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It’s GOD’SWILL For Akpabio

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Godswill Akpabio

In the world of Nigerian politics, few individuals can claim to have lived a life as eventful as that of Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio. From his humble beginnings as a schoolteacher to his meteoric rise as a senator and now Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Akpabio has always been a force to be reckoned with.

Throughout his career, Akpabio has faced numerous challenges and obstacles. He has been embroiled in numerous political battles, often pitting him against the people of his home state, Akwa Ibom. However, Akpabio has never been one to back down from a challenge. He is like a cat with nine lives, always coming back stronger and more determined than ever before.

Now, as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Akpabio’s commitment and determination have finally paid off. For him, it is a testament that his journey and struggles in the murky waters of politics are nothing but the will of God.

His accomplishments and achievements in both the political and personal arenas are undeniable. From his contributions to the region’s development to his work in improving education and healthcare, Akpabio has been a champion for the masses and has always put their needs first.

Despite the many challenges, backstabbing, and difficulties he has faced over the years, Akpabio has remained steadfast in his commitment to excellence and service to the people. It is this unwavering dedication to the betterment of society that has made him a true asset to Nigeria.

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As Nigeria continues to navigate the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, it is fortunate to have leaders like Senator Godswill Akpabio, whose life and achievements are a testament to the power of God’s will, commitment, and determination to rise above all obstacles.

A publication of Vanguard

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Opinion

Osimhen: FINIDI GEORGE AND AN ỌMỌ OJÚKÒRỌ́LÁ RÍ

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Osimhen fires back at Finidi’s comments on national team commitment

I am writing under the ASSUMPTION that Coach @FinidiGeorge_FG said he could not be begging @victorosimhen9 to play for Nigeria. ASSUMPTION.

If that were to be the case, then @victorosimhen9’s outburst tells me (me) everything I need to know about his attitude to the appointment of Coach Finidi.

The outburst which has gone viral and created a lot of talking points has seen @victorosimhen9 in PR overdrive. Hungry sports journalists with very limited vocabulary betraying their obvious lack of intelligence lapping up Victor like the puppies they are(I am trying to be nice).

Who is @FinidiGeorge_FG ? Someone whose shoes @victorosimhen9 can never lace, not in this lifetime at least. Victor will need two lifetimes to better Finidi and another two to best him. He is a far cry from the quality Finidi was and will never achieve what Finidi has achieved.

Coach Finidi is considered to be one of Nigeria’s greatest wingers, Finidi was a physically strong and tall player who was known for his deceptively rapid pace, accurate crosses and efficient dribbles. He was also known for his accurate free kicks. Finidi was not only known for his technical abilities, but he also possessed a unique footballing brain and solid dribbling skills. He was not called Finito for nothing. he was an elite Athlete.

Nigeria had always been a country of “almost” (as in the 2006 movie Apocalypto) when it comes to qualifying for the World cup. Until October 8, 1993, in an away match that we needed a win or at worst a draw. Finidi’ s decisive goal in the first half secured our first ever qualification to the world cup. We had a better goal difference than Ivory Coast.

@victorosimhen9 on the other hand had the chance to be decisive against @GhanaBlackstars in what could have been his first world appearance. He instead chose to showboat and lost our closest opportunity of playing at the Qatar hosted world cup.

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When another legend who had experience in decision making pointed this out, the lout lashed out at the legend supported by @AsisatOshoala . This Legend had won the @Olympics gold medal for Nigeria in Men’s football. His decisive goal lead a resurgence that saw us make history as a nation in Atlanta ’96. @victorosimhen9 and @AsisatOshoala called him an Àgbàyà Ìsọ́nu a derogatory word used for foolish older members of a society. It was painful but again hungry journalists praised them both.

Finidi would go on to score against Greece at the @FIFAWorldCup . That team is regarded as Nigeria’s Finest till date. He appeared in two @FIFAWorldCup for Nigeria reaching the Round of 16 on each occasion.

