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Minimum wage: AGF tackles Labour as NASS fails to stop strike

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Minimum wage: AGF tackles Labour as NASS fails to stop strike

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Lateef Fagbemi, (SAN), has faulted the organised labour over the nationwide strike it is starting today (Monday).

Fagbemi, in a letter to the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress leaders, dated June 1, 2024, insisted that the strike over the new minimum was a violation of a subsisting National Industrial Court order restraining the unions from grounding the nation through the strike action.

The AGF said this as a meeting convened by the National Assembly leaders on Sunday night failed to achieve its objective following the NLC and TUC’s insistence on going ahead with today’s strike.

The meeting, which was presided over by the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, was attended by the NLC president Joe Ajaero, and his TUC counterpart, Festus Osifo.

Also, the Minister of State for Labour, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, affirmed that the government could not pay more than N60,000, which she said represented a 100 per cent increase on the current minimum wage.

On Sunday, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, told The PUNCH that the labour leaders might have an ulterior motive, stressing that the minimum wage offer they presented was unrealistic for both the federal and state governments.

N60,000 offer

On Friday, Organised Labour declared an indefinite nationwide strike due to the Federal Government’s refusal to increase its new minimum wage offer above N60,000.

The President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, announced that the strike followed failed negotiations between the government and organised labour, and its refusal to reverse the withdrawal of the power sector subsidy and increase in electricity tariff.

The unions had earlier given the May 31, 2024 deadline for the conclusion of new minimum wage negotiations.

The government had raised its minimum wage offer from N57,000 to N60,000 while the labour unions reduced their demand to N494,000 from N497,000 proposed earlier. The labour leaders initially demanded N615,000.

But the negotiations deadlocked as the government maintained its offer of N60,000, leading to the declaration of a nationwide indefinite strike.

However, the AGF in his letter addressed to the presidents of the NLC, Ajaero and the TUC, Festus Usifo, strongly condemned the planned industrial action, stating that it was wrong of organised labour to call out workers at a time when the government and other stakeholders were working towards determining a new national minimum wage.

The letter was copied to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the Chief of Staff to the President, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, the National Security Adviser, the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, the Department of State Service.

Citing the Trade Union Dispute Act 2004, Fagbemi argued that the NLC and the TUC were required to issue mandatory strike notices of a minimum of 15 days.

The letter read, “It is pertinent to observe that at no time did either the NLC or the TUC declare a trade dispute with their employees or issue any strike notice as required by law for such strike action to be legitimate and lawful.

‘Strike premature’

“I wish to note that this latest declaration of strike action by organised labour is premature at a time when the Federal Government and other stakeholders involved in the tripartite committee on the determination of a new national minimum wage had not declared an end to negotiation,” Fagbemi noted.

Emphasising the significance of following due process in declaring a labour strike, the justice minister added, “By the Trade Union Dispute Act 2004, NLC and TUC are required to issue mandatory strike notices of a minimum of 15 days.

“It is pertinent to observe that at no time did either NLC or TUC declare a trade dispute with their employees or issue any strike notice as required by law for such strike action to be legitimate and lawful.

“It is not in doubt that the fundamental importance of the 15-day notice is underscored by the fact that both NLC and TUC failed to comply with the statutory condition precedents (dispute resolution procedures) provided for under section 18(b)(a) of the Trade dispute Act 2004, as amended.”

He also stressed that the proposed strike action is in breach of relevant conditions itemized under section 31(6) of the Trade Union Act, as amended.

“No person, trade union or employer shall take part in a strike or lockout or engage in any conduct in contemplation of any furtherance of trade dispute unless the person, trade union or employer is not engaged in the provision of essential services,” he declared, referencing the law.

The AGF further drew the attention of the labour leaders to an interim Injunction order granted by the National Industrial Court on June 5, 2023, in suit no: NICN/ABJ/158/23, between the Federal Government of Nigeria & Anor V. Nigerian Labour Congress & Anor.

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The order restrained both NLC and TUC from embarking on any industrial action or strike of any nature.

The AGF noted that this “Order has neither been stayed nor set aside, therefore it remains binding on the labour unions.”

Fagbemi explained that the conditions outlined by Nigerian laws for exercising the right to strike were in tandem with the International Labour Organisation principles concerning the right to strike.

