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RSG Prepares PH City For 2050 Challenges

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has stated that the government is working hard to prepare the city of Port Harcourt and its environs for the phenomenal challenges of the expansion and growth of the city and the overflowing human population with its attendant complexities by the year 2050.
Wike said that what was occupying the attention of his administration was how the city would cope with the challenges of urbanisation by the year 2050, when the world’s population would have nearly doubled.
The governor disclosed this in an address he presented on the occasion of Stakeholders’ Summit on Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC), a United Nations Habitat III Programme with the theme: ‘The City We Need,’ held at the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Hon Kenneth Kobani explained that Rivers State was amongst the few states selected for this exercise as well as hosting the forum for the first time in the history of the state.
He stressed that population, economic, social and cultural interactions as well as environmental and humanitarian impacts were increasingly concentrated in cities and pose massive sustainability issues in terms of housing, infrastructure, basic services, among others, adding that these call for the concerted efforts of all stakeholders to address their consequences.
The governor expressed dismayed that most cities’ urban management was treated with levity, adding that in Rivers State, prior to 2015, policies and programmes in urban development were dysfunctional, un-participatory and deficient in addressing the challenges of urban development.
“Determined to change the face of the city and to develop other parts of the state, as a government, we painstakingly reviewed all the planning policies and programmes in the state.
“After due consultation with relevant stakeholders and the general public, a new urban policy tagged: ‘New Rivers Vision For Urban And Rural Development,’ was unveiled aimed to upgrade, provide and modernize social infrastructure in our major towns such as Port Harcourt, Ahoada, Bori and Degema, and envelope them along the part of environmentally sustainable cities,” the governor added.
He noted that “the policy represents a shared vision for a better and more sustainable future, one in which people would have equal rights, access to the benefits and opportunities those cities can offer”, while pointing out that some of the challenging issues confronting the New Urban Agenda include, “Waste generation, slums with attendant criminality, over-crowded schools and hospitals, among others.”
He expressed happiness that the New Urban Vision was already a success as there were lots of massive investment in road construction to ease traffic flow, adding that it was expected that the people and stakeholders will appreciate the strategic and comprehensive new town vision which seeks to develop new urban centres, maintain and manage efficiently the existing urban centres in the state.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Housing, Elder Tasie Chinedu Nwobueze stated that Rivers State was amongst the 74 selected cities by the UN Habitat Urban Thinkers Campus Committee to host the stakeholders meeting on urban planning aimed at giving support in mapping strategic programmes on model cities needed in Nigeria.
Nwobueze added that it was also aimed at the formulation of policies on slums’ upgrading, while reducing forceful evictions and encouraging construction of decent affordable housing for all.
He noted that the platform was designed for critical exchange of ideas between stakeholders and partners aimed at promoting sustainable urbanization as well as addressing challenges to urban future.
Earlier in her address, Executive Director, International Women Communication Centre (IWCC) Nigeria and member, UN Habitat III Advisory Committee in Africa, Dr Limota Goroso Giwa said the forum was meant to popularize the new urban agenda campaign through the World Urban Thinker Campaign and The City We Need Project.
She described Urban Thinkers Campus as: “the bringing of stakeholders together on a platform like this, to reason and pan together on the kind of city we need,” adding that The City We Need Project in Nigeria campaign would be taking place in five states including, Kogi, Kwara, Rivers, Lagos and Katsina.
“Reason for selecting these states is to give geographical spread of all regions of Nigeria and to give general overview and perceptions on the major uniqueness of our ancient cities like Lagos, Katsina, Lokoja, Port Harcourt and Jebba in Kwara State, the home of Mongo Park into the World Map of The City We Need Project in the 21st century,” she added.
She stressed that the objectives are to address three major components of the new urban agenda namely: “Infrastructure, Human Capital and Human Rights” by engaging stakeholders on slum upgrading and desertification mitigation, safer city and security of land tenure, advocate for improved situation of poor dwellers and access to government action towards securing decent housing for the masses.

