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Subsidy: NLC kicks as court stops strike, police warn hoodlums

The Nigeria Labour Congress has kicked against a court order secured by the Federal Government restraining the union and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on a planned nationwide strike over the removal of fuel subsidy.

The NLC President, Joe Ajaero, in an interview with one of our correspondents, said the strike would go on Wednesday as planned, noting that the labour centre was not aware of the court order stopping the industrial action.

Justice O. Y. Anuwe of the National Industrial Court handed down the order against the NLC and TUC 48 hours before the commencement of the industrial action as the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba met with police managers in Abuja where he ordered them to carry out effective deployments to prevent hoodlums from hijacking the protests.

Speaking to The PUNCH while taking a break during a meeting with government officials at the Presidential Villa on Monday, Ajaero said, “The industrial court order came late after the close of business today. So the NLC is not aware of it and it is not even mentioned in the meeting. By tomorrow (today), they won’t find anybody at the NLC office to serve it to because, by then, we will all be on the field mobilising for the strike.”

The NLC had told The PUNCH earlier on Monday that the strike action would be for an indefinite period.

Responding to a question on the duration of the strike, the National Treasurer of NLC, Akeem Hambali simply said, ‘’It is indefinite for now.”

Asked whether there was a plan to shelve the action, he said, “Strike will commence on Wednesday except otherwise directed by the National Executive Council.”

But in a last-ditch move to avert the strike, the government again called for a meeting with the NLC leaders at the Presidential Villa. The meeting was still ongoing as of the time of filing this report.

The government representatives had on Wednesday last week met both the NLC and Trade Union Congress leaders, but the meeting ended in a deadlock.

The NLC was however absent from the meeting the government held with the labour leaders on Sunday.

But the FG on Monday obtained a court order stopping the strike. In the suit filed by the FG, the court held that the industrial action, “if not circumvented’’ is capable of disrupting economic activities and essential sectors from carrying out vital functions.

Justice Anuwe specifically barred the NLC and the TUC from “embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023.”

It equally ordered that the two labour centres listed as defendants/respondents in the matter should be “immediately served with the originating processes in the suit, the motion on notice, as well as the interim order.

The FG had in the suit marked: NICN/ABJ/158/2023, which it filed through the Federal Ministry of Justice, applied for an order of interim injunction restraining the two unions, their members, agents, employees, workmen, servants, proxies or affiliates from embarking on the planned industrial action which was to commence on Wednesday.

Lawyer to the FG and Director, Civil Litigation, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Maimuna Shiru, maintained that the proposed strike action was capable of disrupting economic activities, and the health and educational sectors.

The government tendered exhibits FGN 1, 2, and 3, which were notices from the NLC, TUC, and the Nigerian Union of Journalists to their members, asking them to withdraw their services with effect from Wednesday, June 7.

The court held that it was empowered and clothed by section 7(b) of the NIC Act, 2006, with the exclusive jurisdiction in matters relating to ‘the grant of any order to restrain any person or body from taking part in any strike, lockout or any industrial action or any conduct in contemplation or in furtherance of strike, lockout or industrial action.’’

It held that sections 16 and 19(a) of the NIC Act 2006, also empowered it to grant urgent interim reliefs.

The court held that the affidavit of urgency as well as the submission of the FG’s lawyer revealed “a scenario that may gravely affect the larger society and the well-being of the nation at large.”

Anuwe stated, “Counsel has pointed out that students of secondary schools nationwide, especially those writing WAEC exams nationwide, will be affected. The tertiary institutions that have only just resumed after a long ASUU strike will also be affected, not leaving the health sector, amongst other sectors, and above all, the economy of the nation. In my view, this is a situation of extreme urgency that will require the intervention of this court.”

He subsequently fixed June 19 for the hearing in the suit.

Aviation, bank workers

Meanwhile, aviation and bank workers’ unions have directed their members to join the strike which is expected to ground airport operations and banking activities at all financial institutions nationwide.

Aviation workers under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers on Monday announced the planned withdrawal of services as directed by the NLC.

In a notice issued on June 5, the three unions said they would be joining their counterparts in other sectors to embark on a total withdrawal of service from 12 am Wednesday.

It directed all members of the unions to comply with the directive.

