Rivers Government House Jetty Displaces Port Harcourt Slum

Parts of Marine Base, one of the major waterfront slum settlements in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital may give way for the expansion of the Government House Jetty and Governor’s Lounge, according to Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike.

The governor gave the indication on Wednesday during the flag-off of the Government House Jetty sited at the Marine Base.

Wike said he was shocked that a shantytown had developed around the site, which he said was not only government land, but was supposed to be a tourism base.

He said had he known the extent to which the encroachment on government land there was, he would not have bothered to come for the flagging off of the project.

He said it took a herculean task for security operatives and government officials to clear the site for the flagging-off ceremony.

He condemned the attempt to ethnicise the situation at Marine Base. “What has set Rivers State back is ethnicity. What has made us not to progress so far is that we blindfold ourselves not to know the truth.

“If we have a place like this, do you know how many people will like to come to Rivers State? Today, we are talking about tourism, and how can you say that here should be a tourism centre when you have all these shanties around.

“Let me say it and I don’t care what anybody will say, nobody will set Rivers State backward,” the governor said.

He lamented with dismay the destruction of the rich tourism opportunities, offered by the beautiful marine features around the area, by the residents of the shantytown at Marine Base axis.

“Let us tell ourselves the truth. If I knew how this place is, I will not have agreed for this project to go on. Look at the shanties and you’re telling me that the Government House Jetty is where you’ll have Governor’s Lodge.

“Who will come to stay here; to do what? How long can we continue to do this? Which meaningful person will drive on this road in the night without criminals blocking you?”

The governor said he will invite the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), the House of Assembly member representing Port Harcourt Constituency 2, Hon. Tonye S. Adoki and Port Harcourt Council Chairman for a meeting to deliberate on how to sanitise Marine Base.

Performing the flag-off, the Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Desmond Akawor, said the Government House Jetty was an addition to other completed projects within Government House, like the clinic and administrative building, for improved medical services, increased personnel efficiency and to enhance the aesthetics of Government House.

“You have built a state-of-the-art clinic. You have built a new administrative block. Behind the Government House, you’ve developed the fauna and flora. These can also be appreciated when you hear the whistles and chirps of the birds.

“Today, we are at the Government House Marine Jetty, an addition you’ve made to all the features in Government House. This is one jetty that defines the amphibious nature of our State.

Providing the description of the project, the Special Adviser on Special Projects to the Governor, George-Kelly D. Alabo, said the project has a Landing Jetty, a 170 metre reinforced concrete shoreline protection.

Alabo explained that the choice of reinforced concrete is because it will prevent corrosion from oxidation that is associated with using steel piled, despite the fact that it could be cathodically protected.

“There will be three major buildings. One will be a 2-storey building that will house 20 security personnel, all en suite; the Navy especially.

“We are also going to have another 2-storey building, which will serve as a dockyard. In it, we are going to have a restaurant, conveniences, small conference hall, a kitchen and a lounge.

“Then, we are also going to have the Governor’s lounge. That is going to be for the governor’s convenience anytime he comes to use this wharf.

“Finally, we are going to have two floating rams to make landing very easy. One will be exclusively for the governor, one for the public. We have about 11000 square meter of land, which is approximately 23 plots of land. We will have reinforced concrete pavement to serve as the car park.”

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