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RIVERS RESIDENTS SEEK RETURN OF TASKFORCE

… Over Chaotic Parking, Street Trading 

Months after the Rivers State Government disbanded the state Taskforce on illegal motor parks and street trading some residents of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor are clamouring for the return of the taskforce.

Some residents who spoke to The Vortex  on the traffic situation and the menace of street trading decried the riotous situation that have continued since the task force was disbanded by the state government.

Mrs. Beatrice Oyemaka who lives in the town area of Port Harcourt said that despite the obvious misgivings against the taskforce, she understands the good works the taskforce team were doing.

“Look at the situation on the roads now, drivers no longer adhere to any parking rules. People park indiscriminately, transporters have ran amok. Traders have invaded the streets. There is no control. I think the government should return the taskforce at least with a new behavior orientation,” she stated.

John Opuibo Allen, a trader at the Rumuokoro axis  blamed the situation on desperation, adding that the biting economic crises in the country has induced the sense of desperation to survive among the populace.

He said that the presence of the taskforce helped to instill sanity and orderliness.

The trader said the situation in Port Harcourt has become tasking as according to him, nobody controls anybody as even the police cannot do much in the confused state of things.

On why street traders had taken over the entire space, Allen said the craze to survive hunger in the country is responsible for street trading and called for the building of more markets to accommodate increasing number of small business outfits springing up in the state.

A bus driver who gave his name as Okey expressed sadness over the situation in the state.

Okey acknowledged the need for traffic control measures to restore order on the roads but decried the pains and intimidations which the disbanded taskforce inflicted on the populace.

He called for a defined mode of operation for a new taskforce, insisting that such people must respect the rights of the people.”

I am not happy at what we see in our streets now but we need to eat and survive” the driver stated.

Enefa Georgewill of the Civil Society Group who spoke on the clamour for the return of taskforce said his group was not opposed to the restoration of any effort that will control the traffic situation in the state.

Georgewill however said such taskforce must operate within defined rules, such that the government must properly orientate the members on operational procedures.

He said the rules must define the appropriate punishment measures for both offenders and the operators.

The social activist advocated that the taskforce must work and discharge its responsibilities with a human force, modernize its operative process by procuring and working with gadgets such as Spy cameras and other devices.

He added that the government must defined the issue of specific remuneration for the members and who pays them, saying this will checkmate them from engaging in self-help.

Chika Anya, a resident of Diobu in Port Harcourt called for the enforcement of the extant rules on street trading in the state which was recently passed by the State House of Assembly, stating that we have a problem of lack of will to enforce the laws.

He also blamed the present crises on the streets to the ongoing road constructions and other projects in the state.

“How do you control a situation where the government is constructing about five flyover projects in the two major urban cities. This has hindered the free flow of traffic because many of the outlet roads that would ease traffic have been closed. Everybody has became desperate to find the way out. It is a crises. Whether taskforce or not the state government must find the solution,” he said.

The Vortex reporter who visited various areas of the Obio/Akpor and Port Harcourt such as the Rumuokoro, Rumuola, Aba Road, Ikwerre Road and the Oil mill area witnessed what seemed to be a total breakdown of order by vehicles, users and street traders.

At Rumuokoro areas of Obio/Akpor, the situation can be likened to a mad environment, with street trading that have overstretched the entire area including the construction sites of the ongoing flyover project in the area.

Ikwerre road adjoining the Owerri road axis have all been overtaken by motley of street traders while commercial vehicles compete against one another on indiscriminate parking, loading and offloading on the roads.

The same can be seen along the Rumuola axis especially in the evening while at the Oil mill, road side trading continues to thrive despite the closure of the major oil mill market.

The entire Igbo Etche road spreading up to the junction between the closed Oil mill market including the express way have all been converted to trading spots.

The Vortex recalls that Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike had few weeks ago announced plans by the state government to reintroduce a new taskforce to clear the streets of illegal traders and indiscriminate parking by transporters in the state.

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