Tag Archives: Abia

Kinetic Abia Tours: Ikpeazu commissions four roads in Aba (PHOTOS)

Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has officially opened for public use a quaternary roads in the economic hub of Aba including Eziukwu Road, Milverton Avenue, Ojike Lane and Chisco Link Rd, all in Aba South Local Government Area of the State.

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, Governor Ikpeazu assured that the roads would last at least 30 years and called on residents and business owners in the areas to protect the roads from destructive actions of some people saying his government undertook the reconstruction of the roads due to their economic importance to the people and advised those doing cement business in Ojike Lane to relocate to Uratta or other markets. The Governor also stressed the need for proper waste management in the area.

Governor Ikpeazu directed Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) to set up a Waste Management Task Force to ensure the drainages are kept clean and free of debris. He disclosed that before the end of February, youths from the various LGAs would be deployed under direct labour to carry out works of road maintenance and covering of potholes in certain areas where road constructions are yet to be done.

Speaking, the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu said he is proud of the Governor for making good his promise of fixing Aba. He urged Abians to pay their taxes so as to support the developmental agenda of the present administration.

Contributing, the Commissioner for Works, Elder Bob Ogu said the roads are located at the Central Business District and will enhance the economy of Aba. He informed that the roads are of high quality and called on residents to protect the roads. He equally said that what the Governor has in store for the Aba community is great and urged all to sustain their support for him.

Commissioning the road, the Prelate and Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, His Eminence, Nzie Nsi Eke expressed delight to be part of the commissioning events and appreciated Governor Ikpeazu for doing a great job for the people. He urged the Governor not to relent in building more roads and prayed God to bless the Governor and all those that will be using the roads.

Also speaking, the State PDP Chairman, Rt Hon. Asiforo Okere, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Prof. Ikechi Mgboji and his Industry counterpart, Chief Mrs Uwaoma Olenwengwa appreciated the good works of the Governor and said that if there is a time to live and do business in Aba, it is now as the Governor is currently fixing the infrastructural deficit of the city.

Also in their speeches, the Chairman, Aba Landlords Association and the former Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Acho Nwakanma, the President of Aba Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (ACCIMA), Sir Lawrence Obetta, Access Bank Manager in the axis, Mr. Jude Eze Ezugwu, representative of business men, Prince Ahamefula Ikonne, Chairman, Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria, Chief Jerry Ani, RTEAN Chairman, Azubuike Azuzu and Mrs Anthonia Ugoji were all full of praises for the Governor, saying that the constructions he is embarking upon are very unique. They said that this is the first time Eziukwu Road and its adjoining roads are made passable. They assured of their commitment to protect the roads built for them.

Photos:

John Okiyi Kalu replies man who said Abia is under blind leadership

RE: ABIA OF BLIND LEADERSHIP

-John Okiyi Kalu

I watched the widely circulating video made by one Dr Kenneth who goes with the alias of “Liborous Oshoma Gcfr” and my initial thought was that the child who did not attend his father’s burial will always exhume him from the legs.

Since then I’ve called and discussed with the maker of the video on the issues raised, lack of balance and perspective in his material. We agreed to do a joint physical review on the state of road infrastructure in the State before and during the Ikpeazu-led administration as well as the administration’s going forward plan to do more in the midst of obvious financial challenges.

While we wait for the joint physical review, it is important that I respond to some of the issues raised, especially for the sake of those who may have been sucked in by the seemingly persuasive presentation of Liborous without due consideration for sacred facts.

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu rightly complained about the poor state of federal roads in the state which unfortunately threatens to asphyxiate and cut off the commercial hub of the state, Aba, as well as cut off inter-LGA access within the state. The painful part is that most visitors to the state, including Liborous, form their opinions on the state of infrastructure in the state along with the performance of the Governor from their ugly experiences at those federal roads, and consequently, close their eyes to the extensive works done with state roads by the administration.

To date, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has completed 97 verifiable State road projects and I dare inform that it is a record number within the state and region. In addition, he has worked on several federal roads to ensure palliative maintenance of those roads without refund of even a Kobo from the federal government. He constructed alternative state roads to bypass terribly bad federal roads in the state, including Ekwerazu-Nto Edina Road which is the only motorable link between Abia, Akwa Ibom and Cross River States today.

For the purpose of clarity, permit me to take up the issues raised in the video in itemized manner:

1. I do not know the Abia State Government official who called Liborous “unprintable names” but certainly not from my office which is the information clearing house of the state. As democrats, we see constructive criticism as an integral part of democracy and have since 2015 encouraged citizens’ participation in governance through feedback. Suffice it to state that the first contact Liborous had with my office was when I reached out to him on Saturday after watching his current video.

