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Our Pains Over Unpaid Benefits — Retired Abia Judges




The battle by retired judges in Abia State for their retirement benefits has worsened the sorry tales of senior citizens in Nigeria.

Since 2007, successive governments in the state have deliberately left the former judges to live in penury.

In a desperate effort to force the government to pay their benefits, the retired Judges in 2020, dragged the state government before   the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NIC.Unfortunately, as the court case rages , five of the former judges died without getting their benefits.

Sadly, many of them that are still living are fighting several and different health challenges and unable to afford proper medical care.Sources informed Vanguard that previous administrations had made several commitments to pay to no avail.In fact, the immediate past Government of Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, reportedly promised to pay N10 million to the retired Judges every month, “but only did so for one month.”

Nonetheless, “desirous of bringing the sufferings of the retired jurists to an end, Governor Otti met with the senior citizens on July 25, 2023,   and assured them of Government’s resolve to end their sorrow”, a source said.

At a meeting convened by the governor, the retired Judges and their Counsel, Professor Awa Kalu, SAN, (a former Attorney General of the state), reportedly agreed to set up a committee to resolve the issue.

“The committee to be constituted among the retired judges, officials from the Ministry of Justice and relevant officers of government, will calculate and confirm the actual sum due to each of the retired Judges or the beneficiaries of those deceased and report back to the Governor within two weeks”, the source said.

“This is to enable the Government set up a pragmatic strategy that would ensure the immediate liquidation of the outstanding retirement benefits,” said the State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Ikechukwu Uwanna, who was at the meeting.

“His Excellency decried how the state has rewarded its citizen who slaved for the peace, development and progress of Abia State with penury and promised to reverse the trend,” Uwanna added.

In a chat with with Vanguard, leader of the retired Judges and a former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Sunday Imo, spoke about the development.

He said “We are satisfied by the assurances given by Governor Otti, and the warm reception he accorded us. He invited us following the harsh treatment we received from the previous administration.

“We took the State Government to court for non-payment of our pension arrears. When Otti assumed office he learned about it and contacted our Counsel, Awa Kalu, SAN

“He said he did not want that type of embarrassment (to be in court with public servants, much more retired Judges). He said he would want the matter sorted out. So, the Governor gave us a date, we went, and he assured he was going to do everything possible to ensure the matter is settled. We want to believe him.”

On the number of retired Judges in Abia State, the former Chief Judge said “17 of us (retired Judges) are still living. We were 22 when we took the matter to court in 2020, but five of our colleagues who instituted the litigation have died.

“We don’t want to continue with the matter in court. If we had wanted to   embarrass the Government we would have publicised it. But people did not know about it except the body of retired Permanent Secretaries.”

On how much they are owed, Justice Imo said “Not much was owed by the administration of Governor Theodore Orji. The bulk of the whole thing rose during Governor Ikpeazu’s time.

“As at the time we went to court some of us were owed over N50 million. For instance, at a time they were paying anything they liked. The pay sometimes, one third, half, and one quarter and the shortfalls alone as at April 2023, my own was close to N10 million.

“The amount is huge. We are not even expecting the Governor to pay the lump sum once as that may not be possible. All we want is a firm commitment on how to pay the arrears.

“Then let him settle down and start paying regularly and in full. He can now design a way to clear the arrears gradually.”


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Akwa Ibom Lawmaker Cautions Students Against Cultism



The Senator representing Akwa Ibom South Senatorial district at the National Assembly, Senator Ekong Sampson, has advised secondary school students in the state to shun the practice of cultism as it can destroy their future careers.

He advised them to face their studies seriously, adding that great leaders of today never made it through cultism, but through a dint of hard work in educational pursuits.

Sampson, who is the Vice chairman of, the Senate Committee on Education, gave the admonition while celebrating his 57th birthday with the students at Saint Francis Secondary School, in the Eket Local government area of the state at the weekend.

Giving reasons why he chose to celebrate his birthday in the classroom, the senator said he is a product of education, adding that he became what he is because he took his education pursuit seriously.

While noting that education remains the key to a sustainable and successful life, the senator prayed that he would want to see them excel in their chosen careers, becoming medical doctors, engineers, pilots and so forth.

