The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has urged the leadership of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to return its Cabotage Services Department back to Port Harcourt.
The governor gave the charge when he hosted the Director General of the agency, Dr Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, on courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Wike said the operations of the Cabotage Services Department of NIMASA used to be in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, but was taken to Lagos without justification.
“We had a Cabotage Department here in Tombia Street (New GRA), your people moved it to Lagos. Is there any offence that Rivers State has committed against Nigeria? You may know, I don’t know of any offence any person can say we have committed.”
The governor said despite his administration procurement of gunboats for the security agencies, particularly, the police and Navy to assist them fight sea piracy and to ensure safety on the waterways for the business activities of NIMASA to thrive, the state does not get anything in return.
Wike commended new NIMASA DG for the new initiative of harnessing ocean resources to serve as alternative revenue source that will end the mono-economy status of Nigeria.
“Let me thank you as one of those who have looked into the future that Nigeria cannot continue to depend solely on one product and that is oil. There comes a time that the wells will be dry up, and when the wells are dried, what is the alternative? Is it at that time we will begin to seek for an alternative? So, you are on the right track by identifying that we should go for blue economy.”
Speaking further, Wike pledged to partner the agency in the area of human capital development and told them to consider adopting the Government Sea School, Isaka as institution to train seafarers.
“We have Sea School, Isaka in Okrika Local Government. It is a good place to train seafarers. That is the first sea school in this country.
“There is nothing wrong for you to partner with the state government to develop it. When they are trained, you can then move them as your seafarers to work in your maritime industry. Let us not abandon old things and begin to create new ones. Let’s develop the ones we have. Let us not be spending money in something that will take a long time. This will help the industry and create a lot of manpower for our people and employment.”
The governor also expressed the readiness of the state government to partner with NIMASA on its Deep Blue Project because of its potential to enhance and increase youth capacity in Rivers State.
According to him, the state government will constitute a committee that will liaise with NIMASA office in Port Harcourt on the Deep Blue Project.
Wike bemoan the failure of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, to leverage on his vintage position to revive the Port Harcourt and Onne ports in order to generate employment opportunities for the youths in the maritime sector.
Earlier, the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Bashir Yusuf Jamoh, had said the agency new thinking was in the direction of divesting the country’s economy with its 10 years’ plan to develop ocean resources in the country.
Jamoh explained that his tour to the eight littoral states of which Rivers is a part of, is intended to sell the new thinking to them and the need to key into the initiative.
He urged the Rivers State Government to set up a committee to work with the agency in identifying its areas of comparative advantage in harnessing its vast ocean resources.
“The agency commenced the issue of Blue Economy to ensure that we have something that we will fall back on. Let us give ourselves at least within the next 10 years; we can be able to develop our ocean resources.”
The DG appreciated Wike’s effort in rebuilding Rivers State into reckoning with tremendous investment in infrastructure, health, education and the judiciary that have ultimately better the life of Rivers residence.
We’ll Remain In PDP To Fight For Inclusivity, Wike Declares
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has declared that he will not leave the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for whatever cause and anybody.
The governor stated that he was rather interested in preserving the sanity of the party and would stay back to fight for the enthronement of unity, inclusivity, equity and peace in the PDP.
Wike made the declaration at the Rivers State PDP stakeholders meeting at Government House, Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said he is a man of character, unlike those who cannot keep their words and walked out of the party at the Eagle Square in Abuja in 2014.
“One thing I have always told people is, if anybody is thinking, doing anything to think that we will leave PDP, foul. We will do the fight in the party. We are not like them, when in 2014 they walked out from Eagle Square. They’ve forgotten. They walked out and joined APC. Is it not correct?
“Did they remain to fight inside the party? But we remained, they ran away. Now, there is a fight in the party, we will not run. We will fight it in this party. Those who run away from fight are weak people. We will not. So, everybody should know this is the state where we are; so that nobody tells you all kind of stories.”
Wike insisted that the constitution of the party clearly stated that elective and party offices must be zoned which, should be respected.
He wondered why the former PDP BOT chairman will be pressurised to resign and the PDP National Chairman, Senator Iyorchia Ayu,was excusing himself from doing what is right.
“You have taken presidential candidate, you have taken party chairman, and you have also taken the D.G (director general) of the campaign. We are talking about party politics. Decisions are made by the presidential candidate, chairman of the party and the D.G of the campaign.
“They are telling you they told the chairman of the BOT to resign. So, you know there is a problem. You said he should go and resign. You can put pressure on him to resign when his tenure hasn’t come to an end. But you cannot put pressure on the chairman to resign. You think at our level you will deceive us. You’ll tell us stories.”
Wike recalled how in 2015, the Federal Government used the military to invade Rivers State, interfered with and even annulled elections, but were resisted.