He assured that the government would adopt a conciliatory approach to resolving matters about workers’ and citizens’ welfare in the spirit of collective bargaining.

He appealed to the unions to shelve the planned strike and return to the negotiation meetings.

Addressing journalists after the meeting with the National Assembly leaders, the TUC President, Osifo, said, “The Senate President appealed to us to call off the strike.

“But we can’t sit here and call off the strike because we have other organs. We will take the appeals to our various organs.

“We don’t have the powers to call off the strike action. For now, the strike action will commence, while we discuss with our organs.”

But Akpabio appealed to the unions to shelve the strike, adding that “When the hospitals are closed, most poor people will die. Those who are even on oxygen will die. Those needing medical services will die. Goods and services will not move freely, productivity will reduce drastically. The living standards of Nigerians will also be impaired.”

Also speaking, Speaker Abbas said “There are three takeaways that we can go home with. One is that we have agreed to prevail on the government to revisit the issue of the 35k paid to Nigerian workers wage award that was started in October last year and stopped in February. We agreed that the wage award should continue until such a time that the minimum wage is agreed. We also agreed that the NLC and TUC should go and consult to suspend their strike as soon as possible to allow for negotiations to continue.”

Speaking with one of our correspondents in Abuja, on Saturday, the Minister of State for Labour, Onyejeocha, argued that the government and the Organised Private Sector could not afford the N494,000 demanded by labour.

“We are talking about the lowest level, minimum wage, that’s minimum level one. How will the Organised Private Sector pay? You’re talking about salary. Yes, things are hard, it’s hurting everybody, but the point is that is our economy buoyant? There’s so much inflation.

“So, if you pay somebody at level one N494,000, you’re talking about an increase of 1,547 per cent. We understand that, yes things are hard, let us increase the minimum wage by 100 percent from N30,000 to N60,000, and then you are telling us that people are already being paid over N70,000. I say from where, how?’’ she wondered.

Onyejeocha said the government had shown good faith, insisting that the palliatives and other social interventions indicate that President Bola Tinubu had been ‘very compassionate.’

Minister begs labour

She stated, “The President has been very compassionate. Check all the palliatives, all the interventions he’s been doing, just to make sure that things are fine.

“I have not seen any government in Nigeria go out of its way to do the kind of interventions that he’s doing, both in the education sector, health sector, social welfare and yet you’re not looking at that.’’

Stating that the government would not stop other social programmes just to please labour, Onyejeocha contended, “There are other things that the government needs money to do. You understand? If the government uses all its money to pay minimum wage for that percentage of people, then what happens to the rest?

‘’We will stop building roads, we will stop hospital care, so we will stop everything and then just concentrate on paying salaries for the workers. Does it make sense?”

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, the Special Adviser to the President, Onanuga, challenged Ajaero and Usifo, to suggest how the government could raise and sustain the projected N9.5trn needed to fulfil their demands.

He said, “The question we should be asking Ajaero and Usifo is where the money will come from. No government can implement what they are demanding. I suspect they have other motives. They added other conditions outside the minimum wage like the review of electricity tariff. There is no logic in what they are asking.

“You are asking the government to stop the electricity tariff so that it can continue paying N3trn subsidy on power and they are demanding a minimum wage that will cost the government about N9.5trn. Where will the money come from?

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‘’I am beginning to think these labour people live in a world different from reality. The truth is that no director in the ministry earns that kind of money.

“And if they are talking about inflation, it was at 22 per cent when Tinubu came in. Tinubu was not the one who created it. So when they are talking, they must learn to speak the facts. We are just hoping the NLC and TUC will allow common sense to prevail and stop all these threats. You can’t just grind down a nation because you want more money, which is not sustainable.”

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, did not, however, rule out the possibility of a last-minute agreement with Organised Labour.

Idris, who said the government was eager to have both the NLC and the TUC return to the negotiation table, warned that a strike at a critical period like this could throw the country into chaos.

He said, “The FG is watching labour carefully but the room for dialogue is still open. We didn’t ask them to leave the negotiation table.

‘’They chose to walk away from it and we are urging them to return for dialogue because what they are planning to do is dangerous to the economy. It may spell a lot of doom for our country if they decide to embark on strike.