He said ” I’m here as a product of education, I have worked hard to promote education because without education I wouldn’t have been where I am today.

‘”Today, I am the Vice chairman Senate Committee on Education, I thank the Senate President, senator Godswill Akpabio, and my colleagues who allowed me to be involved in education in the Senate. The more we promote education, the more we tackle social vices that confront us such as insecurity and the rest.

“So, we must not leave education in the hands of government alone; every stakeholder should be involved in education. During my birthday, I go to school to teach. I have taught in  Mkpat-Enin school, last year, I was at Mbo, and today is the turn of Eket.

“We are thanking God that Akwa Ibom State is taking centre stage through a young man called John Obot, who has broken the Guinness World Record in marathon reading aloud. John Obot has become a national and international Icon.

“Don’t allow yourself to be involved in cultism because cultists cannot get to where I am today. Governor Udom Emmanuel is not a cultist, Senator Godswill Akpabio is not a cultist, President Bola Tinubu, from what I have heard is not a cultist; they all made it through education.

He promised to build a befitting staff quarter for the school and transform in the entire school.

The senator started the celebration with a lecture he delivered titled ” Imagination in Essay Composition: Unity in tenses at the end of which he donated a token to a few students who excelled in the spelling competition.

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Lagos Govt. Postpones Introduction Of HPV Vaccine



The Lagos State government has postponed the introduction of Human Papillomavirus Vaccine (HPVV) campaign earlier scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25, for logistics reasons as informed by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH).

A new date for the introduction of the HPVV campaign would be announced later.

This was announced by the commissioner for health in Lagos, Akin Abayomi, a statement by Filade Olumide, deputy director, public affairs, LSPHCB, said on Friday.

“The State Government regrets any inconveniences that may occur as a result of the postponement. As soon as a new date is communicated to Lagos, members of the public will be informed accordingly,” the statement quoted Abayomi.

The Human Papillomavirus is a sexually transmitted disease that causes cervical cancer and other HPV-related diseases such as skin and vaginal warts.

About 19 per cent of women initiate sexual intercourse by age 15 thereby increasing the risk of HPV infection, the NDHS report 2018 says.

“Nigeria’s HPV vaccine introduction for girls of the targeted age nine to 14 years will potentially prevent 71,000 deaths annually.

“HPV vaccination at an early age is highly important as it provides the best protection. The objective of the HPV vaccination is to give all eligible girls injectable HPV vaccine into the arm, for protection against cervical cancer.

“Schools, churches, mosques, primary health centres, hospitals, outreach posts, markets, gated estates and other designated posts within the community have been earmarked as vaccination centres.

“In view of this, we solicit with all parents, guardians’ community leaders, pastors, and imams to ensure that all eligible girls are vaccinated during the campaign.

“Please note that routine immunisation services will also be available at the Primary Healthcare Centres all over the 20 Local Governments and 37 Local Council Development Areas in the State during the HPV vaccination campaign.

“The HPV vaccine is free, safe, highly effective and a lifesaver,” the statement said.

For enquiries, residents of Lagos state are to contact the Primary Health Care Department of their local government/local council development area or any primary health centre close to one.

“Please avail yourself of this information and share it with others,” the statement said.


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Kebbi Bans Mining, Shuts Down Sites



Kebbi State Government has announced a ban on all mining activities in the state.

Speaking to journalists in the state capital Birnin Kebbi on Friday, Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Yakubu Tafida, said the government took the action because of insecurity.

Tafida said the need to protect mining workers, and host communities and put in measures for revenue generation was another reason why the decision was taken.

He said the state government was not unmindful of the fact that mining is under Exclusive Legislative List, but took action after a thorough assessment of the current security situation.

He explained that the state government believes that it is important to prioritize the protection and security of its citizens and also prevent mining fields from being converted to breeding criminals by unauthorized foreigners.

This is because it has happened in other neighbouring states which they want to avoid.

Speaking further the SSG said the government had decided to address the concerns through comprehensive evaluation and enforcement of strict regulations that will promote responsible mining, safeguard the environment, enhance revenue generation and above all, secure lives.

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