Sallah Reduces Hustle And Bustle Of Port Harcourt
The Eid-el-Kabir holidays started in Port Harcourt and in other parts of the country last Thursday and ended Friday. After the holidays, came Saturday, and then, Sunday.
To several residents of the Port Harcourt metropolis and its environs, Saturdays and Sundays are resting days. Hence, such resting days for last week, actually started on Thursday and rolled through Saturday and Sunday. This is particularly for workers, civil and public servants in government offices and large companies in the city including banks.
As was expected, since the Eid-el-Kabir holidays and celebrations afforded workers the ample opportunity to observe work-free days, in addition to Saturday and resting on Sunday, most of them travelled out of Port Harcourt to spend valuable time with friends and loved ones.
While some of the residents took trips to the countryside, the villages and communities, others who could not travel actually had a swell time at home with their children, relations, friends and loved ones. This in a way affected the hustle and bustle often associated with Port Harcourt, one of the greatest cities in the East of the Niger.
For one, the number of people and vehicles on major roads were drastically reduced. On several major roads, during the Sallah holidays, the ubiquitous traffic jams were hardly noticed, as most roads experienced free flow of traffic.
It is on record that Port Harcourt roads witness the highest number of cars on a daily basis basically because of its dense population. On major roads, in a typical busy day, car owners and other motorists scramble for space to move their automobiles. It is also on record that it is in Port Harcourt that you find the most reckless drivers. This is because it is always assumed that if one can drive safely in Port Harcourt, one can equally drive in any part of the country.
But for sure, the holidays forced down the number of cars on major roads in the city.
Where this was practically noticeable was along the busy Aba Express Road as it was observed that the vehicles which normally cause traffic jams along it had thinned down during the holidays. Traffic at such flash points as Rumuola, Garrison, Bori Camp, First Bank, Artillery, Rumukrushe and Elelenwo was not heavy as it used to be on a normal day.
There is also no doubt that the Sallah holidays afforded some grassroots politicians who often spend their work days in the city an opportunity to travel down to their communities to finetune strategies for the 2011 general elections. As elections’ year approaches fast, there is always the need for these politicians to align and re-align their political forces in order to make hay when the chips are really down.
Again, some of these politicians including chairmen and officials of local government councils, commissioners and Special Advisers among othersare the ones who normally paint roads in Port Harcourt red with their wonders on wheel, their exotic cars. For sure, the holidays made them change base, thereby giving the roads a breather.
The situation at Aba Express Road, to be frank, was not the same with the situation along the busy Ikwerre Road during the Sallah holidays.
If Aba Road was free of traffic, the same thing could bot be said of Ikwerre Road as traffic along the road was chaotic as it used to be. The reason is not far-feteched. Majority of vehicles that ply Ikwerre Road are commercial buses. These buses are operated by young people who struggle on a daily basis to make ends meet.This set of people did not abandon their lucrative business of commuting residents across the city to celebrate the Sallah holidays. They were always on the roads. last Thursday and Friday. They did not stop to drive in their traditional reckless manner though it was Sallah.
And Ikwerre Road was chaotic as usual. Poor artisans, market women and other petty traders equally made the Diobu axis tick during the holidays. School children who opted to help their parents and guardians to hawk fruits and other items were usually seen within this axis of the city. Their counterparts from well-to-do homes either stayed indoors or travelled with their parents to reduce the hustle and bustle of the city.
Even though life in the city was no longer the same due to the Sallah holidays which forced most offices to close down, Port Harcourt had a dose of the rumour of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s death on Thursday afternoon. Frantic phone calls were being made by some residents who wanted to confirm the rumour. The rumour indeed spread like a wild fire during harmattan as it was virtually in every household. Those who put calls across did that as a way of confirming it.
But on Friday, it was clear as crystal that the President, though seriously ill, was alive. The rumour was, indeed, Sallah blues that hung in the horizon and it faded away with the holidays on Friday.
It is, however, believed that Port Harcourt will return to its natural state tomorrow after everything that had to those who travelled with the Eid-el-Kabir celebrations and the resting days of Saturday and Sunday must have come and gone out of the city was stint returning in the evening of today.
It is only then that those who are thrilled by the hustle and bustle of the city would heave a huge sigh of relief. Because, from then on, it will be work and more work.
There will no longer be any dull moment because Port Harcourt must have roared back to life, enslaving and holding many captive with its captivating mien particularly now that sunlight is often seen across the horizon.
You can not believe this. Most workers of constructing firms in the city handling various road projects were equally on holidays for those two days including on Saturday and Sunday when in actual fact they were supposed to work round the clock to deliver on record time, to beat the rains again to their game. Afterall, the holidays were not bad entirely, Port Harcourt had a relief.
NSCDC Arrests 186 Over Oil Theft
The State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Rivers State Command, says it has made 186 arrests within 10 months including 408 suspects while securing convictions of 21 persons at the Federal High Court.
Already, 41 convicts are serving jail terms, while over 42 forfeitures have been made and based on the passing into law of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 by the National Assembly.
State Commandant of NSCDC, Michael Besong Ogar made the revelation while hosting the Executive Director of the Youth Environmental Advocacy Centre, (YEAC-NIGERIA and United Kingdom) in his office in Port Harcourt.
He said the agency is open 24 hours to receive information that would enhance the arrest of suspects dealing illegally in petroleum products, as he further restated the Command’s commitment in stemming the spate of crime and all sorts of vices in the State.
