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COVID-19: Civil Servants Shun CRSG’s Resumption Order

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Senior civil servants in the employ of Cross River State Government have shunned Governor Ben Ayade’s directive of getting back to work.
Ayade in a press release ref: GO/PRESS/012/VOL.I/ 179, signed by the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Christian Ita had directed all senior civil servants on Grade Level 10 and above to resume work on Tuesday, April 14.
But TheTide investigation reveals that majority of the workers in the state employment were yet to resume work after 72 hours the governor directed them to do so.
The workers were asked to proceed on two weeks holidays following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our correspondent, who went round various government offices including ministries and parastatals last week, observed that some of the workers were yet to report on duty.
At the old and new secretariats as well as other ministries, few workers were seen at their respective offices as some of them said they cannot risk their lives by coming to work.
Speaking, a senior civil servant, who refused to give his name said, “It would have been better for government to allow this coronavirus to leave before asking civil servants to resume. We are scared of our lives and that of our families.
“When one comes out for work, we cannot stop meeting other people and these are the people we do not know their health status as far as COVID-19 is concern. We may also carry items that are infected with COVID-19 while working.
“All the offices need to be fumigated before we resume normal work.
“You cannot ask workers to resume work after offices were shut down for some weeks. These offices need treatment too,” he stated.
Another worker who appeared very casual said, “Do you think that with this COVID-19, I can come and sit there (pointing at his ministry) and work? I came to see how things are but not to resume work.
“Let government do the needful by fumigating all the offices. Governor Ayade had announced that N500million was set aside for curbing of COVID-19 as well as millions of other donations that came in, let government utilise these money to protect the lives of its citizens.
“There are two things, announcing what you intend to do and effectively utilising the money for the purpose it was meant for. We the senior civil servants and the low cadre are watching to see what the governor would do with these money.

 

Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Bayelsa State Governor, Diri Urges Support For Sylva, NCDMB Boss

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The Governor of Bayelsa State, Douye Diri, has urged the people of the state and the Ijaw nation to support the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, and the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Simbi Wabote.

Diri called for the support while reacting to a recent online publication which tended to cast aspersions on Sylva and the NCDMB headed by Wabote.

He said the duo deserved the support of all well-meaning people of the state and indeed the Ijaw nation, describing them as illustrious sons of Bayelsa.

The governor in a statement on Thursday by his spokesperson, Mr Daniel Alabrah, noted that what Bayelsa needed at this time was for everyone to seek the good and development of the state, regardless of political affiliation or persuasion.

“Chief Sylva, having served as governor of Bayelsa, contributed and is still contributing his quota to development of our state. Now he is an appointee of Mr. President, serving as the Minister of State for Petroleum. The best we can do as a state and as a people is to continue to support him. Politics should not be allowed to divide us”he said.

Diri, while also commending the NCDMB boss, said Wabote carved a niche for himself in the oil industry as a top executive with Shell before his appointment to drive the country’s local content policy.

“So far in my view, Engr. Wabote has done very well and continues to break new grounds in implementing Nigeria’s local content policy. As a state, we are very proud of him and the work he is doing. With the location of the magnificent NCDMB head office in Yenagoa, my administration has ensured and created the enabling environment for its seamless operations,”he added.

The governor said his administration’s doors were open for collaboration with the ministry and the agency that both Sylva and Wabote represent, stressing that all hands must be on deck to attract positive development to the state.

 

 

By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,Yenagoa.

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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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