FG’s Executive Order 10 Will Destroy Criminal Justice In States, Says Wike

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, addressing residents in a state-wide broadcast on August 17, 2020.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has warned that the Federal Government will destroy the criminal justice system in States if Executive Order 10 is implemented.

Governor Wike, said Executive Order 10 of the Federal Government, which permits the deduction of funds from each State account to finance the judiciary, is politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general election.

The governor made this assertion in his keynote address presented at the 3rd Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja on Monday.

He stated that ahead of the 2023 general election, the federal government which has been hostile to judges, now suddenly wants to lure the judiciary to assume it believes in the independence of the judiciary, by enacting Executive Order 10.

READ ALSO: Poverty, Threat To National Growth – Peter Obi

“Independence is not to take resources and preside over award of contract. If you cannot give judgment according to your conscience; if you cannot give judgment according to the law, then there is no independence. And this of course affects the criminal justice system.”

Governor Wike also pointed out that politicisation of the issue of Security by the Federal Government has continued to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.

He said the prevailing cases of kidnapping, banditry, and armed robbery which threatens the very existence and stability of the nation clearly justifies the establishment of State or Community Police.

He observed that while establishment of State Police may require amendment of the extant Section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution to provide State, the Rivers State Government is of the opinion that community police or Neighbourhood Watch could be established without a constitutional amendment.

“The truth of the matter is that with the current strength of the Nigeria Police Force which stands at about 372000 (Three Hundred and Seventy-Two Thousand), the Nigeria Police Force lacks the operational capacity to fulfil its primary or core mandate of crime detection, crime prevention and maintenance of public safety, law and order or protection of lives and property of persons in Nigeria.

“To put it plainly, the Nigeria Police lacks the operational capacity to police the nation which is a federation of about 923.768km (356.669 sqm) with an estimated population of 195.9 million. It is this stark reality that informs call for the establishment of State Police to provide a complementary role to the Nigeria Police Force in crime detection, prevention, and maintenance of law and order.”

He explained that it was against this background that the Rivers State Government enacted the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law, No. 8of 2018 which establishes the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency as a corporate body and vested with the power to establish uniformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the 23 Local government Areas of the State and to prescribe regulations guiding the operations of the Safety Corps and any other Local government vigilante group in the State.

In furtherance of this law, he stated that recruitment and training of members of the uninformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps commenced at the NYSC orientation camp, Nonwa in Tai LGA, after obtaining all necessary approvals from the Nigerian Army and other relevant security agencies. But, unfortunately, the exercise was violently disrupted by the Nigerian Army, claiming it was illegal and unconstitutional.

Governor Wike said despite a competent court of jurisdiction recent ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Rivers state Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Army has refused to allow it to carry out its recruitment and training of personnel.

“The point being made here is that as long as the Federal Government continues to politicise issues of security whether national or local, so long shall our criminal justice system remains seriously jeopardize. The suzerain power exercisable by the Federal Government over matters of security is made manifest by the irregular postings of Commissioners of Police to the Rivers state Police Command”, he said.

Given that the criminal justice system is inextricably linked with the security, peace and order of the State, the governor emphasized the need for critical stakeholders in the criminal justice sector to rethink the system through reform designed to address current challenges.

Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN), lauded Governor Wike, for standing out as one of the pillars of rule of law in the country.
Present at the occasion were the Attorney General of Rivers State, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, the Attorney General of Kogi State, and other eminent lawyers.

Fed Govt Dispensing State Judiciary Funds Is Unconstitutional, Says Wike

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, says the Federal Government’s decision to dissipate State funds on behalf of State judiciaries, under the purported Executive Order 10, is illegal and ill-advised.

He said if the decision is implemented more problems will be created and this will hamper the independence of the judiciary.

Governor Wike stated this during a special court session organised to mark the opening of the 2020/2021 legal year of the Rivers state judiciary in Port Harcourt on Friday.

He argued that the action of the Federal Government constitute yet, another clear breach of the constitutional powers of the Governors to manage State resources in a federal system. According to him, the Federal Government cannot legitimately claim to be more interested in the progress of State judiciaries than the Governors of the respective States; particularly, Rivers State.

