Plans are underway to recognize and preserve historical sites in Rivers State.
This is sequel to the scaling through first reading of “The Rivers State Heritage Preservation Bill 2022” on the floor of the House.
Presenting the bill, the sponsor, Hon. Martins Chike Amaewhule, said that the bill intends to establish an agency, with board members appointed by the Governor, that would be responsible for the recognition and preservation of such sites in Rivers State.
He recalled how the United Nations recognised historical sites, and how Nigerians who travel to Israel, Rome and other countries also visit historical sites in those countries.
The Obio/Akpor representative at the state Assembly informed his colleagues that the State legislature can make laws on the recognition of heritage sites because the subject is on the Concurrent list, and identified the Elephant forest in Andoni, the building where electricity was first switched on in Port Harcourt, bio-diversity park at Choba, graves of past great leaders and other historical sites as worthy of recognition and preservation.
Hon. Amaewhule said that it was time to preserve the historical sites in the state for record purposes, to boost the state’s tourism potential and revenue.
Other lawmakers in their various submissions lauded the idea describing it as timely and a potential revenue earner for the state.
They also called on Ikwerre people to refrain from selling away lands where shrines and other artefacts of cultural significance are located.
In his remarks, the Speaker, Rt.Hon.Ikuinyi- Ibani Awaji noted that the bill was well conceived, adding that Nigerians pay to visit tourist sites in other countries.
He reasoned that time has come to replicate same in the state to earn revenue, and refered the bill to House Committee on Culture.
Meanwhile, The Rivers State Building Maintenance Bill 2022 and The Rivers State Mental Health Bill 2022 were referred to relevant Committees for necessary actions.
In a separate development, The House has reversed the ownership of 868 (eight hundred and sixty eight) plots of land currently occupied by Daar Communications, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) at Ozuoba to the State Government for wrongful acquisitions.
The reverse was made after the presentation of a petition by the Chairman House Committee on Public complaints and petitions, Hon. Evans Bipi as signed by Ozuoba, Rumuokwashi, Rumuosi and Alakhahia communities to the House.
He said during the committee meetings it was discovered that DAAR Communications failed to provide the land documents of the said property.
The Speaker Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani while ruling on the issue asked DAAR Communications to open fresh negotiations with the State Government.