As the presidential and National Assembly elections go underway across the country, thousands of non indigenes have fled Rivers State.
But it is not only non-indigenes who are fleeing. Even top politicians of the state origin have moved their families into hotels as the election fever grips the state.
The steady exodus of non indigenes is said to have started on Monday when members of the Hausa community boarded trucks conveying cattle and foodstuff to the state and left for the North.
A Port Harcourt resident, who gave his name as Briggs, told PREMIUM TIMES that Hausa traders and young men who sell recharge cards near Genesis Cinema, Hotel Presidential and Old Port Harcourt town have all left.
“Normally, you see a lot of Hausa boys selling recharge cards near the Presidential Hotel, Genesis Cinema and in the many places in the Old Port Harcourt Township. But since Monday, many of them started leaving and by today, you can’t see any of them around,” said Briggs.
“I learnt they take the election very seriously and believe that they may be trapped here if crisis erupts after the result of the election is announced.”
Many Akwa Ibom indigenes in the state are also said to have packed and moved out of Port Harcourt, leading to hours of traffic logjam along Port Harcourt/Aba Road and Port Harcourt/Ikot Abasi axis of the East-West Road on Friday.
When PREMIUM TIMES visited some parts of Port Harcourt city, the streets and major roads have been deserted while social centers like Genesis Cinema and Sylverbird Cinema had closed their doors.
The ever-busy Hotel Presidential Junction and its environs, where Hausa men trade in foreign currency, has been deserted while more and more families relocate to hotels in the new GRA.
At about 8.45 p.m Friday, PREMIUM TIMES spotted a top politician in the state checking his family into a hotel near Casablanca, a popular nightclub in the New GRA.