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Gov. Wike Bemoans Secession; Wants Nigeria To Be Restructured

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has advised those agitating for secession to rather strive for restructuring of the country in order to foster much desired unity.

Governor Wike stated this when the Primate of the All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Henry Chukwuka Ndukuba led a delegation of the Church on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt.

The Governor explained that the people of Rivers State have for decades lived peacefully with Nigerians from other part of the country. But, regretted that criminals under the aegis of the outlawed, Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), have misconstrued the peaceful disposition of the State to carry out treasonous activities like foisting their flags and remaining Rivers communities.

He stated that Rivers State was peaceful during the EndSARS protest, until IPOB members unleashed unprovoked attacks that killed six soldiers, four policemen, and destruction of all police stations and Court buildings in Oyigbo.

The Governor reiterated that the allegation that he ordered soldiers to attack Igbo people living in Oyigbo, was untrue and politically motivated. According to him, if he had not imposed curfew based on security advise, there would have been bloody confrontation between Hausa and Igbo communities.

He urged those with divisive tendency to join those clamouring for a restructuring of the country in order to usher a new birth and united Nigeria.

“We need the unity of this country. What everybody is talking about is the restructuring of this country. If we are practising federalism, let it be federalism. We can’t be talking about federalism, but we are practising unitary system of government.”

The Governor implored the Church to continue to pray for Nigeria because the country was apparently sitting on a keg of gun powder.

“This is the time for the church not to be docile, this is the time for the church to speak out. When society is bad, it affects the church. When governance is bad, it affects the church. No matter how we look at it. Nobody can run away from it, things are not working well in the country. The way the country is supposed to be is not where we are. Even when you are in the pulpit, it is an opportunity to speak to your members that things are not well”, he said.

Governor Wike said as a Christian, he has no apology for handing over the State to God. He used the occasion to announce a donation of N500 million on behalf of the Rivers State government to support the Anglican Church education development and mission fund.

The Governor further urged Most Rev. Ndukuba to advise the church to obey the COVID-19 protocols. According to him, security report at his disposal indicates, churches do not adhere to COVID-19 protocol.

Meanwhile, the Primate of the All Nigeria Anglican Communion, Most Rev. Henry Chukwuka Ndukuba, said in a time of uncertainty in the country, the church was very proud of the steps and stance Governor Wike has taken on critical issues.

“We come not only to encourage you as the Lord encouraged Joshua, we believe as the Lord was with Joshua, He will be with you; He will strengthen you, and under your leadership, this state will know greatest, development and peace. The Lord God Almighty who called you and gave you this opportunity, will not leave you nor forsake you. Only be strong and courageous. We are proud of you.”

He stated that in a time like this, when people were surrounded by uncertainty, it was good to see the Governor standing out boldly, leading with firmness and leading with courage.

“We are very proud of the steps you have taken, the stands you have taken and the way you have demonstrated your love for God and for the people, because governance is a scared trust. And indeed we have seen you demonstrate that very well”, he said.

The Primate said the church has declared the decade of 2020 to 2030 , a decade of the reign of God. He stated that the intention under his leadership will focus on the things that will touch the life of the people.

KELVIN EBIRI
Special Assistant (Media) to the Governor.
November 06, 2020.

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Gov. El-rufai Explains Why Kaduna Public Workers Were Been Sacked

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Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai on Tuesday said the due dwindling financial resources and higher wage bills prompted the government to lay off at least 4,000 workers.

The Kaduna state government had on April 6, disengaged 4,000 local government workers.

The state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) kicked against the decision, calling on the state government to reverse the decision and seek alternative means of running its affairs without inflicting additional pains on the public.

But in a statement signed by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, Governor El-Rufai insisted that the government was not elected just to pay salaries of public servants alone, but to also develop the state by building schools, hospitals, upgrading infrastructure and making the state more secure and attractive to the private sector for jobs and investments.

El-Rufai pointed out that what it has been receiving from the federal allocation committee since the middle of 2020, like most other sub-nationals, can barely pay salaries and overheads, adding that in the last six months, personnel costs have accounted for between 84.97% and 96.63% of FAAC transfers received by the Kaduna State Government

The statement reads: ’In November 2020, KDSG had only N162.9m left after paying salaries. That month, Kaduna State got N4.83bn from FAAC and paid N4.66bn as wages. In March 2021, Kaduna State had only N321m left after settling personnel costs.”

