The Standards Organisation of Nigeria National Steel Task Force has sealed 13 steel factories across the nation for standards infractions.
The Chairman of the SON Task Force on Steel, Enebi Onucheyo, said the companies located in Lagos, Ogun, Osun, Abia and Edo states would be shut indefinitely following a nationwide market surveillance carried out by the SON Task Force between November 2019 and January 2020.
He stated that samples of various steel products were obtained from the open market as well as the facilities of the companies during the surveillance exercises.
Onucheyo stated that given the SON classification of steel bars as life-endangering products, the Nigeria Industrial Standards provides for unique identification marks for every locally manufactured or imported steel bars for easy traceability.
According to him, laboratory tests and analysis carried out on the samples revealed that most of them failed to meet the minimum requirements for 2 diameter2 and 2 mass per meter2 as provided in the Nigeria Industrial Standard (117:2004).
These, Onucheyo said, were critical parameters in the standard for reinforcement bars for concrete.
Onucheyo said the shutdown exercise followed earlier warnings to all the steel manufacturing companies on observed infractions with directives to ensure strict compliance with the requirements of the NIS 117:2004.
The task force chairman disclosed that some of the companies were found to have tampered with products earlier placed on hold by SON in their facilities while an unregistered identification mark was discovered in one of the products sampled.
He explained that the exercise would be a continuous one in furtherance of the SON commitment to protect Nigerian consumers from the dangers associated with substandard and life-endangering products in view of the incessant collapse of buildings and structures across the country.
Onucheyo said the exercise was also aimed at ensuring that Nigerian consumers got maximum value for their money.
Commenting on the standards enforcement activity, the SON Director General, Osita Aboloma, restated the need to promote quality made-in-Nigeria products preparatory to the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
COVID-19: PH Residents Urge Church Leaders To Distribute Food Evenly
Some residents of Port Harcourt and its environs have called on church leaders in Rivers State to ensure that the alleged distribution of food items by some churches is not limited to their members alone.
The call is coming on the heels of reports that some churches like the Winners Chapel, have begun to distribute food items to their members alone, as a way of cushioning the effect of COVID-19 hardship.
Reacting to this report, a resident of Choba community, Frank Ichendu, told The Tide that church leaders should realise that there are other residents of the state that equally need such support like their members.
According to him, this is the time the church should care for both their members and non-members, and show the love of Christ at this time of general hardship.
Also reacting to the matter on a separate phone chat, Felix Worlu, who resides within the Ada-George road axis, said that this was the time churches, especially big churches, should complement government’s efforts by using the tithes and offering to support the less privileged.
Worlu noted that government cannot carry everything alone, and therefore, called on church leaders to show love and care to the needy who might not be their members for the sake of humanity.
Agreeing with the position of Worlu, a widow residing in Rumuosi community of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area, Nlemchi Michael, lamented that the closure of markets had brought serious hardship on the citizenry, calling on churches and philanthropists to come to people’s aid at this trying period.
She also called on the state government to do whatever they intend to do faster to cushion the hardship of the market closure and restriction.
Meanwhile, The Tide reliably gathered that the Omega Power Ministry (OPM) has started to distribute food stuff to members of the public at Rukpokwu in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of the state, irrespective of religion or denomination.
By: Corlins Walter
NUPENG Threatens Strike Over Sack Of Refinery Workers
The Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas, (NUPENG), has given the Federal Government and management of the Port Harcourt Refinery Company (PHRC) 72 hours to reverse March 29th sack of over 175 contract workers or face the shutdown of supply of petroleum products across the Port Harcourt Zone.
National Treasurer, NUPENG, Alex Agwanwor, at the declaration of the ultimatum in Port Harcourt, yesterday, said the development was tilted to a nationwide industrial action with consequences certain to compound prevailing hardship posed to the Nigerian populace by Coronavirus as the union members in refineries in Kaduna and Warri Zones were equally affected by job layoff.
Narrating the situation, Zonal Chairman, NUPENG, Port Harcourt Zone, Mina Samuel, said apart from acting in defiance of extant labour laws and best practices in the sudden sack of the contractor workers, the timing underscored insensitivity on part of the PHRC.
Samuel described as disheartening, “The disengagement of union members by management of PHRC on whose instruction its contractors acted to terminate jobs at this very point the entire world is being ravaged by Covid-19.
“It is the height of insensitivity that whereas the whole world is providing for citizens, putting in place palliatives, economic stimulus and protection of workers right, PHRC, a government agency is terminating jobs and deliberately infusing more hardship on workers
“Consequently, NUPENG gives PHRC 72hours from April 2 to direct its contractors to withdraw all job termination letters issued all NUPENG members in their employ. We advise the refinery management to engage the union once normalcy is restored, if need be.
“PHRC management leaves the NUPENG with no other option than calling all members within Port Harcourt Zone including petroleum tanker drivers, petrol station workers currently risking their lives to render essential services to the nation in the face of Covid-19, to halt the supply of petroleum products in solidarity with affected members”
The union further lamented that, “fuel tankers drivers and others on essential duties are currently not allowed to move freely in Rivers as a result of the lockdown by the state government. We appeal to the government to address this challenge in line with Mr President/State Governor’s directive on exemption of those on essential duty.”
NITPs Hails RSG’s Measures Against Covid-19, Suspends Institute’s Activities
The Nigerian Institute of Town Planners(NITPs), Rivers State Chapter, has commended the Rivers State Government for the proactive steps it took to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the State.
Chairman of the institute, Emmanuel Ikechukwu, who gave the commendation shortly after an extraordinary emergency meeting of the State Executive Committee of the institute in Port Harcourt, said the government’s measure was in the interest of public health and safety.
Ikechukwu advised members of the institute and the general public to “adhere strictly to the guidelines of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to contain this pandemic by maintaining personal hygiene, washing of hands regularly with soap and water, the use of hand sanitiser, social distancing and self-isolation when necessary”.
He noted that the inconveniences and hardships created by the restrictions following the pandemic were “temporal thus the need for all citizens to be resilient, patriotic and united with government at all levels in the fight to curb the spread of the pandemic”.
The NITPs boss enjoined the state government to put palliative measures in place to cushion the adverse impact of restrictions on the populace.
Ikechukwu also notified NITPs members that following the directives of NCDC and the Rivers State Government to ban all forms of social and public gatherings, the chapter’s monthly general meeting has been temporarily suspended till further notice.
He said further that the earlier scheduled inauguration ceremony of the newly elected state executives expected to hold on April16, 2020 has been postponed, adding that the chapter’s secretariat shall remain shut until April 20, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to him, all correspondence and enquiries during this period should be channelled through the e-mails and contact phone numbers already provided by the principal executives of the institute.
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