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The Anambra State Governor, Chief
Willie Obiano, has said that it is a sin for any employer of labour
particularly government to owe workers’ salaries in a time of recession the
country is in now.

Obiano said this during the
commencement of the Anambra State Fire and Safety Summit in Awka on Wednesday.

 He said payment of workers’ salaries would
energise the economy in a recession and make life more meaningful for the
people.

 The governor, who expressed fear that the
dollar would continue to rise against the naira, said it would take no fewer
than 18 months for the economic downturn in the country to subside.

He said, “A state that does not pay
its workers is inviting calamity. Payment of workers’ salaries energises the
economy.

“We saw this recession early and
made agriculture one of the pillars of our administration.

This is why we have been paying our
workers. It is wicked to owe workers at a time like this.

“People should embrace risk
management. That is the solution to disaster, especially in a recession.

“No recession lasts less than 18
months, so we need to wake up. The naira is moving to N500 per dollar.

“We need to secure our certificates
and other valuables of ours so that nothing will happen to them overnight.
That’s the way to survive in a recession.”

He said his administration foresaw
the trouble and embarked on preemptive measures such as investment in
agriculture.

 Obiano posited that risk management was the solution
to economic recession.

 He called on Nigerians to develop the culture
of insuring their lives and property, arguing that it was one sure way of
mitigating the adverse effects of disasters whenever they would occur.

The governor, however, observed
that the people of the South-East geopolitical zone had not been paying
attention to insurance.

He added that that was why they
were usually the worse hit whenever disasters occurred.

He said that his administration had
acquired 10 sophisticated modern fire-fighting trucks to boost the activities
of the state fire service

 The governor advised that rather than approach
government for assistance whenever disaster occurred, the people should form
the habit of taking insurance policies.

“My expectation is that our people
will be better informed about disaster and its management after listening to
the various speakers at this summit,” the governor said.

The Executive Secretary of the
Anambra State Emergency Management Agency, 
Chief Paul Odenigbo, whose office collaborated with the Institute of
Safety Professionals of Nigeria to organise the summit, said fire accidents,
building collapse and flooding in the state had been given the state government
concern.

He said that from an emergency
management perspective, a high population density state such as Anambra State
was prone to disaster.

Odenigbo, therefore, urged the
people to always be proactive.

The President of IPSON, Dr. Nnamdi
Ilodiuba, said that over the years, the state had witnessed numerous incidents
of safety concerns.

 He noted that statistics showed that hardly
would a year pass without cases of fire outbreak in major markets and business
centres in the state.

Ilodiuba said, “We are saddened by
the fact that these incidents could very well have been prevented had there
been some degree of basic safety consciousness and awareness among the
populace.

“The way forward is by bringing
about a change in the knowledge and attitude of the citizens, particularly in
the area of safety.”

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