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Weeping For The Nation’s Retirees

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Apparently worried by public outcry, the Obasanjo administration established the National Pension Commission (PENCO), with an Act by the National Assembly, in order to give legal teeth to the commission. This was greeted with applause by the general public, especially the retirees.

Reason? In the past, an average retired Nigerian worker literally wailed over the non-payment of his pension and gratuities. There were confirmed reports that some retired workers even died before their entitlements could be paid.

Indeed, the contributions of Nigerian workers and employers to the contributory pension scheme now stand at N847 billion, according to confirmed report from the pension commission.

Presenting a lecture entitled “Poverty Reduction, Social Security and Pension Reform in Nigeria,” Dr. Kabir Ahmed, Director-General of the commission said the figure was the accumulated contributions as at March last year, and expressed happiness that with the pension scheme, the country has been able to build a pool of long-term financial resources.

His words: “Pension funds play a key role in mobilising long-term funds which have contributed significantly in providing the base for capital formation investment that could spur economic growth in Nigeria”. He, however, noted that the resources (funds) so far mobilised were still in search of attractive investment opportunities.

But it is rather unfortunate that some states in the country are yet to implement the laudable scheme in spite of the awareness campaigns mounted by the federal authorities, thus hanging the fate of their retired staff in the balance. This is sad to say the least.

Worse still, a section of the private sector had also reportedly refused to implement the National Pension Scheme, for some inexplicable reasons, an attitude that is giving concern to the management of the commission, in view of the anticipated  plights of the retired staff of such firms.

It is, therefore, imperative to ask the federal government to  wade into the issue and prevail on such defaulting state governments and firms to implement the pension scheme, in order to lay a good foundation for their retired staff.

Agreed, there had been fears over the ‘safety’ of the funds so far contributed to the scheme. But the provisions of the Pension Act, squarely allay such fears, especially the various levels of risks involved in the management of the contributed funds.

Again, the federal authorities should rise to the occasion and direct some of the contributors (state governments) to remit promptly, their contributions to the  contributory pension scheme. That way, the future of the retired staff would be assured.

Suffice it to say that one sure way to implement the National Pension Scheme is for the National Assembly to step into the matter. This, it could do, by directing the committee concerned to work with the  management of the National Pension Commission.

That way the committee would be able to identify the defaulting state governments, as well as a section of the private sector; and thereafter roll out sanctions against such recalcitrant states and firms.

The future of the Nigerian retired worker must be protected and assured, no matter whose ox is gored. Yes, time has come when a retired worker should smile home rather than cry home. The contributions by employers of labour to the pension  scheme, appear to be the only sure way.

All said, but when shall we stop to weep for the nation’s retirees for not getting their entitlements, years after retirement from active service? Their plights must end one day in Jesus name. Amen.

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Residents Nab Man Dumping Fresh Corpse In PH

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A middle-aged man has been caught dumping the fresh corpse of a male with suspected machete cuts on it.
The suspect identified as Israel Israel, who claimed to be a native of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, was apprehended, last Friday, while carting away a truck used in dumping a fresh male body on the Cherubim Road Bridge, Mile 3, Diobu axis in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
A local security personnel in the area, Richman Jogwe, said the suspect was apprehended with the truck used in dumping the dead body.
Jogwe said: “This truck was used in dumping a dead body with machete cuts in the face, head, leg and hands. So, in early hours of today, this man came to take the truck, and we got him arrested.”
He further disclosed that the suspect had been handed over to the Nkpolu Divisional Police Headquarters, Mile 3, Diobu, for interrogation.
In his reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was aware of the incident, but insisted he had no detailed information.
Omoni was quoted as saying: “I am aware that the man who brought the truck has been arrested. When I get the full details, I will let you know.”

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Wike, Real Madrid Sign Cooperation Ratification Pact

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Real Madrid and the Rivers State Government have signed a cooperation ratification agreement for promotion of sports amongst children and youths at the Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt.
The signing of the ratification of the framework for cooperation agreement between the international football club and the Rivers State Government took place over the weekend at the Auditorium of Real Madrid Sport City, Fuerzas Armadas Avenue, 402, Madrid, Spain.
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on behalf of the Rivers State Government; the Executive Vice President of the Real Madrid Foundation, Mr. Enrique Sanchez; and President of Interact Sports, Mr. Jihad Saade; jointly signed the agreement.
Speaking at the event, Wike commended the Real Madrid Foundation and the Interact Sports for the opportunity given to the Rivers State Government to partner with the Real Madrid Football Club in order to encourage Rivers’ youths to develop their talents and skill through sport.
He said the state government was pleased to ratify the agreement with the Real Madrid Foundation, and assured that everything has been done to fully kick-start the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who was accompanied by the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), explained that the initial intention was to admit only boys as students into the Real Madrid Academy, but following the huge application received from prospective female students, the state government had to reconsider the policy.
“We had to stop to include the girls. We are very ready to kick-start the school, and we believe that this is a very good opportunity for our people. We are honoured to be identified with the Real Madrid; it is a good brand for us.”
Wike reaffirmed his belief that sport was an important factor in social integration and in the promotion of ethical values such as solidarity, participation, team spirit, respect for one’s opponent and non-discrimination.
The Real Madrid Foundation maintained its resolve to continue to promote sports amongst children and youths in the understanding that sports contributes to the comprehensive development of a young person’s personality, offering positive alternatives to situations of risk and fostering healthy habits and ways of life amongst children and youths.
On his part, the President of Interact Sports, Jihad Saade, said that Interact Sports has been an active contributor to the dynamic transformation of Nigeria, moving forward with modernity without forgetting Nigeria’s rich culture and heritage.
All the parties mutually acknowledged that they have the necessary legal capacity and authorisation to execute and subscribe to the protocol.
The Real Madrid Foundation is the instrument by which Real Madrid uses to promote, both in Spain as well as abroad, the values inherent in sports, and the latter’s role as an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of the personality of those who practice it.

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…Omehia Hails Wike On Feat

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Former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, has said that The Sun Man of the Year 2020 Award conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was very fitting and timely.
Omehia also expressed gratitude to The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun and Sporting Sun for recognising the achievements of Wike for the third consecutive time.
In a statement, yesterday, Omehia said that Wike was deserving of the award considering the giant developmental strides he has recorded in Rivers State.
He described Wike as an astute administrator and a distinguished politician who listens to the needs of the people of Rivers State and implements them accordingly.
Omehia said that Wike has during his over six years’ stint as governor of Rivers, performed excellently in the different facets of the lives of the Rivers people.
He maintained that as someone who has had the opportunity of occupying the coveted office, he can bear testimony to the fact that the Nyesom Wike-led administration has done excellently well.
According to Omehia, “his records in infrastructural development, security, urban and rural development, human resources development, including his political prowess, are unrivalled.
“Governor Wike has deployed the resources of the state to the benefit of the people, justifying the mandate massively and duly given to him by the people of Rivers State.”
Omehia also called on the opposition political parties in the state to emulate the leadership qualities of Wike, and join hands with the performing governor to move the state forward.
While noting that in unity, the state stands to gain in all ramifications, Omehia stated that division would do no one any good, irrespective of his status or political affiliation.
He further said he was not regretting his performance during his short stay in Government House, Port Harcourt as governor of the state, saying that he left significant landmarks for residents of the state.

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