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We’ll remain on strike until Enugu Govt meets our demands – NULGE, NUT



PHOTO FILE: Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (centre) with some children of Enugu State who visited the Government House, Enugu to celebrate 2016 Children’s Day with the governor

Local Government workers in Enugu State, on Tuesday, gave reasons why the industrial action declared over the non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage has persisted saying the state government has refused to address the contentious issues that necessitated the strike.

The strike, which has lasted for two weeks, strike has grounded activities in all the public primary schools, local government system, as well as the primary healthcare.

The Primary schools were planning to commence third-term examination before the teachers withdrew their services.

They made the disclosure at a joint press briefing addressed by the Nigeria Union of Local Government Employees, NULGE, and the Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT.

NULGE President, Comrade Kenneth Ugwueze told the media that two weeks into the strike, the local government chairmen were yet to take positive action.

“We are still demanding that minimum wage and consequential adjustments be paid to workers.

“This is the first time in the history of old Anambra State that we have salary disparity among civil servants in the State.

“Some categories of workers are being paid for over two years now, whereas others are not despite the fact that monthly allocation has improved within this period.

“So, we appeal to the Government to do the needful because even the N30,000 is due for review, it’s not enough. The Government should look into our plight.
Minimum wage is an act of the National Assembly, it’s not a jamboree, it’s meant to close the gap being created by galloping inflation.”

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Also speaking the State Chairman of NUT, Comrade Theophilus Odo recalled that on 21st of July, they had issued a strike notice, during which they made it clear that “the patience of the workers has run out, it has been over-stretched

“We made it clear that after 7 days, we will down tools, so on the 28 of July, the workers downed tools.

“It’s now two weeks but the government is yet to come up to do anything. It is based on this that we are again appealing to the Governor to prevail on the local government chairmen to do the needful.

“The workers are not happy being on strike, but they are helpless.

“So, the leadership of NUT and NULGE are appealing to the Government to look into this matter without further delay for industrial harmony to continue in the State.”

Meanwhile when asked whether the Government had not reached out since the action commenced, the labour leaders said a meeting was held during which the Government demanded that they suspend the strike before any negotiation could commence.

The unionists, however, said their members rejected such a condition.

They disclosed that Government said it approved minimum wage for levels 1-6 in the local government service, which they said constituted less than 10 percent of the local government workforce.

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PDP demands probe of Supreme Court fire disaster



The Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) has demanded a thorough investigation into the fire incident that gutted a section of the Supreme Court in the early hours of Monday.

The party raised the alarm over the incident which it described as suspicious giving the fact that a verdict on a sensitive issue of national importance is being expected.

National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba made the position of the opposition party on the fire incident known in a statement on Monday.

He said, “The PDP is worried over the fire outbreak especially given heightened public apprehension of possible arsonist attack with the intent to cripple and frustrate the Supreme Court from effectively discharging its constitutional duties especially with regard to high profile electoral cases including the Presidential Election Appeals pending before it.

“Our Party demands for an immediate full-scale investigation into the fire outbreak with the view to unraveling the circumstances or possible sabotage in the incident.

“The PDP insists that the outcome of the investigation should be made public unlike those of previous fire incidents in various government Ministries, Departments and Agencies which were characteristically swept under the carpet by the All Progressives Congress (APC) administrations.

“While calling on the Federal Government to beef up security around the Supreme Court, the PDP also demands that Nigerians must be assured of the safety of sensitive documents and equipment at the Court especially at this critical time.”

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Gov. Mbah tasks FG on New Road Maintenance Model as bridge collapses along Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway



Gov Peter Mbah (centre) and some government officials during inspection of the collapsed bridge in Enugu on Monday

…urges FG to concession roads to states

Governor of Enugu State, Dr. Peter Mbah, has called for a new road maintenance model to guarantee a better condition and longevity of Nigerians roads, regretting that the current model had failed woefully.

Dr. Mbah made the call when he visited the site of the collapsed bridge between the New Artisan flyover and the NNPC Mega Station along the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway.

The collapsed bridge

Fielding questions from newsmen after the first-hand inspection of the scene of the disaster, Mbah who thanked God that no life was lost despite the magnitude of the incident, urged the federal government to consider a concession of all the federal roads in each state to the state governments for proper maintenance in conjunction with the private sector.

“I think the question should be whether the current model of federal road maintenance is working or not; and I think that is the bigger question that we must ask.

“Today, we are here witnessing a tragedy that has just occurred. We are fortunate enough that no life was lost, but this could have been prevented entirely. So, the people can no longer ply this route because of this tragedy. This shows clearly that we do not have a sound federal road maintenance model.

“The bridge collapse didn’t just happen. These threats could have been identified if we had routine or regular maintenance.

“Perhaps the way to go is to find a way to concession these roads to the states. The states need to take charge of the roads within their domains and there has to be a conversation around the funding models”.

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Gov Mbah (R) inspecting the collapsed New Artisan Enugu bridge that collapsed on Monday

The said bridge collapsed on Monday, leaving commuters stranded.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the Enugu State Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr. Gerald Otiji, government has advised commuters to use Nza Street through New Haven or ply Ogui Road and Abakaliki Road to their various destinations, while the authorities come up with measures for immediate repair on the failed section of the bridge.

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Flyover bridge collapses in Enugu, no casualty



The collapsed flyover bridge in Enugu
The flyover bridge across the Enugu – Port Harcourt Expressway at the Enugu New Artisan market in Enugu state capital has collapsed.

The bridge collapsed Monday morning but an eyewitness said there was no casualty as artisans and residents were yet to come out from their homes for the day’s activity.

The eyewitness, an Auto Mechanic who identified himself as Nnamdi, told The Advocate that two lorries conveying goods which were on the bridge when the incident occurred were affected.

According to him, drivers and conductors of the two lorries, however, escaped unhurt.

The Advocate observed that one lane of the Enugu – Port Harcourt dual-carriage way had been blocked by the debris of the collapsed bridge forcing motorists playing the expressway to divert through alternative routes to continue their journey.

Security operatives, officials of the Federal and Enugu State Ministries of Works, Federal Road Maintenance Agency, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) were sighted within the area to access the situation as well as to assist the road users plying the alternative routes.

Residents of Goshen Estate, Premier Layout, worshippers at the Dunamis Church and traders at the New Artisan market who are regular users of the bridge are likely to encounter serious traffic gridlock on account of the collapsed bridge, if an alternative route is not created as a matter of urgency.

The state government has yet to speak on the development by press time.

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