Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has charged the labour union in Nigeria to defend the country’s democracy, saying that if there was any time Nigerian workers should have risen in defense of democracy, it was now.
The Governor gave the charge at the Yakubu Gowon Stadium, Port Harcourt, yesterday while addressing Rivers workers made up of the affiliate unions of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).
Wike who expressed disappointment in labour for suddenly losing its voice in the midst of the many anti-democratic policies and actions of the APC-led Federal Government described the silence as a conspiracy, pointing out that it does not augur well for the growth of democracy in Nigeria.
“Labour is quiet in the face of deaths. Of what benefit will increment of salaries be when all your children, friends and relatives are killed in the course of this national insecurity? It is incumbent on labour to rise up in defence of Nigerians by demanding for the immediate cessation of killings”, the governor stated.
He said Labour has a duty to work towards the progress of Nigeria as they battle for their welfare urging that labour must rekindle their pre-2015 posture when they participated in “Occupy Nigeria” protest during the Jonathan era.
“Be vigilant and defend our democracy in 2019. That is what labour is known for. Labour thrives under democracy. Without democracy, labour will run into challenges “, he said.
He promised to resolve the many unsettled issues raised by the NLC and TUC, especially those bothering on the contributory pension scheme, the contributory health scheme and the issue of payment of gratuity to retired workers in the state, urging labour leaders and affected workers to be patient with the government.
“I have no joy that people are not receiving their gratuities”, the governor stated, saying he would work with the NLC and TUC in the state to ensure that the welfare of workers were not toyed with.
He pointed out that the government was concerned about the high level of unemployment in the state and has, therefore, pursued an agenda to consistently grow the state’s economy and improve the employment situation of the state.
He explained that that was why the state introduced the monthly revolving non-interest loan for Civil Servants of grade levels 1-13 saying that the scheme has an annual package of N1.2billion.
He added that there was a similar scheme for small businesses with the total annual package of N2.4billion with a monthly disbursement of N200million urging those qualified and need the loan to apply for it to boost their businesses, improve their income and also the economy of the state.
In her address, Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mrs Beatrice Itubo commended the Rivers State Governor for his regular payment of salaries and pensions.
She urged the governor to take steps to resolve the challenges surrounding the contributory pension scheme and gratuity to retired civil servants.
The Labour Leader also commended Governor Wike for his outstanding developmental strides.
Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in Rivers State, Mr Austin Jonah lauded the Rivers State Governor for his numerous infrastructural and development projects across the state.
The Workers Day was marked by the parade by all the affiliate trade unions in the state, with Governor Wike taking the official salute.
Meanwhile, Governor Nyesom Wike has stated that the total collapse of national security architecture was fallout of the political interference of the Federal Government in the operation of the security agencies.
Speaking during a courtesy visit by the participants of Senior Executive Course 40, 2018 Study Group Three from the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS), Kuru near Jos, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday, Wike said that the deliberate political actions of the Federal Government had compromised the security architecture of states.
Wike said: “What we have seen in most cases is that security lapses are a result of political interference”.
The governor said that the case of Rivers State was exemplified by the transfer in and out of Rivers State of newly promoted Assistant Commissioner of Police, Akin Fakorede, who was an indicted election manipulator for the purpose of carrying out criminal electoral activities.
He drew the attention of the course participants to the indictment of Fakorede as contained on Page 66 of INEC Report into Rivers Rerun Elections wherein the assistant commissioner of police was indicted for electoral fraud, violence, ballot box snatching and abduction of INEC officials.
“The man was given special promotion as a reward for the job he did for the police in Rivers State during the rerun. He has been transferred back to the state in preparation for their planned manipulation of the 2019 General Elections. They brought him back because of his expertise in ballot box snatching and election violence.
“The Federal Government has laid the foundation for crisis and violence in 2019. They are the ones who perpetrate crisis. We are peace makers, which is why we are drawing the attention of the international community to these actions”, the governor emphasised.
Commenting on the Neighbourhood Safety Corps, Wike said that the agency was established to complement the work of the federal security agencies.
