Imo Govt. Spends 40bn Naira On Free Tertiary Education

Imo Govt. Spends 40bn Naira On Free Tertiary EducationThe Imo State government says it has spent over 40 billion naira on its free tertiary education policy since inception four years ago.

The State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, made the disclosure at the Heroes Square in Owerri, the Imo State capital in southeast Nigeria.

He was speaking during the ongoing revalidation and verification exercise organised for Imo indigenes who are beneficiaries of the free education programme in all state-owned tertiary institutions in the state.

Addressing the students, Governor Okorocha who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Mr Uche Nwosu, noted that the state government has decided to concentrate on Imo indigenes and drop non-indigenes from the programme.

He explained that the state government has spent about 40 billion naira to sustain the policy, adding that it would have to drop non-indigenes from the scheme as Imo indigenes in other state-owned schools across Nigeria do not enjoy such benefit.

The governor, however, assured the students of the government’s commitment to sustaining the programme beyond the life of the present administration.

Drop Non-indigenes

“Nothing less than 40 billion has been spent in the last five years to sustain this free education policy.

“But as you know, our Imo sons and daughters in other schools outside Imo State are not benefiting any similar scheme in their various schools and we can’t keep shouldering their expenses.

“Like the saying: charity begins at home; we need to take care of our own first before others. So we have decided to drop non-indigenes from the exercise,” he said.

Governor Okorocha explained further that the essence of the ongoing revalidation and verification of students was to generate the accurate data of students and to also ascertain that students enjoying the programme were majorly of Imo extraction.

“The idea of this exercise is to capture (those) who are exactly Imo State citizens and to build a data base of who they are, and to inculcate in them the fact that government is training them for free, despite the very lean resources that is available to the government.

“From the form, they have to go back to their villages and get endorsement from their traditional ruler and also get endorsement from the secretary of the CGC (that is President-general).

“By that, we will know that they are from so so and so local government (and) let me tell you that some of them don’t even know their local government.

“The free education has come to stay,” he noted.

Dreams Of Better Educational Standard

In an interview with Channels Television, some of the students said that the free education programme has actually helped them achieve their dreams of a better and higher educational standard without payment.

A student said “because of the free education, I could achieve a lot in the medical school.

“I have not paid a dime since I got admission into the university (and) my siblings are here.

“If not for the free education, I don’t think there is a way we can do it but I just thank the government for giving us the free education”.

At the inception of the Governor Okorocha led administration in 2011, education was declared free at primary and post-primary levels in all public schools in Imo State.

The government subsequently extended the gesture to all the state-owned tertiary institutions on February 14, 2012, including the Imo State School of Nursing and Health Technology.

As an extension of the free education programme in November 2012, the government slashed the tuition fee of non-indigenes schooling in the state-owned tertiary institutions by 50%.

However, the revalidation and verification exercise is supposed to last for two weeks of which students are meant to take their forms to their traditional rulers and government liaison officers in their communities for identification and return the form to the state government within the specified period.


FMC Owerri Resident Doctors Threaten Indefinite Strike

Resident Doctors, FMC Owerri, StrikeResident doctors at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri, Imo State have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike in no distant time.

The medics say they would commence the industrial action if the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Health fails to meet their demands which have continued to linger for a long period of time.

The President of Association of Resident Doctors at the hospital, Dr. Victor Dike, gave the warning on Friday on behalf of his colleagues in the Imo State capital, south-east Nigeria.

He claimed members of the association were being owed their December 2015 salaries and were yet to be paid their arrears accruing between five to 15 months.

The resident doctors lamented that they have been short-changed and marginalised in their remuneration, saying it only affected the chapter of the association in Nigeria.

He urged the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency, dissolve the present interim management committee of the institution.

The medics appealed for the appointment of a permanent Managing Director for the centre, stressing that the present interim management committee have limited powers to carry out some constitutional functions.

Nation Building: Okorocha Tasks Nigerians On Agriculture

Rochas Okorocha, AgricultureThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged Nigerians to concentrate more on agriculture, in order to enhance the image of the nation’s local content.

The Governor, who spoke exclusively to Channels Television in Owerri, the Imo State capital in southeast Nigeria, made the call while reacting to the current economic recession.

He says rather than playing the blame game and trying to point accusing fingers, all Nigerians should look inwards and join hands with the government to develop the Nigeria’s resources.

Governor Okorocha noted that President Muhammudu Buhari needs the support from the citizens at a time like this, irrespective of the political or ethnic differences.

He stressed that the support was needed to continue to fight the menace of corruption and insecurity in the country to a large extent, saying the President has achieved a lot.

Okorocha also expressed optimism that his party, the All Progressives Congress remains committed to fixing Nigeria and laying a good foundation for future generations.

Nigeria Customs Service Impounds Foreign Frozen Foods

customsThe Nigeria Customs Service Federal Operations Unit, Zone C has impounded a truck carrying 2,000 cartons of foreign poultry products with duty paid value of 53 million Naira.