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NDLEA Seizes 442 Meth In Smoked Fish At Lagos Airport …Another Suspect Excretes 77 Pellets Of Cocaine

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The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have intercepted no fewer than 442 parcels of Crystal Methamphetamine concealed in heads of fishes packed in cartons for export to Dubai, the United Arab Emirates through the SAHCO shed of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State.
The 11.90kg consignment was brought to the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Friday, August 5 by a 32-year-old freight agent, Adekunle Oluwapelumi Paul, from Yagba West Local Government Area of Kogi State.
This was disclosed via a statement issued and made available to The Tide source yesterday by the NDLEA Director, Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
Babafemi stated that the suspect was arrested upon the discovery that the seven cartons he presented for export contained parcels of the dangerous drug wrapped with foil paper and concealed in the heads of hundreds of smoked catfish.
The NDLEA spokesman added that another consignment containing 1.45kg cannabis concealed inside granulated melon and crayfish and packed among other food condiments going to Dubai, UAE was also intercepted by the operatives of the anti-drug agency on Saturday, August 6.
He noted that the NDLEA officers arrested the freight agent, Ajisefini Lateef, who presented the consignment for export at the SAHCO shed.
Babafemi said the 39-year-old agent hails from Abeokuta West Local Government Area of Ogun State.
He further stated that the anti-narcotic officers arrested a 50-year-old Mgbeobuna Victor Eberechukwu for ingesting 77 pellets of cocaine at the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu.
The NDLEA spokesperson said Eberechukwu was arrested on Saturday, August 6 following his arrival from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia onboard an Ethiopian airline flight.
According to Babafemi, the suspect who hails from Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days.
“The suspect, who hails from Idemili South LGA, Anambra State passed out the 77 wraps of the illicit drug in eight excretions spanning four days,” he said.
Babafemi added that in Kaduna, three suspects: Saifullahi Sani, Salisu Nafi’u and Abdulrazaq Mamman, were arrested in Zaria on Thursday, on 11 August with 1,112,350 tablets of Tramadol (225mg and 100mg) weighing 38.3kg.
He said in Kano, a female drug dealer, Saratu Abdullahi, 28, from Wurno council area of the state was nabbed at Hotoro with 541 blocks of cannabis weighing 245kg.
“In Lagos, NDLEA operatives recovered a total of 1,773.25kg cannabis sativa at Ebutte-Meta and Akala in Mushin areas of the state in separate raid operations between 9th and 10th August.
“At the Tin Can seaport in Lagos, 86 parcels of cannabis indica (Colorado) weighing 43kg were recovered from a 40ft container during a joint examination with Customs and other security agencies.
“The illegal consignment seized on Friday 12th Aug came from Toronto via Montreal, Canada and concealed in two drums inside a Mercedes Benz SUV in the container,” Babafemi stated.
The Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Brig.-Gen. Mohammed Buba Marwa (rtd), commended the anti-narcotic officers for the arrests and seizures.
Marwa also charged them and their compatriots across the country to always remain steps ahead of the drug cartels.

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NLNG Train 7: TUC Affiliates Mull Strike Over Imposition Of Union On Workers

