Hundreds of protesting contractors of Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), last Wednesday, stormed the operational headquarters of the company in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, calling for the immediate removal of its Managing Director.
The protesting contractors, who blocked the entrance to the premises for over an hour, were later dispersed by soldiers, who swiftly cordoned off the main entrance gate and prevented the protesters from causing any further disruption of work.
The protest also affected motorists plying the Agip-Eagle Island route, as the long traffic stalled human and vehicular movement to and from both sides of the link road.
Soldiers and other stern looking security operatives who barricaded the road only allowed pedestrians and motorists that identified themselves as staff of the oil company to go through the road to the premises of the company while every other person was turned back.
The contractors, drawn from Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers States and other parts of the Niger Delta region said, they were also landlords to the oil company, adding that they had not been paid for clearing the pathway for pipelines laid by the oil giant which they tagged ‘bush clearing’.
They said all efforts to persuade the oil giant to keep to its part of the contractual agreement had been rebuffed.
Spokespersons for the protesters, Segun Akobade, Wariboko Ogbeni and His Royal Highness, Tailor Patrick, from Bayelsa State, who spoke to newsmen, said they were forced to take the protest option to demand payment of their money because of the frustration meted out to them by officials of the company, adding that they were surprised that the soldiers were mobilised to stop them from marching to the gate of the oil company.
Some of the protesters, who also came from Oleh, in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, said that the oil company should remove its pipelines from their areas, if it was not ready to pay them for the job they did.
The Tide gathered that following the protest, the management of Agip had invited leaders of the contractors to a meeting within the premises of the company to resolve their differences.
However, the terms of the agreement from the peace parley were not made available as at press time, yesterday.
Susan Serekara-Nwikhana & Kinika Mpi
Nigeria To Observe Low Key Independence Day Anniversary -FG
Unlike those before it, Nigeria’s 63rd Independence Day observance will not feature a ceremony at the Eagle Square, Abuja, but will be held “low-key,” the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, George Akume, has disclosed.
Akume revealed this to State House Correspondents after he emerged from a closed-door meeting with Vice President Kashim Shettima, at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Wednesday.
He said October 1 would be “a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people and the journey forward.”
The former Minister of Special Duties, who was reluctant to reveal details of the issues discussed, said it bordered on plans for the Independence Day.
“Independence is a historic event for any country and we Nigerians are no exemptions. c
“We are fully prepared for celebrations and for obvious reasons, it is going to be low-key and we are wishing Nigerians the best of luck and I want to assure them that better days are coming and pretty soon too,” he noted. c
On the modalities of this year’s edition, Akume said, “This is going to be low key; we are not going on fantastic jamboree at the Eagle Square and other locations.
“It’s a time for reflections…to think very deeply as a people. This journey is being charted by the captain of the ship.”
On what the government would do concerning the Labour Unions’ 21-day ultimatum that ended yesterday, he said, “Labour leaders are very patriotic Nigerians and we want to believe correctly that nobody will want to cause a strike.
“It’s not in the interest of the workers; it’s not in the interest of anybody because this government is very determined to ensure a good standard of living for Nigerians and to create prosperity for all.
“It’s not something that can be done overnight. This government came into being on May 29 and we have a tenure of four years. So, it will be inappropriate for us to begin to judge based on the few months we have spent in the office.”
The organised labour had on September 1 issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government over the delay in sharing palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.
It said all is set for a total shutdown of the economy, which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum on Friday.
Among other demands, the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances for the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.
Though the Federal Government committed to restructuring the framework for engagement with organised labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action.
Work Begins On Eleme-Onne Road As FG Releases N33bn
Minister of Works, Senator David Umahi, has said that the Federal Government has committed N33billion to a giant construction company, RCC, to commence work on the Eleme-Onne section of the East-West Road in Rivers State.
Umahi, revealed this information during his inspection of the project and various other Federal Government initiatives within the state, yesterday.
Speaking from the Eleme-Onne road construction site, Umahi pointed out that President Bola Tinubu had tasked him with a working visit to evaluate the ongoing work.
He pointed out that this project gained significance after the president’s discussions with Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Chief Nyesom Wike.
“This road from Eleme to Onne Port, the Rivers State people led by Governor Siminalayi Fubara and former governor Nyesom Wike led delegation to come and see the president.
“The president directed that I should immediately come here and ensure that work has started.
“The President has released N33billion for this project to RCC for them to start,” he said.
Justice Mary Odili Institute Trains Magistrates In Rivers
The Justice Mary Odili Institute has organised a training programme for the newly appointed magistrates in the Rivers State Judiciary for effective service delivery and enhanced performance.
The Institute was established by the State government in conjunction with the state Judiciary for the training and capacity-building of Judiciary workers across the state.
Speaking while declaring open the two-day capacity-building workshop /training with the theme “The Magistrates: Navigating The Path Of Justice,”the Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Simeon Chibuzor Amadi charged the newly appointed magistrates of Rivers State Judiciary to brace up to the challenges of their responsibilities and ensure that justice was served for all irrespective of their societal status .
He urged them to abide by the principles and doctrines of impartiality in law, stressing that respect for the law forms the bedrock on which the judicial system stands.
He stressed on the importance of training and capacity-building in job performance and urged them to take the two-day training seriously in order to deliver on their mandates.
Amadi described the roles performed by the magistrates in the administration of justice as pivotal and urged them to remain resolute in the discharge of their duties.
The CJ urged them to be committed to justice delivery and assured them that the newly built Magistrates Court would be put to use by next month.
The number one State Judicial officer further expressed optimism that the workshop would expose the newly appointed magistrates to divers perspectives and innovative approaches that would enhance their job delivery .
Earlier in her opening speech, the Administrator of Justice Mary Odili Judicial Institute, Justice Anwuri Ken-Chikwere emphasized the need to regularly train and empower the new magistrates on the rules of legal practice, even as she encouraged them to be committed to their job.
By: Akujobi Amadi
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