About 500 science teachers in Cross River State yesterday staged a protest to the State Governor’s office to demand reinstatement into service and payment of their September and October salaries.
The teachers, who carried various placards with such slogans as “reinstate our names into payroll”, “ we deserve better treatment as nation builders and “Ayade, don’t take away our food”, prevented movements in and out of the governor’s office.
Spokesperson of the group, Mr Henry Abu, a teacher in Government Girls Secondary School, Biq-qua Town, Calabar, told The Tide’s source that 500 of them were allegedly delisted from the state government’s payroll in September.
Abu said the removal of their names from the payroll had caused untold hardship to families of the affected teachers in the state.
“We are out on this protest today because from our investigations, we found out that our names were removed from the payroll without due process.
“It’s been two months now and we have not been paid. We have families to feed and we have to pay our children’s and wards school fees.
“The governor promised us food on the table but as it stands now, we can’t even feed from the crumbs. The governor has betrayed our confidence in him.
“We are here to ask him to reinstate us and pay us our two months salaries arrears. 500 Science Teachers in the state are affected by this sack,” he said.
Also speaking, a teacher with Secondary Education Board, Mr Itam Obono, said that the recruitment that brought them to service was done by an Indian firm, “Educom” in 2015.
Obono said that the former Governor of Cross River State, Sen Liyel Imoke, spent a lot of money in the recruitment process to ensure transparency and quality of teachers in the service.
“How can an interview that was done transparently by an Indian firm be faulted four years after. The governor has refused to tell us exactly why he has refused to pay us.
“What we are facing is an issue of fraud and conspiracy. The Special Assistant on Payroll to the Governor, Mr John Odey, is not competent and we demand for his immediate sack.
“The Special Adviser claimed that they were fishing out ghost workers from the payroll. If you are fishing for ghost workers, does it amount to stopping salaries of 500 teachers?
“We demand the immediate payment of our salaries before the end of today. This money is not Ayade’s money; it is money meant for salaries of civil servants and so we deserve to be paid,” he said.
FCFMT Resumes Academic Activities, Next Year
Academic activities will resume next session at the Ngo campus of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology.
It would be recalled that the Federal Government, through the Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, had recently granted provisional approval for the establishment of a campus of the college at Ngo, headquarters of Andoni Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The approval was contained in a letter titled: “Provisional approval for the establishment of a campus of the Federal College of Fisheries and Marine Technology, Ngo, at Andoni Local Government Area Rivers State”.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Wednesday at Ngo, the Executive Secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria, Professor Garba Hamidu Sharubutu, said the council was satisfied with facilities at the Ngo campus of the college.
He said normal academic activities would resume in the campus from the next academic session.
Sharubutu commended the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon. Awajinombek Abiante, for his effort towards the establishment of the college campus at Ngo.
He said the institution would bring development to the community as well as improve its economic conditions.
The Executive Secretary also urged the people to protect facilities at the new campus.
Also speaking, the Provost of the college, Dr. Chuks Onuoha, said the campus which is the only one in the South South part of the country would assist the college in the training of the huge manpower required in the fishery and marine technology.
Dr. Onuoha said the campus would also assist management to save the cost of moving ex-militants to the Lagos campus for training, as well as improving the skills of local fishermen in the area.
Onuoha also described the college as the foremost fishery institute in the country, noting that since its establishment in 1969, it has graduated people that dominate the fishery and maritime industry.
He said the college awards both OND and HND certificates.
Chairman of Andoni Local Government Area, Barrister Erastus Awortu, said the campus would place Andoni on the map as far as educational institutions are concerned.
“It will bring manpower and oil companies will not have any excuses of lack of manpower, “he said.
Meanwhile, the member representing Andoni/Opobo/Nkoro Federal Constituency, Hon. Awajinombek Abiante, has promised to pay the tuition fees of the first one hundred students who will enroll into the college.
He said the campus being the first of such in the entire South South would be beneficial not only to Andonis but the entire South South region.
He said he had donated parts of his property to facilitate the take-off of the college at Ngo.
Meanwhile some groups in the local government area have commended the Federal Government for the approval.
The groups, which include the Ngo Professionals Forum and the Amango Youths Assembly, said the establishment of the new institute in Ngo would help in the development of the community and the entry Andoni Local Government Area.
President of Ngo Professionals Forum, Monday Oboada, said the campus was long overdue, stressing that it was in line with the yearnings of the people.
According to him, “without much words, all of us know the importance of education in the development of every society.
“The approval of this divine institute to be sited at Ngo is a much welcome and strategic development”, he said.
