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Rivers Indigenes Protest Over Slavery In Ibeto

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Rivers State indigenes working in Ibeto Cement Company, Port Harcourt yesterday, staged a protest march to the state House of Assembly, Moscow Road, to register what they described as “labour slavery policy” in the company.

The visibly angry workers, stormed the Assembly complex with various placards bearing inscriptions such as “Slavery in Ibeto Cement Company, please Save Our Souls, Our medical allowance is N5” and “Addah Williams and Darrick, stop collaborating with Ibeto management to enslave us”.

Speaking during the protest march, the leader of the group, Mr. Ebenezer Chuayekienka said they were in the state House of Assembly to express their feelings over inhuman treatment meted out to workers at the Ibeto Cement Company.

Mr. Chuayekienka stated that workers of the company, especially the indigenes of the state, were sacked arbitrarily without compensation, adding that the workers of Ibeto company are the least paid workers among Cement companies in the country.

He told the lawmakers that most of their colleagues have lost their sight as a result of consistent in haling of chemicals used in the company, adding that the workers are being paid the sum of N5,000 as medical allowance.

The leader of the group alleged that the state secretary of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Comrade Addah Williams stopped the workers from unionising in the company, claims that such act compounded the problems of the workers at Ibeto Cement Company.

He appealed to the state legislators to prevail on the management of Ibeto Cement Company, Port Harcourt to pay compensations to the sacked workers, and also improve their welfare.

Responding, the Deputy Speaker of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon. Dumnamene Deekor, who represented the Speaker of the House, assured the protesting workers that the state House of Assembly would take up the matter with the company.

Hon. Deekor warned that the state legislature would not tolerate any form of slave labour in the state, adding that such policy is capable of truncating the existing industrial harmony in the state.

He commended the workers for the peaceful protest and urged them to officially put up their request in writing so that the House can give the matter the urgent attention it requires.

When contracted, the state secretary of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC), Comrade Addah Williams said the allegations that he stopped the workers from unionizing at Ibeto Cement Company was untrue and should be disregarded.

He assured that the state NLC is determined to protect the rights of workers in the state.

Meanwhile, the Personnel Manager of Ibeto Cement Company, Port Harcourt, Mr. Kingseley Kalio, refused to comment on the allegations when contacted on phone.

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Osinbajo Calls For Rebranding Of National Innovation Ecosystem

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Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, last Friday called for the reappraisal and rebranding of the national innovation ecosystem to drive technological and socio-economic development in the country.
Osinbajo made the call at the opening of a two-day National Innovation Workshop at the International Convention Centre, in Awka.
The workshop had its theme as: “Promotion of Inventors of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
It was organised by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology and the Nigerian Institute of Science Laboratory Technology.
Osinbajo, who was represented by the Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, Chief Henry Ikoh, said the workshop would offer Nigeria an opportunity to reappraise and rebrand its ecosystem.
“This will be with emphasis on technology and entrepreneurship.
“The way to go to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich is through thinking out of the box, innovation and commercialisation of thoughts.
“Nigeria will be great again only when we begin to shift our emphasis from consumer nation to production; and we need innovation to produce.
“The Federal Government will continue to champion the adoption of STI as key tools to accelerate socio-economic development in the country.”
Also speaking, Gov. Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State, said there was the need for a national policy to promote STI, saying, it is the new way of life.
“Without STI, nothing happens. In Anambra we recognised this fact and we have been taking proactive measures to make Anambra the home of talents for STI in the country.
“We need to replicate same across the country by having a legislative framework to mainstream STI in our schools to catch them young.
“The policy will also mandate Nigerians and the Nigerian government to promote indigenous inventors and innovators by patronising them. If they innovate and invent, and nobody patronises them, their ideas will die,” Soludo said.
In his lecture, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, said there was an urgent need to draw attention and to prepare the country for the fourth industrial revolution.
“Human race is in transition in a dimension of technological revolution which will affect the way we live, work and relate, and so we must prepare and adjust the way we think.
“In a short while from now, talents and innovation are going to be the only dependable capital assets. As a nation, we need a legislative agenda to harness our available human resources.
“We need to groom and nurture Nigerian youths into the path of science, technology and innovation to key into the opportunities.
“The fourth industrial revolution will present and place our economy on a sustainable path for growth,” Anyim said.
In her remarks, Sen. Uche Ekwunife, Chairman, Senate Committee on Science and Technology, said the workshop was to connect innovators, inventors, academia, policy makers, entrepreneurs, tech companies and students from across the country.
Ekwunife said that STI should be prioritised to address the exponential changes needed to drive the growth of the economy, create jobs and generate wealth,” she said.
The programme featured demonstration sessions, prize funds to outstanding innovation and award presentation to best Nigerian inventor.(NAN)