2. While Liborous is right to state that Abia is an oil producing state and receives 13% derivation payments, he obviously does not know that as at today, Abia has only 4 active wells from where she has never earned up to a billion naira in any particular month. In fact, in one particular month the state received Twenty Nine million naira (N29,000,000.00) only as derivation payment and the records are there for all to see. It is therefore obtuse to compare Abia with states that receive billions monthly from derivation with a straight face and boldness. Indeed, the Monthly derivation payment to one of the states he mentioned is higher than the total allocation of at least 3 South East states put together.

3. Obviously, the road leading to Ukwa West that Liporous referenced is the Aba-Port Harcourt segment of Enugu-Port Harcourt Federal Highway. That particular road is among the terribly bad federal roads mentioned by Governor Ikpeazu as requiring urgent intervention. The same segment of road was awarded by the federal government to a Chinese company since 2014 with absolutely nothing done at the Abia end to date. The contractors have abandoned the project to work on another segment in a neighboring state since then with untold hardship to our people.

On our part, we have done more than 4km of a new State road link for our people from that axis through the Uratta-Ugwati Road in Ukwa area. We have also executed the following road projects in the area from our meager 13% derivation payments, in addition to other key development projects:

A. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of Umungede rtoad in Owaza.
B. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of Ezeogwu Road in Owaza
C. Rehabilitation/Asphalt overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Palm Groove) Phase 1 & 2 in Owaza.
D. Rehabilitation/Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Umuegwusi/Umuagalaba Road junction in Owaza.
E. Rehabilitation/ Asphalt overlay of failed portions of WELL 9 Road (Uzoururu Umuokeudu junction) in Owaza
F. Rehabilitation/ Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Obehie/Owaza Road in Owaza
G. Rehabilitation/Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Ahia Orie Umuokpara Road in Owaza
H. Rehabilitation / Asphalt Overlay of failed portions of Umuagalaba Road (Owaza) in Owaza.

It is important to note that following the critical appeal of Governor Ikpeazu, the contractors handling the Osisioma segment of the Enugu-PH Highway (Arab Contractors) and Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Federal Road (Hartland) have remobilized to site this week. The Federal Controller of works in the state has also visited the Governor to detail out planned intervention with other federal roads.

4. On “AMA-Mmogh“ area of Aba, it is on record that our administration is the first to construct 3 key roads in the area using rigid pavement technology: Agharandu, Onyebuchi and Ibadan Roads, all connected with the garment cluster in the area. Ibere Street has partially been reconstructed, too.

In addition to the above, I make bold to state that since the creation of the earth no other administration has put in place a more profound plan to recover that area that is famous for Ndiegoro flood disaster of the 80s that made late Governor Sam Mbakwe weep. The Ikpeazu administration has commenced work on a N27.4b watershed management project that includes total reconstruction of Ngwa and Obohia Roads as well as the proper channeling of storm water in that particular area that is at the sump of Eastern Aba city through a massive underground tunnel that is expected to end frequent road failures in the area. The internationally vetted and approved contractors, Hartland and Tunnel End, are currently implementing palliative works along Obohia and Umuagbai Roads to create alternatives to the busy Ngwa Road before full reconstruction of the ever busy road that leads to Ahia Ohuru market and our garment cluster. In addition to that, the State Government has awarded Ohanku Road for reconstruction after years of unconscionable tying of that road to a non performing NDDC contract. Just in case Liborous missed this and needs reminding, NDDC is a federal agency.

5. ABSUTH road is under construction with more than 95% of the drains completed along Club 25 Road in Aba. With the onset of dry season construction window, we have mobilized the contractor to return to site and complete the project within this window. Before now, this administration rehabilitated the Udeagbala end of the road which takes very heavy tonnage as a result of the activities of the manufacturing concern located there. In due course, we shall link up Udeagbala and Club 25 Road to provide another smooth entry/exit road from Aba.

