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Strike: FG Offers To Pay Salary Arrears Of Doctors



As part of steps to end the on-going strike that has paralysed many hospitals, the Federal Government has directed immediate payment of salary arrears of over 450 medical doctors.

Those affected are mostly House Officers, who are being owed for three months.

Also, government said it has started discussing with the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) and other health associations on the review of the Hazard Allowance for all workers in the sector.

It acknowledged N5,000 Hazard Allowance per head as paltry, and pledged to review it.

The government appealed to doctors to abide by their Hippocratic Oath by calling off the strike in the interest of Nigerians.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, made the disclosures in an interview with newsmen, yesterday.

He said, “Those people are not being owed, their money is there. The issue is about migration from GIFMIS to IPPIS. It was like the case of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

“But, their list has been compiled and submitted on Saturday for Accountant-General of the Federation’s office to start payment of the backlog of three months for the two groups. If you are employed in January up to March and you have not been paid, is it not three months?

“If you terminated your payment in GIFMIS in October up to December, is it not three months? We are going to pay them.

“At the conciliation, we gave everybody waiver over the payroll. So, it is in the agreement we signed, the Memorandum of Action, that they are saying they don’t want or that the is president is saying he does not want. He didn’t know because he didn’t participate in the meeting.

“So, I expect that the payment to start any moment from Monday. IPPIS office assured me that they will start paying, if they get the full list. That is the major one.”

“This abdication of responsibility resulted in the present chaotic situation, which made some Chief Medical Directors to go ahead and conduct recruitment of new house officers on their own in violation of circular which prohibits same. They claimed they did this to maintain their manpower need to save lives.”

On Hazard Allowance, the government said the input of the doctors and other health workers had not been received by the government.

The statement added, “The Minister of Labour had also advised the committee to send in their proposal through the Federal Ministry of health, their employers, and up till date, no such proposal has reached the desk of the minister. The minister equally gave audience to two professional groups in the health sector and advised them same.

“The minister, as the co-chair of the Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages, held similar meetings with two other health professional groups at their request and also advised them in the same way to send in their proposal through the Federal Ministry of Health. We are not sure the Ministry of Health received these proposals till now.

Giving more insights into what led to the crisis in the health sector.

The statement added, “National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) was also kept in the dark by the NMA leadership. At the request of the president of the NMA, the Minister of Labour and Employment had received in audience and held a technical session with the NMA Remuneration Committee led by Dr. Orhue on the issue of hazard allowance – from N5,000 to a new rate based on CONMES salary structure.”

It said the minister was of the opinion that NARD should have allowed the NMA to handle all issues instead of going on strike.

The statement said, “The minister further said the House officers are not members of NARD since they are medical doctors with provisional license, hence members of NMA which is the professional umbrella for all doctors.

“The abdication of responsibility for protecting the baby doctors by the NMA is nothing but a grave display of lack of leadership, indeed leadership failure. Playing the ostrich and hiring militant NARD to lead the way in what should be a smooth display of administrative craftsmanship.

“Ngige added that the invocation of national strike by NARD over an issue that could be handled by the NMA does not help the nation.”

This tranche of grants for debt service relief will continue to help free up scarce financial resources for vital emergency health, social, and economic support to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Subject to the availability of sufficient resources in the CCRT, debt service relief could be provided for the remaining period through from October 16, 2021 to April 13, 2022, amounting to a total of about SDR 680 ($964) million.

In March, 2020, IMF Managing Director, Kristalina Georgieva, launched an urgent fundraising effort to raise $1.4billion in grants for the CCRT.

This would enable the CCRT to provide financial assistance for relief on debt service for up to a maximum of two years, while leaving the CCRT adequately funded for future needs.

Thus far, donors have pledged contributions totalling about $774million, including from the European Union, the UK, Japan, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, China, Mexico, Philippines, Sweden, Bulgaria, Luxembourg, and Malta.

The Fund’s executive directors welcomed the opportunity to consider the approval of grants under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to support the third tranche of debt service relief for the Fund’s poorest and most vulnerable members.

They noted that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to exact a severe human and economic toll on these countries and that the resources freed up by the first and second tranches of CCRT debt service relief had helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

The directors agreed that the available resources and pledges are sufficient to finance the third tranche of debt service relief for the period from April 14, to October 15, 2021.