Victor has not appeared in any World cup for Nigeria how much less scoring at that stage.

Finidi won the AFCON in ’94, runner up medals in 2000, Third places in 1992 and 2002. A consistency that belies the greatness of Finidi and that team.

Osimhen’s lackluster performance saw us finish 2nd at AFCON 2024 to a team we beat in the group stage. His PR team of hungry journalists praised his “work rate”. His outing was a disaster. He missed more chances than anyone else accounting for 70% of offside calls in our games.

We wait for his first AFCON win.

In club Football Finidi not only won the @eredivisie thrice (1993–94, 1994–95, 1995–96), he is a double invincible!

His team won the @eredivisie without losing a single match in the 94/95 season. They also won the @ChampionsLeague same year without losing a single game on their way to the Finals. He was described as “a mercurial foreign talent” alongside @papilokanu and Litmanen. @papilokanu will go on to win another Invincible at @Arsenal making him a triple Invincible. Finidi also won the @UEFA Super Cup and the Intercontinental Cup.

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Was @victorosimhen9 even conceived then. He was born AFTER Finidi had qualified us to our second consecutive @FIFAWorldCup.

Something Osimhen may do the exact opposite- ensure we do not qualify two times consecutively!

Finidi was the best because he played with the best. The list of the @ChampionsLeague 94/95 final players reads like the who is who in world football. His diagonal pass to @overmarsmarc11 catalyzed a string of moves before 18-year-old substitute @PatrickKluivert , scored the winning goal. A team with Greats like @EdgerDavids , @Frankdeboer_ , @vdsar1970, @cleranceseedorf , @frankrijkaard2 and our own @papilokanu .

Osimhen has a @SerieA winner’s trophy. Not two. How much more three.

@AFCAjax was competing at the top season in season out while Finidi was there so much so that they made it to a second consecutive @ChampionsLeague final losing to the Old lady @juventusfcen under controversial circumstances.

Finidi’s after retirement career is also filled with Highlights. He was Director of International football for @RealBetis . He was our Interim coach when we beat @GhanaBlackstars 2-1 after 18 years of trying to beat the black Stars.

Osimhen lost to the @GhanaBlackstars at Home!! Costing us the World Cup ticket.

Finidi was head coach for @EnyimbaFC . Guess what? He won the 9th title for @EnyimbaFC in @officialABAT Lagos. That was his first title as a coach!

A player with a career to die for and a successful Coach is who that lout is cussing and cursing. Someone Osimhen cannot touch his boots. Hungry Journalists have elevated players with money to the point where the players believe the hype.

Osimhen is a good player in his own right, but even at the peak of his career with social media and all, he has not done enough to enter the hall of fame of the greatest Nigerian Players. Real Heros who fought for the shirt and country. The Odę́gbàmís, the Keshi’s,the Okochas, the Yekinis, the Okechukwus, the Wests, the Lawals, the Rufais, the Amunikes, the Babayaros, the Taiwos,The Martins, the Ògèdèngbés, the Ikpebas, the Nwankwos.

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They had issues with the corrupt and toothless @thenff ( then NFA) yes, but they oozed so much class that they’ll never rant like some deranged animal because they heard a rumor. They will never publicly cuss a senior colleague how much more a national coach!

it is preposterous!

I know what Victor’s problem is.

In Yorùbáland where I come from, we call people like him Ọmọ ojúkòrọ́lá rí.

When they somehow (usually by a combination of talent and luck) get some money in their account, the louts in them put on quite a show. His other brother is Portable. Massively talented but fame and fortune is drawing “surprise” eyebrows for them. It can be intoxicating.

To Finidi, please know that thousands of us hold you in very high regards. Your accomplishments cannot be denied. You shined like a million stars. Nothing has diminished you in our eye, nothing can. We appreciate and respect our elders and heroes.