The governor stated that the independence of the judiciary is not only about finances, but the ability of judicial officers to write judgments without the fear of being harassed by officers of the Department of State Services (DSS) or the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

READ ALSO: Our Achievements Have Killed APC, Others In Rivers State, Says Wike

Governor Wike said while the issue of inadequate funding for the judiciary has been a recurrent challenge preventing the judiciary across the nation from enjoying practical autonomy and efficiency, the situation in Rivers State under his administration has been different.

The Governor, however, took a swipe at the chairman of Nigerian Bar Association Port Harcourt branch, Prince Nyekwere, for alleging that some persons were extrajudicially killed by the military, in the aftermath of Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) killing of six soldiers, four policemen, and destruction of all police stations and Court buildings in Oyigbo.

He wondered why the NBA, which is yet to make a formal submission to the Judicial Commission of Inquiry set up by the State to probe the atrocities of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), will without evidence allege extrajudicial killings in Oyigbo.

The Governor lauded the Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Adama Iyaye Lamikanra for her illustrious service and commitment to the progress of the judiciary in the State.

He stated that people had opposed her elevation as the Chief Judge based on her status as a non-indigene. But, noted that fortunately, she has vindicated the government’s decision to support her appointment.

“As the Chief Judge, you have been honest, effective, and transformational. Under your leadership, the judiciary developed effective cooperation with the executive and the legislative branches of government to secure, strengthen, and advance the administration of justice.”

In her remarks, the Chief Judge, Justice Adama Iyaye Lamikanra, lauded Governor Wike, for providing the State judiciary the needed funds to ensure people have unhindered access to justice.

She condemned the destruction of all court buildings in Oyigbo by members of the outlawed IPOB, describing it as a set back for dispensation of justice.

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, said his ministry as an institutional stakeholder in the justice sector, will continue to cooperate and collaborate with the State judiciary and other stakeholders in driving the necessary reform and improving the administration of justice.

Earlier, there was a rededication church service that held at St. Paul’s Anglican Cathedral Church, Port Harcourt where the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike took the first lesson, while the second lesson was taken by Chief Judge of the State, Justice Adama Iyaye -Lamikanra.

In his sermon, the Archbishop of Port Harcourt Methodist Church of Nigeria, Most Reverend Sunday Agwu admonished the need for the judiciary to continue to uphold the truth, fairness, and justice without compromise.

He noted that most judicial officers devote more time to pursuing financial gratifications in order to deliver justice to favour the highest bidders to the detriment of the poor.

Archbishop Agwu reminded them to do self-evaluation on this occasion of rededication service so that they can resolve to confidently check the excesses of the other arms of government and contribute their quota to building a virile society.

The Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike was accompanied by his wife, Justice Suzzette Nyesom-Wike, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Senator Sam Anyanwu, and several other dignitaries.

Our Achievements Have Killed APC, Others In Rivers State, Says Wike

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has stated that the achievements of his administration have ‘killed’ other political parties in the State.

Governor Wike, made this assertion during the reception organised by the Rivers State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to welcome thousands of APC members back into PDP.

Leaders of the deflectors include former Director of Finance and Administration of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Henry Ogiri; APC South-South administrative officer, Gloria Boma; Mr. Lolo Ibieneye and Alhaji Hassan Douglas.

He asserted that prior to 2015, the APC had promised to transform the country, fix the East-West Road, and provide good governance to Nigerians. But, on the contrary, he said the APC has continued to give excuses for its colossal failure after it orchestrated the unfortunate conspiracy to remove President Goodluck Jonathan from office.

“Are things better today? So why do you allow people to tell you lies? How long can you continue to listen to the lies of the All Progressives Congress? They have nothing for Nigerians. It is unfortunate that there was a conspiracy to remove a Niger Delta person as President”.

The governor, who bemoaned the marginalisation of Rivers State, regretted that several years after the Federal Government awarded the N120 Billion Bodo-Bonny Road, it has failed to provide its counterpart funding, allowing only the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) to finance the project.

“Look at since they started the Bonny Bodo road, what has happened? As we speak, the Federal Government has not released its counterpart funding for that road. Now, NLNG said let us do it and then deduct it from the tax we are going to pay to the federal government. Is it how they have been doing in other states?” he asked.

