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COVID-19: Mixed Reactions Greet Delta Lockdown Extension

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Hundreds of women and youths in Sapele, Sapele Local Government Area of Delta State yesterday, peacefully protested against the extension of the lockdown order by Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa.
The people who chanted solidarity songs marched through major streets of Sapele town.
They said there was hunger and that their businesses have crumbled without any hope of getting food to eat.
The protesters, however, said their anger was that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa announced an extension of the lockdown for another fourteen days without the provisions of essential needs for them.
One of the protesters identified as Onome, in a chat with newsmen said, “As I’m talking to you, there is no food in my house and I have four children with a wife.”
Another protester, also identified as Oritsemeyiwa said the government was very insensitive to the plights of its people.
Oritsemeyiwa, an applicant said since the lockdown started, he had been going around begging to survive, stressing, “As it is now, I have no money anywhere. How to survive for the next fourteen days is what I am thinking about.”
Our correspondent reports that the peaceful protest was hijacked by hoodlums who burnt fire at Okpe road just as they allegedly attacked and maimed residents of the area.
It took the intervention of police officers who swung into action and shot tear-gas canister into the air to disperse the peaceful protesters and the hoodlums.
When contacted, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, CP Mohammed Hafiz Inuwa, who confirmed the protest in a telephone chat with our reporter said, “They have been dispersed.”
It would be recalled that Governor Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa on Tuesday announced an extension of the lockdown for fourteen days with an assurance that food items would be shared to Deltans without delay.

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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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NDLEA Nabs 146 Drug Suspects, Rehabilitates 114 In C’River

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The commander of the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Cross River state, Mrs. Anthonia Edeh, has said the agency had arrested 146 suspects and rehabilitated 114 others within the last 12 months.
Mrs. Edeh disclosed this in Calabar to mark this year’s United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
She said within the period under review, the command also secured 15 convictions in respect to drug related offenses at the Federal High Court, Calabar.
Edeh said the Command seized 205.314 kgs of hard drugs comprising 196.23kgs of cannabis sativa; 163.521gms of cocaine; 187.2gms of
heroin; and 9.036 kg of psychotropic substances.

“In addition, in our drug demand reduction activities, 114 drug-dependent persons were counseled and rehabilitated back to their

families,” she said.
According to her, the Command carried out drug enlightenment programmes with the view to educating the general public on the inherent dangers of drug abuse.
The commander said in line with this year’s theme; “Better Knowledge for Better Care,” there was the need for all stakeholders to join hands to reduce the menace, adding that drug abuse and illicit trafficking was a major challenge across the world, especially in developing countries.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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