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Challenges Of Physical Dev In PH



“In December, 1946 government established the Port Harcourt Planning Authority with an area of jurisdiction of  some 25 square miles between 1947 and 1955,”

A common challenge confronting most cities in the world, particularly in this modern era, is that of appropriate physical town planning. Population explosion and urban drift have compelled several cities to alter already existing plans as to contend with new physical and industrial revolutions not envisaged by past planners.

The situation is being worsened by the inability of persons to adhere strictly to existing  plans of towns especially in the underdeveloped world where issues of physical town planning are easily compromised.

The concept of town planning is aimed at achieving orderliness in the use of land and siting of buildings, communication routes and other structures to secure the maximum practicable degree of economy, convenience and beauty.

Dr. Chris Ibeakuzie, in his observation said the rate of urbanisation is on the increase around the world while urban population has not been matched with investment on required infrastructure and services thereby lagging behind demands in operation and maintenance of existing stocks which often than not are compromised.

He noted that in the case of developing countries, including Nigeria, the consequences of this poor planning and infrastructural maintenance on economic growth caused social break down such as exposure of urban population to health risks, stagnant productivity, property damage and increasing production cuts through congestion, accident and traffic jams.

“A liveable city is one that meets the needs of its citizens for clean air, and water, adequate housing, safe streets, secure public spaces, ease of movement, jobs and economic opportunity, and basic services such as education, health care and sanitation,” said Ibeakuzie.

The town planning expert in his address during the “2009 Planners Night and Annual Dinner” organised in Port Harcourt recently commended the Greater Port Harcourt City of the present administration led by Governor Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, observing that the city of Port Harcourt is undergoing visible transformation in terms of new construction projects and in the expansion and maintenance of existing infrastructure, all at making the city liveable for the citizens.

In his own lecture at the dinner, Dr. Victor Obinna of the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Rivers State University, Nkpolu, Port Harcourt traced the origin of town planning in the country to six decades ago through 1946 town and country planning Ordinance which he said succeeded in erecting a clear legislative and administrative framework for physical planning throughout the country, including Port Harcourt.

“In December, 1946 government established the Port Harcourt Planning Authority with an area of jurisdiction of  some 25 square miles between 1947 and 1955,” he said.

It would be recalled that in 1959, Mr. Y. Elon, a Professor of Haifa University, Israel and a professional town planning adviser was commissioned to produce a new master plan for Port Harcourt, following Shell-BP’s decision in 1957 to move its headquarters from Owerri to Port Harcourt and the anticipated changes to the latter.

The plan then was to provide for a population of about 250,000 persons, a new industrial estate at Trans Amadi that covered an area of 2,500 acres and provided industrial sites with roads and rails access and a new low density residential layout  known as Government Reserved Area (GRA) Phase 1.

Dr. Obinna said with creation of Rivers State in 1967, the immediate post-war years were marked by intense reconstruction activities. The first military Governor, Alfred Diete-Spiff demonstrated boldness in the reconstruction of the state by commissioning a Swedish Planning firm – Specialists Konsult to prepare a Master Plan for Port Harcourt to cover the period 1975 – 2005 while Nickson and Borys was contracted to prepare an urban renewal Master Plan for Diobu and Borikiri.

Apart from the effort of Diete-Spiff, there were other efforts as the introduction by the Ibrahim Babangida Federal  administration of the Landmark Urban and Regional Law Decree 88 of 1992 and the Rivers State Physical Planning Development Law of 2003.

The university don who noted that the British effort to a large extend succeeded in inculcating a physical planning culture in Port Harcourt, adding that the essential character of the city and unique attributes that made it a Garden City were traceable to the efforts of the colonial administrators and town planners.

He however regretted that the high standards set by the post colonial physical planning in Port Harcourt has not been maintained leading to new problems which made the city chaotic in recent times.

He recommended the following steps as possible ways out.

 There should  be concerted efforts to improve the technical capacity of Planners in the state through exposure to modern planning departments overseas.

 It is necessary to define the role of planners in the Ministry of Urban Development Vis-à-vis those in the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority, as well as create a frame work for planners to function at the Local Government Council level.

 There is need for sustained funding to implement plans in the face of criticism and opposition.

 It is expedient to seek and sustain consensus through constant dialogue and full public participation and transparency in plan implementation process.

Planners deal essen-tially with four systems at the national, regional, sub regional and community levels. In Rivers State there is great focus on the last, as epitomised by the GPHC example.

Finally there is need to ensure continuity in plan implementation through appropriate legislation.

Experience has shown that Nigerians are loathe to continue with what others  started. The GPHC  dream, for instance, must not die when this administration is no longer in office.

However what could be termed the most pragmatic effort by the Rivers State government is the on-going Greater Port Harcourt City initiated by the Governor Rotimi Amaechi Administration.

Apart from given it proper legal backing by state legislation, the administration budgeted a wholesome N50 billion and constituted a body led by Mrs Aleruchi Cookey Gam.

