An agro-allied company operating in Rivers State, Siat Nigeria Limited has successfully brokered a truce with its host communities in Etche Local Government Area, with a firm promise to continue to provide employment opportunities, contracts and other incentives to the communities.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr Felix Nwabuko, who unfolded the package of incentive to the communities during a peace meeting brokered by the Executive Chairman of the local government, Hon Obinna Anyanwu at the firm’s corporate headquarters in Ubima last Tuesday assured that the firm would continue to have credible interface and interactions with its host communities based on the goodwill it shared with them.
Nwabuko, who gave the assurance based on the demands presented to the company by representatives of the communities, ranging from extension of its electricity project to Ozuzu, Isu and Ogida communities, employment, Memorandum of Understanding and appointment of Community, Liaison Officer (CLO) to request for landlords association, payment of stipends to traditional rulers, unpaid arrears of rent and contract jobs, among others, said the company was committed to meeting its corporate social responsibilities to the communities.
The Tide recalls that in the wake of the recent protest staged by the communities, the firm had directed each of the five communities to submit names of 10 persons to be employed into the firm, a gesture which the managing director said would be improved upon from time to time. .
According to him, “when we look at employment, we are not going to debate or rationalise this. We have our statistics of who is employed and from where in this company. We are very happy to ensure that we look at host communities for jobs. And you have heard today that proactively, they have asked for names of people. As we have started it, we are going to improve upon that”.
He also directed the communities to apply for the position of Community Liaison Officer (CLO), which the company had already advertised for, saying, “if we can get somebody who is competent and credible from the host communities, that is a plus. It opens door for professionalism. It is not an allocation job.”
On payment of arrears of unpaid rent to the host communities, the managing director disclosed that the management of the company had already championed the issue with the Rivers State Government.
“Government today is sympathetic to that issue. There is a file on that. The day that file is finalised, this issue of unpaid arrears of rent will be a thing of the past”, he said, adding that the company had already requested the communities to provide it with credible records on the issue..
He also promised that the company would pay stipends to deserving traditional rulers in the communities. “I know that we pay something as of now but not to the entire traditional rulers. We will sit down and look at the issue of traditional rulers”, he assured.
The Chairman of Etche Local Government Area, Hon Obinna Anyanwu, who led delegates of the host communities to the meeting, requested that the names for employment submitted to the company by the communities should be revisited, and also called for the conversion of casual security staff working in the company to permanent staff.
While describing Etche people as peace-loving, the council chairman said the people did not ask for too much during their presentation, and urged the management of the firm to reciprocate the peaceful disposition of the communities.
“The management of Siat, you know that for you to do business anywhere and make profit, you must ensure that the environment is okay”, he said.
Apart from the Managing Director of Siat Nigeria Limited, Mr Felix Nwabuko, the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Mr Gerald Ray and its Relations Manager, Mr Lucky Ezihuo also attended the meeting.
Delegates of the communities who attended the meeting included the Director, Quality Assurance/Chairman, Professional Ethics, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Prof Samuel Amaele, the Ochimba of Ihie Community, Eze Josiah Nwaguru, Eze Mathew Elekwachi, Eze Emmanuel Victor, Hon Israel Okoroafor, the President Ozuzu Youth, Mr Kingdom Aforoele and Chairman, Isu Community Development Committee (CDC), Mr Amadi Simeon, among others.
The Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC), has expressed worries over the proliferation of bills on the floor of the 9th National Assembly for the establishment of regional development agencies.
President, IYC worldwide, Roland Pereotubo Oweilaemi, in a statement in Lagos on Wednesday, questioned the rationale for the establishments of such regional agencies, especially as it concerns their funding.
He maintained that while the IYC was not against the establishment of such regional development agencies, the issue of how the Federal Government would fund them should be of concern to every Nigerian, including the lawmakers.