“The best option to solve any dispute is through dialogue. However, the FG is still hopeful they will return to the table for negotiation.”

When asked if the government has a plan to raise its N60,000 offer, Idris explained that the decision was not his to make.

“That is not within my power to talk about a new offer. That can be done by the tripartite committee of which they are a member. They can resolve it there. Other members are there. There are three parts to the committee: Aside from organised labour, there is the government side, which comprises the federal, state and local governments.

“Then, we have the organised private sector which has the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, small and medium scale enterprises, NACCIMA and the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association and all that. So they are there representing the private sector,’’ he explained.

So, we are urging them to come back and continue with the negotiation. This is because what they are planning to do could spell doom for Nigeria and the government cannot allow anything to jeopardize the Nigerian economy as well as its peace and security,” the minister stated.

Unions mobilise workers

Meanwhile, the affiliates of the NLC and TUC have begun mobilising their members nationwide, ahead of the strike.

To ensure full compliance with the strike directive, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives the Joint Health Sector Unions, and scores of other unions have issued notices of strike to their members.

In a notice to judicial workers, the JUSUN General Secretary, M. Akwashiki, said all the courts would be shut down during the labour action.

The statement read, “Following a declaration of industrial action by NLC and TUC, beginning from Monday 3rd June 2024, due to the inability of the government to conclude the negotiation of the new National Minimum Wage and refusal to reverse the increase in electricity tariff, I am directed to inform you to commence mobilisation ahead of the action.

“The action will start at midnight on Sunday nationwide, so all branches /chapters chairmen and secretaries of JUSUN are expected to ensure strict compliance with this directive.

“All vice presidents of our great unions are to monitor their respective zones to ensure compliance with the total shutdown of all courts and Judicial Institutes across Nigeria.

“Note that the nationwide action is to ensure governments agree on a new national minimum wage and subsequently pass it into law before the end of this month as they were notified; Reverse the hike in electricity tariff without consulting the stakeholders as required by the law to N225/kwh back to N66/kwh; Stop the apartheid categorization of Nigerian electricity consumers into bands.”

Furthermore, healthcare workers under the aegis of the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives and the Joint Health Sector Unions have said they will join the strike.

Speaking with our correspondent in a chat on Sunday, the National Secretary of JOHESU, Martin Egbanubi, said all the affiliate unions of the NLC and TUC have directed their members to join the strike.

JOHESU is the umbrella body for the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria; the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals; the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals, and Associated Institutions; and the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institutions.

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When asked about the fate of patients who will need the services of its members, the secretary replied, “Certainly, that’s a big question for the government to answer. The strike is meant to elicit a response from the employer(s) on an issue in dispute and in this case, it’s a dispute of right.

“Union by labour jurisprudence can declare industrial action on the dispute of right. So, let the government respond expeditiously to the demand of Organised Labour for a decent wage.

“We are all in it together, anybody can fall sick and need urgent medical attention. Even with the current socio-economic conditions, workers are sick with poor wages and high cost of living.”

Also, the Chairman of NANNM, Lagos State Council, Christianah Adeboboye, confirmed that nurses will join the strike.

The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers through its Secretary-General, Igbokwe Francis, announced its readiness to participate in the strike, urging the Nigeria Railway Corporation management to protect all critical equipment and properties.

The Secretary General of the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, Abdul- Rasaq Said, criticized the government for delaying the negotiations and directed ANAP members and all aviation workers to stay away from work from Sunday midnight.

Also, the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees in a notice of mobilization signed by its General Secretary, Sikiru Waheed, directed all state councils to mobilize their members for the strike.

Similarly, the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers have directed their members to comply with the strike directive.

NUPENG members largely control activities in the midstream and downstream arms of the oil sector, while those in PENGASSAN handle the bulk of the upstream activities in the oil and gas sector.

The PENGASSAN and NUPENG directed their members to shut down all operations in the upstream, midstream and downstream arms of the oil sector, except for personnel manning for safety.

The General Secretary, PENGASSAN, Lumumba Okugbawa, signed the letter for the senior staff association, while the General Secretary, NUPENG, Afolabi Olawale, signed for the downstream/midstream oil union.

The letter by PENGASSAN read in part, “To all National Executive Council Members. Dear Comrades. Directive to embark on a nationwide strike.

