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Nkpolu-Oroworukwo Flyover Excites Residents, Business Operators

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Barely a year after, the former rowdy and chaotic Ikoku area that hosts mostly motor parts and generator spare parts in Port Harcourt metropolis is wearing a new look.
The newly completed Nkpolu-Oroworukwo flyover was two weeks ago opened for traffic and the roudiness and chaos around the axis have disappeared.
There used to be traffic snarl in the evening and morning rush hour, but now with a new traffic light installed at the foot of the bridge, vehicular traffic is swift and smooth.
Excited with the new look of the area, a herbal medicine seller, Samuel Adieme told The Tide Metro that, “I am very happy the place is clean and orderly now.”
The businessman recalled that when the project started sometime last year with the dislocation of stores and warehouses located at the mouth of the Olu Obasanjo and Ikwerre Roads, many of the motor spare parts dealers raised alarm.
Today, sanity has returned to the once boisterous Ikoku area that used to be known for traffic congestion, poor vehicle parking, hawking and street trading, “I commend the Governor for the vision,” Adieme said.
He urged the authorities to enforce sanitation and security, as he called on traders to cooperate with government to ensure that the area maintains its current status.
A motor spare parts dealer who gave his name as Okeke Chima while commending government for the project said there is need for security.
He reasoned that the fallback fence that was built to prevent street trading provides cover for criminals in the night, “if the fence is reduced a bit, it will help passersby to see what happens on the other side of the road, and helps security.
On his part, Chibuike Maduforo said the flyover has changed the landscape of Ikoku junction, “a lot of us thought it would not be completed but we are happy it has been done and delivered”.
He however complained that the street trading fence has become a hide out for criminals to rob people in the night.
Maduforo also decried the activities of touts who disguise as government agents to collect illegal levies.
Meanwhile, Chairman, Taskforce, Port Harcourt Motor Spareparts Dealers Union, Icho Emeka Onuowo lauded the governor, Chief Nyesom Wike for the vision he has displayed in building the Ikoku flyover.
“We are happy the project has been completed and we have seen the good works of the governor,” Onuowo remarked.
Dismissing views over criticism of the project when it was initiated, Onuowo said,” to be sincere with you, we were not against the flyover as a union, but poor communication. “
Onuowo acknowledged that in organised cities, motor parts markets are usually located outside city centres, as envisaged by the governor.
“If you go to Aba, Anambra and Enugu States, motor spareparts markets are outside the city,” he noted.
Hence, he urged the state government on the need to relocate the motor spare parts market to areas like Igwuruta or Oyigbo, “If we are relocated it will help to attract development to the outskirts.”
On the issue of security in the motor parts market, Onuowo assured that the taskforce is doing all in its powers to secure and protect lives in collaboration with security agencies.
Currently, he lamented that many of them have been dislocated and dispersed due to the project which made a lot of them to seek new stores and warehouses in adjoining streets like Adelabu, Emole, Owhonda, Ojims and School Road.
As a result of the dispersing, many of the motor spare parts dealers are scattered in various streets such that customers could not locate them anymore.
To reverse the situation, the Ikoku motor spare parts union leader pleaded that they need a permanent site.
A permanent site will reduce road side hawking, touting, wrong parking and street trading, “we want to cooperate with government and work towards ensuring that Ikoku is secure, safe and orderly,” he assured.

By: Kevin Nengia

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Addressing Open Defecation Through Enhanced Sanitation Services

