The Rivers State Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, has called on the two factions of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to settle their rift as a way of improving the welfare of workers in the state.
He made the call in a chat with newsmen in Port Harcourt over the planned protest by labour over non-remittance of check off dues to the unions.
Godwins insisted that government will not pay check-off dues from civil servants salaries until the two NLC factions harmonise their differences.
Already, he said the check-off dues have been lodged into an account, and will only be released when the factions settle.
On the planned protest by labour over the non-remittance of the check-off dues, the Head of Service said it was selfish and self-seeking for any labour leader to mobilise civil servants to protest.
He said what was important was the welfare of civil servants, and not the selfish interest of labour leaders, adding that, “this administration has put preventive measures by ensuring that salaries and pensions are paid promptly.”
The Head of Service maintained that the motive behind the planned protest and strike was at variance with existing labour laws in the country, stressing that it was wrong to call workers to protest over non-remittance of check-off dues.
Warning labour leaders in the state to avoid being used by politicians to cause problems in the state, he called on civil servants to avoid being used by selfish labour leaders.
Meanwhile, Head of Service has assured that the Governor Nyesom Wike administration will improve the welfare of civil servants through constant capacity building in line with best global practices in public service.
So far, he stressed that only Rivers State has shown uncommon zeal among the states in the federation to pay salaries of workers and pensioners as at when due.
Meanwhile, a faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Rivers State has thrown its weight behind the decision of the Rivers State Government not to remit the monthly deductions of the works salaries to the NLC.
Chairman of the faction, Comrade Ada Williams, in an interview in Port Harcourt, told The Tide that most of the labour unions were in court over leadership tussle.
He said the government should not release the check-off dues pending the resolution of crisis rocking NLC in the state.
Williams also faulted the three per cent deduction from civil servants as check-off dues for labour union in the state, arguing that the money was going into the wrong hands.
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Three Out Of 10 Nigerians Are Mentally Sick -Reps
The House of Representatives has said that three out of every 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or another.
Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, the House added that over 20,000,000 Nigerians were currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
To this end, the House mandated its Committees on Health Institutions and Healthcare Services to liaise with the Federal Ministry of Health towards improving mental health facilities around the country and further carry out serious sensitization of Nigerians on this issue.
It also asked the Committee on Health Institution to explore the modalities of liaising with stakeholders in the health sector to promote, educate and sensitise Nigerians on mental health.
The resolution, however, followed a motion titled “Need to Address the Rising Cases of Mental Health in Nigeria” presented by Hon. Uchechuku Nnam-Obi from Rivers State and considered by the House at yesterday’s plenary.
Presenting his motion, Nnam-Obi noted that the World Health Organisation (WHO) considers mental health as a state of well-being in which the individual can cope with the stress of life, work productively and contribute to the community.
According to him, mental illness manifests in mood disorder, anxiety disorder, trauma-related disorder, personality disorder, old age-related disorder, substance abuse disorder or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning.
He said: “According to the World Health Organisation statistics, over twenty million Nigerians are currently suffering from various degrees of mental illness or disorder without psychiatric health care.
“Three out of 10 Nigerians have one form of mental illness or the other, presently there is no mental health legislation in Nigeria. However, the Nigerian mental health policy is the only framework that has access to mental healthcare, dealing with mental and neurological disorders in Nigeria, discouraging stigmatisation against persons with mental disorders and has institutionalised standards for Psychiatric practice.
“The increase in cases of depression is traceable to multifactorial inter and intrapersonal issues which leads to suicidal death in the country and this requires urgent attention.
“Nigeria has only 130 Psychiatrists with over 20million citizens suffering from mental disorders.
“With the few functional Mental Health Facilities and inadequate mental health practitioners in the country, mental health cases are left for traditional practitioners, hence the upsurge in mental health in Nigeria.
“The statistics are troubling and the continued lack of a legal framework on mental health in the country will simply cause the situation to degenerate”
Adopting the motion, the House gave six weeks to the committees within which to carry out the assignment and report back to it for further legislative action.
Wike, PDP Govs Commiserate With Tambuwal Over Brother’s Death
Representatives of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, yesterday, paid a condolence visit to the Sokoto State Governor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal over the death of his elder brother, Alhaji Muhammed Bello.
Bello, who is also the Waziri of Tambuwal, passed on in Sokoto, last Tuesday night at the age 87.
He was the head of the Tambuwal family.
On the PDP governors’ delegation were, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State; Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Oluseyi Makinde (Oyo); and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State.
The Vice Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, who led the delegation, said they were in Sokoto to commiserate with Tambuwal and his entire family over the sudden death of his elder brother.
“We feel your pain, and we understand that a great vacuum has been created, not only within the caliphate, but across Nigeria and other places where Daddy had sphere of influence. We believe that God Almighty will grant you the fortitude to bear this great loss.
“We are, however, consoled by the fact that Daddy left legacies that will remain indelible; one of them is your very good self and your impact and contributions to our dear country.”
The governors urged the Tambuwal family, particularly the Sokoto State governor, to remain strong, steadfast and uphold those virtues which the late Waziri of Tambuwal, cherished so much.
In his response, Sokoto StateGovernor, Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, who is the PDP Governors’ Forum chairman, said the entire Tambuwal family was gladdened by the condolence visit.
According to him, his late elder brother, who lived his life in the service of community, held the family title, Waziri of Tambuwal for 37 years after the demise of their father.
“We are, indeed, very highly consoled not only by your presence, but your words of consolation. For you to have left behind whatever you are doing in your respective states to come all the way to Sokoto this afternoon, shows clearly how you sympathise with us and how close you are to us. I assure you that we appreciate this.”
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