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NUPENG Calls Off Strike …Reaches Agreement With FG

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The National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers
(NUPENG), has called off its proposed nationwide strike following agreements
reached by the union, the Federal Government and other stakeholders at a
meeting yesterday.

The meeting between officials of the Federal Government and
the leadership of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers
(NUPENG) was reconvened yesterday in Abuja after the first session on Wednesday
yielded no specific agreements.

The closed door meeting, however, resolved the faceoff that
has caused a major fuel scarcity in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja
and a proposed nationwide shutdown of fuel supply.

The National President of NUPENG, Igwe Achese had expressed
optimism at government’s commitment to the dialogue after Wednesday’s meeting.

The bone of contention was the outstanding payment of fuel
subsidies to certain oil marketers affiliated to NUPENG.

The meeting had in attendance the Secretary to the
Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, the Minister of Labour, Emeka
Wogu, and the Minister of State for Finance, Yerima Ngama among others.

It would be recalled
that NUPENG had threatened to begin a nationwide strike on August 23, if
the government did not pay petroleum subsidy arrears owed depot owners.

The President of the union, Mr Igwe Achese, who briefed
journalists on August 20, said that the delay in the payment had impacted
negatively on workers in the oil and gas sector

He had warned that if the money was not paid, the union would
embark on an indefinite strike.

Other issues raised by the union included the need for
government to repair the nation’s roads, especially those in the East-West
area, to ensure steady supply of petroleum products.

The union also asked the government to begin the
Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) of the refineries, to boost fuel supply and
condemned the inhuman treatment meted out to casual workers in some of the oil
and gas companies.

It urged the government to intervene to correct the
anomalies in order to ensure industrial peace in the country.

However, the Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Workers (NUPENG), on Wednesday maintained some skeletal loading of petroleum
products in Lagos, in spite of their face-off with the Federal Government.

Chairman, Southwest chapter of the union, Alhaji Tokunbo
Korodo, gave the petroleum products loading update in an interview with
newsmen.

He said that the skeletal loading was in anticipation that
the ongoing dialogue between the Federal Government and the union would be
fruitful.

“Loading activities in Lagos is very low, while the entire
Abuja has been grounded without petrol.

“We in South-West are waiting for the outcome of the meeting
of our national body with the Minister of Labour that is scheduled for today,
before we will know the next line of action,’’ he said.

Korodo urged the Federal Government to publish names of
marketers they have paid subsidy claims.

He expressed displeasure at what he called the inability of
government to meet its earlier promise to pay outstanding subsidy claims within
two weeks.

The Vice-Chairman of Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD), Zenon
II Unit, Apapa, Mr Samuel Oyebode, said that they were optimistic about the
outcome of their union’s meeting with government.

He said that loading of petroleum product in Apapa has been
very slow, after the two-day Eid-el-Fitri holidays.

Oyebode urged government to avert the pending threat of a
nationwide strike by fast tracking the payment of marketers’ subsidy claims.

Another NUPENG official, the Secretary of PTD Time Unit of
NUPENG, Mr Kabiru Ademuyiwa,  said that
there was need for a truce in the ongoing disagreement between the union and
government.

“Marketers who borrowed money from banks are faced with lots
of challenges for not paying back on time; if care is not taken, banks might
seize their property— if they refused to pay as at when due,” he said.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Downstream
Petroleum Sector, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe has flayed the National Union of
Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers Union(NUPENG) for threatening to lay down
tools over non-payment of subsidy fund by the Federal Government.

Senator Abe while speaking with journalists under the
umbrella of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of
Journalists(NUJ), Rivers State Chapter on Wednesday in Port Harcourt said
NUPENG’s planned strike was suspicious.

He submitted that the strike would amount to truncating due
process in the ongoing investigation over the fuel subsidy saga.

Rather than embarking on a strike as threatened by the body,
the Senator urged the labour body to have rethink.

“Our position is simple’’, Abe said,’’ if there are those
whose supplies are controversial such person should be tried in the proper
courts of law. ‘’

The Senator representing Rivers South-East maintained that
the grey areas of the report have to be cleared before any payment would be
made, adding that,’’ nobody can force Nigerian people to pay for what they did
not receive.

