Civil servants in Rivers State have expressed delight over the decision by Governor Nyesom Wike to commence the payment of the revolving interest free loan to them from this month.
This is even as they felicitated with him over his resounding victory at the March 9, 2019 governorship election.
Speaking to The Tide in an interview yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State Chairman of the Nigeria Civil Service Union (NCSU), Comrade Opuoyibo Lilly-West commended the Governor for the gesture, saying, it would go a long way to boost the morale of civil servants in the state.
According to him, the workers had been expecting the loan since last year, but could not get it because of other exigencies.
Lilly-West further noted that the Governor’s goodwill came to workers as a shock since he (the Governor) was just coming out of election processes, stressing that it was good that the state government decided to take the payment of the loan batch by batch to enable all those qualified for it to benefit from the gesture.
The Vice Chairman of the Joint Negotiating Council in the State said the two bold steps the governor has recently taken in favour of workers were a strong indication that he has the mindset to re-energise the civil service, and commended him for the move to resolve the lingering pension issues in the state.
“We are very happy. We are sincerely happy, we thank His Excellency. Honestly, it was a great shock to us”, he said.
Lilly-West, therefore, enjoined civil servants in the state to invest the money wisely and to utilise it for the purpose it was meant and not to use it for frivolities, even though it is an interest free loan.
The labour leader, however, advised Governor Wike to energise the civil service in terms of provision of basic infrastructure and injection of fresh blood into the system in form of employment, and never to allow the civil service to die a natural death, contending that the civil service remains the glory and engine room of government.
While congratulating Governor Wike on his electoral victory, Lilly-West noted that the re-election of the governor for a second term was “a victory for all of us”, and advised him to use it to re-unite the entire Rivers people.
It would be recalled that the Rivers State Head of Service, Rufus N. Godwins (Esq) had during a meeting with the entire workforce at the Point Block in Port Harcourt last Tuesday said 2,113 persons qualified for the loan and that despite the economic recession in the country, the state government had graciously released N100 million monthly as the first tranche of a continuous revolving loan to civil servants, stressing that payment will be done through the issuance of cheques to the recipients.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman, Forum of Permanent Secretaries and Permanent Secretary, Office of the Secretary to the State Government, George Nweke thanked the Governor for the loan and urged beneficiaries to put the money into effective use.
In his vote of thanks, the Chairman, Administrative Officers Forum, Blessing Elijah said the gesture was unprecedented and unparalleled in the history of the service, adding that the loan was coming at a time when it was most needed.
It would be recalled that the state government had on 12th June, 2018 approved a revolving loan scheme for civil servants on Grade Levels 01-13.
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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