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New Naira Scarcity: PH Residents Groan

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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

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Adaka Boro Day Lights Up PH

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Stretching from the old Port Harcourt Township down to D-Line, youths under the banner of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) processed in colours of white, red and green to mark this year’s Adaka Boro Day.
By 8am yesterday morning, starting from Aggrey Road, down to Lagos Bus Stop, traffic built up to the gate of Government House, Port Harcourt, where the group took a break for a solidarity visit to the state governor, Sir. Siminalayi Fubara.
Chairman of IYC, Eastern Zone, Mr Tamuno Kpokpo, who led the procession and parade, spoke on why they visited the governor.
He said their visit is not an ethnic war but to lend support in protection of the interest and continuous development of Rivers State.
He assured that the group will stand to resist anybody or group of persons anywhere who dare to cause any distraction of governance anymore in the State, and appealed that the Governor be allowed to govern the State peacefully.
On his part, the National President of IYC, Mr Jonathan Lokpobiri, described the day as historic because Ijaw people were meeting with their governor on memorial of Major Isaac Adaka Boro.
Mr Lokpobiri said it affirms that the gods of Ijaw people are at work, and warned all detractors to retrace their steps, and allow the Governor, who has the full mandate of the people, to discharge his duties to Rivers people.
He commended Governor Fubara for his courage, bravery and commitment to good governance, insisting that his struggle and triumph resonate with the hope of all Ijaw people.
Addressing the youths, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara acknowledged with delight the assurances of brotherly support from the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and urged Ijaw Nation to key into the ongoing celebration of the liberation the State is enjoying now.
The solidarity walk was staged as part of activities to celebrate the heroic exploits of the late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, 56 years after his death, which is observed on 16th May every year.
Governor Fubara noted that Major Isaac Adaka Boro genuinely stood for equity, justice, and fair play, and pursued his cause to ensure liberation for the Ijaw people and their clans.
The Governor emphasised that every genuine Rivers man is a liberator, adding that he was delighted to receive them on such auspicious day to re-enact the common purpose of liberation that they shared.
Governor Fubara, who thanked the large crowd for their assurances of being available to respond to his call and stand by him, should the need arise, said there would not be any need to cause disruption of the peace, as according to him, the enemies of the State have been defeated already.
He said, “Because he stood for that unique thing, even after his death, we still celebrate him because he was a liberator.
“Every Rivers man, it doesn’t matter whether you are Ijaw or upland, the most important thing is that every genuine Rivers man must be a liberator.
“And I’m happy that you have come here today. I have also received you because we have one common purpose: to liberate our dear State. We are not going back on that.”
Governor Fubara said, “I am happy that you’ve told me this morning that when I call on you, you will respond. But there is nothing to call on you for. Because we have already defeated them.
“By the special grace of God, what they thought that they would have done to us while we were celebrating our one year in office, they are the ones sleeping with their two eyes open. It shows that we have the Ijaw blood. And what is that blood: it is the blood of action; less talk, more action.”
Governor Fubara appealed to Ijaw youths to conduct themselves peacefully as they celebrate the Major Isaac Adaka Boro Day, and also be good ambassadors of the entire Ijaw Nation.
He emphasised that it should be done in the same spirit that had enveloped the State now celebrating victory over his political detractors.
Governor Fubara promised to support the IYC Eastern Zone to have a befitting Secretariat in Rivers State.
Meanwhile, former Zonal Chairman of of IYC Western Zone, Comrade Kpemi Daubotei Eric decried the poor state of many Ijaw States in the federation.
Comrade Eric, who was part of the Boro Day procession said 56 years after, the struggle of late Major Boro has not been actualised.
He said,” We are still dancing,when we are supposed to be in sober reflection.”
The Ijaw youth leader said it was sad that after over 50 years, the vision and quest made by the late Ijaw hero have been swept aside for personal aggrandisement by those who supposed to push for the actualisation of a better Ijaw nation.
Eric insisted that” “We owe Boro a debt because the whole Niger Delta is backward.”
He condemned the activities of multinationals and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for falling short of expectations of the Ijaw people.
In the same light, Comrade Kpokpo reiterated Eric’s view, as he stressed that the legacy of the late Major Boro will not be swept away.
Kpokpo said the Boro Day is meant to draw attention to the yearnings of the people and to enliven the struggle by the Ijaws for a better polity.

Kevin Nengia

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When LG Workers Dazzled Fubara

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Members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) drawn from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State shut down traffic along the Aba Road through Azikiwe Road to Government House Drive recently in a solidarity visit to Governor Siminalayi Fubara.
Addressing the mammoth crowd, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE), Apostle Clifford Paul, told the governor that they were on a Thank-You Rally to show appreciation for his love for the workers.
Apostle Paul stated that Governor Fubara has changed their fortunes and restored hope in them when he directed the payment of N30,000.00 minimum wage to the workers, and lifted the ban on promotion, which has now placed them at par with their counterparts across the country.
On his part, the Deputy General Secretary of NULGE, Comrade Ajewole Ayedele, who represented the National President, said they were delighted with the pro-people policies of Governor Fubara, particularly for ending the stagnancy and frustration workers suffered.
Comrade Ayedele assured the governor of the continued support of the union to his administration, both at state and national level.
“At our last NEC meeting, when he (State Chairman) was reporting to us that you have done series of things to local government staff, because from history, Rivers State has been a source of mockery to other states in Nigeria when it comes to welfare of local government staff.
“When he said it, somebody from the north said, that means this new governor has tried to part ways from what he met on ground, because we have been asking how on earth is it possible that workers will be on duty for eight years without promotion?
“But for your wisdom that you have done it for us, we too are going to reciprocate. And I want to assure you, Your Excellency, that anytime you call on us, we are going to come out enmasse to associate with you, to solidarise with you, to continue to pray for you, because of your commitment to our welfare and service,” the national officer added.
On his part, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Alex Agwanwor, said workers have resolved to stand with Governor Fubara because he has demonstrated his love, put smiles on their faces and advanced the welfare and growth of the State.
Comrade Agwanwor warned that the NLC would not hesitate to occupy anywhere used by the Rivers State House of Assembly members led by Rt. Hon. Martin Amaewhule, should they begin another impeachment proceeding against the governor.
He noted that in addition, organised labour would be forced to withdraw their members working with the lawmakers if they decide to throw caution to the wind.
Governor Fubara, who had received members of the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State on a solidarity rally at Government House Gate, in Port Harcourt, on Wednesday, said their large number further goes to prove the nature of the organic support his administration has continued to enjoy from the people of the state.
“Some days ago, somebody said we are busy renting crowd for thanksgiving. But what I have seen here today, it’s not different from what is happening at those thanksgiving rallies. People are just appreciating God and good governance.”
Governor Fubara stated that he was mindful of the legacy he would bequeath after his tenure, adding: “It should also be about the lives that have been touched genuinely; about the policies implemented without any inducement to better the lives of the people and the society.”
The governor urged the people to continue to support his administration, show understanding over actions taken, and obey the rules in a peaceful manner.
“When you are doing what is right, I will stand by you. Nobody, whether full or half is going to intimidate you. Brace up, I say brace up, because the next step, it will be fire for fire in Rivers State. Everything will be implemented.”
Governor Fubara said that already, local government workers have started receiving N30,000.00 minimum wage with promotion to be implemented beginning from April’s salary payment.
He also promised to set in motion plans to finalise modalities for the implementation of the Consolidated Salary Scale for Grade Level 17, and regular payment of benefits to the local government service retirees.
“For our people, the great and wonderful people of Rivers State, we will continue to lead you with the fear of God.
“Maturity is not about age, maturity is in the person. It is what defines the character of a person. I choose not to respond to people that I assumed are matured, but are obviously immature in attitude.
“I will continue to be mature, not minding my age, but I will not for any reason allow myself or anybody who is working with me in this administration to be messed with, maltreated or abused in the cause of administering this governance,” the Governor said.

Kevin Nengia

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We Need Urban Renewal, Azuabie/Okujagu Begs RSG

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Indigenes and residents of Azuabie-Okujagu communities in Port Harcourt Local Government Area of Rivers State, have made an appeal to the state government for infrastructure and urban renewal in their communities.
Speaking through Elder Tamunotonkaye Adolphus during a solidarity rally to Government House last Wednesday, they said they are ardent supporters of the Governor Fubara-led administration, and are very impressed with his performance in office, accomplishments and peaceful disposition.
Elder Adolphus explained that the people have fresh hope of government intervention in their communities because they were neglected by the immediate past administration, leaving their roads and public schools unattended to.
He expressed the belief that the Governor Fubara-led administration will come to their aid by rehabilitating the 10km internal roads and the two public schools in the communities.
Also speaking, the Rivers State gubernatorial candidate for Action Democratic Party (ADP) in the 2023 general election, Sir Victor Fingesi, expressed excitement with Governor Fubara’s avowed commitment to harnessing the agricultural potentials of the State.
He noted that it was the first time since 1999 that a Governor was so convinced and determined to change the narrative in the agriculture sector, which can contribute to making Rivers State become competitive economically.
He called for strategic investments in the agriculture sector to guarantee food sufficiency and security, and reduce the scourge of hunger in the land, adding that it was only through such avenue that enduring peace and development can be achieved.
Fingesi pledged total support to Governor Fubara and his administration, saying that he was ready to work with the government to take the State to the next level.
On his part, Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara said that he is willing to work with people of goodwill and progressive ideas for partnerships that will make life better for the people and ensure sustainable development of the State.
This is even as he acknowledged the unwavering support demonstrated by both indigenes and residents of Azuabie-Okujagu communities in Port Harcourt Local Government Area, who have become good ambassadors of his administration.
Governor Fubara made the remark while addressing a delegation of the leadership and members of Azuabie-Okujagu communities who were on a peaceful solidarity walk to Government House in Port Harcourt last Wednesday.
The Head of Rivers State Civil Service, Dr George Nwaeke, who received the delegation on behalf of the Governor noted that the people’s support was largely organic in nature, adding that it was evident that they were taking back what rightly belongs to them by genuinely supporting the government they all voted into power.
He said, “You are the people that voted him into power, and that is why you have the right also to say that these are the things you need.
“The Governor also recognise the contributions of your sons and daughters who have served the State in different ways. Your community is one of the greatest communities in the State because it has produced men that have contributed in no small measure to the growth of Rivers State,” he said.
Governor Fubara said: “I want to beg of you, as you go home, let every person here be an ambassador, everybody in your community. Tell them that the Governor means well for his people.
“Tell your people that their Governor is still sitting in the place they elected him to sit, and taking the right decisions. We know there could be people who may be tempted with money to be Judas. But tell them to shun money. Tell them that what matters at this time is the people, and the Governor is people-centred.”
Governor Fubara said he had listened and taken note of their requests concerning the state of public schools in their communities, among other issues that require attention.
He commended them, saying: “I want to even thank you that on your own, you made some community efforts to execute projects, whereas some people, when Government builds schools, they go and steal the things used in building the schools and destroy the schools.
“In your case, you used your own money to build some classrooms in your communities. The Governor will be very happy to hear this and your communities will be supported.
“I want to make one assurance to you: We have received your protest letter, we will not talk about them here, because already, the Governor is thinking along those lines.
“The Governor is thinking about making sure that our people live in a comfortable environment. I can assure you that your communities will receive maximum support,” he assured.

Kevin Nengia

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