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Ex-Agitator Blasts Ogoni Politicians Over Violence

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An ex-Niger Delta agitator, Chief Solomon Ndigbara has accused Ogoni politicians of contributing to the violence rocking the area.
This is as he appealed to the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike to caution politicians of Ogoni extraction, saying it would help end the spate of killings and destruction of property going on there.
Ndigbara spoke at his hometown, Yeghe in Gokana Local Government Area shortly after he showed newsmen an award bestowed on him by the Pan African International Magazine based in Accra, Ghana.
A letter of invitation addressed to Chief Ndigbara and signed by the Editor/Publisher of the Magazine, Prince David Anyia said the former agitator was an awardee of the Pan African International Awards 2019 in the Most Outstanding Peace and Community Development Personality of the Year category.
The letter made available to The Tide partly reads, “The management is aware of your abiding commitments to youth empowerment, peace and community in Nigeria. Indeed, your interventions on different occasions, have been most inspiring and impactful, especially on the African continent.”
Ndigbara condemned the violence by suspected cultists in some Ogoni communities, saying it was time measures were put in place to end the killings.
He said, “In the first place, any security agent that has stayed in Khana LGA for more than four years should be transferred. Also, the Governor of Rivers State should call all Ogoni politicians and caution them to remove their hands from what is going on,”.
While commending Governor Wike for the various measures he has put in place to end insecurity, he further appealed to him to deploy a special security team to crisis-ridden areas in Ogoni to monitor situations there.
On what impact the award will have on him, he expressed happiness especially as it came from outside the country, saying it will spur him to do more humanitarian works; pointing out that he has met with the Khana council boss on two occasions to interface with him on how to solve the cult-related crisis.
“I am very happy today because the award came from far away Ghana. In critical condition of Ogoni I was given award. If the people had paid heed to my advice all these crisis happening today would not have happened. My foundation for scholarship and empowerment will continue by the grace of God,” Ndibara said.
Ndigbara said he decided to speak on the insecurity in Ogoni because the killings were getting out of hand, adding that if politicians and the chiefs come together to say enough is enough in sincerity he would support them to bring peace in Ogoni land.

 

Dennis Naku

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Huge Cost Of NASS Maintenance Worries TUC

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Rivers State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), has called on the Federal Government to reduce the costs of governance in the country, noting that it cost the country billions of Naira to maintain the National Assembly alone.
The State TUC, chairman, Austin Jonah who spoke when he appeared as guest on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide stated that the cost of governance in Nigeria is very expensive and not attainable.
Jonah further said the federal government will have enough funds to pay the minimum wage when they reduce the salaries and allowances of political office holders.
“Look at the welcome pack of the National Assembly members. N4.6 plus billion for accommodation and furniture. A Senator is going home with about N10million, while the member of House of Representatives is taking N9million plus.
“If you calculate with 360 persons in the House of Reps, plus 109 in the Senate, that is about 469 people and they have severance gratuity. They have so many things they are going home with plus their salary. You see, if you look at governance and cut down expenditure in governance this money, they have already taken the money that are talking about.
“They have taken it in the sense that they want to increase communication tax, such as that every call you make you pay tax, sms you pay tax, data you pay tax and even cable Television,” Jonah lamented
The State TUC chairman said what the labour union negotiated with the Federal Government was not the minimum wage but consequential adjustment.
“What we were negotiating was the consequential adjustment. Now from N18, 000 to N30, 000, the difference is N12, 000, which is 66 per cent. That 66 per cent was what we negotiated. By right we are not supposed to negotiate.
“If you trace the history of minimum wage in Nigeria, it started in 1981 during the Alhaji Shehu Shagari Government. Whenever you finish with minimum wage, the consequential adjustment is based on the percentage of the difference.
“The first minimum wage presented by the NLC was N300, but at the end of the day N125 was agreed,” he said.

 

Dennis Naku

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NASS Promises Better Funding For Nigerian Army

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume and his House of Representatives counterpart, Mr Abdulrazak Namdas, have promised to ensure adequate funding for the Nigerian Army in the 2020 budget.
They made the promise on Saturday in an interview with newsmen during the Passing Out Parade (POP) of 78 Regular Recruits Intake at the Depot Nigerian Army, Zaria, Kaduna State.
They said that the army needed to be adequately funded to be able to effectively tackle the prevailing security threats in the country.
Ndume, who agreed that the N100 billion proposed for the defence in 2020 budget was inadequate, said that the committee on army was looking at how to help to enhance the funding.
He said that the national assembly was aware of needs of the army that needed to be provided to enable its personnel to perform their duties effectively.
“We are going to do something despite the fact that the resources are scarce but security is first and everybody has agreed to that.
“We are looking at the budget critically to place our priorities right so that the right things will be done first.”
Namdas said that the joint committee had embark on fact finding tour to army formations across the country and realised that the army had challenges.
According to him, they are really on ground, they have done so much and now that the National Assembly is considering the budget we can appropriate for the army.
“We will see how we can be able to adjust and see how that can be able to cope with the challenges at hand,” he said.
Namdas also disclosed that a motion to provide for special funding for the armed forces was currently being considered on the floor of the House of Representatives.
He added that the armed forces could not be adequately funded only by the budget, adding that there was need to look beyond the budget to finance the operations of the armed forces.
“That motion has been taken and we are looking to it and by the special grace of God, even after the budget we will look for special funding for the armed forces generally,” he said.
The Depot Nigerian Army on Saturday graduated a total of 4832 regular recruits who would be deployed to various formations of the army.
Similarly, the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, urged the graduating soldiers to always uphold the oath of allegiance they had taken to defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria.
Olonisakin also tasked them to display total loyalty while pledging that the prevailing security challenges would soon be over through the commitment of the military.

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APC, Party For Notorious Liars – Ayade

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Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has described the All Progressives Congress (APC) as a group of persons notorious for lies, especially in his state.
He said the assertions credited to the APC chairman in the state, John Ochala, over his return to school to pursue a Master’s degree in law at UNICAL were as laughable and pathetic as the party itself in the state, adding “the party in the state is notorious for lies.”
Ochala is reported to have said that Governor Ayade returned to school because of idleness and laziness and that he (Ayade) lacked ideas on how to govern the state.
But the Governor in a statement by Mr. Christian Ita, his chief media adviser, said it was “funny that a party like APC which prides itself as a major opposition cannot engage the Governor on governance issues but chooses to lie to score cheap political points.
“If they didn’t see anything wrong with Governor Malam Nasir el-Rufai returning to school in 2017 in faraway Netherlands for his PhD, what,then is wrong if Governor Ayade returns to school to add to his numerous degrees within Calabar, the state capital?” he asked.
The statement reminded the APC that Chief Whip of the Senate and member of the APC, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu was an undergraduate student while serving as Abia State governor.
“The timing of Governor Ayade’s decision to return to school is unequivocally perfect. Unlike APC members, the governor, despite all the resources at his disposal didn’t choose any foreign university, he decided to do it locally thereby boosting the reputation of Nigerian universities at a time tertiary institutions in West Africa are under attack,” he said. Ayade said to attack his quest for more academic degrees shows that APC in the state was weak as opposition party and could not be able to distract him.

 

Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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