“Following the directives from our umbrella body, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on the above subject, you are hereby directed to withdraw your services from all work locations effective Monday, June 03, 2024. The withdrawal of members includes offices, a logistics base, field operations, terminal operations, loading points, etc. The only exception is personnel manning for safety.

“The above is a result of the breakdown of discussion on the national minimum wage between the government and organised labour as the government is not desirous of offering an acceptable minimum wage that could address the current economic challenges plaguing the country’s workforce.

“We expect total compliance as anything to the contrary will be viewed as sabotage of the struggle which will attract the necessary sanctions.”

In another notice, the PENGASSAN directed its enforcement teams to block the entrances of all upstream oil installations nationwide beginning from Monday.

It gave the directive in a notice titled, ‘Special announcement from the National Desk of PENGASSAN,’ to all the oil union’s zonal, branch, and central executive councils.

The directive signed by the Public Relations Officer, Lagos Zone, PENGASSAN, Juliana Adenike, read in part, “Concerning the planned withdrawal of service from all of our offices on Monday, June 3, 2024, it is mandatory that there be strict compliance. It is your responsibility to ensure ‘no entry and exit’ in your offices by any of our members.

“All ZECOM, BEC, and CEC executives are to wear red or any PENGASSAN attire. (You should) mount your entrances and ensure that there is 100 per cent compliance with the above directive.

“There will be a joint task force of TUC/NLC and Lagos ZECOM going around to ascertain full compliance. Any company in default will be penalised.”

The NUPENG in its letter titled, ‘Compliance with the directive on indefinite nationwide strike,’ said the union was fully committed to the decision to embark on the strike.

Meanwhile, members of the Organised Private Sector have firmly voiced their opposition to the proposed strike, emphasising that it could unleash dire consequences, wreaking havoc on both the economy and businesses alike.

The OPS members in separate interviews said the economy is too fragile to withstand the repercussions of another strike action.

Source: the Punch

 

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AfDB appoints Nigerian as Director of African Development Institute

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AFDB’s investments in Nigeria hit $4.4bn, says DG

The African Development Bank has appointed Eric Ogunleye, a seasoned macroeconomist, as Director of the African Development Institute, effective June 1.

Mr Ogunleye, a Nigerian national, has nearly 20 years of experience in macro and development economics, capacity development, public governance and regulatory reform, monitoring and evaluation, and policy advisory. His career includes designing and leading innovative, context-specific capacity development and policy advisory initiatives at the highest levels of national governance, achieving significant global partnerships and impactful results.

He previously served as the Officer in Charge of the African Development Institute and Manager of the Institute’s Policy Management Division. He was also previously an Advisor to the Chief Economist and Vice President of the Economic Governance and Knowledge Management Complex. He played a crucial role in developing and implementing the Bank Group’s Capacity Development Strategy (2021-2025) and related initiatives, such as the Public Finance Management Academy for Africa and the Macroeconomic Management Academy for Africa.

Mr Ogunleye has significantly enhanced the Institutional Capacity Building and Fiduciary Clinics, which now consistently cover 20 country portfolios annually, improving the quality of the Bank’s operations and portfolios in Regional Member Countries.

In December 2022, Mr Ogunleye successfully launched the Public Finance Management Academy for Africa, featuring an 18-month structured training program across the entire public financial and debt management cycle. This initiative has trained over 145 public officials from 45 African countries as Public Finance Management experts. He currently leads multiple technical assistance projects, including macroeconomic modelling and policy dialogues, to address entrenched and emerging development challenges in African countries. He has also forged numerous partnerships at global, continental, regional, national, and sub-national levels to support these initiatives.

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Before joining the Bank, he was Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on International Trade and Finance and later as Special Advisor to the Chief Economic Advisor to the President. He played a pivotal role in policy research, institutional capacity development, and monitoring and evaluation of socio-economic policies. He contributed to Nigeria’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, which lifted the country out of recession. Additionally, he served as a long-term consultant (Country Macroeconomist) in the Nigeria Country Department of the Bank Group, coordinating macroeconomic analysis in Nigeria and supporting the Bank’s diverse development projects portfolio.

Mr Ogunleye’s previous roles also include Research Fellow at the African Center for Economic Transformation, Doctoral Researcher at the United Nations University’s World Institute for Development Economics Research, Doctoral Research Intern at the World Trade Organization, and International Research Consultant at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. He has also taught and conducted research as a Lecturer at the University of Calabar, Nigeria.