Briefing newsmen at the command headquarters in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the Area Comptroller of Federal Operations Unit of the Nigeria Customs Service, Haruna Mamudu, disclosed that the truck was apprehended by his men along Benin-Ore axis and the frozen poultry product was neatly concealed with 3,500 cartons of a popular carbonated beverage drink in order to beat the security operatives on the highway.

The Comptroller said that preliminary investigation showed that the smugglers preserved the foreign frozen poultry product with chemicals meant to preserve dead bodies which automatically makes it heinous to human health if consumed.

While displaying the product, the Area Comptroller of FOU Zone C of the Nigeria Customs, Haruna Mamudu said that it was unfortunate that some people were still bent on towing this kind of business in spite of the several warning and measures put in place by the Federal Government to check smuggling.

Comptroller Mamudu warned all smugglers and would-be smugglers to desist from such act as the command would not relent in their fight against smuggling and other related offenses.

Similarly, the command also impounded a truck with Kaduna State registration number MKA 231 ZF carrying 190 cartons of fake 200 milligram tramadol hydrochloride tablets alongside 2,190 cartons of rum without NAFDAC number. The products were later handed over to NAFDAC officials for further investigation.

Other items seized include 406 pieces of used tyres, foreign soaps, second-hand clothing and 24 vehicles without Customs official clearance.

The command disclosed that so far, 12 suspects have been arrested and a total of 65 million Naira underpayment has been recovered.

Okorocha Rewards Best Staff With Cash, Car

Rochas-OkorochaThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has urged civil servants in the state to be more committed and dedicated to their duties as it remains the only key to success and promotion.

The Governor gave this charge at the end of the year’s assessment programme organized for Government House staff at the Banquet Hall in Owerri, the Imo state capital.

He maintained that his government will remain committed to the welfare of workers and as such all salaries of workers up till December has been paid.

The Governor however rewarded the best Government House staff with a brand new car and one million naira.

The Chief of Staff to the Imo State Government, Uche Nwosu, in his welcome address also explained the aim of the programme.

Okorocha charged them to be more committed to their duty as there is always a reward for dedication and hard work.

The high point of the event was the presentation of a car gift and one million naira to the best Government House staff, Mrs Blessing Ogbuefi, from the security unit. While receiving the gift, she thanked the state government for their magnanimity and appreciating her commitment to duty over the years.

The event helps to motivate and boost morale of workers in the Government House to be more dedicated to their various duties.


Pro-Biafra Protest: Northern And Eastern Traditional Rulers Meet In Owerri

biafraRepresentatives of the Northern Council of Traditional Rulers and their south-east counterparts have met in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, to discuss the prolonged protests and agitations for the state of Biafra, among other issues confronting the nation.

While receiving the delegation at the Government House in Owerri, Governor Rochas Okorocha reiterated that Nigeria would remain united, no matter the challenges being faced at the moment.

He assured Nigerians that in no distant time, the agitation for the State of Biafra will be addressed accordingly.

The delegation was led by Etsu Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar, who is the Chairman of the coordinating committee, National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria, and the Emir of Gumi, Justice Lawal Aliyu Gumi, who is the co-coordinating committee Chairman of Northern States Council of Traditional Rulers.

The Emir of Lafia, Mustapha Agwai, Emir of Fika, Abali Mohammadu and Gwom Gwom Jos, Buba Gyang were also part of the team.

Mr Abubakar noted that the visit was at the instance of His Eminence, Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, who is the Chairman of the Northern Council of Traditional Rulers, to discuss the agitation by pro-Biafra groups and also find out the truth about the rumour that there was crisis in the leadership of the South-east Council of Traditional Rulers.

He maintained that the protection of the nation’s unity should remain paramount in the minds of all Nigerians, irrespective of their differences.

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the South-East council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Ebere Dick, who led other south east traditional rulers, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, Eze Agunwa Ohiri, Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and Eze Agom Eze, Chairman, Ebonyi State Council of Traditional Rulers, said the meeting was a step towards the right direction, as it would help unite traditional institutions in Nigeria and beyond.

Imo Health Workers Decry Poor Treatment From Government

health workersLabour Union and public servants in Imo State have accused the State government of alleged intimidation and harassment of workers, especially in the health sector.

This allegation is coming after workers of the Imo State Specialist Hospital, Umuguma, in Owerri, the state capital in Southeast Nigeria complained of being forcefully evicted from their offices by members of the State Security Agencies without any prior notice.

Workers in the state argued that the concession policy of the State government was not a bad idea, but should take proper procedures.

They also maintained that all outstanding salaries owing to eight months should be paid, insisting that workers involved should not be sacked.

The Imo State government debunked the allegations stressing that no worker was forcefully evicted, intimidated or harassed, knowing well that the Okorocha led administration is worker-friendly and concerned about the welfare of its people.

