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RVHA Orders RSHMB To Pay Ex-Staff’s Full Benefits – Holds Public Hearing On Kenpoly, Wed

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The Rivers State House of Assembly has directed the state Hospitals Management Board to pay the balance of what was left of Princewill Elekima’s entitlements after deducting the amount the board claimed the civil servant allegedly stole leading to his sack in 1989.
The directive was given, last Wednesday by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani after listening to contributions from lawmakers to the report of the House Committee on Public Complaints and Petitions chaired by the lawmaker representing Ogu/Bolo State Constituency, Hon. Evans Bipi, at the Assembly.
Ibani had argued that it was unfair for the board to selectively obey the advice of the Rivers State Attorney-General and Commissioner of Justice on the matter by withholding the balance, after deducting the N11,000.00 that the complainant allegedly stole.
Earlier, members had aligned with the recommendation of the committee that Elekima Princewill had a valid case, demanding that justice be seen to be done in the matter.
Among those who spoke at the plenary were Hons. Sam Ogeh, Martins Amaewhule, B. Anabraba, Friday Nke-eh and Edison Ehie.
In a related development, the Rivers State House of Assembly has also directed the Ministries of Environment, and that of Chieftaincy and Community Affairs to ensure that Total E&P takes immediate steps to address the pollution arising from operational oil spill which affected eight communities in Ahoada–East Local Government Area of the state in 2015.
The decision was taken after debates on the report submitted by the Hon. Evans Bipi-led House Committee on Public Complaints and Petitions, which looked into the petitions of the affected communities.
Contributing on the report, Edison Ehie, who noted that the affected communities were in his constituency, disclosed that the area was deserted because of the pollution that affected water and farm lands, destroying the people’s means of livelihood.
Both the speaker and other contributors, however, commended the committee for doing a thorough job, including meeting with the parties involved and visiting the affected communities to see things for themselves.
Observing that relevant federal laws in Nigeria were against the interest of host communities and giving so much leverage to multinational companies to operate without consideration, Ibani regretted the internal displacement of members of the affected communities, with the implication of human inertia among the very old ones among them.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State House of Assembly Committee on Education has fixed next Wednesday to conduct public hearing on the Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic Bill 2017.
The public hearing, scheduled to hold at the Rivers State Assembly Auditorium, Moscow Road, Port Harcourt at 10am, will afford stakeholders in the education sector as well as other interested members of the public, avenue to make contributions to the proposed law.
A statement signed by the Chairman, House Committee on Education, Hon. Doctor Farah Dagogo, stated that copies of the bill “are available for collection in Room 057, First Floor, Assembly Complex.”
The statement further indicated that for those who have memoranda, it should be submitted on or before Tuesday, 14th November, 2017, to the same venue.
It further appealed to all stakeholders, especially Rivers people with interest in how best to reposition the polytechnic to ensure active participation and contribution at the public hearing as the provisions of the bill therefrom would form the fulcrum of the enabling law for the institution, going forward.
Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), Rivers State chapter has suspended its proposed industrial action.
The suspension is coming on the heels of the intervention of the state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
The Tide reports that the leadership of organized labour in Rivers State had visited PASAN and the Rivers State House of Assembly Service Commission, last Monday, with a view to consolidating on ongoing dialogue to resolve existing impasse.
Following the interface arising from the visit, it was gathered that both parties had agreed to allow the leaderships of NLC and TUC midwife negotiations between PASAN and the management of the Rivers State House of Assembly Service Commission.
It was learnt that the bone of contention has been the non-payment of statutory four years’ allowances as well as very poor working conditions and staff welfare in the Assembly.
It would be recalled that before the last minute intervention, PASAN was at the verge of a three-day warning strike that would have led to a total industrial action by workers of the Assembly.

L-R: President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, Secretary-General, West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF),Komlan Messie and representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr Ba Abdarrahmane, during the 12th Annual ECOWAS-Development Partners Coordination meeting in Abuja, last Wednesday.

L-R: President of the ECOWAS Commission, Marcel de Souza, Secretary-General, West African Civil Society Forum (WACSOF),Komlan Messie and representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS), Mr Ba Abdarrahmane, during the 12th Annual ECOWAS-Development Partners Coordination meeting in Abuja, last Wednesday.

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FIFA To Hold Summit On International Calendar

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FIFA will hold an online summit with its member associations on September 30 to discuss the international men’s and women’s calendar.
A World Cup every two years rather than four is part of FIFA’s plans.
The current match calendar for the women’s game runs to the end of 2023, while the men’s expires in 2024.
“There is a broad consensus within the game that the international match calendar should be reformed and improved,” said FIFA.
“This is one of several opportunities to establish a constructive and open debate, at a global and regional level, over the coming months and FIFA is looking forward to it.”
World football’s governing body said Arsene Wenger,FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, and former United States women’s team manager, Jill Ellis were heading technical advisory groups looking at the men’s and women’s calendars.
European governing body, UEFA, South American confederation, Conmebol and Europe’s major leagues have declared their opposition to plans for a biennial World Cup.
England women’s head coach, Sarina Wiegman is also against the idea.
“I wouldn’t do it. I don’t think it’s very good for the players and their welfare,” she said.
“It’s Europe, it’s very well organised with good competitions. We have the Euros, then the Olympics, then the World Cup which are major tournaments for us from Europe.
“When you have all these tournaments every year, when are the players going to have some rest? When are they going to recover from a very intense football every year in a row? Players are not robots. I don’t think it’s a very good idea.”
Additionally, the Alliance of European Football Coaches’ Associations (Aefca) has written to UEFA to support its stance on the issue.
“The FIFA proposal leads to a considerable increase in the workload for all parties involved, but the already tight timetable does not offer any space for this,” wrote Aefca president Walter Gagg and secretary general Jurgen Pforr.
“This proposal to hold the World Cup every two years has a purely commercial background and is the continuation of a whole series of unsuitable Fifa proposals from recent years.”
According to a survey commissioned by FIFA, a majority of fans would support a men’s World Cup more frequently than every four years, although the most popular answer across all age groups was to maintain the status quo.
Wenger wants to reduce the number of mid-season international breaks, potentially from four to a single extended one lasting throughout October, which former Brazil defender Roberto Carlos feels would be a good idea.
“This idea reduces the number of trips as you would have the qualifying stages done in one month,” he said in a FIFA video.
“So, you would have the time to train, play well, rest and get back to your club. There are too many consecutive matches. When you add the travel and the fatigue, it’s very complex. I think that football will improve a lot once this problem gets sorted.”

