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Stalemate in govt, Labour talks on petrol, power prices [THE NATION]

 AFTER hours of talks, the government and Labour on Thursday failed to reach an agreement on the solution to petrol and electricity pricing.

The government insisted that there is no going back on deregulation of the petroleum downstream sector. It added that there is no cash to bridge the funding gap in electricity supply.

Labour said there is no alternative to the reversal of the new rates — which the government said it no longer had control over — or it will call workers and Nigerians out on strike from Monday.

The parley at the Presidential Villa ended last night on that note.

Minister of Labour and Employment Dr. Chris Ngige, who led the government delegation, said: “Fruitful meeting. They are going back to their organs. When they consult their organs tomorrow, next tomorrow, maybe they will take a new decision.

“We have requested them to shelve the strike. We have appealed to them.

“The government side agreed proposals with them on the palliative to cushion the effect of the rise in petroleum products and electricity.

“The meeting agreed to adjourn to Monday, 3pm.”

The Government explained its decisions to Labour leaders, saying it does not have N50 billion every 30 days to pay the Power Generating Companies (GenCos).

Besides, the government said it will be difficult to revert the tariff hike because it will amount to policy summersault.

It argued that monies meant for the payment of salaries cannot be used to settle GenCos, insisting that the proposal for price increase to take place after metering all consumers cannot work, because it will take a long time.

The government argued that the problem was created by the previous administration that privatised and gave the Distribution Companies (DisCos) to people without the managerial and technical ability and without Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

The government proposed a sub-committee with Labour to tender a report within two weeks. But the move was rejected by Labour leaders who insisted on total reversal of the new rates.

Government told labour leaders that it was in discussion with third parties to revamp refineries and make them  perform to optimal capacity by producing 18 million litres daily.

Fifty-four million litres are currently being imported. It insisted that subsidy was no longer sustainable because of the state of the economy with earnings dropping by 60 per cent.

It also said it was looking towards modular refineries coming on board to solve the energy crisis.

Besides, the government said it will introduce an alternative in auto gas which is expected to take off next month.

On transportation, the government said it had proposed support for Mass Transit through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The government also made proposals for affordable housing for Nigerians through the Federal Ministry of Housing and Federal Mortgage Bank.

The pilot projects proposed in the Federal Capital Territory, and 13 states.

After the first two hours of talks, the meeting broke out into sessions to allow labour leaders to deliberate on the presentation made by the government.

After the sideline talks, the meeting resumed at about 7:30pm. Sources at the technical session told our reporter that Labour did not change its position.

At Thursday’s meeting were Ministers of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; the Group Managing Director (GMD) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Mele Kyari and other government officials.

Labour was led by Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President Ayuba Wabba; Trade Union Congress (TUC) President Quadri Olaleye and others.

Foreign portfolio investments drop by N124b [THE NATION]

 INVESTORS apathy to Nigerian securities amid foreign exchange control, illiquidity and other macroeconomic risks have affected foreign portfolio investments in the local markets.

The investments have dropped by N124.3 billion going by the latest Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) Report released on Thursday.

It (report) showed a 20 per cent reduction in total foreign portfolio transactions to N470.2 billion by August 31, compared with N594.46 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

The report also showed that Nigerian FPIs remained in deficit with more outflows than inflows, implying that more foreign investors were selling than those buying. Total FPIs included both inflows and outflows. While inflows and outflows indicate direction of portfolio transactions, total FPI measures the momentum and level of participation.

The report showed FPI net deficit quadrupled to –N147.58 billion for the eight-month period ended August 2020 as against –N37.92 billion recorded in comparable period of 2019. Total FPI outflows and inflows stood at N308.89 billion and N161.31 billion respectively by August 2020 as against N316.19 billion and N278.27 billion respectively in corresponding period of 2019.

The FPI report, coordinated by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), included transactions from nearly all custodians and capital market operators and it is widely regarded as a credible measure of FPI trend. The report uses two key indicators-inflow and outflow, to gauge foreign investors’ mood and participation in the stock market as a barometer for the economy.

Month-on-month analysis however showed 12.7 per cent increase in total FPIs in August at N38.98 billion and the FPIs dropped to a new low in the previous month, after hitting a 29-month low in May 2020.

The FPIs dropped from its previous low of N35.24 billion in May 2020 to a new low of N34.59 billion or $89 million in July 2020, reversing the dead cat bounce of N56.3 billion or $90.89 million in June 2020.

