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Bandits Recruiting Children Orphaned By Insecurity, Arewa Youths Allege [LEADERSHIP]

Northern youth group, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF), has raised the alarm that, some of the over 44,000 youths orphaned by insecurity in Zamfara State are being recruited by marauding armed bandits terrorising the North-West and some North-Central states.

AYF said, this was discovered following a research it carried out as part of measures to find the root causes of the persistent security challenges. It revealed that, within ‘eight dark years’ of banditry in Zamfara State, a conservative figure of about 11,000 adult males that were bread-winners of their families were killed, leaving behind an estimated figure of 22,000 wives and 44,000 children.

In a statement issued by its national president, Alhaji Gambo Ibrahim Gujungu, AYF expressed fear that, Nigeria is sitting on a volcano of humanitarian and security challenges brewing and about to erupt with a looming consequences.

According to Gujungu, “It is with great concern over the incessant and prevailing security situation in the North West particularly Zamfara State, the Arewa Youth Forum (AYF) decided to as a matter of utmost urgency intervene in finding a lasting solution.

“It is worrisome that the present situation of incessant and barbaric killings, maiming, kidnapping for ransom, rape, cattle rustling and wanton destruction of property and economic livelihood assets by devilish forces of evil and blood thirsty insurgents has reached an unimaginable and horrendous proportion in a region which was hitherto peaceful and calm, called Northern Nigeria. In fact, hardly a day passes without such incidents occurring. “Therefore, in view of this state of affairs and pursuant to Arewa

Youth Forum’s Conflict Mitigation and Peace Building (CMPB) Project, we undertook a deep and holistic research aimed at finding out the root causes of the persistent security challenge, with a view of finding lasting and sustainable solution. “Our preliminary findings showed that within eight (8) dark years only of banditry in Zamfara State, a conservative figure of about eleven thousand (11,000) adult males that were bread-winners of their families were killed, leaving behind an estimated conservative figure of about twenty two thousand (22,000) widows (with at least two 2 wives to a person), and in another alarming breath, an estimated conservative figure of forty four thousand (44,000) orphans at an average of four (4) children to a deceased person. A very conservative estimate indeed for this figure could be a double or triple of this.

 

Mali’s Ex-Defence Minister, Ba N’Daou, Named Transition President [LEADERSHIP]

Mali’s former defence minister, Ba N’Daou has been announced as president of a new transition government, the leader of the Sahel state’s ruling military junta said on national television, yesterday.

According to a roadmap backed by the junta, the new president is meant to lead the country for several months before staging elections and returning Mali to civilian rule.

The African Union had called on the military junta in Mali to quickly appoint civilian leaders to manage an 18-month transition towards elections after last month’s coup.

The AU’s 15-member security body late Thursday echoed the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which imposed sanctions on landlocked Mali after the coup toppled President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Junta leader, Colonel Assimi Goita met with West African leaders this week in Ghana but failed to resolve a critical sticking point- whether soldiers or civilians will lead the transition.

ECOWAS called for a civilian-led transition government to be installed “in days” and said the bloc would lift its sanctions — which include closed borders and a ban on trade and financial flows — once the change has been made.

The AU’s peace and security commissioner, Smail Chergui said on Twitter Thursday night that he was calling “for a return to constitutional order and early civilian-led transition in Mali”.

A separate Twitter post from the official AU Peace and Security Department account said it backed ECOWAS’ call for an 18-month civilian transition.

It also “welcomed” the decision to release Keita — who was detained for more than a week — but said they should also free Prime Minister Boubou Cisse and “other dignitaries.”

 

FG Tried, Sentenced 500 Boko Haram Terrorists – Military [LEADERSHIP]

The Nigerian military has disclosed that no fewer than 500 members of the Boko Haram terrorists have been so far tried and sentenced to various jail terms by the federal government.

The military further disclosed that 914 repentant Boko Haram terrorists have passed through the “Operation Safe Corridor” and are well documented.

The Coordinator “Operation Safe Corridor” , Maj. Gen. Bamidele Shaffa

made the disclosure yesterday at a-one day capacity building workshop

organised by Centre for Democracy and Development ( CDD ) for National Orientation Agency ( NOA ) and community leaders on peace building and reconciliation.

While noting that the military has a responsibility to key into the determination of government to see that peace returns to Borno, Gen. Shaffa added that the state governor, Babagana Umara Zulum has been going round in search of peace.

He said the federal government is also highly committed to the

return of peace in the Northeast, noting that the military is working tirelessly to see that peace returns and everyone is returned to his or her homeland.

