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The Other Side Of Keke NAPEP In P.H

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The ban placed by the Rivers State Government on the operations of motorcycles popularly known as Okada in Port Harcourt City and its environs has created the opportunity for tricycle also known as Keke Napep to creep into the transportation system of the state. Keke Napep was introduced by the Federal Government during the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to check poverty among Nigerians.

However, the influence of the vehicle was not felt so much in the state until recently when the State Government banned the use of motorcycles as a means of transportation  in the city of Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor and other local government areas.

Some in the city have described Keke Napep as a substitute to Okada in the city. This is against the background that the vehicles now ply those routes that were used by motorcycles in those days.

Apart from plying the narrow routes, Keke Napep can be seen in major roads in the city such as Ada George, Agip, Abacha road, Elioparanwo, NTA, Mgbuoba road amongst others.

However, the Rivers State Government has also banned the operation of the vehicle in Port Harcourt City and its environs.

The Special Adviser to the Governor on Traffic Matters, Engineer Ronald Odoyi, who announced the ban on behalf of the state government said that the system is not needed in Port Harcourt.

Engr. Odoyi said that the situation was necessitated by the need to save the city from environmental pollution that will be caused by gaseous emission by the vehicle.

According to him, tricycle and motorcycles have similar kinds of engines that are environmentally unfriendly in a big city like Port Harcourt.

The Special Adviser also blamed the resurgence in heavy traffic congestion across the city on the operation of Keke Napep.

However, since the announcement,  more and more Keke Napeps are being seen daily in the city. The announcement is not also going down well with some sections of the society who see it as a ploy by the government towards further impoverishing the people of the state.

Some of those who spoke to The Tide On Sunday on the issue said that the state government has no reason to ban Keke Napep in the city since the system is now a source of income to many families in the state and beyond.

They also pointed out that the scarcity of taxis in the city is enough reason for the vehicles to operate.

In his view, Mr. Goodluck Bare said that Keke Napep is more accessible to people than buses and taxis.

“Keke Napep is preferred by people because of its easy movement. It moves faster than taxis and buses due to its size.

“It is tinier than others and so can easily manoeuvre its way through traffic jam”.

For Mr. Jolomie, a taxi driver, Keke Napep hastens movement. He added that despite the high patronage by people, it does not affect his business.

In his words: “People prefer Keke Napep to other means of transportation because it is a government project to eradicate poverty and that is why well meaning Nigerians appreciate it.

“They appreciate those youths who have taken to Keke Napep instead of remaining idle”.

In her view, Mrs Margaret Dodo said that the vehicle has boosted productivity in the state as it hasten movement.

Also speaking, Miss Ifeoma said that she prefers Keke Napep anyday, any time to buses because of its comfortability. While Mr. Wale who is a dealer in the vehicle said that people prefer the vehicle because it is safer to move with.

However, for Mr. Geoffrey Joe, a Civil Servant,  “it is dangerous to travel with the vehicle since it is not balanced”.

Having examined the reactions of the public on the issue, it is now pertinent to note that Keke Napep, with its three wheels is too fragile to be used on major roads in the state as it can turnover.

The issue of pollution as raised by the Special Adviser must also be critically examined.

If the condition of roads in Port Harcourt City at the moment is anything to go by, the vehicle is not suitable for transportation in the city.

Elizabeth Ephraim  Edi George

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FRSC Begins Ember Month Safety Campaign

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The Rivers State Command of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) has commenced its sensitisation campaign on safe driving in “ember months.
Public Enlightenment and Education Officer of the command, Juliana Enyi said though the campaign would officially be launched by November, already the the agency has commenced enforcement and campaign.
She said, “What we son during the ember month safety campaign is to let drivers know that this period is just like any period of the year. Drivers need to accommodate other road users, so that the road will be safe.”
Enyi said over the past years the campaign had yielded results as road carnage had reduced hugely within the state.
However, she noted that the major challenge of the agency was logistics in covering all parts of the state, “Rivers State is big and there is not much vehicles and logistics to reach all parts.”
It’s against this backdrop that she disclosed that the commission unveiled a toll free emergency numbers to help drivers and members of the public that would be facing vehicular challenge on the road.
“The numbers are and once you call us from any part of the state we will be there to tow your vehicle” Enyi said.
Meanwhile, the State FRSC says it will officially launch its mber month’s safety campaign in November,” we have already enforcing the rules, but we will pick a date and venue for the event.
The campaign is expected to last for four months between September and January.

