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Ayade Charges HOS To Fish Out Fugitive Workers

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The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, has charged the new Head of Service (HoS), Geraldine Ekanem to fish out fugitive workers in the civil service.
Governor Ayade who made the call after swearing her in lamented the level of manipulation and fraud in the service, stressing that he needs an HoS who had the capacity to address this challenge.
“At this time of the state’s economy when the revenue allocation for Cross River has nosedived, I don’t envy your job.
“The total allocation for the state last month put together was in the region of 900 million and it came at a time our wage bill is about 3.16 billion.
“And for those who don’t know we have been able to sustain salaries up to date and so as HoS one of the greatest challenges before you is to fish out fugitive workers.
“By virtue of your decent family and experience, please employ that to putting into check the level of manipulation of our payroll system.
“You have my support in transfers, demotions and whatever power is vested on me is passed to you so nobody will come back to say he is witch-hunted.
“The fraud in the payroll system is huge. Today we have a major case of about 16 billion and as we are struggling to survive that we have another of about 6.5 million dollars with ECOWAS.
“We have over 1840 court cases inherited that warrants the state hiring lawyers, we are paying just so much so I need a head of service who will provide me sufficient capacity”, the governor said.
The governor queried the directors of personnel who he said have the responsibility of giving monthly personnel audit which they fail to do.
“If I walk into the ministries, I meet a fairly empty ministry but I come to the nominal roll, I will see a massive wage bill.
“Each time I attempt to do an audit and reduce the payroll by about 60 million for example, petitions will come in that I was sick and by the time all of them come back, the 60 million that was reduced will become 70 million.
“So for every audit, we end up having more names on the payroll”, the Governor lamented.
He said the monthly pension in the state had increased by 400 million from the time he assumed office.
He queried this increase saying it is expected that when pensions increase, salaries should reduce but with the increase in wage bill and pensions, it really calls for a thorough investigation.
The governor tasked the HoS to do her best as her appointment was devoid of emotion and purely on merit.
On her part, the new Head of Service thanked the governor for believing in her.
She pledged to leave a positive mark in the service and give her best to the best of her abilities.

 

By: Friday Nwagbara, Calabar

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Niger Delta

Police Kill Five Suspected Kidnappers, Rescue Victim

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Police operatives in Edo State have rescued one Innocent Achebe, 38, from a kidnappers den, killing five suspects in the process.
Achebe was rescued on Sunday in Ughosi-Afe bush in Ibilo, Akoko Edo Local Government Area of the State, where the victim was held in captivity for days.
This is contained in a statement by Deputy Public Relations Officer, Edo Police Command, ASP Jennifer Iwegbu, on Monday in Benin.
She said that the operation was part od the command’s commitment to rid the state of violent crime, including kidnapping.
“This feat was achieved following credible information at the command’s disposal that hoodlums suspected to be kidnappers were operating in Ughoshi- Afe bush, Ibillo in Akoko Edo LGA, Edo State.
“On receipt of the information, the command immediately mobilised its tactical team of operatives from the Ibillo sector in collaboration with vigilantes and hunters to the scene.
“The kidnappers on sighting the operatives opened fire on them which led to a gun duel that left five of the kidnappers fatally injured and were later confirmed dead,” Iwegbu said.
She added that the victim, who was rescued unhurt, had been reunited with his family.
The police spokesperson said two locally made pistols, charms and cartridges were recovered from the scene.
Iwegbu said the Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, commended the gallantry exhibited by the operatives and pledged that the command would work with relevant stakeholders and law-abiding citizens to secure the State.

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Niger Delta

Bayelsa Spends N3.52bn On Debt Service

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Bayelsa State Government said it spent N3.52 billion on servicing its loan obligations to commercial banks for the month of May.
The Tide’s source reports that domestic debt stock data from the Debt Management Office for Bayelsa as of March 31, stood at N151.41 billion.
Technical Adviser to Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State on Treasury Matters, Mr Timipre Seipulo, stated this while giving an update of the state’s income and expenditure profile for the months of May and June in Yenagoa.
According to the financial highlights, the state generated some N1.68 billion from internal sources in addition to a gross inflow of N22.86 billion from the federation account to make a total of N22.91 billion for May.
Of the amount, derivation revenue, a 13 per cent of value of crude oil produced within the state for May stood at N17.82 billion.
On the other hand, non oil revenue of N124.69 million accrued to the state for the month under review.
According to Seipulo, the state’s wage bill for civil servants and political appointees gulped N6.2 billion.
For the month of June, Bayelsa got N18.67 billion after deductions at source from the federation account.
Oil derivation accounted for N14.02 billion, while the internally generated revenue was N1.99 million.
The total wage bill for the month of June was N6.14 billion.

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Niger Delta

Delta Seals Gas Plant Over Student’s Death

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The Delta Government sealed a gas plant over outbreak of seizure leading to the death of a student in a close-by school.
The gas plant closure followed the report of an emergency committee, comprising representatives of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education, officials of the Ministry of Health and the management of Mary Mount College.
It was recalled that on July 16, 10 students of Mary Mount College, near Handeskia Gas Plant in Boji-Boji, Agbor, were suspected to have showed signs of strange ailments and seizure due to gas emission.
One of the affected students died few weeks after her parents took her to the hospital.
Mr Godspower Asiuwhu, the state Commissioner for Environment, warned the gas company that stiffer sanctions would be meted on it, if the seal was broken.
“The activities of the company has posed ecological and health threat to students of Mary Mount College, Agbor, situated in the environs.
“The management of Handeskia Oil and Gas should desist from causing havoc to residents of the host community,” Asiuwhu said.
The commissioner frowned at the unruly behaviour of staff of the gas company, saying that the state government would not condone any attempt by the company to unseal the premises.
According to him, a task force will be set up to monitor activities of the gas company after it had been sealed to ensure they did not return back to business.
Also, Mr Victor Ebonka, the Chairman, Ika North East Local Government Area, said the council had earlier sealed the gas company twice, adding that they later went back to unseal the premises.
“Since the activities carried out by the company were endangering the lives of residents, there is every need to seal the gas company and put a stop to all their activities,” Ebonka said.

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