The governor noted that ahead of the 2023 general election, the APC has again started making false promises to construct a University of Transport, develop a deep seaport and industrial park in the State.

“By next year, political activities will kick start, when will they build infrastructure again? Somebody will come and tell you, people, Federal Government has approved industrial pack; they have approved deep seaport in Bonny” he said.

Governor Wike said the PDP provides the only hope for Nigerians and congratulated the deflectors for their courage to return to the party.

He assured them that they will be accorded the same respect as every other party.

“I thank you for this bold step taken to join the PDP. Only a wicked man who does not like good things will not see what we are doing in Port Harcourt. With our achievements, we have killed any party that wants to raise its head. This is done by your support.

“On May 27, 2015, somebody said we can’t pay a salary. Today, we are not talking about payment of salary, we employing 5000 youths into the state civil service” he said.

Rivers State Chairman of the PDP, Ambassador Desmond Akawor noted that no local government in the State is without any development project by Governor Wike. According to him, this has continued to endear the people to the PDP.

Ambassador Akawor who gave each leader of the defectors an umbrella and party membership cards, said the returnees are convinced that the PDP is a party that believes in good governance and means well for the Rivers people.

Speaking on behalf of the deflectors, Dr. Henry Ogiri, said they were motivated to return to the PDP because of the quality of people-oriented projects embarked upon by Governor Wike.

He promised on behalf of the others to be loyal to PDP and work to ensure that APC does not exist anymore in the state.

Wike Urges Council Chairmen, Youths To Fish Out IPOB Members

 

Rivers state governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has charged the 23 council chairmen, and youths in the state to fish members of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples Organisation of Biafra (IPOB) in the State.

Governor has also warned that any council chairman that allows IPOB to hold processions and hoist its flag within their jurisdiction in Rivers State, risk sack.

He made this assertion during a meeting with all the 23 Local Government chairmen, Community Development Committees, and youths leaders at the Government House, in Port Harcourt on Monday.

The governor described Rivers state as the most accommodating state for all Nigerians. To buttress this, he stated that there has never been any historical incident of different ethnic groups clashing in the State as has been witnessed in other parts of the country.

“We can never be against any ethnic group. We can never do that .we have lived in harmony with the Ibos, the Hausas, and with Edo people. Everybody that comes to this state we have lived in harmony with. And so Nigerians must commend Rivers State as a place where you have never had a problem between this group and that group,” he said.

Governor Wike, however, maintained that while the people of Rivers State believe in the unity of the country, they will not allow criminals under the aegis of a terrorist group called IPOB to continue to threaten the stability of the state.

“There is one terrorist group they call IPOB. I did not declare them a terrorist group, the court declared them a terrorist group. Not me.

“The federal government declared them a terrorist group. IPOB cannot use Rivers state to be a place where they will be launching attacks.

“If you allow that, your future, your children’s future is gone,” he said.

Infuriated by IPOB’s effrontery to hoist its flag in Oyigbo, the governor directed the council chairman to ensure there will not be another occurrence of this treasonous act.

“Go to Oyigbo and see what they have done. Destroyed the court. What did the court do? See the soldiers they killed and burnt them. See the policemen they killed and burnt them and then you said people will sit and fold their arms,” he added.

The governor, while calling for vigilance on the part of Rivers people, however, warned sternly that IPOB members should not delude themselves because Rivers state cannot be colonised or annexed by any group, particularly, while he is still the incumbent governor of the State.

He asserted that Rivers state can never be annexed to any state, to any zone. According to him, Rivers state is Niger Delta and will remain in Niger Delta.

He explained that while every Nigerian is allowed to reside in Rivers State, those who wish to do so must live in peace with the people of the State.

“Ibos are living and doing their business here and they will continue to live and do their business here. We support that,” Wike said.

“But that terrorist group call IPOB, cannot determine what happens in our state. To tell us where they own. It will never happen and we must not allow it to happen”.

Governor Wike charged all chairmen of councils, youth leaders, CDCs to go into their various communities and identify all those IPOB members.

He emphasized that nobody of Ibo extraction legitimately residing and doing business in the state must be harassed.