Maj. Gen. Shaffa said:” 914 repentant Boko Haram terrorists that have passed the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ are well documented .The federal government has tried over 500 Boko Haram terrorists and sentenced them to various prison terms.

“ Operation Safe Corridor is basically for those who were conscripted and joined for economic hardship and not for those extremists.“ No one of the repentant Boko Haram terrorists who had passed through

the ‘Operation Safe Corridor’ is returned without the involvement of the community leaders. We traced the family of returnees, we equally make them to visit them in our camp.

“Tomorrow a delegation from Yobe State led by the Commissioner of Women Affairs will visit Gombe camp to talk to these group of people.”

He said the military has mechanism in place with partners to monitor those that have been released, adding that they are handed over to the state and to the local governments and then into the community.

“They are documented and monitored from time to time. They are in group and given psychosocial support and there is a particular day in the month that they have to present themselves for the support. All those that have been reintegrated are continuously monitored by the police, DSS and the civilian JTF.

“ Before they are reintegrated into the community, the police and DSS screen them. There are narrative that are going round that the people graduated are involved in the attack, it is wrong and is being emphasized or reinforced to defeat the programme”, he further said.

 

Delta Govt Sanctions 41 Teachers For Exam Malpractice [LEADERSHIP]

Delta State government has sanctioned 41 teachers for examination malpractice during the 2019 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).

They are to suffer deferment of promotion by one year and banned from supervision of any school examination for a period of three years. These decisions were based on the recommendations of the Examination Ethics Disciplinary Committee of the state and approved by the state government.

The commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education, Mr. Patrick Ukah who disclosed this to news-men in Asaba yesterday, directed the Post Primary Education Board (PPEB) to implement the defer-ment of promotions by one year of the 41 affected teachers.

While others are being sanctioned, Mr. P. O. Okolo is to be given a letter of commendation for a job well done during the examination, saying, “The Principals and Examination Officers of 13 public sec-ondary schools and one private secondary school indicted for examination malpractice are to be issued with letters of warning by PPEB to desist from acts of negligence.”

Mr. Ukah said, “Anointed Secondary School, Ubogo, Udu local government area, which was closed down last year for examination malpractice be issued a warning letter and allowed to reopen to give the school a second chance to abide by laid down examination ethics. Mary Mount College, Boji-Boji Owa, was found guilty of examination malpractice and fined N100,000.00 as penalty to act as deterrent to other schools.

“The Examination Ethics Disciplinary Committee, headed by the permanent secretary in the ministry, Comrade Sam Dietake, has representatives of PPEB, Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), All Nigeria Conference of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPPS), Association of Private School Owners of Nigeria (APSON), National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) and other officials of the ministry.”

 

Primary, secondary schools resume amid COVID-19 concerns [THE NATION]

Primary and secondary schools resumed on Monday in many parts of the country with governments and parents expressing concerns about compliance with COVID-19 protocols.

There was low turnout in many parts of Lagos State as most schools, which opened their gates for pupils, appeared to be taking their time, in line with the government’s directives on gradual reopening of schools.

Some schools asked their nursery pupils to resume, despite government’s directive that pre-primary school pupils should not resume yet.

The state’s 1,017 public primary schools are yet to resume.

When The Nation visited Akilo Primary School at Ogba in Ikeja and Anwar-Ur-Islam Primary School at Agege, only the head teachers were seen on the premises.

The Head Teacher of Anwar-Ur-Islam, Mrs. Bukonla Famutimi, said schools had not resumed because primary school teachers were on training for the Eko EXCEL (Excellence in Child Education Learning) initiative, which started late last year.

Many private primary schools our correspondent visited yesterday had either not resumed or only resumed for partial classes.

Building Block Montessori Primary School at Ilupeju was undergoing renovations. Its administrator said the school would resume next week.

At Master Piece Nursery and Primary School, also at Ilupeju, the administrator, Ms. Omolola Adigun, said the school would resume on October 5.

Until then, she said the pupils would hold revision classes online.

Pupils resumed at De Great Grace School in Agege and the children were asked to wear face masks and pay N200 for a personal bottle of hand sanitiser.

“Our pupils have resumed except the nursery classes. We asked them to come with their nose masks and N200 for hand sanitiser that they can put in their pockets,” said head of school, Mrs. Veronica Awuje.

At Soundhope Montessori School at Baruwa in Ipaja, only few pupils resumed.

It was observed that there were no more than three pupils in a class with them maintaining social distancing and use of face masks.

