Abia health workers suspend strike



The Abia State chapter of the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) and Assembly of Allied Health Professionals, have suspended the ongoing strike action embarked on since Nov. 3, 2020, with immediate effect.

The Council also directed her members to resume work today Thursday, Jan. 14, 2020.
In a resolution at the end of a meeting between JOHESU, Assembly of Allied Health Professionals and the Abia State Government, the Council expressed appreciation to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu for approving and implementing the Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) to all healthcare workers, civil service and Local Government Councils in the state.

According to the resolution signed by Dr Joe Osuji, the Commissioner for Health, and Sir. Onyii Wamah, the Head of Service, on behalf of the state government and state Chairman (MHWUN), Comrade Okoro Ogbonnaya, and all the Chairmen and Secretaries of the Council, “the Government of Abia State has shown commitment in the payment of salary arrears, having paid three months to Hospital Management Board staff and two months to the staff of Abia State University Teaching Hospital, and five months to staff of Abia State College of Health Sciences and Management Technology, in the month of Dec. 2020.”

The resolution added that the state government has approved the total sum of N4million as running cost for all the Health Authority Secretaries in the seventeen LGAs as well as agreed to involve JOHESU leadership in the staff verification exercise at the Hospitals Management Board and the Abia State University Teaching Hospital billed to begin soon.

It agreed that no any of the members of the Unions would be victimized because of the strike action while noting that JOHESU would have to recommence the strike with a seven-day notice should the government fail to keep its own part of the bargain.

Budget Transparency: Bayelsa did not benefit in N123.34 bn 2020 grant to states – Commissioner

The Bayelsa government on Friday said that the current administration did not participate in the 2020 budget transparency assessment by the federal government, and therefore dismissed reports that the state failed to meet set criteria.

Mr Ayiba Duba, Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy in Bayelsa said in Yenagoa that the current administration in the State only came into office on Feb. 14, 2020.

He explained that the state was in transition mode as at January 2020 when the assessment was conducted and could not have participated when its 2020 budget was passed in March 2020,after the assessment had been concluded.

Recall that Gov. Douye Diri was sworn in on Feb. 14, a day after the Supreme Court sacked the erstwhile governor-elect of Bayelsa , David Lyon, and his deputy, Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieoyo.

Lyon’s election was nullified because his deputy submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commision.

Duba, who described media reports that Bayelsa did not meet the eligibility criteria for the funds as erroneous, noted that Bayelsa government gives priority to transparency and accountability in the management of public funds.

“The report that Bayelsa State did not benefit from the N123.34 billion recently disbursed to thirty-two states under the Federal Governments States Fiscal Transparency Accountability and Sustainability (SFTAS) Programme for Result because the state did not meet the eligibility criteria is inaccurate and misleading.

“The claim could not have been the truth because Bayelsa did not participate in the selection process.

“It is an open secret that Bayelsa was in transition for the larger part of 2019.

“The administration assumed office in February, 2020 and the budget was not passed until March long after the SFTAS condition for benefiting in the funds had expired.

“It is therefore impossible to have published the budget online in January.

“However, the 2021 budget was passed in compliance with the SFTAS.

“The citizenry is assured that the prosperity administration of Sen. Douye Diri is committed to fiscal transparency and accountability,” Duba said.

On the outstanding pension liability, Duba said the Diri who has been offsetting the pension areas since he came on board, has released an additional sum of N500 million in addition to the N150 million for pensions in January.

“Bayelsa State Government is deeply committed to the welfare and wellbeing of its citizenry particularly those who have invested their productive years in the service of our state and will continue to do things that will ameliorate their condition.

“The people of Bayelsa are encouraged to continue to support the prosperity administration of Gov. Douye Diri as the movement on the path of development has commenced,” Duba said.

Gunmen invade Bayelsa community, shoot sporadically, burn houses

There was pandemonium yesterday as unknown gunmen invaded Ogila-ama community in Opuoama Kingdom in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

According to community sources, the gunmen stormed the community in three speed boats and began to shoot sporadically ostensibly to instill fear into the people before they proceeded to set some buildings in the community ablaze.

Pastor Lorhi-bolouikie Ogoro, a native of the Ogila-ama, community but resident in Yenagoa said people of the community living in Yenagoa have been inundated with calls over the attack and the palpable fear in the community.

According to him people in the community said before gaining access into the community, the gunmen who came in three boats, shot sporadically.

Mr Ogoro appealed to the state government to come to the community’s rescue and arrest the situation.