The governor recalled he made sure the senatorial results for Rivers East was announced that delivered Senator George Thompson Sekibo and that of Rivers West, that produced Senator Betty Apiafi.
Wike regretted that despite the risk taken to deliver them, the same people are now in Abuja plotting against him.
He said they won’t succeed because God has blessed him.
The Rivers State governor also clarified that he never promised anybody governorship ticket of the PDP despite the pressure some leaders mounted on him or attempts made to divide the state House of Assembly.
Wike said though he didn’t clinch the PDP presidential ticket, he actually made a good account of himself at the primary.
The governor explained that by next week, Rivers State PDP campaign team would be unveiled and the campaign pattern adopted would be based on each local government peculiarity.
Wike emphasised that all PDP candidates in the state would be returned elected by Rivers people who are satisfied with the performance of his administration.
“We will take all. We are taking all because Rivers people are happy with what we have done in this state. We have not only provided infrastructure, we have also defended the interest of Rivers State.”
He explained that it took courage and firmness for him to protect the interest and assets of Rivers State without compromising it with politics.
Wike explaining that besides securing a refund of money illegally deducted by the Federal Government over the Police Trust Fund, his administration recovered oil wells wrongly ceded to Imo State and is collecting the accruing revenue from the oil wells in disputed area between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
The governor stated that the Federal Government won’t be able to use the Army and the police in the 2023 election, because Nigerians will vote for political parties on the basis of their performance.
Wike caution party members who want to be moles and work against the PDP because they were not given the ticket that they sought.
The governor urged party members to be steadfast because God is on their side, and since they have not known defeat, PDP cannot be defeated in 2023 general election in Rivers State.
In his response, State Chairman of the PDP, Amb Desmond Akawor, said the party in the state has already passed a vote of confidence on Wike for the way he has piloted the affairs of the state.
He commended the governor for the consistent delivery of projects, defending the interest of the state, and declared that they would continue to follow the leadership that he provides.
Court Order Declaration Of ‘War’ Against Lecturers -ASUU
The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ebonyi State University Chapter, Comrade Ikechuku Igwenyi, has said with Wednesday’s court judgement ordering Nigeria’s universities lecturers to return to the classroom, the Federal Government has declared ‘war’ against members of the union.
This was as he pointed out that, the, “No work, no pay” policy of the government shows the authorities lack an understanding of the nature of the contract between the lecturers and their employers.
He stated this while reacting to Wednesday’s Federal Government-ASUU court judgement, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, yesterday.
He said, “When a matter leaves the round and peaceful negotiation table to the court, it becomes difficult to predict the possible end of the imbroglio. It has therefore become obvious that the Federal Government of Nigeria has clearly declared war against academic staff in Nigerian Federal Universities using the weapons of forced labour, hunger and starvation through non-payment of outstanding seven months’ salaries.
“The ‘No work, No pay’ policy of Federal Government implies government illiteracy on university administration or FGN does not take into cognisance, the peculiar nature of the contract between university lecturers and their employers. It is, therefore, embarrassing that rather than confront the main issues with the urgency they demand, the Federal Government has been introducing obnoxious diversionary and distractive policies to divert the focus of ASUU from objective positions of the union to frivolities.
“The introduction of IPPIS and imposing the fraudulent payment platform on universities workers without integrity testing by NITDA and the current no work, no pay policy are clear indications of unwillingness to implement the agreements FGN willingly signed in 1981, 1992, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2009 and the several Memoranda of Understanding of 2013 and 2017 with the Memoranda of Action of 2019 and 2020.
“There were also two concluded reports that were submitted by Federal Government’s inaugurated Renegotiation Committee led by Prof. Muzali Jubril in 2021 and Emeritus Prof. Nimi Dimkpa Briggs without any consideration.
“It is, therefore, not surprising that while the government inaugurated committee had submitted their report to their principal and waiting for the outcome and approval of a job well done, the Federal Minister of Education came up with a ‘take it or leave it’ salary award that is not in tandem with collective bargaining principles, which also negates the FGN/ASUU Agreement of 1981.
“Recall that the same government had set up a 14-man committee to review the Prof Nimi Briggs Committee report and while the committee is still at work, the Federal Minister of Labour and Productivity took the matter to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, because he informed that it was not the Federal Government that took ASUU to court.”
He added, “Today, the NIC has ordered ASUU to call off the ongoing strike and return to the classroom with empty stomachs and unpaid bills pending the determination of the suit filed against the union by the Federal Government.
“Meanwhile, it has become difficult to hold government responsible and true to their word because NASU and SSANU were promised to be paid their salary when they resume work and it has been over a month without any light of hope or fidelity. Going to court has implications in further delaying the negotiation process and will definitely postpone the day of joy for Nigerian university workers, students and parents.