He said that the organisation, which was fashioned in line with existing model in Lagos State under the leadership of respected retired military, police and paramilitary senior officers.
The governor said while the Federal Government allowed the Neighbourhood Safety Corps to thrive in Lagos, Nasarawa and Kaduna States for political expediency, it opposes the agency’s establishment in Rivers State.
“The Federal Government security agencies lack the personnel and equipment to provide security for all communities. The Neighbourhood Safety Corps will complement their efforts. Apart from payment of salaries, the state government funds the logistics and operations of the federal security agencies”, he noted.
In his remarks, Leader of the Senior Executive Course 40, 2018 Study Group Three from the National Institute of Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Rear Admiral Ahamefule Eluwa said that the group was working on how to proffer solutions for the security challenges facing the country.
Eluwa said the theme of this year’s course as approved by the President: “Strengthening Internal Security Framework and Community Policing in Nigeria: Models, Policy Options and Strategies”, was apt and timely as it would avail participants the opportunity to appraise the issues and align them with a view to addressing emerging security challenges in the country.
He said that the NIPSS Study Group would study the Neighbourhood Safety Corps established by the Rivers State Government and proffer suggestions with a view to improving the security of the state.
According to him: “As everyone is seeking for effective security models, Rivers State Government has already taken bold steps to secure the state”.
PH Law School Campus’ll Be Best, Chiroma Confirms
Director General, Nigerian Law School, Prof Isa Hayatu Chiroma, has expressed optimism that the new Port Harcourt campus of the institution would be the best in the country.
Chiroma made the assertion when he paid a working visit to inspect ongoing civil construction work at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The director general was accompanied the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, to assess progress of work at both the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus, Rumueme and staff quarters at New Government Residential Area, Port Harcourt.
He expressed gratitude to the state government for the intervention to build and deliver the Port Harcourt campus in order to help address the challenge of inadequate lecture and accommodation space for the ever-increasing number of students seeking to acquire vocational legal training at the current campuses of the Nigerian Law School in the country.
“The last time we were here was when the ground-breaking ceremony took place, and today, there is massive construction going on, and there is progress. I want to thank the governor and the good people of Rivers State for this progress.”
Chiroma, who observed that the teeming rainy season in Rivers State has slowed down the pace of work, noted that the amazing aspect of the project is that the quality of materials used for the raft foundation at the Nabo Bekinbo Graham-Douglas campus is world class.
“The kind of materials used with what we have seen on ground, it is unimaginable, it is excellent. I can assure you that the problem we will be having is about our students, who will prefer to be posted to this place with what I have seen.
“That is the battle we are going to be faced with. But, I can assure you that all our Law School Campus are the same, but with the development going on here, it is going to be a problem for us to decide who comes to Port Harcourt. From what I have seen it is going to be the best.”
Facilities under construction at the Port Harcourt campus will comprise 14 structures, including 1,500-capacity classroom blocks, hostel blocks, students’ multipurpose hall, 16 units’ 3-bedroom flat staff quarters with swimming pool, gymnasium and lawn tennis court.
Other facilities are, library, moot court/law clinic building, sick bay, administrative block, cafeteria and sporting facilities for students.
Nigeria, Suffering From Leadership Failure, Wike Affirms
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has said that it was regrettable that 61 years after Independence, Nigeria was still grappling with leadership challenge.
The governor pointed out that because of such leadership failure, Nigeria was now at a point in its history needing God more than ever.
Wike made the assertion at the Interdenominational Church Service organised in commemoration of the 61st Independence Anniversary of Nigeria at the St. Paul’s Anglican Church in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor stated that there was hardly anything for Nigerians to celebrate as the country marks 61st Independence anniversary because its leadership continues to entrench hatred, mediocrity, promote ethnicity and religion.
“This is the time that Nigeria needs God more. The country is gone. Insecurity everywhere! Everyone needs to say God; we need you because man’s leadership has failed this country.”
The governor noted that, perhaps, the only thing Nigerians can boast of celebrating was the existence of the name, Nigeria.
“At 61 years, Nigeria is full of enmity, full of divisions, hatred, and ethnicity: A country that cannot put itself together.
