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Rivers enrols fresh 2,673 pensioners as cleric raps FG on pollution

By From Kelvin Ebiri and Ann Godwin, Port Harcourt
10 December 2019   |   4:02 am
Governor Nyesom Wike has approved the inclusion of 2,673 additional retirees into the Rivers State’s monthly pension payment scheme.

Governor Nyesom Wike has approved the inclusion of 2,673 additional retirees into the Rivers State’s monthly pension payment scheme.

The authorisation followed the completion of their biometric capture.

Prior to the new development, the state had 15,400 pensioners receiving their monthly pensions from the current administration.

The Rivers State Pension Board’s Director General, Ijeoma Samuel, who made the disclosure in Port Harcourt, said the decision was in line with the governor’s avowal to the wellbeing of public servants.

He stated that an information and communications technology (ICT) department would soon commence biometric verification of the next batch of workers that retired between August and December this year.

Samuel commended Governor Wike for giving the pensioners what he called a ‘new song’ for the Christmas and New Year, even as he wished the retirees well.

“The strategic payment of pensioners is in fulfillment of the pledge made by Governor Wike after he signed into law the Rivers State Pension Reform Law (No 4 of 2019),” he recalled.

The state government has already commenced the payment of pensioners under the Contributory Pension Scheme (CPS).

Meanwhile, the General Overseer of Abundant Life Evangel Mission International, Apostle Eugene Ogu, has blamed the persistent atmospheric pollution in the state to the “deliberate refusal by the Federal Government to find solution to the challenge.”

He argued that government had the wherewithal to halt the problem in a day but stressed that the “lack of commitment to the problem facing the masses of the country, including the soot in Rivers, is causing the country pains, difficulties and deaths.”

The cleric, who spoke yesterday during the thanksgiving service of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) to mark the end of its 2019 Press Week in Port Harcourt, stated: “There is lack of commitment to the problem facing the masses of this country. Government has the capacity to stop the soot in just one day.”

He went on: “The government has the capacity to stop any of its agencies that is involved in the menace in Rivers State. If it is the police that are involved, government can stop them. If it is the army, government can stop it, and if it is the navy, government can stop it.”

Commending the media for its commitment to the fight against environmental injustices in the Niger Delta region, Ogu charged the practitioners to remain resolute in reporting the problems confronting Rivers and the entire oil-rich region.

“Your profession does wonders around the world. A great press cannot be compromised. A great press does investigative journalism. A great press is not influenced by bribe and money.

“The press needs to give 24-hour commitment to this menace called soot. The press should not just talk or write about it, follow the Ministry of Health until we know what they are doing about it,” he urged.

Chairman of the chapel, Ernest Chinwo, said the group came to thank God for His guidance and protection all through the year, especially during the 2019 general elections in the state and the November 16, 2019 governorship polls in Bayelsa.

He said the Press Week was devoted to raising awareness and getting stakeholders involved in issues of the environment as they affect Rivers as well as the ongoing cleanup in Ogoniland.