Monday said the campus would create educational opportunities for sons and daughters of Ngo and Andoni.
He praised Hon. Abiante, for championing the siting of the institution at Ngo.
Also speaking, Vice President of Amango Youths Assembly, Mr Arong Brown, said the campus would attract investors into the community.
He said, “The siting of the Federal College of Fisheries Research and Marine Technology in Ngo Town is a great feat and it’s unprecedented as its presence would beckon investors within and beyond Nigeria for business purposes.
“It will attract road construction and other social amenities in the area including lodges, hotels and hostels for students and business owners, especially those outside Ngo and Andoni and Rivers State, and perhaps, Nigeria.
“Furthermore, not only will it thrive economic activities in Ngo Town but those of its environs by over 500% comparatively thereby, bringing Ngo and Andoni into the economic world”.
By: John Bibor
Court Hastens Suit Against Edo PDP Factional Leaders
A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, has ordered an accelerated hearing in a N5 billion libel suit filed against three factional members of the Edo State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Justice Idris Kutigi gave the order following an application by counsel for the claimant, Musa Isiaka.
The Tide’s source reports that Senator Yisa Braimoh, in the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV/1025/2022, is suing Omobumhe Bobmanuel Umaru (aka Jesus Army), Osilame Okuofu, and Boniface Pascal Ugbome as 1st to 3rd defendants respectively.
When the case came up for mention, the 1st and 3rd defendants were represented by Johnson Bolade while the 2nd defendant (Okuofu) was neither in court nor represented by counsel.
Justice Kutigi then adjourned proceedings until October 27 for the claimant (Braimoh) to effect service of court documents on Okuofu.
In the originating summons dated March 29 and filed by Isiaka Braimoh, who represented Edo North Senatorial District at the 6th Senate, is seeking a perpetual restraining order against the defendants from further publishing defamatory words against him and members of his family.
He also prayed the court for an order mandating the defendants to publish a public apology on the full pages of two widely read national dailies and on all the political platforms to which he and the defendants jointly belong.
Besides the sum of N5 billion damages, the former lawmaker is pressing for N5 million compensation against the defendants as cost of prosecuting the suit.
In his statement of claim, he stated that he and the defendants jointly belonged to several PDP social media political platforms, including PDP Unity League Platform, a group with a membership strength of 200 people.
He said notable members of the PDP Unity League Platform include Governor Godwin Obaseki; his deputy, Philip Shaibu; the Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Osarodum Ozie; Sen. Ehegieuzamere, Sen. Victor Oyofo and Chief Lucky Igbenodion.
He alleged that the 1st defendant, on January 15 posted defamatory messages on the platform against his person and members of his family.
Braimoh alleged that while the 1st defendant commited the act, the 2nd defendant is the chief administrative officer of the platform and the 3rd defendant is the forum chairman.
According to him, the 2nd and 3rd defendants possess the powers to determine who is added and removed from the platform, including carrying out disciplinary powers against erring members.
Delta Investment In Health Will Reduce Medical Tourism -Okowa
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State has said his administration’s investment in the health sector would reduce medical tourism abroad by Nigerians.
The Governor stated this while speaking with newsmen after inspecting facilities at the Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre and Mother and Child Hospital, Owa-Alero in Ika North-East Local Government Area of the State.
According to Okowa, the huge investment being made by his administration in the health sector was to improve healthcare delivery in the country.
He said the twin medical facilities would, on completion, reduce medical tourism as it would provide first-class medical services to people who would have sought medical treatment abroad.
He said the Mother and Child Hospital would take care of every illness concerning women and children.
He added that the Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre would take care of all manner of investigative procedures in radiology and other laboratory analyses.
“I am glad that we have gotten to this place. I had high hopes that by today, we would have inaugurated these projects.
“We are working behind time, there is no doubt about that but I have just been reassured that in the next one month, the projects would be ready.
“The equipment are fully on site and we are trying to get things fully sorted out and I am sure that in the next one month, it should be ready and open to the public for use.
“The two projects are obviously very important. The Mother and Child is supposed to take care of every illness concerning our women and children.
“While the Advanced Diagnostic Centre is going to take care of all manner of investigative procedures both in radiology and other laboratory analysis that they have to do.
“The Advanced Diagnostic Medical Centre is also going to be a centre that would be involved in treatments. There are so many equipment in here. But until they finish with this construction, they would not be fully installed”, he said.
Okowa also disclosed that key infrastructural projects being executed by his administration would be inaugurated between November and December.
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