The spokesperson of the Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat who confirmed the attack disclosed that the Commissioner of Police, Mike Okoli, has despatched detectives to ascertain the situation of things.

The invasion of Ogila-ama is the most recent community coming under attack in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Peremabiri community was attacked four times in a space of one month before the state government intervened in the crisis between different factions in the community.

Enugu earmarks N42.4 billion for works, infrastructure development

The Enugu State Government said it has budgeted the sum of N42,493,710,000 for works and infrastructure development in its 2021 approved budget christened ‘Budget of Recovery and Continued Growth.’

The state which earmarked the sum of N169,845,750,500 for its 2021 fiscal year, allocated N101,134,758,500 for capital expenditure, while the sum of N68,711,000,000 was budgeted for recurrent expenditure.

The Commissioner for Budget and Planning, David Okelue Ugwunta, who briefed the press at Enugu during the state’s budget breakdown said the state intends to strategically enhance recovery of the state from the drawbacks of 2020 and further consolidate on the foundation already laid in creating an environment that encourages natural, social and infrastructural development in line with the current eight-point agenda of the state government.

While giving the breakdown of the budgetary allocation on works and infrastructure in the state, the commissioner said N200 million would be for the provision of solar street lightings and generating sets, while N2 billion was allocated for the construction/renovation of public buildings in the state.

He equally said that N3 billion was earmarked for the construction of additional facilities at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology at Igbo Eno, also in the state, adding that N4 billion was also budgeted for the rehabilitation/construction of urban and rural roads in the state among other projects listed under works and infrastructure upgrade in the state.

He equally said that the targets of the budget which has already been approved by the state’s House of Assembly would be to increase the percentage of Internally Generated revenue in the recurrent revenue by 50% and also uphold the budget performance at least by 85%.
The commissioner also said that the budget targets to maintain a capital expenditure to recurrent expenditure ratio of 60:40, adding that it also aims to have 100% cash-backing of all expenditure approvals among other targets.

The Zonal Vice President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Comrade Kenneth Ofoma who addressed the state’s government delegation on behalf of the journalists in the state, enjoined the government to ensure prudent implementation of the budget.

2nd wave: Obaseki postpones reopening of schools, reinforces curfew in Edo State

The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has suspended the resumption of schools in the state over the increasing cases of COVID-19.

In a statement on Friday, Obaseki also reviewed the curfew earlier imposed on the state to now span from 10pm to 5am.

He said schools in the state earlier planned to resume on January 18 in line with the Federal Government’s directive would now remain shut till February 1.

He said, “Comparing the first six weeks of the pandemic from March 23, 2020, with the first six weeks since December 1, 2020, Edo State has witnessed an 84.5 percent rise in the number of infected persons.

“There has also been a 10.5 percent increase in the number of older persons infected with Covid-19. It is early days yet, but we have evidence suggesting that more older persons infected with COVID-19 are dying.

“Most of the cases in the early phase of the pandemic were travel-related but since December 2020, there has been a 13.9 percent increase in community transmission of the disease. This is a big concern especially with the evidence before us that there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of persons infected with COVID-19 who show no signs or symptoms of the disease, but are transmitting it in our communities. Our children and youth are major contributors to this group.

“Schools are to remain shut till February 1, 2021, when the prevailing realities are to be reviewed to determine if it would be safe to reopen the schools.

“Curfew is now reviewed from 10 pm to 5 am effective Saturday 16th January 2021.”

On religious gatherings, the governor said, “Handwashing stations with running water and liquid soap/alcohol-based hand sanitizers must be provided at entry and exit points. There must be temperature checks at entrance points and facemasks must be used correctly and consistently.

“Sitting in gatherings should not exceed a maximum of 30% of capacity per session and ensure physical distancing (at least 1.5m) must be adhered to. The length of meetings should not exceed 1 hour and there must be breaks in-between sessions for decontamination. Children below 12 years and adults above 60 years should stay at home.

“Monitoring/Enforcement teams must be set up and include powerful and influential religious leaders as drivers. There must be sensitization on covid-19 prevention during every meeting. Written commendation by the governor and deputy governor will be issued to religious institutions who show good compliance to Covid-19 preventive measures.”

$1.1bn deal: Elumelu’s firm buys Shell, Total, ENI stakes in oil block

Three international oil companies operating in Nigeria have sold their combined 45 per cent interest in Oil Mining Lease 17 and related assets in the Eastern Niger Delta to TNOG Oil and Gas Limited, an integrated energy company founded by Mr Tony Elumelu.

Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited assigned their interests of 30 per cent, 10 per cent, and five per cent respectively in the lease to TNOG Oil and Gas.

SPDC announced in a statement on Friday the completion of the sale of its 30 per cent interest in OML 17 and associated infrastructure to TNOG Oil and Gas for a consideration of $533m.

The oil major said the completion followed the receipt of all approvals from the relevant authorities of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

TNOG Oil and Gas is a related company of Heirs Holdings Limited and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc, both of which have Elumelu as their chairman.

“A total of $453m was paid at completion with the balance to be paid over an agreed period. SPDC will retain its interest in the Port Harcourt Industrial and Residential Areas, which fall within the lease area,” the SPDC said.

The company said it was committed to transfer OML 17 in an orderly and responsible manner to the new owner, which would help to provide a sustainable long-term plan to unlock its full potential.

“As with previous divestments, we will facilitate a successful transition to new ownership. Shell has been in Nigeria for over 60 years and remains committed to a long-term presence here,” said the Managing Director of SPDC and Country Chairman of Shell companies in Nigeria, Mr Osagie Okunbor.

Heirs Holdings said in a statement that TNOG Oil and Gas would have sole operatorship of the asset.

It described the transaction as one of the largest oil and gas financings in Africa in more than a decade, with a financing component of $1.1bn provided by a consortium of global and regional banks and investors.
[READ ALSO] 2024: Trump will return as president if… –Don
It said the deal also involved Schlumberger as a technical partner and the trading arm of Shell as an offtaker.

OML 17 has a current production capacity of 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day and, 2P reserves of 1.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent, with an additional 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent resources of further exploration potential, according to the statement.

The Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Elumelu, said, “We have a very clear vision: creating Africa’s first integrated energy multinational, a global quality business, uniquely focused on Africa and Africa’s energy needs.

“The acquisition of such a high-quality asset, with significant potential for further growth, is a strong statement of our confidence in Nigeria, the Nigerian oil and gas sector and a tribute to the extremely high-quality management team that we have assembled.

“As a Nigerian, and more particularly an indigene of the Niger Delta region, I understand well our responsibilities that come with stewardship of the asset, our engagement with communities and the strategic importance of the oil and gas sector in Nigeria. We see significant benefits from integrating our production, with our ability to power Nigeria, through Transcorp, and deliver value across the energy value chain.”
Elumelu thanked Shell, Total and ENI for the professionalism of the process, the Federal Government, the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, and the NNPC for the confidence placed in the company.

WhatsApp gives in, halts rollout of controversial update

WhatsApp will halt the rollout of its controversial new update amid protests from users.

People will now have three extra months to agree to its new rules, the company said.

And WhatsApp has committed to try and distribute more information about the rules in advance of the deadline in the hope of dispelling what it says is “misinformation”.

Users had originally been told they had to agree to the new rules by 8 February, or face having their accounts suspended or deleted.

Instead, users will have until 15 May before they are forced to agree to the rules, in the hope that they can “review the policy at their own pace”.

In the meantime, the company will “do a lot more to clear up the misinformation around how privacy and security works on WhatsApp”.

WhatsApp’s privacy policy began being pushed out to users in recent months and caused concern that it would be sharing more information with Facebook.

The company says that the new policy does not “expand our ability to share data with Facebook”, and that it is instead focused on its new business updates, which allow companies to host their shops on Facebook and communicate with users through WhatsApp. As such, the new rules do mention Facebook but primarily because communications with those businesses may be hosted on its servers.

But that has nonetheless led to a flurry of concerns that information and personal data from WhatsApp is being shared with Facebook.

That in turn has meant that users have rushed to competing apps such as Signal and Telegram, in pursuit of what they perceive to be better security and privacy.

In its announcement, WhatsApp suggested that those concerns were rooted in “confusion” and “misinformation”.

“We’ve heard from so many people how much confusion there is around our recent update,” it said in the blog post that revealed the delay. “There’s been a lot of misinformation causing concern and we want to help everyone understand our principles and the facts.

“WhatsApp was built on a simple idea: what you share with your friends and family stays between you. This means we will always protect your personal conversations with end-to-end encryption, so that neither WhatsApp nor Facebook can see these private messages. It’s why we don’t keep logs of who everyone’s messaging or calling. We also can’t see your shared location and we don’t share your contacts with Facebook.”

