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.
Bayelsa guber: Radio Bayelsa staff dies during gun battle between APC, PDP supporters
Barely 48 hours to the Bayelsa State governorship election, a serious gun battle esued on Wednesday at Nembe Ogbolomabiri in Nembe Local Government Area between the supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) resulting to the death of a staff of Radio Bayelsa Outside Broadcasting van driver identified as Simon Onu.
Simon Onu was hit by a stray bullet killing on the spot while trying to maneuver his vehicle from the troubled spot.
The gun battle took place during a rally organised by the PDP.
Two other persons identified as supporters of the PDP were reported killed in the bloody shooting. A policeman was reportedly shot in the leg.
The governorship campaign rally of the PDP, which was slated to hold in the area, was disrupted and party faithfuls chased out of the area.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who was billed to attend the rally in company of the candidate of the party, Senator Douye Diri, however, condemned the bloody attack.
Trouble was said to have started when some supporters of one of the political parties started defacing posters and flags of the rival political party.
This lead to serious shooting by armed men sending party supporters, waiting for the diginataries to arrive, scampering for safety.
The attackers it was also learnt opened fire on the protocol bus of the Bayelsa State Government House along the junction between Bassambiri and Ogbolomabiri.
Some journalists covering the rally were also caught in the cross fire as many others sustained different degrees of injuries.
The trapped journalists were, however, rescued and moved out of the troubled area by armed military personnel.
Confirming the shootings, spokesperson of the Nembe Chiefs Council, Chief Nengi James, said there was a clash between rival supporters of the PDP and APC in Nembe resulting in injuries.
$140,000: Babalele’s lawyer exposes contradictions in EFCC witness’ evidence
Some contradictions in the evidence of one, Bashir Mohammed, who was the first prosecution witness to testify in the on-going trial of Abdullahi Babalele, the son-in-law to a former Vice-President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, over alleged laundering of $140,000 at a Federal High Court in Lagos were exposed Wednesday.
The witness had on Tuesday told the trial judge, Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke, that he delivered the $140,000 to former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Babalele’s behalf.
He disclosed that he got a phone call from Babalele sometime in February, requesting him to deliver a message to “an elder statesman”, following which the sum of N50.4 million was transferred to his accounts by the defendant.
He added that upon Babalele’s request, he supplied two bank accounts, which were credited. Mohammed said he subsequently took the money to Obasanjo’s residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
“When I got to the gate, somebody came and took me inside where I met former President Olusegun Obasanjo and delivered the message.
“I called the defendant (Babalele) in the presence of former President Obasanjo and informed him that I had delivered the message. He said that was good and thanked me,” the witness said.
However, an entirely different story emerged Wednesday while the witness was being cross-examined by Babalele’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN).
The silk alleged that the evidence given by the witness in court was different from what was contained in the statement he made to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on March 11, 2019.
Responding to a question about the statement from Ozekhome, the witness said: “I wrote it in my own handwriting and signed it. I believed in everything I wrote there because I was not forced to write it.”
A portion of the statement read out by the witness on the directive of the silk went thus: “Babalele asked me to change the dollars and deliver the money in Ogun state to Obasanjo’s library. I sent him my account numbers at GTB and UBA. He credited my account with N53 million. I received N26.5 million in UBA account and N26 million in GTB.
“The money I changed to dollars was at the rate of N350 to a dollar totalling $140,000. I called Abdullahi and he asked me to take the money to Obasanjo’s library. I went to Ogun State and I met a man by the gate and I delivered the money to him. I don’t know the name of the person that I delivered the money to but I can locate his office.”
Ozekhome later tendered the statement as an exhibit but the EFCC’s lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, was opposed to the tendering of the statement in isolation saying other statements written by the witness have been withheld by the silk.
The conflict was later resolved when Ozekhome agreed to tender other statements written by the witness.
DSS: We’ll release Sowore to his sureties
·Denies shooting at protesters
The Department of State Services (DSS), has assured of its readiness to release the convener of #Revolution Now, Mr. Omoyele Sowore from detention, once those that stood as sureties for him, come forward.
