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C’River Economy Crippled As Banks Join Striking Workers

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Even as the Cross River State Government had issued a ‘no work no pay directive to striking workers in the state’s civil service, it may of no effect as commercial banks have joined in solidarity to workers’ demand.
State Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Benedict Ukpekpi, had in a bulletin at issued a call on all workers in the state to commence an indefinite strike.
He disclosed that its decision followed the state government’s failure to effect payment of the new minimum wage, four years promotion arrears, non- reinstatement of over 1,000 sacked workers in September last year and non-payment of gratuity, among other issues.
Consequently, most government offices were deserted as workers stayed at home on Monday and yesterday, thereby crippling government’s activities.
Worried by the development, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Head of Service, Emmanuel Eke said, “The Head of Service has directed  all public servants to ignore the strike at the behest of NLC, saying it was illegal and ill-timed.

“Workers are reminded that the labour unions responsible for the affairs of the State Civil/Public Servants Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have disassociated themselves from the industrial action.
“The state government has implemented the new minimum wage and has commenced phased implementation of other agreements reached with labour, even amid the COVID-19 pandemic with the attendant economic challenges,” the circular reads.
It also charged workers to adhere strictly to government’s safety directives, insisting that the no work, no pay policy was still in force and any worker who failed to report for duty would not be paid.
It stressed that a team headed by the Head of Service would visit all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and workers who failed to report for work would be sanctioned in line

with the provisions of the Public Service Rule.
But the NLC had asked workers not be deterred by government’s threat and should continue to stay at home saying, “We believe our actions are just.
“How is it a crime that we asked that our dyeing retirees are paid their gratuity? How is it a crime that we asked for implementation of our promotions, which have been pending for about 10 years?
“Is it is a crime that we request reinstatement of workers removed from payroll illegally for 10 months or that we asked that workers employed for two years now be pay rolled? Are promotion letters now certificates of service?  He queried.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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‘Senate Begins Constitution Review After Sallah’

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The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege has said that work on altering the Constitution would commence after the Sallah break.
Omo-Agege, who chairs the Senate Committee on Review of the 1999 Constitution, disclosed this when two groups – Women Education Advocacy and Development Initiative (WEADI) and League of Women Voters of Nigeria (NILOWV) – paid him courtesy visits in Abuja.
He stated that rights of women and the girl-child would be protected in the exercise.
He added that his committee would take into account experiences from other African countries.
“Immediately after the Sallah, we are going to hit the ground running with Constitution review exercise. And there are a lot of bills dealing with women rights advancement.
“We will take the Ugandan and Rwandan experiences into account to see how we can meet up with the agitation of our women in the Constitution review exercise,” he stated.
Omo-Agege had said that Sexual Harassment Bill recently passed by the Senate was not targeted at lecturers in higher institutions of learning.
He said the bill was to flush out the few bad eggs tarnishing the image of their colleagues.
The lawmaker regretted that few educators were soiling the image of their colleagues, majority of whom he described as “decent”.
He said: “This bill is not targeted at our lecturers in tertiary institutions. To the extent that it is targeted at anybody, it is targeted at the errant few, the few predators in their midst. And we have them everywhere.
“So, this bill is targeted at the very insignificant few who cause most of these atrocities and we have decided that we should put a stop to it. I am sure that even most of these lecturers know that they are not the target.”
He expressed optimism that given the level of overwhelming support from the Presidency, it would get presidential assent once it receives concurrence from the House of Representatives.
The Bill to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions, 2020, which was passed by the Senate at its sitting on July 7, 2020, prohibits sexual harassment of students in tertiary institutions and prescribes jail term ranging from two to 14 years for various degrees of offences.
Sponsored by the Deputy President of the Senate and co-sponsored by 106 lawmakers, the proposed legislation also prescribes N5million fine for offenders.
When signed into law, any educator who whistles or winks at a student or makes sexually-complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique would be liable to two years imprisonment or a fine of N1million, if found guilty.

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Court Bars NDDC From Executing Projects Without RSG Consent

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A state High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has ordered the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to always seek the consent of the Rivers State Government before the execution of projects in any part of the state.
This was the judgment of the state High Court presided over by Justice Adolphus Enebeli, last Wednesday, in a suit by the Rivers State Government, Governor Nyesom Wike, and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State against the NDDC, and its former Managing Director, Nsima Ekere; former Executive Director, Finance and Administration, Derick Meene; and others instituted in 2017.
Justice Enebeli, in his ruling in the matter, granted a declaration sought by the claimants that under Rivers State Physical Planning Law, Rivers State Land Law, and Rivers State Urban Development Law, the NDDC or its agents have no power to claim any land or execute any project, including street lights, water supply, road, jetty, and other infrastructures in any part of Rivers State without the consent of the government.
The court, however, refused to grant the declaration sought by the claimants to invalidate or void Section 7 and 8 of the NDDC Act, which borders on the developmental roadmap of the nine states of the Niger Delta region without recourse to other Niger Delta states.
Justice Enebeli said the proposed 60 projects for execution across the state by the then NDDC-led management team, which was the subject of the litigation, if allowed, will affect urban development and undermine the Land Use Act as applicable to Rivers State.
He, therefore, ruled that there was need for the commission to seek the consent of the state government for the execution of such projects in the state as development agents.

 

 

Akujobi Amadi

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COVID-19: Group Provides Palliatives To Andoni Vulnerables

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Some prominent sons and daughters of Ikuru Town, Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State under the aegis of Illustrious Sons and Daughters of Ikuru Town have donated Palliatives worth millions of naira to indigenes of the community.
The palliatives include thousands of bags of garri, face masks and others.
Some members of the organisation which include, Engr Emiyare Ikuru, chief Ndeng Ofik, Chief William Mike Omani, and Architect Ntimam Finomo told newsmen during the distribution exercise that the gesture was to cushion the effect of hunger in the community as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Engr Ikuru particularly told newsmen that the exercise was the first of a series of programmes outlined for the community by its prominent sons and daughters.
According to him, the second phase of the programme will start within the next few months.
Meanwhile, the Okan-Ama of Ikuru Town, King Aaron Ikuru has charged indigenes of the community to observe all protocols against the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The King who spoke to newsmen during the distribution exercise said protocols put in place by government to check the spread of the disease were not meant to punish anyone.
He commended the illustrious sons and daughters of the community for the gesture and urged other illustrious sons and daughters of other communities in Andoni to emulate their counterparts in Ikuru Town by doing the same to their people.
A cross section of beneficiaries made up mostly of women and other vulnerable groups commended the donors for the gesture.

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