‘’ If it is on the disputed issues federal government cannot
pay them. Those cleared should be paid, while those not cleared should be
tried’’, he stressed.

Abe however identified over reliance on oil as a major
threat to the growth and unity of the country.

‘’ The challenge of Nigeria is that the country is not
productive enough…To fight over 2 million of barrels of crude per day is not
helpful. Oil is not enough to stay the economy, there is so much in this
country that we can tap, ‘’Abe declared.

He argued that the oil economy which Nigeria operates was
also responsible for the weak federalism it was experiencing, stressing that
all the federating states need to contribute resources to the federal purse
equally.

For him, once the issue of national resource has been
diversified it would be easy to run a federal system and sustain the unity of
the nation, as he pointed out that the current scenario does not promote equity
and balance.

Calling for leadership and values clarification Senator Abe
canvassed for a situation where the citizenry would be resensitised on moral
standards and integrity .’’ A situation where we celebrate wealth more than
others then we are at the verge of celebrating corruption. We need to celebrate
good character, integrity and honesty, ‘’ he added.

Meanwhile Senator Abe has idenified communication,
consultation, respect for laws and order as recipe for good governance at the
third tier of government.

Speaking on the topic,’’ Legislative- Executive
Collaboration: Recipe for Good Governance’’ at a two day workshop organised by
the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Local Government Affairs for
key administrators of Local Councils on Thursday in Port Harcourt, the Senator
argued that lack of mutual respect by each of the arm was responsible for
inefficient administration at the local level.

He believed that unnecessary intrusion by either of the arm
of government equally breed bad blood and therefore urged for checks and
balances.

‘’ I will be glad to hear from Councillors who take on the
Chairmen on what is right ‘’, he advised.

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Wike, Pride Of Nigeria’s Democracy, NUJ Affirms

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The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has described Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, as an exhibit of pride to democracy in Nigeria.
The NUJ also noted that Wike has redefined governance through demonstration of democracy in action with his service to Rivers people.
The National leadership, the 36 State Executives, and the FCT, including members of the NUJ across the country made the assertion in Port Harcourt during the inspection tour led by the Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim of both completed and ongoing projects being undertaken by the governor in the state.
The National President of the NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, said the 1999 Constitution bestows on the media the responsibility to hold governments accountable to the people.
Isiguzo posited that having placed the projects side-by-side with the expectations of the populace, it was obvious that the governor’s investment in critical infrastructure would remain lifelong empowerment tools for the people.
”We were at the Mother and Child Hospital. We took time to look at the facilities there. That can easily be said to be first of its kind in the country.
”At the much-talked about Real Madrid Football Academy, where they are going to train the young ones, we saw that they have good facilities. At the moment, they have also offered admission to 140 pupils.
”That’s also to catch-them-young, and I want to believe that by the time this kind of resources is continuously invested in sports development in Nigeria, it’s just a matter of time, it will gain its pride of place in sporting world.”
On her part, the National President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Mrs Ladi Bala said that the projects she had seen were entirely unique, unprecedented and very uncommon in the country.
According to Bala, the Emmanuel Chinwenwo Aguma Judges’ Quarters stand out as first of its kind in Nigeria, with its serene ambiance that would translate into enhancing the productivity of judges of Rivers origin.
”I believe that democracy is at work in Rivers State, and, for Rivers people, I want to congratulate them, and to say, this is the true reflection of what democracy should be across board.
”I want to call on other governors across the country to borrow a leaf from what the governor of Rivers State is doing. Wike is working, and we are very proud of what we have seen here”, she added.
In his reaction, the National Internal Auditor of NUJ, Muhammad Tukur, stated that Wike was a committed leader with the vision of uplifting the standard of life of his people.
Tukur, who expressed gratitude to Wike for his support to the NUJ National Conference in Port Harcourt, said that his show of love for journalists confirms his commitment to the welfare of the people.
On his part, Chairman of Oyo State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ismail Ademola Babalola, asserted that the Mother and Child Hospital, and the Real Madrid Football Academy were part of projects Governor Wike was using to secure a productive future for the youths of the state because they meet global standard.
Also speaking, the Vice President of NUJ North Central Zone, Chief Wilson Bako, commended the quality of the various roads and flyover bridges constructed in the Port Harcourt metropolis to make the city tourists’ destination of choice.
In the same vein, the Vice Chairman of NUJ in Jigawa State, Comrade Larai Musa, said she has confirmed all that the news media had carried about Wike and his projects’ mantra, and asserted that it was leaders like him that were needed at the national level.
Also, Comrade Ikechukwu Ordu of Enugu State Council of the NUJ noted the need for other political leaders to emulate Wike in providing dividends of democracy to Rivers people and changing the fortunes of his state.
Also from the Enugu State Council of the NUJ, Comrade Ugochukwu Chukwudieke, said she was completely overwhelmed by what Wike has done in constructing the Okoro-Nu-Odo Flyover Bridge, Rumuogba Flyover Bridge, and Rebisi Flyover Bridge delivered within one year.
Chukwudieke also praised the quality of work on the Rumuola Flyover Bridge, Ogbun-nu-Abali Flyover Bridge, GRA Junction Flyover Bridge, and the Orochiri-Wurukwo flyover project at Waterlines Junction by Aba Road.

