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FG, LASG Stop Barge Operations Along Marina Coastline [LEADERSHIP]

The Lagos Marina is set to regain its beauty and serenity, with the planned stoppage of barge opera-tions along the coastline.

The Federal Government, in conjunction with Lagos State Government, on Tuesday, ordered the stoppage of all such operations, which have desecrated the once beautiful and peaceful Marina coast-line.

The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) is to revoke barge approvals granted some companies operating in Lagos.

The Honourable Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, and the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who defied the early morning downpour to inspect the activities around the Ma-rina coastline, made the stop-work order during an unscheduled visit to the Marina.

They went around the coastline, seeing the long row of trucks and containers that have constituted health and security hazards on the Marina. Amaechi and Sanwo-Olu kept on shaking their heads on seeing the devastation of the coastline that used to be the pride of the State, attracting crowds of visi-tors.

Amaechi and Sanwo-Olu found the “unwholesome” activities on the coastline “shocking” and “unac-ceptable”.

The Minister spoke of an urgent need to sanitise the entire Marina coastline and restore its tranquillity and beauty.

He ordered that trucks must immediately stop coming to Marina to load.

Amaechi said the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) did not grant anyone permission to car-ry out barging operations, insisting that all such activities must stop immediately.

“The Federal Ministry of Transport has agreed with the Lagos State Government to ensure that who-ever is making use of the Marina coastline should stop. We have agreed with the Commissioner of Police to stop those using the roads and we have agreed with NPA to cancel all barge permits pending when each person will come back to NPA, NIWA and Lagos State Government to renew such approv-al,” he said.

Sanwo-Olu directed the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to arrest and prosecute anyone who flouts the order to stop “unauthorised activities” on the Marina.

He said the State Government would do everything to bring sanity to the coastline. “We are also talking to the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing because we understand that some of the approvals were from the Federal

Ministry of Works. So, we are also taking up that responsibility and we would do what we need to do,” the Governor said.

Also at the inspection were the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman, representatives of NIWA, Ministries of Works as well as Waterfront Infrastructure Development and the Police.

 

Construction: Keep Off Minna-Bida Road, Niger Govt Tells Residents [LEADERSHIP]

The Niger State government has advised motorists to keep off the Minna-Bida road following ongoing road construction.

The government said it has closed down the Minna-Bida state-owned road to articulated vehicles due to its deplorable condition and to allow for speedy reconstruction of the road as directed by the state governor, Alhaji Abubakar Sani Bello.

A statement by the chief press secretary to the governor, Mary Noel Berje said the official closure of the road took place with a barricade to stop the heavy trucks from accessing the road in Bida. She said the closure of the road was coming after the state government had announced earlier that the exercise would take effect from midnight Tuesday.

According to her, the Minna-Bida road, which has witnessed incessant breakdown of articulated vehicles on the road, has caused untold hardship on commuters.

Other roads closed are: Lapai-Paiko, Chanchaga Bridge-Maikunkele, Muye-Lapai, and Zungeru – Wushishi roads.

She said the government has assured that the restriction of articulated vehicles on the state-owned roads would be effective as series of critical stakeholders meetings have been held and the stakeholders are in support of the decision stressing that the closure only affects the state-owned roads.

Government however enjoined its citizens to show some level of understanding as it is not unaware of the inconveniences the restriction will cause, but it is in the over all interest of the state.

She said the chairman of the Infrastructure and Monitoring Committee who is also the chief of staff to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello, Alhaji Ibrahim Balarabe in company of other team members that cut across

relevant ministries, departments and parastatals carried out the

closure on behalf of the state government.

 

Senate Rejects N75,000 COVID-19 Test Fee For Int’l Flight [LEADERSHIP]

The Senate has cautioned relevant stakeholders in the health sector against killing the nation’s economy by adopting foreign methods of fighting COVID-19 pandemic.

Senate’s admonition against imported measures of fighting COVID-19 came from the co-chairman of the Senate Joint Committee on Health and Aviation, Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC, Kogi West), during an interactive session with stakeholders in the Aviation and Health sectors on safety measures put in place in the wake of the resumption of international and domestic flights in the country.

Senator Adeyemi, who chairs the Senate Aviation Committee, said although based on realities on ground, COVID-19 was real but not potent in Nigeria and many other African countries.

According to him, based on that reality, it was wrong for relevant authorities in the country to be swallowing hook, line and sinker, measures being adopted to fight the disease in Europe, Americas, China and other advanced countries of the world.”There is something in us as Africans that is not in them in Europe and America, which made COVID-19 not to be disastrous here as it was there.