You rank in our hearts second only to the likes of Professor Akínwándé Sóyínká. Your entire ’94 team united a bruised and battered nation reeling from the aftermath of an annulled election.

Pay no heed to this lout. He is very insignificant and just showed the world his background never left him.

I hope the @NGRPresident takes the MON and MFR away from him before he disgraces us any further. His likes do not deserve such national Honour.

@victorosimhen9 Àjànàkú kọjáa, o ni mo rí nkan fírí, táa ba r’erin ká sọ pé a r’erin.

Finidi is not your mate.

 

By: Ayowande Adelemo

 

Osimhen really really fumble 💔

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Opinion

President Tinubu: The Nigeria’s goal-poacher 

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FULL TEXT: President Bola Tinubu’s national broadcast on 2024 Democracy Day

By James Odunsi, Texas, USA

I can beat my chest to say that history will remember the current Nigeria President Bola Tinubu over his tough decisions in ensuring a future of brightness and hope for the youths in the country.

It’s very obvious that Nigerians are hungry and angry with this administration of Tinubu but should we have said Tinubu should have run the government the way others have been patching the economy? In actual fact, what would Tinubu stand to gain in all these policies implementation? Will these policies have advantage on the personal life of the president?

For the record, Tinubu is one of the richest person in Africa either politically or business wise, all these policies can’t in anyway added to his wealth. His level of intelligence made him the president of the most popular black nation in the world. During his election, nobody could have believed that Tinubu would be president until the result was announced. You can call it rigging or fraud, but the official results were announced by the authorities.

All these policies are his election campaign, the same way other political Jagannath making the same promises, but the unfortunate thing is that most Nigerians don’t understand the agenda behind Renewed Hope. Tinubu is not ready to let Nigerians suffer, NO.

For real, there are economy sabotage from different angle, this inflation is 40% fake. These are handwork of political desperados who believed becoming president is a must, and some tiny hole in a circle. Grounding Nigeria economy is a no go area to hit Tinubu, but unfortunately the man has remain a democrat, but as time goes on when he will be pushed to the wall, there would be nemesis.

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Finally, this is to remind all the wailers that the City Boy is the ruling guy in Aso Villa, and Nigeria economy is coming back fully and sustainable.

 

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Opinion

The indefatigable FIRS Chairman, Zacch Adedeji

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When it comes to taxes, there's one name on everyone's lips: Zacch Adedeji. As the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service

By Arabinrin Aderonke Ogunleye-Bello

When it comes to taxes, there’s one name on everyone’s lips: Zacch Adedeji. As the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Adedeji isn’t just following the rules – he’s rewriting them. His leadership styles? It’s all about shaking things up and making taxation better for everyone.

His tireless efforts have brought much-needed sanity and restructuring to the system by making it more efficient and adequate. Adedeji’s commitment to reforming the tax system has resulted in streamlined processes, enhanced transparency, and improved taxpayer compliance. His relentless drive to create a more efficient and user-friendly tax environment has been important in transforming FIRS into a modern, responsive institution that serves the best interests of all Nigerians.

A key aspect of Adedeji’s leadership is his adherence to due process. He understands the importance of following rules and regulations meticulously for optimal system functioning. Adedeji ensures that all FIRS operations comply with legal and regulatory standards, promoting integrity and accountability within the organization. By upholding due process, he has built confidence among taxpayers and stakeholders, reinforcing FIRS’s legitimacy and credibility. This commitment to procedural correctness has been crucial in establishing a robust and trustworthy tax administration system.

In an era where public sector spending often comes under scrutiny, Adedeji stands out for his prudent management of resources. He has made personal sacrifices to cut unnecessary spending, opting to use his personal vehicles and live in his own house rather than utilizing government resources. This approach not only demonstrates his dedication to reducing waste but also sets a powerful example for others in public service. By curtailing excessive spending, Adedeji ensures that FIRS’s resources are directed towards initiatives that enhance efficiency and service delivery, ultimately benefiting the nation’s economy.

