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Paris Club Refund: Bayelsa Releases N1.3bn For LGs

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The Bayelsa State Government has directed the immediate release of N1.3 billion share of the Paris Club refund to its eight local governments for full payment of their workers’ salaries.
The money, which is the first tranche of the refunds, was withheld pending staff verification to rid the councils of ghost workers.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, last Thursday, authorised the release of the second tranche of the refunds to states that complied with the terms which included disbursement of local government share.
Public servants in the local government system were placed on half salaries since May 2016, due to paucity of funds, while their backlog of arrears ranged from six months to 12 months across the local government areas.
The amount, out of the N14.5 billion received as the state share of the refund from the Federal Government, was disbursed to states in December 2016.
Governor Seriake Dickson had explained to stakeholders, during an emergency meeting in Yenagoa, that the decision to withhold the councils’ share was due to the discovery of fraud in their payroll.
The Bayelsa Commissioner for Local Government, Mr Aghata Goma, had confirmed the release of the fund on Friday and advised local government Chairmen in the state to deploy 50 per cent of the money to pay full salaries to workers.
“The governor has just approved the release of the local government share of the Paris Club loan refunds, and it will improve the resource base of the councils to meet their salary obligations to their workforce.
“It is important to note that the state government has authorised the release of the funds and we expect them to henceforth revert to payment of full salaries as opposed to the half salaries they currently pay,” Goma said.
Goma called on local governments to ensure that 50 per cent of the fund was committed to staff salaries while a reasonable part of the fund should be expended on people-oriented projects.
The commissioner said the fund was part of the efforts aimed at implementing agreements reached with local government workers who called off a strike in February 2017.
She noted that regular payment of salaries was expected to sustain industrial harmony at the local government levels.
Goma also urged the unions to continue to maintain peace and impress on their members the need for re-dedication to the service of the state.
She said that the caretaker committee chairmen in the councils had demonstrated commitment to staff welfare, but the economic recession had negatively affected Federal Allocation Account Committee’s disbursement to all tiers of government.
She also urged the union to support the council chairmen in their efforts to remove ghost workers and fraud.

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Niger Delta

Rivers Police Burst Car Snatching Syndicate

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The Rivers State Police Command says it has arrested an alleged member of car theft syndicate who specialises in robbing bolt drivers in the state and its environs.
In a press statement in Port Harcourt, the state capital, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni said that operatives of Octopus Strike Force on September 15, 2021, at about 1750hrs, arrested one Nnali Osita, a 21-year-old member of a notorious car snatching syndicate that specialises in robbing Bolt/Uberdrivers in the state.
The statement said, that “while solving a case of car snatching reported by one Yusuf Ogunshola ‘m’, a Bolt driver who was hired from Effurun in Delta State to Port Harcourt, only to be taken to Abel Jumbo Street in Mile 2,Diobu, Port Harcourt, where two other members were already waiting”.
The statement further stated that the Bolt driver,on arrival, was attacked at gunpoint and dispossessed of his personal belongings, including withdrawing the sum of N87,000 from his bank account, adding that he was thereafter locked in a toilet belonging to a new generation church on the same street.
“In the course of our investigation, operatives got some clues which ultimately led them to Gambia Street in Diobu, where they had perfected plans to sell the said car. However, on sighting the police, they abandoned the car, and took to flight but the suspect; Nnali Osita was not lucky, as he was arrested, while others escaped.
“Meanwhile, efforts have been intensified to ensure that the fleeing gang members are arrested and their operational weapons recovered.
“The Commissioner of Police, Friday Eboka has vowed to come hard on all miscreants in the state, and is hereby advising all Bolt/Uber or anybody in the transportation business to be circumspect and shun all mouth-watering offers; being the antics deployed by these criminals to attack their victims.” the statement added.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Niger Delta

Federal Varsity Admits 2,423 Students,Holds 10th Matriculation

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The Federal University, Otuoke in Bayelsa State has admitted new 2,423 students for its 2021/2022 academic session.
This was made known to newsmen at the weekend during the 10th matriculation ceremony of the institution.
The Tide learnt that the Federal University, Otuoke was amongst the 12 universities established during the former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.
In his matriculation speech, the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Teddy Charles Adias cautioned the matriculants against engaging in nefarious activities as students.
He charged students to be serious with their academics, noting that the institution is described as a ‘Family University, just as he added that the school has more than ever become a grooming ground for intellectuals.
“Students of this university are groomed and trained in both intellectual and in character. You’re here to learn, but that you’ve done your matriculation doesn’t mean it’s the end.
“As students members of this family university, you should be Ambassadors of this institution wherever you find yourselves in both learning and character”, he said.
“No nation can develop without a good and competitive intellectual base,. And that is why this Family University was set up to amongst others be part of sister institutions that would build and develop the needed intellectual capacities for our development as a nation”, he added.
The Tide reports that the university admitted freshers into all of its six existing Faculties of Management Sciences, Humanities, Social Sciences, Sciences as well as Engineering and Education.
“A total of 5,692 persons applied for admission for the session, but out of these, a total of 2,423 were selected and granted admission, after going through all the required academic processes needed as qualifications for admission as students members of the university”, the Vice Chancellor said.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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Niger Delta

Police Move To Secure Abducted Doctor, Ex-Senator’s Release

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The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 6, Usman Gomna, has ordered investigation into the abduction of a medical doctor, Nsidibe Umana and former-Akwa Ibom senator, Nelson Effiong.
The AIG’s order is coming even as the command said that it had put in place a crack team to trail the abductors of the two victims.
Nelson Effiong, a former senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial district, was abducted on Sunday, September 5, 2021 while relaxing in his sit-out along Oron Road; while the medical doctor was abducted in his compound in Orukaman Local Government Area of the state on Tuesday, September 14, 2021.
The AIG gave the charge last Friday while responding to a request by the chairman of the state chapter of the Nigeria Medical Association, Dr. Ime Sylvester Udoh, during a meeting with security stakeholders in the state.
Dr. Udoh had raised the alarm over the abduction of the medical doctor and had also called on the Police to rescue the victim alive.
Responding, the AIG said, “Before I came here, I have directed the CP of the command, Andrew Amiengheme, to intensify efforts to see how he can be rescued.”
He reiterated the commitment of the zone in tackling crime and criminality and called on stakeholders to continue to cooperate with the Police by revealing useful information that could help in tackling the crime rate in the states.
Speaking further on the kidnapped medical doctor, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Andrew Amiengheme, said a manhunt had already been put in place to effect the release of the doctor.
“Our men are in the field to ensure the release of that young doctor. Unfortunately, the abductors are asking for N20m and where will the family get that kind of money?
“That is part of the societal problems, and we are asking the stakeholders to quickly expose and not to give them a cover,” Amiengheme said.
On the abduction of the ex-senator, the CP said, “We’re very much on top of the situation. Care must be taken to protect his life in the first instance.
“We must not do anything that will jeopardise his life, a lot has been done, we are observing some restraints so that he is not killed and his perpetrators brought to book.”

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