Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has inaugurated the State Government's Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks, with a charge to the Task Force to sanitise the streets and return Port Harcourt to its Garden City status.
Inaugurating the Committee on Wednesday at the Government House, Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said that the Task Force is a product of law, following his assent of the Rivers State Street Trading, Illegal Markets & Motor Parks (Prohibition) Bill No. 8 of 2019 .
He said that all the operatives of the Task Force have been profiled by the Department of State Services and the Police, while those found wanting have been weeded out. He said more appointments will be made into the Task Force to replace those screened out by the security agencies.
He said: "All of us love the state and we must love it fully. Not in half measures. When we build roads, before you know what is happening, the roads are taken over by street traders and illegal motor parks.
"The Force has the responsibility of cleaning up the streets. Ensure that nobody trades on roads. You must wear your vests and identity cards during your work period ".
He said that mobile courts have been established on a Zonal Basis. The Governor charged the operatives to take arrested street traders, mechanics and illegal motor park operators to the mobile courts for prosecution .
Governor Wike warned the Task Force operatives against extorting money from street traders and mechanics. He said any operative indicted for bribe taking would be sacked and replaced.
"We are not inaugurating you to extort money from traders and mechanics. You will start work on Monday August 26. We have given the street traders enough time to leave the streets. The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information should continue the sensitization announcements.
"We will give each zone two Hilux Vans for Operations. You must keep Port Harcourt clean. You must make sure that you work in shifts and close by 8pm at night. My interest is to return Port Harcourt to what it used to be", he said.
Earlier, Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo said that 460 operatives were recruited from the 23 Local Government Areas of the state. He said each Local Government Area contributed 20 Operatives to the Task Force.
He said that the street life of Port Harcourt has been compromised by street trading and illegal motor parks. He said that the Task Force will sanitise the roads.
Danagogo said that the State Government has taken the biometrics of all the operatives after they were profiled by security agencies. He said that 13 Zones have been created for the operation of the Task Force.