FPI inflows rose from N13.70 billion in July 2020 to N17.66 billion in August 2020 while outflows also increased from N20.89 billion to N21.32 billion.

Total transactions at the Nigerian equities market closed the eight-month period ended August at N1.20 trillion, 9.2 per cent below N1.32 trillion recorded during the comparable period of 2019. These included trading by domestic investors, which increased to N731.02 billion by August as against N728.51 billion by August 2019.

Some analysts blamed the continuing decline in foreign investments and preponderance of outflows to foreign exchange illiquidity orchestrated by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s capital controls programme.

Why Nigeria will celebrate at 60, by Fed Govt [THE NATION]

HAVING survived a civil war, security challenges, political and religious upheavals, it is desirable for the country to celebrate its 60thh anniversary, the Federal Government said yesterday.

The activities will be staggered within one year and they will be low-key, Minister of Information Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said.

According to him, the economic situation of the country caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will not allow an elaborate activities.

Mohammed spoke at a news conference in company with Minister of Communication and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Pantanmi and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster management and Social Development, Hajiya Sadiya Umar Farouq – all members of  the media sub-committee of the event.

Mohammed said the Buhari administration is “working assiduously to build a new Nigeria.”

As part of the celebration, the President will launch the “National Ethics and Integrity Policy”  and the ”Integrity Award” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The minister said:  “The pomp and ceremony that should have marked the celebration will be largely missing, but will be celebrated for a whole year, ending September 30 2021.

“Therefore, there are some activities that may come up after the ones to be announced today. This does not mean there will be daily activities between now and Sept. 30th 2021, but that there will be staggered events during that period. We will ensure to keep you posted.”

The minister also explained that for surviving a Civil War in its history, Nigeria deserves to mark its Diamond Jubilee.

He added: “Now, some may wonder why Nigeria needs to celebrate its Diamond Jubilee at all, considering the myriad of socio-economic challenges facing the country. And our answer to that is contained in our theme of ‘Together’.

“Also, in certain cultures, the age of 60 is seen as the beginning of a new cycle of life, and is usually well marked. For Nigeria as a country, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari offers a new beginning.”

He said the government of President Muhammadu Buhari will bequeath a new Nigeria by laying the foundation for industrial and technological development.

Mohammed said: “The Administration is working assiduously to build a new Nigeria, laying the building blocks for industrial and technological development by building massive infrastructure in the areas of power, roads, bridges, rail etc. and by developing human capital.

“ The Administration is also fighting corruption, tackling insecurity and diversifying the economy by leveraging ICT, Creative Industry, Agriculture and mining, among others.

“And so, I say, let the celebrations begin, and this is wishing all Nigerians a happy 60th independence anniversary.”

EFCC probe: Magu kicks as Malami refuses to appear before Salami panel [THE NATION]

 THE suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, has concluded his defence before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry on the activities of the anti-graft agency.

But, Magu was shocked that Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) refused to honour the invitation of the panel.

Malami, who was subpoenaed by the commission,   said his non-appearance is constitutional

Malami said the terms and wordings of the invitation extended to him were against constitutional provisions.

Magu, it was learnt, will ask the Salami panel to declare all the allegations against him as frivolous, should Malami fail to appear.

The source said: “It was a strange and bizarre twist of events as Malami refused to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry headed by the retired President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami, despite a subpoena issued to him by the Chairman of the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the President to investigate the allegations he leveled against Magu.

“Magu has consistently requested the opportunity to confront his accuser before the Panel. “Malami failed to appear before the commission to substantiate the allegations he leveled against Magu in the memo he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari which was the basis upon which the Judicial Commission of Inquiry was set up.

“However, upon conclusion of presentation of witnesses before the Commission of Inquiry, Magu was called upon to present his defence which he has done by presenting volumes of written responses to all the allegations against him backed by numerous exhibits and truck load of documents showing his achievements as the acting chairman of the EFCC.

There were also official documents showing that no recovered assets were missing or diverted to personal use for his benefit or those of his close associates.

“Magu had also requested before the Tribunal to issue subpoenas to certain persons to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in support of their allegations and to be cross-examined upon such wild and unsubstantiated allegations.