6. On Port Harcourt Road, Aba, it is important to state that when we came on board in 2015, that road which was in a very bad condition was tied to a federal contract and we had a running battle with the contractor before we forcefully vacated the contract two years ago and commenced work there with massive double drains already completed end to end for the first time in known history. We suspended work along that road because of the need to link up the new drains with the watershed management project of the Ndiegoro area. This administration will not execute a road project without proper channeling of storm water to avoid early failure. We also learned from our experience elsewhere in the city and decided to integrate the project with the greater watershed management project that includes Uratta through Port Harcourt to Umuagbai and Ngwa Roads to Waterside River. We hope to complete the work, along with full reconstruction of Ngwa Road, Ohanku and Obohia before the end of our tenure in office. We care too much for the sustainable wellbeing of our people to execute “Ozigbo Ozigbo” road projects to impress the likes of Liborous and the do-nothing political opposition in the state who lack the courage to call out the federal government on the parlous state of federal roads in our state.

After the reconstruction of proximal Osusu Road using rigid pavement (cement) technology, we have awarded Omuma Road for full reconstruction with a defined path for storm water management through Osusu and Eziukwu to Waterside. We are applying the principles of integrated road construction to ensure total recovery of Enyimba City within the pendency of our administration and will NEVER sacrifice quality for speed, or waste the limited resources of our state on hasty unplanned interventions.

7. According to Liborous, “Most of the roads at the Local Government Areas of the state, like Aba North, Aba South, Osisioma, Ugwunagbo and Obingwa LGAs have all been taken over by water and frog” but a visit to the mentioned LGAs will show otherwise. The Ikpeazu administration is the first state government in history to construct an asphalted road in Ugwunagbo LGA (Umunka-Ugwunagbo Road) since the earth was created. Likewise, we have completed at least six (6) road projects in Osisioma LGA including MCC-Samek, Umuode, Omnee, Adaelu, Chima Nwafor, Umuojima, Osokwa Umuejie, Kamalu etc with other ongoing road peojects in the area. I dare any living Abian to contradict me that no other administration In the state has done more roads in the LGA than the Ikpeazu administration. In Obingwa, we have completed Ekwereazu, Agalaba Phase 1, Ukaegbu, Ehere, Umuola, Obikabia, Ebenma Egege, Umuobiakwa roads etc with many others such as Ururuka ongoing.

8. “The Umuahia, Bende, Ututu to Ohafia and Arochukwu Roads is a nightmare“ assertion of Liborous is true. What he obviously missed is the fact that it is a federal road under a failed subsisting federal contract. One would have expected Liborous to know this simple fact and at best call for urgent federal intervention as Governor Ikpeazu did. I personally wish to join Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in calling out the federal government to end the sufferings of our people living in that axis. It is “criminal” to ignore the long suffering of the people of the area by abandoning that project for so long.

Furthermore, I call on federal legislators representing the area to courageously stand up at the National Assembly and call for the full funding of the already awarded but poor performing contracts for the reconstruction of that federal road.

9. According to Liborous, “Osisioma flyover, Obohia Road, Ohanku Road, and Eziukwu Road have won awards as the roads that has taken the longest time to build”. Interestingly, Osisioma Flyover is the first of such structures to be built in Abia since the earth was created and it is at about 90% completion level. While the project was started in 2017 with a planned 2 years completion duration, it suffered delivery set backs due to funding constraints and the fact that we have only 5 months construction window. The good news is that the administration is determined to deliver the project before the end of this year and work is ongoing as I write this response.

While we launched the reconstruction of Obohia Road in April of this year, it is a fact that we have long completed work at Eziukwu Road and adjoining Ojike Lane. I challenge Liborous to visit the state and stand in the middle of those roads to make live videos, if he cares for truthful advocacy. We are also working on the famous Milverton Road that is linked to Eziukwu and Ojike roads and will open the area to full traffic only after the completion of the Milverton project within this dry season window. Those with elementary knowledge of construction and the area in question will not disagree with the decision of the government. If we open Eziukwu and Ojike without completing Milverton the already done work will certainly be negatively impacted.

10. I don’t know the unnamed government source that gave Liborous his information that former Governors of the state travel at the expense of the state. I leave those involved to defend themselves but suffice it to state that state sponsored local and international travels is at the lowest ever under Ikpeazu. Since 2015, Governor Ikpeazu also cut his salary and that of his appointees by more than 50% to save money for other areas of need. He not only wears Made in Abia clothes but also eats only Made in Abia rice in Government House Umuahia. It will be strange and malicious for anyone with rudimentary knowledge of Abia’s political leadership history to accuse Governor Ikpeazu of financial recklessness.