“In the light of this, measures that are detrimental to the livelihood and well-being of Nigerians should be avoided, so as not to kill the nation’s economy.

“People are not finding things easy outside there as a result of the way and manner COVID-19 pandemic is being fought in the country and as representatives of the people, feelers reaching us indicate revolt against government in December if drastic actions are not taken between now and then to make things easier” Adeyemi warned.

For his part, chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC, Kwara Central), specifically faulted the policy adopted by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, which allows only private laboratories to carry out tests on intending travelers abroad at the cost of N75,000.

The measure according to him, is detrimental to average Nigerians who are being forced to cough out N75,000 for the test, which he described as unacceptable.

“The amount is too high, it should be brought down and public health Institutions laboratories should be equipped to carry out the tests”, Oloriegbe said.

 

Labour: workers choked by petrol, power rates hike [THE NATION]

ORGANISED labour on Tuesday demanded measures to cushion the effect on workers of the increase in petrol price and the hike in electricity tariffs.

They told the government that the new price regime had choked workers and that the gains recovered with last year’s raised minimum wage had been eroded.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Preasident Ayuba Wabba and Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Quadri Olaleye, led others to a meeting yesterday with Federal Government officials led by Minister of Labour Chris Ngige on the issues.

Wabba accused the government of “unilaterally” fixing prices of electricity and petrol without consultations with Nigerians.

The NLC President said many Nigerians are struggling to survive because of the high cost of living caused by the government’s recent policies which included the increase, earlier in the year, of Value Added Tax (VAT) from five percent to 7.5 per cent.

Those with Ngige at the dialogue which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja were  Minister of State Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo; Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman; Minister of Works and Housing Babatunde Fashola and Minister of State for Petroleum Timipre Sylva.

Also in the labour team were Secretary General of TUC Musa Ozigi-Lawal, Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria President Festus Osifo and President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria Williams Akporeha.

Wabba added: “The question now is what do you have on the table to actually cushion the effect on workers and their families because they have been pushed to the wall. They are already enraged. Do you have anything for us so that we can say yes, despite this challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers to cushion this effect for them?

“Already, the value of the minimum wage has been eroded. The purchasing power parity, when you compare with other West African countries, we are already on the ground. That is the reality. If Ghana compares their minimum wage with our own, you will see the difference.”

He accused the federal government of transferring the “inefficiency in the subsidy regime” to the consumers which they (consumers) have to pay through hike in price.

The NLC president urged the government to fix the nation’s refinery and stop lining the pockets of some people through a fraudulent subsidy regime.

Wabba said: “I agree with Mr. President that subsidy is a fraud but do we address it or transfer it to the customers? That is where the issue is. We don’t need to transfer it to the customers.

“We have increased VAT, we have increased some taxes, we have increased now the fuel price and the tariff on electricity. An ordinary worker can’t pay those charges. In fact, higher level officers are complaining seriously. This is the predicament we are in.

“Therefore let us also look for solutions. How do we mitigate this impact which is very pronounced on workers.

“Any time you increase the cost of petroleum product and electricity tariff they will transfer the cost to the consumer and the cost of goods and services will go up.

What we need to do is to protect these vulnerable group of people – the workers and the citizens.”

TUC President Olaleye asked the government to reverse the new rate and tariffs which have been biting Nigerians hard.

The TUC president said: “Nigerian workers are crying and the populace are also crying. Last December, we were so happy when we signed the minimum wage agreement and Nigerian workers were happy. Unfortunately now, they are crying. By calculation, we are losing additional 15 per cent of what we gained from signing the minimum wage.

“Somebody who is paid N6,666 as increment is now losing not less than N25, 000 from his income. The N6, 666 has gone and additional N15, 000 is added.

“Let us remove the effect of COVID -19. For our leaders and representatives, nothing has changed. We have not been able to discuss labour matters since February all in the name of COVID -19. But people that are signing budget, people that are sharing money on a daily basis, they meet either on Zoom or physically. They meet and share those money but when it comes to labour matter, we then remember that there is COVID -19.

“The questions our members are asking is that does it really means that the politicians represent the rich people in this country? Does it mean it is only labour that represents the poor people? Does it mean when we have economic predicament that is when we call Nigerians that we want to hear from them but when we have surpluses we hear nothing about it.