“But there are criminal elements that we must not allow, and the criminal elements are those who said they are IPOB members. The federal government has proscribed them, I have proscribed them,” the governor noted.

He called on the people to defend the territory of Rivers State and ensure no part of the State is annexed by a criminal organisation or terrorist organization.

“We cannot allow it. All our vigilante groups must be encouraged. Everybody must be on alert. Work with the security agencies to make sure nothing call IPOB exists in this state. No procession. Not even a meeting anywhere. Identify where they hold a meeting,” he said

Rivers State Commissioner of Youth Development, Hon. Ohia Prince Obi lauded the governor for interfacing with the youths as this will give them a sense of belonging in the affairs of the State.

The chairman, National Youth Council of Nigeria in Rivers State, Chijoke Ihunwo, appeal to Governor Wike for clemency for wanted, Stanley Mgbere, who led IPOB members to attack the palace of the king of Onne, was rejected.

Wike Imposes 24-Hour Curfew In Oyigbo LGA, Others

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, addressing residents in a state-wide broadcast on August 17, 2020.

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has imposed a 24-hour curfew in the entire Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State.

Governor Wike in a state-wide broadcast today also announced that the curfew also extends to Mile 1, Mile 2, Emenike, Ikowu, and Iloaubuchi areas of Port Harcourt Local Government Area as well as the Oil Mill area of Obio-Akpor Local Government Area of the State.

The governor explained that the decision to impose the curfew was taken after a State Security Council meeting held at the Government House, Port Harcourt earlier today.

Governor Wike stated that while the State Government appreciate and commend the peaceful nature of the ongoing #EndSARS protests, it was becoming clear by the day that the protest had been hijacked by hoodlums to unleash carnage.

“Earlier today, some hoodlums attacked and destroyed Police Stations and Court buildings in Oyigbo Local Government Area of the State. Another set of hooligans were also on rampage at the Ikokwu spare parts markets disturbing public peace and damaging property”.

Governor Wike asserted that the State government cannot watch helplessly and allow trouble-makers to take the laws into their hands and use the current situation to create a state of panic and insecurity.

To this end, he said consequently, the State’s Security Council had decided to impose curfew in some parts of the State to secure lives and property.

“A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on Mile 1, Mile 2, Emenike, Ikokwu and Iloaubuchi arears of Port Harcourt from 6.30 p.m. today 21st October 2020.”

“A 24-hour curfew has been imposed on the entire Oyigbo Local Government Area from 6.30 p.m. today, 21st October 2020; a 24-hour curfew has also been imposed on Oil mill area in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area” he said.

The governor has therefore directed security agencies to enforce the curfew with effect from 6.30 p.m. today 21st October 2020.

Similarly, Local Government Chairmen have also been directed to mobilize vigilantes and work with security agencies to ensure that no hoodlum is allowed to disturb the peace or destroy lives and property in their Local Government Areas.

“We urge all citizens to remain vigilant and report all suspicious characters to the security agencies for immediate action. Let me appeal to our youths not to allow themselves to be used to roll-back the peace we are enjoying in the State under any pretext” he added.

Port Harcourt ‘Serial Killer’, Gracious David-West To Die By Hanging

 

A High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has convicted and sentenced the serial killer, Gracious David-West to death by hanging.

Mr David-West was charged for the murder of several young ladies in different hotels around Rivers State.

Pieces of evidence suggest that David-West had a signature of strangling his victims to death.

The 40-years-old was arraigned on a ten-count charge of murder and attempted murder.

Trial Judge, Justice Adolphus Enebeli based his Judgment on the voluntary statement and confession of the culprit, as well as the CCTV footage of the convict which was tendered and displayed during the trial.


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According to the Judge, all the evidence and statement obtained pass for valid proof that Mr. David-West is guilty of the crime which was carried out between the 30th of July and September, 2019.

The court also discharged and acquitted the second defendant, Nimi Thank-God who was accused of dumping the remains of one of the victims killed in a dustbin.

Justice Enebeli said the prosecution counsel failed to prove their case that the accused actually committed the crime.

Addressing newsmen outside the courtroom, counsel to the convicted, Vincent Chukwu said his client will try the judgment at the higher court.

