Lagos, Ondo, Others To Feature At NTTF National U-16 League

Table tennis rackets and ball NTTFLagos, Ondo, Ekiti, Kwara, Oyo and Abia States have beaten the March 21 registration deadline and cleared to participate in the Nigeria Table Tennis Federation (NTTF) maiden U-16 national league.

According to Ondo State Coach, Dotun Omoniyi, the idea of the league is commendable, as it would afford the players the chance to test might among one another in a competitive atmosphere.

“I think I am so excited about the league because it is not going to be a one-off competition but a continue tournament that will allow the players to improve in each match. Also it will give the national coaches the opportunity to unearth new talents for the country. I am eagerly looking forward to the commencement of the league,” Omoniyi said.

However, there are plans to give more states the opportunity to compete at the championship, as most states are yet to complete the final process that confirms their eligibility.

According to the NTTF, the league will involve players across Nigeria and it is meant to give new players the opportunity to make national junior teams and work their way into the senior team.

The tournament will serve off from March 29 to April 8 at the National Training Centre in National Stadium while the grand finale which is known as Super League will hold on May 14 at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.

Each state across Nigeria is expected to present two boys and two girls while the top eight players in the boys and girls event will qualify for the Super League.

According to the prospectus of the tournament, states wishing to participate will register with the NTTF, while only the first 20 boys’ teams and the first 16 girls’ teams to register for the League shall be accepted to participate while only players registered by states, which are affiliated to the NTTF, are eligible to participate.

All players shall hold the current NTTF Player’s License, which must be produced on demand.

Customs Seizes Contraband Goods In Oyo State 

customsThe Oyo/Osun Area Comptroller of Customs, Temitope Ogunkua, said the command is ready to assist all legitimate importers of goods and genuine products into the country.

This assurance was given to traders during a meeting with journalists at the area command headquarters in Ibadan, the state capital.

The Customs boss also added that the command has blocked more than 200 illegal entry and exit points through which smugglers operate in the Oke Ogun area of the state.

He vowed to clamp down on recalcitrant smugglers in the state, saying more personnel are being deployed for better effectiveness.

While handing over some seized petroleum products to representative of Civil Defence in the state, the Customs boss lauded the inter agency collaboration among security agents across the state, saying it has improved efficiency tremendously.

Items recovered include; imported rice, groundnut oil and gallons of liquid suspected to be petrol.

One suspect was also apprehended and handed over to authorities of Civil Defence for further investigations.

Ajimobi Opens New Police Station In Omi Adio

Ajimobi-Oyo-policeThe Oyo State Government has opened a newly constructed Police Station at Omi Adio, a community at the boundary between Oyo and Ogun states under Iddo Local Government area of Oyo State.

This was done to curtail heightened criminal activities where hoodlums use as an escape route to and from other states, and also re-establish trust and respect between the Police and the community.

The Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by his Deputy, Moses Alake Adeyemo, expressed confidence that the newly built Police station will go a long way in providing security, prevent communal clashes and curb criminal activities in the area.

He reiterated that the greatest asset of the present administration in the state is the attainment of a peaceful society.

The Oyo State Police Commissioner, Adeleye Oyebade, charged the newly deployed Policemen to the Omi Adio Division to be fair, responsive and friendly to residents of the community at all times, pointing out that it would promote trust.

Lassa Fever: Anambra Has No Recorded Case – Health Commissioner

lassa feverAnambra State Government has said that the state is still on a clean bill, with no recorded case of Lassa fever.

The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Joe Akabuike, made the statement on Friday in his office at Jerome Udoji secretariat, Awka, the capital of Anambra State.

Dr Akabuike said that with eight states affected and the death rate put at 45 per cent, it has become imperative for Anambra State to commence sensitisation alongside taking precautionary measures to guard against any occurrence.

Addressing a press conference in his office, Dr. Akabuike said that the state Ministry of Health, the Disease Surveillance Notification Officers and the Information Dissemination Unit Personnel sent to various communities in the state have embarked on awareness programmes on the signs and symptoms of the disease through the Churches, Women Organisation, and Trade Unions.

He advised citizens, who have visiting relations from Bauchi, Nassarawa, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Edo and Oyo States, to be wary of symptoms associated with bleeding and persistent fever and report case immediately.

