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Bundu Residents Decry Bad Road

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Residents of Bundu area in Old Port Harcourt Township have raised an alarm over the poor state of the only road leading into their neighbourhood.
The area which borders the Port Harcourt Dockyard hosts three federal agencies: the Port Harcourt Correctional Centre, Dockyard and Railway Quarters. Also, the NPA Quarters and the Prison Quarters are located along the Bundu Road which terminates at the waterfront with squatter buildings.
From the junction, which forks to the prison quarters and dockyard to the left axis down, the road has grown craters and most of the tar is gone.
The bumpy ride to Bundu waterfront starts from the prison quarters entrance and stretches down to the squalid neighbourhood bordering the riverside.
The poor condition of Bundu Road is now having a toll on drivers.
Some taxi drivers, who spoke to The Tide Metro over the poor condition of the road said they now spend most of their daily returns on motor repairs.
One of the taxi drivers, who ply the dilapidated road, Olusanya Bakari, said he had been plying the route for the past 12 years but that the current situation of the road is the worst in recent years.
He stated that the road which was last repaired in 2015 has deteriorated to the extent that bus drivers now avoid going through the route.
The Tide Metro confirmed that commercial buses now drop commuters half way, by the junction close to the Maximum Correctional Centre at Dockyard and turn.
This development from The Tide Metro investigations, has doubled transport fare for most of the residents, who lament that the situation now is putting strain on their finances.
On the huge expenses incurred from repair of their vehicles, Bakari said, “on weekly basis, I repair my steering box, break box, break pad and bolts. All the suspensions in my vehicles are gone.”
Bakari urged government, especially the federal government, whose agencies are majorly located around the area, to save the situation.
On his part, Chinedu Ezekiel, alias “Prince Nwakaibeya”, recalled that the road had been under disrepair since 2015 , “ after the maintenance, there had not been any effort to upgrade the condition of the road”, he stated.
With a huge population and presence of Nigeria Ports Dockyard and Railway Quarters, Mr Ezekiel said, it was sad that the area is abandoned.
Prince Nwakaibeya said, they spend huge sums to fix their vehicles, hence, the transport fare which used to be N50 from Lagos Bustop to Bundu has increased to N100.
Aside bad road, he disclosed that Bundu also has poor infrastructure, such as potable water and power, “ What we need now is good road and government should come to our rescue”, he stressed.
A resident, Owutubo Adolpus, told The Tide Metro that the road has been dilapidated for the past three years, “the road is affecting us seriously. Our business is affected as well,” he observed,
Many pedestrians avoid the muddy road and have to walk in front of the shops lining the roadside as Goodness Stephen, who runs a saloon, frowns at the situation. “Since I came here six months ago, the road has been like this and most taxis do not ply here again.”
Mr Adolphus’ wife sells fruit by the roadside, as he lamented that with the poor state of the road, it has become difficult to bring their goods into the area. “Sometimes, we have to hire wheelbarrow because the bus drivers and taxis would charge you higher, due to the bad road.”
The poor state of road in the area has not affected rent and accommodation cost as Mr Adolphus noted that rent has soared over the years. The Tide Metro learnt that a room in the area now goes for N7,000 as against N3,500, some few years back.
Folake Oyedele, a meat seller by the roadside, told The Tide Metro, she has lived in the nieghbourhood for up to 40 years. “I was born and bred here,” she stated as she decried the poor condition of the road.
Oyedele tasked indigenes of the area to approach government to rehabilitate the road, “I don’t understand why they should relax and see the road go bad as it is today.”
Mrs Oyedele disclosed that many people were leaving the neigbour-hood because of the road, “government should come to our rescue, even vehicles are not coming to the place.”
For Jennifer Peter, who roasts plantain and yam near the prison club, the road has affected her business as customers who used to patronise her do not come again, “if you look at the environment, nobody would like to come and buy from us.”
She blamed the hike in transport fare to the poor state of the road, “We used to pay N50 but now, it is N100,” Mrs Peters said, while seeking for government intervention.
Apart from the road, key utilities are absent in Bundu area. Mr Adolphus said they don’t have potable water except wells and boreholes that serve as water sources. Most of them were dug during the colonial times, since the area was mostly quarters for government workers in the prisons and port authority, including railway.
Mrs Peter however, said, power provision is fair and above average in the area, “power generally is okay here. There is no day we don’t see light which is better than some areas.”