The Chairman, Committee on Health Policies to Imo State Government, Dr. Edward Ihejirika, maintained that the concession policy meant well for workers in the state.

He added that the policy was aimed at ensuring that non-productive parastatals in the state is more effective and efficient, so as to generate more revenue for the state.

Mr. Ihejirika further said that he had several meetings with the Chief Medical Director of the hospital about the renovation of the premises.

On the eight-month unpaid salary, he said the process was ongoing, stating that the verification of workers was also ongoing.

Nigeria Police Warns MASSOB Against Inciting Pronouncements

policeThe Nigeria Police Force has warned all members of the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) and its affiliate to desist from any activity or pronouncements that will breach peace and public order.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) Zone 9, Usman Gwarry, stated this in Owerri, the Imo State capital, during a one-day familiarization tour to the Imo State Police Command.

Mr Gwarry warned that any person or group under any disguise of MASSOB or related organization found causing chaos will be dealt with severely, as the Nigerian Police will not give room for hooliganism or any act of criminality in the south east.

He urged all officers in the Zone to be of good conduct in the discharge of their duties, especially on matters that affect the civil public.

The Commissioner of Police (CP) in Imo State, Taiwo Lakanu, also enumerated some of the achievements of the command within the few weeks he has taken over as the CP in the state

He maintained that necessary measures and actions have been put in place to combat the menace of kidnapping, armed robbery, child trafficking and car theft.

Imo Govt. To Concession Non-Productive Parastatals

imoThe Imo State Government has concluded plans to concession the management of some parastatals in the state that has been perceived dormant and non-productive for a long period of time.

The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, disclosed this at a meeting with Labour Union heads and workers of parastatals in the state, at the Sam Mbakwe expanded Executive Chambers at the Government House in Owerri, the Imo State capital.

The Governor said that the move is to ensure that some parastatals are more viable and productive, so as to increase the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for the state and also cut down on government spending.

However, this decision by the state government did not go down well with Union and workers in the state which made the over four hours meeting end in a deadlock, as they insisted on payment of arrears before considering concession.

Meanwhile, some stakeholders in government have also appealed to the Union and workers in the state to support the decision of the government which is aimed at increasing productivity in government, and also enhance growth and development of the public service.

ASUP Urges President Buhari To Probe Education Sector

asup The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has urged the President to probe the funding of the education sector at all levels, stating that corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of funds have been the major issue militating against the growth of the sector.

Speaking at an event organized by the Nekede Polytechnic Chapter of ASUP in Owerri, Imo State Capital, the National President of the Union, Comrade Chibuzor Asomuga, said the union totally supports the present crusade of federal government’s war against corruption.

Comrade Asomuga urged President Buhari to pay more attention to the education sector.

He added that the government needs to do a reappraisal of funding of institutions at every level and track how the funds have been utilized.

Also speaking on the agreement between ASUP and the Federal Government, Mr Asomuga said the former administration failed in achieving any of their  agreement, after many promises that made them call off the over 12 months strike in all the polytechnics last year.

He however urged the present government of President Buhari to be more sensitive to the agitations and plights of the union.

Okorocha Swears-In New SSG, Chief Of Staff

Rochas OkorochaThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, has sworn in Jude Ejiogu as the newly appointed Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and Uche Nwosu as the State’s Chief of Staff.

The swearing-in ceremony was held on Monday at the Sam Mbakwe expanded Exco Chambers at the Government House in Owerri, Imo State Capital.

At the event the inauguration of Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuomeodo, and some other Senior Special Assistants was also held.

Governor Okorocha, while speaking at the ceremony, reiterated his commitment to the development of the state, saying “developing Imo State is key in my rescue mission and it can only be achieved through the establishment of industries and job creation for teaming unemployed youths in the state”.

While advising the newly sworn-in appointees, Governor Okorocha urged them to imbibe the spirit of sacrifice and be a strong apostle of the rescue mission to make Imo a better state.

He also said that the next four years of his administration would focus more on how to generate wealth for the people of the state and create adequate jobs for the teaming unemployed youths in the state.

“Imperative in my agenda for the future generation in the state is leaving a lasting legacy of a well developed state,” he stressed.

Speaking to Journalists after the event, the SSG, Jude Ejiogu, on behalf of the appointees, said they would not fail in supporting the government and delivering the dividends of democracy to the people.

Imo Tertiary Students Unions Endorse Governor Okorocha For Second Term

Imo-state-Rochas-OkorochaThe Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and the APC governorship candidate on Wednesday received endorsement and support from students under the aegis of the National Union of Imo State Students, comprising of all the seven higher institutions in the state.

The students in their thousands gathered at the freedom square in Owerri, the Imo state capital, to show solidarity to the incumbent Governor.

They maintained that the Governor had done a lot for the students in the area of education especially the free education programme presently enjoyed by students in all the state owned tertiary institutions in the state, urging him to continue with his developmental strides in the state.

Governor Okorocha promised the students that if elected into office, he would consolidate on the existing programmes initiated by his administration.