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Recognizing the importance of teamwork in revenue generation, Adedeji has built a skilled and diverse team at FIRS. Each team member and his support staff brings valuable expertise, contributing to the organization’s success. Under Adedeji’s leadership, a culture of excellence has flourished, with every team member playing their role in meeting FIRS’s revenue targets.

Recently, Adedeji, who also serves as the President of CATA, attended its London event. Here, tax officials shared best practices. His role shows dedication to innovating Nigeria’s tax system and integrating global best practices into FIRS. These changes promise a more transparent tax system, potentially boosting public services and economic growth.

The Tax Boss’s firm belief in fairness, accountability, and patriotism shapes his leadership at FIRS. With a strong sense of duty and commitment to Nigeria’s welfare, he aligns his approach with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda for economic revival and prosperity. By prioritizing ethical standards and fostering trust among taxpayers, Adedeji ensures FIRS operates with integrity, contributing significantly to Nigeria’s financial health and stability.

Arabinrin Aderonke is an Award-Winning investigative journalist. 2016 finalist, CNN African Journalist Award. She currently serves as Technical Assistant, Broadcast Media, at the Federal Inland Revenue Service. She writes from Abuja.

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Opinion

Interpreting FIRS new slogan, simplifying tax, maximizing revenue

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The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has embarked on a restructuring effort to better serve taxpayers and enhance revenue collection.

By Arabinrin Aderonke

The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has embarked on a restructuring effort to better serve taxpayers and enhance revenue collection. This initiative includes the introduction of a new slogan, “Simplifying Tax, Maximizing Revenue,” which replaces the previous slogan, “It Pays To Pay Your Tax.” This change shows FIRS’ commitment to a more taxpayer-friendly approach.

The decision to change the slogan stems from a recognition of the need to better align FIRS’s message with its mission and goals. By moving away from the previous slogan, “It Pays To Pay Your Tax,” FIRS aims to communicate a more proactive and customer-centric approach to tax administration. This change underscores the agency’s commitment to simplifying tax procedures and making them more accessible to all Nigerians.

With this new direction, expectations from FIRS are high. Taxpayers can anticipate a more user-friendly and transparent tax system that reduces complexities and enhances their overall experience.

During the unveiling of the new slogan, Executive Chairman, Dr. Zacch Adedeji made it clear that improving customer service is a top priority. He introduced the Customer Service Optimization Committee, a new team dedicated to ensuring that FIRS provides Nigerians with efficient and transparent support. Adedeji’s leadership is focused on building trust and accountability, key factors that help encourage voluntary compliance with tax obligations. His commitment to making FIRS more responsive and helpful shows his understanding that the agency needs to be more than just a tax collector; it needs to be a service-oriented organization that truly cares about the experience of taxpayers.

The benefits of these initiatives are manifold. Simplified tax processes mean that taxpayers will spend less time and effort on compliance, leading to increased satisfaction. For FIRS, a more efficient and transparent system is expected to result in higher voluntary compliance rates, thereby maximizing revenue collection.

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Looking at all the recent changes within FIRS, it’s clear that Zacch Adedeji’s leadership has been instrumental in shaping a more taxpayer-friendly environment. His moves demonstrate a genuine commitment to making things easier for all Nigerians. It’s not just about paperwork and procedures; it’s about making sure that every Nigerian can navigate the tax system with ease and confidence.

Adedeji’s dedication to improving the citizen’s tax experience is commendable. By prioritizing transparency and efficiency, he’s not only transforming FIRS from within but also making a positive impact on our everyday lives. With these changes, we can expect smoother processes, clearer communication, and, ultimately, a stronger financial footing for our nation.

Arabinrin Aderonke ANIPR is an Award-Winning investigative journalist, 2016 Finalist CNN African Journalist Award. She currently serves as Technical Assistant, Broadcast Media at Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS). She writes from Abuja.