Speaking with The Nation, the school’s head teacher, Mrs. Adesola Adediran, explained that serious academic work had begun but parents were still scared of allowing their wards to resume.

The turnout was equally low at Westown College in Ayobo, Ipaja.

The head teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Abatan, said things had not really gone back to normal.

At Prime Focus Schools in Ipaja, the turnout was fairly impressive.

 

Governors, Obasanjo, senators, monarchs mourn Emir of Zazzau [THE NATION]

Governors, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, senators and monarchs on Monday mourned the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris, who died on Sunday aged 84.

The late Idris spent 45 years on the throne, having ascended the position in 1975 after the death of Muhammadu Aminu, the 17th emir since the 1804 Fulani Jihad.

Obasanjo commiserated with the emirate council of Zaria in Kaduna State, saying the late emir fought or unity.

In a condolence letter made available to reporters in Abeokuta by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, the former President said: “His style of leadership, which was characterised by fairness to all, objectivity, moderation and a burning commitment to the development of his Emirate and the nation, had impacted most positively on the polity.

“He was one of the most admirable apostles of inter-ethnic understanding and cohesion; inter-religious accommodation and tolerance and inter-cultural co-operation.

“I had to call on him when I was the President to mediate on the Plateau issue of farmers and herdsmen.

“Indeed, the emir will long be remembered for his peaceful reign during which several manifestations of physical and human development were recorded in the Emirate.

“His vigorous promotion of the educational development of his subjects as well as his vast knowledge of traditional administrative lore and culture will be greatly missed.”

Zamfara State Governor Bello Matawalle said he was saddened by the news of the emir’s death.

In a statement by his Director-General on Media, Publicity and Public Enlightenment, the governor said he also received the news of the death of the 28th Emir of Biu, Alhaji Mai-Umar Mustapha Aliyu, who died at 80 on September 15.

He noted the significant roles played by the two monarchs in ensuring the indivisibility of Nigeria and their contributions peace.

He prayed that Allah in His endless mercies hosts the departed souls of the two great rulers in Jannatul Firdaus, grant the people and governments of the two states the fortitude to bear the loss and continue to bless members of the families left by the natural rulers.

“The duo will be remembered for their patience, honesty, sincerity and preaching of peace and unity in Nigeria,” Matawalle said.

Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal said the Emir of Zazzau, until his death, was one of the third generation of Northern monarchs who contributed to regional and national development.

He said the late Idris will be remembered for his role in settling intractable disputes referred to him by his peers.

“I, on behalf of the good people and government of Sokoto State, deeply sympathise with the government and good people of Kaduna State over this irreparable loss.

“I also condole with the family of the late Emir, just as I pray that may God grant him Aljannatul Firdaus,” Tambuwal said.

Delta State Governor Ifeanyi Okowa condoled with the government and people of Kaduna State.

In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, the governor stressed that the deceased, who was one of the longest-serving traditional rulers, was a strong proponent of peace, progress and development.

According to the governor, Nigerians across political and religious beliefs will miss the leadership and warm disposition of the emir.

Okowa said: “The late emir was an iconic leader and exemplary peacemaker whose influence and commitment to good leadership traversed beyond his emirate.

“In the last 45 years of his reign, the Zazzau Emirate developed further in the areas of infrastructure, especially education and peaceful co-existence among the people of the emirate and their neighbours.

“He played a fatherly role in his regular call for peace among farmers and herdsmen in the state and the nation at large.”

Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, described Emir Idris’ passing as a blow to the traditional institution.

In a condolence message issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Abba Anwar, the governor said: “We have lost a national hero who is an embodiment of humility, discipline, respect, statesmanship and exemplary leadership.

“His death leaves an indelible mark in the history of the Nigerian nation-state.

“It is with a deep sense of agony that we receive the news of the demise of this rare gem and traditional leader of high repute.

“On behalf of the government and people of Kano state, I offer my condolences to the families of the late Emir, the Kaduna state government and Zazzau Emirate.”

A former Abia State Governor, Senator Orji Kalu, described the monarch’s passing as a big loss to Nigeria.

Kalu, the Senate Chief Whip, called on the family of the late royal father to uphold his remarkable legacies.

“The late monarch was known to be upright, patriotic, selfless and charismatic. His 45-year reign as Emir of Zazzau was remarkable and historic.

“During his reign, Zaria and Kaduna state at large witnessed robust development. His legacies will remain evergreen in the minds of the people,” he said.