11. While we have challenges with payment of workers in our state parastatals who are statutorily not paid by the state government; the fact that all workers directly paid by the state government are up to date with their salaries should not be ignored. Also, the fact that the new minimum wage has since applied should not be glossed over. Abia currently pays better than any state in the region, per salary level, and has the highest wage bill in the region.We have long moved to support ailing parastatals to pay workers regularly and ultimately clear their outstanding wages. In the same Nigeria where Liborous lives, states are experiencing challenges with revenue inflow with some already cutting wages as a result of the economic challenges associated with the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and the devastating EndSARS protests across the nation. For instance, while in June 2020, total allocation to the state amounted to N1.9bn, the state government still managed to pay wages of over N2.3bn in same month and executed other projects during the pandemic.

12. According to Liborous, the state government approached AfDB for some facilities including the N27bn for watershed management. The fact is that the World Bank availed the state the N27.4bn for the watershed management project in the Ndiegoro area of Aba and the project is ongoing as I write this response after we fully paid our counterpart funding. It was AfDB management that invited the Governor to their headquarters and he seized the opportunity to discuss critical support to the government and people of Abia State. The automated shoe factory in Aba (ENASCO) which was funded directly by the state government is currently at test production stage and we have gone ahead to start exploratory work on a new automated garment factory that will be located within the same area. Our team is currently in Bangladesh and Turkey thereafter to review available equipment, and in due course, we hope to launch this as further boost to our SME development agenda that has seen Aba being rated as the SME capital of Nigeria. The launch of our SME Microfinance Bank is a further testament to the determination of Governor Ikpeazu to boost MSMEs in the state and create jobs. It is this same agenda that gave rise to Governor Ikpeazu’s envisioning of the already licensed Enyimba Economic City which is expected to create more than 600,000 jobs within a period of 10 years. Only a transgenerational leader like Governor Ikpeazu will seek to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow in his state.

13. That Liborous affirmed that the administration has embarked on many road projects in urban and rural Abia speaks to our desire to solve as many road nfrastructure challenges as possible. Our major limitation remains funding and the short construction window available to our state which receives the second highest annual rainfall In Nigeria.

14. We will not fall into the temptation of comparing ourselves with other Igbo states that are obviously at different development stage with us. Suffice it to say that properly schooled development analysts understand that in a Federal Republic, different states pursue different development paradigms based on the leader’s understanding of the current state of development, needs of the people and vision for the future. We correctly analysed the development stage of our state, her challenges and future outlook before arriving at the 5 pillars of development that emphasize human capital development through appropriate engagements in Education, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Commerce as well as Oil and Gas development. We also identified factors that wiii enable the development of these pillars to include (i) Security (ii) Education (iii) Health (iv) Infrastructure (v) Ease-of-Doing Business and Tax Reforms. We are religiously pursuing these pillars and the enablers in the hope that we will leave Abia much more better than we met it. Other states are free to pursue the development of their state via another route.

Finally, I dare agree with Chimamanda Adichie that “The risk of the single story, the one perspective, is that it can lead us to default assumptions, conclusions and decisions that may be incomplete, and may lead to misunderstanding…” Adichie also makes a connection between single stories and the impact of power in our lives. Hear her: “Operating from the context of a single story can prevent us from a more complex, nuanced view of a situation.”

It is on the above note that I wait for the agreed date of engagement for Liborous to visit Abia and review all that I have stated in this response and hopefully make another video that is reflective of the true situation without the usual suspects accusing him of being compromised by the state.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu is the Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State

Federal Government has turned its back on federal roads in Abia, Ikpeazu cries out

…calls for urgent intervention

Abia state Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has called on the federal government to urgently intervene in the deplorable state of federal roads in the state.

The Governor in a series of tweets via his official twitter handle @GovernorIkpeazu, noted that almost all roads linking Abia to other states are in total disrepair. He expressed concern over the untold hardship this has caused road users and business owners.

“Abia as a State bordered by seven other States is replete with a number of federal roads cutting across the State into other States. However, almost all of such roads are in a state of total disrepair, causing untold hardship to road users from across the country.

“I call for the urgent intervention of @NigeriaGov in revamping these roads which include: Aba-PH segment of Enugu-PH Highway, Aba-Ikot Ekpene & Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene Roads linking Abia to Akwa Ibom and Cross River States, and Umuahia-Ohafia-Arochukwu Rd among others,” he said.

Governor Ikpeazu, whose administration built alternative roads to other states, feared that Abia might be landlocked if nothing is done to salvage the situation urgently. He went on to disclose that the state received a letter from the federal government to stop an ongoing construction work it embarked upon along a federal road.