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Opinion

Tinubu’s steady progress in power sector

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Tinubu appeals to governors’ for unity of purpose to ‘make Nigeria greater’

Despite cynical analysis of the power sector by critics, Bello Aminu argues that the president is making steady progress in the complex industry.

To be sure, Nigeria’s power supply crisis is a multi-decade, multi-faceted challenge, defying even some of the country’s most respected public figures who were picked in the past to oversee the sector.

A deputy minister who once headed the ministry said in 2012 that Nigerians must resolve to exorcise the ‘evil spirit’ preventing the country from making headway in its efforts to banish darkness from the government. Ultimately, she left the country in more darkness than she met it.

Although it’s still too early for an in-depth assessment of President Bola Tinubu’s administration in terms of the progress made in the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NESI), one thing is certain: The president is not taking his pledge to ‘light up’ the country lightly.

So, on the 1st anniversary of the Tinubu administration, it would not be out of place to appraise the initial steps taken to ensure that the electricity supply gap is bridged as soon as possible.

The president clearly understands the critical role that a reliable power supply plays in any modern economy. That was why in his 2024 New Year message to Nigerians, he expressed his intention to fast-track electricity projects and private investments into the power sector.

“My administration recognises that no meaningful economic transformation can happen without a steady electricity supply in 2024,” the president said. Since then, the president has moved to back his words up with the necessary action.

Cognisant of how much the unnecessary over-centralisation of the power sector has negatively impacted the growth of the industry for decades, days after he took over the reins of power, the president immediately moved to decentralise and liberalise the sector.

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The reforms in the sector took him first to the amendment of the Electricity Act, to break the federal government’s monopoly in electricity generation, transmission and distribution nationwide.

With the amendment, that law now allows the subnational governments to take charge of the entire value chain of power supply management in their jurisdictions, marking a major shift from the past where leaving the power sector in the exclusive legislative list only hobbled the development of the industry.

Several states, including Enugu, Ondo, and Ekiti, have since started setting up their electricity regulatory bodies in preparation for the new conducive environment being created by the current administration.

Secondly, President Tinubu, with a full grasp of the negative impact that legacy and current debts owed the operators in the power supply value chain were having on the system, especially Generation Companies (GenCoS) as well as Gas Companies (GasCos), has since moved to offset the huge outstanding.

Penultimate week, the Minister of Power, Adebayo Adelabu, to the relief of operators, announced that the president had approved that N130 billion be paid from the gas stabilisation fund to the gas suppliers.

Earlier, the Coordinating Director of the ‘Decade of Gas,’ Ed Ubong, had also made it public at an event in Abuja that over $120 million had been paid as part of the dollar-denominated debts owed gas suppliers.

This is expected to go a long way in providing some level of liquidity to the suppliers and therefore by extension put the power supply to the grid in a better stead.

Thirdly, although still meagre when compared with Nigeria’s massive population of over 200 million persons, there has been a substantial ramping up of electricity supply throughout the value chain, meaning that for the first time in three years, over 5,000mw of power was achieved on May 3, 2024.

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The minister of power, Adelabu, has further assured that in the coming months, this will be increased to 6,000mw from an average of about 4,000mw, describing even the current increase as still unacceptable.

“Beyond paying the legacy debts, we’re moving around 4,000mw, 4,500mw and it is no longer acceptable. So what we are looking at is to have an agreement to ramp up to a minimum of 6,000mw within the next three to six months.

“I believe we still have the infrastructure to generate between 6,000mw and 6,500mw. In terms of the generating companies, I have no doubt in my mind that the existing capacity can give us 6,500mw once there is stability in the supply of gas,” the minister assured.

In addition, in November last year, the president met with the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz on the sidelines of the G20 Compact with Africa Economic Conference in Berlin, Germany in his abiding effort to ensure that the power supply challenge is resolved.

The crux of that discussion was on the current Siemens Power project under the Presidential Power Initiative (PPI) and with the support of the German government, which seeks to clean up the entire power supply value chain and remove extant bottlenecks.