 

 

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NDLEA Arrests Saudi-Bound Drug Trafficker With Cocaine In Sandals

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Operations of a major cocaine syndicate in Lagos have been disrupted with the arrest of a 56-year-old trafficker, Lawal Oyenuga, by the NDLEA.
NDLEA’s spokesman, Mr Femi Babafemi stated in Abuja, yesterday, that the suspect was on a mission to deliver 400 grams of the “Class A’’ drug when he was nabbed.
Babafemi stated that the drug was concealed in a pair of black palm sandals packed in a luggage en-route Jeddah via an Ethiopian Airways flight.
A thorough examination of the sandals revealed they were used to conceal two parcels of cocaine weighing 400 grams.
He added that there was also a swift follow-up arrest at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on Nov. 24 of a wanted notorious kingpin, Wasiu Sanni popularly known as “Teacher’’.
Sanni recruits mules for the Lagos drug cartel.
“This is barely a week after a 56-year-old widow and mother of four, Mrs Sidika Ajisegiri was arrested at the Lagos airport while attempting to traffic 400 grams of cocaine to Saudi Arabia.
“She was scheduled to board a Qatar Airways flight with the drugs concealed in her footwear,’’ Babafemi stated.
According to him, the suspect claimed she was recruited to traffic the drug by Sanni popularly known as “Teacher’’.
“She claimed that she was first given some pellets of cocaine to swallow but when she couldn’t do that, she was given the choice of concealing those found in the palm sandals.
“She said she resorted to the criminal trade to raise money to pay an examination fee for her daughter in Senior Secondary School Class 3,’’ Babafemi stated.
He added that NDLEA’s database showed that Sanni had been linked to some previous attempts to traffic cocaine to Saudi Arabia and to Dubai.
He stated also that Sanni was earlier named as the one who recruited a BRT driver, Bolajoko Babalola for a Lagos socialite and hotel owner, Alhaji Ademola Kazeem (a.k.a Alhaji Abdallah Kazeem) to traffic drugs to Dubai.
“Babalola was arrested on June 27 while taking 900 grams of cocaine to Dubai while Kazeem was nabbed on Thursday, Nov. 10, 10 days after he was declared wanted by the NDLEA.
“A follow-up operation in the early hours of Nov. 25 led to the arrest of the kingpin, “Teacher’’ at his residence in Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
“Teacher’ specialises in recruiting mules for drug barons in Lagos and its environs.
“The 64-year-old Sanni is a housing and property agent, with seven children and four wives, one of whom is now deceased,’’ he stated.
Babafemi added that in another follow up operation, Hopewell Chukwuemeka, owner of seized 1.1kg of Indian hemp concealed in bottles of body cream headed for Dubai was arrested in Port Harcourt.
Chukwuemeka, arrested on Nov. 24 runs a boutique business in the Rivers capital city, he stated. (NAN)

 

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We Get Petrol At N200 Per Litre From Depots, IPMAN Cries Out

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has decried the ‘unsustainable’ price that the private depot owners sell the premium motor spirit, otherwise known as petrol in the country.
Speaking, yesterday, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, the Deputy National President of IPMAN, Zarama Mustapha, revealed that the private depots get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from the sole importer of the commodity, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, however, sell it for as high as N195 to N210 to independent marketers, which is not sustainable.
“Though marketers get petrol at the approved price of N148/litre from NNPC depots, the company does not have enough storage facilities to cater to the needs of marketers, hence, the latter resorts to private depot owners. It is more of the issue of private depots collecting the products at the approved price and not selling to the independent marketers at a price approved by the mainstream, downstream regulatory authority.
“You cannot get a product at N195 to N200 and expect to sell it at N175,” he noted.
The IPMAN official said depot owners give excuses such as the cost of transporting the product from the mother vessel to their depots and escalation of the dollar as reasons for the price hike.
Mustapha lamented that most Lagos depots are in a chaotic situation and marketers spend three days to load refined petrol that they are not supposed to spend more than three hours to lift.
He urged the NNPC to engage depot owners to sell the product to marketers at the recommended price, saying the common man is at the receiving end.
For weeks, vehicle owners have had a tough time getting petrol from filling stations, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
Whilst many outlets are closed, the few open ones sell the indispensable commodity for as high as N250 per litre from the uniform price of N169/litre.
The supply shortage has led to long, gruelling snake-like queues at the few open filling stations as motorists and business owners jostle to buy fuel while others resort to the black market.
The situation has also worsened traffic on major roads as vehicle owners block at least one lane to join queues to filling stations.

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