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Pensioners disrupt NEPA operations in Owerri over unpaid allowances



Members of the National Union of Pensioners (Electricity Sector), disrupted the operations of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) (a.k.a. NEPA), Owerri, on Monday protesting unpaid three months pension arrears.

Members of the National Union of Pensioners (Electricity Sector), disrupted the operations of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) (a.k.a. NEPA), Owerri, on Monday protesting unpaid three months pension arrears.

Members of the National Union of Pensioners (Electricity Sector), disrupted the operations of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC) (a.k.a. NEPA), Owerri, on Monday over unpaid three months pension arrears.

The frail looking pensioners stormed the company’s office demanding to be paid their pension arrears.  The senior citizens, who chanted solidarity songs displayed placards bearing such inscriptions as “Give us our money now that we are alive”, “FG help us, we are dying”, “Do us as you will like others to do unto you” and “please pay us our 3 months pensions, it is not a curse to be old”.

According to the angry pensioners, who barricaded the ever-busy Royce Road, Owerri.  the punitive and anti labour actions by the management of NEPA/PHCN were clearly in violation of established conditions of service and against International Labour Organization’s (ILO) conventions to which the nation is a signatory.

Addressing journalists, the South East zonal secretary of the union, Sir George Ebere Njoku lamented that between 2003 and the eventual sale of available power infrastructure (privatization), payment of retirement and terminal benefits to the normal and abnormal retirees became discriminatory and inconsistent with familiar rules and regulations in the organization.  Njoku who accused successive managements of NEPA/PHCN of alleged mismanagement and failure to remit agreed allocations to the  Superannuation Funds (SGF),  said available records indicate that over 5000 former employers who exited by retirement or death were still being owed their terminal benefits such as gratuities.

During the protest, the pensioners distributed to journalists a press release titled: “Grievances warranting Joint Nationwide Protests” by the retirees and next of kins of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

According to a release signed by Chief Temple C. Ubani (President) and Comrade Olukayode Ogunbiyi (Secretary) of the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, Electricity Sector, the issues in perspective are:

Agreement signed with the Nigeria Union of Pensioners, NUP, in 2012 have not been honoured by government.

Whereas most disengaged former workers of PHCN who retired with effect from 1st of May 2013 have been paid their entitlements, those that retired earlier, who are our members, have not been paid.

Death benefits of most former deceased staff, dating back to 1999 have not been paid, thereby subjecting the bereaved families to untold hardship.

Hon. Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo had on several occasions announced that the sum of N16 billion had been approved and set aside for payment of retirees outstanding benefits.

Government’s agencies have carried out several verification and biometric exercises to document bonafide/eligible retirees and next of kin beneficiaries.

The NUP (ES) complemented these exercises by providing manpower and logistic support from its meager check-off earnings.

The Bureau for Public Enterprises (BPE), on a number of occasions announced that necessary funds had been transferred to the Office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) to pay a number of verified, biometrically captured and cleared retirees and Next of kin beneficiaries.

The budget office of the FGN and the National Assembly (NASS) have refused to reclassify PHCN pension fund from Capital Supplementation to Service Wide Vote (RECURRENT EXPENDITURE) the first and only of its kind.  It is common knowledge that pensions and salaries are recurrent expenditures which are released monthly to make payments seamless.

The situation in paragraph (8) above gives rise to insufficient funding irregular and delayed release of pension funds by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF), delayed payments with its traumatic consequences on our aged, frail and sick members and of course some avoidable deaths.

December 2013 pension was paid in January 2014, after Xmas and New Year festivities.  January and February 2014 pension were paid by mid-March, while March and April pensions have not been paid as at today.



USAID begins Covid-19 testing in Imo rural areas



USAID averts 25,000 unwanted pregnancies in Ebonyi, Kogi

…Umuagwo Varsity of Agric kicks-off October

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has begun Covid-19 testing in the 27 Local Government Areas of Imo State, “in a bid to reduce the impact of community spread of the virus in the rural areas of the state.

The Imo State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba disclosed this in Owerri while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the Weekly Executive Council meeting presided over by Governor Hope Uzodimma on Wednesday.

Chief Emelumba said so far, the USAID officials have carried out reasonable number of testing in Njaba LGA and reported that all those tested came out negative and that the council prayed that the result from other Local Government Areas will be the same.

He announced that the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) has approved the take off of the Imo State University for Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Umuagwo in October this year.

According to him, the approval underscores the efforts which the Imo State Government ably led by Governor Hope Uzodinma has made towards the establishment of a second university for the state.

Recently, the NUC panel was in Imo State to carry out the necessary verification exercises on the state facilities, human and physical infrastructures.