“With the way and manner the 9th Assembly is introducing these bodies such as North Central Development Commission, North West Development Commission, etc, after the North East Development Commission came on stream through the 8th Assembly, IYC fears that history may want to repeat itself about the funding.
“We believe that these agencies are not going to be funded with oil money from the Niger Delta. The funding of the North East Development Commission is shrouded in secrecy as we believe strongly that it is being funded with oil money. This broad day robbery of our exclusive economic right should not be replicated in the incoming bodies,” he stressed.
He maintained that just as the governors from the South East had made it clear that the South East Development Commission would be jointly funded by them, the governors from the north should also come clear on how they want their regional development agencies to be funded.
He said: “This was how the then Supreme Military Council (SMC) under the chairmanship of General Olusegun Obasanjo exercised legislative powers at the federal level, made the greatest mockery of the Ijaws by promulgating River Basin Development Authorities Decree and the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority Decree.
“The former established 10 other River Basin Development Authorities for every river, rivulet, creek and brook in the rest of Nigeria. The latter established the Niger Delta Basin Development Authority.”
Edo Speaker Declares Vacant Seats Of 12 Lawmakers
The Speaker of Edo State House of Assembly, Francis Okiye, on Wednesday, declared vacant the seats of 12 members-elect for deliberately refusing to present their certificates of return to the Clerk of the Assembly for inauguration.
Also during plenary, the seats of Messrs Uyi Ekhosuehi and Henry Okaka, representing Oredo East and Owan East respectively, were declared vacant for allegedly absconding from plenary after the inauguration of the Seventh Assembly on June 17.
According to the speaker, even if the lawmakers-elect come for sitting now, they cannot meet the mandatory 180 sitting days as enshrined in the constitution.
The affected members-elect are Vincent Uwadiae, Ovia North-East II; Ugiagbe Dumez, Ovia North-East I; Washington Osifo, Uhunmwode; Victor Edoror, Esan Central; Kingsley Ugabi, Etsako East and Michael Ohio-Ezomo, Owan West.
Others are Sunday Aghedo, Ovia South-West; Chris Okaeben, Oredo West; Crosby Eribo, Egor; Aliyu Oshiomhole, Etsako West II; Oshomah Ahmed, Etsako Central and Ganiyu Audu, Etsako West I.
Okiye, while declaring the seats vacant, said that the 12 members-elect ‘defiantly refused’ to come forward to do necessary documentation as part of the conditions for their inauguration as members of the Assembly.
He said: “12 out of the 24 members-elect, who completed their screening and documentation process, were inaugurated on June 17, out of whom two have refused to discharge their legislative duties.
“They have refused to represent their constituents in the Assembly, invariably denying them effective representation.
“At this point, I am declaring the seats of the 12 members-elect vacant, in accordance with Section 109, subsection 1(F) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended),” he said.
Okiye consequently called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct by-elections within 90 days in the affected constituencies.
Police Confirm Burning Of Two Suspected Kidnappers In Bayelsa
The Bayelsa State Police Command on Wednesday confirmed the burning of two suspected kidnappers in Otuagala Community in Ogbia Local Government Area of the state by mob.
The suspected criminals were involved in the kidnap of three students of the College of Health and Technology, Otuogidi.
The police spokesman in the state, SP Asinim Butswat, said the two kidnappers were arrested on Tuesday evening.
He said shortly after men of the command arrested the criminals, mob from the community overpowered the security operatives and burned the kidnappers to death.
He said: “Following a tip off, on December 3, at about 1625 hours, a combined team of policemen and the vigilance group, combed Otuagala forest, in Ogbia Local Government Area.
“The team rescued the three students of College of Health and Technology Otuogidi, who were kidnapped by unknown gunmen on the December 2.
“The victims were in good condition. Meanwhile, two kidnappers were arrested and two wooden carved guns that resemble AK 47 Rifles were recovered from them.
“However, angry mob from the community overpowered the security operatives and burned the kidnappers to death,” he said.
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