The plan incorporated about eight out of the twenty-three local government areas of the state in its new urban renewal exercise added to massive expansion outside what was then known as old Port Harcourt and its environs.

The law has to be amended to give the power to recommend by the board to the honourable commissioner of Urban Development, Barrister Osima Gina.

The Law also gives a 7-day  mandate to owners of illegal structures to remove them failure to which government would demolish and compel owners to pay for the cost of demolition. The law did not spell out how much and who determines the cost to be paid.

Aside that, the law did not also state what happens to the owner in form of penalty of he or she fails to pay the money to the government.

It is noticed that while massive demolition of the illegal structures have been going on in the state, but the government has not so far compelled any offender to pay any sum encountered by the Ministry of Urban Development in the course of the demolition exercise.

The law known as Rivers State physical planning and Development law 2003 abrogated all existing laws on physical planning and development control in the state and gave the urban renewal authority such responsibility.

Another aspect of the law provides for the existence of Land and Survey Bureau to be supervised by a special Adviser who should recommend persons to constitute a board.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Mr. Samuel LongJohn at the dinner of the state town planners called for the assistance of the institute to resolve issues raised.

Mr. LongJohn disclosed that government will amend the law on physical planning to ensure correction of all observed lapses for effective implementation of the law at both state and local government levels.

A pioneer member of the Port Harcourt Horticultural Association, Chiefs Beatrice Agama, expressing gratitude to Governor Amaechi for initiating and has bold style of executing the urban renewal exercise said, the step has saved the city from being turned to a modern slum.

She however urged the administration to find ways of removing the heaps of waste caused by the exercise to make the city look clean.

Chief Agama also advised that land-lords in the city should have the consciousness of planting  flowers and trees at the front of their houses for beautification, noting that government alone should not be left with the business of planting flowers and trees in the city.

To Chief Charles Elendu, in his own contribution said the idea of Greater Port Harcourt City by the present administration is the best thing that could happen to the state.

“Though the demolition exercise that goes with it is painful but it is of necessary. People have learnt their lesson such that even when you are asked to build your structure against plan, you won’t in future,” he said.

However, he appealed to the state government to sensitise those in the local government areas to begin to learn from the hard lesion because certainly with the way the world is going, it will get there sooner or later.


Chris Oluoh

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NPA Pledges Safe Navigation Of Vessels On Warri Pilotage District



The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has assured navigational safety for all stakeholders operating legally in the Warri Pilotage District, despite the urgent need for breakwater reconstruction.
This is just as NPA pilots enabled the safe berthing of inbound vessels – MT Zonda and MT Stellar as well as outbound vessel MT Duke, MT Vardar and MT Igbinosa last week with six vessels at anchorage outbound and inbound for Bonny Island, Koko and Escravos.
NPA stated that although the Escravos breakwaters constructed to prevent the siltation of the Warri channels had collapsed decades ago, it has concluded the survey and mapping of the channel.
The authority also noted that it is at the conclusive stages of securing relevant approvals for the best financing option to fund its reconstruction and has put measures in place to ensure safe berthing of legally operating vessels in the spirit of trade facilitation.
The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of NPA, Mohammed Bello-Koko, said the up-to-date local and international training as well as simulation and maneuverability competence building of the highly experienced pilots of the NPA, have ensured zero incidences of vessels running aground.
Bello-Koko said the authority had procured and installed adequate buoys for the Warri channel and realigned the entrance buoys as well as docked and reclassified vessels.
He said the authority has also stipulated frequent simulation training and retraining for all the pilotage crew to enable them to respond to the exigencies of the channel.
According to him, the occasionally reported incidents of vessels running aground cannot impede the channel, as they are vessels operating illegally without NPA’s marine pilot onboard.
He said the vessels ran aground because they veered off the channel and safety-marked areas due to incompetence.
Bello-Koko said to enhance domain awareness capability to detect and frontally keep illegal vessels at bay, the authority recently awarded consultancy for the installation of Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) across all its port locations with the first phase already completed.

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Most popular toys in 2018



Every year some toys emerge as popular among children across all ages. These toys are considered a “must have” by most kids and are often on their Christmas wish list. The year 2018 is no different with some toys making it to the favorite list of most children. Most times, the toys vary in terms of size, color and design giving kids a chance to choose the ones that appeal to them. Nevertheless, it is essential to start your shopping early to get the best deals without having to stretch the available funds.

What to look for when buying toys in 2018

Apart from having your kids’ preferences in mind when purchasing toys in 2018, you should also check if they are suitablefor children.Some of the things you should consider when buying toys are listed below.