He holds a PhD and MSc in Economics from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, a BSc degree in Economics from the University of Calabar, Nigeria, a Cambridge Certificate in Advanced Programme on Rethinking Development Economics in Africa, and an Executive Certificate in Public Policy from Harvard University.

Expressing his gratitude for the appointment, Mr Ogunleye said, “I am truly humbled, honoured, and pleased by the confidence reposed in me by President Akinwumi A. Adesina for this appointment. I am deeply fascinated and appreciate his consistent penchant for excellence and recognition of talent. I use this opportunity to renew my commitment to the Bank, its leadership, and regional member countries in deepening my support for strengthening institutional capacities in all forms in regional member countries.”

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Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, commented: “I am pleased to appoint Dr. Eric Kehinde Ogunleye as Director of the African Development Institute. Eric is a focused and strategic leader with first-class expertise in key areas of institutional capacity development support to regional member countries. I am confident that he will continue to leverage his vast experience and global partnership across all spheres of capacity development for delivery at scale for our regional member countries.”

Source: Premiumtimes

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Armed men kidnap Fouani MD, three other foreigners in Lagos

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No fewer than three persons, including foreigners, have been abducted by armed men suspected to be kidnappers in Lagos State.

No fewer than three persons, including foreigners, have been abducted by armed men suspected to be kidnappers in Lagos State.

According to DAILY POST, the victims include the Managing Director of Fouani Company and three other Lebanese nationals.

The were reportedly kidnapped while traveling on a boat from Apapa to Victoria Island.

Details of the incident are still sketchy as at the time of filing this report.

However, when contacted by DAILY POST, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, said the Command had received the report.

He said, “Yes we also got the report and we are already looking into it. I can’t confirm it to you yet because I don’t have the details for now.

“But when I’m done with my findings, I will come up with details and tell you their names and how it happened.”

 

READ ALSO  AfDB appoints Nigerian as Director of African Development Institute
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Tinubu stresses sacrifice, duty, and unity in Eid-el-Kabir Message

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President Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to reflect on the importance of sacrifice and duty in nation-building, as the country marks

President Bola Tinubu has called on Nigerians to reflect on the importance of sacrifice and duty in nation-building, as the country marks the joyous occasion of Eid-el-Kabir.

In a statement issued on Saturday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, President Tinubu underscored the profound meaning of the celebration, urging Nigerians to internalize its lessons for the collective good of the nation.

He highlighted that achieving great change requires a collective sense of purpose, will, and action from all citizens, calling on all Nigerians to pray for the peace and stability of the nation.

President Tinubu extended his congratulations to the Muslim Ummah, praying that Allah accepts their supplications and acts of obedience.

Eid-el-Kabir, a significant event in the Islamic calendar, symbolizes sacrifice, faith, and obedience to the will of the Almighty.

“President Bola Tinubu celebrates with the Muslim Ummah on the joyous occasion of Eid-el-Kabir, an event that denotes sacrifice, faith, and obedience to the will of the Almighty.

“The President congratulates the Muslim faithful and prays that Allah accepts their supplications and acts of obedience.

“President Tinubu enjoins Nigerians to reflect on the essence of the occasion, which bears strong meaning and significance for the nation.

“The President emphasizes that sacrifice and duty are essential ingredients to nation-building, noting that it takes collective purpose, will, and action to bring about great change.

“President Tinubu calls on citizens to spare a prayer for the nation for continuous peace and stability while working according to purpose in promoting unity, peace, and progress.

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“The President acknowledges the sacrifices that Nigerians have made in the past one year as his administration sets the nation on a firm pedestal of growth and development”, the statement said.

Acknowledging the significant sacrifices made by Nigerians over the past year, President Tinubu assured the populace that their efforts are beginning to bear fruit.

He noted that his administration’s dedication to setting Nigeria on a path of growth and development is starting to show positive results, with an improving economy and renewed vibrancy in critical sectors.

“President Tinubu affirms that the sacrifices and great expectations of citizens will not come to nought as already propitious outcomes are beginning to manifest with the economy strengthening and vibrancy returning to critical sectors.

