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RSG Captures 12,456 Pensioners, Says Protest Malicious…As 30 Perm Secs Bow Out

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The Rivers State Government says it has captured and documented 12,456 pensioners, whose names are now included into the state pension pay roll.
It however says that the recent protests by some pensioners in the state are orchestrated blackmail to paint the state government blacks, hence, the government will not yield to such campaign, insisting that the right thing must be done.
Speaking to newsmen at the weekend during a send forth and awards for 30 Permanent Secretaries who have retired from the services of the state government, Head of Service, Barrister Rufus Godwins, said the frequent protests by some sections of retirees in the state were malicious and deceitful.
He said, “Those who have retired have to go through the biometrics by submitting their documents individually and not as a mob to be physically captured, after which one is put into the pension pay roll. All those who have been captured voluntarily submitted themselves to do so”.
Reacting to the protest at Government House by the retirees a forthnight ago, the Head of Service said, “They are dramatising the issues and it seems there is a malicious campaign against the state government and we will not yield to it”.
He maintained that the State Government wanted to sanitise the system while at the same time introducing a less cumbersome process such that those who have served the state in one capacity or the other are honoured by having their benefits as at when due.
Barrister Godwins while thanking the Permanent Secretaries for their services to the state said they are retiring at a time the state government led by Chief Nyesom Wike placed premium on the services of those who have served the state meritoriously.
He disclosed that, “we have put in place whole lots of reforms but we are not loud about it”.
One of such reforms according to the Head of Service is such that Permanent Secretaries who have retired will enjoy “seamless” transition retirement, and will get their benefits without hassles.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the State Civil Service Commission, Chief Oris Onyiri has counseled retired Permanent Secretaries to seek ways of using their experience to the benefit of the state.
“There are so many areas of human endeavours that you can go into after retirement”, Onyiri counselld, “So you people are very important, and there is nothing to retire about, we still need you”.

By: Kevin Nengia.

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Black Tuesday In Yola As Trailer Kills 20 Persons

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No fewer than 20 persons were reportedly crushed to death after a trailer loaded with farming produce overran several tricycles popularly known as Keke Napep, yesterday, at Vinikling bridge (Hayin Gada) in Yola, Adamawa State.
Residents told our correspondent that the accident was caused by police officers, who were pursuing the truck driver for refusing to give them money.
A resident of Viniklang, Malam Umar Shehu, who also sent pictures of the accident to newsmen, said he participated in evacuation of corpses to the hospital in Yola.
According to him, the explanation the police gave was that, they were chasing the truck driver for carrying goods suspected to be foreign rice, a situation which led to the unfortunate incident, resulting in the death of many.
“But, there was no foreign rice in the truck, it was farm produce. The driver said they were chasing him for refusing to give them money at a checkpoint the police mounted,” Umar said.
One of the passengers, a student at the Modibo Adama University, who identified himself as Salisu Ibrahim said he narrowly escaped death by whiskers.
“I did not know what happened, but we suddenly saw the truck coming with speed and police van was pursuing it. All of us in our Keke Napep jumped out and fled, the driver lost control and the truck began to hit other Keke Napep and crushing people before our very own eyes. It was horrific,” Ibrahim said.
Our correspondent, however, made several attempts to get Othman Abubakar, the Police Public Relations Officer in Adamawa to speak but his phone was switched off at the time of this report.

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Senate’ll Pass 2020 Budget On Nov 28, Lawan Insists