Mr. Declan Emelumba, who was flanked by the Commissioner for Education, Prof. Bernard Ikegwuoha, Commissioner for Health Dr. Damaris Osunkwo and the Chief Press Secretary/Media Adviser to the Governor Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku, informed that the Executive Council is happy that something new is happening in the Education Sector of the State.

Emelumba said that the Imo State University of Science and Environmental Sciences, Umuagwo will take off by October when other universities would be resuming for a new academic session.

In the same vein, the Council has approved the immediate relocation of Faculty of Engineering Imo State University Owerri to its permanent site at Okigwe, stressing that Government has put all processes and facilities on ground to ensure the immediate take–off of the faculty.

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Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital



Imo Governor’s aide visits Oziza FM  Staff, Ogechi Iwu in hospital

The Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku has visited Mr. Ogechi Iwu, a journalist with Osiza FM.

The media man is hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Owerri over complications from diabetes that led to his right leg being amputated.

Mr. Nwachuku said the visit was to show solidarity on behalf of Governor Uzodimma to his professional colleague, assuring him of their prayers, particularly that of his principal, and the prayers of Mr. Iwu’s numerous friends and well wishers who are touched by his plight.

“I am here on behalf of my principal to associate with him in this time of health challenge and to encourage him not to see the sickness as a death sentence.”

Oge Iwu at fmc

L-R: Chief Akaraonye, Mr. Oguwike Nwachuku with Ogechi Iwu during the visit

Mr. Nwachuku urged Mr. Iwu to continue in the high spirit he saw him and trust God for his total recovery “because healing is a thing of mind and when a sick person is in high spirit the patient gets recovered quickly.”

The spokesman of the Governor promised to bring the plight of the journalist to the attention of his principal, and assured that the Governor will, in his usual manner of one with milk of human sympathy, show concern over Iwu’s plight.

Earlier, Mr. Iwu thanked the CPS/Media Adviser, the State Chairman of NUJ, Imo State, Chief Christopher Akaraonye and other journalists who were on the entourage, for coming to identify with him on his sick bed, and assured that God in his infinite mercy will quicken his recovery.

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Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council



Bishop Ugorji heads IMSU Governing Council

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma has inaugurated a new Governing Council, for the Imo State University, IMSU, Owerri.

At the inauguration ceremony on Monday, August 31, the governor named Most Rev. Lucius Ugorji as the Chairman of the Governing Council and Pro-Chancellor of the University.

Other members of the Council include: Chief Leo Stan Ekeh, Chief Tony Ezenna, Prof. (Ven.) Chinedu Nebo, Sir. Louis Ezeigwe, Chief Engr. Ernest Nwapa, Dr. (Mrs.) Uwandu Uzoma, Ugoeze Victoria Adaku Ekezie, Prof. Adaobi Obasi (Vice Chancellor) and others.

Speaking at the inauguration, Governor Uzodimma said the choice of the members is to infuse fresh air into the university because “It is in dire need to bounce back to reckoning.”
He added that the choice of the members was because they have carved a niche for themselves in their chosen fields of endeavour and that they have earned solid reputation as men and women of substance in their individual trade, indices that qualified them for the appointment.

He challenged the members to bring their reputation to bear on the University, bearing in mind the task for good quality scholarship in Imo State University as well as service to humanity.

The Governor urged the members to deploy their individual accomplishments, excellence, expertise, passion for service as effectively as necessary to actualize the dream of his administration of having a highly reputable University comparable to the best Universities in the World.

He also requested the Council to “restore in words and deeds the motto of Imo State University, which is Excellence in Service”.

“Imo State University currently is a classical example of a failed University,” Governor Uzodimma said but strongly believed that “with a star studded Governing Council such as the one inaugurated there is no doubt that Imo is on the track to realize the dreams of her founding fathers.”

He further enjoined the Council members to quickly hit the ground running and come up with policies and programmes that will reassure Imo people that the University that made them proud 20 years back is on track as he assured them of Government partnership in this regard.

In an acceptance speech, on behalf of the Council, the Chairman, Most Rev. Ugorji who is the Catholic Bishop of Umuahia thanked the Governor for the absolute confidence reposed in them by giving them the assignment and acknowledged that though the task is daunting he has a strong belief that with the calibre of members of the Council and support of the management, staff and students the University will be returned to a centre of excellence which was the dream of the founding fathers.

He said that Imo State University deserves the best and that he and his members as inaugurated will work acidulously to ensure that the target of the governor in making Imo State University one of the best universities in Africa is realised.

He congratulated fellow members and promised that God’s willing, they will not fail the government and people of Imo State.

Present at the inauguration were the Deputy Governor, Prof. Placid Njoku, the Speaker Imo State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Chiji Collins, the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Cosmas Iwu, and other members of the expanded State Executive Council.

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