Former Sokoto State Governor, Senator Aliyu Wamakko, said the emir’s death was a loss to the country.

In a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Bashir Mani, the lawmaker, who represents Sokoto North Senatorial District, in the Senate said the late Idris invaluable contributions to peace, unity and socio-economic development of Zazzau Emirate, Kaduna State, Northern region and Nigeria.

Wamakko said the monarch will continue to be remembered for his unique nature as custodian and the true father of his subjects.

The Emir of Ilorin and Chairman Kwara Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, commiserated with people of Zazzau Emirate and Kaduna State government over the death of Emir Idris.

In a condolence message issued by his media aide, AbdulAzeez Arowona in Ilorin, Sulu-Gambari described the passing of the frontline monarch as a colossal loss to the entire people of Zazzau Emirate, Kaduna State and Nigerians in general.

The monarch said late Idris was a compassionate personality whose contributions to nation-building would not be forgotten in a hurry.

 

Fed Govt worried over lack of COVID-19 data in nine states [THE NATION]

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has described as worrisome low COVID-19 tests in nine states.

It said it would be erroneous to take the decline in infections rate as a flattening of the curve in the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Centre listed Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe as the states that are performing below expectation on samples collection testing.

According to the NCDC, only three states – Lagos, Kano and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) – confidently say they are seeing a decline in infection rates in their domains because they have tested the highest number of samples so far.

It, however, cautioned that the feat cannot be the interpretation of the national data because of the situation in the nine identified states, NCDC Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, said during the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 Control, in Abuja.

He said: “The fact is that we continue to record new cases of covid-19 every day. Even in countries where there seems to be a decline, many of them are seeing a resurgence of cases. The number of reported cases daily has declined nationally in the last few weeks. We have seen a 36 per cent decline in August compared to July on national figures, but there is more to this than the national figures.

“One critical issue is the number of tests being done. Yes, the number of tests being carried out across the country have actually declined but another indicator we actually look at is the test positivity ratio. If we look at the highest number we had in June/July of 20 percent, we are now down to about seven per cent nationally.

“You might think that that is good news that we should be celebrating, unfortunately we cannot celebrate until we test sufficient numbers in every state in the country.

“In states like Lagos, FCT and Kano, where the testing numbers are high, indeed they can go to town and say yes, we have confidence that our positivity rate is coming down because our testing numbers are high.

“But, in states where they are not testing, we are basically driving blind. And in some states, we just have to work a little bit harder. We can’t make any interpretation of the data in Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe.”

“We simply do not have enough data coming out of these states to say – are we improving or not? Where are we? We have to work together. It is way too early to make any interpretation whether we are flattening the curve or not.

“Some interpretation can be made in Lagos, FCT, probably Kano and few other states because they are testing enough to know where they are, but we can’t do this on a national level. That is why it is so important that we keep pushing this work across the country.

“Yes we report figures on a national basis, but in reality, the drivers of this epidemic are different across the country. So we have to really have a sub-national understanding of what is going on.”

Health Minister Dr. Osagie Ehanire said: “International news media shows scenes of upsurge in COVID-19 cases, called the Second Wave in several high income countries, many of which had been thought to have defeated COVID-19 and which now see threat to their health systems. This is a situation we must endeavor to avoid, and for that, all steps must be taken.

“It is important for us to generate national and international confidence in our data by conducting more targeted testing before we draw conclusions. It means that all States and local government areas must cooperate with NCDC by raising sample collection rate, using criteria listed, to increase testing to a desired rate and to report promptly; as we are still far from the target of two million tests.

“While stepping up surveillance and case finding, States can also ensure that suspected symptomatic covid-19 cases are sent for treatment in time or supported before then with medical oxygen, to save lives and reduce fatalities.”

PTF National Coordinator Dr. Sani said the committee was not convinced “the curve is being flattened. Such a decision would be reached when they were sure that the country is having enough aggressive testing”.

 

774,000 jobs recruitment: States get extension [THE NATION]

Recruitment of artisans for the 774,000 Special Public Works (SPW) programme of the Federal Government is being rounded off in states; it was gathered at the weekend.

However, some states that have been unable to complete the process have been granted one week extension.

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Festus Keyamo said the October 1 commencement of the programme is on course.

As at Monday’s deadline to complete the recruitment, Yobe and Ebonyi states have submitted their list of beneficiaries.

Keyamo said on Monday that “There was a board meeting of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) chaired by me.   We looked at the situation and said in deserving cases we may extend for a few days, for some states that have not submitted their final lists.