  • Age of child – Most toys have a label that indicates the age of the child that is allowed to play with them. Ensure that you read the label before buying a toy, so that gets all the benefits meant to be derived from using it. Age-appropriate toys contribute to the development of children, making it vital that they get the right type of plaything.
  • Safety – Majority of the favorite toys can be a great addition to your child’s collection in 2018. However, it is essential to check the toys for corners, sharp edges, and harmfulpoints which might not have been mentioned on the warning label. Toys that are easy to dismantle and have loose parts should also be vetted to see whether they are appropriate for the child. Focus on buying toys that cannot lead to injuries and are durable for different kinds of play.
  • Affordability-The price of toys vary from one store to another, with some being cheap and others quite expensive. When going shopping, have a budget that will guide the quality and quantity of toys that you can purchase for your children. You can consider buying one expensive toy that is their favorite and adding others that are low cost to achieve a balance.
  • Versatility –Toys that can only be used for a short time or appeal to children of a specific age group may not be the best ones to buy for kids. Go for toys that can be used to entertain and educate the child over a long period without them getting bored.
  • Durability –Most children, especially toddlers enjoy picking apart toys as a way for them to explore its workings. It is therefore vital to buy toys that made from sturdy material, and all their parts are screwed on tightly so that they are not easily spoilt. Also, ensure that paint used on the toys do not easily peel off and are non-toxic.

Top 6 favorite toys in 2018

The number of toys launched in 2018is many with several appealing to both boys and girls of different ages. Some of the toys that have been ranked as favorites this year include:

  • LEGO Harry Potter Hogwarts Great Hall Building Kit

The game is designed to resemble Hogwarts Great Hall Building in the popular Harry Potter movie. It is 878 pieces which when arranged reveal the Great Hall which is a famous building in the film. Some of the pieces that stand out are the treasure room, spiral staircase, and potions room. Popular figurines are also part of the set with characters such as Nearly Headless, Nick, Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore, Ron Weasely, Hagris, Draco, Professor NacGonagall and Susan Bones among others.

  • Barbie Care Clinic Vehicle

Barbie has been part of the favorite toy list for many years, and in 2018 she is in charge of a mobile clinic. She has a twenty piece set that includes a gift shop, exam room and waiting room which are used to tackle emergencies of varying magnitudes. The ambulance in the collection has lights as well as siren sounds that are turned on using a button which is quite exciting for kids who are three years and older.

  • Paw Patrol – Ultimate Rescue Fire Truck

Kids that love the Paw Patrol cartoon will enjoy playing with the truck whose sounds, and flashing lights keep them entertained. The truck has a Marshall who sits in the cab looking out but can also jump into the fire cart when they need to rescue animals. The extendable ladder and working claw are fun to use to save animals stuck in trees.

  • Smart Learning Home

Fisher price has always focused on making playtime fun for babies for many years. In 2018, they introduced a toy that helps small children learn about the weather, numbers, and shapes. The interactive toy also has sounds, music, and lights to keep your baby entertained. To find out more about interactive toys for babies, visit

  • Sesame Street Lets Dance Elmo

Elmo is loved by many children that have interacted with him and his friends on the Sesame Street show. In 2018, he is dancing and grooving to different types of music, making him an excellent toy for children working on their motor skills. The toy has musical modes namely songs, colors and animals which gives kids a variety to choose from. When the modes are changed, Elmo begins to wiggle, or dance and the color on his heart begins to turn as well.

  • Radio Flyer busy buggy

Toddlers that are active and always on the move will enjoy having this ride-on toy. The carriage has several features that make its fun to ride over short distances. Some of the fancy features that make it one of the most interactive toys in 2018 include an adjustable dashboard, horn, moving windshield, and sliding beads among others. Active youngsters get to develop their motor skills as they cruise within the home while adjusting their reflective mirror.

Overall, no matter the choice of toys you buy for your children, ensure that they are educational, fun and safe.


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CRFFN Registers 5000 Freight Forwarders




More than 5,000 freight forwarders have so far registered with the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarders in Nigeria (CRFFN) in its on-going membership drive.

The CRFFN Director (Education and Research),  Mr Alban Igwe,  told our correspondents  on Thursday in Lagos that the initiative was part of efforts to re-organise the freight forwarding business in Nigeria.

He said that freight forwarders, who failed to register with the council, would at the end of the exercise be regarded as fake businessmen.

According to him, the council plans to enforce its operational code which allows only registered members to practise.

“The registration, which started last year, is on-going. The enforcement, which should have started already, will start shortly as soon as all logistics are on ground.

“We have a tribunal that will try all illegal freight forwarders and any forwarder found guilty will be sentenced.

“Education of freight forwarders continues because over 70 per cent involved in the business do not have more than school certificate,” he said.

Igwe said that the association had concluded plans to conduct intensive training across the country in line with the provision of the Act that established the council.

He said that education remained the key role of the CRFFN in assisting freight forwarders to acquire professional skills and knowledge.

Igwe said that the council had signed memoranda of understanding with 10 training institutions to facilitate achievement of this objective.

The CRFFN Director also said that the training programme had made it possible for interested freight forwarders to acquire PHD degrees, stressing that the era of quacks had gone.

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