In the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, several measures have been devised by the people to obviate the hurdles and other setbacks of the pandemic, especially in fuelling their daily existence. One of the most affected areas in coping with the Covid-19 experience had been in financial transactions, especially with the major financial institutions, shutting their doors, to avoid both structural and institutional infiltration and flaws.
The PH Metro investigations reveal that in recent times, the attitudes of financial institutions, mostly banks, have been that of restraint in services, to guard against unpleasant consequences that are fallouts of the system. There is therefore a routine inconvenience on the part of the people to crowd at various banks branches to propel their daily financial transactions.
But the populace seemed equipped by the Covid-19 experience to create alternative means of easing their financial transactions, addressing social defects and making money.
The Point of Sales (POS) service is now the popular and most regular measure of easing financial transactions.
Presently, almost all the streets of Port Harcourt are dotted with decorated stands and outlets, with intense business activities ongoing in this aspect of mobile banking.
The operator of Henzy POS outlet in Port Harcourt, Nkechi Onyeije, who spoke with The Tide Metro, said the business required authorization from banks to operate.
Onyeije is excited about the business because it opens her eyes to financial propriety.
“I love to do the business because it teaches me how to manage money, and how to render services to the public, I love to see people relieved of their stress and also make money from the process” .
Asked her challenges in the business, she said; “the challenges are mostly that of network, which is common, stamped duty charges by banks and effective capital base.
She explained that every transaction of ten thousand Naira, attracts a fine of two hundred naira, and in some cases three hundred naira.
Another operator of the POS business in Port Harcourt, Mr Gibson Doone, said he got involved in the business because he loved commercial activities.
According to him, “the POS business, needs discipline and patience to attend to people’s needs”. He said he hated to see queues of people at ATM stands in banks, frustrated and unable to do their businesses with ease.
“I am a man that likes to be productive, I found out that many of the people are always stranded at banks and unable to carry out their financial transactions with ease, I also make money from the business so I love it.”
When The Tide Metro interviewed one of the users of the POS services, Mr, Benson Aduma, he said the use of POS to service his utilities has helped him to avoid the stress of carrying out financial transactions through conventional banking services.
He said; “Most of the bank ATM swallow cards, and also fail to dispense cash, to take care of my pressing needs, I have to look for alternative means to survive, the stress of getting money in banks has resulted into fatal consequences, these must be avoided.”
Another regular user of the POS services. Mr Kingsley Obed, called for the liberalization of the POS services to accommodate more service providers.
Mr Obed who was visibly disappoointed with bank services said; “it’s right time banks and other institutions are held responsible for their promises and claims, you see inscriptions such as 24 hour ATM services at banks and when you use the ATM , they are mostly dysfunctional, we are fed up with these irregularities”. The Metro investigation reveals that the major operators of the POS business include; Kudu, Itex, Money Pay, Pam Pay, own money, among others. The service providers operate with these various groups to render their services. The availability of these services is in popular endorsement to have stimulated patronage, as people mostly consider distance, and other personal inconveniences in their choices.
By: Taneh Beemene
FRSC Begins Ember Month Safety Campaign
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
NSCDC Records Massive Arrests Over Oil Theft In PH
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
Pains And Gains Of Illoabuchi Road Expansion
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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