“It is on this note that members are encouraged to be strong and courageous because this is a legacy struggle. Our Comrade President has urged members of the academic union to remain resolute and strong because a people united cannot be defeated. As we have received the judgement, members are therefore enjoined to remain firm with our faith unshakable and have a profound trust in the never-failing principles of the union and the destiny of our children, institution and country rather than live under subjection and disregarding sacred principles.
“National Industrial Court judgement is not a cul-de-sac or end of the road. There are other levels of appeal and stay of execution orders. It is imperative now to ask Federal Government of Nigeria whose interest they are working hard to protect because the genuine Nigeria students they claim they are fighting for have been protesting and recently called the National Industrial Court judgement ‘a black market judgement’.
“Members are hereby admonished not to lose faith because the Almighty God is on His Throne and it is not over until it is over.
“Our team of lawyers will advise properly on the next level but in the meantime, members are encouraged to be steadfast for the struggle is closer to the end than from the beginning.”
Law Student Asks Court To Stop Buhari, Others’ Salaries Over ASUU Strike
A final year law student of Benue State University, Soohemba Agatha Aker, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari, the 36 state governors, and others before a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged poor handling of the dispute between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The plaintiff is asking the court to stop the salaries and allowances of Buhari, the governors, and all political office holders in the country until the final resolution and end of the strike.
The applicant is also seeking similar order against the chief of staff to the president, secretary to the government, all the senators and the members of the House of Representatives, all the ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of parastatals, and extra ministerial bodies of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, all the vice chancellors and the members of Senate of striking universities, as well as the salaries and allowances of striking universities and all the members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
In the fundamental right enforcement suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1684/2022, the applicant who said she is currently affected by the ongoing strike filed the action for herself on behalf of all students of public tertiary institutions currently affected by the nationwide ASUU strike.
In the suit filed by her counsel, Chukwuma-Machukwu Ume, SAN, the applicant listed the respondents to include the Federal Government of Nigeria, Registered Trustees of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, President of the Senate, Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Governor of Abia State (also sued in his official capacity and in a representative capacity for all the other governors of the 36 states of the federation).
The rest are Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC); Federation of Account Allocation Committee (FAAC); Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice (AGF); the Attorney General of Abia State (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Hon Attorney-Generals of the 35 States of the Federation); the Vice-Chancellor (VC) of the University of Abuja (also sued in a representative capacity for all the other Vice Chancellors and the Members of the Senate of both Federal and State Universities currently participating in the ongoing ASUU Strike) and Umar Farouk (President, National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS).
The suit was filed pursuant to sections 46(1), (2) and (3) of the 1999 Constitution and Article 17(1) of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Chapter A9 (Charter 10 LFN 1990) No. 2 of 1983.
The applicant is equally seeking an order of mandamus compelling the defendants, including members of the Senate of the striking universities, to return to the first respondent their monthly salaries, allowances, and other benefits received individually or collectively from the day the industrial action of the second respondent commenced till date, pending the hearing and determination of the originating motion.
She further asked for an order of interlocutory injunction suspending the activities of 6th and 7th Respondents (RMAFC and FAAC), including payment of the monthly allocation funds to the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th & 10th Respondents pending the hearing and determination of the applicant’s suit.
In a supporting affidavit, she deposed to the fact that the ASUU strike has and continues to affect her adversely as her plans of graduating this academic year 2022 and applying for admission into the Nigerian Law School have been thwarted; that her tuition fees paid for this academic year will go in vain as the academic year is almost lost if nothing is done.
She stated further that her dreams of becoming a law graduate and a future lawyer are on the verge of collapsing, as her sponsor had made it clear that this year was the last year to sponsor her in school; that her mates, who are children of top politicians, are currently taking their studies uninterrupted in private universities in the country or abroad; that some of her mates have gotten pregnant due to boredom and idleness; that she is going through severe mental stress and trauma each passing day as the strike prolongs with no concrete action taken by the stakeholders concerned towards ending it.
She, therefore, asked the court to declare that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the second respondent is wrongful, gross failure of duty to the future of Nigeria, an act of negligence to their constitutional responsibilities and amounts to a gross violation of the Applicants’ constitutional rights to a meaningful life, association, education, and developed capacity to own functional intellectual cum physical property.
A declaration that refusal, failure, or neglect of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th, and 11th Respondents to put an end to the lingering industrial action (strike) of the members of the 2nd Respondent union (most of whose children are abroad attending the best universities) is a function of the act of discrimination in the affording of educational opportunities to their children abroad and the neglected Applicant and teeming types all over the country.
An order compelling the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 10th and 11th Respondents to immediately and forthwith inaugurate a Save the Future Think-Tank Committee of all parties herein or their representatives and other key stakeholders from all tiers of government and segments of the Nigerian societies as to map out immediate steps as to end the ongoing strike by 2nd Respondent and ensure uninterrupted academic calendar in all Nigerian tertiary institutions even in times of any of the industrial disputes in the sector.
Meanwhile, no date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.
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