Abuja – The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, says that another batch of 324 stranded Nigerians are air borne from Turkey, to arrive at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja on Sunday by 9 p.m.
The minister made the disclosure on his twitter handle @GeoffreyOnyeama on Sunday.
He said that the returnees were being conveyed by Turkish Airlines and Air Peace from Cyprus and Ankara, respectively.
Onyeama said that the Turkish Airline conveying 238 evacuees departed Cyprus and would arrive in Abuja, while the Air Peace Airline with 86 passengers would land in Lagos and later proceed to Abuja for the rest of the passengers to disembark.
“@TurkishAirlines conveying 238 Nigerian evacuees and an infant from Cyprus has departed for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
“@flyairpeace conveying 86 Nigerians is also airborne from Ankara #Turkey to Lagos and Abuja. Estimated time of arrival is 9.00 p.m.
“All evacuees will then self-isolate for the mandatory 14 days,” the minister twitted.
BENIN CITY – As the Edo State 2020 gubernatorial election draws near, the acting Chairman of Edo State Technical and Vocational Education Board, Hon. Monday Igninigie has urged people of the State to rally round Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki to deliver more dividends of democracy.
Igbinigie made the call in an interview with The Nigerian OBSERVER in Benin City.
He said the governor has performed creditably well in all sectors, adding that Edo people are not ingrates to have forgotten in a hurry the numerous achievements recorded by the Governor Obaseki’s led administration since 2016.
According to him, Obaseki has achieved a great feat in the areas of road rehabilitation/construction, Basic Education Transformation, Standard Health Care, as well as Judiciary and restructuring of the Civil Service Commission by creating a work friendly environment for workers.
He thanked the governor for prompt payment of workers’ salaries, pensions, youth/women empowerment, human capacity building, restructuring of the State’s Vocational and Technical Education sector, among others.
He noted that “I sincerely use this medium to crave the indulgence of Edo people to unanimously support the reelection bid and developmental stride of Governor Godwin Obaseki to deliver more dividends of democracy.
“His landmark and blueprint in all sectors is enormous.
“Workers and pensioners are paid regularly before the 28th of every month. Women and youths are receiving various skills acquisition training and they are equipped to become employers of labour.”
Other areas identified, he listed as, “Edo Basic Education Transformation and the restructuring of the Vocational and Technical Education sector seals all doubt.”
Hon. Igbinigie particularly applauded the governor for his utmost passion geared towards the transformation of the Government Science and Benin Technical College into a world class college.
BENIN CITY – Benin High Court has sentenced a 28 year old woman, Miss Vivian Francis to one year jail term for trafficking three girls to Edo state for prostitution
Justice Isoken Eramehan, however gave the convict an option of N125,000 fine.
The prosecutor had earlier told the Court that the convict, earlier this year recruited three girls between ages 15 and 18 from Cross River state and brought them to Benin City under the guise of working for her in her restaurant.
He said that upon reaching Benin City, the girls were taken to a brothel and forced into prostitution, which they said was not part of their agreement.
According to him, the three girls escaped from her custody at night and that as they were running, they met members of the Federal Road Safety Corp on duty and explained their predicament to them.
He said the FRSC officials later called NAPTIP who rescue the girls and thereafter arrested and commenced prosecution of the convict in the law Court.
The convict however pleaded guilty to the offence on her second appearance in Court, consequent of which Justice Eramehan, sentenced her to one year imprisonment with an option of fine.
Speaking on the judgement, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) Zonal Commander in charge of Edo, Delta and Bayelsa states, Mrs Ijeoma Uduack, said the command would not relent in ensuring that human traffickers are made to face the law.
She said the conviction would serve as deterrent to other traffickers.
Meanwhile, the convict who spoke with journalists said she regretted her action and advised others ladies not to indulge in such practice.
It was indeed a battle for supremacy between the Nigeria Police and criminal elements after some operatives from SARS escaped death when they went to interrupt suspected armed robbers and cultists, who were having meeting over their next line of banditry in Ikorodu area of Lagos.