“Given that our people have trade and commerce as their main source of livelihood, landlocking Abia will amount to asphyxiation of our citizens. Save for the alternative new road we did between Akwa Ibom and Aba through Ekwereazu, the plight of our traders would have been unimaginable!

“We therefore appeal for immediate FGN intervention on these roads including Osisioma Owerrinta through the NNPC Depot in Osisioma where we have been stopped from continuing our work by the Federal
Ministry of Works through a letter we received just yesterday,” he concluded.

Governor Ikpeazu scraps ABSU pandemic prevention fee

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has cancelled the payment of N15,000 “Pandemic Prevention Fee” in Abia State University (ABSU).

The governor also authorized the payment of N30,000 pocket money to Abia students in the institution.

This is contained in a message from the governor. It read;

“Yesterday, I had a Town Hall meeting with students & management of Abia State University where a fee of N25,000 per student was proposed as medical fee but slashed to N15,000 to help ABSU put in place adequate measures to protect the soon to resume students from COVID-19 pandemic.

“In that same meeting, I approved immediate bursary payment to students of Abia origin in ABSU, to alleviate impact of COVID-19 on them & enable them meet the medical fee obligations with ease.

“However, after a deep review of the agreement & its likely effect on all the students & their parents, I’ve directed the immediate scrapping of the “pandemic prevention fee” by school management. Our government will now go ahead to pay N30,000 to each Abia student in the institution as further support to them, their parents and guardians in this very difficult moment of economic downturn caused by the global health crisis.

“Let me also add that we are proud of the progress made by the institution in the past 5 years and will continue to support them.”

~ Governor Okezie Ikpeazu PhD.

#EndSARS: Ikpeazu laments level of destruction, condoles with victims

Governor of Abia State, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has restated the commitment and preparedness of his administration to provide adequate security to all those who reside and do business in the State.

The Governor expressed the commitment after inspecting various properties destroyed by hoodlums in Aba during the recent End SARS protest. The Governor who described the week-long protest in Aba as a black week noted that there was no ethnic nationality in the country that was not affected by the destruction.

According to him, the wanton destruction of properties during the protest was a self-inflicted injury on our national psyche and the fabric that holds us together, stressing that, “in fact, it was an injury to humanity as a whole”. He further revealed that he was still at a loss as to why such a huge desolation should be inflicted on the society by its own people.

Dr. Ikpeazu who said the loss incurred in the aftermath of the protest was monumental added that he doesn’t know how long it will take to rebuild the damaged facilities. He, however, promised that “we will rise from the ashes of the black week”.

He thanked law enforcement officers in the State for their efforts in quelling the situation and used the occasion to commiserate with those who lost relations as well as those who lost valuables during the unfortunate incident.

The Governor who was accompanied on the inspection visit by heads of military, police and other security formations, inspected Zone 6 Annex of the Nigerian Police Force, Umuogba Road, Abia State Fire Service Aba, Ministry of Agriculture Aba Zonal office, Aba South Town Planning Authority, Aba South Town Hall, Primary Health Care Department, Board of Internal Revenue office, Aba South Local Government Secretariat, Aba High Court, First Bank Nigeria plc on Mosque Road as well as the Onions market at Uratta Road where property worth billions of naira were destroyed, among others.

#EndSARS: Stop the Destruction, Government is already Addressing your Grievances, Ikpeazu Appeals to Youths

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has called on all stakeholders to deploy everything within their powers to appeal to the youths to desist from wanton destruction of public and private property as government has noted their grievances and is taking steps to address them.

The Governor stated this while speaking at a special non-partisan stakeholders town hall meeting convened to foster peace in Abia State in the face of peaceful protests by Nigerian youths whose well intended protest was hijacked by criminal elements who went on destroying public and private property. He said the essence of the meeting was to bring the stakeholders up to speed with what has befallen Abia State as a result of the recent protests and to chart the way forward.

Governor Ikpeazu who expressed regrets at the looting of four banks, burning down of Onions Market and police station, burning down of 18 brand new trucks belonging to an Igbo man among others, said that what was faced in Abia was not #EndSARS protesters but well orchestrated plot by strange youths from outside the State to take Abia years back in terms of development. He said their actions everywhere shook the fragile unity of the nation, adding that Igbos contribute about 80% of GDP in Lagos alone and do various businesses in the North and other parts of the country.