Multiple Road Accidents Wipe Out Family of 6, Claim 9 Other  Lives In Edo

No fewer than 15 lives on Friday perished in two separate fatal accidents at Arue-Uromi and Agbede in Edo state.

It was gathered that the Arue-Uromi accident reportedly provoked anger, tears and sorrow, as the six casualties involved, four girls and two boys, were said to be children of the same family.

It was however not clear how exactly the accident occurred.

One account of had it that the children were crossing the road, while another said they were playing football when an approaching Mercedes Benz car that was attempt to dodge a pothole, swerved and ran into them‎, killing them on the spot.

It was learnt that residents of the area blocked the road and burnt the Mercedes Benz car.

The Agbede accident was said to be a multiple accident, that involved a petrol tanker, a Sienna bus and two other vehicles.

It reportedly claimed nine lives, eight males and‎ one female.

Unspecified number of other passengers were also said to have‎ sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Edo State Sector‎ Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corp, Henry Benameisia, who confirmed the accident, attributed it to break failure on the part of the tanker, as well as over speeding by the Sienna bus.

Here are some of those working against corruption fight in Nigeria – Activist Eholor

Frontline civil rights defender and philanthropist, Chief Patrick Eholor has taken government officials and parastatals in President Mhammadu Buhari’s government to the cleaners.

Eholor believes there are many elements in the government that are too neck-deep in corruption that they would never let the fight against it succeed.

In this interview, he mentions names and explains why he does not see any ray of hope, with such elements serving in the government.

Excerpts.

Minister Chibuike Amaechi:

Chibuike Amaechi is one of the problems of this country. As a Minister, he has done nothing else but to follow the north sheepishly.

Do you remember when he was a governor? Amaechi started the worst elephant project ever in Nigeria, by jumping into monorail construction. He claimed he wanted to connect it across Port Harcourt, but after a few kilometers, the project was abandoned, permanently, and is today, a monumental waste in the city. That monorail project cost the Rivers State Government a whopping N33.9 billion. As a matter of fact, the technical partners handling the project then, Arcus Gibbs Nigeria Limited described the project as a hoax!

Amaechi is a white elephant project man. At the moment, he is very busy connecting roads, and two roads from Jigawa and Sokoto to Niger Republic. While the railways will gulp a whopping $1.96billion, the roads will consume N30 billion.

Sadly, the old rail roads that connected his homestead of Rivers and the rest of the country are abandoned, and there is no plan on ground to start the projects.

While at it, Amaechi is busy, warming up to become a president!

The Inspector General of Police

The Inspector General of Police, Muhammadu Adamu is supposed to be the watchdog for good behavior among Nigerians, but the police force has continued to be an organization lacking in morals and ethics, and swimming in corruption.

Every year, the IG would announce that road blocks have been cleared on our roads, but that statement is always in theory. As a matter of fact, the road blocks usually increase in size of police officers, and they have ended up making the road blocks cash cows. There, senior officers compel the junior ones to make daily returns for them, and thereby exploit transporters. The IG is very much aware of this, but chooses to pretend he does not.

The same ritual is repeated every year, about police attaches to VIPs. The IGP would order the withdrawal of officers attached to VIPs across the country, but fail to do anything to implement the order. This way they have reduced respectable officers to bag carriers and mere drivers to rich men and their wives.

The police is paid over N300,000 per personnel by the VIPs, and only a little fraction of this money gets to the officers themselves. You can see why they refuse to withdraw them in truth. They are fantastically corrupt, and are making money from the VIPs!

State Governors, FG, Covid 19

The government has turned the fight against Covid 19 into a mere jaw exercise. First, NCDC and the FG started by bandying figures that didn’t really exist, and when they got funds to cater for citizens who were locked down in their homes, the funds were hoarded by governors and states, palliative measures were hijacked, and items meant to be shared were hidden away from the people, even perishables. It took the End SARS protests to expose this shameless act by our governments.

In Lagos, they are busy arresting poor people who cannot afford to defend themselves claiming that they are fighting Covid 19, yet they pretend they don’t know about the parties and feasts being hosted by their fellow moneybags.

It is at these parties that the London, and American, and other foreign returnees have been using to spread the disease, and this has led to the recent spike.

Despite the fact that he United Kingdom has cried out over the new dangerous strain of the disease, Nigeria has refused to close its borders from Europe and other such vulnerable countries. The result is that our people get exposed to Covid 19 infections.