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I Don’t Have To Prove Myself In Another League – Lewandowski

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Bayern Munich star, Robert Lewandowski, has declared, “I don’t have to prove myself in another league” after picking up the award for winning the 2020-21 European Golden Shoe.
Lewandowski is widely regarded as one of the finest strikers of his generation, having initially made his name at Borussia Dortmund before joining Bayern in 2014.
The Poland international has taken his game to even greater heights at Allianz Arena, with the 2020-21 campaign proving to be his best yet in terms of his overall contribution in the final third.
Lewandowski scored 41 goals in 29 Bundesliga matches for Bayern last term, despite missing a whole month of action due to injury.
The 33-year-old surpassed Gerd Muller’s record for the most goals scored in a single German top-flight campaign in the process, and also won the European Golden Shoe for the first time in his career, finishing 11 ahead of ex-Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.
Lewandowski was finally presented with the award yesterday, and took the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to Bayern after a summer of intense transfer speculation.
The frontman was strongly linked with a move to the Premier League at one stage, with Chelsea mooted as his most likely destination amid suggestions that he would benefit from stepping out of his comfort zone in the Bundesliga.
“I don’t have to prove myself in another league,” said Lewandowski. ”I can compete with the best from other leagues in the Champions League.
“I am 100 per cent focused on Bayern Munich, I don’t think about anything else but my team.”
It has been reported that Bayern could look to bring in Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland as Lewandowski’s long-term successor, but he insists that he still has many years ahead of him at the highest level of the game.
“I am still here, and I will be here for a long time!” said Lewandowski. “Age, these are just numbers. I feel very good, I have the best stats I’ve ever had. I know that with my body I can play at the top level for years to come. I’m like a good wine and I hope to get even better.”
Lewandowski will be back in action with Bayern when they take on Furth in their next Bundesliga fixture on Friday.

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North Can Live Without VAT Accruals, NEF Boasts …Backs Wike, Southern Govs On Fiscal Federalism, Restructuring

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The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has boasted that the North was a rich region, and can survive on its resources without the “billions” accruing to Southern states.
The NEF Director of Publicity and Advocacy, Dr. Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, made this known, yesterday, when he featured on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ breakfast programme.
He was reacting to the tussle between states and the Federal Government on the collection of Value Added Tax (VAT).
VAT is a consumption tax paid when goods are purchased and services are rendered, and charged at a rate of 7.5 per cent.
Although Rivers and Lagos states have started the process of collecting VAT within their territories, the Court of Appeal, in a ruling on September 10, ordered that status quo be maintained pending the determination of an appeal filed by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) against the judgment of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt.
Apart from Lagos and Rivers states, Ogun State has also started the process of passing a bill on VAT in its House of Assembly.
At the Southern Governors’ Forum meeting in Enugu, last Thursday, the 17 governors insisted that they have the constitutional mandate to collect VAT, and vowed to ensure that the rule of law prevails in the matter.
While some northern governors like Aminu Masari (Katsina), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), amongst others, had kicked against the move, the 17 Southern Governors led by Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN) had unanimously supported the position that “the collection of VAT falls within the powers of the states.”
Speaking, yesterday, during the television programme, Baba-Ahmed said, “I will advise that we wait to hear what the court says. However, even the fact that it has become an issue suggests that we really do need to address the fundamentals and the manner in which the federation works.
“We have always supported restructuring. We have always asked that a major and genuine shift initiative either by groups or the National Assembly so that matters like this be addressed properly.
“If we don’t do that now, then, we should get a leader that would do that in 2023. This administration appears not to understand the importance of restructuring; we do in the North, we recognise the fact that we need to change the manner in which we generate wealth and allocate (it).
“The thing is: the North wants restructuring; the North wants fiscal federalism. We are a rich region, and we can live on what we have, even if we don’t have the billions that accrue to others states. Our poverty is not a kind of problem that we would break this country over.”
According to him, the VAT war is a wake-up call to northern governors who need to recognise the fact that VAT or no VAT, they need to develop their resources and develop the human capital of the North.
The NEF spokesman added, “North, you said you have many people but you are under-developing your own people – the biggest liability of the North is that we have a huge population that is under-developed. You need to develop the human capital that you have.
“We need leaders; the current governors don’t recognise this. Otherwise, they won’t be involved in this argument; allow the court to decide.
“But for goodness sake, (they should) begin to think — what else can we do if the court decides now that Rivers State is right, Lagos State is right, and the Southern states are right, and they won’t be getting all these billions coming in from VAT? What happens?”
Baba-Ahmed said the Northern governors at this stage should not be sleeping, noting that the North is “sitting on wealth, we have massive resources in this country, we have to fight insecurity first, and the Federal Government has to help us, we need to clear the bushes, the forests and all the criminals that are there, and we need to go back to farming.
“Agriculture is a major asset; we have land, we have water, we have livestock, we have minerals that are literally begging to be picked from the ground but our governors are too focused on the pittance that they are getting. This is wrong”, he argued.

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