Posted by Fred Mordi on
The population of residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has risen by 400 per cent in the last five years....
The population of residents of Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, has risen by 400 per cent in the last five years.
Dr. Peter Odili, Governor, Rivers made this known in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, while flagging off a conference on: ‘Democracy, Security and Development: Implications for the Oil and Gas Industry in the Niger Delta.’
The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and the Centre for Advanced Social Science (Cass) organised the two-day workshop, which drew a broad spectrum of participants that cut across the academia, experts on international relations, representatives of oil companies and some members of oil-producing communities.
Odili attributed this exponential growth in population to the influx of both local and foreign investors into the state, following efforts of his administration to open up the economy. The increase in population of people living in the state’s capital is also occasioned by the re-location of the headquarters of most multi-national oil companies from Lagos to Port Harcourt and the crises in Warri, Delta State, which put the businesses of many white-owned firms in jeopardy.
The Rivers state governor said this rapid population growth obviously has serious security implications, adding that his administration has procured about 130 vehicles for the Nigeria Police to enhance their operations. Noting also that social infrastructure is closely linked to development, he said the government has taken steps to upgrade and expand the existing level of infrastructure in the state-especially in terms of constructing roads-to cater for the large population. He stated that his administration has raised the level of electricity generation from the Power Holding Company of Nigeria Plc (PHCN) from 20 mega watts, when he first came into office in 1999, to 80 megawatts. He added that the third phase of the state’s ongoing independent power plant (IPP), which is nearing completion, would add 480 megawatts of electricity to the existing wattage, when it is eventually commissioned.
Admitting that Port Harcourt, like other Niger Delta cities face a lot of infrastructural and security challenges, he said his administration would continue to dialogue with the relevant stakeholders to ensure that it meets its target of bringing development to the state.
Port Harcourt is one of the most expensive cities in Nigeria. The presence of the oil multinationals and many oil service firms, which pay their staff handsomely, has raised the cost of living in the state, which has acute accommodation problems as well. The cost of goods and services is equally high in the city. All these pose challenges to the low salaried workers that reside in Port Harcourt.
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