“In line with Magu’s request, Justice Ayo Salami who is the Chairman of the Judicial Commission of Inquiry signed and issued a subpoena to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), at the instance of Magu to come and substantiate the allegations he made against him.

It was learnt that the subpoena to the Attorney-General read: “You are hereby commanded in the name of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to appear before the Judicial Commission of Inquiry to give evidence in respect of your allegations against Mr. Ibrahim Magu”.

A source said: “Malami wrote a letter saying he would not appear as a witness. He hinged his refusal on the fact that he only made charges against Magu based on the petitions he received against him in his office.”

30 injured as explosion rocks Lagos, Ogun communities [THE NATION]

ABOUT 30 persons were on Thursday injured as a gas tanker exploded into flames in Iju-Ishaga and Iju-Ajuwon communities in Ifako-Ijaiye council area of Lagos State.

The explosion rocked Ogun State communities on the Lagos border.

A massive fire resulted from the blast.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) confirmed the incident.

The agency’s Southwest Coordinator, Ibrahim Farinloye told The Nation that their officials were immediately mobilised to the scene, as were fire servicemen.

He said: “Yes, a tanker exploded at Balogun Bus stop, Iju Ishaga. The tanker was trying to enter a gas plant when it exploded. There were domestic cylinders there and so, those ones also started exploding.

The Nation gathered that the explosion resulted from a gas tanker which suddenly went up in flames as it entered a ditch on its way to a new gas plant in a residential neighbourhood.

About 23 buildings and 15 vehicles were burnt.

A lawyer, Fisayo Eluyare, who was among those who raised the alarm said the explosion nearly brought down his house.

He wrote: “Gas explosion nearly brought my house down! The explosion didn’t even happen very close to my house, but it shook the whole house and almost shattered my windows.”

“People sustained burn injuries but no deaths reported yet. We have contacted fire service. We appeal to people to stay away from the area,” he said.

Roads in the area were closed while motorists were advised to use alternative routes.

The situation was later brought under control,  vehicular movement restored.

Residents appealed to the state government to relocate gas plants operating in the residential area.

It was unclear at press time if anyone died in the incident.

New trends as UNIPORT commits to sports digitalization [THE NATION]

THE University of Port-Harcourt otherwise known as UNIPORT has for many years maintained its pre-eminence in sporting activities in the West Africa sub-region being for instance, consistent  overall winners of the quadrennial Nigeria University Games (NUGA).

But the institution’s  exploits  are not limited to the pitch alone since the institution has equally established its leading position in academic pursuits as well. Way back in 2014, the institution’s senate approved the establishment of the famous University of Port Harcourt Sports Institute as a center for advanced research in Sports Science, Sports Medicine and Sports Technology with obvious set objectives.

The well-articulated objectives of the institute were stated inter alia: ‘to make the University of Port Harcourt the choice destination in West Africa, for Sports Science research and high performance and to create opportunities for community-based sports and recreation programmers.’

“The University of Port Harcourt have proved over the past twenty years that they are a leader in sports development of athletes and facilities,” China Acheru, an alumnus of UNIPORT and currently the   Head of  News & Programmed at Port Harcourt-based Wish 99.5 FM, told The Nation. “On the field, they have dominated the NUGA and West Africa University Games for over 20 years and facilities wise; they have the High Performance Centre (HPC) in Nigeria.”

Remarked Professor Emeritus Nimi Briggs, Chairman, and University of Port Harcourt Sports Institute Board: “The evolution of sports development in the University of Port Harcourt has been progressive which has manifested in excellent facilities and impressive performance by the University’s athletes. Our focus now with this partnership is to transform the University into the hub of Sports in Africa.”

Today, the UNIPORT Sports Institute is renowned for its academic excellence with offerings in diverse fields including Post Graduate Diplomas in Sports Medicine, Sports Massage, Sports Marketing, Sports Broadcasting / Journalism, Fitness and Recreation amongst others.

Prof. Broggs

But Dr. Gabriel Ken Gadaffi, the founder cum CEO of Cambodia-based Rising Stars International Academy who doubles as the Director of the UNIPORT Sports Institute, explained that there was need to chart a new vista since digitalisation is now a way of life globally, adding the institute with its usual leading role in sport development is now ready to strengthen its drive towards digitalisation of sports.

