By Lucky Isibor
State chairman, Trade Union Congress, TUC Edo State chapter, Comrade Marshal Orhue, on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 asked the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to explain the reason the newly built and commissioned Benin City Central Hospital is yet to be functional.
He expressed his worries while delivering his welcome address at the workers day celebration held at the Sports Complex, University of Benin.
“May I draw your attention towards a very beautiful gigantic edifice in Central Hospital built some years ago, commissioned by the president, federal republic of Nigeria but to our surprise, till now, it is not open for activities.
“May we ask your Excellency the reason why it is not open for activities? Another “the more you look the less you see”
Comrade Marshal said the state government should do all in its power to revive the Bendel Brewery and the Bendel Newspaper Company Ltd (Observer).
He said the deplorable state of Bendel Newspaper Company Ltd (Observer) is becoming very worrisome adding that it was established in 1968 with a view to disseminate both government and private information to the people.
He said past government through one way other have used Observer to achieve their political goals on the quest of becoming a governor but sooner they achieved their goals, it is never remembered for good.
“I made bold to say, Observer has no single good vehicle or good printing machines to enable it compete with others in this modern business competitive world as the machines are obsolete.
“The paper quality is an eloquent testimony of this facts before you, your Excellency, this is a dying system and could be arrested at its early stage before it degenerates into a worse scenario”, he said.
Also speaking, the state chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Edo State chapter, Comrade Emmanuel Ademokun, decried the salary arrears spanning three to thirteen months owed workers in some tertiary institutions-namely: Edo State Polytechnic, Usen, College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, College of Education, Ekiadolor and College of Education, Igueben.
Ademokun however commended the state governor for laying the foundation stone of the ultra modern labour house adding that such act has placed the name of the governor in the golden sand of history of the labour movement in Nigeria.
On the part of the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, he commended the workers for their contributions to the development of the country.
He said he has approved the release of N1.5bn from the Paris Fund Refund to liquidate the outstanding local government pension arrears as one of the steps to address all outstanding issues with pension arrears payment in the state.
He also said recruitment of new hands, approval of outstanding promotions and provision of social housing for workers in the state will also be given top priority by his government.
Obaseki said the workers have been supportive and instrumental to the successes being recorded in the state.
He noted that capacity building forms a huge part of the reforms in the civil service, adding that an Edo State Civil Service Training Institute for civil servants will be unveiled before the end of the year.
In his words “the facility is ready with relevant technology and experts are now putting together courses, training modules and the faculty.
”This is to empower our workers and make them relevant to our developmental goals. All Edo workers will henceforth have the opportunity to attend one or two trainings annually. This will strengthen our civil service and empower our workers to do much better.”
On social housing for workers, he said the state was working with partners to develop a package to provide housing to workers in the state, saying that in delivering Housing to workers, plans are on between the Federal Mortgage Bank, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Edo State Government to provide Housing for Edo State workers.
“The repositioned Edo Development and Property Agency (EDPA) is also working on social housing for Edo workers by private investors.
“The process of computerizing all government offices is on-going. The first set of 1000 computers have been procured and distributed. Another set of 1000 computers are on order. Workers are being trained by the ICT Agency. The overall goal is to maintain document security, reduce waste, improve efficiency and enhance service delivery. I am pleased to note that our workers are responding appropriately to this initiative.”