“The President reassures Nigerians that his administration is prioritizing their physical, social, and economic security and will not relent on this noble endeavour.

“President Tinubu wishes Nigerians happy Sallah celebrations”, the statement said.

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Sallah: Ex-Senate president Lawan shares N222.5m cash gift, foodstuffs to constituents

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President of the 9th Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan, has distributed N222.5 million cash gift to households drawn from across 60 wards in the six Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Yobe North Senatorial District to celebrate the upcoming Eid-el-Kabir Muslim festival.

The distribution, which was carried out through a committee set up by Senator Lawan, targeted households and individuals in need within the district and beyond.

The six LGAs that benefited from the gesture include Bade, Jakusko, Karasuwa, Yusufari, Machina and Nguru.

The cash gift ranging from 100,000 to 20,000 was distributed to each household, including individuals, with a total of 3,430 households and individuals benefitting from the initiative sponsored by the Senator Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan (SAIL) Foundation.

Other beneficiaries captured are traditional leaders, party executives, and stakeholders in Yobe North.

Also to be distributed are food items such as 1500 carton boxes of spaghetti, 1,140 bags of maize and guinea corn, 1,500 clothings for children, 800 wrappers for women, 2,000 blankets, 2,000 mats etc. Beneficiaries under this category were also drawn from the six LGAs, and extend to orphanages within the Senatorial District.

According to the chairman of the Selection and Distribution Committee, Alhaji Suleiman Jamo, the gesture was aimed at cushioning the economic hardship faced by many constituents owing to the high cost of living as Muslims celebrate Eid-el-Kabir.

“We understand that many of our constituents are going through difficult times, and this gift from Sen. Ahmad Lawan is a token of his support to help them celebrate with joy and peace,” Jamo said.

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Senator Lawan, while commending the committee for a job well done, urged the beneficiaries to use the gift wisely as they enjoy the Eid celebration.

“I wish all my constituents a blessed and peaceful Eid-el-Kabir celebration. May the spirit of the season unite us and bring us closer together”, he said

Source: The Nation

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Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures FBI

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Nigeria working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, Tinubu assures

Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

President Bola Tinubu receives FBI Director, Christopher Asher Wray, at the State House on June 14, 2024. Credit: State House.

President Bola Tinubu on Friday received the director of the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Asher Wray, assuring him that Nigeria is working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrime, and other criminal activities.

Tinubu spoke during a meeting with the FBI director at the State House in Abuja, calling for collaboration between Nigeria and other countries in West Africa to rid the region of crimes.

“We are working hard to eliminate terrorism, cybercrimes, sextortion, and I am glad that we have a good number of agencies that are involved in reducing these crimes to the barest minimum, and they are also well represented at this meeting,” Tinubu was quoted as saying in a statement by his spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale.

“’We cannot achieve this important feat of eliminating crimes without collaboration. Incidentally, as the Chairman of ECOWAS, Nigeria is also collaborating with other West African countries to fight economic and other related crimes.

“It is an honour for me to receive Director Christopher Wray, the leader of an organization that has demonstrated consistent procedural sophistication and a reputation for excellence over several years. Your visit conveys the importance of Nigeria and Nigerian partnership in the work of America’s law enforcement institutions and vice-versa. For us, it is a recognition of what stage we are at, who we are, and the level of interest both countries share in eliminating crimes locally and globally.”

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Tinubu said his administration has prioritised education as a tool against poverty which is generally believed to be a driver of criminal activities.

Noting that no country can combat financial crimes in isolation, President Tinubu called on the United States to support developing countries with the requisite technology and knowledge transfer required to combat complex international crimes.

In his remarks, Director Wray said he was in the country to enhance the “outstanding partnership” that exists between the government of Nigeria and the government of the United States.

Source: Channels

 

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Anambra Rep knocks proposal for Orlu State

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The House of Representatives has further rescheduled its resumption date earlier slated for Tuesday, April 23 by one week.

The member representing Nnewi North/Nnewi South/Ekwusigo Federal Constituency of Anambra State, Hon Uzokwe Peter Ifeanyi, has knocked the proposal for the creation of Orlu State.

He said though he was not against the creation of another state for the Southeast, proper consultation was not made.

Penultimate Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill for first reading for the creation of Orlu State.