In all, the scheme seeks to first deliver 7,000mw of electricity to the national grid in phase one, ramp it up to 11,000mw in phase two of the programme and then expand the country’s electricity supply to 25,000mw in the third phase.

Before Tinubu became president, timelines had been missed already. But to underscore his seriousness with going forward with the Siemens deal, the president followed up the first meeting with the German Chancellor with another one in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) in December, leading to the signing of agreements to accelerate the scheme.

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In all of these, what has become obvious is that on the power supply issue, President Tinubu is not resting on his oars, not since he became Nigeria’s leader. To underscore its renewed commitment to the project, Siemens Energy has also successfully delivered 10 units of power transformers and 10 units of mobile substations on the back of that deal in the last few months.

On the important issue of metering, the federal government is looking to achieve an injection of 3.5 million meters into the power sector, comprising 1.5 million meters through the World Bank Distribution Support Recovery Programme and 2 million meters through the Presidential Metering Initiative.

This is very important because with more metering, the constant illiquidity in the power sector is expected to reduce considerably and with more funds available, additional investment will be made by the operators and ultimately lead to the achievement of economies of scale. With economies of scale will come a likely taming of tariffs, especially like the recent one for premium electricity customers.

Concerning the perennial challenges surrounding the metering of military formations in the country, the federal government recently announced the release of N12.7 billion to provide meters in those facilities across the country. Already, 50,000 prepaid electricity meters have been procured and are to be installed in military establishments across the country.

It appears unfair to judge a nascent government on a sector as problematic as the power sector in its first 365 days in office, but even if we were to go that route, it’s not all gloom and doom. The Tinubu government appears to know exactly what to do and how to do it in the power sector.

-Aminu, an energy economist, writes from Kano

Source: The News

 

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Opinion

Senators should live on minimum wage to understand workers’ struggle – Ex-NLC treasurer

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Senators should live on minimum wage to understand workers’ struggle

A former Treasurer of the Nigeria Labour Congress and current chairman of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, Bamgbose Betty, has said that in a bid for the senate to understand the plights of the labour unions, they should put their salaries on the minimum wage

In an interview on Monday during the ongoing national strike declared by the NLC and Trade Union Congress, Betty expressed her dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the minimum wage negotiations.

“Why will the federal government…they said Round Table, the NLC, the TUC, they have been deliberating on this round table for so long? They feel that they should be putting 200 today, 300 tomorrow, 500 the next day for a minimum wage. It is enough. Enough is enough,” Betty spoke in front of the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital laboratory, Lagos State.

She further said that the Senate and other high-ranking officials should have their salaries pegged to the proposed minimum wage, asserting, “For them to know where it pains us, let the senate, whatever, put their salary on this minimum wage too and let’s see what will happen. I mean, let it go round.”

The former NLC Treasurer lamented the struggles faced by workers regarding the economic realities in the country.

“When you get paid within two to three days, the salary is nowhere to be found…the suffering is too much,” Betty said.

However, despite the strike, Betty acknowledged that the essential duties of the medical and health workers were still functioning, stating, “But on here, as my chairman has said, we have our essential duties on the ground, we have that on the ground, but all others to go home please.”

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On Friday, organised labour announced that they will be commencing a nationwide indefinite strike due to the refusal of the Federal Government to increase the proposed minimum wage from N60,000.

According to the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, the strike will begin at midnight on Sunday, June 2, 2024.

In a joint statement delivered by Ajaero and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Festus Osifo, they expressed their serious concerns and disappointment over the Federal Government’s failure to finalise and pass a new National Minimum Wage Act into law.

They also demanded that the government reverse the increase in electricity tariff to N65/kWh.

Recall that both unions had given an ultimatum of May 31, 2024, for negotiations on the new minimum wage.

However, talks between organised labour and the Federal Government broke down on Tuesday after both parties presented their offers.

 

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