By: Kevin Nengia

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Kaani Town Begging For Govt’s Presence

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As one passes the Birabi Memorial Grammar School in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area, a road veers from the left hand-side of the road beside the High Court premises, into Kaani community.
Going to Kaani with a motorcycle is barely up to five minutes and is just 50 meters from the junction. The community is separated by a narrow bridge from Bori metropolis. It has a calm and serene outlook with few paved roads leading to the only secondary school in the community. The road terminates at Sogho, linking the East West Road, leading to Akwa Ibom State.
Apart from lack of paved roads, Kaani does not have electricity, functional health centre or potable water, and one expects that its proximity to Bori would attract modern amenities to the ancient town.
On the left hand side of the major road in the town, another path leads to an untarred road leading to Methodist Church, one of the early churches that came into Kaani, that same road leads to Kaani II. Delimitation of Kaani was for administrative convenience, according to Chief Joseph Dinee. “The missionaries did it for administrative purpose. During one of the harvest programmes, they divided the community into Kaani 1 and Kaani II, but they are one and the same people- Teyor and Gbor people.
After moving round town to get a feel of the community, the traditional ruler of Kaani, Mene Barikpoa Apere, Mene- Bua Kaani told The Tide Metro that the situation of Kaani has been a challenge over the years, “maybe if we had somebody in government, we would not be having what we are passing through now.”
He continued, “Ironically, Kaani is the largest community in Khana Local Government Area, and yet we do not have power, water and hospital.” The only secondary school in this community was built in 1978 and was through a community effort,” he added.
The traditional ruler recalled that during one of the visits of the Governor to Bori last year, during which he was honoured by Ogoni people, he promised to connect us to national grid, but that has not been fulfilled.
The quest to provide power to the community has been a long and unfruitful one, recalled Elder Clarkson Agara. “We have pursued this matter for many years. It is like biblical prayer to continue in prayers. The unfortunate aspect of it is that while our neighbour, Bori is connected to power, there is none here.”
The community leader, Clarkson Agara told The Tide Metro that there have been attempts to reach out to agencies of government as he blamed the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for failing to complete the electrification project. “We learnt that a budget and proposal was made for the project. We have contacted the commission and sent delegates and nothing has happened”.
A similar tale was stated by Pastor Gbaranor John, as he recalled that the community started pushing for power during the administration of Sir Peter Odili. “The community visited the governor, a number of times and shortly after a meeting, a survey of the area was conducted and that was the last we heard about it.”
Mene Barikpoa Apere is not happy that all these efforts have failed to yield results.
We are an agrarian community he told The Tide Metro and power is basic to most of our activities.
The traditional ruler emphasised that power is key to development and without it; it is difficult for the community to move forward.
He lamented that most of the small scale businesses are dependent on power. These include barbing saloons, hair dressing, welding and other activities that require electricity. As he reasoned that water boreholes also need to be powered to provide water.
In addition to that, he made a plea for government to complete the abandoned health centre in the community.
He added, “I want to believe that the next government would give us attention, but it is not too late for our governor to fulfill his pledge for now.”

By: Kevin Nengia

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RSG Selling Breastfeeding To Women

