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Igbo President in Lagos seeks release of kinsmen in prisons

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Igbo President in Lagos seeks release of kinsmen in prisons

The new President of the Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos, Chief Sunday Ude, has said he would collaborate with relevant agencies to secure the release of kinsmen languishing in Lagos prisons for various offences.

Speaking after being declared the winner of an election to oversee the affairs of Igbo in Lagos yesterday, Ude said he was aware that many Igbo were languishing in Lagos prisons for sundry offences.

He said that he would also focus on improving the welfare of Igbo people in Lagos, including providing health care services at the monthly meeting of Igbo community associations.

The president, elected for a four-year tenure, said that he would also work to unite Igbo in every Local Government Area in the state.

Ude, who was sworn-in by Mr. Vitalis Chukwueke, the legal adviser of the body, scored 112 votes to defeat Chief Patrick Mba, who scored 54 votes and Chief Sunday Eze, who garnered 28 votes.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that no fewer than 200 delegates from 20 Local Government Areas in the state participated in the election.

The Secretary of the body, Mr. Chuks Odimegwu, said that the new executive would attend to the needs of Igbos resident in Lagos.

Other elected members are Mr. Eche Nwaude, Deputy President, Odimegwu as secretary and Mrs. Kate Igbokwe, women leader.

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US warns citizens over Saudi travel

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US warns citizens over Saudi travel

The U.S. State Department called on American citizens to “exercise increased caution” while traveling to Saudi Arabia, a travel advisory posted on its website said on Wednesday.

U.S. Mission personnel and their families are not permitted to use the airport in Abha without Chief of Mission approval, the note added.

Abha airport has been frequently attacked by drones and missiles launched from Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthi group, reports Reuters.

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BREAKING NEWS

Wrestling: Nigeria’s Adekuoroye qualifies for Tokyo 2020

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Wrestling: Nigeria’s Adekuoroye qualifies for Tokyo 2020

Nigeria’s Odunayo Adekuoroye (57kg) is through to the semi finals of the 2019 Senior World Wrestling Championships in Kazakhstan after dismantling In Sun Jong of North Korea 12-2 via technical superiority.

She has qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as a result.

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Metro and Crime

71 suspects arrested as Lagosians lament increasing cultism, robbery cases

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71 suspects arrested as Lagosians lament increasing cultism, robbery cases

Muritala Ayinla

There is growing tension and anxiety in Lagos over increasing daylight robberies and other crimes perpetrated by cultists and robbers in the metropolis.

This was even as the Lagos State Task Force said that it has arrested another 71 miscreants around railway-line in Oshodi as part of efforts to rid the state of all criminal elements, especially those operating at notorious black spots across the metropolis.

While some residents are raising concerns over increasing robberies during traffic and in some streets, other expressed worry over heavy presence of hoodlums smoking Indian hemp and using other hard drugs in their areas without anyone checking them.

Confirming the development, the Taskforce Chairman of the Agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, who led the enforcement team in Wednesday’s early morning raid, said that some of those arrested were in possession of suspected illegal substances (Indian hemp) and other dangerous drugs such as Codeine, Skunk and Tramadol.

He explained that the crackdown is in line with the determination of the Task Force to curtail the activities of hoodlums who rob unsuspecting members of the public.

Egbeyemi reiterated that all identified black spots across the state would be continuously raided and arrested suspects would be fully prosecuted if found guilty, stressing that the present administration has zero-tolerance for all forms of crimes and criminality.

“Lagos State is the most populous in Nigeria as well as its economic heartbeat. As such, the state government is committed to providing a conducive environment for both local and foreign investors,” he said.

He, however, revealed that while 13 of all the arrested 71 suspects were released after a thoroughly screening by the Chairman. The only underage male among them was transferred to the Lagos State Correctional Centre for proper rehabilitation.

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Minimum wage: Workers threaten strike without notice

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Minimum wage: Workers threaten strike without notice

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rganised Labour under the auspices Trade Union Side (TUS) of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC), has called on Nigerians to appeal to the Federal Government to implement the N30,000 signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari as the minimum wage with adequate consequential adjustments, to avert a strike action.

