Rivers, A Global Investment Hub
Nothing could be more elusive and desirous as the special skills and talent of a wand and a midas touch. Dr Freeman O’ Freeman is one the few possessive of this rare gift. He has a penchant for the reorganization of ailing industries, organizations and institutions. The foremost technocrat and consultant was recently spotted by the Port Harcourt Metro at a public function in the Garden city. When his attention was sought for an interview he willingly obliged an the session was a deep insight into his experience especially his years of consultancy services with the Rivers state Government in the early 1990s. During these period he recalled that 14 parastalals and government agencies including the three state owned media Houses were under his consultancy services for full reorganisation process. “We made the State Electricity Board to be the highest revenue earner after the Ministry of finance, we also made the staffs of Water Board, Super Board, and Rivers Marine to earn their salary after the reorganization processes, some of the moribond companies can still be revived.” He said Rivers state was deeply blessed with potentials to host the business world through flourishing business activities, nothing that most black Americans business moguls were looking for opportunities of investing their wealth and knowledge. Dr Freeman who is also and author and religious counsellor emphasized the need for proper restructuring of the Nigerian state to address the needs and imperatives of justice in the country. He canvassed for the creation of a state owned insurance company to secure the wealth and investments of Rivers state. “ Rivers state is global investment hub, their is need to decongest Lagos by tapping into the enormous investment potentials in Rivers state, it’s quite unfortunate that investments of Rivers state government are easing out without full privileges to the state government, despite hosting two federal terminals economic activities in the state is still low. I want the Rivers state government to reap the benefit of insurance before Governor Wike leaves office, it will count for him as one his greatest legacies for Rivers people. Commenting on the prevalence of ethno religious crisis in the country, he pointed out the very custodians of religious faith were the propellers of the evolving Crisis. “it’s very unfortunate that people don’t practice what they preach, the much resources in the hands of the ministers should be redirected for the interest of the followers, the early missionaries gave education virtually free. Ministers should allow their members to have leveraging access to their schools, this will reduced the loads of poor parents and help in producing an informed and better society”. With a deep sense of concern, he urged the federal government to address the growing spate of insecurity in country, particularly the “ incautious activities of herders.
By: Taneh Beemene
New Naira Scarcity: PH Residents Groan
As long queues continue across most commercial banks in Port Harcourt even after the presidential elections, residents have blamed some banks for hoarding the new naira notes.
As at Wednesday huge crowd were seen at premises of banks at Ikwerre Road, Aba Road and Trans Amadi and other parts of the metropolis in their quest to have access to the new naira notes.
Last month after shift of deadlines on the use of old notes, President Muhammadu Buhari announced that aside the N1000 and N500, only old N200 notes were to be used till 10th of April.
Earlier before that time, the apex bank had said it will not shift ground on the January 31st deadline it gave last year as expiry date for use of old naira notes.
Last Wednesday however news circulated that the Supreme Court had placed injunction restraining the CBN from enforcing the February 10th deadline, after three Northern governors approached it to restrain the apex bank from enforcing the deadline on February 10th.
Before the legal fireworks, the Senate had intervened penultimate week during plenary before the elections, and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to maintain the status quo of old notes till June 30th, 2023.
Consequently, some residents while reacting to the scarcity and unavailability of the new notes have decried that they could not get the new notes, as Point of Sale (POS) operators are smiling home with huge charges on customers.
Dandeson Dappa, an engineer and businessman narrated his experience to The Tide Metro saying that the situation is putting pressure on his family. “I bought scent leaves, pepper and onions with cash transfer even after the elections. I thought the situation will improve but nothing has changed.”
Though he said that the cashless policy will improve the economy in the long run, Dappa urged the Central Bank to release cash into the economy.
Esther Adizua told The Tide Metro that since Monday after the presidential elections she had tried various banks to look for cash, “I went from Ikwerre Road to Aba Road to Trans Amadi, it was only in one branch I could get money”. She added that even many ATM machines across the city are not dispensing cash.
Adizua advised CBN to release cash into circulation as the situation bites harder.
For Francis Edookor, the situation is painful as he left his house very early to pick number at the bank in order to have access into the banking hall early to withdraw from the counter. “ I left my house by 5.30am on Tuesday so I could get number and at the end got only N3000 from the counter.”
He said he has been doing so for the past two days, since he could not pay the 40 per cent charge by POS operators on customers.
The Tide gMetro investigations revealed that many POS operators charge high upto N400 per N1000. Only few operators charge N300 per N1000. The situation had put huge pressure on the masses.
