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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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Niger Delta

Ex-APGA Scribe, Obasi, Petitions IGP Over Alleged Assassination Attempt

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Former Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Jerry Obasi, has petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, over alleged attempt on his life by suspected hired assassins in Ebonyi State.
Obasi in a statement, yesterday, said he was trailed from Nkalagu in Ishielu Council Area of the state by an unmarked, white commuter Hiace bus with tinted glasses last Sunday night while returning from a meeting alleging that  the aim was to assassinate him.
He said when he noticed that his life was in danger, he sped up and meandered through different roads immediately he got to Abakaliki, to keep away from the view of those who stalked him.
The ex-APGA scribe said he rode in his Mercedes S-Class and that the suspected assassins immediately followed suit, turning the exercise into a car race of sort to the amazement of onlookers.
Obasi  alleged that Ebonyi State governor, Chief David Umahi, has a hand in his ordeal for holding strong opinions against  his administration.
“Earlier before this ugly and ill-fated incident of 26 July, 2020, I had received information about an imminent attack on me by Ebonyi State governor’s boys. I called one of the leaders of the boys and he promised to call me for us to meet the following day which didn’t happen. The next thing I saw was this attempt on my life,” Obasi said.
Governor Umahi who spoke through his Special Assistant on Media, Francis Nwaze, dismissed the allegations as baseless. He said the governor  has never sent any of his appointees or supporters to attack anyone, let alone with the intention to kill.

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Niger Delta

Community Policing: Shun Compromise, Monarch Charges PCAC Members

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The Paramount Ruler/ Nye Nwe Eli, Rumuogba, Eze Temple Ejekwu, has charged members of the Police Community Advisory Committee (PCAC) not to compromise, if they are prepared for the task.
Ejekwu gave the charge during the inauguration of the committee at Mini Okoro Police Station, recently in Rumuogba, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The Eze Ogba Iji- Nu -Ede, said that the charge became imperative in order to keep the aim of the committee alive.
Dedication and commitment he said are other values the PCAC members must possess, in an attempt to achieve the mission and vision behind the creation of the outfit.
According to him, the creation of the committee would help in no small measure in curbing crime in the rural areas, as its members are grassroot based.
Dr Ejekwu also called on members of the public to feel free and provide useful information to the police and PCAC members and added that crime fighting should be viewed as everyone’s responsibility.
“Security is not one person’s job, so members of the public must provide useful and timely information for the police and PCAC, if they want the group to succeed”, he said.
On the security level of the state, he rated the Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike high going by the relative peace enjoyed in the state.
He further charged the committee members to work in line with Governor Wike’s vision to enthrone business friendly environment that would attract permanent investors in the area.
Meanwhile, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Mini Okoro Police Station, CSP Opayemi Olufunke Isi has reassured members of the public of the police determination to rid the public of crime and thanked the monarch to support for the police.

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Bayelsa Promises To Curb Gender-Based Violence, Child Abuse

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The Bayelsa State Government has promised to curb all forms of social violence against women and the maltreatment of children in the state.
Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Women,Children and Social Development, Mrs Ayi Ujile stated this during an interview with The Tide in Yenagoa.
She maintained that recently, women through the support of NGOs,women professional bodies and faith based organisations had had to stage protests across various states in the nation to register their grievances against the wanton social Violence’s meted out to them by men in their respective domains.
According to the permanent secretary, following government’s resolve to ending these ill treatments facing women of all age brackets in the state, successive administrations had made concerted efforts in bringing those infringing on women’s rights to book.
Speaking against the backdrop of violation of children’s rights, she mentioned that with the domestication of the Child rights act by the State Assembly last year maltreatment of children and wards will soon be history.
She stressed that the State owned Orphanage home is functioning ultimately, just as she stated that the administrators of the orphanage in consultation with appropriate government ministries had also rescued new born babies from their insane mothers in the streets of the state.
“We’re more than ever willing to stop the menace of social violence against women in this state”, she said.
“We’re aware that very presently women of the state joined their peers from other States to replicate same protest against rape, sexual harassment and other ills meted out to women”, she added.

 

 

Ariwera Ibibo-Howells,Yenagoa.

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