The efforts of the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State in providing social amenities stand threatened as companies executing road projects in the State are causing severe damages to utility channels.
Last Monday, residents of Azuabie and its adjoining communities woke up to find the water channels at Zoo Roundabout, which supply the area with water from the Trans Amadi Station reportedly burst by RCC Ltd, the company doing a road project there.
According to the Station Manager of the Trans Amadi Station, Mr. O.E. Enwere, the damage to the channel has rendered the more than 2,500 residents of the area without water with several gallons of water wasted, a situation some residents who spoke to this reporter attributed to carelessness and lack of due diligence on the part of the company.
Similarly, the water channel at Ndoki Street, off New Layout Street in the Township area of Port Harcourt was, on Thursday, November 5, 2009, allegedly burst by a construction company, Sam Owutubo Nigeria Ltd, putting about three thousand residents of the area in jeopardy of having no water.
The Rumuola/Rumuokwuta area of Port Harcourt has over the years been having persistent issues with damages done to water channels. In fact, a few months back MCC, the company reconstructing the road linking Port Harcourt/Aba Expressway to Ikwerre Road got some water channels there damaged though they were repaired shortly after.
Incidents of damage, burying and outright destruction of channels providing the people access to social amenities raises the question of adherence to due diligence and best practices in executing developmental projects with experts saying that companies doing construction projects especially roads in urban and rural areas with channels providing social amenities are supposed to relocate such channels putting them out of harm’s way.
A top functionary of this administration, who spoke on condition of anonymity, regretted this anomaly, saying “over the years it is obvious that water utilities in Port Harcourt and other parts of the State have been neglected, while some have been damaged, buried or destroyed out-rightly in the course of doing roads”.
He added that “given this negative impact the construction of roads is having on these channels, the efforts of the Ministry of Water Resources under the newly appointed Commissioner, Miss Patricia Simon-Hart, at rehabilitating water facilities and structures in the State risks being undermined except something is urgently done”.
Speaking to this reporter, residents of the affected areas unanimously called on the State Governor to intervene in the matter so that water supply could be restored to the affected areas.
Our findings indicate that with the new drive of the Ministry, the improvement in power generation across the State, and the firm resolve of the Governor Amaechi-led administration, the people of Rivers State have no business being without water as there are three water stations in Port Harcourt supplying the various parts of the State capital.
So far, the State Ministry of Water Resources has reactivated all the water pumping stations in the Port Harcourt area with water supply resumed in parts of Port Harcourt, including Old Port Harcourt Township, Harbour Road, Marine Base, Old GRA, Ogbum-na-Abali, Trans-Amadi, Elekahia, among others.
What the State Government resolves to do about this situation stands to be seen as the clamour for restoration of the damaged water channels and calling of the erring companies to order to avoid further disruption of utilities in the State.
FG Mulls Introduction Of Private Firefighters
The Federal Government says it is proposing to broaden the scope of the National Fire Academy to accommodate private firefighters to address fire incidents across the country.
The plan, if carried out, would lead to the emergence of private firefighters in the country.
Speaking after his first official inspection tour of the academy, the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, said the fire service could have certified private firefighters like the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps’ private guards.
He added that private firefighters were needed to enhance the fire service’s operations as well as improve their response time.
This was contained in a statement by the Minister’s Media Adviser, Alao Babatunde, yesterday.
The statement partly read, “Today, we have over 3 million private guards certified by the NSCDC. We can have something similar for the fire service. We need private fire service men to enhance our service and response time. The President’s #RenewedHope agenda has charged us to be innovative if we must change the narrative.
“As a matter of fact, this is another innovative way to generate revenue because we expect that anyone looking to become a safety or security guard should get trained and certified by this academy.”
Tunji-Ojo urged all institutions and recreation centres to engage certified fire and safety personnel trained by the academy when the plan materialises.
He said: “A lot has been done, but there is still a lot more to be done. With what I have seen here, I can guarantee you that we will work very hard to see that this facility will not only be useful in training officers of the fire service but also for the private sector.
“We must make fire safety a personal affair. Every institution, commercial and social recreation centre should have certified fire and safety personnel, trained by this facility.