“Everybody has responsibility; so, ask yourself questions, have I done my own part?”
Wike also observed the sorry state of Nigeria, and said at 61, it was far removed from being a country that can compete favourably with prosperous countries of the world, given its abundant resources.
The governor bemoaned what has become of the nation’s Legislature that continues to approve anything for the Presidency, and not minding the consequences.
He also decried how the nation’s Judiciary has succumbed to intimidation because its judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear, and wondered what fate Nigerians would have under such seeming tyrannical atmosphere.
“We cannot do the right things. Other countries are talking about how their elections will be transparent; we are talking about how we will rig the election in 2023.
“Simple thing, transmit election results electronically to show transparency, that really that the person you’re declaring won the election but we are afraid.”
“Where is the Legislature? A Legislature that cannot think, a Legislature, anything they bring is right, a Legislature that cannot say that Nigeria has nothing to regret from conducting free and fair election.
“A Legislature that you’ll close your eyes, anything they bring, about borrowing, you say borrow. A Legislature that cannot say that this money we are borrowing, where is it? Where are you applying it? You have no confidence to ask questions.
“The courts have been intimidated. The judges have abandoned their responsibilities out of fear. You’re seeing something that is wrong, but because you will be summoned in the night, you abandoned your responsibility.”
Wike also blamed the woes the country has suffered on all Nigerians who have refused to do the right things, but rather allowed the wrong things to be perpetrated in all facets of the society.
He noted how ascendancy to leadership was no longer by merit but by ethnic affinity and religious consideration, even when such persons do not have the capacity required to function in such offices.
Speaking further, Wike berated the church leadership over the inordinate dressing of a young man that he saw in the church, and attributed such sight to lack of enforcement of discipline in the church.
In his sermon, Bishop of the Diocese of Niger Delta North, Rt. Rev. Wisdom Ihunwo, noted that only foolish people despise God and attribute their successes in life to personal efforts and ingenuity.
Ihunwo said such foolish people abound in Nigeria because they have hearts of corruption, treat humanity with disdain and delight in doing abominable things and divert public funds for personal use.
According to Ihunwo, it was baffling that despite having leadership over the country, there was unabated spree of killings, a seemingly thriving kidnapping business with some officers of the military killed without drastic measures taken to return Nigeria to the path of sanity.
While charging the church to rise to speak courageously against wickedness in the land, Ihunwo declared the judgement of God upon the sponsors of such killings and kidnapping that have put Nigeria in a pitiable state that its people cannot celebrate independence of the country at 61 years.
Special prayers were said at the service for God’s favour and grace upon Nigeria and its leaders, Rivers State Executive Council, Judiciary and the Legislature, for the governor and his family, as well as the church and its leaders.
Dreams To Achieve Peace, Dev In N’Delta Achieved, FG Boasts
The Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, has said that the Federal Government has achieved its dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development.
Dikio said this, last weekend, when an ex-militant, High Chief Biobopere Ajube, was conferred with a chieftaincy title in Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the Paramount Ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, in his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
According to him, the present administration has succeeded in curtailing the restiveness in the region through engagements with the ex-militants.
He assured them that government would not renege in its promises to ensure that the region and its people are developed.
Dikio called on ex-agitators to emulate the disposition of Ajube in peace and entrepreneurship.
He lauded Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, noting that he was the face of what can happen in the region.
According to him, “with the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving the Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility.
“He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, the Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business”
Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon Lucky Aiyedatiwa, described Ajube as a proud son of Ondo, who had made a tremendous impact in the lives of his people.
He said the honour was a testament of all he had been doing for his people, and urged him not to relent but extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment which is a good thing”.
Also speaking, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe said Ajube, during the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was grossly misunderstood by the Federal Government but as head of the Amnesty Programme, he stood firmly by his side, to explain that he meant well.
He said, “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“So, I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, honest, and sincere man that loves his God. I know him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart”.
The Traditional Ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said it was not a mistake that Ajube was honoured with the highest title, noting that the kingdom has been blessed by him and decided to display that by conferring the prestigious title on him.
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