Dr Akabuike encouraged the people of the state to be conscious of hygiene to ensure no one was affected.

Earlier, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, confirmed that the death toll from the recent Lassa fever outbreak was now 40.

According to him, the disease has also spread to 10 states since the last six weeks when the first case was reported in November.

ASUP Threatens Nationwide Strike Over Unpaid Wages

ASUPThe Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has threatened to embark on a nationwide strike action over the non-payment of salaries by six states of the federation.

President of the Union, Mr Chibuzo Asomugha, told journalists at a news conference in Abuja that six states including Osun, Plateau and Benue are owing their polytechnic lecturers between eight and 10 months.

Other states in the list include Abia, Imo, and Oyo state.

“We want to state without equivocation that it is morally reprehensible and desperately wicked for a government at any level to owe its workers eight months of salaries. Such a government has, by that very colossal failure, lost the moral claim to the leadership of the people. It has failed woefully in its mandate to provide governance and should abdicate.

“If, within the next few weeks, the affected state governments do not clear the arrears of salaries and allowances owed our members, our union nationwide will be left with no other option than to rise in arms in solidarity with our suffering colleagues.

“The conditions of most states polytechnics in Nigeria are pathetic. This has greatly compromised standards in most of the institutions. Apart from criminal neglect and dereliction of duty on the part of state governments which are proprietors of the institutions, there are also constant experiences of undue interference and politicisation of appointments and recruitment of personnel”, Asomugha said.

Mr Asomugha also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and end “the unnecessary dichotomy” between Bachelors Degree and Higher National Diploma.

Oyo State To Improve Agric Sector Through Foreign Investment

AjimobiThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has said investors in the agricultural sector must bring a lot of value capable of truly transforming agric to a major income earner which can be sustained in a diversified economy.

Governor Ajimobi made this remark in his office when a group of South African investors paid him a visit to forge new partnership, especially in the agricultural sector.

The leader of the team, Mr Tommie Snyman, in his presentation, said they are in the state to bring expertise, experience and funds to promote agric and all allied sectors, as they have done in many African countries.

The governor expressed his delight for the group’s interest in the state, adding that Oyo remains largely agrarian, with very interesting offers for interested investors.

Ajimobi further maintained that any investor coming to the state must bring lots of value addition to the table, and will be reciprocated by economy friendly incentives.

The leaders of the South African team also explained that some of their manufactured products already control almost 80 per cent of the African market.

The facilitator of the meeting, Bar. Dipo Ilara explained that the parley was aimed at bringing foreign direct investment and lots of employment opportunities for residents of Oyo and neighboring states.

Meanwhile, a committee of experts from both the side of government and AFGRI will draft modalities of an effective working relationship in coming weeks.

NLC Frowns Against Proposed Ministry Merger

NLCThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has condemned the proposal for the merger of ministries and parastatals of government as a way of cutting cost of governance.



The President of the Workers Union, Mr Ayuba Waba told journalists at a press conference in Abuja that the union will resist any move by government to merge ministries if the action will lead to loss of jobs.

According to him, such decision would be counterproductive to the ideology of job creation that the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) sold to the electorates during the campaigns.

Already the Chief Executives of five states; Kano, Benue, Kaduna, Yobe and Oyo, have pruned the number of operating ministries they intend to run their administrations with.

No Bailout For State Governors Owing Salaries

Buhari_Governors

The meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors on how to offset over 100 billion Naira salaries of Nigerian workers ended without an offer of a bailout plan by the Federal Government to the States.

At the end of the meeting held on Tuesday, the Governors were only able to reach an agreement that the Federal Government should pay debts it owed the states over jobs they executed.

Zamfara State Governor and chairman of the Governors Forum, Abdullaziz Yari, who briefed reporters after the meeting, said that instead of a bailout, the state governments were told to look inwards and generate needed funds to clear their debts.

Poor Management Of The Economy

The State Governors also requested that the Nigerian Liquefied Gas Company’s tax should be paid into the Federation Account and be shared.

They also asked the Federal Government to ensure that monies accruing from the Federation Account should be shared, as stipulated by the constitution.

