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C’River NLC Says No Going Back On Indefinite Strike …Even As Affiliate Unions Back Out

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The relationship between the government of Cross River and the State wing of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) got soared over the weekend when the Organized Labour declared an indefinite strike over an alleged refusal of government to settle 8-point wages-related demands of the NLC.
Briefing newsmen, the NLC Chairman, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, lamented that all efforts to cause Governor Ben Ayade to see reasons why he should accede to the demands had fallen on deaf ears as workers, whose names were delisted from payroll and those who were yet to be captured after working since 2018 with official appointment letters, were still suffering.
According to him 1,885 workers have had their names removed from payroll without any explainable reason while more than 3,000 workers formally employed in 2018 and working since then were yet to be officially captured in the state payroll.
He said the decision to embark on strike was taken after days of warning strike had elapsed without government blinking an eye, and noted “it is obvious the Cross River state government does not take the welfare of its workers seriously. This assertion is made on the premise that plethora of workers’ issues presented to the government have been neglected and left unattended to.”

The NLC Chief enumerated Organized Labour’s demands to include: “payment of outstanding gratuities to both State and local government retirees from 2014; implementation of promotion from both State and local government workers; immediate return of names of workers removed from payroll and immediate return of weigh-in allowance to radio, television, theatre arts and paper printing workers in the state.”
According to him, other demands are: “the immediate payrolling of about 2000 workers recruited and have been working since 2018; immediate return of salary structures of workers of college of health technology, Calabar; immediate payment of balance of 30 percent of CONHESS to health workers, and payment of new hazard allowance for medical and health workers in the State.”

The NLC Chairman therefore advised “all workers to stay at home from Monday 29th June, 2020 until government attends to all the lingering Labour issues,” and charged workers not to be intimidated.
When asked on the issue of some affiliate unions pulling out of the strike action as rumoured, Comrade Ukpepi said “the Nigerian Labour Congress in Cross River state is made up of 46 affiliate unions. It is only one that is saying the strike is untimely because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“If one pulls out, the remaining 45 affiliate unions are together and the strike will commence from Monday. No time is the best time for those who served this state meritoriously to be paid their entitlement. Which time is the right time when we have been on this matter since last year?”

The Labour leader dismissed an injunction from the State High court allegedly initiated by the government to stop the strike, saying the Calabar-based government should have taken the Organized Labour to the industrial court where labour issues are handled.
“Are they going to court because workers are asking for their right?
For us, we do not recognize the injunction from the State High court because they lack the jurisdiction to handle this matter, and not only that, we have gone to an appeal. The court Order from the High Court has nothing to do with our strike which officially commences on Monday,” the NLC chairman submitted.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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COVID-19: Ignore Facemask, Risk Arrest, Prosecution, RSG Tells Residents

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The Rivers State Government has expressed worries over the high level of non-compliance of health protocols with respect to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that henceforth any resident caught without wearing facemask will be arrested and prosecuted.

The State Commissioner for Information and Communication, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim handed down the warning while speaking on a live Radio programme in Port Harcourt on Saturday and monitored by the Tide.

Nsirim who is Chairman of the State Inter-ministerial Committee on Enlightenment for Covid-19 recalled the unhappiness of Governor Nyesom Wike during last Wednesday’s State broadcast with the attitude of many residents who flaunt extant directives on the wearing of facemask and other health protocols.

“The Governor in that broadcast also expressed concern that a lot of people in the State are not obeying the protocols. Social distancing, wearing of facemask and he spoke specifically in what is happening in some churches. Government will introduce policies, the onus is on the populace to obey those policies.

 

“Not just obeying it, the Covid-19 pandemic that we are talking about has defied medical solution for now. So to flatten the curve, everyone living and doing business in Rivers State has to take responsibility.

“If I take responsibility and everyone around me takes responsibility to observe the relevant protocol, we are sure to flatten the curve. But if people live righteously and just do as if nothing is happening because there are places where people are just living in denial.

“Some people still believe that there is nothing like Coronavirus. Two weeks ago, my committee rounded off street to street campaign in all the 23 local government areas of the State. They still met people who are in this denial. That is the challenge.

“The Governor is desirous that Rivers State remains safe. That is why he is initiating policies to ensure that strategically the state is somehow isolated from the national spread,” the Commissioner said.

Nsirim further said, “If you go around the State, since the executive order on facemask was introduced. You will notice that less than

30 per cent of the populace are really obeying that executive order. What we are seeing in the State is that people just put the mask around their chin.