The state prosecution counsel, Chidi Eke who welcomed the judgment said this would serve as a deterrent to all those involved in such an act.

Counsel to Nimi Thank-God the second defendant in the matter expressed happiness over the judgment that exonerated his client.

Wike Advocates New Revenue Sharing Formula

 

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has advocated a new revenue sharing formula that will make the States get more money for development.

Governor Wike made the suggestion when he received a delegation of the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission on a courtesy visit at Government House, Port Harcourt on Tueday.

The Governor pointed out that the States bear more development burden and would require more money to cater to the needs of the people.

“There cannot be a Federal Government without the States. So, we advocate a new revenue formula that should take more revenue out of the Federal Government and given to the States.

“This is because the burden is more on the States than the Federal Government. So, the states should have more revenue to cater for the people,” he said.
The Governor described as unfortunate comments by the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri over ownership of Soku Oil Well.

READ ALSO: Osinbajo Calls For Reform Of International Tax System

Governor Wike said Soku Oil Well belongs to Rivers State and urged the Commission to continue to ensure the payment of the accruing revenue to the State.

“It is unfortunate that the Bayelsa State Governor told you when you visited him that you should not pay us revenue from Soku Oil Well.

“The matter was at the Supreme Court when the National Boundary Commission admitted that they made an error in their 11th edition publication by situating Soku Oil Well in Bayelsa State.

“They were, therefore, directed to correct the error in their 12th edition publication. When they also failed to effect the correction, we had to go back to the Federal High Court. The court, in its wisdom directed that all revenue accruing from Soku Oil Well should be paid to Rivers State.

“That is the position. For Bayelsa State Governor to come up to say that you should not pay us our money is unfortunate.

“If they have filed a matter at the Supreme Court, it is not an injunction to stop the implementation of the subsisting judgement”, he stated.

The Governor commended the Commission for taking the bold step to correct fraudulent practices adopted by some States in order to gain financial advantage.
He assured that the State would continue to interface with the Commission to make their work easy.

Governor Wike reiterated his determination to deploy all resources received for the development of the State.

Leader of the delegation, Alhaji Mohammed Kabiru Usman said they were on an advocacy and sensitisation tour to the State.

He said their 2018 verification exercise was characterised by fraud because some data supplied by some states were very spurious.

According to him, such over-inflated figures were to make those states get the money that they do not deserve and deny others.

Alhaji Usman said the visit would afford them the time to sensitise the relevant financial officers in the State on the importance of providing correct data to the commission.

Ondo Election: APC Putting INEC, Security Agencies Under Pressure – Wike

 

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has alleged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is pressuring the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to compromise the Ondo Governorship poll.

Having lost the Edo Governorship election to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Wike told Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday that the APC will do everything to win the Ondo poll.

“If INEC play the same role they played in Edo; and security agencies play the same role they played in Edo, I can assure you that PDP will win that election,” the former Education minister claimed.

“It is very obvious. Look, Nigerians are tired. Promises and promises from the party (APC). Nobody is seeing anything. The only fear I have as it concerns Ondo is that there is so much pressure on INEC.”

READ ALSO: ‘It Was Key’: Wike Attributes Edo Election Success To Visa Ban On Riggers

When asked the source of his information, the Rivers State leader insisted: “I don’t need to tell you,” stressing that it is an open secret that the APC is bent on winning the Ondo guber poll by all means.

“Everybody knows that. Even APC knows that they are putting so much pressure on INEC and security agencies,” he explained.

“And I see it in such a way that INEC may succumb to it. It is my prayer that they don’t; that they conduct it the same way they did in Edo.

“Having lost Edo, everything within APC will be done to make sure they don’t lose Ondo because their fear is that if they lose Ondo, Nigerians will say ‘Oh no, we can now see that this party (APC) is gone.'”

Int’l Community Role

The Governor had equally said the international community played a huge role in ensuring a smooth governorship election in Edo State.

“One thing that played out and which I noticed was the role of the international community,” Wike added.

“For example, the US, the UK came out and said that there would be a visa ban if anybody tries anything in terms of violence or rigging and they have gone further to ban some governors.”

