SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTUREPost Comment SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE Nigeria
Education: The coastal people had early con tact with Europeans since the 15th century, but western education was not introduced till 1864, when the first missionary schools were established in Bonny. However, by 1916, primary schools had been established in other parts of the State such as Isiokpo, Omoku, Abua and Okrika. The first secondary school, Bonny High School, was established in 1890 by the Anglican Mission and later became Government College.
By 1980, the number of secondary and primary schools was eighty one and 797, respectively. By 1999, the number of Government primary and secondary schools had increased to 2,805 and 243, respectively. Secondary schools are spatially con centrated in few towns, mostly LGA headquarters and particularly in Port Harcouit. Tertiary institutions in the State include the University of Port Harcouit established by the Federal Government (1975); Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Choba, Port Harcouit, founded in 1980 by the State govern ment.
School of Health Technology, Port Harcouit, established by the State government; two Polytechnic Colleges, one established by the feder al government at Omoku and the other by the State government at Bori; State College of Education at Rurnuolumeni, Nkpolu Oroworukwo and Ndele; and School of Nursing and Midwifery at Rumueme, Port Harcourt. There are numerous satellite campuses of the Universities of Lagos, Benin, Calabar, Nsukka, and other vocational educational institu tions.
Health Facilities: In each of the twentythree local government headquarters, there is at least one State hospital, while places like Port Harcouit and Ahoada have six and two hospitals, respectively. There are numerous private health centres, in addition to wellequipped institutional clinics.
According to Salawu, the Rivers State government, in 1980, had 190 healthcare institutions distributed throughout the then seven LGAs as follows: Ahoada LGA (31); Bori LGA (18); Degema LGA (13); lkwerreEtche LGA (41); Bonny LGA (11); OkrikaTai Eleme LGA (15); and Port Harcourt LGA (21), (Salawu, 1993). These health care institutions include hospitals, maternity centres, and lately primary health centres where curative medical services are offered. Nowadays, emphasis is placed on maximum accessibility of the people to healthcare delivery systems, and on preventive medicine.
Transport and Communications: The three modes of transportation are road, rail, and inland waterway. Because of the noted ecological prob lems, intrastate road networks are poorly developed. Riverine areas are not yet linked up with the settlements in the uoland areas. Rail and air transportation serve mainly interstate rather than intra state movements. The difficult terrain of the area imposes a restriction on the rate and extent of transport development and thus large parts of the state still remain isolated or inaccessible.
Recently, the State Government had established the Rivers State Transport Corporation (RTC) to facilitate interaction within the State and with other parts of the country. There are many pri vate transport organisations such as ABC Line, Crystal Line, Edo Line, Chisco and others that provide transport services to other big cities in the country. There are only 22km of rail road within Rivers State. Nevertheless, the importance of the railway to the State lies in the services it provides the port of Port Harcourt.
The eastern area of the railway system links with Nguru, Kaduna, Jos and Maiduguri, all in the northern parts of the country. Within Rivers State, water transportation is as important as road transportation since about two thirds of the State lies within the Niger Delta. The port of Port Harcourt is the second largest in Nigeria. Port Harcourt has one of the three major international airports in the country. Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, was commissioned in 1978. It covers an area of about forty sq. km. and has facilities to accommodate all types of aircrafts, and serves as the gateway tor aircraft travelling to the outside world.
Tourism and Recreation: Rivers State is very rich in tourist attractions. With its long expanses of beautiful coastal sandy beaches stretching from Opobo through Brass to Koluama, numerous long and winding creeks, streams, and rivers as well as forests with their associated shrines and wildlife, the tourism potential of Rivers State is yet to be fully tapped. As a major theatre in the slave traffic and palm oil trade of the midnineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it is endowed with war relics, artifacts and historical monuments.
Today, the State is the cen tre of the petroleum industry in the country and the home of several other modern industrial establish ments. Rivers State culture is rich in festivals, ceremonies, dances, music and crafts, and these are as varied and diverse as the people whose hospitality has become a legend. The rich culture of the State, which is rooted in its unique environment of lakes, creeks, rivers, forests and swamps, provides the centre point of its tourism development.
Since the establishment of the Tourism and Hotels Corporation in 1970, the Rivers State Government has embarked upon several tourism projects.Notable among these are the Isaka Holiday Resort on a twentythree hectare island about one nautical mile from Port Harcourt, the zoo in TransAmadi and the Isaac Boro Leisure Park along Aba Road in Port Harcourt. Other projects include, the renovation of the Jubilee Park in the Old Township and the establishment of a museum in the Secretariat Complex. These projects have been developed as a social service with the aim of providing facilities for sightseeing and recreation for residents of the State and those visiting.
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