“We are still looking at October 1 to begin nationwide. There are one or two internal issues in terms of logistics we are dealing with, but we will overcome that..

“We are lining those who will go to their different states and regions to flag off for us. That will be made known in the next few days.”

Keyamo said six banks would commence capturing of successful applicants for the jobs this week.

“The banks will soon start capturing them because the first payment will be at the end of October.

“The banks will start capturing them in different local government areas. We have concluded arrangements with six different banks. We have even collected the forms.”

The SWP is designed to employ 1,000 persons from each of the 774 Local Government councils in the country.

Each of the participants will be paid N20,000 per month duration.

Participants will do public works as designed by the NDE in their council areas.

About 10 states are putting finishing touches to the lists. They are Lagos, Osun, Rivers, Delta, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Sokoto.

Chairman of the selection committee in Lagos, Chief Mutiu Are, said the selection process was about 95 per cent completed.

He said the list of the successful applicants would be submitted on Friday.

About 30,000 people registered for the scheme in the state.

A member of the committee  in Osun State  and  the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Adegboyega Oyetola  on Youth Affairs and Social Mobilization, Mr Kehinde Ayatunji,  said  they were “still in the process of gathering data from councils in the state’’

He added that over 200,000 people applied for the SWP in the state and 30,000 are to be picked.

Chairman of the committee in Rivers State Dr. Innocent Barikor said: “We are through with the application and selection processes. We are on the documentation process.”

His counterpart in Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Inyang Unya, said the committee was grappling with the selection process from the thousands of applications.

Unya said:  ‘’As you are already aware, because of the unemployment in the country, we have more than 10,000 people for the 1,000 slots allotted to each council area. ‘’ The recruitment will be wrapped up on Friday in Delta State, but none of the three senators had submitted their list of nominees.

“Only three members of House of Representative, no senator has submitted. The governor has fully submitted. But, the deadline for submission is Friday. It is to meet that deadline and submit.”

The committee in Cross River State said it was working round the clock to beat the deadline.

“We are getting back the completed forms and working round the clock to meet up,” said committee chairman Maria Ukpanyang.   In Anambra State, the chairman of the committee, Sir, Uzoma Igbonwa, said the list of the successful applicants would be sent to the NDE this week.

Adamawa State committee will today meet to review the list of the shortlisted.

The Chairman of the committee in Nasarawa State, Kassim Mohammed, said:  “We are done and the list is ready for submission. We are good to go in Nasarawa.”

His Sokoto State counterpart, Dr. Ibrahim S. Muhammad, said the process was almost concluded in the state.

 

Minimum wage: Labour lists offending states, plans street protests, talks [PUNCH]

Negotiations on the N30,000 minimum wage, which were  suspended in some states   in the wake of COVID-19  outbreak  in March,  would resume this week.

The PUNCH gathered on Monday that workers in no fewer than eight  states  had yet to be paid  the  minimum wage nine months after the deadline the Nigeria Labour Congress gave state governments.

Labour leaders told The PUNCH that  Osun, Kwara, Ekiti, Imo, Gombe, Kogi, Zamfara  and Ebonyi  state governments had not started the minimum wage implementation.

Findings  indicated  in states, where  minimum wage negotiations  had been concluded,  workers  were demanding fresh talks in view of the hikes in the fuel price and electricity tariff.

The Trade Union Congress said together with the  NLC it  would stage  street protests in states where implementation of the minimum wage had  not started.

It said such protests were held in Rivers and Ogun states, a few days ago, adding that workers would storm Imo State soon for the minimum wage protests.

Although the new minimum wage bill  was signed by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.),   into law on April 18, 2019,  both labour and the Federal Government did not agree on consequential adjustment of workers’ salaries until October 17, 2019.

In October, the Federal Government and the NLC agreed on 23.2 percentage increase for workers at grade level 07; 20 per cent for those at grade level 08; 19 per cent for workers at grade level 09; 16 per cent for those on levels 10 to 14; and 14 per cent for workers at grade levels 15 to 17.

In a communiqué issued after its meeting on December 11, 2019, the NLC gave state governments a  December 31 deadline to conclude negotiations on the minimum wage.

It was learnt that the fuel price hike had brought to the fore the issue of minimum wage in states, where it had not been implemented.

 

Petrol price hike: Osun  workers demand fresh terms as talks begin on Thursday ]PUNCH]

In Osun State, the Chairman of the NLC, Jacob Adekomi, told one of our correspondents that labour leaders and the state government would resume minimum wage negotiations on Thursday.