By: Kevin Nengia

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NSCDC Records Massive Arrests Over Oil Theft In PH

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The fight against illegal bunkering in the city recorded success with the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Rivers State impounding trucks, cars and boats used in ferrying products.
Already 19 suspects on account of their involvement in oil theft and illegal dealings in petroleum products have been arrested.
Speaking to newsmen over the development, the Rivers State Commandant, Michael Ogar, said despite efforts of the corps, oil thieves and those engaging in illegal bunkering had remained defiant.
He lamented that despite continuous sensitization and relentless war against economic sabotage of the nation revenue source, those milking the common wealth through illegal oil dealings have blatantly refused to change their ways.
Commandant Ogar maintained that sequel to the reconstitution of a new Anti-Vandal Team of the command, the Marine and land Patrol operatives had commenced full operations with renewed vigour, professionalism and tactics in waging war against the menace of vandalism of oil pipelines and oil theft in Rivers State.
“As directed by the NSCDC Commandant General, Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi a marching order was given to the marine and land operatives to massively arrest pipeline vandals and illegal oil dealers in the State and this has enhanced our doggedness in the series of arrests made by the Command”.
The marine and land patrol team arrested 19 suspects at different locations in the State; 4 Suspects named: Peter Udo ‘M’ 20years, Benjamin God’s power ‘M’ 16years, God’s gift Nicholas ‘M’ 19years and Goodness Sunday ‘M’ aged 19years were arrested with one (1) big wooden boat and a 40 HP outboard engine along Bakana river close to Bakana Community in Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State.
In addition, 3 suspects named: Jacob Fewu ‘M’ 23years, George George ‘M’ 20years and Stanley Bruce ‘M’ 20years were arrested with one (1) wooden boat laden with 10,000 litres of illegaly refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), a 40 HP Outboard Engine used for propelling the boat.
“The marine team in an all night tactical operations arrested 2 additional suspects named: Ade Monday 27 years and Abiola Gift 29years with One (1) wooden boat, 25 drums (6,250 litres) of illegal refined AGO and One (1) 15 HP outboard engine.
Following a tip off, the Antivandal Unit also uncovered a building used as dump site for storing locally refined AGO along Cornerstone junction in Ogbogoro, Obio/ Akpor Local Government Area. We discovered an underground tanker containing unquantified litres of locally refined AGO, a plastic tank containing about 3,500 litres of AGO and a pumping Machine. The entire compound is now under seal and manned by our personnel while the Command would continue to chase the culprits tiil they are arrested and prosecuted accordingly.
In another development, five suspects were arrested at Oyakama community in Ahoada West LGA and Njemanze Street in Port Harcourt. They are: Onorode Daniel 34years, Samuel Odirode 32years, Charles Okeke 43years, Uche I’ve 32years and Chinedu Iroanya 36 years all Male. They were in conveyance of an ash colour Toyota Sequoia SUV with number plate: LAGOS Epe 539 AT laden with about 1,000 litres of AGO, a Golden colour Toyota Camry Car with about 1,500 litres of illegally refined AGO, an Ash Colour Toyota Camry Car with registration number RIVERS BER 951 MU, a green colour Toyota Camry Car with number plate: RIVERS AH 824 AHD laden with illegaly refined AGO concealed in cellophane and packed in sack bags which totalled 5,000 litres.
Another building close to Akpos Jetty in Abuloma community in Port Harcourt was also uncovered while the Suspects took to their heels upon sighting the NSCDC operatives; a short green and white colour DAF CF 250 Truck with number plate LAGOS EKY 206 XS laden with illegally refined AGO and Pumping Machine were recovered as exhibits.
The land patrol team also arrested 5 suspects along Agwu/ Elechi Street Mile 1 Diobu, Port Harcourt. They are: Musa Mohammed 36years, Elisha Iyalla 18years, Iyeneobong Emmanuel 25 years, Felix Ukele 45years and Mba Awajimimam aged 42years. We recovered from them a green colour Sienna Car with registration number LAGOS DL 218 APP laden with 800 litres of AGO and a Truck branded liquid bulk with number plate LAGOS EKY 852 XS laden Premium Motor Spirit (PMS).
This was followed by the arrest of Ifeanyi Nwauwa 43years along Azikiwe road who was in conveyance of One (1) Gold colour Toyota Camry with number plate ABUJA HX 937 ABC laden with illegally refined AGO.
“To serve as deterrent to those still getting involved in this unscrupulous and illegitimate business, all the arrested suspects would be charged to court of competent jurisdiction while the Command would do everything possible to unravel, chase and apprehend their sponsors”, he stated.
The command will further approach the court with application for forfeitures of both the contents and the mode of conveyance, assured.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Pains And Gains Of Illoabuchi Road Expansion