“You go to some churches we see people open their mouth and things will be spewing out in the enclosed environment on the chin. The Governor is saying that to give this wearing of facemask the kind of weight that it deserves to save our people, a special taskforce be put in place.

“That is the only sure way because a lot of people are still living in denial. He said the governor’s broadcast is very clear, arrest and prosecute. Henceforth we will arrest and prosecute people not wearing facemask in public places,” he stated.

The Rivers State Government spokesman said arrangements have been concluded to monitor churches that fail to observe the guidelines of not more than 70 persons per church service, wearing of facemask, provision of water for hand washing and the use of hand sanitizers, while weddings and burial ceremonies should not exceed 50 persons.

 

Dennis Naku

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Missing National Light Newspaper’s Journalist, Mathew Onwuasoanya, Found

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Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC),  publisher of the National Light group of Newspapers, Awka has announced that one of their reporters, Barr Mathew Onwuasoanya who went missing for more than  a month has been found.
Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Media House, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, Editor of the newspaper, Mrs Rose Oranye, along with Chairman, Anambra State Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists ( NUJ), Sir Emma Ifesinachi and the Council’s Secretary, Mr Emma Udeagha, on Thursday, July 9, 2020, met with Mr Onwuasoanya and members of his family.
During the meeting, Barr Onwuasoanya narrated his ordeal within the five weeks of his surprised absence. He explained how he was taken from his residence on May 30, 2020.
 He confirmed that he was picked up by some security men as reported but he got released thereafter.
After the shocking encounter with security agents which left him rattled, he promptly sought medical attention to attend to the traumatic experience.
 He disclosed that he received treatment all the while until he returned home while expressing his regret for his inability to reach

out to anybody given that he lives alone and had lost his phones in the process.
This reporter recalled that in a terse statement released earlier by the MD, a brother to the journalist, Mr Oliver Onwuasoanya had said that neighbours told him “that about 2am on May, 30, some vehicles, comprising a white Hilux truck and a Highlander with some gun – bearing men dressed in what looks like security men’s uniform came and whisked him away”.
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Rivers Scholar Wins 2020 Cambridge Outstanding Learners Award

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An Egi-born indigent scholar from Showers Christian Schools, Port Harcourt in Rivers State has won the British Council high recognition and outstanding Cambridge Learners Award for 2020.
The teenager, Ike Holy, scored 94 per cent in Combined Science (O Level) in the Cambridge International Examinations in the November 2019 diet. This is said to be the best result in three sessions in the subject.
This achievement has also position him as the second person since 2017 from Showers Schools to win such recognition in the Cambridge examinations.
The Tide gathered that four Showers students made distinctions (A’s) in the same subject, Combined Science O levels, in top grades: distinctions (A*-A), also in Mathematics, and  A’s in English Language.
The Learners Award acknowledges exceptional Nigeria-based learners’ achievements in Cambridge examinations taken by students around the world through the British Council.
Showers Proprietress, Mrs. Ekama Emilia

Akpan in reaction to the award, said: “Again, we thank God, Total E&P Nig. Ltd, the parents, and our committed, hard working teachers, who in spite of all, supported and believed in the dreams of the management, to train and graduate students in a sustainable manner devoid of examination malpractice
Ike hails from Amah in Egi Community and was admitted at 11 years of age to Showers Christian High School.
According to the CEO, “His entry performance was below average, but with the schedule of teaching in place, he made a great improvement to warrant the success in the examination.
Akpan, who is also top member of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said Ike is one of the scholars of “Catch Dem Young Educational Support Programme” initiated by Total E & P Nigeria Limited since 2007, to support indigent students chosen from thirteen (13) Egi Communities of Rivers State.
“Showers International School was given the mandate by Total E& P to teach the students

to the level to be competitive with the best in Nigeria.”
Speaking further, Mrs Akpan commended the Rivers State Government for providing the enabling environment for indigent students to achieve such a noble academic award, in times like this. She believes there are many hidden and unrecognized talents in the State that are waiting to be discovered and groomed to excel, but more support is required to be able to develop such talents to seize the opportunities to achieve more  global academic accolades.
Responding to the award, lke said, “The school jealously guards its policy on examination malpractice, which has drilled us to understand that nothing good comes easy, and that quality does not come by chance but by hard work. Showers group has  a philosophy that says if you fall, you pick yourself up and try again until you get it right.
“I particularly appreciate my parents for their consistent love, belief in me and encouragement, in spite of their own financially challenging circumstances.
“The International Learners Award means a lot to me.  I believe this achievement will also challenge other students in and outside my school to strive to work harder to merit such awards.”
Lilian Peters
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