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Diri warns police, others against harassment over use of facemasks

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• Tailor 2021 budget towards eradicating COVID-19, A’Ibom govt tells MDAs
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has warned the Nigerian Police and other security operatives in the state not to harass and extort money from members of the public under the guise of enforcing the order on compulsory use of facemask.

Diri gave the warning on Wednesday, while donating facemasks to representatives of bankers, markets, road transport workers, maritime, and tricycle owners unions in Government House, Yenagoa.

The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, said that the state government has neither given any taskforce nor the police the mandate to place a sanction of fine on anybody found without a facemask.

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He stressed the need for due process in the enforcement of laws to avoid trampling on the fundamental human rights of the citizens.

According to him, the state government has always shown leniency and empathy in executing the COVID-19 protocols and orders with a view to mitigating its attendant harsh consequences on the people.
While urging the police to intensify their efforts at fighting crime and criminality in the state, the governor noted that a joint taskforce might be set up to enforce the order if there was no change in the behaviour of the people.

However, it is business boom for fashion designers and tailors in the state.

They are now smiling to the banks in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital, as many of them have turned facemasks producers, especially as the state government had made the wearing compulsory.

Our correspondent gathered that most of the tailors whose business were in comatose owing to COVID- 19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, are making brisk business with making facemasks for residents.

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The facemasks, which came in different designs and colours, sold between N100 and N400 depending on the quality, material and the designs.

Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport, Mr. Akan Okon, has reiterated the need for Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to tailor their 2021 budget towards mitigating the adverse effects of the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic.

The commissioner gave the advice when the Chief of Staff to the Akwa Ibom State Governor and Supervisory Commissioner for Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, led a delegation of the Ministry of Works to the 2021 “Bilateral Discussion” at the Ministry of Economic Development and Ibom Deep Seaport.

Okon, who is also the Chairman, 2021 Capital Budget Bilateral Discussion Committee, said that the era of presenting an unrealistic budget was over, while advising the MDAs to come up with budget sizes that are realistic and achievable.

Also, the Chief of Staff and Supervisory Commissioner of Works, Mr. Ephraim Inyang-Eyen, in his contribution, commended the state governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for investing the state’s resources on people-oriented projects.

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Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State government has said that it was unreasonable and unlawful for healthcare professionals to embark on strike action during period of coronavirus pandemic.

The government said that any worker not found on duty would be considered to be no longer interested in the job and would be relieved of such duty with immediate effect.

This was contained in a statement by the state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Udoh.

His words: “The attention of Akwa Ibom State government has been drawn to an ill conceived industrial action embarked upon by the Joint Health Workers Union (JOHESU) over an unreasonable demand for payment of 50 per cent of basic salaries as hazard allowance in this harsh economic climate.

This is in spite of concerted efforts by government to provide the best of working conditions for health workers in the state, including up to date payment of all due salaries and allowances, which makes our state one of the best paying states in the health sector.

“The efforts of the state government in this regard has continued to receive widespread commendations from various healthcare stakeholders in the country.”

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