“I cannot remember any time in this country that we had surplus and Nigerian workers felt it on their palms or in their pockets but when we have predicaments, especially crude oil crash, then labour will be called upon, let us see how we can rescue the economy.”

 

Nigeria nears total collapse, says Soyinka [THE NATION]

NIGERIA is on the edge of total collapse, Nobel laureate Prof Woke Soyinka said on Tuesday.

He gave his backing to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s claim that Nigeria is becoming a failed state and more divided under President Muhammadu Buhari.

Soyinka said the Federal Government’s tactics of “aggressively” denying that Buhari’s policies and conduct were responsible, would lead to “collective suicide.”

In a statement titled: “Between ‘Dividers-in-chief’ and Dividers-in-law,” Soyinka said former President correctly read the state of the nation.

Obasanjo, last week said the Buhari administration had made Nigeria the headquarters of poverty.

The former president blamed the country’s current state on poor management of the nation’s diversity.

But the Presidency, returned the salvo, describing Obasanjo as Nigeria’s “Divider-in-chief.”

Soyinka also said it was obscene to shed any tear for terror gang leader (Terwase) Akwaza, known as Gana”.

He said: “Still on security, any tear that is shed for the arch-bandit and multiple murdered Akwaza known as Gana is an obscenity.

“Tears of trepidation are falling fast and furious over the conduct of an army that eliminates a captive in cold blood, side-tracking the rationality of professional investigations and legitimate pursuit of felons and other enemies of society.

“The issue here is not one of the appropriateness of a policy of Amnesty – that constitutes a larger debate in its place. The issue here – and a critical one – is that a Wanted Man, on his way to surrender, has been killed in cold blood.

“I read yesterday that the Army has followed this up with a demand for the bounty earlier placed by the Benue State governor on the head of the wanted man. However, all reports so far indicate that he was on his way to surrender?

“And so, is this bounty demand a joke? An end then to such gallows humour! And certainly not now, not while the nation is freshly reeling from the latest horror of the targeting of unarmed Road Safety officials, gunned down in cold blood in their commuter bus, and the mass kidnapping of survivors.

“Shall we presume that the surviving casualties of routine duty rosters are also nation-dividers if they scream out for protection and deplore a breakdown in the entire security architecture of the nation?”

The elder statesman and playwright suggested that if the Presidency was rankled by the voices of individual critics, perhaps, the time is ripe for a “Nation Survival Conference” where everyone could share thoughts on, ideas and solutions to the country’s problems.

Soyinka said: “I am notoriously no fan of Olusegun Obasanjo, General, twice former president and co-architect with other past leaders of the crumbling edifice that is still generously called Nigeria. I have no reasons to change my stance on his record.

“Nonetheless, I embrace the responsibility of calling attention to any accurate reading of this nation from whatever source, as a contraption teetering on the very edge of total collapse.

“We are close to extinction as a viable comity of peoples, supposedly bound together under an equitable set of protocols of co-habitation, capable of producing its own means of existence, and devoid of a culture of sectarian privilege and will to dominate.

“The nation is divided as never before, and this ripping division has taken place under the policies and conduct of none other than President Buhari – does that claim belong in the realms of speculation?”

 

Why we’ve resorted to borrowing, by Buhari [THE NATION]

THE government has been taking loans to bridge the infrastructure gap, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Tuesday.

The President gave the explanation during a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council (PEAC).

According to a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, the President said the strategic reason for borrowing was to provide the infrastructure to make the country attractive to investors.

“We have so many challenges with infrastructure. We just have to take loans to do roads, rail and power, so that investors will find us attractive and come here to put their money,’’ the President said after listening to a presentation by PEAC chaired by Dr. Doyin Salami.

He regretted that the failure to provide the infrastructure for effective transportation deprived the country of its well-deserved status as the West African hub for Air cargo transportation and trans-shipment of goods.

On the economy, President Buhari noted the challenges posed by the “collapse of the oil market” and the decision of government to abide by the reduced oil production quota allocated by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

“We have to accept that decision; otherwise they (Middle-East producers) can flood the market and make the product unviable. So we have cooperated with what we get. With oil, we are in a difficult situation. The politics of oil is that the less you produce, the less you earn,” he said.

President Buhari explained that: “For us to bounce back to productivity, especially in agriculture, the unemployed with many of them uneducated had to be persuaded to go into agriculture.

‘‘If we hadn’t gone back to the lands we would have been in trouble by now. That is why we virtually stopped the importation of food thereby saving jobs and foreign exchange.”

The President also broached the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and how it necessitated the government policies on energy (electricity) and petrol.

He said the Federal Government took such decisions because it places the country above politics.\

“COVID has reduced us to the same level as developed countries.

‘‘We are lucky we went back to the land. We eat what we produce. We are doing our best to secure the country and provide infrastructure for investment to be viable in the country,” he said.

Commending the Chairman and the members of the council for their patriotism and service to the nation, President Buhari pledged to continue to draw from their wisdom, knowledge and experiences as the nation deals with challenging economic times.

Dr. Salami  highlighted the Council’s recommendations on poverty reduction and stimulation of non-debt investment inflows, as promised at their last meeting.

The council recommended steps for the effective implementation of government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, and measures to curb poverty disparity in Nigeria.

The council promised to set out a full policy paper that would, in the first instance, stop more Nigerians from falling into poverty and thereafter, further plans on reducing the poverty headcount in the country.

The PEAC also outlined a number of measures aimed at aggressively increasing the country’s non-debt investment inflow, including measures to improve investor perception of the country and the proposed establishment of a 5 billion – 10 billion dollars investment and growth fund to invest in.

 

Abdulsalami to Obaseki, Ize-Iyamu: your integrity at stake [THE NATION]

TUESDAY’S peace accord signed by candidates in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election is a test of integrity for Governor Godwin Obaseki of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has said.

Gen. Abdulsalami, who is the Chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), warned on the consequences of a violent poll in the Southsouth state.

The former Head of State said the integrity of the governor and that of his major challenger would be on the line, should they or their supporters violate the peace accord.

Noting that tension has engulfed Edo, he thanked Benin monarch Oba Ewuare II for the step he took to calm frayed nerves.

Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, who signed the accord, pledged total commitment to a violence-free election and promised to prevail on their supporters to show decorum.

Apart from Obaseki and Ize-Iyamu, 12 other governorship candidates signed the accord at the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre, Benin City, the state capital, along with their party chairmen

In accordance with the accord, the candidates, their parties and supporters are expected to accept the results of a free and fair poll.

Also at the venue were Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Chairman Prof. Mahmood Yakubu; Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese Bishop Matthew Hassan-Kukah; Oba Ewuare II, who was represented by Chief David Edebiri, and Deputy Governor Philip Shaibu.

Gen. Abubakar lamented that elections have been characterised by varying degrees of violence since 1999.

He said the tension and anxiety necessitated the setting up of NPC with the mandate to support peaceful election processes and cultivate a culture of peace.

Abubakar stressed: “In 2014, the committee commenced efforts to support free, fair and credible elections and to ensure peaceful transition. The intervention of the committee contributed immensely to the success of the 2015 elections. The NPC has since 2015 successfully intervened in the general elections to ensure a peaceful outcome, right after the just past 2019 general elections.

“The governorship election in Edo State is just a few days away and giving peace during and after the election is a priority and it must be done. We as a people should aspire to see Nigeria where people feel safe to come out of their homes to cast their votes without any fear.

“The election cannot hold in the absence of a peaceful atmosphere, more importantly disharmony among political parties. All contesting parties need to adopt a code of conduct that will remove confrontation among them.

“The NPC is in Edo State today (yesterday) to support this process, not just the signing of the peace accord by al candidates, but to also encourage you all to accept the outcome of the election, no matter the result.

“By agreeing to sign this covenant of peace, all of you are committing yourselves to ensure an enduring peace in Nigeria and Edo State before, during and after the election and agreeing to look beyond short term political gains, sectoral interests or narrow party advantage and accepting nothing, but for the development of Edo State.

“I urge all of us to use the process of election in Edo State as a test of future elections, as reiterated by President Muhammadu Buhari. Let every Nigerian be respected and be given an opportunity cast his or her vote, without intimidation or coercion and once that vote is cast, let us applaud that vote.

“I ask all the stakeholders and key people here present to commit to the spirit of this accord, while also remembering that the violators of this accord are putting their integrity on line, because you are signing this as ladies and gentlemen who are to be taken for your words.”

 

 

Govs, INEC REC, APC, PDP, bigwigs on US visa ban list [SUN]

A resident electoral commissioner of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), three governors, academics (names withheld) who participated in general elections between 2019 and this year as well as some top security officials are on the list of Nigerians affected by the latest United States of America’s visa restriction.

In addition, some top chieftains in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been added to the list of electoral offenders.

Daily Sun also gathered that other prominent Nigerians, including lawmakers were affected by the visa restriction for allegedly undermining the electoral process in the 2019 general election and some staggered elections held between last year and this year.

A governor in the North reportedly had his visa restriction extended in the latest review while two others were added to the list, it was learnt. Also on the list are two senior media practitioners from the South.

On Monday, September 14,  the US Government made good its threat to impose visa restrictions on individuals responsible for acts of violence, intimidation, and corruption during the November 2019 elections in Kogi and Bayelsa states.

It equally vowed to impose restrictions on individuals who engage in violent conduct in the yet-to-be held Edo and Ondo states governorship elections.

In a statement by spokesperson of the United States Department of State, Morgan Ortagus, the US, being a steadfast supporter of Nigeria’s  democracy, commended Nigerians who participated in elections throughout 2019 and have worked to strengthen the country’s  democratic institutions and processes.

She, however, said the US remained committed to working together with Nigeria to advance democracy and respect for human rights and achieve greater peace and prosperity for both countries.

Barely 24 hours  after the US action, the United Kingdom (UK) has announced that it would impose ban on those involved in violence during the forthcoming Edo and Ondo states gubernatorial elections.

In a statement released, yesterday, by the British High Commission, Abuja, the UK took a step further as it said  it would impose restrictions on access to UK based assets for electoral offenders or prosecute them under international law.

The UK said it would  deploy observation missions to both Edo and Ondo elections and support civil society led obsevers.

It added that it took a strong stand against election-related violence and that just as it did in the general election in 2019, it would continue to take actions against individuals it identified as being responsible for violence in Nigerian elections.

“This could include restrictions on their eligibility to travel to the UK, restrictions on access to UK based assets or prosecution under international law.

“The UK will continue to provide support and engagement as we move towards these elections. We urge INEC, the police and all other agencies involved to work together to deliver free, fair and credible elections.”

The UK said as a friend and partner of Nigeria, it was closely following the lead up to the off-cycle governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively.

It noted that the elections were important, both as an essential element of effective governance within both states and an indicator of the strength of Nigeria’s democratic institutions.

“Our High Commissioner to Nigeria, Catriona Laing, has held meetings with leaders of the two main political parties, APC and PDP. The discussions focused on the need for parties’ leaders to prevail on supporters to avoid violence before and after the elections, and we welcome the Edo candidates’ signature of the National Peace Committee and INEC convened peace accord today.”

The United States and the United Kingdom had in January, 2019, said they would restrict electoral offenders and their families from traveling to both countries.

The UK particularly said in March, 2019, that it was reviewing the events of the 2019 election and would take action on visa restrictions accordingly.

 

Election rigging akin to coup –Tambuwal [SUN]

Advertisement: Chairman of PDP Governors Forum and Governor of Sokoto State,  Aminu Tambuwal,  has likened election rigging to  a coup d’etat,  saying both deprive the people opportunity to choose leaders of their choice.

Tambuwal, who stated this in a statement,  to commemorate the 2020 International Day of Democracy, said it had become imperative to strengthen the electoral process to restore public confidence in the country’s  democracy.

Consequently,  the Sokoto governor charged the National Assembly to immediately conclude the amendment of the Electoral Act  and entrench provisions that would  make the manipulation of the electoral process impossible.

He added that the forthcoming Edo and Ondo governorship polls scheduled for September 19 and October 10 respectively was a test case of the preparedness of the country for democratic governance.

“To mark this day in Nigeria, it is important to note that the struggle for democracy has involved sweat, blood, diplomacy, compromises and negotiations. This had traversed the whole period of pre and post independence struggle, the First, Second, Third Republics. And our current experiment since 1999.

“In our contemporary Nigeria,  many young people who did not participate in the various struggles may not  understand the intensity of the price paid by our forebears. It is with this in mind that I wish to flag various dangers lurking around and threatening to derail our present democratic experiment.

“The strenghtening of our electoral infrastructure has become very urgent, if we are to restore the hope and aspiration of Nigerians that democracy still counts. Indeed  the upcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo and Ondo states is a test case of our preparedness for a rule based and consent enabled governance.

“It has become imperative to rethink the role of not just the electoral umpire, but also the activities of various security agencies in our electoral process in such a manner as to  instil in them the culture of inflexible support for democracy and its practice.

“Any electoral victory obtained other than through the legitimate votes of the people is nothing short of a coup d’etat.”

Similarly, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has pleaded with the National Assembly to pass e-voting bill to address the problems of manual election process.

