Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has declared that his administration was developing the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park into a major global tourist attraction.
This is as the state pledged to address the grouse of newspapers vendors who are protesting against the harassment and intimidation of their members by the state’s task force on Illegal markets and motor Parks.
Addressing journalists after inspecting the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park Cinema completed by his administration, Wike said key facilities were being developed to improve the quality of experience at the Park.
He described the new Cinema constructed within the park as a five-star facility that raises the standard of entertainment available to people in the Niger Delta.
“We have just completed a five-star cinema within the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park. This cinema is about the best in the country.
“It will offer first class entertainment to the people of the region and beyond. Instead of going to Dubai for relaxation and tourism, you come over to Port Harcourt to enjoy the pleasure of this Park,” he said.
Wike said the state government would continue to develop new facilities that would complement existing structures within the Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.
The governor said the new Cinema would be thrown open to the public after the inauguration programme on September 11.
According to him, his administration was determined to ensure that the beauty of Port Harcourt was restored and the city made a major tourism destination in the country.
Wike expressed happiness that sanity was returning to the streets of Port Harcourt, with the Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks doing a splendid job.
The governor also inspected ongoing projects in GRA and other parts of Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
He said the administration would roll out several projects to mark the first one hundred days of his second term.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State government has said it is addressing the harassment and intimidation of newspaper vendors in the state by the State Taskforce on Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks.
This is as the state government rolled out about 16 people-oriented projects to be inaugurated by Wike as part of activities marking his 100 days in office.
The Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Tammy Danagogo, who addressed newsmen at Government House, Port Harcourt yesterday, called for understanding from newspaper vendors and journalists.
Danagogo said: “The matter concerns you and it concerns the state also. We are addressing it. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information is addressing the issue. We believe that it will be properly addressed.
“We call for proper understanding; the media should understand us. We believe that we will be able to reach out on how vendors will operate without contravening the law. We will also try to ensure that the taskforce operates within the law.”
Danagogo, who is also the Chairman, Second Tenure 100 Days in Office Committee, said Wike has recommitted himself to good governance.
He said: “As you are aware, upon inception of this government in 2015, His Excellency made it clear that his administration will pursue a social contract that will make the state, the pride of all.
“Throughout his first tenure, the governor entrenched a development agenda that positively transformed the state. His unwavering commitment made him to enjoy national and international accolade.
“At the governor’s swearing-in on May 29, this year, he recommitted himself to good governance and pledged that he will work as if this is his first tenure.
“As a man who walks the talk, his first 100 days in the second term will be used to showcase the monumental legacies that have become part of the new vision.”
The Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has also called on the State Taskforce On Street Trading and Illegal Motor Parks to exclude newspaper vendors from street trading restrictions in the state.
The NUJ, in a statement signed by Stanley Job Stanley and Ike Wigodo, Chairman and Secretary respectively, noted with dismay that the task force which commenced operations last two weeks has been harassing newspaper vendors on the streets.
The statement contended that newspaper vendors, going by universal standard, were usually excluded from any form of restrictions on the streets.
The Union said in view of the modus operandi of newspaper vendors across the world, they were not supposed to be affected by the ongoing war against street trading and illegal motor parks in the state.
It reads in part: “All over the world, newspaper vendors are an important agent of information dissemination that cannot be hounded out of the street. Even though their modus operandi is to hawk newspapers on the streets, they are not roadside traders and so cannot be treated as such.
“We are not against the maintenance of law and order in Rivers State. In fact, we welcome any move by the state government to restore sanity and orderliness to the state and return Port Harcourt in particular to its Garden City status.
“As a professional body made up of decent men and women, NUJ has always been in the vanguard of speaking against indecency, disorderliness and illegal business transactions on the streets”.