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Stop Constitution Review, CNG Tasks NASS

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG), yesterday, called on the National Assembly to suspend the review of the 1999 Constitution, describing it as ill-timed and uncalled for, particularly in the face of the growing agitation for Nigeria’s break-up.

It also urged the National Assembly to invoke the doctrine of necessity to organize a Biafra referendum as the final step towards the separation of the Igbo from the rest of Nigeria.

This was part of the presentation which CNG made before the leadership of the National Assembly against the backdrop of the disturbances created by certain interest groups in the South-East, in the form of the agitation for a separate state of Biafra.

Briefing journalists in Abuja after the presentation, CNG Spokesman, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, noted that the Biafra agitation in the South-East had turned violent, alleging that the aim of the unrest in the region was to instigate reprisals by northerners against people from other parts of the country.

He said, “We demanded the immediate suspension of the ongoing exercise for the review of the 1999 Constitution and to concentrate on the first priority of determining who and what actually constitutes Nigeria as a nation in the present circumstance in which the Igbo, by taking up arms against the Nigerian state for the third time, have foreclosed every hope for the rest of us to continue coexisting with them as one nation.

“In order to achieve the final separation of the Igbo from the rest of Nigeria, we also demanded the NASS to organize a referendum by seeking the cover of the same Doctrine of Necessity invoked by Nigeria’s federal parliament that paved way for former President Goodluck Jonathan’s takeover by declaring the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua unfit.

“We further demanded NASS to prevail on the Federal Government of Nigeria to invite the United Nations as well as the African Union and ECOWAS, to initiate the process of self-determination to mandate the Biafrans out of the Nigerian union by leveraging on the several relevant international treaties and conventions to which Nigeria is a signatory.

“Today, everyone can see that the diabolical scheme planned and exhibited in the actions and clamours of IPOB, supported morally and politically by the vast majority of the pliant and affrighted Igbo elites, politicians, traditional rulers, business persons, and the larger population of this ethnic group has pushed Nigeria to the precipice.

“We are convinced that this renewed violent determination of the Igbo to see through the secession of the South-East from Nigeria is now real and cannot be avoided or deferred any longer without terrible consequences.

“In order to avoid such mishaps and unnecessary devastation on all sides, particularly the South-East whose leaders and agitators are now bent on driving it over the brink into a catastrophe, CNG is of the view that resort to available means of actualising the separation of the South-East from the rest of Nigeria is today a vital task that must be undertaken by all.”

Suleiman also argued that in order to prevent a descent into another civil war, and to forestall mass killings and untold sufferings, CNG has committed to the call for a referendum that will finally separate the South-East from Nigeria.

He added, “In this connection, we are hoping the NASS will come up with a framework to be agreed upon in the course of the referendum and its final implementation in the South-East or any enclave that wishes to secede from Nigeria.