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President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan, has asked the Committee on Appropriations to lay its report on the 2020 budget on November 26, for consideration and passage before the end of the month.
Lawan, who stated this at plenary, yesterday, commended the various committees for rounding off their budget defence sessions on schedule.
He insisted that the resolve of the National Assembly to revert to the January-to-December budget cycle remained sacrosanct.
He said, “All the committees have done their works so well within the defined parameters.
“Therefore, we expect the appropriations committee to galvanise into action.
“They (members of the appropriations committee) should produce the report to be laid here on the 26th November, which is the next two weeks, before the Senate.
“I believe this will be the same thing in our sister chamber, the House of Representatives, so that we would be able to pass the 2020 Appropriation Bill on the 28th of November”, he added.
Also, the Senate, yesterday, appealed to the Federal Government to ban importation of textiles in the country for a period of five years to allow for the production of local textile materials.
This followed the debate on a motion sponsored by Sen. Kabir Barkiya (APC-Katsina Central) during plenary on “Urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry”.
The upper chamber also appealed to the Federal Government to provide the necessary infrastructural facilities especially power supply to local textile manufacturing companies to revamp the industry.
It also called on the government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry.
Debating the motion, Barkiya noted that the textile industry in the country played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the Nigerian economy with a record of over 140 companies in the 1960s and 1970s.
“The textile industry recorded an annual growth of 67 per cent and as at 1991, employed above 25 per cent of the workers in the manufacturing sector.
“The textile industry was then the highest employer of labour apart from the civil service.”
He noted that the industry had witnessed massive decline in the last two decades with many textile companies such as Kaduna Textile, Kano Textile and Aba Textile, among others, closing shops and throwing their workers into the job market.
The lawmaker further said that government policies like increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalisation resulting in massive importation of textile materials had negatively affected the production of local textile materials.
Barkiya said that the resuscitation of the industry would provide additional revenue and assist government to diversify the nation’s economy.
Contributing, Deputy Senate Leader, Sen. Robert Boroffice (APC-Ondo North) said that the importation of textile materials was as a result of the comatose level of the textile industry.
“The closure of our borders is an eye opener. China closed its borders for 40 years for its industrialisation and development.
“I believe that the closure our borders should be extended to allow us put our house in order.”
Boroffice said that the extension of the closure of the borders would serve as an opportunity to resuscitate the textile industry, among other industries that had been characterised by smuggling.
But Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Eyinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia South), who disagreed with Boroffice on the fact that the closure of the borders would help revamp the industry, said that “closing the borders and doing nothing will not lead to increase in production of textiles.
“The real problems have been indicated; first, is the fact that we are unable to produce the cotton that we need.
“But far more important is the fact of power. Power was the key problem that made most of the textile mills closed.
“Once it became very difficult after 1982 for industries to be supplied with power and they needed to switch over to now produce their own power in order to do production, it became a lose, lose situation for most of the industrialists.”
Abaribe called on the Federal Government to do the fundamental, power, to ensure that the smuggling of textile products was done away with.
Similarly, Sen. Gabriel Suswam (PDP-Benue North-East) said that without power, no meaningful profit would be realised in any manufacturing industry in the country.
Suswam, who called on the government to address the issue in the power sector, said that if this was done, the manufacturers would be able to make profit.
“If we take concrete actions on these issues, our economy will be enhanced, the welfare of the people will be enhanced, insecurity and by extension, criminality, will be reduced,” he said.
In his remark, the President of the Senate, Dr Ahmad Lawan said that as Nigeria had signed the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement, “we have to be prepared for the repercussions.
“We cannot stop trading easily with other people. We have to up our game; we need to be competitive,” Lawan said.
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has called on the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Customs Service to lift the ban on the sales of Premium Motor Spirit (petrol) within 20km to the country’s borders.
It would be recalled that last Thursday, the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd), had directed that no petroleum products should be supplied to any filling station within 20 kilometres to the borders.
A member, Hon Sada Soli, moved a motion of urgent national importance at the plenary, yesterday, asking that the order by the NCS should be vacated.
According to him, the order by the customs boss contravenes the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act.
Soli argued that the filling stations asked not to sell petrol close to the borders were situated and constructed in compliance with relevant laws.
“This is not acceptable! Review this directive with a human face,” he stated.
Several lawmakers, who seconded the motion, criticised the policy while lamenting the hardships being faced by people living in border communities.

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RSHA Passes 2010 Medium Term Expenditure Framework

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The Rivers State House of Assembly, yesterday, passed the 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework Document.
This follows a letter sent to it by the state Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike and read by the Speaker, Rt Hon. Ikuinyi-Owaji Ibani during plenary.
He explained that the request was to pave way for the Executive to plan the 2020 fiscal year budget.
Presenting the documents to the House, Leader of the House and member representing ObioAkpor 1, Hon Martins Amaewhule appealed to members to grant the governor’s request to enable the Executive present the 2020 budget.
His appeal was supported by the Chief Whip, Hon. Evans Bipi.
Ruling on the matter, the speaker divided the House for vote, and 22 members supported the request.
Meanwhile, the House Ad-hoc Committee on serial killings in the state chaired by member representing Omuma State Constituency, Hon. Kelechi Wogu has presented its report.
Wogu, who read the recommendations on the floor, charged security agencies to ensure that the lead suspect to the crime, one Gracious David-West was prosecuted.
But the speaker while receiving the report said it was subjudice to further debate on the matter, since the matter was in the court.
Consequently, the Health Protection Programme Bill has passed first reading.
The Executive bill was presented by Amaewhule, who explained that it seeks to improve on the activities of government in the healthcare sector.
The House leader appealed to his colleagues to pass the bill considering its numerous benefits, but the speaker stressed the need for the bill to be fully studied for proper inputs by the legislators in the next sitting.

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