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Minimum Wage Circular Ready, Labour Confirms

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President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, has said there was confirmation from the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) that the circular for the new minimum wage of N30,000 would be ready soon.
The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Quadri Olaleye, had last Friday, confirmed that a letter, which would be jointly signed by the TUC and NLC, would be sent to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, to ensure the quick release of the circular.
He added that the circular was a confirmation that the Federal Government had begun full implementation of the new minimum wage.
Speaking with newsmen in Geneva, Switzerland where the meeting of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) was held until Friday, Wabba said when the issue of the letter was initiated, he was already in Geneva.
He noted that his attention was drawn to it and a draft of the letter was sent to him via his e-mail address.
Wabba explained that immediately, he approached Ngige, who was also in Geneva for the meeting and the minister told him that all issues relating to the circular had been proactively addressed after the last Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
Wabba said, “There was a draft of the letter actually but the letter was not signed and sent to the minister eventually. When the issue of the letter was brought to my attention, I was already in Geneva but they sent it to my mail.
“I was at the meeting in Geneva with the minister of labour and he proactively addressed the issue when I approached him there.
“He said that after the FEC meeting, he prepared all the documents, including the arrears and sent to National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission. We have confirmed from the commission.
“States can start their negotiation. What is important is that no one must negotiate anything lower than N30,000. That had been settled between labour and the Federal Government”, Wabba added.
However, this year’s Workers’ Day celebration in Rivers State was exceptional, as workers left the General Yakubu Gowon Stadium, venue of the celebration excited following the assurance by Governor Nyesom Wike that his government would implement the N30, 000 minimum wage.
But six months after the promise was made, the state government is still waiting for the release of the template by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to enable it begin the implementation of the new wage.
Speaking on the delay, the Rivers State Chairman of NLC, Comrade Beatrice Itubo, called for calm, reiterating that the state government has promised to pay the new wages.
She, however, expressed reservations on the delay saying, “everybody is worried about the delay, but right here in Rivers State, there must be a template as soon as the NSIWC comes out with a template. We hope the state government will comply.
“The delay is not motivating us again. Wages, when they come, have a way of motivating workers to put in their best. But now, people are no longer happy, that is why we are calling on the government to act now because people are no longer motivated. I know they are apprehensive; they have become demoralised, but I will still advise them to remain firm and optimistic,” she stated.
Itubo, who called on the commission to urgently release the template, added that states should not revel in paying the outdated salaries in the guise of the commission’s delay in releasing the template.
She insisted that every state government is capable of paying the new minimum wage, and can pay it with ease if they are desirous of doing so.
Her words: “Each and every state government is able to pay this money if it wants to pay. State governors, apart from having myriads of aides, also have ways of cornering a lot of funds for themselves. So, they should be able to do the needful, but the problem is that governors want to live large and continue to play with the taxpayers’ money.”
“What is the essence of building so many roads when the people that will use the roads are hungry and dying, and not living a healthy life? Government should begin to look at human capital development, and building human infrastructure.”

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Police Parade Four Suspected Kidnappers, Rescue Female Victim In Cross River

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The Cross River State Police Command has paraded four suspected kidnappers and rescued one Cecilia Onega, 38 years, from kidnappers’ den.
Parading the suspects at the State Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill in Calabar, Cross River State on Monday, the Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo said the breakthrough was recorded by the Command.
She said that the victim, one Cecilia Onyago ‘F’ 38 years was rescued without a ransom paid.
“We are working to make sure that kidnapping is no more in the State.
We urge Cross Riverians to provide us with information which would enable us work harder and pick these hoodlums wherever they may be,” she stressed.
The police spokesperson said that on July 10th 2020, in Akamkpa Local Government Area of Cross River State, a husband and wife were going about their normal businesses when armed kidnappers came in and kidnapped the woman.
“The Police got a distress call from the people

and we swung into action. In a bid to know the location where the woman was taken to, we got one suspect which led us to the arrest of other gang members.
“Right now, the suspects are in our custody, a lot of items have been recovered including two vehicles, Toyota Camry with registration number NEM 828 AY and Jetta car no LSD 879 AV and several local guns,” she quipped.
DSP Ugbo said that the suspects are with the Police and they have given the Police useful information and “as soon as investigations are completed the suspects will be charged to court.
“We are very happy about the success recorded because Cross River State is noted for being a place people come and relax and Police is working tirelessly to make sure the hoodlums are brought to book
“Every evening, we have a team of Police officers at different locations doing stop and search; it is a regular exercise which the outgoing Police Commissioner put in place.
“We urged all Cross Riverians to corporate with us, give us useful.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar.
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COVID-19: Hand Washing Cheapest Way Of Fighting Diseases – Health Commissioner

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The Cross River State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Betta Edu, has said that the cheapest way fighting various diseases was through effective hand washing.
Edu staate this in Calabar while receiving over 200 handwashing stations donated by United Purpose, a non-governmental organisation, for the Primary Healthcare Development Agency in the State.
The commissioner, who said she was grateful that the state had partners who were always ready to support it in the area of health, stressed that when sanitation fails, healthcare suffers.
“Although the state had not recorded massive number of the ravaging COVID-19 infections and deaths residents are advised to have a high index of suspicion.
“We encourage everyone to effectively use the available resources in the health facilities in the state and have a high index of suspicion.
“I call on the health workers in the state to bring the Infection Control Protocol (ICP), they have been taught to bear.
“We will be signing the Clinical Governance Agreement today to ensure that when our clients go to our facilities they are protected and the care giver is also protected,” she said.
The commissioner encouraged residents of the state to build their immunity because it was a way of protecting themselves and their loved ones.
She added that anyone who felt any symptoms of COVID-19 should go to the state’s testing centre. Dr. Janet Ekpenyong, Director General, Cross River Primary Healthcare Development Agency (CRSPHCDA), lauded  United Purpose and other partners for assisting the state.
Ekpenyong said it was not the job of the government alone to fight the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic in the state but the job of everyone.
Mr. Nanpet Chuktu, the Programme Manager of United Purpose, said his organisation partnered the state because it wanted to help in pushing back the virus from the state.
“We the United Purpose, through the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council, are making a donation of 10 hand washing stations per Local Government Area (LGA).
“These hand washing stations are for emergency and would be delivered to the state’s Primary Healthcare Agencies.
“We are looking at about 250 of them and each of the primary healthcare facilities would get at least one,” he noted.
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents

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The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.

Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.

“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.

 

“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.

“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.

“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.

“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.

Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than

30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.

“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.

“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.

The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.

 

Dennis Naku

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