 

 

In a statement issued on yesterday in Abuja,  the TUS Acting Chairman, Comrade Anchaver Simon, said it had become imperative to alert the general public that all efforts by the Trade Unions to persuade the government to implement the new wage signed into law since April had proved abortive.

 

 

According to him, no further notification would be given to the Federal Government before millions of its members at the Federal and 36 States Public Services down tools.

 

 

Simon gave details of the breakdown in negotiation saying: “The Consequential Adjustment Committee two weeks ago agreed that the proposal of the TUS that salary of officers on grade levels 07-14 should be increased by 29 per cent and those of officers on grade levels 15-17 by 24 per cent vis-a-vis that of Government Side of 10 per cent for officers on Grade levels 07-14, 5.5 per cent for those on Grade Level 15-17 should be forwarded to President Buhari to see the patriotic position of labour and approved appropriate consequential adjustment accordingly.

 

“When the meeting reconvened on Monday  September 16, 2019 to get a feedback on the expected approval from Mr. President, the Government Officials brought a fresh proposal of 11 per cent pay rise for officers on Grade Levels 07-14 instead of its earlier position of 10 per cent and 6.5 per cent for those on grade levels 15-17 instead of the former 5.5 per cent.”

 

According to him, it had become clear to the union that the Government Side was not serious about paying millions of workers a new National Minimum Wage and adequate consequential adjustment, but preferred taking the Trade Unions for a ride.

 

While stressing that as a responsible Trade Union, the TUS had given the government enough time to come to terms with workers demand, he said it appeared that the only language necessary for government to act was a strike action. He  disclosed that initially, it recommended 66.6 per cent across board, so as to maintain existing relativity in emoluments of Public Servants, but the Government Side argued that the Wage Bill would be too high.

 

 

“Consequently, the TUS scaled its demand downward by suggesting that officers on grade levels 07-14 should receive 30 per cent pay rise while those on grade levels 15-17 should get 25 per cent, the Government Side proposed 9.5 per cent for grade levels 07-14 and 5 per cent for grade levels 15-17.

 

“Both parties agreed thereafter to forward the two positions to the plenary session of the enlarged Consequential Adjustment Committee for consideration.”

 

Explaining further, the union leader said to their surprise, when the Committee reconvened on 27th June, 2019, the Government Side introduced a strange clause and argued that the Term of Reference of the Panel was to apply the subhead of emoluments contained in the 2019 Budget across board to pay the minimum wage which the TUS objected to.

 

 

“It is difficult to understand why the political appointees who cart millions of naira away every month are determined that Nigerian workers must not get N30,000 monthly minimum wage with fair consequential adjustment.

“As we write, Nigeria is rated the poorest country in the whole world and yet, government is refusing to implement a minimum wage for Nigerian workers to lift millions of citizens out of poverty,” the Union regretted.

 

 

The TUS called on eminent citizens, royal fathers, religious leaders, and civil society groups to plead with the Federal Government to implement the new National Minimum Wage with adequate consequential adjustments to avoid the looming industrial crisis.

 

 

Meanwhile, the union says the  Trade Union Congress of Nigerian (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had been briefed on the breakdown of negotiation in respect of consequential adjustment arising from the new N30,000 monthly National Minimum Wage.

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ECOWAS parliament wants Nigeria’s to open borders

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ECOWAS parliament wants Nigeria’s to open borders

 

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he recent closure of the Nigerian borders with West African neighbours might hamper the implementation of the free trade movement within the sub-region of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS), officials said.

Moustapha Lo, the regional bloc’s parliament speaker, said this while addressing parliamentarians at the ongoing 2nd Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia.

Lo said in a statement yesterday that they were seeking a reversal of the decision by the Nigerian government.

 

 

The speaker said that this border closure would continue to pose a threat to the implementation of the protocol on the free movement of persons within the region.

 

The parliament speaker noted that this development came at a time when Africa was working to intensify efforts for the effective abolition of barriers within the member-states.

 

The Nigerian authorities had closed the borders with Benin about a month ago and Niger more recently, as a measure toward tacking the challenge of smuggling.

 

The ECOWAS parliament said this is a hindrance to the achievement of the regional bloc’s main objective, which includes “achieving the creation of a prosperous, borderless West African region where peace and harmony prevail.”.