Governor Ikpeazu, who disclosed that his administration has done great in empowering youths in the State from 2015 to date, including having 60% of his cabinet drawn from that section of the population, ensuring LGA elections are held to include them in leadership, institution of a Homeland Security outfit with 300 security agents trained, employement of 500 persons in TIMASS, establishment of E4E with 3,400 youths on the data base and linking up of youths to federal government empowerment programmess among, others, commiserated with those who lost their lives in the protests.

Speaking also, the Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, higlighted the efforts of the present administration in including youths in the governance of the State. He apprciated the issues raised by various groups at the meeting and assured further engagement of the various groups in due course.

The Deputy Governor who emphasised the need for all to go back and convince people in their respective localities to embrace peace, stressed the need for youths to key into the various skills acquisition programmes introduced by the government.

Also Speaking, the Minister of State for Mines & Steel Development, Dr. Uchechukwu Ogah, thanked the Governor for agreeing with the directives of the Federal Government to convene the meeting to inform the stakeholders on the negative implications of fanning the embers of violence and war.

He said the unity in diversity is of essence to the Igbo man and if there is no peace, the Igbo man would have more to lose. He x-rayed the consequences of war including violence, hunger, homelessness among others According to him, being united as a nation is the strength of Nigeria.

Although he agreed that the youths have rights to protest but that should not be done through violence. The minister therefore urged all stakeholders as opinion moulders to appeal to the people that they should refrain from all forms of violence but rather engage the government constructively.

Contributing, the Member representing, Bende Federal constituency at the National Assembly, Barr. Benjamin Kalu
challenged the stakeholders to take the message of peace back home and assist government to maintain peace and tranquility.

He praised the Muslim community for preaching peace at their mosques on Friday. He said
the youths need to be part of governance and called on them to stop the protest as their grievances have been noted and being acted upon.

Barr. Kalu appreciated the avenues created by the Governor to employ more youths and said if more youths were engaged in various employments, it would help to curb restiveness among them. He commended the State for the way it managed Covid-19 in the State as well as the fact that no warehouse where palliatives were kept was broken, as the State distributed all its palliatives to the people and said it is a sign of transparency and accountability.

In his speech, the Speaker, Abia State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Chinedum Enyinnaya Orji regretted that the hitherto peaceful protest was hijacked by rioters and called for calm as well as requested everyone to join hands with government to achieve peace in the State.

He urged politicians to empower the youths so that the youths would assist in the fight against crime and criminals brought into the State from outside. He equally requested the National Assembly to enact a youth-friendly law that will ensure and enhance job creation, assuring that Abia State House of Assembly would domesticate such a law once passed at the national level.

In their various speeches, Chairman, Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Joseph Nwabekee, Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria, Apostle Emmanuel Agomoh, Chairman, Northern Community Alhaji Sariki Yaro Danladi, Chairman National Youth Council, Engr. Smith Sylvanus, NANS representative, Comrade Frank Eme Orji, representative of SUG Presidents, John Nwakanma, Saint Moses Ogbonna, Hon. John Godson among others, called for empowerment of the Local Government Councils to empower the youths and other stakeholders. They regretted the incessant hike in petroleum products and called for the creation of more jobs for the youths stressing the need for such regular townhall meetings.

Abia State Govt adjusts 24 hour curfew to 15 hours

Abia State Government has reduced the curfew duration in the state from 24 to 15 hours.

The State Commissioner for Information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu said this in a Statement he signed, and made available to Jungle Journalist Media Limited.

It read in part: “We wish to inform members of the public that the planned relaxation of curfew in the state will now be from 8am-5pm starting from Sunday, 25th October, 2020.

“Members of the public are free to move and go about their normal businesses within the relaxation window but ensure they are back home during the new curfew time of 5pm to 8am daily.

“Kindly note that only properly identified workers on essential duties including medical and paramedical personnel, journalists, men of fire service etc are exempted from the curfew.

Thank you.
Chief John Okiyi Kalu
Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State

Abia: State of Salary Payment as at 8th October, 2020

Starting from January 2020, Abia State Government, led by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, PhD, commenced payment of new minimum wage to Abia workers. In the entire south east region of the country, Abia State pays the highest amount per wage level and has the highest monthly wage bill.

While many states battled to pay half or full salary to civil servants during the lockdown period occasioned by the outbreak of COVID-19, Governor Ikpeazu religiously paid workers and continued with his key development projects including road construction, promotion of agriculture and SME development as well as improvement of healthcare infrastructure.

