FG will support developmental initiatives of states – Fashola

The Federal Government has restated its resolve to continually support the developmental initiatives of state governments.

Speaking at the inauguration of a 969-metre `Rebisi’ dual carriage flyover in Port Harcourt, on Saturday, Minister of Works and Housing, by Mr Babatunde Fashola, who made the pronouncement also said that the Federal Government “is not in competition with any state’’ of the federation over project implementation.

The minister also pointed out that the Federal Government was not discriminatory along party lines when making refunds to states on Federal projects executed or repaired by them.

The minister said that the N78 billion refunds owed to Rivers State for work done on federal roads was still outstanding because the process for payment must go through the National Assembly.

He commended the Rivers government for initiating the construction of five flyovers in the state including the flag off of Rebisi flyover.

“What I witnessed today is a massive urban regeneration and urban renewal in Rivers State. I commend the people and government of this state for radical commitment to urban renewal,’’ he said.

Fashola expressed the hope that the status of Port Harcourt as a tourism hub would be maintained, saying that the Federal Government was doing its best to complete the Enugu-Aba Road.

He also assured that the Federal Government would complete the construction of the more than N120 billion Bodo-Bonny Road in the state.

In his response, Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers said that the construction of five flyovers within a year by his administration remained a record in Nigeria.

Wike, who said that the opening of the Rebisi flyover gave him the pleasure that he fulfilled the promise made to the people, added that he would soon construct the sixth flyover in the state.

He urged the people of Rivers to join his administration in thanking the minister and President Muhammadu Buhari for “what they have done for Rivers State’’ so far.

Twitter agog as Nigerian celebrities celebrate Joe Biden’s victory

Success they say, has many friends. This may just be the right phrase to describe the mood on Twitter, just immediately after Joe Biden, was announced winner of the USA presidential election. 

As expected, not a few Twitter users celebrated Joe Biden, including Nigerian celebrities.

Here is how some celebrities reacted to Joe Biden’s victory…

Yaw: Celebrity OAP and comedian, Yaw tweeted: “Election 2020: Joe Biden has won the presidency”.

Kemi Adetiba: Nigerian movie producer, Video director and television personality, tweeted: ” Oh! What a time to be alive. It gives me FAITH..Nigeria you are next up..with your beautiful self”.

Mr P: Peter Okoye, a member of the defunct musical group, Psquare, tweeted: “Best news in 2020! Joe Biden elected 46th president”.

Jude Engees Okoye: Another member of the defunct musical group, Psqaure, Jude Okoye, tweeted: “My president elect. Congrats”.

News Web Express congratulates America’s President-elect, Joe Biden on his deserving victory.

#EndSARS: FG begins new police salaries review

The National Salaries and Wages Commission, (NSWC), the federal government agency that determines salaries and allowances of its workers, has commenced the review of salaries and allowances of the nation’s police personnel.

A Top official of the commission disclosed this on Saturday.

According to him, the review followed a directive to that effect by the Presidency.

“We are now working on the directive from the Presidency,” the top official said, in response to an inquiry.

#EndSARS protesters had listed the improvement in the welfare of police personnel as one of their five demands.

The demand for the welfare of police personnel was included in the demands by the protesters on the understanding that their salaries, allowances and general welfare could not support effective service delivery.

There have been arguments about whether or not police personnel receive less salaries than other law enforcement agents.

However, non-payment of allowances due to them has been identified as a major challenge of police officers.

For instance, there have been complaints that when they are sent on Special Duties across states, they don’t receive the allowances and are not properly accommodated.

They are also either not provided accommodation in barracks or in live barracks that are not habitable.

Even though their uniforms and kits are supposed to be provided by the police authorities, the opposite is the reality.

Police personnel is therefore often demoralised because of the neglect and the fact that they don’t have the necessary equipment and weapons to carry out their duties.

Botched election: NUJ national body okays Caretaker Committee for Lagos Council

The national body of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday gave its backing to the Caretaker Committee constituted for the Lagos State Council of the union following botched election on Thursday.

The NUJ made known its position in a letter signed by its Assistant National Secretary, Mudat Joseph, addressed to the Vice President, Zone B and copied the Caretaker Committee, Credential Committee and all Lagos Chapels.

“Following the stalemate in the Lagos State council election of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on 5th November 2020, the National Secretariat has endorsed the caretaker committee set up in line with Article 5C (9c) of the NUJ Constitution.

“The caretaker committee members are to liaise with the existing Credentials Committee to ensure smooth and credible election.