“It’s rather unfortunate that sports in Nigeria has declined in recent times; most sports administrators today are still under the illusion that Nigeria sports is what it used to be about two to three  decades ago which unfortunately is not so anymore,” explained Gadaffi, the founder of KG Sports Academy. “Let’s take school sports for example, it’s totally dead. Where are the primary school games? What about the annual inter house sports in secondary schools, the principal cups or even the university games which are no longer held? So, the cradle of sports development is totally bastardised.”

Labour shuns ruling stopping strike, talks with FG deadlocked [PUNCH]

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress, on Thursday, dismissed the ruling of the National Industrial Court restraining them from going on strike beginning from Monday.

The NLC and the TUC stated this after a meeting between the Federal Government and the workers ended in a deadlock on Thursday evening.

Following the hike in electricity tariffs and fuel pump price, the government and the labour unions had met penultimate Tuesday, but the dialogue ended in a deadlock following the failure of the government to reverse the price increase or offer palliatives to cushion the effects on the workers.

The NLC and TUC subsequently declared a strike and protest scheduled to commence on Monday. Both unions said they would collaborate to execute the industrial action for maximum effect.

Rising from a meeting in Abuja on Tuesday, the National Executive Council of the NLC comprising the chairpersons of the 36 state chapters and the Federal Capital Territory endorsed the decision earlier taken by the Central Working Committee of the Congress on the strike last Wednesday.

Court stops strike

But the industrial court in Abuja, on Thursday, issued an interim order restraining the unions from embarking on the strike.

Justice Ibrahim Galadima issued the interim order following an ex-parte application filed by a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association through their counsel, Sunusi Musa.

Justice Galadima ordered the labour unions, their officers and affiliate groups to halt the plan to embark on the strike pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed by the applicant.

The judge also granted an order of interim injunction restraining the unions from disrupting, restraining, picketing or preventing the workers or ordinary Nigerians from accessing their offices to carry out their legitimate duties on September 28, 2020 or any other date.

The court also granted an order compelling the Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services, to provide protection for workers engaged in their legitimate duties from any form of harassment, intimidation and bullying by the officers, agents or privies of the unions pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice.

Those who obtained order not our employers –NLC

Reacting to the court injunction, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, dismissed it, saying he had not been served, adding that the group that filed the suit was not his employers.

He asked, “How does that (injunction) affect me if I have not been served? Have I been served? Are they our employers? What relationship do I have with any group?”

The meeting between the Federal Government and organised labour meant to avert the planned strike and protest ended in a deadlock.

The meeting, which started at 4.16pm at the Presidential Villa’s Banquet Hall, Abuja, on Thursday, dragged till 9.22pm without a resolution.

But speaking to journalists after the dialogue, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the parties had a fruitful discussion, adding that it was shifted till Monday to conclude the discussions.

He expressed the belief that the unions would heed the government’s plea to suspend their planned strike.

However, the TUC President, Quadri Olaleye, told journalists that the mobilisation of workers for the strike would not be halted, noting that the government failed to reverse or suspend the fuel price hike and electricity tariff adjustment.

He stated, “We were not the one that adjourned the meeting; the government adjourned it till Monday. Monday is the expiration of the ultimatum and we are still very much focused on that. It is a deadlock now.

 “Of course, that (adjournment) will not stop the action that has been put in place. We have told them to reverse or to suspend, while the discussion goes on Monday. So, labour is left with no option but to go our way.”

Asked about the offers or concessions made by the government’s team, the union leader said, “We are coming with an open mind to find a solution to the problems in the country, especially on the price hike. They have made their proposal, but we are saying let us suspend or reverse, then we can now continue to discuss but they have adjourned. But labour will continue with the mobilisation of workers.”

Speaking earlier before the closed-door technical session, Ngige said attendance at the dialogue was expanded to include the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, and others following the declaration of strike and protest by the labour centres.

Other officials in attendance included the Minister of Power, Mamman Saleh; Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Minister of State, Labour, Festus Keyamo (SAN).

Insecurity: FG faults British MPs, CAN, SOKAPU back UK lawmakers [PUNCH]

 The Presidency on Thursday faulted the sources of information on which members of the House of Lords, the United Kingdom, based their recent letter on the killings in Nigeria.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this   in a statement in Abuja titled, ‘British lawmakers, legal experts and campaigners should work with President Buhari, not fall for propaganda.’

The British lawmakers had, in a letter to the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Patricia Scotland, dated September 14, and co-signed by Baroness Cox, Baroness Kennedy, Jim Shannon, Fiona Bruce, former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Williams and 14 others, asked the Commonwealth to conduct an impartial investigation into the killings in Nigeria and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The parliamentarians expressed indignation over the killings by Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East and Fulani herdsmen in the Middle Belt region and said the failure of the Federal Government to protect Nigerians was a breach of the Commonwealth charter.

They, therefore, requested the Commonwealth to raise the killings with the Ministerial Action Group.

But Shehu in his statement  noted that not all those who provided the information that served as the basis of the letter were  committed to democracy or the nation’s peaceful co-existence.

He said, “At the same time as we take note of the lawmakers’ letter, it is also important to stress to our partners and colleagues in the United Kingdom that not all who press them have the best interests of either democratic governance or peaceful coexistence in mind.

“For example, the former Nigerian Chief of Army Staff named and quoted in the letter as a source on military matters, relinquished that position some 40 years ago – in 1979.

“He was last in a government position 17 years ago in 2003 (as Minister of Defence). At that time, religious and ethnic riots erupted in two states of the federation, (2001 and 2002). These were violently and ruthlessly put down by the military under his authority, leading to the loss of thousands of lives and the displacement of some further 50,000 persons.

“He is, therefore, not a natural source of pressure for good governance.”

Nigerian collecting illegal $36,000/month from ship owners – Amaechi [PUNCH]

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has registered his displeasure with continuous patronage of illegal habours known as secure anchorage areas.

According to the minister, an individual has sought to exploit the industry by collecting $1,200 daily for secure anchorage in the country from ship owners.

He said this while delivering a virtual keynote address at the 2020 World Maritime Day Celebration which held at Eko Hotel and Suites in Lagos.

The minister said the issue was quite unsettling.

He said, “There is a crisis in the maritime sector. The crisis is on the issue of security.

“Today, we have a single individual partnering with the military that is collecting $1,200 to the detriment of shipping companies.

“That one individual is still managing the business with support of other institutions.”

He accused stakeholders of doing nothing to the individual, stressing that no one other than the minister had the right to step up a secure anchorage area.

I’m not under any pressure to accept defeat – Ize-Iyamu [PUNCH]

THE candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the recently conducted Edo governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, has debunked speculations that he is under pressure from party leaders to accept defeat.

Ize-Iyamu said this in response to media reports on the subject, even as he urged the media to desist from speculative reporting.

He stated this in a statement signed by his Director of Communication and Media, Mr. John Mayaki, in Benin, on Thursday.

He said, “I was shocked this morning when I saw reports saying I begged Obaseki to return to APC after the election.

“While immediately responding to it, another one emerged. I will restate that I never begged him to return after the election. I deliberately did not reply when I saw all that rumour on the social media with people tagging me in them.

“Now, I saw another report in the media stating that APC leaders are mounting pressure on me to accept defeat. In all fairness to the national leadership of my party, they never mounted any pressure on me.

“So, I wonder where their source got information from. The public repossess a lot of trust in the media for authentic information. What happens when this trust is betrayed?”

Ize-Iyamu also reiterated his earlier position that he had yet to make up his mind on his next step.

According to him, “I already tweeted that I am studying the result and consulting widely on my next line of action. Speculative reporting must be condemned.

“When I make up my mind, I will let my supporters know. For now, patience is what I implore, not violence; not anger will help us now. Dignity will manifest in how we bounce back from this minor setback.”

In a related statement, Mayaki said, “We warned several times that the media should beware of fabrications from Obaseki and the PDP camp, but they did not listen.

“That is why they have reported that the election was free and fair, and that is why they have said our candidate appealed to Obaseki to come back to APC.

“The video in reference is from three months ago, not after the election, but doctored by Governor Obaseki media handlers to seek undue legitimacy.”

MASSOB, S’East youths back out of IPOB sit-at-home directive [SUN]

Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB) has opted out of the sit-at-home order handed down by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on October 1 to protest various killings and injustice done to the people of South East.

The group Leader, Uchenna Madu, yesterday, in a statement, declared Nigeria as a failed state at 60, after independence and does not worth celebrating.

“We declare Nigeria as a dead state which has nothing to celebrate. At 60 years of independence, Nigeria is still struggling to stand up. Other nations, that got political independence with Nigeria at same period like Malaysia, have gone very far in global recognition.