As at today, workers in the following establishments in Abia State have received September 2020 salaries and are not owed any arrears:

* ABA STATE COUNCIL OF ART AND CULTURE
* ABIA STATE HOUSING CORPORATION
* ABIA STATE HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY
* ABIA LAW REFORM AND REVIEW COMMISSION
* ABIA NEWSPAPERS
* ABIA SPECIALIST HOSPITAL AND DIAGNOSTIC CENTRE
* ABIA STATE BOARD OF INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE
* ABIA STATE FIRE SERVICE
* ABIA STATE JUDICIARY, HIGH COURT
* ABIA STATE LIAISON OFFICE, ABUJA
* ABIA STATE LIAISON OFFICE, LAGOS
* ABIA STATE LIBRARY BOARD
* ABIA STATE SPORTS COUNCIL
* ABIA STATE TOURISM BOARD
* ABIA STATE WATER BOARD
* ABIA STATE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION (ABSIEC)
* AGRICULTURE DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (ADP)
* AGENCY FOR THE CONTROL OF HIV AND AIDS
* ABIA STATE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (ASEPA)
* ABIA STATE PRINTING AND PUBLISHING COMPANY (AMBASSADOR NEWSPAPER)
* BROADCASTING CORPORATION OF ABIA STATE (BCA)
* BUREAU OF ADMINISTRATION,
OFFICE OF THE HEAD OF SERVICE
* BUREAU OF COMMON SERVICES AND SERVICE MONITORING (HOS
* BUREAU OF ECONOMIC AFFAIRS
* BUREAU OF ESTABLISHSMENTS AND PENSIONS
* BUREAU OF POLITICAL AFFAIRS OFFICE OF THE SSG
* BUREAU OF STATISTICS
* BUREAU OF TRAINING, OFFICE OF THE HOS
* CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION
*EXCO SECRETARIAT
* GOVERNMENT HOUSE UMUAHIA
* GOVT HOUSE POLITICAL
^ INNER OFFICE OF THE HOS
* JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION
*JUDICIARY CUSTOMARY COURT OF APPEAL
* LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUDIT
* LOCAL GOVERNMENT SERVICE COMMISSION
* METALLURGICAL COMPLEX NIGERIA LIMITED ABA AND UMUAHIA
* MINISTRY OF TOURISM, ARTS AND CULTURE
* MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, UMUAHIA
* MINISTRY OF EDUCATION
* MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT
* MINISTRY OF FINANCE
* MINISTRY OF HEALTH
* MINISTRY OF HOME LAND SECURITY
* MINISTRY OF HOUSING
* MINISTRY OF INDUSTRY
* MINISTRY OF INFORMATION
* MINISTRY OF JUSTICE
* MINISTRY OF LANDS, SURVEY AND URBAN PLANNING
* MINISTRY OF LGA
* MINISTRY OF PETROLEUM AND SOLID MINERAL
* MINISTRY OF PUBLIC UTILITIES AND WATER RESOURCES
* MINISTRY OF RURAL DEVELOPMENT
* MINISTRY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
* MINISTRY OF SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT
* MINISTRY OF SPECIAL DUTIES AND JOINT PROJECTS
* MINISTRY OF TRADE AND INVESTMENT
* MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT
* MINISTRY OF WOMEN AFFAIRS
* MINISTRY OF WORKS
* MINISTRY OF YOUTH AND SPORTS DEVELOPMEMT
* OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR
* OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT
* OFFICE OF THE STATE AUDITOR GENERAL
* OPEN SPACES DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
* SERVICE WELFARE BUREAU (SWB) HOS
* SPECIAL SERVICES BUREAU (SSB)
* UMUAHIA CAPITAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY (UCDA)
* UNICEF-ABIA RUWASSA

In addition to the above, the State Government has already paid subventions to ABSUTH, ABIAPOLY, College of Health and Management Sciences, and commenced payment to Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) in lieu of senior secondary school teachers.

The ministry of Finance, led by Dr Aham Uko, has worked out the dynamics to actualize the bailout of Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) with the N400m (Four Hundred Million Naira Only) promised by Governor Ikpeazu next week to help them pay workers who suffered as a result of the forced closure of schools due to COVID-19.

According to the Commissioner for Finance, irregularities were discovered in the payroll of Hospital Management Board (HMB), which has necessitated a review in their modalities of payment to be effected next week.

State pensioners have been fully paid for the month along with other workers, as is the current practice, but this report does not cover those on LGA payroll including workers, LGA pensioners, primary & junior secondary school teachers who are paid by the respective LGAs.

Thank you.

