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Delta Distributes Palliatives Soon, Targets Indigent Citizens

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Delta State Government says it will begin food distribution to residents before the week runs out to cushion the effect of the 14 days lockdown, occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa,  Mr Olisa Ifeajika, disclosed this in an interview with newsmen yesterday, in Asaba.
Okowa on April 1, directed a total lockdown of the state as measure to contain the ravaging Coronavirus pandemic in the state.
Ifeajika noted that modalities had been worked out to ensure that nobody was cutoff from getting the palliative, adding that primary beneficiaries would be the indigent and vulnerable citizens in the state.
According to him, the palliatives will be rolled out before the end of the week to cushion the effect of the Coronavirus lockdown in the state.
“The state government has set up committees to handle the distribution of the food items across the the state and by God’s Grace, the palliatives will be rolled out before the end of the week and it is for all Deltans, no party affiliations.
“Each local government area has a committee in which the commissioners, legislators and the local government area chairmen, religious leaders and other community leaders are members.
“The items will be distributed via the wards and units in each local government to all vulnerable persons and not along political party affiliations.
“As you know, in the wards and units, the people know themselves, so nobody will be shut out and our target is particularly the indigent citizens,” he said.
In Warri axis, our correspondent reports that residents were already waiting for the state government palliatives to cushion the hardship being experienced.
A source in Warri local government area, who spoke with our source on condition of anonymity said:  “Till  now, we have not received palliatives from the government, NGO’s, CSO’s, Corporate bodies or individuals.”

“People have been calling to know what is happening and I told them there is nothing yet,” the source said.
Also, Udu Local Government Area noted it had not received any donation from anywhere.
The Council vice chairman, Mr Justice Iyasere said that they sourced fund within the council to buy some food items that were distributed to the people recently.
“Member representing Udu Local Government at the Delta House of Assembly, Mr Peter Uviejitobor also donated to the people.
“As at now, we have not received palliatives from anywhere but we are expecting from the state government very soon,” he said
However, while the residents awaited the state government palliatives, most communities across the 25 LGAs of  the state had received palliatives from various politicians and political office holders to cushion the effect of the stay-at- home order.
Recall that the state governor had earlier declared that apart from the personal donations by serving political office holders to their respective constituencies, their one month subvention would also go into procuring palliatives for the people during the period of the lockdown.
The state lawmakers were also reported to have impacted their constituencies in diverse ways to support the people, particularly indigent and vulnerable persons in the areas.
On his part, the Speaker, Delta House of Assembly, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori distributed food items to cushion the effect of COVID-19 to people of Okpe Constituency.
The items distributed were bags of rice, bags of beans, cartons of tin tomatoes, cantons of indomie noodles, vegetable oils among others.
Mr Ferguson Onwo, (Isoko South II) constituency gave cash donations to his own people.
Other lawmakers who distributed food items and cash included, the Deputy Speaker of the Assembly, Mr Christopher Ochor, representing Ukwuani constituency, Mr Friday Osanebi (Ndokwa East)  Mr Charles Emetulu  (Ndokwa West), and Mr Emeka Nwaoba (Aniocha North).
Also, Mr Solomon Ighrakpata ( Uwvie),  Mr Charles Oniyere (Ughelli North I), and Reuben Izeze (Ughelli South), were not left out in the food distribution to cushion the impact of the lockdown in the state.

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa State NUT Disowns Splinter Group, Says ASUSS Is Illegal.

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Nigerian union of Teachers,NUT Bayelsa state wing has disssociated self from a splinter group, the Academic staff Union of Secondary Schools, ASUSS.

In a statement made available to The Tide during the week, NUT through the duo of the state chairman, comrades Kalama Tonpre and Secretary, Johnson Hector dissociated the state wing of the NUT from the new group saying it is not a registered Trade Union neither is it qualified to be registered under the Trade Union Act.

The statement reads in parts: “it needs to be made clear that the said Academic staff union of secondary schools, ASUSS, is just a splinter group of the NUT.”

“They’re not a registered Trade Union, neither are they registrable under the Trade Union Act 2004(cap T.14 section 5(2). A union can only be said to have been registered as trade union when issued certificate of registration by the Registrar of Trade union at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and not the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.”

“ASUSS case which falls under the companies and allied natters act, CAMA only makes it a business or commercial outfit which has nothing

to do with Trade Unionism”, the statement added.

NUT alleged that what ASUSS currently parades to deceive unsuspecting teachers and Government is an internal memo of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment and not a certificate of registration as a Trade Union.

They warned Teachers members of the NUT to desist forthwith from paying check-off dues to ASUSS, saying that similar confussion  of this sort occurred in other states where the registrar of trade unions said that ASUSS remains an association and is neither qualified to carry out trade union activities nor entitled to collect check-off dues.