“The ECOWAS Parliament calls for compliance with Community provisions and thus calls for the reopening of borders and a coordinated fight against smuggling in the region.”

 

“The root causes of this recurrent situation must be studied with a view to finding a permanent solution,” Lo said

It further urged the Nigerian government to find a permanent solution to the challenge of smuggling, rather than closing the borders, which, the ECOWAS parliament said, was not a lasting solution.

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Gbajabiamila ends ABU,NMCN’s rift over nursing’s accreditation

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Gbajabiamila ends ABU,NMCN’s rift over nursing’s accreditation

F

ollowing intervention by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, the full accreditation status of the School of Nursing Sciences of the College of Medical Sciences of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria has been restored.

The speaker had mandated the House Committee on Health care Services, chaired by Hon. Dr Tanko Sununu to intervene and ensure the accreditation, withdrawn in May 2019 by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria was restored.

At a stakeholders’ meeting on Monday at the House of Representatives, Hon. Sununu in his opening remarks said Speaker Gbajabiamila became worried over the withdrawal of the accreditation of the Nursing School as a result of the negative impact it had on the academic pursuit of the students, manpower and the provision of healthcare service to the Nigerian society.

The controversy that began in 2015 eventually led to the withdrawal of the School’s full accreditation status granted to the Bachelor of Nursing Science (BNSC) programme by the Council on May 27th, 2019 following the appointment of the School’s Head of Department, Prof. Hayat Gommaa, an Egyptian.

According to the lawmaker, the committee had reached out to students, the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria (NMCN), the Vice-Chancellor and the Provost of the College of Medical Sciences of the Ahmadu Bello University as well as other stakeholders.

In his presentation, NMCN’s Registrar/Secretary General, Faruk Abubakar, said the withdrawal of the accreditation became necessary following the breach of the law that makes it mandatory that any person seeking to train nurses in Nigeria to be registered by the Council.

The Council said despite its repeated observations, ABU and the Head of the Department of the Nursing School, Gommaa, who has been in the employ of the School for about eight years, failed to comply with the law as she refused to register with the Council.

As such, the Council said it was left with no option than to withdraw the school’s accreditation, and stop Prof. Gommaa from practising nursing in Nigeria in compliance with the law.

On his part, the Provost of the College of Medical Sciences (ABU), Prof. Abdulahi Randawa, said the withdrawal of the accreditation was regretted but that Gommaa, whose appointment was the subject of the controversy has resigned and Muhammad Ladan appointed as the new HOD.

Sununu, who was supported by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee, Hon Babatunde Adejare and other members commended both parties for their maturity in handling the issue, which he said was what Speaker Gbajabiamila had hoped for.

He said: “We are happy that this controversy that has generated so much interest in the social media has been resolved amicably. The withdrawal of the accreditation was as a result of a misunderstanding between the NMCN and the University.

“It was this that got Mr Speaker worried and he

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Abiodun: I won’t appoint yes-men into my cabinet

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Abiodun: I won’t appoint  yes-men into my cabinet

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gun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, yesterday said he would not give appointment to yes-men or surround himself with cabinet lacking the ability to challenge him on good governance.

 

Abiodun, who spoke at a thanksgiving and praise programme held to celebrate his victory at the election petitions tribunal, said he had identified indigenes of the state in various sectors, who were doing well and ready to work with him.

 

The event, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Abeokuta, was attended by notable chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC), former and serving government functionaries as well as traditional rulers.

Addressing the gathering, the governor assured them that his administration would be run by people who were ready to work for the development of the state.

 

“I’m not ready to work with yes-men; those that can never challenge me in administering the state. I will surround myself with smartest people who have something to offer; I mean intelligent people,” he stated.

Abiodun thanked God for “shaming” his detractors and those who attempted to frustrate his political aspiration with the tribunal judgement delivered on Saturday.

 

 

He said: “I almost gave up on contesting for and serving in public office when my attempts to become governor in 2003 and senator in 2015 fell through. I never knew that God was taking me through a crucible to prepare me for this great task.