“Though the British colonial masters did not design Nigeria to flourish and progress as a reputable entity.

“Under President Muhammadu Buhari, the Nigeria state has turned to Fulani empire where every other major and minor ethnic nationalities are not regarded. Fulani acknowledge their cows more than other ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.

“Any exercise that will derail the organised protest strike against the incessant increase of fuel prices and electric bills by the Nigeria Labour Union, Trade Union and Civil Society Organisations is working against the overall interest of the citizens. October 1 is a day of national protest against the insensitivity of the President Buhari’s administration.

“Biafra sit-at-home exercise is not significant on Nigeria’s special day. Whatever exercise Biafrans observe on October 1 will be viewed as supporting the dead Nigeria. May 30 is Biafra day anniversary,” Madu said.

Also, the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL), an umbrella body of various youth leadership in the country has urged the public, especially youths to disregard the order in the interest of peace and harmony.

In a statement signed by the President General, Goodluck Ibem and Secretary General, Kanice Igwe, the youth leaders said such orders had resulted to bloodshed in the past and, therefore, advised that it is not necessary complying with such again.

3 dead, many injured as gas explosion rocks filling station in Lagos [SUN]

Three person were declared dead and several others were injured when gas cylinder exploded at a filling station at Cele Bus Stop, Iju, Lagos, yesterday.

A witness, John Udoh, said the fire started when a tanker was trying to offload gasoline in the filling station and the cooking gas stand attached to the filling station exploded.

Udoh said three persons were burnt beyond recognition, just as many people injured, while the raging fire destroyed many vehicles.

“The police, fire service and emergency agencies are putting out the fire and bringing out burnt victims. Over 40 people were injured and rushed to the hospital,” he said.

Another resident Philomena Ojeogwu, who described the explosion as Armageddon, said: “I was doing some work on my laptop when I heard a loud bang. The entire building was shaking. I thought it was a bomb explosion. When I looked through the window, I saw people running out of their homes and smoke covered everywhere. I had to run out of the house thinking that it was in my compound. It was later that I learnt the explosion happened far away from my compound, but the impact was too much. It affected may streets, such as Obawole Estate, Lucas, Kay Farm, Balogun, et cetera. I think landlords need to do something about their buildings because the explosion affected many foundations and fences.

“I am appealing to the government and relevant agencies to stop giving licenses to people who operate filling stations and gas stations in residential areas. We are sitting on a keg of gunpowder ready to explode. The rate at which gas stations and filling stations are all springing up in residential areas is too bad.”

Labour vows total shutdown Monday [SUN]

Ahead of the September 28 planned nationwide mass protests and strikes, labour has advised Nigerians to stock foods and make cash withdrawals, as the action would be an indefinite and total shutdown of the economy.

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, in his address to the sixth quadrennial National Delegates’ Conference of the National Union of Chemical, Footwear, Rubber, Leather and Non-Metallic Employees (NUCFLRANMPE), in Ibadan, Oyo State, yesterday, said the congress was already mobilising Nigerians and patriotic civil society groups for the peaceful protests.

“On September 28, we will be withdrawing our services, if government fails to reverse the recent price increases on petrol and electricity. I urge NUCFRLANMPE members to mobilise Nigerians within their vicinities. We also encourage you to stock up on essential items because this time around the strike will be a total lockdown. This time, the Nigeria Labour Congress would lead workers all over the country on an indefinite strike. This time, the strike will be total.”

He said increase in electricity tariff had presented Nigerians the double jeopardy of dealing with astronomical increases in the price of goods and services and COVID-19.

According to him, the alternative cannot be to transfer the obvious irresponsibility and failures of government on innocent Nigerian workers and citizens.

 “The solution cannot be the arbitrary gale of hike in electricity tariff and increase in the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit, kerosene, diesel and other refined petroleum products leading to spiral inflation in the cost of living and robbing workers the benefit of the recent increase in national minimum wage.

“Organised labour says No Way; Enough is Enough! For over 30 years now, we have given government the chance and benefit of the doubt to fix our refineries, but successive governments have failed to repay our faith with necessary actions. The truth is that there is no acceptable logic why our refineries should not be working. There is no acceptable explanation why we cannot produce enough megawatts of electricity to power the potential of our people and industries, including chemical, leather, rubber, footwear and non-metallic industries.”


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