‘It’s Fake’: Wike Faults NBS Unemployment Data, Claims He Created 100,000 Jobs

 

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has rubbished the unemployment rate by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and claims “it is fake.”

“It is fake; it is political,” Wike said on Friday during an interview on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, insisting that “I don’t believe in them. I don’t believe in their statistics.”

The NBS had in August released the country’s unemployment data for the second quarter of 2020, putting Rivers State’s unemployment rate at 43.7 per cent, the third highest in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Unemployment Rate Rises To 27.1% – NBS

Although Wike admitted that there is a high-level of unemployment in Nigeria, he claimed that his government has created a lot of jobs, explaining that they might not be in the formal sector.

“If you have a lot of construction jobs going on, for example, does that not create employment?” the former Education Minister wondered.

“Does employment mean you must work in government? Is that what employment means? What counts as employment is that you have something doing. That is key. That is employment.

“There is no employment that is forever. Even you as a Civil servant, it is not forever. You have a time you must leave. Employment does not mean it is something you must do forever.”

“In Rivers State today, nobody can tell me that we have not tried in terms of employment; to reduce the level of unemployment.”

A graphic from the NBS showing the unemployment data for Rivers State as of Q2 2020.

 

On how he got his statistics, he said “By the jobs we have created. You are in Government House now. As you go to the back, you see over 250 people working. That is just one area. And that job has been on for one year. That is not job? It does not give them money to feed? That is one area.

“As you go to Forces Avenue, you see over 100 people working, that is not employment? As you go to Garrison where there is the fly over, you see over 300 people working.”

According to Wike, the “NBS should come to the state and see for themselves and see what we are doing to create jobs. Not just sitting in their offices. They never deployed anybody to come here.”

100, 000 Jobs Created

While calling on the NBS to visit Rivers State and get facts about employment in the State, Wike disclosed that his government has been able to create over 100,000 jobs since inception in 2015.

“I may not be exact but I do know that since we came on board, we have created not less than 100, 000 jobs,” Wike who is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) explained. “If you go to our Statistics department, you will find out that these things are there.”

 

 

 

 

Rivers Strike Threat: Labour Leaders Absent As Industrial Court Adjourns Suit To Sept 18

Alleged Bribery: Witness Testifies As Rickey Tarfa’s Trial Continues
File photo

 

The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has adjourned till Friday, September 18, to hear all applications relating to the Rivers State Government’s suit seeking the interpretation of the provisions of the Trade Unions Act.

The court is sitting as a vacation court to hear the suit.

The Rivers State Govt had filed the suit to challenge the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress to embark on a strike action starting from Monday, September 7.

The government listed the two unions, their presidents, Comrade Ayuba Waba and Quadri Olaleye, as well as the Rivers state chairpersons, Beatrice Itubo and Austin Jonah as defendants in the suit.

The defendants were not present in court, but the Rivers State Attorney General, Professor Zaccheus Adangor who represented the state government told the court that all the defendants have been duly served with the originating processes and the motion on notice for an interlocutory injunction, along with last week’s enrolled order of interim injunction restraining the defendants from going on strike, which have all been published in two national newspapers of September the 3rd as directed by the court.

Read Also: Organised Labour Suspends Planned Protest In Rivers State

He also told the judge about an out-of court-agreement reached Monday night after a closed-door meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike which resulted in organised labour calling off their planned protest against the Rivers State Government on Tuesday,

Vacation judge, Justice Nelson Ogbunaya discountenanced the information and asked the AG to focus on the suit especially as the defendants who would have corroborated the information were not in court.

Justice Ogbunaya also noted that the 14-day period for the defendants to respond and put in their appearance will expire on September 17.

He, therefore, adjourned further hearings to September 18.

This is the second legal action of the Rivers state government against organised labour.

Judgment in the first case against a previous plan of the state NLC to go on strike in March will be delivered on September 29 at the Port Harcourt division of the court.

Organised Labour Suspends Planned Protest In Rivers State

 

Organised labour in Rivers State has suspended its planned protest after reaching an agreement with the state government.

After a meeting which lasted for several hours with the state government on Monday, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba, said that the issues raised have been addressed and the protest scheduled for Tuesday has also been suspended.