It was reliably gathered that the suspects engaged the officers in a fierce gun battle that lasted for several hours before the Police suppressed and eventually arrested two of the suspects while others escaped and now at large. The Police also recovered arms as exhibits.
This was disclosed by the Commissioner of Police, Lagos Command, CP Hakeem Odumosu, who paraded the suspects with other criminal elements arrested across the State.
He said that on 18th June, 2020, at about 1200hrs, information received from a credible source revealed that some armed men were sighted holding unlawful meeting around Ginti area of Ijede-Ikorodu, Lagos.
On receipt of the information, SARS operatives, Ipakodo Base, swiftly mobilized to the scene. On sighting the operatives, the armed men opened fire on them.
The operatives engaged them and succeeded in arresting two of the suspects namely; Seun Alabi ‘m’ 30, and Rilwan Yesufu ‘m’ 27. One cut to size locally made pistol with three live cartridges, cutlass and charms were recovered from them.
The Police boss revealed that the suspects were both cultists and robbers terrorizing residents of Ijede-Ikorodu and its environs and had been on the Police wanted list until they ran out of luck.
He said that other gang members now at large will be soon be arrested as the Police have intensified efforts to track them in their hideout and thereafter the suspects will be charged to Court after the conclusion of the investigations.
During the parade at the Command Headquarters in Ikeja, Lagos, other suspects who committed various offences including kidnappers, traffic robbers, rapists and fraudsters, who were arrested across the State were shown to the media.
CP Odumosu used the opportunity to warn criminals that they do not have any hiding place in Lagos State.
Ahead of the September 19, 2020 gubernatorial election in Edo State, Edo indigenes in the Diaspora have thrown their weight in support of the re-election bid of the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki and his Deputy, Rt. Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu.
The governor’s support base continues to grow on the back of his personal character, integrity and performance in office, including sectoral reforms and investment in infrastructure to attract investors and industries, leading to the refurbishing of the Government Science and Technical College (GSTC), formerly Benin Technical College and setting up of the Edo Production Centre in Benin City, among others.
A cross-section of Edo indigenes in Canada and Europe maintained that the reelection of Obaseki/Shaibu for another term will give the administration the opportunity to consolidate its sustainable development drive across the state.
The Coordinator of an Europe-based socio-political pressure group, Edo Diaspora Front of UK, Jolly Iguodala, during a solidarity walk to the Nigeria High Commission in London, commended Governor Obaseki for his strides and irrepressible commitment to peace and good governance in Edo State.
He said the peace walk tagged ‘Thank You Obaseki for Liberating Edo People from the Shackles of Darkness,’ was in support of Governor Obaseki for his giant developmental paradigm in Edo State.
He noted that the re-election of Obaseki and Shiabu would further consolidate the achievements recorded in their first tenure, stressing that Edo State is in safe hands under Governor Obaseki.
“We salute Obaseki’s pragmatism and enduring sagacity to provide happiness for the generality of Edo masses. His unalloyed commitment to the provision of good governance has ruffled the godfathers and those elements who see governance as a means of self-enrichment to the detriment of the larger society. We take notice and applaud Obaseki for his timely and regular payment of workers’ salaries. We laud him for ensuring that pensioners’ entitlements are promptly paid instead of the usual practice of owing pensioners months or years allowances,” Iguodala added.
He urged for massive support for Obaseki to finish strong, by reelecting him as governor in the September 19 governorship election in Edo State.
Speaking in company of their friends and colleagues who are enthralled by the development trajectory of the government, Edo sons and daughters resident in Canada praised the Obaseki/Shaibu-led administration for its laudable initiatives to tackle human trafficking, create wealth and provide opportunities for youths to learn skills to improve their livelihoods.
The group also hailed the Obaseki/Shaibu-led government for rebuilding Blocks C and D at the Secretariat Complex; rebuilding the Samuel Ogbemudia Stadium, constructing the John Oyegun Training Institute; initiating and completing the Judges’ Quarters and delivering the CCETC-Ossiomo Power Project, among others.
The Edo State Government has said that 122 coronavirus (COVID-19) patients have been discharged from its isolation centres, while 87 new cases of the virus have been reported.