Accordingly, they approved grant assistance under the CCRT for relief for 28 eligible members that have debt service falling due during this period.

The directors concurred that countries that received the CCRT grants for debt relief are generally pursuing appropriate macroeconomic policies in response to the economic fallout from the global pandemic.

They welcomed that a number of member countries were transitioning to Upper Credit Tranche-quality arrangements which would provide a stronger policy framework for the recovery period.

The directors also observed that most countries would benefit from a resumption of Fund surveillance and updated debt sustainability assessments.

same way as the North that gave him 95%, adding that the President has kept his word by giving all the strategic security posts to the Muslim Hausa/Fulani North.

“The President did not trust sons and daughters of the South-East of Nigeria enough to assign one of the top internal security jobs even when by merits, there are several qualified Igbo-speaking officers.

“By the way, and by way of analogy, the current Army Chief was a Major General. Are there no Major Generals of Igbo extraction or are there no Igbo equivalents of major General in other segments of the Armed Forces like the Navy and Air Force?” HURIWA wondered.

“The President does not like the faces of Igbo except the person whom he made his official photographer. So, you can see that the South-East of Nigeria has received unfavourable treatment. The key spokesman of the President behaves more like the defender of Miyetti Allah castle sellers than an officer working for the citizens and the nation-Nigeria.

“There have been at least one dozen deaths of civilians by suspected armed Fulani herdsmen in the South-East since 2015 till even as recently as two days back. This government did not describe the attacks as terrorism. Even the one in Ebonyi that the friend of the President, Governor Dave Umahi directly accused armed Fulani, herdsmen.

“The armed bandits destroying North-West are terrorists, but this government rebaptised them as armed bandits and has watched as someone who is a religious cleric is busy defending these terrorists and even insulting Journalists for calling the armed bandits as criminals. Last time, a group affiliated to Fulani herdsmen said they attacked Benue Governor, but the President said nothing.

“The National Security Adviser says the man Sheikh Gumi has the right to talk to whomsoever he wishes to talk to, but this is the same government that the police have shot and killed about two or more journalists only because they were covering protests by Islamic Movement of Nigeria here in Abuja.

“The last attack in the Ebonyi community by armed Fulani herdsmen in which a priest and 30 other innocent civilians were slaughtered was never described as terrorists but rather Garba Shehu, who signed a statement on behalf of the President, who reportedly went to see his British doctor, sounded patronizing and dramatic by issuing empty threat to deal with them.

“Now, the attacks in Owerri have been hurriedly described as an act of terrorism and the IGP whose stay in office is a subject of intense ligation by citizens, quickly said IPOB was responsible and then as expected the so-called spokesmen of IPOB says they were not responsible.

“Igbo in Diaspora, who have contacts with world leaders should stop sitting on the fence. Your homeland is about to be desecrated; will you not speak out or are you comfortable with these attacks which initially was coloured as targeting security forces and national security Institutions? And now without any sort of investigations, those who are privileged to have been nepotistically appointed into national offices are now seeking to execute their anti-Igbo agenda.

“Tell us whether it is ethically, legally, morally right for these same police, military, DSS that failed to protect public institutions and their officers most of whom serving in the East, especially the police to now be drafted to unleash violence on innocent people.”

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Residents Nab Man Dumping Fresh Corpse In PH



A middle-aged man has been caught dumping the fresh corpse of a male with suspected machete cuts on it.
The suspect identified as Israel Israel, who claimed to be a native of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, was apprehended, last Friday, while carting away a truck used in dumping a fresh male body on the Cherubim Road Bridge, Mile 3, Diobu axis in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
A local security personnel in the area, Richman Jogwe, said the suspect was apprehended with the truck used in dumping the dead body.
Jogwe said: “This truck was used in dumping a dead body with machete cuts in the face, head, leg and hands. So, in early hours of today, this man came to take the truck, and we got him arrested.”
He further disclosed that the suspect had been handed over to the Nkpolu Divisional Police Headquarters, Mile 3, Diobu, for interrogation.
In his reaction, the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Nnamdi Omoni, said he was aware of the incident, but insisted he had no detailed information.
Omoni was quoted as saying: “I am aware that the man who brought the truck has been arrested. When I get the full details, I will let you know.”

