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Niger Delta

Retirees Storm Ayade’s Office Over Death Of Colleagues

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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

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Niger Delta

N’Delta Stakeholder Wants Rejigging Of Amnesty Deal

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A former President of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Dr Onyifie Jonjon, has called for the rejigging of the amnesty deal signed between the Federal Government and repentant militants of the Niger Delta.
The administration of deceased President Umaru Yar’Adua signed the amnesty deal with the repentant militants in 2009, and it came into effect on August 6 of that year.
Speaking with The Tide’s source in Yenagoa, Dr Jonjon said the current execution of the deal was skewed against Niger Delta brokers of the deal.
Noting that the execution rewarded violence-prone people instead, Jonjon stressed that those who brokered the amnesty deal had been side-lined and left in the cold.
He added that it was regrettable and discouraging that society seemed to neglect intellectual prowess and discouraged youths from scholarly endeavours and hard work.
“Where are people like Mr T.K. Ogoriba, Dr Chris Ekiyor and Dr Felix Tuodolo who contributed so much in making the amnesty programme a reality?’’ he queried.
He lamented that after getting involved in an accident and undergoing several surgeries, he got nothing as reward since the amnesty programme began.
Jonjon is also the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Ijaw nation’s Affairs.
He said the pipeline surveillance contract signed between the Federal Government and some repentant militants ought to have reversed the unjust reward system and engage law-abiding, peace advocates.
“Historically, attention has been on the merchants of violence while those who are law-abiding, who mediated in the peace building process are not factored in.
“I was drafted in during the agitation by militants as President of Ijaw Youths Council alongside notable Ijaw leaders.
“When the amnesty was proclaimed there was no role for those who brainstormed to midwife the idea,’’ Jonjon lamented.
He stressed that Ijaw leaders who mediated and brokered peace ought to be involved in monitoring and evaluation as well as in providing intellectual support to the entire struggle.
He observed that amongst the beneficiaries in the pipeline surveillance contract, it was only Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, that was consulting and enlisting participation of Niger Delta stakeholders.
He charged other beneficiaries to emulate Tompolo and carry other stakeholders along and discourage infighting amongst Niger Delta people.
Jonjon called for concerted efforts by beneficiaries of the surveillance contract and other stakeholders to involve more people so as to spread the benefits.

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Stakeholders Brainstorm On MSMEs Policy In Edo

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Stakeholders in the Micro, Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (MSMEs) sub sector, have met to chart a path for implementation of the national MSMEs policy in Edo State.
The one-day event, which held in Benin, was tagged: “Stalkhokders Dialogue on MSMEs Development and the Implementation of the National Policy on MSMEs” in Edo.
.Speaking at the event, Mr Onesi Lawani, the Deputy Director Policy, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN), said the meeting was to create awareness and ownership of the national MSME policy in Edo State.
Lawani said the implementation of the national policy was to facilitate as well as sustain a vibrant MSMsE sub sector that would be the major driver of the nation’s economic growth.
Also speaking, Markus Wauschkuhn, Head of Programme, Pro-poor Growth and Promotion of Employment in Nigeria (SEDIN), said addressing issues facing MSMEs in Nigeria was the surest way to bridge the unemployment gap in the country.
Wauschkuhn said the essence of the dialogue was, therefore, to strengthen coordination of activities done by the Federal and States MDAs as well as donor organisations, geared toward the development of MSMEs in the country.
Represented by Akinropo Omoware, Head of Policy, SEDIN, Wauschkuhn said “we believe that the forum will provide opportunity for stakeholders in the MSMEs eco-system in the state to interact on the key challenges, foster common understanding and proffer some solutions”.
Also speaking, the Dtaye Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said one could not underscore the fact that MSMEs were the engine of any economy, as they remained the largest employers of labour.
“We have struck strategic collaboration with local amd international partners to ensure the promotion of the private sector in the state.”
The Governor was represented by Hon Afishetu Braimoh, the Commissioner for Business, Trade and Cooperative in Edo State.
Earlier, the Director-General of the Benin Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr John Imalingmhe, commended SEDIN’s support to MSMEs in the State.
The Tide’s source reports that the event was organised by SMEDAN in collaboration with the Edo State Ministry of Business, Trade and Cooperatives and the Edo State Skills Development Agency.
The dialogue was supported by SEDIN, a programme under the German Agency for International Cooperation.

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa At 26: Diri Fulfilling Promises To Labour -NLC

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Bayelsa State Chapter, has lauded the state Governor, Senator Douye Diri, for his Labour friendly policies.
Speaking to Newsmen on the sidelines of the celebrations of the 26th and 62nd anniversaries of the creation of Bayelsa State and Nigeria’s independence, the state NLC Chairman, Comrade John Ndiomu, said there was more to celebrate in the State by workers, noting that the State Governor upon assumption of office has had a cordial working relationship with the organised Labour in the State.
Ndiomu, who also commended the Governor for his prompt response to the yearnings of labour in the State hinted that as part of Governor Diri’s labour friendly policies, the State Government has since commenced the construction of a new civil servants estate
in the state, noting that the Governor has also been strategically clearing the backlog of gratuity and arrears owed workers and retirees in the State.
“Though gratuity owed pensioners in the State was a backlog, Governor Diri before assumption of office promised labour that he was going to pay gratuities and since he assumed office he has constantly kept to that promise. Retirees and civil servants are being paid their pensions, gratuity and salaries promptly.
“As we speak, the Governor has concluded the processes of constructing a civil servant estate for workers in the state so that they can own houses of their own.
It’s not easy for civil servants to build houses of their own when they retire from service and so the Governor as part of his labour friendly policies and programmes has started the construction of an estate for workers in the state”, he said.
The State NLC Chairman urged Bayelsans and workers in the state to be more patriotic, saying the state was fortunate to have had a Governor who understands the plights of workers.
He described workers as those who work to produce the wealth of the State, stressing that Governor Diri having this in mind has been working assiduously to solve all likely impedements to workers and government cordial relationships.
He also commended Bayelsans and Nigerians for the massive celebrations of the state’s 26th creation and 62nd Nigerian independence anniversaries.
“Bayelsans should be more patriotic, as a state at 26 we can’t say we’ve attained the heights expected of us, but God’s willing, we’ll get there some day.
“There’s more to celebrate by the Bayelsa workers, because we’ve a labour friendly leader in the person of Governor Douye Diri”, the NLC Chairman added.

By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa

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