The bill was sponsored by the member representing Ideato North/Ideato South Federal Constituency, Imo State, Ikenga Ugochinyere.

According to the draft bill, the creation of Orlu State will alter the 1999 Constitution (as amended), increasing the number of states in the federation from 36 to 37

The new state will be carved out from Imo, Abia, and Anambra states, with Orlu as its capital city, it proposed.

But reacting to the development, Ifeanyi, expressed displeasure that his constituency was carved into the proposed new state even without letting him as representative of the people know.

He posited that the call for a new state was germane but should be done through the appropriate channels, especially through the Igbo leadership, Ohaneze Ndigbo.

He said his position did not reinforce any stereotypes about the Southeast not being united as disagreements on issues in any community is normal.

His words, “The issue of state creation has been the problem of Igbos, the South easterners. No Igboman will say that the Igbos don’t need a state to make up for the inequality of states in the country. Inasmuch as we need that state, the issue becomes where will the state be carved out from?

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“It’s only Anambra people that don’t because of the location of Anambra State. The best you can do is just to carve out something small. I don’t think between Enugu and Anambra, there is a place you will carve out. But from Abia, coming down to Owerri, Imo State, you can carve out between Abia and Imo, between Abia and Ebonyi, and lastly between Imo and some parts of Anambra State. So that has been the issue.

“What happened today was that last Thursday, my brother and honourable member colleague submitted a bill proposing Orlu State. I don’t have anything against Orlu State but the issue is that if you want to carve out any state, you have to do due diligence, you have to consult widely. Can you imagine the embarrassment? My Igwe called me and asked me what happened. Were you there when Ozubulu was carved into Orlu? I said nobody consulted me.

“I’m in the House with you. As a matter of fact, since I was elected, I have not missed more than three sittings, so I’m not an absentee honourable. You see me every day, you people can bear me witness. I have never been in the House five minutes past eleven. I must be seated five minutes to eleven. As a matter of fact, the Speaker had not entered that chamber before me and I was seated or standing to welcome him.

“So it is not a matter of you did not see me. But because you wanted to bypass me. I don’t know the reason. And taking Ozubulu out of Ekwusigo, are you taking the whole of Ekwusigo? Ozubulu has been the Local Government headquarters of Ekwusigo. You just came to Ekwusigo and picked out Ozubulu. Where will the headquarters of Ekwusigo be now? Will Ozubulu which has been the headquarters of a local government now go into Orlu to be a minority? Is it possible?

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“If he had approached me and consulted with me, we would sit down. But let it not be what happened in 1884/1885 which was the scramble for and the partitioning of West Africa, where somewhere in Berlin, Germany, you sat down, brought the map of West Africa on the table, and started carving. That was exactly what my honourable colleague did. Put that Anambra map, put that Imo map, and started carving it out as it pleased him. Will he have taken it if I come to his local town and pull it out? What explanation would be given to his people? Nothing. Just to embarrass me.

“My thinking is simple and short. That we are here, our being here does not give us any superiority over the people who sent us. We have Ohaneze Ndigbo. They have been championing the cause of the creation of an additional state for Igbos. Shift it back to them. They are the elders. They will do it and bring it to us and tell us to push it. That is our job.

“Ohaneze Ndigbo will do it, bring it to us as Southeast Caucus in the parliament. We have leaders. Then with one voice, we push on what is agreed on. But for us to come here as lawmakers because we have the power to make laws, then we start tinkering with the laws, creating new ones to suit the imagination we want. No! Things are not done like that.

“I am not against the creation of an additional state but there should have been proper consultation. I would advise him to withdraw the bill and re-present it so all of us would support it. But the people of Ozubulu have taken a stand that they would not go under Orlu.”

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He said the Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, was passionate about the creation of an additional state for the Southeast.

He also said his position did not reflect any stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together.

He said, this is not a stereotype that the Southeast cannot work together. We would disagree to agree. Forget about that stereotype. Which ethnic group in Nigeria speaks with one voice? Igbo people speak with one voice more than other ethnic groups in Nigeria. Anybody that says Igbos don’t speak with voice is a lie. It is just stereotyping and labelling for them to get what they want. Is speaking with one voice the absence of disagreements? No. It is not. We can disagree. But so long as two human beings are into anything there must be disagreements.”

Source: The Nation

 

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