The union noted that a purported claim made by ASUSS that a recent judgement by the court of Appeal in Benue state in the case of NUT Benue state wing versus ASUSS was in their favour is incorrect and misleading, restating that no court in Nigeria has conferred on ASUSS the right to operate as a Trade Union without any registration certificate.

Following the alleged claims,NUT said, they are therefore calling on the Bayelsa state Government to proscribe ASUSS, saying it is not recognized by extant trade union laws to represent secondary school teachers in the state.

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Offices Deserted, Roads Closed, As Workers’ Strike Enters The Second Day In C’River

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Government offices in Cross River State and roads leading to them have been deserted since Monday as civil servants complied with the indefinite strike action declared by the leadership of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over welfare-related issues.
Our correspondent, who went round Calabar Metropolis to monitor compliance or otherwise of the strike, observed that except for few senior civil servants who were seen lurking around their offices, the premises of both the new and old State Secretariat, housing many government ministries, departments and agencies, had been under lock and key.
The NLC Chairman in the State, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, in a telephone chat, said “the strike is total and successful. However, there are some TUC members who are senior civil servants who opened their offices but they cannot do without NLC members who are at home and are complying with the strike order.
“Even some TUC members are also complying because the TUC withdrew from the strike only on the leadership level. As everyone knows, we are not fighting for ourselves but for workers whose rights and privileges have been taken away. The strike will continue until government is ready to meet our demands.”
Mr. Christian Ita, The Chief Press Secretary/Special Adviser, Media to Governor Ben Ayade, also in a chat with correspondents, said NLC should see reasons why the strike should not continue, and noted that, “few days ago, the Deputy Governor spoke with the leadership of the Organized Labour and restated the resolve of government to look into the matters NLC raised. Governor Ben Ayade is a labour friendly governor. The truth is that the time for such discussion is simply not right.

“COVID-19 has ravaged the economy of states and nations and in fact some states are contemplating salary cut while companies are even laying off workers. Recession is staring everybody in the face  globally. As we speak, political appointees in the state have had their salaries cut by 20 percent in the face of the dwindling allocation to the state.

“Few months ago, the federal allocation was about N800 million but today it has gone down to roughly N600 million. We cannot be talking of any money matter now because government is battling to pay salaries for the past two months. Let them give government enough time to tackle those matters.”
It would be Recalled that there was a stalemate at the weekend over the matter when the TUC distanced itself from the strike, and warned its members against taking part. Its secretary, Ken Bassey, argued that the group preferred continuous negotiation with the state government to iron out the issues under contention, and that the timing for the strike was wrong due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the NLC had insisted that Gov Ayade should accede to the 8-point demands of the Organized Labour, which they said, include

payment of outstanding gratuities to retirees from 2014; implementation of promotion; immediate return of names of workers removed from payroll and the immediate pay rolling of about 2000 recruited workers who have been working since 2018, amongst others.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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COVID-19: Yenagoa Correctional Service Gets Isolation Centre

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The controller of corrections, Nigeria correctional service,Bayelsa state command, Seth Edoghotu says the headquarters of the service has approved a covid-19 isolation centre for the medium security custodial centre situated in Okaka,Yenagoa the state capital.

Edoghotu stated this on Monday in Yenagoa while speaking with The Tide on the sideline of new development in his command.

The controller reiterated that the service was amongst the first parastatals of Government that locked down following the outbreak of the novel corona virus in the nation.

According to him with the spread of the pandemic,the Okaka correction centre like others in the nation,with directives from their headquarters took the ban on the acceptance of new inmates and visitations of old ones by families and wards as part of the measures in containing the spread of the disease.

He said these measures were necessitated by lack of adequate space and cells to harbour custodials (inmates) amongst others,saying all Covid-19 protocols are observed in the Yenagoa centre.

The Rivers-born controller maintained that in consonance with the national directives he communicated the relevant Government authorities in the state,regretting that unlike their sister centres in other states his command was not considered for palliatives by the state Government during the various distribution exercises carried out in mitigating hardship occasioned by the pandemic.

“But recently new circular was released to us by our headquarters approving an Isolation centre for the Okaka medium security custodial centre.It says we can now accept new inmates but that they must be isolated in our centre for fourteen days,tested and if any returns positive taken out for treatment before bringing them back to the correction centre,while those who returned negative are to be transferred into the various cells”, he said.

Edoghotu who also spoke on the state of the borstal correctional centre at Ogbia town,headquarters of Ogbia local Government area of the state tasked the contractors handling the project on completion,saying there is huge socio-economic advantage in locating custodial centres in an area.

“You see,the Borstals correction centre in Ogbia town uptil now has not been completed by the contractor.When such projects are cited in any area it boosts the Economy of that area.The contractors handling this project should please complete it so that we can put it to use”, he added.

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.

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