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Bayelsa Health Workers Embark On Strike

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Protesting junior health
workers in Bayelsa State civil service have shut down all the major Ebola virus disease surveillance centers established by the state as they demand their unpaid promotion arrears and allowances.
The health workers, under the auspices of Joint Health Sector Unions in the State, took to the streets of Yenagoa and declared a three-day warning strike to demand for payment of outstanding promotion arrears and allowances.
The strike action paralyzed activities at state and federal owned hospitals used as designated Ebola Virus Surveillance centres by the State government including the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa and the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri.
The state government had two days ago announced the establishment of 103 surveillance centres to tackle any outbreak of Ebola virus in the state.
The announcement, however sparked controversies amongst residents who argued the rationale behind the setting up of such centres, especially as no case of Ebola virus had been established in the state.
Although no such centres exist anywhere in the state according to The Tide investigations but officials of the State Ministry of Health claimed the strike action would not affect the Ebola Virus surveillance activities of the designated centres,
Already the strike action of the junior health workers and the five weeks strike by doctors had paralyzed medical services in the State.
At the physiotherapy department of the Federal Medical Centre, patients were forced out of the complex by representatives of the various health unions who locked up the facility.
Also, hundreds of patients were dismissed at the General Out Patients Department where consultant physicians were rendering skeletal services. Some critically ill patients on admission who were managed by consultants and nurses were also ejected.
According to a relation of an ejected patient, Moses Salo, “This is one strike too many, first the members of Nigerian Medical Association and now the other categories of health workers are joining them.  It is very pathetic that no one cares for the interest of patients. My mother has been under intensive care and managed by the consultants who are not part of the strike, but this time around even the nurses and others have started their own.”
“It is so bad that this is happening because my mother was referred to this place because the private hospital I took her to lacked expertise to handle the ailment, where do we go from here?” Moses Salo lamented.
Mr Simon Bernabas, Coordinator of the Joint Health Sector Unions at FMC, Yenagoa said that the various unions were compelled to embark on the indefinite strike after a three day warning strike. in June.
He said that the refusal of FMC, Yenagoa to pay promotion arrears and other outstanding allowances currently being enjoyed at other Federal Medical Centres made the strike inevitable. .
When contacted, the Chief Medical Director of FMC,Yenagoa Dr Ebitimi Etebu said that the outstanding arrears of allowance was due to funding shortfall.
“The strike is malicious because it is a national thing, we have explained to the workers that funds to pay them is not with us here and that they will be paid. But they just held a meeting and went on demonstrations on the streets, the management is not part of that, they are on their own,” Etebu said.

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Niger Delta

Activist Tasks FG On Reconstruction Of Eleme Road

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An environmental rights activist, Celestine Akpobari, has urged the Federal Government to be committed to their words in ensuring the total reconstruction of the Eleme/Ogoni axis of the East—West Road, to avoid a repeat of demonstration and barricade of the road as recently witnessed. 

He warned that a repeat of the recent demonstration and barricade of the road by protesting youths would be more serious with dare consequences, unless the Federal Government lives up to its promise.

Akpobari, in a media interaction on Monday in Port Harcourt, said that they agreed to suspend action on the total barricade of the road on Sunday, following several meetings and agreement reached with the Federal Government to start work immediately on the reconstruction of the road.

“This is not the first time this kind of assurance and promise was being made by the Federal Government, which they later abandoned.

“We are watching the unfolding events. We only suspended the action after one week because series of meetings and consultations were made through the Ministry of Niger Delta, and assurance was given.

“The Minister of Niger Delta Ministry, Godswill Akpabio, has assured that N2.5 billion had been released for compensation payments, in addition to the initial N2.5 billion that was released.

“Already, some machines have been mobilised to site to start work immediately, as they were ready, even while we were there, but we told them we will vacate when it was time, and we left after our thanksgiving on Sunday.

“We were told by the first contractor for the project; the RCC, that they were waiting for mobilisation to commence work, but because of the new design added, it appears another contractor was consulted.

“ If for any reason they abandoned this road project, which is an all important road that generates huge daily revenue to the Federal Government, we will have no other option, but to resume the action that was suspended, and that will have a more dare consequences, because even the shop and businesses there will be affected, which I don’t pray it happens”, Akpobari said.