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Two weeks ago, some landlords whose properties were marked for demolition at Illoabuchi Street at Diobu raised an alarm over the burglary unleashed on them by hoodlums following government expansion of the road, but for the quick intervention of the Diobu Vigilante.
The Tide Metro conducted investigations on the road project and with recent developments coupled with the recent announcement by the Commissioner for Works calling on property owners to visit the office to ascertain claims of compensation doused tension.
So far, the project is at top gear as bulldozers have moved to site. From the Azikiwe Junction at the back gate of the Rivers State University down to Sandfield by Achi Street, the once busy district is now in rubbles waiting for the eventual commencement of work.
A roadside POS operator whose store was demolished at Nwachukwu Street, Mr. Solomon Chinedu, told The Tide Metro that currently they are passing through pains, but expressed hope that the project would beautify and attract development to Illoabuchi Street.
He said, “My store was among the properties that was brought down, so currently, I don’t have anywhere to stay but I am hopeful that when this project is completed, Illoabuchi would wear a new look.”
Chinedu continued, “If you look closely, most of the properties hardly attract high rent, but after this road expansion, values of most of the properties would go up. Across Illoabuchi, there is no filling station so I’m confident that this road would bring a filling station here.”
The POS operator said he now hangs on the road as his store was part of the buildings demolished to pave way for the road.
While dismissing claims that hoodlums invaded the area as a result of the road, Chinedu explained that the problem emanated from lack of communication and ignorance by the residents.
His worry was that most of the landlords were not able to reach out to their tenants, and that compensation was below what was expected.
The Tide Metro’s investigations revealed that most of the owners of buildings in the area do not have certificate of occupancy, hence, government had to give compensation based on grace to reduce pains on those affected.
Mrs. Agatha Okpala of 35 Obidianso Street revealed to The Tide Metro that compensation was low compared to what was acquired by the authorities for the road expansion.
Her three-storey building, according to her, was cut into half, “and they are planning to take more and I and my family don’t have anywhere to go”, she lamented.
She described the compensation as peanuts compared to the cost of renting an apartment and relocating her family.
In her words,” I will beg government to please help us. The cost of living is too high and most of us don’t have any where to go than back to the village.”
While many are raising alarm over compensation and loss of their properties, commercial taxi drivers are worried that the project is affecting their operations.
Most of the road outlets from Illoabuchi were blocked by the contractor handling the project. For instance, to get a taxi or bus plying from Illoabuchi to Education or Park, one has to trek to either Echue Junction or to Sandfield.
So far, streets outlets at Ohediohanma, Nwachikwu and Obidianso were blocked to allow ongoing work.
A taxi driver, Kufre Effiong lamented to The Tide Metro that the traffic jam along the axis has made many of the commercial taxi operators to avoid the route. “We cannot drive on the road. Most of our taxi drivers stopped this morning since we can’t get to some streets,” he said.
“The road is good because when it’s finished we will enjoy it, but for now we want them to open up some streets so we can access our shops”, Effiong remarked.

By: Kevin Nengia

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