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Offices Deserted, Roads Closed, As Workers’ Strike Enters The Second Day In C’River

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Government offices in Cross River State and roads leading to them have been deserted since Monday as civil servants complied with the indefinite strike action declared by the leadership of the state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over welfare-related issues.
Our correspondent, who went round Calabar Metropolis to monitor compliance or otherwise of the strike, observed that except for few senior civil servants who were seen lurking around their offices, the premises of both the new and old State Secretariat, housing many government ministries, departments and agencies, had been under lock and key.
The NLC Chairman in the State, Comrade Ben Ukpepi, in a telephone chat, said “the strike is total and successful. However, there are some TUC members who are senior civil servants who opened their offices but they cannot do without NLC members who are at home and are complying with the strike order.
“Even some TUC members are also complying because the TUC withdrew from the strike only on the leadership level. As everyone knows, we are not fighting for ourselves but for workers whose rights and privileges have been taken away. The strike will continue until government is ready to meet our demands.”
Mr. Christian Ita, The Chief Press Secretary/Special Adviser, Media to Governor Ben Ayade, also in a chat with correspondents, said NLC should see reasons why the strike should not continue, and noted that, “few days ago, the Deputy Governor spoke with the leadership of the Organized Labour and restated the resolve of government to look into the matters NLC raised. Governor Ben Ayade is a labour friendly governor. The truth is that the time for such discussion is simply not right.

“COVID-19 has ravaged the economy of states and nations and in fact some states are contemplating salary cut while companies are even laying off workers. Recession is staring everybody in the face  globally. As we speak, political appointees in the state have had their salaries cut by 20 percent in the face of the dwindling allocation to the state.

“Few months ago, the federal allocation was about N800 million but today it has gone down to roughly N600 million. We cannot be talking of any money matter now because government is battling to pay salaries for the past two months. Let them give government enough time to tackle those matters.”
It would be Recalled that there was a stalemate at the weekend over the matter when the TUC distanced itself from the strike, and warned its members against taking part. Its secretary, Ken Bassey, argued that the group preferred continuous negotiation with the state government to iron out the issues under contention, and that the timing for the strike was wrong due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the NLC had insisted that Gov Ayade should accede to the 8-point demands of the Organized Labour, which they said, include

payment of outstanding gratuities to retirees from 2014; implementation of promotion; immediate return of names of workers removed from payroll and the immediate pay rolling of about 2000 recruited workers who have been working since 2018, amongst others.
From Friday Nwagbara, Calabar
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Niger Delta

Edo 2024: Sen Okpebholo Promises Inclusive Govt

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The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, Sen. Monday Okpebholo, has said he will run an inclusive government when elected in the September 21 governorship election.
He stated this on the sideline of a flag-off of medical mission by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Akamkpa, Cross River State on Monday.
The Senator, representing Edo Central in the 10th Assembly and a member of the Senate Committee on NDDC, also noted that he will adopt bottom-top approach in running the affairs of the state.
According to him, unlike what is currently obtainable in the governance of the state, his administration will be practically driven.
‘‘It will be a governance that the people can relate with, a true people’s government in the real sense”, he said.
The APC candidate, who bemoaned the lack of infrastructural development across the 18 Local Government Areas of Edo, promised to re-enact Adams Oshiomhole’s infrastructural revolution.
He said emergency would be declared on roads, schools and health infrastructure in the state.
“We are set for that. We will be taking a holistic approach to correct the decayed roads, schools and health infrastructure that have been left unattended to.
“If the Obaseki-led administration had built upon what the government of Adams Oshiomhole did, Edo would have been competing with a state like Lagos in terms of development.
“Our mission is to, from day one, hit the ground running and make Edo a better place.
‘‘A place we can actually call our own, a place that everybody will be happy to see”, he stated.
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UniCal Demonstration School Wins SAGE 2024 … To Represent Nigeria In Tokyo

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The University of Calabar International Demonstration Secondary School has won the 2024 edition of the Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship (SAGE) competition.
By coming tops at the national competition, the School will represent Nigeria at the global level in Tokyo.
The school presented a solar-powered Chi ECOSOL Freeze Storage System, equiped with off-grid capacity for areas with limited or unreliable traditional electricity.
The system uses high efficiency cooling storage unit to preserve fresh produce and vegetables.
The Tide’s source reports that Federal Government Girls College (FGGC) Abuloma, finished second with a project on Bio Fortification of Cassava Flour at the finals held in Calabar.
The source also reports that FGGC Benin came third with their project on Tomato Powder.
It would be recalled that Nigeria has won 12 out of the 17 international SAGE completions held in different parts of the world after its premier edition in 2002 in America.
The theme for this year’s edition of the competition is: “Mobilising Education for Food Security”.
Speaking during the award ceremony on Monday in Calabar, Mr Peter Odey, the Cross River State Deputy Governor, said the theme for the 2024 edition of the competition was apt and well thought-out.
Represented by Hilary Bisong, the member representing Boki Constituency II at the State House of Assembly, Odey, said the theme touched on a major challenge in todays human society.
Noting the need for a multifaceted global campaign against hunger and food scarcity, he said, “nobody who has access to three square meals in a day will start thinking of crimes and violence.
“Our state has very fertile soil, the winning school has proffered solution to the challenge of food storage and preservation.
“For example, in Boki, we always have so much food after harvest, but a lot of the foods get wasted due to poor storage, so this project gives us a solution”.
Also speaking, the President, SAGE Nigeria, Mr Agwu Amogu, said the essence of the initiative was to make young people to become solution providers through entrepreneurship and community service.
Amogu stated further that the initiative had directly and indirectly impacted on no fewer than 200,000 people since 2005 when it took effect in Nigeria.
“Also, no fewer than 8,000 students have passed through the initiative, many of them have graduated, and are now alumni of SAGE.
“Our goal is to move the mindset of young Nigerians from entitlement to being solution and innovation providers.
“This new mindset will not only create jobs for them, it will even make them to become job creators and self-reliant”, he said.
On her part, 15 year old Miss Victory Idiku, the team lead of UniCal International Demonstration Secondary School, expressed her team’s joy after  wining the competition.
“It took us several weeks of research to create that innovative project, it also took a lot of hard work to effectively present it.
“We are happy to represent Nigeria at the global event in Tokyo, we promise to make our nation proud”, she said.
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Eid-el Kabir: NSCDC Mobilises 1,210 Personnel In Edo

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Edo Command of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has deployed 1,210 personnel to ensure maximum security during the forthcoming Eid-el Kabir celebrations.
The command’s Public Relations Officer, Efosa Ogbebor, in a statement on Friday in Benin, said NSCDC would provide maximum security at various Eid praying grounds, palaces, monuments and recreational centres across the state during the festivities.
Ogbebor stated that the NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr Gbenga Agun, assured residents of security of their lives and property before, during and after the festival.
“I have directed all commanders, heads of tactical units, Area Commanders and Divisional Officers to ensure smooth, crime-free and secure celebration before, during and after the Eid-el Kabir festival.
“The personnel deployed have been tasked with critical responsibilities of safeguarding national assets and infrastructure, a core mandate of the corps, protection of lives and property and crowd control, amongst others.
“NSCDC personnel will work in collaboration with other sister-agencies”, he said.
The NSCDC boss appealed to members of the public to give maximum cooperation to the personnel and support them with useful information about criminal elements.
The Commandant felicitated with all Muslims and wished them joyous Eid-el Kabir celebrations.

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