The Organised labour made up of NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) raised pending issues with the state government, centred on the new minimum wage, payment of outstanding health workers salaries, unsealing of the NLC secretariat among other concerns.

“Organised labour agreed to immediately suspend the planned protest scheduled for Tuesday 8 September 2020,” Mr Wabba said.

The NLC President noted that the State Government has agreed to pay the approved N30,000 new national minimum wage, after months of unresolved negotiations.

“Parties have agreed to sign the agreement on the implementation of the new national minimum wage and consequential adjustment.”

RELATED: Rivers Govt Warns Organised Labour Against Disobeying Court Order

An official of the Rivers Stae government signing the agreement with the Organised Labour on Monday, September 7, 2020

Unsealing Of NLC Rivers Secretariat

Mr Wabba stated further that the NLC secretariat which was sealed up in February 2020 by the state government will be reopened.

The seal up caused an uproar after security operatives arrived the place and sealed up the premises used by labour unions in the state.

“The NLC secretariat which was sealed for the correction of the structural defect will immediately be unsealed while the government continues with the correction work if any,” The NLC President averred.

Other issues raised, like the remittance of check-off dues, according to the NLC President, will be immediately restored.

“The Rivers State government shall immediately restore the remittance of check-off dues and pay all outstanding arrears to the respective trade unions.

“Rivers State government commits to the payment of salaries withheld from health workers due to the 2017 strike action,” he stated.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: It Costs N400,000 To Treat Each Patient, Says El-Rufai

Mr Wabba added that both parties have also agreed to set up a tripartite committee to discuss and resolve all outstanding labour issues, including the adjustment of pensions in line with the constitution and [payment of pensions and gratuity.

He also stated that the parties have resolved to take steps in ending all ongoing litigations in relation to the dispute in those matters.

The NLC President said that following the agreement, no worker will be victimised based on the roles played in the industrial dispute with the Rivers State Government.

Labour Leaders Have Gone Underground In Rivers State – NUPENG

 

National President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Williams Akporeha, on Monday said labour leaders in Rivers state have gone underground for fear of harassment by the state government.

Akporeha made the remarks during an appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

He was responding to questions about why workers decided to embark on a mass protest in the state on Tuesday.

“The issues are numerous, ranging from the non-implementation of the minimum wage in Rivers, nonpayment of pensioners for several years, the sealing-up of NLC (Nigeria Labour Congress) Secretariat in Rivers state for the past six months,” Akporeha said.

READ ALSO: Rivers Govt Warns Organised Labour Against Disobeying Court Order

“Several appeals have been made to the Governor that the path he is treading is not good for an industrial, harmonious relationship; but all that seems to have fallen on deaf ears; And as union too, once all those efforts fail, the next thing is to cry out.

“The case of Rivers has become so serious because of the anti-labour stance of the Governor. He has also gone about harassing labour leaders in the state. No labour leader seems to be safe. Everybody is operating from underground as we speak. And we felt this is democracy. If any Governor is embarking on dictatorship against the labour movement, that should not be accepted.”

The Rivers State Commissioner for Information, Paulinus Nsirim, who had also been invited to Sunrise Daily, was unable to make it.

No National Protest

The Rivers State Government on Saturday accused the NLC of instigating workers into industrial action, despite a court order against such.

However, the NLC has said it is not aware of any court injunction and will go on with its mass protest on Tuesday, Akporeha said.

NUPENG is an affiliate of the NLC.

“The mass protest, which is a peaceful one, is meant to bring to the attention of the state government of Rivers and the terror and authoritarian stand of the Governor over labour issues in that state,” Akporeha said.

“Our role is to give solidarity and that is why we have called on all our members in Rivers to come out for that peaceful protest on Tuesday.”

Mr Akporeha said his association is not involved in any nationwide strike, in light of rumours of an action over increased fuel and electricity tariffs.

“We are only involved on a solidarity peaceful mass protest in Rivers state; that’s our mandate for now,” he said.

“The peaceful mass protest will go ahead, and we are calling on all our members in the downstream and upstream, especially in the depot areas and filling station workers, to all come out en mass to join in solidarity to save Rivers state workers.”