 

 

“Because of this, I have a tripartite agreement between me, God and Ogun people; and I don’t intend to betray the trust reposed in me. I am guided by a vision predicated on good governance, and this is what I am committed to pursue and deliver to the people.”

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Don’t undermine FG’s plan on VAT increase, BMO urges PDP

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Don’t undermine FG’s plan on VAT increase, BMO urges PDP

 

T

he Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to undermine the Federal Government’s plan to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) from 5 per cent to 7.5 per cent.

 

 

BMO in a statement signed by its Chairman, Niyi Akinsiju, in Abuja yesterday, described the plan as patriotic and genuine geared towards raising the needed resources to address some of the major infrastructural needs of the country.

 

The PDP had in a statement issued on September 12 by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, protested against the government’s decision to increase the VAT.

 

BMO urged the party not to undermine a patriotic and genuine effort of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to raise the needed resources to address some of the major infrastructural needs of Nigerians.

 

According to the statement; “PDP should genuinely express concern that Nigerians could not bear the burden of the 2.2 per cent marginal increase in VAT under the prevailing economic situation in the country.

 

“The party should have first demonstrated its patriotism and genuine concern for Nigerians by directing its Governors, who were part and parcel of the decision to effect increase in the country’s tax regime, to reject the idea rather than calling on the federal government to reverse its decision on the new policy.

 

“In any case, states and Local Governments stand to benefit more from the increase in VAT; the states get 50 per cent of the VAT collection, Local Governments get 35 per cent , leaving the federal government with a paltry 15 per cent.”

 

The organization added that this particular increase in VAT was another bail-out mechanism designed by Buhari to assuage the woes of those perennially broke tiers of government.

 

“Even with the new marginal increase, Nigeria has one of the lowest VAT rates in the world, and considering the huge infrastructural deficit the country is facing today, the current government has to think outside the box.

“And look for how best to raise resources to meet some of the major needs of its people and also ensure that the impact does not put much burden on the citizenry.

 

“And this is what the government is trying to do with this marginal increase in VAT.”

 

It added that VAT is not paid on domestic foodstuffs and local transportation.

Other items excluded from VAT are drugs, medical equipment, educational materials and other items that generally affect the purse of the man on the street, the organisation said.

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Road crashes: FRSC bans Dangote trucks from night haulage

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Road crashes: FRSC bans Dangote trucks from night haulage

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he Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) has banned haulage trucks belonging to Dangote Group from embarking on night trips, warning that henceforth, trucks found on the road between 7p.m. and 7a.m. will be impounded.

The ban is part of the ongoing efforts by the FRSC to reduce incidents of fatal road crashes involving heavy duty trucks and other vehicles on roads across the country.

 

The corps has also tasked Dangote Group on prompt removal of broken down vehicles and the need to intensify efforts towards achieving professionalism in the recruitment, training and certification of its drivers as a critical measure to reducing crashes on the highways.

 

Corps Public Education Officer, Bisi Kazeem, who disclosed this yesterday, said the decision came at a meeting between top management of the FRSC and representatives of the Dangote Group. According to Kazeem, the meeting is part of the ongoing efforts by the Corps to reduce the rate of crashes involving articulated vehicles and  ensure prompt removal of broken down vehicles on the highways.

 

The Corps Marshal, Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, who spoke extensively during the meeting, lamented the spate of crashes involving Dangote trucks and called on the group to make the training, retraining and certification of drivers a major priority in the operation of their fleet.

 

 

“There is need for the company to be strict in its recruitment process for drivers; requirements such as age for both entry and retirement should be made a priority issue to avoid underage driving and maintain a fixed age for retirement,” he said.

 

Oyeyemi charged the group to establish more driving schools and also make it open to the public so that drivers and would be drivers can apply for training as this will go a long way in making the highways safer for all to use.

“FRSC and Dangote Group to commence a joint effort to ensure that all abandoned or broken down Dangote trucks are towed within the next 30 days commencing from 18th September to 17th October, 2019; all Dangote trucks to have at least a mini first aid box; Dangote trucks not allowed to drive from 7p.m. to 7a.m. Any of the company’s truck found around that time will be impounded at sight; foreign number plates on the company’s trucks to be replaced with Nigerian number plates before 31st December, 2019; and periodic and random driver’s eye check should be conducted for the fleet drivers,” Kazeem said.