Commissioner for Health, Dr. Patrick Okundia, who disclosed while speaking to journalists in Benin City, said the state has recorded a total of 1353 cases of the virus.
According to him, ” We have recorded 87 new confirmed cases, with 31 cases reported at the Irrua Specialist Teaching Hospital (ISTH) and 56 cases at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH).
“We have made tremendous progress in the management of coronavirus, as 122 patients have been discharged from our isolation centres, bringing the total number of discharges to 718.”
He noted that a total 6300 suspected cases have been reported, with 47 deaths.
The commissioner said the state government has intensified contact tracing, linelisting and contact monitoring of contacts of the confirmed cases.
Noting that the state government is committed to controlling the spread of the virus, he said necessary actions are being taken regarding Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) practices in ISTH, UBTH and Stella Obasanjo Hospital Isolation Centre (SOHIC).
He added that that the state government has intensified public enlightenment and sensitisation on the need to get screened/tested and for prompt presentation at the designated health facilities when symptomatic.
Obaseki spends N25bn on pension payment, clears arrears with N4.3bn, commits to gratuity, harmonisation
The Edo State Government has expended over N4.3 billion in clearing the backlog of outstanding pension arrears owed about 3,128 pensioners in the state.
The state government also spent N25, 047,472,632.77 in the monthly pension payment of 13,081 pensioners from November 2016 to May 2020.
According to a Mid-Year Report by the Edo State Pension Bureau as at 30th June, 2020, “the government spent a total of N771,714,393.01 between November and December 2016 for the payment of pensions; N 5,371,283,211.09 was expended in 2017; N6,452,535,649.08 in 2018 and N7,936,681,957.45 in 2019.
“For 2020, the government spent N735,069,623.04; N736,780,760.18; N759,731,334.31; N760,620,948.61; N759,695,333.23 and N763,359,423.02 in January, February, March, April, May and June respectively.”
It was observed that with the setting aside of N200 million monthly, the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration has been able to defray arrears of pensions dating back to 1996 up to December 2018 in furtherance of its commitment to the welfare of pensioners.
“The government divided the pensioners into batches 37 to 65 and ensured that the backlog was cleared after physical and documentary verifications. Having completed the payment of outstanding pension arrears, the next steps to be considered in the weeks ahead are harmonisation of pensions, payment of Death Benefits and Gratuity.”
The report further revealed that besides clearing the backlog of pension arrears, an efficient management process has been put in place to fast-track the processing and documentation of retiring officers’ entitlements, thus ensuring a seamless migration from salary payroll to pension payroll. This, it noted, has minimised the incidence of accumulation of pension arrears that had been a burden before the inception of this administration.
The report revealed that workers who are eligible to register under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS) have the benefit of a Group Life Insurance cover that makes provision for beneficiaries of a contributor in the event of death in active service.
“The sum of N80,713,446.34 was paid as premium for 9,803 Edo State employees in the CPS. With this payment made, the next of kin of deceased employees receives three times their gross annual salary as benefits. From the commencement of the CPS on 1st January 2017 till date, a total sum of N 81,169,724.24 have been paid to families of 34 deceased employees of the State Public Service who were enrollees of the CPS,” it noted.
The report further stated: “The State Government exercised political will and has been committed to the payment of pension arrears, monthly pension, death benefits under the Defined Benefit Scheme and government’s 10 percent matching contribution into the Employees’ RSA in compliance with the provisions of the Edo State Contributory Pension Scheme Law of 2010 as amended.
“The State has made remittances of contributions of both employees (8%) and employer (10%) to the PFAs for 39 months, i.e. from January 2017 to April 2020 which amounts to N5,230,348,954.34. Of this, government’s (employer) matching (10%) contribution is N2,905,749,419.08 only, while that of the employees’ (8%) contribution is N 2,324,599,535.26.
“Also, a Retirement Benefits Bonds Redemption Fund (RBBRF) account has been opened with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). This account is being funded monthly to ensure that funds are available to defray the accrued pension rights of employees who have registered for the Contributory Pension Scheme. The RBBRF Account is being funded with five percent of the total monthly wage bill of employees in fulfillment of the provision of the Contributory Pension Scheme Law.”