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A setback appears to be unfolding in the on-going Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Train 7 gas plant construction in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State, following the threat by one of the affiliates of Trade Union Congress (TUC), National Association of Plant Operators (NAPO), to proceed on industrial action to press home their displeasure over the imposition of union on workers in the facility.
This is because members of NAPO, the major construction workers in NLNG Train 7 have threatened to organise and mobilise for a total industrial action that would jeopardise and shut down the project over the decision by the management of Deawoo Engineering and Construction Nigeria Limited, a key contracting firm handling the project, to force workers to join a particular union against their own preferred choice.
The National President of NAPO, Comrade Harold Bestowe, gave this indication while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt over the weekend.
Bestowe, an indigene of Bonny, averred that the action of Deawoo management was an aberration to Section 40 of 1999 Constitution, and Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83, 1948 of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Charter, which according to him, allow workers to freely belong to any industrial union of their choice without any form of interference by anybody.
The NAPO boss, therefore, urged the management of Deawoo E and C to respect the views and rights of their workers, and allow them to freely choose the labour unions of their choice, which they feel can represent them very well.
“What we are saying in this regard is that the management cannot determine to workers the union they should be belonging. By so doing, the management has violated Section 40 of 1999 Constitution as well as Article 1, 2, 3, nos 83 of ILO Charter, and that we will resist it”, he stated.
Harold opined that the workers have written to the management that they want to be unionised by NAPO through several letters, and appealed to the management of the lead constructing company in the project to respect the views and rights of the workers.
The Bonny-born unionist used the opportunity to call on various stakeholders in the ongoing NLNG Train 7 project to call to order the management of the giant construction company to respect the laws of the country in other to avoid industrial unrest in the oceanic city.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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We Can’t Feed Everybody, Nwanosike Tells Empowerment Projects’ Beneficiaries

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The Chairman of Ikwerre Local Government Area in Rivers State, Engr Samuel Nwanosike, has urged the people of the area to use what the council has given them to provide food, pay their children’s school fees, change their clothes, and live happily as all their needs cannot be provided for by the government.
Nwanosike made this appeal when he defiled heavy down pour to continue his Back-to-Farm, Back-to-School, and Business Support Empowerment Programme of 80 people at Ward 2, Isiokpo.
According to him, “Today, we are in Ward 2, Isiokpo, in continuation of our Back-to-Farm Programme, Business Support Empowerment, and Back-to-School Programme.
“What we have come to say here today is that this is the farming season, we are peasant farmers, the council has made provision for you to go and support your farming system.
“We can’t feed everybody in Ikwerre Local Government, but if you use what the council has given to you to do the actual farming, few weeks from now, the result will show. We will have enough food in our market, we will have opportunity to pay our children’s school fees, we will have opportunity to change our clothes and live happily”.
Nwanosike pleaded with those who were not empowered to wait for another turn, saying that Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was the leader of South-South people and believed in a South-South presidential pursuit.
He said, “Government cannot do everything for everybody at the same time. There are those who did not get yesterday, but got today. There are those who did not get yesterday, and today but will get tomorrow. What is important is that you should remain consistent with your party, and know that Chief Nyesom Wike is the leader of the South-South people.
“He is not a betrayer. He agreed with the other governors of the South-South states to say power should go to the South, and he has remained consistent in that pursuit.
“And what we are saying clearly is: if you take Chief Nyesom Wike for granted, Rivers people will take you for granted at the polling units”.
While speaking, the Supervisor for Education, Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Victor Wagor, assured Nwanosike that the people of Ward 2 were 100perrcent loyal to him for always carrying them along.
In their separate speeches, the Councillor representing Ward 2 and Leader of Ikwerre Legislative Assembly, Hon Nwobuisi Chikwe-Tasie; Ward 2 Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Darosha Kinika; Personal Assistant to the Chairman of Ikwerre LGA, Mrs Ethel Kinika; amongst others, thanked Nwanosike for building a 1,000-capacity hall, appointment of over 18 Ward 2 people into his government, and yearly empowerment of the people, while assuring that Ward 2 would always vote for PDP.
On their parts, the member representing Ikwerre/Emuoha Federal Constituency at the National Assembly, Barrister Boniface Emerengwa; and the PDP candidate for Ikwerre Constituency at the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Prince Lemchi Nyeche; commended Nwanosike for always making the people feel the impact of his administration through his human capital development programmes.
Highlight of the event was the defection of an All Progressive Congress (APC) social media influencer in Ward 2, Mr Kelvin Amadi Chinwe, who dumped his party for the PDP.
Speaking at the event, Chinwe begged the leadership of PDP, especially Nwanosike, to forgive and accept him into PDP because he has found light in PDP.
Chinwe was received by the Acting Chairman of PDP in Ikwerre LGA, Hon. Charles Wobodo, and was handed over to the Ward 2 PDP chairman for proper documentation.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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