It is the first time the President will be meeting with the Governors to find a solution to the financial crisis that has made no fewer than 22 of the states owe salaries to their workers to the tune of 100 billion Naira (about $5,000,000).

The Nigerian Governors, whose lot has always been to come to Abuja to share in the Federation Account, through their chairman said they were pleased to meet with the President but that it was beyond a bailout as reported.

After a meeting of the All Progressives Congress Governors Forum last week, the chairman of the forum, Governor Rochas Okorocha, called for a bailout for states which have been unable to pay workers’ salaries.

He said that the current situation was a product of poor management of the economy.

“On the economy of the nation, we are concerned and worried by the dwindling revenue of the states which today has affected negatively, the lives of our people.

“The matter has become so serious that urgent action must be taken for a bailout for the states, as things are not getting better either.

“We have sat down to review steps that should be taken and we are calling for total overhaul of the system to block all the leakages in our nation’s economy,” Governor Okorcha said.

Other issues in the front burner include how to curb insurgency in Bornu, Yobe and Adamawa states and what the president is doing in collaboration with the international community.

The Governors also expressed concerns over the decision to dismantle military check points, stressing that it was not the right time for such decision.

Some of the governors present include those of Nasarawa, Imo, Gombe, Benue, Delta, Niger, Kano, Katsina, Zamfara, Kogi, Borno, Jigawa, Rivers, Ogun, Kebbi, Kwara, Taraba, Ekiti, Ondo, Kaduna, Oyo, Osun, Edo, Anambra, Sokoto, Ebonyi, Lagos, Adamawa, Cross Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Yobe, Plateau (Deputy), Bayelsa (Deputy).

SERAP Drags Government To ILO Over Unpaid Workers’ Salaries

SERAPThe thorny issue of unpaid workers continues to make the headlines with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) dragging state governments and the Federal Government to the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The organisation said that the complaint was brought pursuant to Articles 26-34 of the ILO Constitution.

SERAP is asking the ILO to establish without delay, a commission of inquiry to examine the systematic and non-observance of Convention No 29 on forced labour and other international standards on the right of workers to timely payment of salaries.

SERAP’s Complaint

”SERAP is seriously concerned that several state governments and the Federal Government of Nigeria are failing and/or refusing to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements, amounting to billions of dollars in arrears. The state governments that have failed and/or refused to pay workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements include: Osun, Rivers, Oyo, Ekiti, Kwara, Kogi, Ondo, Plateau, Benue, and Bauchi states.

SERAP argues; ”The failure and/or refusal of state governments and Federal Government to pay workers’ salaries and allowances and pensioners’ entitlements is a clear violation of the right to work recognized by various ILO instruments and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Nigeria is a state party. The right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

”The Failure of states to pay workers’ salaries is tantamount to penalising them, and as the International Labour Organization has ruled, menace penalty amounts to forced labour and economic exploitation. This is because the workers have not offered themselves to work without pay.”

They also said: ”The failure to pay workers’ salaries amount to a fundamental breach of the obligation to ensure the absence of forced labour and economic exploitation, and guarantee workers’ remuneration so as to provide an income allowing workers to support themselves and their families. The right to work contributes to the survival of the individual and to that of his/her family, and to his/her development and recognition within the community. Therefore, by failing to pay workers’ salaries, the state governments in Nigeria have violated the right of the workers to live in dignity.

”There is absolutely no justification why state governments or the Federal Government in Nigeria should not pay workers’ salaries. In fact, international law provides that workers’ salaries must be paid even in times of severe resource constraints, as disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups must be protected by the adoption of targeted programmes to ensure that they live in dignity.

“The failure of the state governments and the Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries is as a result mismanagement of resources and corruption which under the Covenant amount to ‘deliberate retrogression’ in the protection of the right to work.

”While ordinary Nigerian workers and pensioners are routinely denied their salaries and entitlements, senior government officials continue to receive their salaries and live lavishly. This also clearly amounts to discrimination against workers on the grounds of national or social origin, or civil, political, social or other status, as it has the effect of impairing or nullifying exercise of the right to work on a basis of equality.

”The failure to pay workers’ salaries also violates Nigeria’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfil the right to work, including requiring state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of that right and to adopt appropriate economic and budgetary measures to ensure timely payment of workers’ salaries and pensioners’ entitlements.

