mark observed that a foot bridge is not only for children, “it should be for both adults and children”.
Mark, who was in the park with his girlfriend said there is need for three footbridges, “all the bending corners should have one” he said. The corners he suggested include the one intersecting G U Ake Road and another one from the corner of Bori Camp Army Barracks, with one crossing between the road directly opposite the park.
The young fun seeker also recommended construction of speed breakers across the precincts of the park, including stationing traffic wardens to help control traffic in order to help those who want to use the facility.
In addition to that, he suggested the presence of armed security men” I m not saying that there has been any criminal incident here, but just to prevent any from happening,” Mark added.
Another visitor to the park, Saviour Timothy observed that crossing Aba/ Expressway into the park is risky, “it takes time to cross the road even as an adult.”
Timothy urged the manager of the facility, Julius Berger to construct a pedestrian bridge for fun seekers to avert road accident.
A staff of the facility who gave his name as Elendu Ebere told The Tide Metro that, “Julius Berger does not have the power to build a pedestrian bridge. It is in the hands of the state government “.
He further explained that though Julius Berger had that in mind, it is only the state government that can approve such project,” besides, this is a federal road, and so before such project, there has to be an agreement between the state and federal governments.
From investigations, not fewer than 2,000 persons visit the park during weekends and this might increase overtime during special holidays.
Today, the park is acclaimed to be one of the best in the country, since it was conceived and built by the Nyesom Wike administration in 2017 to boost tourism and entertainment in the state.
The park boasts of having modern recreational facilities for both children and adults, including a cinema, game halls, and restaurant.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Old Girls Hold Open Day In PH

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Old girls of former Government Girls Secondary School, Harbour Road, now Methodist Girls School lightened old Port Harcourt Township as part of their activities for the School Open Day.
The programme forms part of their yearly reunion.
The Alumni who were drawn from Set 70s and below were dressed in their school uniforms to celebrate what they termed as Open Day.
The school which is now christened MGHS following hand over of some secondary schools back to Christian religious organisations in the state had celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018.
The celebration heralded the formal registration of the alumni as a global association with chapters within and beyond the shores of Rivers State and Nigeria.
That 60th Anniversary celebration also midwifed the inauguration of her pioneer executives.
Last year, COVID-19 pandemic had led to shift of the event as most programmes slated were cancelled.
The association had planned to embark on the programme for the betterment of the school and students in particular.
With the ease of the pandemic, a much lighter event at a smaller scale was held to reduce crowd last year.
It was not surprising that this year’s Open Day celebration which was slated for the 14th of May witnessed several activities which covered teachers, students and alumnus interaction.
Activities ranging from registration, free medical checkups, administration of medications and counselling were also done.
Medical talks tagged “Know Your Numbers” and the “Silent blinder” were held by medical personnel from University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH).
The old and present girls hit the road with a march past along the Harbour Road Axis to the popular Lagos bus stop upto the Railway Station bus stop axis, that leads back to the school.
The celebration continued with the commissioning of the associations secretariat in the school premises, display of various entertainment from the MGHS students.
Goodwill messages from other alumni associations, award of meritorious service to Alumni from the various decades of the associations, gifts to outstanding students, and to climax the activities was an interactive session with the students who were asked to say some of the challenges they face academically, emotionally, mentally and physically.
This aspect of the programme was the icing on the cake which witnessed the asking of some salient questions which the children admitted would have been difficult for them to ask ordinarily.
According to Mrs Ilanye Jumbo, spokesperson of the association, the 2022 maiden Open Day celebration was aimed at giving back to the school and the society at large.

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Police Arrest One In Diobu Cult Clash

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One person was feared killed when suspected members of a cult group clashed in the Mile One Diobu axis of in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
It was gathered that the clash involved the D12 and BS members of the Degbam cult group.
A source, who narrated the incident to The Tide Metro said gunfire was heard within Akwuzu Street in Mile One, as residents scampered into their houses.
“Suddenly, people started running in different directions. Then, I heard gunshots. I think they shot someone. The man the suspected cultists shot ran some distance and later fell down. The people that shot him entered their vehicle and zoomed off,” the source who preferred anonymity added.
A member of a vigilante group, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The Tide Metro that the suspected cultists were armed with dangerous weapons.
He described the attack as a reprisal, noting that the suspected cultists went in search of a rival group believed to be responsible for the killing of one of their members last week.
It was, however, learnt that some policemen from the Divisional Police Headquarters in Diobu went to the scene and reportedly evacuated the corpse of the slain suspected cultist.
Acting Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko confirmed the incident, saying investigation was on to apprehend the suspects.
She said, “Yes, we are aware of the incident. We are still investigating to apprehend the suspects and make them face justice.”
Meanwhile, the police have arrested a notorious cultist who robs bolt drivers and club girls in Diobu area.
The Azikiwe Police Division at Iloabuchi, Mile 2 had on Wednesday arrested the suspect called Tallest who was linked to Dewell cult group at Azikiwe Street.
Tallest or Collins was said to be on police watch list for allegedly committing crime ranging from cultism, robbing of bolt drivers and club girls.
A combined team of security operatives led by Azikiwe Police Division, acting on credible intelligence stormed his hideout at the early hours of Wednesday and arrested him with three others.
The Tide Metro gathered that security operatives intensified search for the suspect after his gang members three weeks ago, in a bid to ensure his escape from security operatives who arrested him for robbery allegation in a brothel popularly known as 49 at Ojoto, Mile 2, attacked the security operatives with guns and other dangerous weapons which led to his escape.
A security source who spoke to The Tide Metro on anonymity disclosed that the suspect’s modus operandi is to book taxi or bolt drivers and later takes his victims to ride around town on gun point, and dispossess them of their valuables.
The suspect, it was also learnt visits high profile clubs in Port Harcourt, where under the pretence of patronising female commercial sex workers lurking around clubs. Once his victim agrees on a price, he takes her to a secluded area and robs her of her valuables, after having rounds of sex with them without paying them.
When contacted on phone, State Police public Relations Officer, DSP, Grace Oringe Koko told The Tide Metro that she would get back to give more details of the incidence.
Tide Metro however learnt the suspect has been transferred from Azikiwe Police Station to the Force Tactical Police Unit for thorough investigations and possible prosecution.

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