Lulu-Briggs escapes assassination attempt in Rivers state

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An oil mogul, Chief O.B Lulu-Briggs, the Regent of Abonnema, on Saturday, escaped assassination attempt at his home town Abonnema, Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State.

Lulu-Briggs had visited Abonnema for a peace and reconciliation meeting between chiefs, opinion leaders and elders of the area in respect of the crisis rocking the position of the Chairman of Council of Chiefs of Abonnema.

Chairman of the Council, Chief Disrael Gbobo Bob-Manuel, was last week suspended from the position based on an allegation of witchcraft levelled against him.

Consequently, Lulu-Briggs was appointed in acting capacity to man the position till the controversies raised were resolved.

Based on the development, Lulu-Briggs had visited Abonnema in order to broker peace, but was held by hundreds of youths, who attacked his convoy and damaged several cars including the bullet proof vehicle carrying the High Chief.

Youths numbering over 200 gathered at the community palace took over the scene immediately the convoy arrived and were hauling stones and other weapons on Lulu-Briggs’ team, as well shooting.

Speaking, a chief, who witnessed the incident narrated: “Some youths we do not know attempted to kill High Chief Lulu-Briggs when he came to Abonnema for a peace and reconciliation meeting.

“They gathered his car, destroyed car in his convoy, but he was saved because his car is bullet proof. They were shooting guns. We do not know what their annoyance is, but we know they were hired”.

However, Chief Lulu-Briggs has sued for peace in Abonnema Kingdom, stating that violence and killings would not resolve the issues surrounding the position of the Chairman of Abonnema Council and development of the area.

The philanthropist, who spoke through Chief Ibim Iyibo Young-Briggs, noted that was need for reconciliation of all the factions in the face-off, expressing regrets over poor infrastructural development in the area.

He added: “I want to call for a dialogue of all concerned to immediately resolve all misunderstanding, acrimonies and for that matter grievances, so that Abonnema will be restored to its characteristics acclamation of ‘York City’.”

 

Governor Nyesom Wike Bags United Nations Award

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In recognition of his contributions towards ensuring sustainable human settlement in Rivers State through infrastructural development and elimination of slumps in the State, the Global Forum for Human Settlement (GFHS) on Monday, October 30, 2017, conferred the sustainable Cities and Human Settlement Award (SCAHSA) on the Rivers State Governor, Chief (Barr) Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.

The award ceremony, which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, United States of America, precedes the Award for Excellence by Chatham House, United kingdom days ahead.

This award is for the governor’s investments in the development of urban renewal programmes, housing and projects that improve the living conditions of less privileged persons

The Sustainable Cities And Human Settlements Award (SCAHSA), formally Global Human Settlement Contribution Award, is a worldwide prize awarded annually by the Global Forum for Human Settlement (GFHS) and supported by the UNEP, through its SBCI and GI-REC initiatives, and is aimed to promote 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, particularly the implementation of SDG = II.

There were 23 awards in six different categories. The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Ezenwo Wike received his “Global Human Settlements Outstanding Contributions Award” under the “individual Initiatives to Advance Sustainable Development Category.”     

In a letter of notification of the award earlier sent to Governor Wike, Secretary of Global Forum on Human Settlements and Main Representative to the United Nations, Mr Lu Haifeng said that the award conferred on the governor at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on October 31, 2017, was part of the 12th Global Forum of Human Settlements at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

According to the Main Representative to the United Nations, Governor Wike is being recognised for his great commitment and contribution to sustainable cities in Rivers State.

The group further lauded Governor Wike for developing infrastructure in settlements in different parts of the state and ensuring that people have access to basic amenities.

Governor Wike was also applauded for constructing the Iriebe Medium Housing Estate, Rivers Quarters at the NNS Pathfinder, Quarters for Junior Staff of the DSS and facilitating the improved investment in housing by private investors.

The Rivers State Governor also received commendations for investing in land reclamation/sand filling in Asari-Toru, Degema, Akuku-Toru and Port Harcourt Local Government Areas.

A statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media informed that Governor Wike has accepted the award.

The statement noted that Governor Wike pledged his commitment to further investments in the development of infrastructure and housing that will improve the living conditions of the people.

Governor Wike dedicated the award to Rivers people who totally support his administration’s investments in the development of infrastructure and housing.

 

Re-inventing Port Harcourt as a shipping hub (The Guardian)

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In the light of weakening global oil prices coupled with Nigerian Government’s new mantra of diversification, there is an urgent need for the Federal Government and all relevant stakeholders in the shipping industry to give adequate attention to Port Harcourt seaports to ensure they are brought back to their original status as a bustling shipping hub as envisioned by the founding fathers.

Port Harcourt was originally created as a port city and shipping hub to export coal and agriculture products in 1912. However when crude oil was eventually discovered in 1956 it changed everything. The city moved from export of non oil products to a major industrial center with a number of large industrial firms particularly businesses related to the oil and gas industry. Everything in the city directly or indirectly now has a bearing on oil and the city has abandoned the ideals of the founding fathers who positioned it as a shipping and commercial hub beyond crude oil.

Port Harcourt and indeed the old Rivers State is paying the price and feeling the pinch brought about by the weakening oil prices. The Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce is seriously engaging a whole lot of stakeholders to see how we can get the city back to what it was originally created for; to be a shipping hub for agricultural and non oil exports, while still providing a base for the nation’s oil and gas industry.

Port Harcourt port was about the second largest port in the country, however now the port is now underutilised and is facing huge facility challenges. We agree we have the Onne port managed by Intels, which is acclaimed one of the biggest oil and gas free zones in the world, but the Onne port is strictly focused on oil and gas related cargo and their charges are astronomically high. Even non oil cargo are charged as if they are oil related and this is not good for business in this era of economic diversification.

Another challenge is the persistence inaction on the part of the port regulators concerning disparity in rates charges between the Lagos ports and the eastern ports. What we don’t understand is why the cargo passing through Port Harcourt ports will cost more than Lagos? This high rate is taking businesses away from Port Harcourt. Most business cargo is now going through Lagos and they are killing the ports in the east. However, one sure thing is that the swamp oil field and land cannot be taken from where it is, which is Port Harcourt and Niger Delta, hence there is a need to expedite action to ensure that seaports in the state are functional to facilitate import and export of other commodities beyond crude oil.

Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce has been doing a lot to remedy the situation, we are engaging government and other stakeholders to see how we can change the situation and ensure we stop businesses from continuously moving out of the city. This call and more efforts have become necessary becaus virtually all the importers from Onitsha, Aba, Port Harcourt and environs now pass their goods through Lagos and this shouldn’t be so. The Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Nigeria Shippers Council, NSC, as regulators should bring down their prices so that the likes of Intels Limited will follow suit. They must acknowledge that payments for non-oil cargo should not be tagged along like an oil cargo. So basically the chamber is engaging across board from the various levels of government, Ministry of Transport, Agencies and Intels Limited to see how we can work closely to revive the Port Harcourt ports.

 There has been a lot of presentation to us by the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, NEPC, we are interfacing with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, NIPC, and we have sustained engagement with the, NSC. Furthermore, we are setting the tone to engage the NPA one of the critical regulators to say that something need to be done to make the old Port Harcourt port fully functional again while Onne with world class facility needs a review on its rates to accommodate non oil cargo because what we have in place now as rates are astronomically high.

 So in all we are saying, Port Harcourt need to go back to shipping which is the ideals of the founding fathers ; we must take a cue from Singapore and Mauritius. These countries had nothing but they were able to identify their potential in shipping, and today, they are among the best and sustaining their economy with that.

We can solve the problems by first getting the old Port Harcourt port back on stream; how? by dredging and further expanding the ports, which in turn will open up the channels to accommodate and allow various size of vessels to come in. We must as matter of priority review our stifling policies to create healthy competition, engage the various stakeholders to work on reviewing charges to reflect realities and create soft landings to encourage businesses.

“While oil and gas related cargo is unavoidable in Port Harcourt businesses, we must as a matter of main concern ensure we also encourage the non oil related cargo to increase shipping activities; when you do that there is a value chain in oil servicing, shipping servicing and others services which ultimately will trickle down to the least businesses,” he was quoted as saying.Membere- Otaji is the President, Port Harcourt Chamber of Commerce

Stemming from the fact that Port Harcourt is acclaimed to be an oil and gas enclave, the global fall in oil prices drastically affected the city, oil businesses came down, contractors were not longer getting jobs, people were being laid off from job and the effect is massive unemployment and hardship which consequently leads to the usual socio-economic issues we are abreast with that spirals to other problems.

So basically if we strive to take Port Harcourt back to the idea envisioned by the founding fathers, we stand to gain a lot as there will be in-country trading, for example Dangote Limited and others are exploring coal and other solid minerals in Kogi and other state to power his cement factory and we will need marine haulage in-country that will contribute to stimulating the economy.

We must take advantage of our natural potentials to better our economic life; look at Mississipi in the US, a River that span across so many cities and states, and has been instrumental to stimulating those economies – we should be able to replicate this. We must take advantage of our stretch of coastal lines, intensify effort on our non oil export, agriculture, industrial fishing and agro allied products and explore the value chain on petroleum in the form of petrochemicals and fertilizer plants..

While security remains a critical issue not only in Port Harcourt but the Niger Delta as whole, strong concerted efforts from the major stakeholders especially the oil companies and strong political will on the part of the national government will ameliorate the issue.

Only recently the Somalian pirates made that shipping lane impassable but today, that is history because of strong efforts from key stakeholders, Also government should put in place a medium to long term development plan for the oil producing Niger delta beyond the stop gap Amnesty Programme and NDDC.

From the time of the pre-independence Willinks Commission report, stop gaps have never provided permanent solutions. Since every business in Nigeria cannot gravitate in Lagos, a so called ‘safe haven with good infrastructure’, efforts should be made to develop other cities like Port Harcourt, Kano, Jos, Enugu, Ibadan, Warri etc. to become excellent economic centres. Anything else will be likened to playing out the ostrich game.

This post was first published on the The Guardian

 

PORT HARCOURT POLO CLUB: A place of leisure and entertainment

Port Harcourt Polo Club is a place of leisure and entertainment for members and spectators. It is a place for horse riding and the game of polo. In the culture and spirit of Port Harcourt, Port Harcourt Polo Club hosts its club’s tournament annually. Do you want to join and enjoy this equestrian sports, visit Port Harcourt Polo Club at Tombia Street, New GRA Phase 2, Port Harcourt.Polo is a ball sport game played on horses. You can simply enjoy this game by just getting a horse and a whole string of polo ponies. Ensure you have the right skills to avoid injuries. For more information on the game, mount, player, field, equipments, handicaps and duties of the spectator, visit poloclubph.org.

At the beginning of every year, Port Harcourt city bubbles with glamorous, king of sports, and sports for the kings festival, where many of the teams participate in a contest. Various dignitaries gather to watch and enjoy this game. Among them are captains of industries and top government officials. Port Harcourt Polo Tournament 2016 witnessed the Father of Polo in Nigeria, the Emir of Katsina, His Highness, Alhaji Abdulmumini Kabir Usman CFR, Minister of State for Aviation, Hon Senator Hadi Sirika, King of Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, First Military Governor of old Rivers State, Port Harcourt Polo Club President Ibiwari Boma Pepple and many more dignitaries.

Governor Wike releases $1m for 28 Rivers overseas students

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Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike, has announced the release of $1 million for 28 final year Rivers State Sustainable Development Agency (RSSDA) overseas students.

Governor Wike had also dispelled rumours that the state government had abandoned Rivers students studying abroad, saying that his administration placed priority on their education.

Speaking through his Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Fred Kpakol, the governor disclosed that the interest of the 28 final year students is in the concern of the government.

He noted that the incumbent government was not responsible for their admissions, but his administration found it necessary that the education sector should be taken very seriously.

“We incurred a lot of debts because the previous government, even while it took the students to foreign universities, could not pay their fees. And most of the students became very frustrated.

“And as students of Rivers State and government is giving service to all and sundry, the governor felt it was necessary to look into their plights and foster a solution to that.

The governor noted that most of the students studying abroad could naturally study in Nigeria because some of the courses they were studying abroad available in Nigerian universities.