”The failure of state governments and Federal Government in Nigeria to pay workers’ salaries show that they are unwilling to use the maximum of their available resources through insufficient expenditure or misallocation of public funds, for the realization of the right to work in violation of their obligations under Article 6.

”The country’s justice system has proven highly inadequate to enforce the right of workers to timely remuneration and freedom from economic exploitation. The state governments and Federal Government of Nigeria have taken no effective measures to address the salary crisis in the country, and have in fact significantly downplayed it.”

SERAP also said that the right to work is essential for realizing other human rights and forms an inseparable and inherent part of human dignity.

Rise In Rivers Local Gin Intake Deaths Worries Doctors

local gin OgogoroDoctors in Rivers State are worried, as the number of deaths caused by the consumption of  locally brewed gin known as Ogogoro has now reached 66. 

The Ministry of Health in the State gave the new figures on Friday, days after the first death was recorded.

The Ministry noted that deaths have so far been recorded in Obio Akpor, Bonny and Gokana Local Government Areas.

The National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD) in a press briefing in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State’s capital, has step up stringent measures that will curtail the production and distribution of what the group called a deadly poison.

The National President of NARD, Prince Dan-Jumbo, at the press briefing urged State governments that are yet to pay their members monthly salaries form 5-7 months to do so.

According to him, Oyo, Osun, Benue, Nassarawa, Imo, Abia and Lagos State are owing 2013 and 2014 months salaries while and Rivers State had two months outstanding.

Meanwhile, the level of compliance to the ban on the sale of the local gin is still in question, as some peddlers of the product are still sighted on the street.

New Anti-kidnapping Squad Rescues Three In Ibadan

Anti-kidnapping Police Squad

The new Anti-kidnapping Squad inaugurated in Oyo State has rescued three kidnapped persons within the same week the victims were abducted.  

The Oyo State police boss, Mohammed Katsina, described the development as a new culture of service and responsibility in the Oyo State police command.

To complement the activities of the squad, a well equipped Trauma Centre  for victims’ rehab after rescue was also inaugurated.

Mr Katsina explained that the department became necessary to stem the rising kidnapping cases in the state and beyond with the use of expert intelligence operatives, marksmen, and counter terrorism agents within the command .

The kidnapped persons – a 12 year old, kidnapped in Lagos, a middle aged woman and her child who were Kidnapped at Odo Ona area in Ibadan – were rescued barely hours after the office was inaugurated.

They have received treatment and counseling from the police Medical and Trauma centre and re united with their families.

The Commissioner of Police pointed out that the sensitive and complex operational procedure of kidnapping required a well trained tactical team whose operation must be mostly intelligence based.

According to him, the development necessitated the well equipped office to gather, intercept, interpret and analyse intelligence reports.

The coordinator of the project and an Assistant Superintendent of Police, Usman Dimka, told Channels Television that the fund for the office was provided by only ten people while another community donated a brand new van to boost crime fighting within the state.

These actions are clear indications that the people of the state are coming round to trust and support the police again with their personal resources.

 

Nigeria Has A New Opportunity To Be Great Under Buhari – Obasanjo

-A former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo, says the oil-rich nation has a new opportunity to be great again under the leadership of the President elect, General Mohammadu Buhari.

He expressed this hope in a meeting with Women Leaders from the south-west states of Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Osun, Ondo and Lagos at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

Mr Obasanjo, however, urged Nigerians to be patient with the administration, as it finds solution to those challenges facing the country.

The former President also asked all Nigerians to continue to pray and support the administration in its onerous task of rebuilding the nation’s socio-economic and political life.

The leader of the delegation of the Women, Mrs Alaba Lawson, asked the former President to continue to offer the leadership that would ensure the success of the new administration, especially in the task of ensuring growth and development in the face of the challenges facing Nigeria.

Addressing the delegation, Obasanjo asked Nigerians to be patient with the incoming administration and also urged General Buhari to take the right steps in the right direction, especially in his first three months in office, as Nigerians’ expectations are high.

While asking Nigerians to play their path in the development of the country, he, however, expressed his willingness to continue to offer support until his service is no longer needed.

He also asked the president-elect to leverage on his acceptability both at home and abroad by providing the much needed leadership and direction for Nigeria.