National Vice Chairman of the party, Mr. Samson Olalere (South-West) made the plea in Ibadan, yesterday.

“It is quite unfortunate that Nigeria is still at this stage in its electoral process. Our lawmakers should look into reviewing the electoral system. Nigeria has grown enough to have electronic voting that will not be witnessing setbacks, such as the fire incidence in Ondo State office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“If nothing is done to change the narrative, things will not move forward. Under normal circumstances, Nigeria ought to have grown beyond the manual electoral process that is giving us problems. We should not be thinking of using card readers to vote anymore,” he said.

He also said that the legislators should rise up quickly to review the law for the good of the country.

“INEC has always expressed its readiness for electronic voting but if there is no law backing it up, there is no way INEC can do it. So our lawmakers should hasten up and get this thing done so that Nigeria will move forward.

“E-voting will curb all these crises that we use to have during the electioneering. If the process is zelectronic and you know that you cannot easily manipulate and rig, then things will work well and there will be peace,” Olalere said.

He observed that if INEC had a backup system, there would be no problem for the October 10 governorship election in Ondo State.

 

Road crash: 5 dead, 8 injured in Ondo [SUN]

The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Ondo State Command, yesterday confirmed five persons died and eight others injured in a road crash which occurred along Owo-Akure Expressway in the state.

Mr. Ahmed Hassan, state Sector Commander of FRSC, who confirmed the story in Akure, said that the accident involved two vehicles. Hassan, who explained that the accident occurred on Sunday, said it involved a J5 bus with number plate , LSR 855 XF and a truck with registration number, AKD 880 XX.

According to him, the crash was caused by speed violation and loss of control on the part of the vehicles: “On September 13 at about 9.23 am , two vehicles were involved in an accident at Emure in Owo Local Government Area of the state. A total of 13 people were involved in the crash which resulted in the death of five persons on the spot while eight others sustained leg and head injuries. The victims were taken to Federal Medical Center (FMC), Owo, while the corpses were deposited at the center’s morgue,” he said.

 

FG, Labour talks deadlocked [SUN]

Federal Government efforts to forestall the nationwide mass protests and industrial  action through meeting with organised labour, yesterday, was truncated as the meeting ended in a deadlock.

Both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have stated that the meeting would not in anyway stop action lined up to protest the hike.

Labour considered the meeting which lasted for almost nine hours as an attempt to divert attention from the main problem, which is the unbearable pain and suffering of the masses from the hike.

The NLC and its counterpart, TUC at the meeting had told the Federal Government that the recent increase in the prices of petroleum products and electricity tariff were choking workers and Nigerians.

Labour also stated that the hikes had erased the gains recorded with the signing of the national minimum wage into law last year by President Muhammau Buhari.

It was learnt that the NLC would hold its Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting today to resolve on next line of action.

Yesterday’s meeting was attended by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Minister of State for Petroleum, Minister of State for Power, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Planning, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Commission amongst other top Government officials.

The labour team was led by the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba; President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye; Secretary General of the TUC, Musa Ozigi-Lawal; Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria President, Festus Osifo and the President of Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Association of Nigeria, Williams Akporeha among others.

The NLC president while speaking said: “The question now is what do you have on the table to actually cushion the effect on workers and their families because they have been pushed to the wall. They are already enraged. Do you have anything for us so that we can say yes despite this challenges? This is what I have for Nigerian workers that they can  have something that can cushion this effect for them?

“Already, the value of the minimum wage has been eroded. The purchasing power parity when you compare with all West African countries we are already on the ground. That is the reality. If Ghana compares their minimum wage with our own you, will see their minimum wage.”

He said the ultimatum remained as there was agreement between labour and government.

The Federal Government maintained that subsidisidy was no longer sustainable.

Minister of State for Petroleum, Mr Timipre Sylva said government spent N10.4 trillion on petrol subsidy between 2016 and 2019.

The minister also said that the country was losing N1 billion daily to fuel subsidy between 2016-2019. He added that the country was  in bad shape because of the crash of crude oil price globally.

“We have not fully deregulated because of the concerns government has for Nigerians. Price of fuel could go up to 183 going by the current rate of the dollar. We need to open up the economy even though the initial stage may bring pains to Nigerians. Subsidy was not sustainable. Some of the past governments didn’t have political will to remove it. We know that rise in prices will bring some pains to Nigerians. We are the first to admit that. We have thought of alternatives,” he stated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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