This was as the DSS denied reports that its operatives opened fire at a group of protesters, who started a protest for the release of Sowore, on Tuesday.
This was the first time the secret service was speaking on the development, which has continued to generate diverse opinions.
Afunanya reiterated the Services’ adherence to due process and the rule of law, in the conduct of its operations.
In a statement Wednesday by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. Peter Afunanya, the intelligence organisation called out a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, accusing him of not only playing to the gallery, but mobilizing miscreants to subvert the Service and other state authorities.
“The Department of State Services (DSS) wishes to state that its operatives did not open fire on alleged protesters who had stormed its facility on 12th November, 2019.
“As a normal global security practice, the operatives stood in defence of their facility when some group of persons made unruly attempts to forcefully break into the place and effect the release of Omoloye Sowore.
“Despite serial and unwarranted provocations, the Service, as a professional and responsible Organisation, did not shoot at the so called protesters. It could not have done so.
“For emphasis, the Service reiterates its avowed readiness to release Sowore once the processes are concluded. It maintains that the appropriate persons have still not turned up to take delivery of Sowore,” the DSS said.
According to the Service: “While all those that have so far shown up are not directly concerned with the matter and therefore unqualified, many others have either chosen to grandstand or politicise it to achieve hidden interests.”
It noted that: “In the last few days, the Service has continued to witness deliberate campaigns of calumny, threats and aspersions against it. It will not, for any reason, join issues with its mudslingers. The media is called upon to be neutral and remain champions of the truth”.
Hate Speech ‘Prohibition’ Bill targeted at opponents of APC – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the Hate Speech ‘Prohibition’ Bill, which was introduced in the Senate was targeted at voice of dissent and opponents of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
PDP in a statement Sunday by the National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, expressed surprise that the bill, which was vehemently rejected last year by Nigerians could resurface again this year.
The party said although it does not support hate speech under any guise, the hate speech bill is “unconstitutional, undemocratic and a barbarous design targeted at official extermination of voice of dissent and perceived opponents of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.”
PDP noted that Nigeria already has enough constitutional provisions and extant laws to safeguard a sane and healthy public expression space, and said that Nigeria would not allow such cruel law devised to victimize and persecute the citizens, ostensibly as a regime protection measure.
“Such laws can only find space in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Idi Amin’s Uganda and not in this era or in a democratic state such as Nigeria.
“The resurfacing of the cruel bill in the Senate, after Nigerians vehemently rejected it last year, only points to the incurable desperation of the APC Federal Government to suppress and crush the will of the citizens at all cost,” the party said.
Don: Nigeria needs N420bn to eradicate malaria by 2030
Proposes tax to fight scourge
A Professor of Medical Parasitology, Abimbola Amoo, has said Nigeria will require the sum of N420billion to eradicate malaria through total fumigation of the country against mosquitoes on or before the year 2030.
To this end, Amoo, who is a senior lecturer at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, called for the introduction of Mosquito Responsibility Tax to raise the needed funds.
Speaking while delivering the 92nd inaugural lecture of the university in Ago-Iwoye, the don said the proposed tax of one dollar monthly should be imposed on every adult Nigerian.
The lecture was titled: ‘Parasites of animals and man: A dance in the forest of death.”
Amoo explained that the money will be used in surveillance, biological and chemical control of mosquitoes as well as for inter-agency cooperation and research on mosquitoes.
According to him, the scourge of malaria caused by parasite from the female anopheles mosquito is a huge health burden in Nigeria.
He stated that malaria has often been responsible for the increasing hospital visits, hospital admission, anaemia during pregnancy, school absenteeism among children and even deaths.
The professor noted that the treatment of people with malaria and use of insecticide treated mosquito nets have proved inadequate and ineffective in eradicating malaria, hence the need to attack the vector (causative organism) by destruction of mosquitoes.