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Wike, Real Madrid Sign Cooperation Ratification Pact



Real Madrid and the Rivers State Government have signed a cooperation ratification agreement for promotion of sports amongst children and youths at the Real Madrid Academy, Port Harcourt.
The signing of the ratification of the framework for cooperation agreement between the international football club and the Rivers State Government took place over the weekend at the Auditorium of Real Madrid Sport City, Fuerzas Armadas Avenue, 402, Madrid, Spain.
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, on behalf of the Rivers State Government; the Executive Vice President of the Real Madrid Foundation, Mr. Enrique Sanchez; and President of Interact Sports, Mr. Jihad Saade; jointly signed the agreement.
Speaking at the event, Wike commended the Real Madrid Foundation and the Interact Sports for the opportunity given to the Rivers State Government to partner with the Real Madrid Football Club in order to encourage Rivers’ youths to develop their talents and skill through sport.
He said the state government was pleased to ratify the agreement with the Real Madrid Foundation, and assured that everything has been done to fully kick-start the Real Madrid Academy in Port Harcourt.
Wike, who was accompanied by the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, and the Rivers State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Zacchaeus Adangor (SAN), explained that the initial intention was to admit only boys as students into the Real Madrid Academy, but following the huge application received from prospective female students, the state government had to reconsider the policy.
“We had to stop to include the girls. We are very ready to kick-start the school, and we believe that this is a very good opportunity for our people. We are honoured to be identified with the Real Madrid; it is a good brand for us.”
Wike reaffirmed his belief that sport was an important factor in social integration and in the promotion of ethical values such as solidarity, participation, team spirit, respect for one’s opponent and non-discrimination.
The Real Madrid Foundation maintained its resolve to continue to promote sports amongst children and youths in the understanding that sports contributes to the comprehensive development of a young person’s personality, offering positive alternatives to situations of risk and fostering healthy habits and ways of life amongst children and youths.
On his part, the President of Interact Sports, Jihad Saade, said that Interact Sports has been an active contributor to the dynamic transformation of Nigeria, moving forward with modernity without forgetting Nigeria’s rich culture and heritage.
All the parties mutually acknowledged that they have the necessary legal capacity and authorisation to execute and subscribe to the protocol.
The Real Madrid Foundation is the instrument by which Real Madrid uses to promote, both in Spain as well as abroad, the values inherent in sports, and the latter’s role as an educational tool capable of contributing to the comprehensive development of the personality of those who practice it.

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…Omehia Hails Wike On Feat



Former governor of Rivers State, Sir Celestine Omehia, has said that The Sun Man of the Year 2020 Award conferred on Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was very fitting and timely.
Omehia also expressed gratitude to The Sun Publishing Limited, publishers of Daily Sun, Saturday Sun, Sunday Sun and Sporting Sun for recognising the achievements of Wike for the third consecutive time.
In a statement, yesterday, Omehia said that Wike was deserving of the award considering the giant developmental strides he has recorded in Rivers State.
He described Wike as an astute administrator and a distinguished politician who listens to the needs of the people of Rivers State and implements them accordingly.
Omehia said that Wike has during his over six years’ stint as governor of Rivers, performed excellently in the different facets of the lives of the Rivers people.
He maintained that as someone who has had the opportunity of occupying the coveted office, he can bear testimony to the fact that the Nyesom Wike-led administration has done excellently well.
According to Omehia, “his records in infrastructural development, security, urban and rural development, human resources development, including his political prowess, are unrivalled.
“Governor Wike has deployed the resources of the state to the benefit of the people, justifying the mandate massively and duly given to him by the people of Rivers State.”
Omehia also called on the opposition political parties in the state to emulate the leadership qualities of Wike, and join hands with the performing governor to move the state forward.
While noting that in unity, the state stands to gain in all ramifications, Omehia stated that division would do no one any good, irrespective of his status or political affiliation.
He further said he was not regretting his performance during his short stay in Government House, Port Harcourt as governor of the state, saying that he left significant landmarks for residents of the state.

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