The rights activist, however, commended the youths of the area for their resilience, even when the military were continuously parading the place to provoke and harass them on their peaceful action, for which they refused to go wild, and called on the Federal Government to finish the Eleme—Ogoni axis of the East-West Road on record time..

By: Corlins Walter

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Niger Delta

Former First Lady Tasks Women On Peace Building, Conflict Management

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Former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, has called on women to deploy their God-given talents to pursue peace in the society.
She also tasked world leaders to support peace efforts to ensure peace in the Korean Peninsula.
Mrs Jonathan gave the charge Saturday during a virtual International Leadership Conference (ILC) organised by the Universal Peace Federation (UPF) tagged: ‘Toward a Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula’.
A statement from the media and communications officer of the Goodluck Jonathan’s foundation, Mr Wealth Ominabo quoted the former first Lady as saying:
“Women are home builders and constitute majority of caregivers around the world. As critical stakeholders in the peace building process, we must therefore discharge this role with grace, so that together, we can break new grounds and enthrone the world of our dreams. Women are natural peace-builders who play key roles in maintaining peace in our society.
“We, the women, brought our skills in conflict management and reconciliation to bear on the peace processes that resolved the long-drawn crises in Liberia and Northern Ireland.
“This natural capacity of women is recognized by both, United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and the United States’ Women, Peace and Security Act of 2017, which give women a crucial role in conflict management.
“I therefore call on women organisations to intensify their efforts by deploying our God-given talents on the leadership of North and South Korea to see the need to embrace peace”.
She emphasized that peace is critical to achieving sustainable development and called on leaders of North and South Korea to commit to peace in the Korean Peninsula.
“We call on leaders of North and South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan to support peace efforts.
“Peace is the fertile ground upon which we can nurture development and progress and build hope for our citizens. North and South Korea should set aside their political differences and come together in the interest of global peace and harmony.
“They should remember they once lived together in unity, love and happiness. I know that peace in the Korean Peninsula will be a bonus to global development and a boost to world peace”, she added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Constitutes Committee On Chieftaincy Tussle

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The Bayelsa State Government has set up a seven-man committee to look into the lingering chieftaincy tussle over the Amananaowei stool of Aghoro II community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
It also approved a 5-member Constitution Drafting Committee as part of efforts to resolve the conflict bedeviling the coastal community.
The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, inaugurated both committees when he met with the Chiefs and other critical stakeholders of Aghoro II Community at his office in Government House, Yenagoa.
In a statement issued at the weekend by his media aide, Mr Doubara Atasi, the Deputy Governor, restated the need for the contending parties involved in the chieftaincy dispute to give peace a chance.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo expressed confidence that the committees would do a good job even as government is poised to do everything within its authority to ensure peaceful resolution of the conflict.
He charged the 7-man committee headed by the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Douye Naingba, to objectively examine all the issues raised by the various parties and report its findings and recommendations to government within three weeks.
Senator Ewhrudjakpo commended the two main factions for respecting government directives on the matter and urged them to maintain the kind gesture by cooperating with the committees in the interest of the community.
“We have set up a committee that will deal with all the parties involved. They know what to do. They will either bring all parties together at the same time or they will bring each party at a time. You have to cooperate fully with the committee. We are going to make copies of all the documents, which all the interested parties have submitted to government for this assignment”, he said.
“I want to thank God and all of you for maintaining the peace. Since you left here the other day, we have not heard anything untoward and this is what we want to hear, see and encourage. There is no need for us to fight because we all are brothers and sisters. We should allow love, oneness and gentility to prevail over jealousy, selfishness and greed”, he added.
Members of the 7-member Committee include the Technical Adviser to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, Dr Boma Spero-Jack, Chief Godspower Keku, one representative each from the ministries of Justice, Local Government Administration, Ekeremor
Local Government Council and a nominee by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security.
While the Five-man Aghoro II Community Constitution Drafting Committee is made up of a representative each from the Chiefs’ Council, CDC, women and youth groups with an official of the Ministry of Justice representing government as Chairman.
The Committee, which is also expected to complete its assignment within three weeks, has the Aghoro youth representative as Secretary.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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