The statement pointed out that ‘’that month, the state got N4.819bn from FAAC and paid out N4.498bn, representing 93% of the money received.

‘’This does not include standing orders for overheads, funding security operations, running costs of schools and hospitals, and other overhead costs that the state has to bear for the machinery of government to run, for which the state government taps into IGR earnings.”

While the Kaduna State Government believes that the overall wages of the public sector are still relatively low, it noted that their current levels are obviously limited by the resources available to the government.

The government further argued that the public service of the state with less than 100,000 employees (and their families) cannot be consuming more than 90% of government resources, with little left to positively impact the lives of the more than nine million that are not political appointees or civil servants, adding that it is gross injustice for such a micro-minority to consume the majority of the resources of the State.

In addition, it pointed out that the measures which the government took to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic have shown clearly that the public service requires much fewer persons than it currently employs.

The statement recalled that ‘’in September 2019, Kaduna State Government became the first government in the country to pay the new minimum wage and consequential adjustments. The state government followed this up by increasing the minimum pension of persons on the defined benefits scheme to N30,000 monthly.

‘’This step to advance the welfare of workers significantly increased the wage burden of the state government and immediately sapped up the funds of many local governments.”

According to the state government, “what each public servant earns might be puny in comparison to private-sector wages, but the total wage bill consumes much of the revenues of the state.

‘’Therefore, the state government has no choice but to shed some weight and reduce the size of the public service. It is a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.”

While justifying the job cut, the statement however described it ‘’as a painful but necessary step to take, for the sake of the majority of the people of this state.’’

The Governor further said that the rationalisation exercise will also affect political appointees, stating that its purpose is to save funds and ensure that a strong and efficient public service exists to use those resources to implement progressive programmes and projects for the people, and thereby develop the state.

‘’The public service is an important institution, and it should therefore maintain only an optimum size,” the statement said. “Faced with a difficult situation, the Kaduna State Government is persuaded that it cannot refuse to act or act in ways that only conduce to populist sentiment, without solving the fundamental problem.”

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Southeast Governors Seek Legal Backing For Security Ourfit, Ebube Agu

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The Southeast Governors have started making moves to ensure a legal backing for the newly formed security outfit, Ebube Agu.

Grassroots reported earlier when Governors from the Southeast region formed the security outfit to combat with the rising cases of criminality and insecurity.

The Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Ebonyi State, Uchenna Orji, while speaking to newsmen in Abakaliki, said each of the five states in the zone would enact a similar law to establish the outfit in its area of jurisdiction.

According to Orji, although the law would be similar, each state government would still be in charge of the operatives in his state.

He said, “There will be commonality and similarity of law across the states but it would still be manned by the state governors individually. Ebonyi State will also join other states to enact a law to legalise the operation of the outfit in the state.”

The governors of the region had in a communiqué issued on Sunday after a meeting in Owerri, announced the setting up of the regional security outfit to battle the rising insecurity in the zone.

Meanwhile, security experts had attributed the clamour for the regional security outfits in the country to the neglect by the police and the Federal Government.

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CBN Denies Printing N60bn As Alleged By Governor Obaseki

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has refuted reports that Nigeria printed billions of naira last month to settle its financial trouble.

This was after the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, alleged that Nigeria printed N60bn to augment what the three tiers of government shared in March.

Obaseki reportedly stated on Thursday that Nigeria was in huge financial trouble, alleging that the Federal Government printed N60bn in March as part of federal allocation last month.

The Edo governor also expressed worry over the country’s increased borrowing, saying it was wrong to continue borrowing without a tangible plan for debt repayment.

When contacted to comment on the development, the spokesperson of CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, told PUNCH that he was not aware of any N60bn that was printed.

“I am not aware of that N60bn printed by government,” he said on Saturday.

Similarly, when contacted to speak on the N60bn that was allegedly printed in March 2021, the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning said enquiries on the matter should be directed to the governor who made the allegation.

The media aide to the finance minister, Yunusa Abdullahi, said the Edo State governor or the CBN should be contacted.

“Please direct your questions to the governor who made the claim or the CBN,” he said.

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