 

 

Head of the Dangote Group delegation, Mr. Juan Carlos Rincom, expressed appreciation to the FRSC for what he described as “its unwavering commitment to sanitising the highways” and pledged the company’s willingness to carry out all resolutions made at the meeting.

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Smugglers explore creeks to beat security architecture

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Smugglers explore creeks to beat security architecture

T

hree weeks into the joint land border patrol by the security agencies, smugglers have shifted to the Port Novo and Lagos creeks to bring foreign parboil rice and other consumable goods from the neighbouring countries to Nigeria.

It was gathered that the smugglers were moving rice, frozen chicken, turkey and vegetable oil from Port Novo, Gbaji, Badagry creeks to Agbara with fast speed boats in the night because of the tight security at the land borders.

Presently, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) lack efficient patrol boats to combat smugglers on the coastal waters and creeks.

 

A trader who spoke with New Telegraph, however, explained that the cost of smuggling the food items from the creeks was too high because of the charges by boat operators and fuel consumed by the boats.

 

The trader, simply identified as Bunmi, noted that they paid high charges to boat operators and drivers before the goods finally get to their destinations.

 

Although, she explained that frozen chicken and turkey had started coming into the market gradually since last weekend, however, findings revealed that the watertight security at the land borders have affected the prices of both foreign and local foods in the Lagos markets.

 

A market survey by our correspondent revealed that rice, frozen foods and groundnut oil were mostly affected by the price.

For instance, at the Agric Market in Ikorodu area, a frozen food seller, Mr. Ibrahim, said that a carton of frozen fish had jumped from N10,000 to N25,000 or 60 per cent, while turkey which was N13,000 as at August 19, 2019  had increased by 27.8 per cent to N18,000.

 

 

He added that a carton of chicken, which was N9,500, had also been increased by 32.1 per cent to N14,000.

Ibrahim said: “A carton of croaker fish that cost between N7,000 and N10,000 now cost N25,000 and above for the small size, while the big size fish cost N30,000. A small size croaker fish cost N500, while the big size croaker fish cost N1,000 and above in Agric Market.”

 

Also a rice trader, Mr. Obinna explained that the long rice that was sold for N17,000 weeks ago now cost N20,500, while short rice variety which was N13,000 is now sold for N20,500.

He stressed that the price of local rice had moved up from N14,000 to 16,000 or 12.5 per cent.

 

He said: “Buyers now prefer to buy local rice since it is the cheapest in the market.”

At Abesan area, also a bag of 50 kilogrammes of parboiled rice, which was sold at N14,500, now cost N20,000 in some shops.

Price of five litres of vegetable oil has also moved up by 17.5 per cent.

 

According to Madam Favour, five litres of groundnut oil, which sold for N3,300 in the last two weeks, had been increased to N4,000.

She said: “I have sold all my groundnut oil and I don’t have any left to sell because it has finished at the warehouse.”

 

She also said that due to the restriction of flour importation from Cameroon, prices of pastries and bread had been inflated.

On the other hand, she noted that foods such spaghetti, crunches, cereals, beans, and noodles were not affected.

Meanwhile, the Customs Service has said that a large numbers of seizures and arrests have been made in the last three weeks from North-West, North-Central, South-West and South-South geopolitical zones.

Its spokesman, Joseph Attah, a Deputy Comptroller, said that as at 10 September, 2019, 100 illegal migrants had been arrested.

 

He listed the seizures to include; 8,360 50kg bags of parboiled foreign rice; 122 bags of fertilizer; 77 vehicles; 781 drums filled with petroleum motor spirit (PMS) as well as 16,371 empty 200 litres drums used for smuggling PMS.

Other seizures are 1,491 packs of assorted drugs; 3 outboard 40HP engines; 13 Cotonou boats; 185 drums of groundnut oil; six trucks; 114 motorcycles, among other items.

 

 

Attah stressed that 117 suspects had been arrested.

The joint security exercise, is being coordinated by the Customs Service, Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), Armed Forces as well as the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and other security and intelligence agencies, with the aim “to better secure our borders, boost national economy and strengthen border security.”

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