“Let me officially welcome you to my office; meanwhile, this is also your office because as a concerned citizen and a strong advocate against oil theft and as an environmentalist, we have a lot to do together. Our strong synergy will definitely rid the nation of economic saboteurs and savage Rivers State from all forms of health hazards emanating from aquatic pollution, air pollution and most especially environmental degradation”.
“Within my 10months of assumption of office as the 13th substantive State Commandant of NSCDC, Rivers State Command, we have stood very firm in the fight against illegal dealings in petroleum products, all our operatives on land and the marine signed an oath of allegiance to refrain from connivance or aiding and abetting oil bunkering activities”.
The Rivers State Commandant who later spoke with the foreign journalists from Seoul, South Korea lauded the Federal Government for the unflinching support in the provision of necessary logistics that have enhanced the corps in anti-vandalism and the fight against oil theft across the nation.
He further advised those stealing from the proceeds through illegal deal in petroleum products to look for other meaningful and rewarding businesses or be ready to face the full wrath of the law.
Speaking, the Executive Director, Youth Environmental Advocacy Centre, Fyneface Dumnamene expressed his readiness to work with the NSCDC in order to fight illegal oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region.
He commended the State Commandant for the numerous achievements and promised to collaborate with the command through the advocacy centre, noting that the NSCDC as the lead agency in safeguarding oil pipelines and other critical national assets and infrastructure in the nation must continue to work with both local and foreign bodies to actualise their statutory mandate.
By: Kevin Nengia
Drivers, Travellers Groan Over Bad Road At Mbiama
Drivers and passengers have decried the poor state of the East-West Road from Ahoada axis up to the Mbiama axis of Rivers State.
They said, Mbiama and Akinima axis is the worst hit as long vehicle fall and block the road always.
Last Tuesday, youths and indigenes from Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, protested over the dilapidated condition of the road.
The youths, who were led by the President of Igbuduya Youths Federation of Okogbe Community, Comrade Ifeanyi Madu, said they blocked the ever busy East-West Road in a peaceful protest against the Federal Government for failing to rehabilitate that portion of the road almost a year after flood swept through the area.
Travellers were trapped for several hours on Mbiama-Ahoada axis of East-West last Tuesday as youths from Ekpeye Kingdom in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State were protesting against poor state of the road
Eyewitnesses told The Tide Metro that it took several hours of negotiation and appeals before travellers were allowed to pass through the ever-busy Trunk A federal high way.
A driver, Jude Ede who spoke to The Tide Metro said their vehicles breakdown often on the road.
He said, “some parts are motorable, as Setraco graded some parts after the flooding.”
Ede lamented that many drivers avoid the route and as a result transport fare has risen. For saloon cars, passengers pay N3, 000 from Port Harcourt to Yenagoa as against N2,000 last year.
On the other hand buses charge passengers N2,500, as against N1,800 previously.
He also blames the situation to hike in price of fuel and cost of maintenance,” even the price of fuel comes down we will reduce the fare, but for now there is nothing we can do.”
The same view was expressed by Prince Olalekan who plies the route from Port Harcourt, “the road is not accessible on Tuesdays”, he said, “most of drivers avoid the route because of the market at Mbiama.”
Besides, he also decried the poor security, noting that between Emohua and Ahoada axis is danger zone as kidnappers waylay vehicles.
Olalekan recalled that last Monday, some passengers were kidnapped on the route.
Calling for the security agencies to beef up surveillance, the commercial transport dealer said poor state of the road makes it easy for vehicles to be attacked by hoodlums.
For Tonye Ekine, the axis between Okogbe and Ahoada should be fixed to reduce their challenge.
He also complained about the Mbiama market which causes traffic jam on the road, especially on Tuesdays,” most of us now use the old bridge which is not safe.”
Ekine, who is a bus driver suggested that the contractors handling repairs should ensure that the failed portions should fixed as the rains come.
“If you look at some parts of the road that were graded last year, it has started to fail. And the Mbiama market needs to be relocated as well.”
By: Kevin Nengia
Diobu Cult War: Police Raid Hideouts, Arrest Suspects
The Rivers State Police Special Joint Taskforce has raided hideouts for cultists around the Diobu axis, following a fratricidal clash that led to up to five persons dead in the last one week.
The Tide Metro was reliably informed that the raid was ordered by the State Commissioner of Police, Okon Effiong Okon as the taskforce commanders swung into action.
The raid in Diobu was from the Mile 1 area up to Mile 4 area of Port Harcourt last Monday.
The operation targeted criminal hideouts and resulted in the arrest of 31 male suspects, who are believed to be largely members of the notorious secret cults terrorising the neighbourhood.
For the past three weeks, the area had witnessed a spate of shootings, especially from Njemanze axis up to Mile 3, Diobu.
Confirming the raid to The Tide Metro, Police Public Relations Officer, Sp. Grace Iringe-Koko said the action of the police was to restore peace and security around the area.
She added that the suspects are being profiled, while investigations are ongoing, assuring that once it is completed, those found wanting would be charged to court.
Recall that a forthnight ago, Chairman of Rumuwoji Community Development Committee, Comrade Ike Wigodo raised an alarm over shootings, stealing and harassment of residents and businesses around the Rumuwoji and Mile One area.
Wigodo who made a plea to the police and government for intervention warned that if the situation was not arrested, it might lead to loss of live and property as well as disrupt business in the area, thereby inflicting economic hardship on residents who were already living in fear.
By: Kevin Nengia
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