Chief John Okiyi Kalu

Honorable Commissioner for Information, Abia State

09/10/2020

Abia, PIND to Partner on Long Term Development of State

Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has pleged the commitment of his administration to the resolute implementation of the Abia State Long Term Development Plan.

Governor Ikpeazu who stated this when he received in audience a delegation of the Partnership Initiative in the Niger Delta (PIND) who were at the Government House, Umuahia, to submit the draft scheme for the Plan.

The Governor said as a strong believer in the Plan, he strongly reckons that problems must be diagnosed and solved empirically, pointing out that he dreams to see Abia become a strong economic hub through the Enyimba Economic City project.

He also said that his government will take steps to get the Plan working as well as strengthen the State’s path to sustainable growth through homegrown plans, stressing that such will be one of the major interventions of his administration..

The Governor further emphasised on the need for the interest of people to be captured and challenged the implementers of the Plan to be more committed and resilient, revealing that his ambition is to have an Abia that its GDP will be higher than the national average.

Speaking, the Executive Director PIND, Dr Dara Akala said that the Foundation is a social enterprise established by Shevron Nigeria in 2012 focusing on Development across the Niger Delta region through multi-sectoral approach.

He said that PIND is committed to supporting the state through close partnership with the Abia State Planning Commission, adding that the 2020-2050 Long Term Development Plan of the state is produced by Abians for Abians to guide in the future development of the state and will outlive the present administration.

He further said that it is important for government to adopt a demand-led approach in implementing the Plan, maintaining that the issues of access to lands for agricultural purposes, multiple taxation, security among others should be considered to engender development and promote a stable environment.

Also Speaking, the Executive Secretary, Abia State planning Commission, Dr Mrs Nnenna Chikezie, said that the work plan had twelve thematic areas including Education, Infrastructure, Health, Gas and Oil, adding that stakeholders from the three senatorial zones of the state made their inputs towards the production of the Abia State Long Term Development draft.

Giving an overview of the programme, the DG Abia State Quality and Marketing Management Agency, Barr Sam Hart, said that PIND which is responsible for the development in the nine Niger Delta States held the Niger Delta development forum where Abia emerged as the state with the best development plan in 2018 prompting the resolve of PIND to partner the state in the development of the long term development plan.

Abia to partner NSE for the promotion and development of SMEs

Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has stated the willingness of his administration to partner with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in the promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises in the State.

The Governor made this known while receiving in audience the President, Council of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, at the Government House, Umuahia, where he enumerated the efforts of his government towards the promotion and development of SMEs noting that his government identified and made SME a pillar of development in the State and ensured that artisans were assisted and sponsored overseas for training on automated shoe making as parts of efforts to make them globally competitive. He assured that the same gesture will soon be extended to those in the garment and fashion industry.

While highlighting the contending issues confronting SMEs in the State such as power supply, automation, market share and finance, the Governor assured that the issues are being tackled headlong and commended leather and garment manufacturers for showing resilience in their work.

The State Chief Executive also used the occasion to commend the Lead Investor of Golden Guinea Breweries Plc, Mr Okey Nzenwa, for the successful reactivation of the brewery along with its leading brand, Golden Guinea beer and assured that his administration will soon implement an action plan that will ensure Modern Ceramics Umuahia is also reactivated. He thanked the Nigerian Stock Exchange team for their plans and efforts towards the development of Small and Medium Enterprises and expressed his delight to be associated with the Golden Guinea and Nigerian Stock Exchange. He assured of his collaboration in providing the needed atmosphere for the initiatives that promote SMEs and urged them to ensure their mission yields good fruits in Abia State.

“I know that the return of Golden Guinea will bring other good things to the state”, he said.

Speaking earlier, the President, Council of Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr Otunba Ogunbanjo, stated that the essence of the visit was to intimate the Governor of available opportunities in the Nigerian Stock Exchange which will add value to Small and Medium Enterprises in the State.

He described Abia State as the home of SMEs while noting that the ntion’s economy which has been negatively impacted by the Corona virus pandemic can be made to grow faster by nurturing Small and Medium Enterprises. He also noted the existence of established guidelines for SMEs participation in government contracts and procurements while commending the Governor for his efforts towards the growth of SMEs in the State.

In his remarks, the Manager, Listings Business Division, Mr Olumide Bolumole, outlined the available opportunities embedded in the NSE which he said are to the advantage of the SMEs. He noted that establishing rudimentary corporate governance requirements for companies allows for longevity and trans-generational wealth. He also stated that the NSE has identified various players who are expected to add value to SMEs and other Nigerian companies.