Allotees of plots of land in Government Reserved Areas in Port Harcourt, the Rivers capital, have one week to commence work on the development of their properties or face the wrath of the Rivers State Government.

Governor Nyesom Wike warned in his New Year message Saturday, that government would take urgent steps to revoke the titles of all such undeveloped plots in GRA.     .

He said such undeveloped plots were being used by undesirable elements in the State to perpetuate crimes and terrorize innocent and defenseless citizens.

Stressing that Government would not rest until the people sleep with two eyes closed, Governor Wike said that going forward, all shanties around the State capital would be pulled down.

“With the cooperation of the security agencies we identified and destroyed most of the shanties that hitherto served as safe havens and hideouts for criminals, who have now been dislodged and dislocated from the State having lost the space and capacity from which they could operate with ease.

“To consolidate on the gains of the dislodgement and dislocation exercises, and make the State even safer and more secure, we have decided to demolish all shanties and makeshift structures in identified crime hotspots in Port Harcourt Township and the Illabuchi areas of Diobu from the second week of January 2022.

“Those rebuilding the shanties we had demolished at Eleme or attempting to resume illegal trading activities at the closed Oginigba slaughter have one week to vacate or be arrested and charged to court.

“Additionally, we have discovered that most vacant plots or uncompleted buildings in the Old and New Government Reservation Areas (GRA) and some other parts of Port Harcourt city and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas have been hijacked and are now inhabited by criminal elements who are daily constituting menace to public safety.

“We have therefore decided to end this danger by taking over all such abandoned plots and uncompleted buildings and re-allocate them to citizens who are ready to develop and put them into effective occupancy.

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“In a similar vein, we have revoked the certificates of occupancy of several undeveloped plots of land in old GRA, Port Harcourt, for breaching the covenants attached thereto, which we would also re-allocate to interested members of the public for immediate development as part of the ongoing efforts to restore the entire old GRA to its pristine state of development, beauty and serenity”, the State Governor explained.

He thanked the security agencies for the good work that they are doing, saying without their intervention and support of God, Rivers State will not achieved relative peace

“As the clock ticks down and as we look forward to ushering in the New Year 2022, this is the time to give thanks to the Almighty God for his blessings and the opportunity to look into the future with greater hope and optimism.

“On behalf of my wife and the Government, let me thank all Rivers State citizens in particular, and Nigerians in general, for your continued love and support to our administration throughout the year 2021.

“Indeed, we cannot thank you enough for the trust, the solidarity, the cooperation and above all, your prayers for the success of our government and the peace and progress of our State.

“We also thank the police, the department of state security, the armed forces and the para military services for working round the clock to make and keep our dear State peaceful, safe and secure, not only in this festive season but throughout the outgoing year.

“Indeed, there is no denying the fact that crime and criminality have been at very low rates in Rivers State and citizens felt safer and more secure in 2021 than the previous years.”

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He spoke about the environment and the danger posed by persons who are building structures on water channels as well asflood plains.

“We will also not spare those contributing to the perennial flooding challenge in parts of Port Harcourt city and Obio/Akpor Local Government Area by blocking natural water and drainage channels with illegal landfilling, reclamation of wetlands or the construction of concrete structures.

“Consequently, we shall recover and restore all landfilled or reclaimed wetlands and demolish all structures erected on natural water channels spanning from the Eastern bypass areas up to Abana and Eleme streets in Old GRA, Port Harcourt. Only those with genuine government permits and allocation papers will be duly compensated”, Governor Wike hinted.

On the ongoing urban renewal effort , Wike remarked, “it is important to appreciate what we have done to successfully transform our capital city, Port Harcourt, to one of the most beautiful cities in Nigeria with well-paved streets, pedestrian walkways, dual carriage roads and flyovers.

“However, the beauty of the city is being defaced by illegal and indiscriminate trading on our streets, under flyovers and other unauthorized open spaces as well as the challenges with the current largely inefficient refuse disposal system.

“I wish to therefore remind citizens that the ban on street trading and commuting on motor cycles in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas is still in force.

“Consequently, I hereby direct the task force on Illegal Street trading to arrest and prosecute all those:

“Shuttling with their motorcycles and or hawking foreign exchange along Birabi street, Hotel Presidential, GRA junction by Zenith Bank up to Tombia street; and

“Trading on, under and around the Rumuola junction and flyover; Rumuogba junction and flyover; as well as Rumuokoro junction and flyover.

“Security personnel abetting illegal Street trading by collecting bribes and offering protection to street vendors are advised to desist forthwith or they would equally be made to face the wrath of the law.”

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Cart pushers and scavengers have been reputed for stealing manhole covers on roads, compounding sanitation problems  and engaging in other petty crimes in the neighborhood.

Turning attention to the nefarious activities, Wike declared, “we have decided to end the menace of cart pushers who have become notorious for indiscriminate scavenging and littering of wastes on street corners and the medians of major roads and highways across the State.

“These cart pushers and their unknown collaborators are also responsible for the recurring stealing of manhole covers, an act which endangers peoples’ lives and public safety on our roads.

“Consequently, the State Government has placed an immediate ban on the activities of cart pushers and directs law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute anyone who attempts to violate this ban.”

Thanking traditional rulers as well as the elders and people of Rivers State, Wike added, “We will continue to pursue our objectives for a stronger and more sustainable economy centred on fiscal discipline, revenue growth, job creation, and improved standard of living for all residents.

“We will continue to accelerate our development with the sustainable delivery of quality roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other socio-economic infrastructure and complete all ongoing development projects across the State.

“I wish to, once again, thank our leaders, traditional rulers, elder statesmen, party chieftains, our women, our youths and the press for the warmth and support we have received throughout 2021.

“We wish to specially thank our religious leaders for their prayers for peace and progress as well as for their continuous support to our Government in the primary task of building the Rivers State of our collective dream.

“We remain grateful to God for the unprecedented peace, security and transformational strides the State is enjoying under our administration.”