“The caretaker committee is also directed to call for a congress on the 14th November, 2020, to resolve issues associated with the-list of delegates and fix a date for the election,” Joseph said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that a special State Executive Council (SEC) meeting comprising all Chairmen and Secretaries of various Chapels of the NUJ Lagos State Council on Thursday constituted a Caretaker Committee to pilot the affairs of the union.

The virtual meeting, which produced the committee, came after the 2020 NUJ Delegates Conference and Election was scuttled by aggrieved loyalists of outgone chairman, Dr Qasim Akinreti, who is seeking re-election.

The five-member committee, led by Mr Wale Akodu, the Chairman, Lagos State Ministry of Information Chapel, has Mr Sola Taiwo of Daar Communications, as its Secretary.

Other members of the committee include Mr Solomon Nwoke of Vanguard Chapel, Mrs Kemi Ishola of Lagos Television Chapel and Mr Chiedu Ometere of NTA.

The National Officers who presided over the SEC meeting were Mrs Cosmas Oni, the NUJ Vice President, B Zone, Mr Michael Gbolagunte, the NUJ Secretary, B Zone, Mr Sylva Okereke NUJ National Trustee and Mr Akorede Opeyemi – Assistant National Secretary of the NUJ.

NAN reports that there was a mild drama on Thursday at the 2020 Triennial Delegates Conference and Elections of the NUJ, Lagos State Council, as it was halted midway.

The election, which was initially scheduled for Sept. 29, was postponed to Oct. 20, due to the planned nationwide strike of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). It was similarly postponed for a second time due to the recent #EndSARS protests.

Although it was rescheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5, midway into the exercise, the Chairman, Lagos NUJ 2020 Credentials Committee, Mr Debo Adeniji, announced the suspension of the election, citing security reasons.

Some alleged hired thugs backing the outgone chairman began to cause commotion at the venue in an attempt to disrupt the voting process.

The election was, however, underway under the security watch of combined detachments of the police, the Department of State Service and OP MESA operatives before it was disrupted.

Hundreds of journalists left the Blue Roof, Lagos Television-venue of the election disappointed, blaming the out-gone chairman for the debacle.

NAN reports that the tenure of the outgone executive had expired on Sept 29, 2020.

Akinreti and his loyalists had cast aspersion on the first verification exercise conducted by the Credentials Committee for the election and the second verification conducted by the National body, citing disenfranchisement.

Over 3000 Workers In Bauchi Not Paid Salaries For 7 Months—Bauchi NLC

The Nigerian Labour Congress, Bauchi State Chapter says about 3000 workers in Bauchi State were yet to be paid salaries for over 7 months.

The organized labour comprising Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Public Service Negotiation Council (JNC) while addressing journalists at the Union’s Secretariat in Bauchi expressed their dismay over the lingering salary imbroglio in the State.

The State NLC Chairman Comrade Danjuma Saleh said 3,722 workers are yet to receive their salaries for about seven months.

Comrade Saleh while appealing to Bauchi State Government to as a matter of urgency, settle all the outstanding salaries of their members, said; “In line with our principle of ‘An Injury to One is an Injury to all’, the Joint Executive Council of NLC/TUC has given its leadership the mandate to formally advise the government to, as a matter of urgency address all issues relating to non-payment of salaries and arrears to Civil Servants in the state and Local Governments, as well as enrollment of retirees into the state pension payroll”.

According to him, the organized labour had expressed its reservation and doubts over the capacity of the consulting firm handling the verification exercise, which he said has exceeded its time frame.

“You will recall that since the beginning of this year (2020) Messrs Dynatech Consultants were engaged by the state government to sanitize the payroll of government employees at the state and local government levels”.

“We were however assured that the firm is equal to the task. The labor then took the government by its words, nine months into its assignment as against the four months earlier planned” he said.

Comrade Saleh expressed dismay on how the firm had removed a sizable number of innocent and unsuspecting civil servants from the government’s payroll both at the state and local government levels.

“Such employees have been thrown into confusion and untold hardships occasioned by the stoppage of their salaries” Danjuma noted.

He described the category of civil servants affected to include those who have spent between 2-7 months without salaries, those whose salaries have been slashed without justification, others who have not been paid arrears for 2 to 3 months after being restored into payroll and some retired civil servants not enrolled into the pension payroll.

The State NLC Chairman advised the government to urgently set machinery into action to address all pending issues regarding workers’ salaries in the State.