The notice signed by the General Secretary of NUATE, Ocheme Aba, the Secretary General of ANAP, Abdul Saidu, and the Deputy General Secretary of NAAPE, Umoh Ofonime, called on all branches, state councils, and zonal councils of the unions to mobilize their members in preparation for the strike.

The notice read, ”The National Executive Council of Nigerian Labour Congress met on Friday 2nd of June, 2023, and decided that Congress will embark on a nationwide mobilisation and withdrawal of services against the fraudulent increase in the pump price of petrol.

“Further to the NLC directive, all branches, state councils, and zonal councils of all the unions in the aviation industry are hereby directed to mobilize all their members in preparation for a total withdrawal of service from 12 am of Wednesday 7th June 2023.

“All the leadership of the unions mentioned above is to ensure strict compliance with the directives as services in the public and private sectors are to be withdrawn. Please ensure strict compliance.”

However, the President of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Ilitrus Ahmad, disclosed that his union would not withdraw its services as they are not an affiliate of the NLC.

In solidarity with the NLC, the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institution Employees, has disclosed that they would participate in the strike.

According to a statement signed by NUBIFIE General Secretary, Mohammed Sheikh, on Monday, the decision was in line with the resolution reached after the emergency meeting of the NLC last Friday.

“In this regard, we hereby direct all our zonal councils, domestic committee, and other organs of the union to ensure total compliance with the congress directive,” the statement said.

However, the President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Mr Oluwole Olusoji, said ASSBIFI was waiting for directives from the TUC to determine its next move.

Meanwhile, the TUC through its General Secretary, Nuhu Toro, disclosed that it would again hold a meeting with the government team on Tuesday evening in furtherance of the discussions on the impact of the fuel subsidy removal held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Sunday.

During the meeting, the congress presented a charter of demands, including a demand for a review of the minimum wage to N200,000 and tax breaks for workers.

In response, the FG’s team promised to deliver the demands to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for review.

In a move to prevent the planned strike and protests from being hijacked by hoodlums, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba met with police managers in Abuja on Tuesday where he ordered them to carry out effective deployments to forestall any breakdown of law and order across the country.

Alkali-Baba said, “Regardless of the quantum of achievements recorded within the period under review and the successful democratic transitioning that happened on the 29th of May, 2023, there still remains prevailing and projected threats across the country, including the aftermath of the fuel subsidy removal with the emerging threat of industrial strike action.

“Consequently, we shall not rest on our oars. Rather, we must redouble our efforts to maintain the needed peace and stability of our democracy. This is critically important as we also prepare for the nation’s Democracy Day on June 12.

“In so doing, I charge you all to remain focused while monitoring the election tribunals and the proposed industrial actions across the country. You must develop proactive crime management mechanisms to forestall any untoward acts from political and non-political actors.”

In compliance with the IG’s directive, many state commands have deployed police operatives across their jurisdictions to ensure public safety during the strike and protest.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Nasarawa State, DSP Ramhan Nansel, said the command had deployed its personnel in 13 local government areas of the state to forestall any breakdown of law and order during the protest.

“Measures have been put in place to that effect,” he added.

The Bayelsa State Police Command equally assured that it had put in place measures to prevent a breakdown of law and order.

The spokesman for the command, Asinim Butswat, stated, “We have deployed adequate policemen to ensure there is no breach of the peace.”

In a related development, petrol marketers and transporters on Monday distanced themselves from the industrial action declared by the NLC.

Members of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, National Association of Road Transport Owners and Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria, among others, also stressed that the over N13tn spent on subsidy by the Federal Government would have been deployed to develop other sectors of the economy.

They insisted that the government, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, had run out of funds to sustain the fuel subsidy regime, highlighting the over N2.8tn subsidy debt that the federation currently owes the NNPCL.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of the NNPCL, Mele Kyari, recently said the Federal Government still owed the company N2.8tn that it had spent on petrol subsidy.

The oil marketers and transporters told one of our correspondents that the planned industrial action by the NLC would not address the situation, but would further worsen the hardship in the country.

They stated that if fuel subsidy continues, the country’s petrol subsidy spending is going to rise to about N20tn when the projected N6tn that is meant to be spent on subsidy in 2023 is added to the N13tn already consumed by the subsidy regime between 2005 and 2021.

The President of the Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, Billy Gillis-Harry, said those agitating for the continuation of subsidy must understand that the country had spent over N13tn in subsidising petrol, at the detriment of key sectors of the economy.

He said the labour congress should give room for dialogue, stressing that oil marketers would not shut their filling stations as the NLC embarks on its nationwide industrial action.

Gillis-Harry stated, “PETROAN’s position is that the NLC should be patient and exhaust all the possibilities of reasonable discussion. This is because, at the end of the day, Nigerians are the ones to suffer, as they are already suffering.

“Subsidy removal is a very difficult and hard decision, but it must be made and PETROAN supports that. Can you imagine spending N13tn on subsidies for about 16 years? Do you know what that amount of money would have accomplished for the country in terms of infrastructure, health, education, etc?’’

He said the discussion between the Federal Government and NLC should go ahead, adding that stakeholders in the downstream sector were also trying to get the government to sit down with oil marketers and come to an agreement on what to do.

Gillis-Harry said every player in the sector, including labour unions, “should be looking for solutions, not anybody threatening anybody. That is my take issue.”

Asked whether some oil marketers might be tempted to join in the strike, the PETROAN president replied in the negative, adding that such actions would further worsen the plights of Nigerians.

“So, as a responsible association of businessmen, we do not intend to join in the fray to cause more problems and hardship for Nigeria. We are not joining the strike. That’s our take,” the PETROAN president stated.

Also speaking on the issue, the President of the National Association of Road Transport Owners, Yusuf Othman, said NARTO endorsed the immediate halt in the payment of subsidy on petrol by President Tinubu during his inaugural address.

“For us, we support the full deregulation of the downstream oil sector, and of course, we expect that some palliative should be in place. But now that subsidy is gone, the palliative can be put in place.’’

He also urged Nigerians to exercise patience with the Federal Government as regards the removal of the subsidy, adding that the subsidy regime only benefitted and enriched very few persons.

“We expect that Nigerians should wait for what the government has on the table for us because sincerely speaking there are very few beneficiaries of the subsidy regime as against the majority of Nigerians,” Yusuf stated.

In the meantime, the Ogun, and Sokoto NLC chapters have backed the strike action just as the Kwara State government reduced work hours.

The chairman of the union in Ogun State, Hammed Ademola said they have mobilized the workers in the state ahead of the strike.

Also, his Sokoto State counterpart, Abdullahi Jungle, confirmed that workers in the state would be part of the strike action.

“We are definitely joining the strike as directed by the national leadership of the union and Sokoto State will not be an exception,” he added.

As part of moves to ease the burden of workers in the state as a result of the fuel subsidy removal, the Kwara State government on Monday approved a temporary palliative measure, including reducing work hours.

The State Head of Service, Mrs Susan Oluwole announced on Monday that Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has directed that the work days be reduced from five days to three days per week.

Oluwole in a statement signed by Murtala Atoyebi, Chief Press Secretary in the office of the head of Service directed all Heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the state to immediately work out a format indicating the alternating work days for each worker under them.

The Head of Service however warned the workers not to abuse the magnanimity of the governor, stressing that the regular monitoring of MDAs by her office would be intensified to ensure strict compliance with the directive.

“Civil servants will now work for three days in Kwara State, as against the current five days. Civil service authorities are expected to release further guidance on the measure, including how it affects health workers and teachers,’’ the statement said.

The governor also met with labour leaders in the state where he appealed to shelve the strike, noting that the removal of the fuel subsidy was done in good faith to curb further damage to the economy.

credit to: Punch News paper

Tinubu Meets With APC Govs At Aso Rock

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is currently holding his maiden meeting with governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the aegis of the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF).

The meeting, being held in the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa, Abuja, is attended by Vice President Kashim Shettima.

In attendance are PGF Chairman and Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Lagos), Abdullahi Sule (Nasarawa), Umar Namadi (Jigawa), Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe), Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Professor Babagana Zulum (Borno), and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe).

Others are Uba Sani (Kaduna), Dikko Radda (Katsina), Father Hyacinth Alia (Benue), AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Kwara), Dapo Abiodun (Ogun), Umar Bago (Niger), Aliyu Ahmed (Sokoto), Francis Nwifuru (Ebonyi) and Bassey Otu (Cross River)


Credit to: Dailytrust

NSCDC Takes into Custody a Man In Ondo For Reportedly Sleeping with His Two Little Daughters

A middle-aged man named, Femi Onifade has been taken into custody in Akure, the Ondo State capital by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) for reportedly sleeping with his two little daughters.

The Commandant of the NSCDC in Ondo State, Mr Philip Ayuba, made this known in a statement signed by the command’s public relations officer, Mr Olufemi Omole.

‘He said that Onifade, 48, a welder defiled his two daughters, aged six and nine years.’

The NSCDC boss noted that the suspect who is a resident of No. 27 Liberty Hospital Road, Oluwatuyi, Akure when they were made aware of the crime.

Ayuba said the arrest was put forward by the assistance of paramount ruler of Akure kingdom, the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladetoyinbo Aladelusi.

The Statement reads: “During initial interrogations, the suspect denied the allegations.

“However, we gathered that there had been a long-term disagreement between the man and his wife as a result of constant molestation and maltreatment.”

“Onifade Femi always seized the opportunity of his wife’s absence to harass the minors sexually.

“It was revealed that few days ago, the suspect bought a bottle of soft drink, mixed a powdery substance in it and gave the kids to drink.

“Onifade Femi went further to caress the kids and suck their private parts.”

“Neighbours reacted on hearing the wailing of the children throughout the night after sending out their mother.”

According to Ayuba, medical reports from the Federal Medical Centre, Akure disclosed that the two kids have lost their hymen and their private parts deeply opened.

Ayuba make known that the suspect would be charged to court very soon.

Source___Channels TV

Buhari, Gbajabiamila Condole With Media Industry, Mourn death of Waheed Bakare

President of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, have commiserated with the media industry, particularly Nigeria Union of Journalists and Nigeria Guild of Editors, on the sudden demise of Mr Waheed Bakare the Saturday Editor of New Telegraph.

In dissimilar statements on Monday, the President and the Speaker sympathize with the late journalist’s family.

‘President Buhari according to a brief communique signed by his special aide, Mr Femi Adesina, sent his condolences to the family of the deceased, and management of New Telegraph Newspapers, describing the editor’s death as a collective loss to the media and the nation that he served passionately with his talent.’

The President commune with and prayed that God will receive the soul of the departed, and make it easy on all that mourn him.

In a similar vein, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila described the death of the Editor as a sad loss.

‘Gbajabiamila also commiserated with the late Journalist’s family, the entire management and staff of the New Telegraph Newspaper over the loss, he also condoled with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), stressing that Nigerian journalism has lost one of its dedicated members, whom he described as a diligent and hardworking individual.’

Source___Channels TV

‘Super Eagles Forward Victor Osimhen Loses Father’

Nigerian footballer and Lille forward, Victor Osimhen father passed away, Patrick Osimhen.

Osimhen, 21, took to his official Twitter handle to make the news known of his father’s demise.

“RIP Dad. No words to describe this feeling,” he tweeted.

His French Ligue 1 team also offered sympathy with the 2015 U-17 World Cup winner over the occurrence, warranting him of the club’s support in this “difficult time.”

“Today we learned with great sadness of the passing of @victorosimhen9 ‘s father,” the French side tweeted.

“The entire LOSC family is joined in grief with Victor and his family. He has our full support during this difficult time.”

The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) also tweeted on its official handle, sympathying with the striker over his father’s death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this time,” the football body said. “Take heart and stay strong.”

The former Wolfsburg player has had an impressive start season with The Mastiffs after earning 18 goals in 38 matches since joining them last summer from the Belgian side, Sporting Charleroi.

‘He has scored 13 goals in the French Ligue one as Christophe Galtier’s team ended fourth on the log. In September 2019, he won the French Ligue 1 Player of the Month gong for his sterling showings.’

Source___Channels TV

PDP in Nigeria Refuses to accept Kogi Election, Heads To Appeal Court

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria has refused that its candidate Musa Wada, won the November 2019 Kogi state governorship election.

The party in a statement signed on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, make it known their will to take back its victory at the Appeal Court.

This was in response to the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting which on Saturday make known the election of present Governor, Yahaya Bello.

The PDP described the judgment as an alerting stillbirth of justice, declaring that their candidate, Wada, put forward their undeniable proofs of electoral ‘manipulations’ as affirmed by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele in his unconventional judgment.

“Our party was able to lay incontestable evidence of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, thuggery, violence and other malpractices used by the APC and compromised Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officials to rob our candidate and the people of Kogi state of their mandate.

“The PDP expressed shock that despite the overwhelming evidence before the tribunal, proving that Governor Yahaya Bello did not win the election, justice was thwarted to the disappointment of the people of Kogi state and generality of Nigerians.

“The fact remains that the evidences are clear that our candidate is the genuine choice of the people and our party is confident that the Court of Appeal will uphold justice in this matter,” PDP’s statement read in part.

The party also praised Justice Ohimai for his bravery and showing that there is hope in the institution of the judiciary.

Source___Channels TV

Lagos ConfirmsFour New COVID-19 Deaths

Lagos State government on Thursday confirmed four new coronavirus deaths

This was made known by the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, via his official Twitter handle.

According to the Commissioner, the new COVID-19 deaths brings the toll of fatalities in the state to 42.

He also stated that 199 new cases of the COVID-19 infections were confirmed in the state while 17 additional recoveries were recorded.

“199 new COVID-9 cases were confirmed in Lagos. The new cases bring the number of confirmed COVID-19 infection in Lagos to 2970.

“Additional 17 fully recovered COVID-19 patients; 6 females and 11 males were discharged. The total number of COVID-19 discharged patients in Lagos now stands at 649.

“Additional 4 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in Lagos. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in Lagos rises to 42,” Abayomi tweeted.

Source___Channels TV

Lagos Initiates Post-COVID-19 Review Committee For Tourism, Entertainment Industry

The Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has launched members of the Lagos State post-COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee.

The six-man committee chaired by Mrs. Joke Silva, MFR, is expected to draw out observations and recommendations on how to revive the State innocative industry, which has been slow as an outcome of the Coronavirus pandemic presently devastating the world.

The Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. (Mrs) Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, while launching the Committee at Alausa, on Thursday, said that the members are anticipated to make suggestions to the State government on ways to restore its economy, particularly the Tourism and Entertainment industry.

In her words: “The situation in the world today was not pre-determined. This is where we are and this is what we have seen happening to us. The tourism sector is one of the worst-hit sectors by this pandemic because, on a daily basis, Lagos records new cases and we must not shy away from the fact that COVID-19 is still with us”.

“Everywhere is shut down. The airline operators are not operating, there is nothing like Art exhibitions, and hospitality businesses have been put on hold. So, we want to find a way to sustain our economy and the industry, even with the pandemic and see how best we can continue to improve on the creative sector”, she added.

‘The Commissioner highlighted some of the terms of reference for the Committee, which is expected to submit its reports in two weeks, to include conducting a holistic assessment of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the industry and come up with recommendations on the short and long term palliatives with respect to soft loans and grants, to assuage the negative impact of the scourge on the industry.’

Source___Channels TV

Eight Medical Doctors Test Positive For COVID-19 In Zamfara Nigeria


The Nigeria Medical Association in Zamfara state has recorded that eight of its members have tested positive for Corona Virus.

The vice-chairman of the association in the state, Mannir Bature told Channels Television that the eight medical doctors who are among the recently recorded cases of COVID-19 are in Zamfara state and were infected in the line of duty at various public hospitals in the state.

Dr Bature also said that the doctors got the infection while attending to patients at hospitals who were already confirmed with the virus.

He, further, urged on the Zamfara State Ministry of Health to provide medical workers in all the public hospitals in the state with personal protective equipment to help them from contracting the virus.

He also pledged for improved risk allowances for medical doctors and other health workers that are tangled in the management of the coronavirus pandemic in Zamfara state in Nigeria.

Source___Channels TV

One more time , Distrusted Boko Haram Rebels Attack Dapchi Community

Gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram rebels have once again attacked Dapchi community in Yobe state shooting discontinuously

A Dapchi inhabitant solely known as Garba told Channels Television that the security personnel put on duty in the community engaged the gunmen while he was fleeing into the bush for safety.

Garba who is a mechanic further make known that the attackers shift away food opiate brought into the palace of the District Head by State Emergency Management Agency and later set the palace ablaze.

*The Police Public Relation Officer in the state, ASP Abdulkarim Dungus confirmed the incident but said the number of casualties are still sketchy as means of communications have been tempered with making contacts very difficult .*

Attempts to speak with the Acting Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Sector 2 Operation Lafiya Dole, Lieutenant Chinonso Oteh manifest abortive as he could not be reached on the phone.

Dapchi, a town about 100 kilometers from Damaturu the state capital was last bombarded on March 5, 2020 in which seven mobile police officers were killed and also an bulletproof vehicle burnt down.

Source___Channels TV

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