Hundreds of retirees last Thursday in Calabar, capital of Cross River State stormed the governor’s office gate, with placards and tried to force their way into the office to enable them see Governor Ben Ayade to express their displeasure over death of six colleagues whom they claimed died due to economic hardship in one week.
Unknown to the aggrieved retirees who were blocked by security personnel that the governor had been out of the state two weeks ago, to woo investors.
The protesters who were led by one former staff of Cross River State Broadcasting Corporation (CRBC), Mr. Paul Idagu, stormed the gate of the governor’s office insisting to see the governor or the state deputy governor to address them on the issue.
Their placards read, “We have suffered enough; pay us our gratuity from 2014.” “Paris Club refunds are rare gift that must be used for the purpose meant for.” “Governor Ayade: Retirees in Cross River are entitled to longevity. Let us not die out of frustration,” among others.
Idagu, while addressing Journalists said, “we are here to let the governor know that we have buried about six of our fellow retirees in the last one week because government has not paid us our gratuities since 2014. Government must not wait until we all die before they pay us.”
The protesters’ spokesperson enumerated, retirees buried in the last one week without collecting their gratuities to include, Augustine Etta; Sylvia Edem Bocco; Naji Abang Naji; Sylvester Ibok and Vincent Eja who, the protesters claimed died a pathetic death.
He said, “We wish to inform you of one of us who just died and was buried last week, Mr. Vincent Eja who worked for Cross River State Government for thirty five years and retired as a director in Government Printing Press in 2014.
“Mr. Eja was caught by a strange disease called auto bacteria disease that rendered his two hands useless. He was referred to National Hospital, Abuja for treatment. He needed five hundred thousand naira only for the treatment, but unfortunately, for two years, he roamed the corridors of Governor’s office and Accountant General’s Office seeking for help even when his gratuity was due him. He died and was buried last week.”
The retirees urged the Governor Ben Ayade- led administration to maintain the chain and plan for payment of gratuity to 2014 and 2015 retirees and beyond.
The pensioners said, “the appeal has become very necessary as majority of retirees in the state fall within this range and group.”
“Many have died without this gratuity; many may still have to die without it if something is not done about it urgently. Please, Your Excellency, save our souls,” the retirees pleaded.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
Ibom Developers Prioritise Health Through Medical Outreach Programmes In A’Ibom
On February 6 and 7, 2024, Ibom Developers took a significant step towards improving the health and well-being of residents in the Ikot Okwo, Ikot Ikwot, and Ndauku communities of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State through its two-day comprehensive medical outreach programmes. Operating under the theme ‘Good Health Your Greatest Asset,’ the initiative’s primary goal is to facilitate the early resolution of community health issues, recognising the pivotal role that timely intervention plays in safeguarding the overall well-being of the community.
Good health is vital for the sustainable development of host communities, serving as a foundation for economic and social progress.
A healthy population is more productive, enabling greater workforce participation. Sound health reduces healthcare costs, encouraging economic stability. Socially, it enhances the quality of life, ensuring communities thrive.
Speaking at the events, Mrs. Dorothy Akpan Robert said, ‘‘Our community is grateful for this generous gesture, and we sincerely acknowledge Ibom Developers’ dedicated efforts and compassion. This initiative by the company empowers the community by fostering a culture of health consciousness and preventive care.’’
Public health involves preventing diseases, promoting health, educating communities, providing healthcare access, maintaining a healthy environment, and being prepared for emergencies. This helps build resilient communities, a priority for the company.
Also speaking, Chief Ukpe Uyo Amanama said, ‘‘Ibom Developers’ medical outreach programme is a testament to the transformative impact that community-driven health initiatives can have on the lives of individuals and the health landscape of a region.’’
The medical camps, conducted by Ibom Developers, targeted prevalent health concerns in the region, addressing key diseases that have a substantial impact on the communities, such as malaria, typhoid, blood pressure, cough, and skin rashes. Medical supplies were provided during the medical outreach programmes. Sugar tests were also conducted given the increasing rates of diabetes in the region. Those diagnosed were provided with guidance on lifestyle changes.
Dignitaries present at the programme were Mrs. Dorothy Akpan Robert – Women Leader, Ndauku Community; Prince Felix Albert – Vice Council Secretary, Ndauku Community; Chief Happy Negro Dickson – Compound Head of Dickson Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Akpan Amos – Compound Head of Ikot Esighe Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Akpan Amos – Compound Head of Ikot Esighe Family, Ndauku Community; Chief Ufot Frank Udoekpo – Compound Head of Udoekpo Family, Ndauku .
Edo Labour Party Aspirant Writes INEC Over Party Congress
Labour Party (LP )aspirant for the Edo State governorship election, Olumide Akpata has said the political party is not ready for its primary poll.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, (NBA), said this in a letter dated February 18 and addressed to Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National ELectoral Commission (IINEC) and alleged that the party leadership is plotting to handpick a candidate for the election.
It would be noted that the Labour Party had initially fixed February 22 as the date for the conduct of its primary but later shifted it to February 23.
The letter reads, “i write to you in my capacity as an aspirant for the Edo State gubernatorial ticket on the platform of the Labour Party.
“The purpose of this letter is to bring to your attention the lack of preparedness and transparency surrounding the labour party’s planned primaries to produce a gubernatorial candidate for the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in edo state.
“As you are aware, the Electoral Act 2022 mandates political parties to conduct transparent primaries to produce candidates and also mandates the Independent National Electoral Commission (“INEC” or “the commission”) to stipulate timelines for conducting these primaries.
“Numerous aspirants, including myself, have observed with dismay the conspicuous absence of transparency in the process, which has led to a mass exodus of aspirants from the race.
“All of the aspirants, without exception, who have withdrawn from the process so far, have voiced concerns about its undemocratic nature.
“While some have diplomatically cited “personal reasons” for withdrawing, others have been more forthcoming in directly alleging that the party leadership plans to handpick a preferred aspirant regardless of the outcome of any primaries held.”
Akpata added that his attempts to get the leadership of the party to provide accountability fell on deaf ears.
“I have become constrained to speak out at this point because my repeated attempts to get the party leadership to see reason and provide transparency around preparations for the primaries have failed to elicit any positive response.
“Rather, my candid inquiries have been met with disdain and an attempt to bully me into silence.
“I am aware that INEC has demonstrated courage in the past to stand on the side of due process in political parties and entrench internal party democracy. the LP’s primaries in Edo State provide you with another opportunity to walk the talk.
“Mr Chairman, if things go awry, it could result in pre-election disputes to which INEC will inevitably be joined as a necessary party, thereby tying down its already meagre resources and leaving the commission to grapple with yet another unnecessary and avoidable display that could have been averted had the right thing been done and the warning signs heeded.”
Gunmen Shoot Dead Councillor In Delta As Police Launch Manhunt
A Councillor representing Owhase Ward in the Udu Local Government Area Legislative Council, Delta State, identified as Honourable Festus, has been shot dead by unknown gunmen.
The Tide’s source gathered that the councillor was shot in the head by gunmen on Monday at his residence.
The source who confirmed the incident to our source said his death was related to cult activities.
The State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Bright Edafe, who also confirmed the incident stated that the police had begun intense discreet investigation and manhunt of the assailants.
“Yes one Festus was shot on his head by unknown assailants, the wife informed the brother. We are searching for his killers,” Edafe said.
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