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Rivers State is Save, Save for who?

Especially now that the majority of the world's population is waiting patiently and impatiently for the economic meltdown to melt-up, life speculations are overbearing, especially in the so called third world countries. The effects of the economic crunch have had a toll in Nigeria and indeed, precisely in Rivers State. This has made a lot of people packed to their home towns from Rivers State when they couldn't pay their house rents after expiration of the paid one. And it is not only the economic crunch that is responsible for this show of shame on the people, but the landlords' crunch.

This evil by the landlords in Rivers State might not be unconnected with other landlords in other states but Christians are known as amiable and affable people and should behave as one. The Rivers State governor, Rt Hon. Chibuike Amaechi is known as a born again Christian and it is high time he helped this teaming suffering people in the hands of the gullible landlords to live in his state, since he is investment friendly. Or, is he not? The affairs of the landlords in Rivers State and their tenants have lost all components of humanity. Governor Amaechi, it is high time he beamed his searchlight in this area. The landlords are making the tenants suffer more than the Haitians who were recently devastated by natural disaster.

Rivers State may not have experienced natural disaster, but human-made disaster is expedient. The state once experienced militancy to its fullest before the presidential fraud called amnesty was granted to the alleged militants, other forms of militancy have also cropped up in the state, and people are killed silently. Was Mr. Charles Nsiegbe not killed and the police are yet to find the killer? Was the Action Congress chairman in the state, Mr. Suage Badey not made a state broadcast that people suspected to be assassins pursued him when he was coming back from the Omagwa Airport recently? Was a bank official not reportedly killed at the Garrison axis recently by gunmen police is yet to tell the good people of Rivers State who they are?

The new type of militants in Rivers State today is the landlords. While the other abrogated militants terrorized the state, the landlords are terrorizing the tenants with costly house rents. And one is bent to ask if Rivers State is no longer for the poor people. Do the people of Rivers State still believe in the axiom that says all hands are not equal?

While the governor asked the good people in Rivers State to pray for him and his family in a text message during the past yuletide, he ought to be the one to pray for the people because of what the 'common' man faces in the hands of these landlords in Rivers State. The rich are not too important than the poor that they continue asking for the latter's prayer all the time. The financially poor are also human beings who deserve the good things of life, too.

The humble beginning of Governor Amaechi should compel him to come to the aid of the teaming voiceless people in Rivers State. People are still in their humble background without any hope of the future, the future is bleak. People are moiling and toiling in Rivers State, yet they are not pitied but rather are subjected to moaning by the costly house rents the privileged landlords imposed on them. Renting an apartment in Rivers State is like kicking the sky. It is difficult.

Thinking about that, why can't the landlords ask their tenants to pay monthly or at worse three months rent instead of asking them to pay upfront house rent of two years or more, as the case may be. Imagine where one enters Rivers State with the sum of Five Hundred thousand naira to start a life, in a case the person is a beginner, just house rent will gulp the money. And somebody would be boasting that Rivers State is the Treasure base of the nation. Whose Treasure is it, the landlord or the tenant? There is high cost of living in Rivers State, even to see Amaechi is also costlier.

Against this backdrop, for one to be boasting of a save Rivers State is a crime to conscience. If one says Rivers State is save for investors, it is for the moguls the person is talking about, and not the poor. Do you know that stalls or shops in the Port Harcourt metropolis cost between fifteen thousand and above a month? Do the landlords consider how much profit the tenant could be making from his wares there in a month? And someone would be making noise on the papers that Rivers State is save, save for who?

Governor Amaechi and his titular House of Assembly should caution these landlords with the passage of a bill that would checkmate them. If it will be imprisonment, let it be, to any landlord that collects more than three months upfront house rent to any new or old tenant. The suffering in Rivers state is much. Or, would Governor Amaechi be happy if the financially poor people have no base in Rivers state, while himself coming from a humble background?

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. Mobile: +2348032552855. Email: [email protected]

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Articles by Odimegwu Onwumere