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NPA Pensioners Demand Arrears Payment

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Pensioners yesterday
urged the management of the organisation to pay the arrears of their pension.
The National Chairman of NPA Pensioners, Mr Charles Binitie, made the plea during the Liberation Day Celebration organised by the pensioners in Lagos.
“We pray that the Managing Director, Malam Habib Abdullahi and his team that have started the payment of the monthly pensions and the January to June 2014 pension arrears will continue after May 2015.
“We urge them to continue with other outstanding pension arrears in like manner until the payment terminates.
“We also pray that you revisit the case of our young and talented technical trainees who have completed their training and consider them for re-absorption.
“They are still very young and the NPA has spent so much on them. So, on humanitarian ground, their training can still be useful to the authority,” Binitie said.
He commended the media for its effort in ensuring that the Federal Government and the management of NPA listened and addressed the issue of the payment of their pension arrears.
Binitie urged the management of NPA to expedite action on payment of their arrears based on the agreed period of three years.
“Whatever we are asking for now is very little, but by the grace of God, it will be completed.
“In the first instance, we are appreciating you. We did not buy your conscience; we did not give you money but you stood by your own oath to always come out with the truth.
“First, we wanted to be put on pension payroll, which was our normal right and that has been granted.
“Secondly, there is what is called 10 per cent compensation for premature retirement; we asked for it and it has been given to us.”
According to him, what is left now is the arrears after the completion of the five years guaranteed pension till the date the pension was approved.
“Management has approved it in principle but we are waiting for the implementation, which we know will be done soon.
“Part of the arrears, starting from January last year till June last year has been in implementation since December which will terminate in May this year.
“The arrears before the approval which they have also agreed to spread over three years period is what we are waiting for now.
“So, before the expiration of the six months arrears, we also urge the management to speed up action and start the payment of the outstanding arrears which have been approved,”  Binitie said.
Mr Austin Adarighofua, a former member of the Senior Staff Association of the NPA, said the Liberation Day was being celebrated to mark their freedom from a pitiful condition to what they now rightly enjoy.
“We are celebrating the day because we are now enjoying what we were supposed to be enjoying; that which is due to us, and we will continue to enjoy it, God saving our lives,” he said.

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More Youths Engage In Artisanal Refining

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As unemployment bites harder amidst rising cost of living, more youths in rural communities in Rivers State are now going into artisanal refining business to earn a living.
The Tide reliably gathered that some youths residing in Port Harcourt City were gradually moving to rural communities for bunkering business otherwise known as ‘kpo-fire’ 
Narrating his experience to The Tide, Mr Godwin Ibeneme who resides in Rumuekini in Akpor, said he was introduced into the kpor-fire business by his father.
Ibeneme, who hails from Ibaa/ Obelle area of Emohua Local Government Area, said his father compelled him to join other youths who were thriving in the business in the community.
“My father came to my house here in Rumuekini, and told me to come to the village, that other young men are making it through kpo-fire’ bunkering since I have lost my job.
“ I didn’t waste time to give it a trial, because I had really looked for what to do, since I lost my job at a fast-food company. Since then, I can tell you that I have been taking care of myself, unlike before when everything looked hopeless”, he explained.
The Tide also learnt that the kpo-fire’ business was currently thriving in Isiokpo axis of Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
A resident of the community who pleaded anonymity, told The Tide that there was a high level of discrimination in the business.
According to him, he decided to engage himself at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa, to hustle for his daily bread, instead of staying idle.
The Tide recalls that the Federal Government had promised to build modular refineries in the Niger Delta region since 2019 as an alternative to illegal oil bunkering in the region as well as to create employment for the youth. 
The Tide also reports that three years after the promise was made, nothing has been done in that regard.

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Oyigbo Cassava Plant, Legacy Project   -Akawor

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The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Rivers State, Amb. Desmond Akawor, says the cassava plant project, being executed by the Rivers State Government in Oyigbo is a legacy project that will generate huge employment for Rivers people.
He said the project was well thought out and would stand the test of time to tackle unemployment as well as ensure food availability in the state.
Akawor made the remarks during an interaction with journalists at the weekend in Port Harcourt.
According to him, the cassava plant which was supposed to be executed by the previous administrations, was initially planned to be a joint venture between the state government and some organisations, but that the other partners did not pay their counterpart funding.
“The steps taken by the Wike-led administration to bring this project to life without the counterpart funding is commendable, because of the huge economic benefits it will give to the state.
“Many people have also been employed at the construction sites of flyovers being executed by Julius Berger. Eighty percent of those working there are indigenes, while the company provides the expatriates”, he said.
The  PDP chairman also hinted on the plans of the state government to privatise the Buguma fish farm and banana farm, among others, so as to make them more viable.
He said that the state government had not abandoned the projects initiated by the previous administration, but was thinking on what to do with them. 
Akawor maintained that the employment of 5,000 persons into the civil service was still ongoing, saying the government is only taking time to ensure that indigenes of the state are employed.

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PH Airport Resumes Skeletal International Flight Operations

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Skeletal flight operations have resumed at the international wing of the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
This follows the lifting of the curfew that was imposed in the state by the Rivers State Government to check cases of insecurity in the state.
The Tide’s checks show that many of the airlines that operate international flights are yet to resume flight operations, even though the coast is clear for them to resume operations.
The Cronaux Airline, it was gathered, is the only airline at the moment that has fully resumed international flight.
Other airlines that operate at the international wing, like the Lufthansa Airline, Turkish Airline, and Ethiopian Airline are yet to resume operations. 
The Acting Head of Corporate Affairs, FAAN, Kunle Akinbode, confirmed the resumption of international flight operations at the airport, last Friday, saying the international wing is now open for international airlines to operate.
He explained that the curfew that was imposed in the state delayed the resumption of international flights operations, even when issues of Covid-19 standard protocols had been addressed.
“Now that the curfew is over and the international wing is open for flight operations, it is left for each of the airlines to work out its own schedule for operations.
“It will not be the duty of the airport management to sort things out for them and know when to resume. I know that some have started. Lufthansa has said they will resume next month, August”, Akinbode said.
The Tide reports that the international wing of the Port Harcourt Airport had been shut since the Covid-19 lockdown, and did not reopen when other international airports in Lagos, Abuja and Kano among others reopened for international operations.

Stories by Corlins Walter

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