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There are fears that breastfeeding may go extinct going by recent statistics of nursing mothers who breastfeed their new borns for at least six months.
Member of a committee on Breastfeeding Week at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH), Nurse Aganah Ebirien told The Tide Metro that the campaign to raise awareness is across all health facilities in the state.
She expressed fear that, “there is a threat to breast feeding and it’s fading away.”
Nurse Ebirien who is popularly referred to as “Mama Breast” in RSUTH lamented that if nothing is done now many women may see breastfeeding as archaic.
“Studies have shown that many nursing mothers because of their work schedules and the obsession to look younger with standing breasts don’t give their babies breast milk” Ebirien observed.
She told The Tide Metro that these new posture of women about breast feeding are mostly “myths” and these myths are big barriers to embracing breastfeeding.
For this year, the theme “Step Up Breastfeeding, Educate and Support” is aimed at raising awareness and discouraging all forms of attitude that puts barrier to the culture of breast feeding.
Nurse Ebirien is miffed that many nursing mothers ignorantly do not know huge benefits of breast feeding. “One of the benefits is that it increases bonding between a baby and his mother.”
For her, it’s not enough to breastfeed but “exclusive breastfeeding” is key “When I mean exclusive breast feeding, I mean giving the baby only breast milk for the first six months without water or glucose water”.
She explained that apart from reducing financial burden on the family in the buying of infant formula milk, exclusive breast feeding boosts the brain and intelligence of babies.
In addition to that, she stressed that the immunity of the child is also fortified. “A child who is well breast fed hardly fall sick, and that too reduce expenses on family which results from medical treatment.
Ebirein pointed out that most often mothers throw away the first milk that drops from the breast called ‘colostrum’, that is the most beneficial and rich part of the breast milk, “In the past our grandmother threw it away,” she said.

By: Kevin Nengia

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New Rumuokwuta Flyover Excites PH Residents

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Few days after the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, announced plans to construct two flyovers at Rumuokwuta and NTA/Mgbuoba Road, residents and businessmen and women have applauded the government for the development.
During a city survey of the area, some residents say the project is overdue.
In a chat with the Tide Metro, Mr Jerry Okechuku said the Rumuokwuta axis needs the flyover more than before.
Okechukwu who has lived in Rumuokwuta for over 20 years said the governor was visionary in siting the project.
Relating his experience of traffic in the area, Okechukwu said it is very high especially during rush hours in the morning.
He further said the road is narrow and as such, the new flyover should envision the different routes that connect Rumuokwuta.
He stressing the need to build the flyover such that it will envisage the future.
He said the flyover should have a pedestrian and arms to connect to the various linking roads in the area.
His view he said is predicated on the fears that if the flyover does not reflect the challenges experienced in some newly constructed bridges, it would not achieve the purpose.
A commercial motor operator and member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, Stanley Emegwu, suggested the need for the new flyover to be constructed like the Obiri Ikwerre interchange to accommodate the various links that connect with Rumuokwuta.
Emegwu observed that Rumuokwuta hosts huge traffic that comes from Ikwerre Road, Mgbuoba, Rumuokoro and Rumuola, hence, it will be advisable to have an interchange.
In the view of Bright Ukachukwu, the new project is welcomed but that what is needed is more fallback areas for commercial bus drivers who drop passengers along the road.
On the time lag for completing the project, he described the governor as a talk and do leader who over time has always fulfilled his vision and goals.
Ukachukwu however urged Governor Wike to monitor the project himself to reduce contractor failure.
Calling on the governor to look into other areas, he suggested that efforts should be made by the state chief executive to create jobs and improve opportunities for young people as a lasting legacy.
A resident and indigene of Rumuokwuta, Mr Patience Ordu Ihejirika was full of praises for the new flyover.
She admitted that over the years, Rumuowuota Junction has been a challenge in terms of huge traffic snarl.
As a resident, she said it will transform the area and improve the beauty of the community.
Ihejirika, however, expressed fears over the demolition of houses and pleaded for adequate compensation for house owners.
Apart from providing relief to those whose properties will pave way for the project, she advised the Governor to press the contractor to deliver on time.
A shop owner and manager of a phone repair outfit, Comrade Ifeanachor Sylvester commended the governor for the project.
He recalled that the traffic snarl at Rumuokwuta would be reduced to the barest minimum.
On his fears, Sylvester said many shops at the junction would go and therefore expressed worry that their business would be affected.
For now, Sylvester said their landlords have not given them quit notices even though survey works have commenced for the flyovers.
Sylvester pleaded with the government to give shop owners soft landing by ensuring that they are given ample time to relocate or provide them alternative places.

By: Kevin Nengia

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