“All public and commercial buildings and infrastructure such as banks, hotels, malls, restaurants, or even government buildings should have first responders that can administer basic fire fighting remedy while waiting for the arrival of a full operation squad of the country’s Fire Service”.
Decentralise Pipeline Surveillance Contracts, Ondo Ex-Militants Urge Tinubu
A group of ex-militants in Ondo State, on Wednesday, called on President Bola Tinubu to revisit the pipeline surveillance project and decentralise the awarding of the contract.
The group, under the auspices of the Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard, said decentralisation of the contract would enhance the security of pipelines on waterways.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer of the group, Chief Lucky Ajiroba.
The statement is titled, ‘Call on His Excellency President Bola Tinubu to re-visit the pipeline surveillance contract.’
The group faulted the last administration for awarding the contract to only one company, saying the purpose for which the contract was awarded was not achieved as the security situation of the pipelines was getting worse.
The statement read, “We are the members of Ondo State Niger Delta Coastal Vanguard. The group led by Akogun Job Omotuwa comprises ex-militants in the state who voluntarily submitted their arms and ammunition in response to the good gesture of the Federal Government of Nigeria under the amnesty programme in the year 2017, and we have shown our unwavering allegiance to the terms of the amnesty initiative of the government.
“The overall effects of all these are: it has increased considerably the quantum of oil production, it has substantially increased the revenue accruable to the Federation account, and ultimately it allows peaceful coexistence among the people of the oil-producing communities of the country.
“We are aware of the sterling enterprise of this administration to improve on the security architecture of the Nigeria state and all its apparatus, with a particular reference to the pipeline surveillance and secured waterways.
“The last administration made a giant stride by awarding the pipeline surveillance to a sole company in the Niger Delta Area. It is not out of place to state that the purpose upon which the contract was awarded for was not achieved as the situation of the security of the pipeline was worse than ever before since their collaborative effort was not enough to support the constituted military authorities.
“The failure of this was ascribed to the centralization of the contract. In view of this perennial failure, there has been avalanche of agitation from every quarter that the pipeline security contract should be decentralized for the purpose of achieving the desired goal of the Federal Government which is in the best interest of the entire citizens.”
The group, which commended the President for its efforts in repositioning the country’s economy, opined that each ex-militant leader in the Niger Delta Region be identified, and the pipeline security contract be split among them.
Assembly Tasks Delta Govt On Rising Prostitution, Drug Abuse
The Delta House of Assembly has passed a resolution urging the State Government to take drastic measures against rising cases of drug abuse and prostitution in the state.
This followed the adoption of a motion by Mrs Bridget Anyafulu (PDP-Oshimili South) at plenary in Asaba.
Presenting the motion, Anyafulu decried rising cases of open sex trade and use of illicit drugs among youths in the state, especially in Asaba and environs.
“Open sex trade and use of illicit drug is not a good example for our children.
“The situation is worrisome considering the fact that both issues are illegal,” she said.
Anyafulu, also the Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Community and Social Development said that urgent measures must be taken to address the situation.
“The twin evil of drug abuse and sex trade represents great danger to the lives of our young people and the society at large.
“They both underline the physical, mental and social well-being of our young people and this will also jeopardize the development, peace and security of our dear state.
“So, I want to state that no nation survives without the youth, the youth and the young general are the life wire of our nation.
“Any nation that ignores the youth is heading for doom, so the importance of the young people cannot be over emphasized, it is therefore very important that we address this ugly trend,” she said.
Also speaking, Mr Oboro Preyor (PDP-Bomadi) decried the negative impact of rising drug abuse and prostitution, saying it must be addressed.
‘‘If this ugly trend is not addressed, it would attract more young people into their folks,’’ he said.
He also urged the government to rehabilitate youths who were addicted to drug and to create other avenues of engaging them in productive activities.
The motion was unanimously adopted by the lawmakers when put to voice vote by Speaker Dennis Guwor.
The lawmakers also called for support from law enforcement agencies to ensure the arrest and prosecution of illicit drug dealers and commercial sex workers in accordance with the law in order to curb the rising trend.
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