On her part, Bridget Beke, a civil servant, disclosed that she got her last salary from the bank in torn old naira notes of N100 and N200 naira denominations
“I will urge them to maintain the old notes for now. Since that money came into circulation I have not gotten any.”
She called on CBN to extend the deadline for another three months to enable the citizens get the new currency.
Beke further blamed some businesses, especially those operating the Pay On Point of sales machines (POS) for hoarding the new currency and selling at high rates.
Even at that she said, “the POS operators are now making huge profits by charging high rates to issue money to their customers.
A book vendor at Mile 1 Diobu area, Chidi Michael, blamed the situation on some customers who buy goods with old currency in exchange of new naira notes.
Mr. Michael expressed fear that fraudsters may exploit the situation to faking the new naira notes, which he said are too brightly coloured and looks inferior than old ones.
He maintained that the April deadline may not be feasible as far as majority of the populace do not have access to the new naira notes.
Another resident, Ine Minima, admitted that her bank were issuing the new notes ,but that it was not available enough to circulate to customers.
“ In my bank today they paid N2,000 at the counter, but those who queued at the ATM got N5,000 only,” she stated.
She urged the CBN to give more time so citizens will have access to the new notes.
“They should work on improving the printing and circulating more of the new currency” Minima stressed.
By: Kevin Nengia
Ogbogolo Kingdom Excited Over Stool Elevation ……Assures Total Peace
His Royal Highness James Rowland, Obenemaibe III of Ogbogolo Kingdom in Ahoada West Local Government Area, has hailed Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike for the elevation of Obenemaibe stool.
Hon. Rowland described the elevation of Obenemaibe III of Ogbogolo kingdom by Chief Wike as one of the best things that could happen to his people.
Hon. Rowland, occupant of the stool, made the assertion in swift reaction to the governor’s pronouncement.
The Obenemaibe III of Ogbogolo kingdom said he lacked words to appreciate Governor Wike for his love, passion and development of his people
He revealed by this singular gesture Governor Wike has proved he is God’s gift to Rivers State and the people of Ogbogolo kingdom will go any length to reciprocate.
According to him, “Today is the best happiest day for us. It is the best day so far because our dear governor and in-law has surprised us with the elevation of Ogbogolo stool.
“I’m most overwhelmed because it happened during my reign.
“What the governor has done is a big lesson that patience is good .
Our people were patient enough and their patience has finally paid off.
“Many thanks to our dear governor. We assure him of our total support during the elections”, he said.
He stressed that peace and unity of the kingdom would remain his watchword.
Hon. Rowland noted that no meaningful development can thrive in environment where there is no peace hence all hands will be on deck to ensure peace of the kingdom.
While commending the governor for the flag-off of Obodhi-Ozochi communities’ roads which will bring development to the rural areas, he expressed joy over the governor’s developmental strides in the state, urging him not to relent as the people of Ogbogolo will give him maximum support.
Amadabo Palace Lights Up Finima Town
The landscape and cultural atmosphere of Finima got lighted up yesterday as Amadabo palace in the ancient community was unveiled.
A jubilant atmosphere engulfed the NLNG host community in Bonny Local Government Area of Rivers State with indigenes and visitors taking a peek at the massive building on Thursday.
The architectural masterpiece houses the Amadabo of Finima.
Tide Metro learnt that the various strata of Finima society are excited to represent themselves at the event yesterday at Sonia Suu in Zone 4, Finima.
The new palace of the Amadabo of Finima. The palace, which sits on 4 plot of land, was described by an urban development enthusiast, who preferred anonymity, as a “quintessential edifice and an architectural marvel”, which celebrates the centuries old enterprise of the Ibani nay Ijaw people of Nigeria’s Niger Delta region.
A former Public Relations Officer of the Buoye Omuso Brown Major House (BOBH) Asawo, Idatonye Lambert told The Tide Metro over the phone on Wednesday that “the palace has 250 seated capacity palace halls, executive chamber, four bedroom quarters for the Amadabo, secretariat, security control room and watchtower”.
Idatonye Lambert Brown said, “I’m inviting all and sundry to Finima Community today to share in our joy as we unveil our Amadabo’s palace for this and coming generations to behold the awesome beauty of our dear community, the ancient Finima Community.”
The Tide Metro investigations revealed that peace pervades the length and breadth of the community as residents go about their normal activities uninterrupted by anyone, a situation bolstered by the presence of security personnel drawn the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Finima Division as well as other sister security agencies.
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