All that the Federal Government and States are interested in is the Covid 19 funds. No one is genuinely interested in fighting the disease. Or ensuring that Nigerians are well cared for, medically and otherwise.

I can tell you that Nigeria is not yet serious about the fight against Covid 19. They are treating the pandemic with kid gloves, and it will be suicidal if this unseriouness and love for money overwhelms us and lands this country in a mess where it becomes impossible to deal with the pandemic.

Godswill Akpabio

Senator Godswill Akpabio has no business being a minister, with the level of corruption cases against him. At first in 2015, a whopping N108 billion corruption case was brought against him by the EFCC.

A few years after down the line, Senator Akpabio in his capacity as the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, along with the Acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Mr Daniel has been accused of embezzling N40 billion.

This man was brought to testify at the Nigerian Senate and he could not defend himself. This is the man that heads the ministry, and says he has come to clear up the Ministry.

How can a man stinking of so much corruption be able to fight it, and clean up the Ministry?

Festus Keyamo

The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo said N46 billion had been budgeted to provide certain jobs for 774 Local Government Areas across the country.

In their projection, they are to pay each of the beneficiaries who is either a graduate and Masters Degree holder N20,000, when the government realised that the minimum wage is N30, 000.

Literally, they will be giving a graduate N60,000 within three months, which is less than $200. The disbursement of such money to the graduates will not address the issue of unemployment in the country.

The best option was for the Federal Government is to use that money to establish industries across the geo-political zones to absorb the teeming unemployed youths in the country.

The Minister also kicked off this so-called empowerment programme with wheelbarrows and cutlasses for the youths, most of who are graduates. How can you give cutlass and wheelbarrow to graduates? When they have openings at the NNPC, FIRS, CBN, Nigerian Customs, Immigration, NIMASA, NLNG, and so on, then give it to their own children.

The children of the common Nigerian is only good for wheelbarrows and cutlasses. They spent N46 billion to acquire those things. Tell me how we intend to end corruption in this country.

ASUU and Covid 19

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has began to play the kind of dirty politics that the Nigerian Labour is used to. After keeping our youths at home for one whole year, and then having reached an agreement with the Federal Government, they are now saying that they cannot go back to the classrooms to teach.

Apparently, they want to begin to demand for more money to return to school.

ASUU, in as much as he had a genuine cause to go on strike initially, must avoid the temptation of keeping our youths at home again.

Rear Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu: We are heartbroken-Prof Ibe

When I visited you at your country home in Ovim on 30 December 2020 we discussed everything and planned many things without knowing it would be the last time. Indeed it is true when the Bible says that man is like vapour that easily evaporates away.

It is therefore with sadness and grief that I received the shocking news of the transition to eternal glory of our admirable Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, who until death was Chairman of our Board of Trustees(BOT)

Admiral Kanu was a man among men, a Primus Interpares. In the course of his naval career, It was no mean feat that he became the first governor of old Imo State upon its creation in March 1976. He later moved on to serve as the governor of Lagos State in 1977. While in the military as a naval officer, our Chairman, Board of Trustees would rise to become a Rear Admiral and Chief of Nigeria’s Naval Staff.

To underscore his personality and his pro-stance on human development, while in office as governor of old Imo State, much of what the city of Owerri has become today is as a result of his leadership in town planning , roads construction, expansion of Local Government Areas and the establishment of Imo Broadcasting Service which still broadcasts to this day.

Admiral Kanu upon his retirement from active military service to the nation, led an increasingly active lifestlye as a civilian. He was a man filled with uncommon strength and abilities. Regardless of his professional background as a military officer, he played a leading role in the agitation for pro-democracy and its tenets in the aftermath of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election.

Our now departed chairman successfully ventured into business, occupied leadership positions in corporate organizations and socio-cultural groups, held honourary doctorate degrees from notable universities in Nigeria, a statesman, a leading light and a very vocal voice within the Nigerian polity regarding true federalist practices.

Here at Gregory University, Uturu, Rear Admiral Ndubuisi G. Kanu freely offered us great insights and invaluable contributions in activating and sustaining the growth of our blosoming university. He was billed to hold an interactive mentoring session with our scholars on their return from Christmas break.

Indeed our hearts are broken at this great loss. May the eternal light of God which never grows dim continually shine on him.

Prof Gregory Ibe,PhD, OFR ( Enyi Abia),
Chancellor/Proprietor,
Gregory University Uturu,
Abia State.

NEWS UNBRANDED!

%d bloggers like this: