Residents Grumble Over Insecurity, Slow Business Patronage in Rivers

Residents Grumble Over Insecurity, Slow Business Patronage in Rivers

….Wike donated 64 vehicles to fight insecurity

Paul Obiajumwo Port Harcourt

After the general election in Rivers State many traders and business men and women in the state have expected a bumper sale and an encouraging business environment to set in but there expectations were far from the reality. Though, there are so much grumble from the residents of the state over lack of cash flow which according to them has made life boring.

The worst part of the unexpected hardship in the state is the anxiety over insecurity in the state ranging from burglary, robbery, kidnapping and increased cult related activities making night club owners and other night businesses operating in the state to close their shops for lack of patronage.

Some of the business men who spoke to the Niger Delta Report said apart from low business patronage which they believe would stabilize soon, the government at the state and federal government should also kick the ball rolling to encourage vibrant economy.     

Mr. Godwin Arume, a rice seller at Mile 3 market in Port Harcourt said he borrowed money from the bank after the election to import bags of rice using his Toyota Jeep as collateral with the hope that he will return the money fast as agreed.

Narrating his experience Arume said, “As I am talking to you now, what I used as collateral to collect money from the bank has been taken away from me because of bad business. After I imported the rice with the money, some rice dealers who I also supply rice came with different stories that I should supply them to pay later. Till today they have not paid and I have to consider them because I know what they are passing through unfortunately the bank didn’t consider me. This is the worse period of doing business in Port Harcourt.”

A trader, Mr. Jude Nwadike, a Shoe dealer said  business is gradually returning to the city of Port Harcourt because of the Ember month, “Wike has tried  by the workers’ salaries he paid, before now when the former governor was there he was owing and nothing was happening  because people don’t have money. I think something will get better and business will normalize soon.

Mr. Emmanuel James, a major distributor Southern Paint Nigeria Limited said the poor business patronage is because the government in the state and at Federal government level has not settled down. He noted that there is lack of cash flow in the country which is affecting business in the state and other states of the federation.

He suggested that the only way business will start booming again in Rivers State is to have a stable government without electoral litigation. “My brother you can’t expect business in Rivers State to start booming like the way it was before the general election in the state. When a government comes into power and they are stable without electoral litigation the cabinet would be immediately appointed. And every aspect of the government will be functional, monies would be budgeted to the ministry, contracts would be awarded and money will flow. So, in a situation where a government takes over the mantle of leadership and that government is spending money here and there to sustain his claimed electoral victory without a full cabinet it would definitely affect the economy.”

 On insecurity, Mr. Chigozi Orlu-Orlu, a legal practitioner in the state and a member of Lawyers Network for Change said it amazed him that after the present governor of the State, Chief Ezenwo Nyesom Wike claimed that the reopening of Court in the state will ease insecurity, the issue of killing and kidnapping has continue to be on the increased . He alleged further that since the court in the state was reopened insecurity in the state has increased to a level that people now hide for safety.

He said many politicians are now living in Abuja especially the

supporters of All Progressive Congress (APC)  and those tagged as enemies of government. “How many politicians are living in Rivers State even those of the ruling party is hiding their identities. How many of them that can invite journalists or victors to their home, that’s because there is insecurity in the state. After the release of Vanguard columnist and the son of the vice chancellor of University of Port Harcourt two clergy men Venerable J.B Lawson and Venerable Isobo Dokubo of the African Church were recently kidnapped. We are not talking about the incessant robbery and increased activities of cultism in the state immediately Chief Wike took over as the governor of Rivers State. Before now he told us that there was so much insecurity in the state because Amaechi close down the court.  Now that the court has reopened what is happening, to be candid with you we are living in fear in this state.”

 Hon. Lucky Worluh, Chairman Ikwerre Youth Movement (IYM), Emohua Local government area said he is surprised that the security agencies are behaving as if they are not aware of what is happening in Rivers State. He said he wondered if people are waiting when the residents would go into hiding or die before they will know that things are getting worse.

Worluh said: “I want Rivers people to help me and find out if the Inspector General of Police, the Director of State Security Service (SSS) and other security agencies in this country does not know what is happening in Rivers State.  What is happening in Rivers State is terrible; nobody would tell me that he does not know what is happening. Cult groups have taken over some communities, as I am talking to you now some communities in Ikwerre and Emohua Local government Areas have been taken over by cultist group.  Before the expiration of Amaechi’s tenure he set up commission of inquiry because of the killing that took place in Omuku,

Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local government Area of Rivers State and other killing that took place in other LGAs. Some people went to court to stop that inquiry.

“Because they want us to continue living in the past, which is bad, the police are part of the atrocities happening in Rivers State. The same people that killed these victims are today having more than twenty escorts following them. You can imagine that the so called caretaker chairmen are going around paying courtesy visit to some certain element. You can imagine that the government of the state is not thinking on how to end insecurity in the state instead they are busy respecting ex-militants and leaders of cult groups in the state. And the membership of cult groups are increasing on daily basis, of course, those who aided   cult groups in the state are now members of the State House of Assembly, Caretaker committee chairmen. The people are shouting, the residents have result into self-help, something must have to be done fast.”

The chairman of Ogba/ Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area, Mr. Austin  Ahiamadu  whose tenure didn’t expire along side with other  elected former  council chairmen in the state  said  insecurity in the state especially that of his Local government was because security agencies in the state refused to live up to their responsibility.

He said the people are not happy over the insecurity in Rivers State, particularly that of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local government area. “We are unhappy over the insecurity situation in this area. I blame   the Nigerian Police for the continuous killing and shooting by unknown gunmen in Ogba Egbema-Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State. The most recent is the killing by unknown gunmen who invaded three communities and killed over thirteen persons in three communities, Omoku town, Obirikom and Ogbogu .
“Naturally as a Council Chairman, I am the Chief Security officer, but I can’t go to war, mine is to give order. As the Council chairman I have good relationship with the security agency but I can’t do their own job. And if their job is not done properly you don’t come back to blame the council chairman. “

Responding, the Special Adviser to Governor Wike on Media and Publicity, Sir Opunabo Inko-Tariah said to curb the nefarious acts of criminals and end criminality in the state that got to its apogee under Rotimi Amaechi, “Governor Wike in addition to other covert measures which cannot be disclosed for security reason because such disclosures well negates the very essence, he donated 64 vehicles with modern security gadgets to the security agencies in Rivers State”