Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
The Rivers State Government has has set up a Special Task Force chaired by Governor Nyesom Wike to clear illegal traders from major roads and streets in Port Harcourt and its environs.
In a press statement issued thursday after the state executive council meeting, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Emma Okah, said the decision to set up a high-powered task force and chaired by the governor was to demonstrate the irreversible determination of government to rid major roads in the State capital of the environmental hazards and sanitary embarrassment and nuisance which the activities of illegal traders were inflicting on the state and her people.
He said the government had noted with sadness the recalcitrance of the street traders who had continuously dared the efforts of government to keep the roads and environment clean. â€œSadly, they mess up the environment, litter the roads, cause disorder and contribute nothing by way of tax or otherwise to clean their mess,â€ he lamented.
He declared, â€œAs a government, we owe a duty to those we serve to protect the environment, enhance sanitation and promote order in our state,â€ Okah said, noting that illegal traders on major roads are on the wrong side of the law and would face the law.
â€œConsequently, from April 12, 2018 the Governor of Rivers State will lead members of the Special Task Force, in the first phase of their mandate, to flush illegal traders from the roads and affected streets and restore normalcy. The exercise will be a continuing one until the ugly situation is reversed.
â€œHowever, it is necessary to warn that in the course of this exercise, traders caught by the special task force may lose their goods, suffer arrest, face prosecution and possible jail term upon conviction. If this happens the consequences may be unpleasant and unattractive for any one to test the will of the special task force.â€
He listed the major roads and spots to be cleared by the task force in the first phase of the exercise to include Bishop Okoye Street in Diobu, Garrison, Nitel near Garrison, GRA 2 Junction, other parts of GRA Phase 2 where illegal trading are going on, Old GRA, Ikwerre Road, Wimpey Junction, Trans Amadi and many others.