All identified indigenes (Igbos) of the enclave or entity that called for secession (South-East) must leave the territory of Nigeria and assemble in their designated enclave for the purpose of the exercise.

“The outcome of the referendum shall be final, irreversible and shall not be reviewed or reconsidered for any other reasons. Citizens of the breakaway enclave shall be deprived of any automatic rights to return to the territory of the rump Nigeria, or to be admitted to live in any of its parts.

“We are aware that all this while, the North continued to bear the brunt of the violent agitations for secession with equanimity, stoical calm and resignation.

“Therefore, as the CNG recommits to the pursuit of a final constitutional separation with Biafra, we urge the North to remain the bulwark of respect, integrity, dignity, decorum, tradition, decency, morality, civilization, etiquette, good behaviour, politeness, accommodation, and all other positive traits with the assurance that the good will ultimately prevail over evil.”

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PDP’s Performance Has Diminished APC In Rivers, Wike

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike says with what his administration has achieved, and is still doing, in terms of delivery of critical infrastructure, nobody in the state needs to talk about the All Progressives Congress (APC) anymore.
The governor made the assertion at the flag-off of construction work of the Ogbum-nu-Abali/Eastern-Bypass Road project, yesterday, in Port Harcourt.
Wike explained that the previous administration politicised the reconstruction of the Ogbum-nu-Abali/Eastern-Bypass road and actually failed to accomplish it.
The governor said he has defied those political intrigues, and has genuinely interfaced with the people to understand the economic benefits a dualised road in the city centre could attract.
According to Wike, with the level of infrastructural development around Ogbum-nu-Abali, there would be a spike in the value of property and enhanced economic activities.
“I know that the people of Ogbum-nu-Abali resisted the dualisation of this road because of lack of information. When I met with the community leaders, they said look, they have houses bequeathed to them by their grandparents.
“I told them that whether they like it or not, if I don’t dualise it today, tomorrow somebody else will do it. And you don’t know who is coming.
“So, it’s better done now that I am a governor than when you don’t know who is coming. And the economic benefit of this road is too much, which you may not understand now.”
Speaking further, Wike stated that the entire Old Government Residential Area (GRA) has been given a facelift with quality road projects.
“This is the only place remaining. Old GRA cannot be like that and then we will leave this place. We have done the Rebisi flyover, the Oru-Abali flyover. There is no way this place will not be dualised at all. It’s not possible.”
Performing the flag-off, the member representing Port Harcourt Federal Constituency 1, Hon Kenneth Anayo Chikere, said the formal flag-off ceremony has ended several speculations about the possibility of executing the project.
“This day witnesses the eventual actualisation of the Ogbum-nu-Abali/Eastern Bypass Road project. Thank you governor for the Ogbum-nu-Abali/Eastern Bypass Road project!
“Thank you governor, for the Ogbum-nu-Abali internal roads, completed, commissioned and profitably in use. Thank you for being a worthy son and governor! Thank you for the exemplary leadership, the infrastructural and human development in all sectors.”
The Rivers State Commissioner for Works, Elloka Tasie-Amadi, while giving the project description said the dualisation of the Ogbum-nu-Abali Road will extend all the way to the ongoing Eastern Bypass dualisation.
“Today, Ogbum-nu-Abali Road is a 7.3m wide single carriage way, with a cross section of approximately 8.5m width inclusive of the drains on either side of the road. After reconstruction and project completion, we will have a cross section of 18.1m width on the axis extending to Eastern Bypass and 17.35m width along Ogbum-nu-Abali Road.
“This cross section is made up of 2 carriageways, each measuring 7.3m wide, both of which will be separated by a median of 1.5m width along the extension to Eastern Bypass and a median of 750cm width along Ogbum-nu-Abali Road.
It includes 1m wide drains on either side of the road, and of course, street lighting to ease movement at night as well as enhance security.
The commissioner said, the project like many others commissioned or ongoing will be built to design specifications aimed at guaranteeing minimum life-span requirement of 30 years.

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