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The importance of maintaining clean environment and stopping open defecation cannot be over-emphasised.
Experts say that unclean environment and open defecation contribute immensely to several health challenges in any society.
The Head of Environmental Health Department, School of Health Technology, Kankia, Katsina State, Malam Sanusi Umar, said that environmental sanitation reduces spread of diseases, reduces dangers of pollution, and improves one’s life.
Umar also said that open defecation could lead to outbreak of diseases like cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and other water and environment related diseases.
Open defecation, he said, could also lead to the pollution of surface water.
That is why governments at all levels, donor agencies, private sector and other stakeholders continue to join hands to encourage a stop to the practice.
Available statistics from the World Health Organisation (WHO) indicates that the practice should be a source to worry to lovers of sanitation and a clean environment.
The data shows that about 779 million people worldwide lack access to safely managed sanitation.
The UN agency further said that out of the number 208 million people still defecate in the open.
According to data from the Nigeria’s Ministry of Water Resources about 46 million people defecate in the open in Nigeria.
WHO has established a nexus between sanitation and the ability of countries to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Some of the SGDs that have links to sanitation are good health and wellbeing (SDG no.3); clean water and sanitation (SDG no. 6); life on land (SDG no. 15); quality education (SDG no.4).
“Safely managed sanitation services will lead to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 6 and essential for the realisation of other SDGs”, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, said at a recent event to commemorate World Toilet Day.
The event had as its theme: “Groundwater and Sanitation- Making the Invisible Visible”.
The director said that WHO and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme report on progress of drinking water and sanitation, highlighted the fact that “only 29 per cent of healthcare facilities in Africa have basic sanitation services”.
Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Suleiman Adamu, said the Federal Government was working towards mitigating the impact and spread of certain diseases such as cholera and dysentery by ending open defecation nationwide.
He said the impact had already been felt in Jigawa, the only state to be declared Open Defecation Free (OFD) by National Task Group on Sanitation
“I hope more states, communities, and local governments will embrace the campaign and end open defecation,” he said.
In Katsina State, the Clean Nigeria Campaign, which is aimed at providing more sanitation services to reduce open defecation, is being implemented by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Agency (RUWASSA).
The RUWASSA Executive Director, Alhaji Aminu Dayyabu-Safana, said that the state has recorded success towards ending open defecation by 2025.
Dayyabu-Safana said that out of the 34 Local Governments Areas in the state, 24 have already been certified as Open Defecation Free (ODF).
He also said it was in recognition of the achievement that, “Katsina RUWASSA was awarded as the best performing agency in Nigeria in terms of sanitation” during the just concluded summit on World Toilet Day, 2022, in Abuja.
“If not for the security challenge in the front line local governments, we would have become the first entire state to be certified as ODF,” he said.
He expressed optimism that with improvement in the fight against the insecurity challenge, the remaining local governments would also be certified ODF by the first quarter of 2023.”
“We believed open defecation is the largest contributor of diseases in rural communities.
“So, stopping it has really helped people to improve their health status. We measured that through the report we are getting from our ward sanitation officers.
“Attaining ODF is a milestone, while sustainability is the keyword; we will engage Imams and Pastors to make sermons on Fridays and Sundays on the importance of using toilets and maintaining clean environment,” he said.
Malam Aliyu Muhammad, a resident of Musawa Local Government Area, Katsina State, expressed delight over the efforts to eradicate open defecation in the state.
Muhammad said that it has helped them to live a healthy life and use the money they have been spending on healthcare services for other purposes.
Experts say that a clean environment is a healthy environment. The cleanliness of our environment will be enhanced if every stakeholder contributes the quota to end open defecation in the country.

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High Fuel Pump Price Attracts Queues At NNPCL Stations

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Fuel queues have returned in some parts of Port Harcourt, especially at state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPC).
The Tide Metro learnt that the development is connected to the high pump price of petroleum products outside state owned NNPC stations.
For almost a month now, the pump price of fuel has circled between N230- N250 in privately owned stations, as transporters hike transport fares up to 100 per cent.
Onyema Iwuji, a bus driver who spoke to The Tide Metro at NNPC station in old Port Harcourt Township said: “I had been in the queue for 30 minutes since the federal government owned fuel retailing outlet sells cheaper, if you go to other fuel station they sell a litre at N230.”
Iwuji said it was better to be patient and buy at N179 than to buy from stations which you are not sure of even their metre.
He observed, “The situation affect our business because there is no way I will buy fuel at N230 and still collect N50 as transport fare.”
Iwuji who runs a daily returns for the owner of the vehicle said he has to feed his family from the proceeds after maintaining the vehicle as expected, “ I expect to feed my family from here and make daily returns to my boss.”
Sadly, however, he stated that not all commuters are ready to pay the N100 fare, “sometimes passengers beg they don’t have money and there is nothing you can do than to collect what they can offer.”
Another commercial transporter, Sam Madumere told The Tide Metro that most of the other fuel stations sell for 250, “it’s going to one month now, I buy my fuel here and I don’t mind staying on the queue to buy.”
Madumere said he has spent an hour on the queue already to fill his tank. As he beamed with smile just as the attendant filled his tank, he said the time was worthwhile, “ I have gone round the whole of town and this is the only place I have bought at this price.”
Another vehicle owner who gave his name as St Bush told The Tide Metro that, “today the queue is not too long. If you come here sometimes, It will take you some hours, but today it’s quick.”
Bush says he comes all the way from other side of town to buy because he trusts the measurement.
Susan Serakana, a private vehicle owner blames the situation to the Christmas season, “if you observe whenever the Christmas is approaching fuel pump price will go up. A week ago I bought at Royal Dynasty station at N250 per litre and I spent N30, 000 to fill my tank.”
Serekana disclosed that she came all the way from Ada George to buy fuel at old Port Harcourt Township, saying she trusts in the guage, “if you buy here you are sure of what you buy.”
Another private car owner, Balafama Godknows, blames the situation on hoarders. “I don’t think there increase in the price of fuel by the government. The fuel retailers are hoarding products,” he insisted.
As far as he was concerned the official pump price is N165, as he wondered why some retailers are selling far above the approved price.
“Even the N179 we buy from NNPC is not the normal price, but it seems this new price has come to stay.”
Godknows told The Metro Tide that he learnt that fuel sells for N250 at Lagos State, “ so if its true, I don’t need to complain but to buy where it’s cheaper.”
Meanwhile, Zonal Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Ibim Ibiwari has blamed the current hike in fuel price to policy and regulation of the downstream petroleum sector.
Ibiwari observed that failure of the government to harness the artisanal refining by youths in the Niger Delta have affected availability of products.
“If you look around, the refineries are not working and we are importing petrol which is not sufficient for local consumption and so you can’t control price hike in the system,” Ibiwari said.
One way to reverse the situation, he remarked, is for the federal government to harness artisanal refining such that it will reduce the gap in product availability, “besides it will also provide jobs for youths in the Niger Delta.”