Court refuses to terminate criminal charges against ex Kwara lawmaker
A High Court sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital has refused an oral application brought by a former member of the state House of Assembly, Muhammed Adebayo, seeking to terminate the criminal charge brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
It would be recalled that the Ilorin Zonal Office of the Commission had on August 1 arraigned Adebayo on a six-count charge bordering on land fraud and obtaining money under false pretence before Justice Sikiru Oyinloye of the state High Court.
The charge stated: “That you, Mohammed Adebayo, sometime in July 2013 in Ilorin within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud and obtained the sum of N950,000 from one Mary Omowunmi Kolade on the false pretence that three plots of land (situate at Malete, Moro Local Government Area of Kwara State) which you sold to her belonged to you, a representation you knew to be false punishable under section 1 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other fraud related offences.”
The accused person had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At the resumed hearing of the matter on Wednesday, counsel to the defendant, Barrister I. Abdul-Azeez, told the Presiding Judge that: “My Lord, the victim in this matter had written a letter to the prosecution to withdraw their complaints against the defendant, in the light of the absence of the prosecution counsel. I therefore urge this honourable court to terminate the charge.”
APC crisis: Govs ask Oshiomhole to resign
… Say he can’t bequeath any legacy to party
Given the crisis of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Edo State, the governors on the platform of the party have asked the National Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to resign his position.
According to the statement from the Secretariat of the Progressives Governors Forum, the APC National Chairman cannot bequeath any legacy to the party.
The statement, which was signed by the Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum, Salihu Moh’ Lukuman also chided the National Chairman for the disqualification of the APC Deputy Governorship candidate in Bayelsa State,
Biobarakuma Degi-Eremieny by an Abuja Federal High Court.
The governors opinionated that the inability of the Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee to call a National Executive Committee (NEC) of the party since last year had led to the unresolved crisis in the party.
Calling for the resignation of Oshiomhole, the governors said, “In the current circumstance, nothing short of a NEC or National Caucus meeting of the party can resolve all our increasing organisational challenges as a party. It is either Comrade Oshiomhole respect the provision of party constitution and convene superior organ meeting to deliberate on all our challenges, or he should just accept his inability to manage the party and simply resign.”
The governors berated the APC National Chairman for the crisis in Edo State that has led to the suspension of the Oshiomhole by the state party.
The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki and the APC National Chairman have been at loggerheads since June this year.
Speaking on the suspension on the APC National Chairman, the governors said: “Information coming from Edo State indicates that members of the State Executive Council of APC have passed vote of no confidence on Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, National Chairman of our party, APC. In so many respects, it could be argued, it is a natural outcome of unfolding power play between Comrade Oshiomhole and Governor Godwin Obaseki since June 2019 with the contentious inauguration of the Edo State House of Assembly. Possible retaliatory response from both Comrade Oshiomhole and groups such as Edo Peoples Movement who are loyal to Comrade Oshiomhole should be expected. In other words, there could be counter pronouncement suspending Governor Obaseki.
“Side by side with the news of the vote of no confidence was also the discomforting report of the Federal High Court judgement in Abuja disqualifying Biobarakuma Degi-Eremienyo as our Deputy Governorship candidate for the November 16, 2019 Bayelsa election. While expecting that every necessary step will be taken to vacate the judgement, it is very depressing for every committed party member to be subjected to such ignominious reality, which only remind us of our reckless conducts in states like Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa, which chiefly gave away electoral victories to PDP.
“Instead of focusing on working to win elections, we are busy undermining ourselves. All these are ominous signs that we are about to re-enact the Zamfara, Rivers, Bauchi and Adamawa experiences in Bayelsa. It is Bayelsa today, Anambra, Edo and Ondo are being setup for similar experiences. Somehow, unfortunately, the National Executive Council (NEC) of the party, which is the organ vested with the statutory responsibility of responding to all these challenges appear to be suspended. The last time it met was August 2018. In its place, the National Working Committee (NWC), which is an administrative organ with the responsibility of implementing decisions of NEC and other higher organs seem to have usurped the powers of NEC.”
S’Arabia apologises for video labelling feminism as extremism
Saudi Arabia’s state security agency says a social media post on one of its accounts that categorised feminism as extremism was a mistake.