According to him, the state Governor, Gboyega Oyetola, during a meeting on Sunday  told the labour leaders to work out the financial implications of their demands and submit them to the state government.

Adekomi explained that in  December,   a committee consisting of government and Labour representatives was set up.

He stated, “Recently, we met with the commissioner for finance and Mr Governor on the need to go back to the negotiation table and finalise the agreement we reached before. But with what is on the ground now, we have to start all over again because of the hikes in electricity tariff and petroleum price.

In  Kogi Sate, the NLC   Chairman, Onu Edoka in a chat with one of  our correspondents on the  telephone, said negotiations would resume on this week.

Edoka said activities of  a 17-man negotiating committee set up  by the state government  were stalled because  COVID-19 pandemic in March.

On its part, the Chief of Staff to the state governor, Asuku Jamiu, in an interview with The PUNCH,  said labour leaders were part of the negotiations.

 

Kwara workers write  gov, demand minimum wage [PUNCH]

The Chairman of the Kwara  State Joint Negotiating Council,  Saliu Sulaiman,  told The PUNCH that workers in the state had written the state Governor, ,Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, asking him to sign the minimum wage bill and begin its implementation.

He said although  labour leaders  and the state government had agreed on  modalities for implementing  the new minimum, he said the payment  was suspended as a result of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.

Sulaiman stated, “Apart from COVID-19,  hikes  in electricity tariff and fuel pump price have also made the current salary earned by workers in the state to be meaningless.”

“We met last week and one of the issues we discussed was the minimum wage which the government has yet to implement. We have written a letter to the governor to sign the collective agreement.”

In  Sokoto State, the NLC Chairman,   Ahmed Umar,  in an interview with one of  our correspondents in Sokoto said the state government began the payment of the new minimum wage in January.

He, however,  said the payment had not started in local government areas because of   the bloated  “staff strength”  in the LGAs.

 

Ekiti workers to write state govt [PUNCH]

Also,  the NLC in Ekiti State said the state government had not concluded talks with workers on the minimum wage.

The NLC Secretary  in  the state, Taiwo Akinyemi, in an interview with The PUNCH,  said negotiations  would soon resume in the state.

Akinyemi said since COVID-19 infection, which was the reason the negotiation was suspended was already thinning out, the NLC would write the government on the need to conclude the negotiation.

The Enugu  State Chairman of the NLC,  Virginus Nwobodo, on his part  said the minimum wage implementation in the state had started.

He, however, said inflation had made a mess of it. “Enugu State Government has started minimum wage implementation.” He however, noted that the  minimum wage had been greatly affected by  inflation

But  in a telephone interview with one of  our correspondents, the Bauchi State Chairman of the NLC,  Danjuma Saleh, said negotiations  with the state government had not been concluded before the COVID-19 lockdown.

He stated, “We reached an  agreement   six to seven months ago and workers from level six down have been getting the minimum wage. It is only salaries of  senior staff from level seven upwards that we have not agreed on. We will soon resume the negotiations.”

The  Gombe State Chairman of the NLC, Mohammed Adamu,  said,  “We have resumed talks but we have yet to conclude them. We have not reached the stage to plot a strike as we hope to conclude discussion on resumption of payment before the end of this  month.”

Recall that Gombe is one of the few states that adopted the 30,000 minimum wage, but suspended  its implementation  due to the impact of COVID-19.

In Oyo State, the acting s Chairman of the NLC, Mr Kayode Martins, told The PUNCH that the  majority of the workers were  being paid the new minimum wage.

He, however, said some departments, higher institutions and agencies were still taking the old salaries.

But the NLC in Ebonyi State is divided. The NLC Chairman, Ikechukwu Nwafor, who is recognised by the national leadership of the congress, said the state government had not negotiated  with the state chapter.

Nwafor,  in a telephone interview with our one of  correspondents in Abakaliki  said  efforts of the NLC to negotiate  with  the state government failed.

Nwafor said, “I didn’t negotiate with the  Ebonyi State Government. They didn’t allow negotiations. They called some people and made them to sign some documents.

“The people negotiated with them and agreed on a table that they have been using to pay people. They went and did it as a hidden thing when I was writing the governor to come up with a negotiation team and all of a sudden they said they had paid the minimum wage.

“The minimum wage is not being implemented in this state. We have the table and we can make it available for you;  what Ebonyi has been paying before now, what it is paying now and what it should be paying after now.

But the factional Chairman,  Mr Leonard Nkah, told The PUNCH that “the negotiation on the national minimum wage was concluded about one year ago. We are enjoying the national minimum wage in Ebonyi State, and workers are not just happy with it.”