By: Kevin Nengia

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Oyigbo Gets New Health Fillip From Rotary

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Thursday, 24th November, 2022 will remain green in the hearts of residents of Oyigbo urban in Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State.
It was the day Rotary Club International donated sets of ultrasound scanner, incubator and a fetal doppler.
The Oyigbo Comprehensive Health Centre was filled to the brim with members of Rotary Clubs in Rivers State numbering over 20 who made contributions to the project.
Representative of Oyigbo Traditional Rulers Council and Secretary of Palace Council, Chief Precious Emeruka described it as a dream come true.
He said, “we are immensely glad that today our prayers have been answered because we have been hearing of the good works of Rotary and now we have seen one”.
Chief Emeruka described the donations as a dream come true, as it lauded the State Government for approving the project, as he assured that the community will do all within its powers to maintain and secure the multimillion equipment.
Speaking on why the equipment was donated, Rotarian Henry Eberechi, who is the Chairman of Presidents of Rotary Clubs in Rivers State disclosed that it was conceived few months ago after a thorough needs assessment.
“The incubator, fetal doppler and ultrasound scanner are what the people of Oyigbo need. We did a needs assessment and found out that many of them have to go to Port Harcourt to get these services, and most times they loss their women and children because there is no such equipment.
Eberechi maintained that the equipment will reduce both infant and maternal mortality and save the lives of children adding, “it will help to detect diseases and diagnose emergencies early.”
As far as he was concerned saving premature deaths will raise the status of the health facility in the area.
Therefore he thanked the clubs that have made contributions to make the vision come true.
The same view was expressed by District Governor (DG) of Rotary Club 9141, Mightyman Ayidukuro.
The Rotary DG who is incharge of four states of Rivers, Bayelsa, Edo and Delta States said he was excited over the project.
“For the past two weeks I have been on the roads unveiling and commissioning projects across the district, and I must tell you that this one is unique” Ayidukuro said.
He stated that the project falls within the Rotary goal of eradicating maternal mortality and improving welfare of children.
“As a community based organisation we have the ideal of service to humanity and this cuts across all vocations, beliefs and race”, he remarked.
He continued,” for the past 117 years Rotary has been existing we have been championing health development around the world. And today Rotary for over a decade has been awarded the most charity club all over the world.”
The District 9141 DG assured that the club is always ready to partner with government, organisations to impact on the society.
Calling on the community to secure and maintain the facilities, the Rotary DG said the host community has a huge task to ensure that the equipment serve the purpose which, it was given.
To ensure that there is sustainability, he hinted that a new Rotary Club of Oyibo has been established and will help drive charity and other humanitarian projects to improve the welfare of residents.
Speaking on behalf of the Rivers State Primary Health Care Board, Dr. Victoria Ewoh, said the state government is not resting on its oars to provide medicare to the area.
She said what Rotary International has done was to collaborate and consolidate on the efforts so far shown by the government and that there is enough personnel to utilise the equipment.
With the equipments on ground, she assured that all kinds of fetal mortality will be cut to the barest minimum,” adding that the effort of Rotary will fill the gap and is commendable”.
Timi Bubagha, President of Rotary Club of Port Harcourt West said the project was conceived by majority of the clubs in Port Harcourt after diligent study and assessment.
Bubagha who chaired the project conception stated that what the club had done was to fulfill it major aim and objective in improving health care delivery and community development.
He expressed optimism that the community would utilise the equipment to improve lives and well being of its people.

By: Kevin Nengia

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