The promotional video categorised feminism, homosexuality and atheism as dangerous ideas and warned Saudis to be vigilant against them.
The security agency says it is investigating the video.
Saudi Arabia is trying to shake off its image as one of the most repressive countries in the world for women, reports the BBC.
The animated clip was posted to the Twitter account of the State Security Presidency over the weekend. The agency reports directly to King Salman.
The agency said in a statement that the video contained multiple mistakes and the makers of the video did not do their job properly.
The Saudi Human Rights Commission also released a statement saying that feminism was not a crime. However it did not make reference to homosexuality or atheism.
Saudi Arabia has no written laws concerning sexual orientation or gender identity, but judges use principles of Islamic law to sanction people suspected of extra-marital sexual relations, homosexual sex or other “immoral” acts, according to US-based Human Rights Watch.
The video has been criticised by human rights groups including Amnesty International.
Heba Morayef, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said: “This announcement is extremely dangerous and has serious implications for the rights to freedom of expression and life, liberty and security in the country.”
The video comes as Saudi Arabia continues a programme of reforms, many of which focus on women’s rights.
The government lifted a long-standing ban on women driving in 2018 and made changes to the male guardianship system this August, allowing women to apply for passports and travel independently without permission from a man.
They were also given the right to register births, marriage or divorce.
However, women continue to face numerous restrictions on their lives, and several women’s rights activists who campaigned for the changes have been detained and put on trial. Some of them alleged to have been tortured in prison.
Men who had supported the activists’ cause or defended them in court were also arrested.
Senate approves N10.69bn refund to Kogi
The Senate has approved N10.069 billion as refund for project executed on behalf of the Federal Government by Kogi state.
The approval was made amidst disquiet in the chamber by senators from opposition PDP who claimed that it was too much a coincidence to make the approval three days to the poll.
Senate Minority leader Enyinnaya Abaribe, (PDP, Abia South) said the approval should be delayed by one week so that the refunded money should not be misused during election.
“The witch cries in the night and the child dies in the morning. The approval comes when there is an election is on Saturday. The money should be delayed until next week so that it would not be misused,” he said.
Earlier, Senator Barau Jibril (APC, Kano), said commended the Kogi State government for deploying the state resources to ameliorate the suffering of its people plying the dilapidated roads.
He advised that the senate to immediately approved the Promissory note to the state so that other states should take a leaf from them.
The President of the senate overruled and approved the money saying the state applied for the refund along with other states that had gotten their own.
Leave Bolivia, US orders families of govt employees
The United States on Tuesday ordered family members of U.S. government employees to leave Bolivia because of civil unrest in the South American country, the State Department said in a statement.
The department also warned American citizens against traveling to Bolivia and said the U.S. government had limited ability to provide emergency services after a disputed election sparked protests that led Evo Morales to resign as president and flee the country.
Morales resigned Sunday after nearly 14 years in power,reports nbcnews.com.
On Tuesday, a women’s rights activist and former television presenter who became an opposition leader in the Senate declared herself Bolivia’s interim president, promising to guide the country out of a deep crisis.
Jeanine Añez, 52, was a second-tier opposition figure until Morales’ resignation.
But as the Senate’s second vice president, she moved Tuesday to take temporary control of the body even though she lacked a quorum to appoint her. The Senate leader is next in line to the presidency, and she then proclaimed herself interim president to guide the Andean nation before new elections.
Celebrations and clashes quickly broke out in Bolivia among supporters and foes of Morales, who flew to exile in Mexico earlier in the day.
Bolivia’s crisis erupted after the last elections, on October 20, were marred by allegations that Morales fixed the results in his favor. Violent protests swept the country, leading to police defections and finally a call from the chief of the military for Bolivia’s first indigenous president to resign.
In a dramatic scene Monday, Añez wept as she told journalists that she wanted to “give certainty” to Bolivians in the midst of a power vacuum.
“I just want to provide a solution to the horrible crisis that we’re living through,” Añez said.
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