We shut Port Harcourt mall to prevent loss of lives, says Rivers government
Rivers State Government has explained that Spar Market, the occupier of Port Harcourt mall was restricted from carrying out the Black Friday sales from November 18 to 27, 2022 to avoid loss of lives and fatalities.
According to a statement issued, yesterday, by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Chris Fineborne, the closure was based on unfortunate past incidents crowd gathering, the recent incident at Port Harcourt Polo Club grounds, where a religious group held a gathering and over 40 persons lost their lives due to poor crowd management.
The commissioner described the criticisms against the government’s action as politically motivated and urged the public to discard it.
The statement reads: “The Rivers State Government is committed to acting proactively going forward. This was the reason why the government decided to engage with the management of Spar to ascertain that necessary environmental, health and safety concerns were addressed by the company before this year’s Black Friday sales, which will likely to attract large crowd.
“With the Black Friday sales a few days away, the Rivers State Ministry of Environment dispatched a letter to the company, requesting to allow ministry officials, led by the Commissioner, Emenike Eke, to visit and meet with Spar management to ascertain the company’s readiness to manage the envisaged crowd and other issues that the sales might trigger.
“Despite giving clear 48 official hours notice to Spar through the letter, which was duly received and acknowledged, the Supermarket officials were unavailable to receive the team from the ministry, led by the commissioner. The team remained in Spar premises for about 20 minutes without any official of the supermarket willing or ready to engage the team.”
He said when it became obvious that Spar management was intensifying advertisement to go ahead with the Black Friday sales without meeting with the Rivers State Government officials to address the issues raised, the government had no other option but to approach the court to stop Spar from proceeding with their planned promotional sales.
Attempts to reach the management of Spar failed as the available phone number was not reachable as at the time this story was filed.