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Don’t Owe Salaries, Pensions, Ayade Cautions As He Swears-In Council Chairmen With N11.38b Take Off Fund

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The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has sworn-in the newly elected chairmen and vice chairmen of the 18 local government
councils of the state.
Our correspondent report that the event took place at the State Executive Chamber of the Governor’s office, Calabar.
The new chairmen and their vice emerged victorious in last Saturday’s council polls as the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP cleared the entire 18 councils areas and also produced all the councilors.
Speaking after swearing them in, Ayade urged the council Chairmen to avoid unnecessary trips outside their councils, harping on the need
for them to stay back home and work for their people.
The Governor disclosed that he was leaving behind for the newly elected chairmen, N11.386 billion as take off fund, adding that they had no reason not to perform.
“Remember I am giving you councils that do not owe salaries, not owing pension. So I don’t want to hear tomorrow that you are owing.
“We are happy to announce to you that you are coming into office while
the governor leaves behind N11.386 billion in your coffers.
“Today marks a great opportunity for the people at the grassroots who have never had direct access to government, to feel the impact of
government,” the governor told the new chairmen.
He further implored them not to engage in grandiose projects but concentrate on simple projects that directly impact on the lives of
the people.
His words, “you are serving the grassroots, I do not want you therefore, to embark on big projects. I need you to deal with those
projects that directly impact on the lives of the people. I need you to deal with boreholes; I need you to deal with culverts, minor bridges that link communities.”
The Governor advised the chairmen to work harmoniously with their councilors so as to effectively serve the people.
“I urge you to work in harmony with your councilors. There must not be a divided house. Therefore, work harmoniously with the councilors so that together you will serve the people effectively”, the Governor
said.
He also urged them to reside in their respective local government areas so as to be abreast of the needs of their people.
From FRIDAY NWAGBARA, Calabar
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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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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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