The  Zamfara State Chairman of the congress,  Bashir Mafara, said negotiations on the minimum wage had been concluded but implementation had not begun.

The chairman said  the committee set up by the state government had  submitted its report to state Governor, Bello Matawalle.

Also, the Kano State Government has yet to refund salaries  of workers it deducted for three months after it started the implementation of the  minimum in December 2019.

A reliable source told The  PUNCH that the state government promised to refund the deductions before the end of August 2020, but it had yet to fulfil the promise.

Recall that the state chapter of  NLC, had on Wednesday, May 27, 2020 threatened to embark on a strike over the May salary pay cut.

A source said, “The state government deducted the workers’ salaries in May, June and July. It was only in August the deduction was not made.”

Following the dwindling revenues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state government slashed workers’ salaries which the state NLC kicked against.

The state NLC while reacting on the development, had described the  state government’s action as a violation of the existing minimum wage law 2019.

However,  following an  agreement  between the union and the Kano State Government, the workers  suspended their planned strike.

However, all efforts to contact the state NLC chairman,  Kabiru Ado-Minjibir,  to comment on the situation failed as did not  pick phone calls from The PUNCH.

But a competent source at the state ministry of finance said  it was the labour union that was supposed to know when the workers’ money would be refunded.

Meanwhile, the TUC and the NLC  have concluded plans to hold a massive protest in Imo State to compel the state government to implement the minimum wage.

The TUC President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, said the organised labour would soon arrive in the state in solidarity with the workers who he said were being denied their rights and benefits by the government.

Speaking to one of our correspondents on Monday on the refusal of about eight  states to implement the minimum wage, the union leader said the TUC and NLC would deal with the errant states.

He stated that the unions had addressed the delay in implementing the bill in Rivers and Ogun States, noting that the former would start paying the minimum wage this month.

The TUC and NLC had planned a major street protest in Port Harcourt, the state capital, but it was shelved following calls for dialogue by the state government.

The meeting subsequently agreed on the implementation of the minimum wage, prompting the organised labour to shelve the rally.

Olaleye said, “I’m sure you are aware of what happened in Rivers State and Ogun states last week. We are taking it one by one. We have resolved that of Rivers state, they would start paying this month. The remaining five or six states, we are going to deal with them jointly with the NLC. Imo Sate is next, that is where the action would be.”

 

Labour writes FG on states’ failure to pay minimum wage [PUNCH]

He further explained that the failure of some states to pay the minimum wage was part of the demands presented to the Federal Government during their meeting with the FG team on the hikes in the prices of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, in Abuja last Tuesday.

He added, “We already reported to the Federal Government in the letter of ultimatum we gave them that they should mandate all states that have not paid the minimum wage to implement it immediately.”

The TUC disclosed that the labour movement would again meet with the FG officials to further discuss the hikes in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price.

It said the government was expected to unfold its plans and palliatives to address the socio-economic impact of the increase on Nigerians.

 

Obaseki leads victory parade, says ‘lions, tigers’ tamed, now in zoo [PUNCH]

The Edo State Governor and governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, hailed the Edo people for ensuring his victory at the state governorship election.

He noted that his reelection had put anl end to godfatherism and ensured that ‘the lions and tigers’ were permanently caged in the zoo.

Obaseki said this while speaking to party supporters at the Museum Ground, Kings square in Benin City after a victory road show across various streets in the metropolis.

Obaseki said, “The message of Saturday’s governorship election for this government is to go and work for Edo people. It is clear and Edo people have spoken that we should work for them and transform the state.

“You have helped me cage the lions and tigers in the state. You will never see them again in Edo State because they are all in the zoo now where they belong. Today, I promise you that we will work for Edo people because no one will hinder us from delivering the dividends of democracy to Edo people.

“I will collaborate with my brother and deputy governor, Philip Shaibu to work for Edo people. I thank everyone residing in Edo State; you have spoken and we have heard you and are ready to work for you.”

The National Vice Chairman, South-South of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Dan Orbih noted, “Saturday’s governorship election shows that Edo people have rejected godfatherism, money-bag politics and given a mandate for the development of the state.”

 

We’ve arrested suspected terrorists, kidnappers in Oyo park –OPC [PUNCH]

The Oodua People’s Congress said its members have arrested four suspected terrorists and kidnappers at the Old Oyo National Park.

The Coordinator of OPC in Oyo State,  Rotimi Olumo,  who said this in an interview with our correspondent in Ibadan on Monday, added that four AK-47 rifles were recovered from the suspects.

Olumo said the suspected terrorists had been handed over to the Police Area Commander in Igbeti.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr Olugbenga Fadeyi, gave the confirmation  in a text message to respond to  the inquiry of our correspondent.

The.message read, “On September 20, 2020, around 7pm, a combined team of the police and vigilante groups encountered bandits in the forest in the Igbeti Kisi areas in their hideout and three suspects were arrested while some escaped with bullets wounds.”

The PPRO added that Special Anti Robbery Squad was investigating the case.

The PPRO added that the Special Anti-Robbery Squad was investigating the case.

 

CBN decries speculation as naira plunges, exchanges for 465/$ [PUNCH]

Declining export receipts from oil and speculative activities of the Bureau De Change operators among other challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy will put more pressure on the naira.

The Central Bank of Nigeria said this in its report on ‘Monetary, credit, foreign trade and exchange policy guidelines for fiscal years 2020/2021’.

The value of the naira plunged further as it exchanged at 465/$ on the parallel market on Monday, after it exchanged at 460/$ on Thursday.

It had earlier exchange at 430/$ when the CBN commenced forex sales to the BDCs earlier in September.

Sequel to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said, the viability of the external sector in 2020 was expected to deteriorate, given the present worsening current account balance and depletion of external reserves driven, largely, by decelerating export receipts, particularly oil.

Specifically, it added, the degree of external reserves accumulation was expected to decelerate as outflows were expected to outweigh inflows.

As a result, external reserves were expected to lie between $29.9bn and $34.3bn at end-December 2020 (predicated on current declining oil price between $20 and $40).

“This development, in addition to exchange market pressures, emanating from speculative activities in the BDC and I & E segments of foreign exchange market, is expected to exert pressure on the naira exchange rate,” it stated.

In addition, the bank said increased risk aversion behaviour by investors may negatively impact on capital inflow as they flee to safe-haven assets.

Also, it projected that the fiscal space may be limited in 2020, given escalated vulnerability, as a result of sharp decline in oil prices, occasioned by weak global oil demand and price wars between Russia and Saudi Arabia.

This development would undermine the implementation of government’s capital programmes, impede public investment on infrastructural development and could culminate in higher debt profile and attendant debt service obligations of the government.

If the COVID-19 pandemic effects became severe, government may increase fiscal policy responses to ameliorate the impact on the populace, it stated.

The financial sector was expected to remain resilient in 2020 on account of the accommodative monetary policy stance, continued efforts by the bank towards ensuring financial system stability and credit expansion policies.

Furthermore, it added, the renewed policies aimed at enhancing the payments system and cash-less initiative are expected to sustain efficiency, safety and confidence in the Nigerian payments system.

 

Edo: I didn’t reject results –Uzodimma [SUN]

Imo Government has declared as false and wicked rumour making the rounds in the social media that Governor Hope Uzodimma has rejected the results of the Edo State governorship election.

A statement by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, said the falsehood was planted in the social media by wicked, unrepentant and vicious members of the opposition  who will stop at nothing, to smear the image of the governor.

Emelumba explained that the governor was not a candidate in the Edo governorship election and therefore could not have rejected the results of the said election.

According to the commissioner, the opposition fabricated a statement which they credited to the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor through which they announced the so-called rejection of the Edo governorship results by the governor , adding “ but they exposed themselves as  wicked fakers  when they dated the press release May  20th, 2020 for a reaction to an election held on Saturday September 19 that says everything”

The statement noted that it was the fake and wicked press release that set the social media agog with the equally fake news that governor Uzodimma had rejected the Edo governorship election results.

It  advised members of the public to always take anything they  read in the social media about Imo State with a pinch of Salt “because the opposition in the state has turned the social media platform into a medium for circulating false and vicious materials against the governor and the government.”

Governor Uzodimma also debunked reports that he spent N3 billion in the Edo election.

He said it was fabricated by his detractors to discredit his government.

According to the governor, the report which was also aired by Reuters is one of those series of lies heaped on his government in other to distract him.

However, Uzodimma has vowed not to be distracted, insisting that his aim is to deliver on his “3R” mantra.

According to the statement “In one of the reports, it was claimed Governor Uzodimma spent N3 billion, while a fake Reuters report claims that he spent $5million on Edo governorship election.

“The writer of the fake Reuters report, one Stan Walden Newyork (obviously a fake name), claimed the money was squandered to appease the ruling party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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