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Monday, July 22, 2024

Nigerian newspapers headlines Tuesday morning

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Farouk Salim Takes Over At SON [LEADERSHIP]

 Mallam Farouk Salim yesterday assumed office as the new director general/chief executive of Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Salim officially took over from

Osita Aboloma in a short ceremony

at the Conference Room of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and

Investment witnessed by the Minister, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, the permanent secretary and chairman, SON, Governing Council, Dr. Nasir Sani-Gwarzo, and some members of management of the ministry and SON

Salim promised to bring his core competencies in organisational restructuring, quality assurance and project management to bear in driving the relevance of SON in national socio-economic development further.try and SON.

Salim promised to bring changes by promoting public safety in

local manufacturing, import and

export as well as creating an enabling environment for innovations that would stimulate national self-sufficiency.

The new director-general promised to bring his core competencies in organisational restruc- turing, quality assurance and project management to bear in driving the relevance of SON in

national socio-economic deve- lopment further

Salim stressed his desire to strengthen enforcement through increased cooperation with the relevant authorities like the police and the Judiciary, work more closely with the national assembly and the executive arm of government to update regulations and penalties as well as lobby for improved budgetary allocations for needed improvements and staff welfare.

“We would also leverage on information and communication technology to disseminate our activities more efficiently, real time, in order to engender greater stakeholders’ buy-in and revamp public confidence in our organisation,” he said.

The SON helmsman promised to also lessen red tape, further simplify payment systems through increased investment in information technology, to guarantee improved service delivery, operational efficiency and encourage customer feedback and suggestions towards achieving the goals.

He assured the staff of a level playing field to enable free flow of ideas and expression of competencies and urged them all to continue to give their best to the Nation through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.

The new SON chief executive promised to make stakeholders, particularly the organised private sector groups a fulcrum of his administration’s focus.

Mallam Salim expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for the opportunity to further contribute to national development through the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), stressing that he would put in his best to justify the confidence of the number one citizen. He also expressed appreciation to his predecessor for his selfless services to SON in the last 4 years and wished him well in his future endeavour.

States Drag FG To Supreme Court Over Funding Of Judiciary [LEADERSHIP]

The 36 states of the federation have gone before the Supreme Court to challenge the Presidential Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 signed in May by the President Muhammadu Buhari on the funding of the courts.

The 36 states, who filed the suit through their respective attorneys general, are seeking an order of the Supreme Court quashing Buhari’s Executive Order for being unconstitutional.

The sole respondent in the suit is the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation (SAN), Abubakar Malami (SAN).

In the suit filed on their behalf by nine Senior Advocates of Nigeria, led by a former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Augustine Alegeh (SAN); and six other lawyers, the 36 states explained that Buhari, by virtue of the Executive Order he signed on May 20, 2020, had pushed the Federal Government’s responsibility of funding both the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal, to the state governments.

They contended that Buhari’s Executive Order No. 00-10 of 2020 was a clear violation of sections 6 and 8(3) of the 1999 Constitution, which make it the responsibility of the Federal Government to fund the listed courts.

The 36 states, which said they had been funding the capital projects in the listed courts since 2009, are also praying the Supreme Court to order the Federal Government to make a refund to them.

“Since the 5th of May 2009, the defendant had not funded the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, apart from paying only the salaries of the judicial officers of the said courts.

“The plaintiffs’ states have been solely responsible for funding the capital and recurrent expenditures of the state high courts, Sharia Court of Appeal and the Customary Court of Appeal of the plaintiffs’ states, which the defendant has failed and/or refused to fund,” they said.

Court fines Abbo N50m for assaulting saleswoman [THE NATION]

A High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in Maitama, Abuja, has awarded N50 million damages against Senator Elisha Abbo, representing Adamawa North, for assaulting an attendant at a sex toy shop in Abuja, Mrs. Osimibibra Warmate.

Justice Samira Bature gave the order in a judgment she delivered on Monday in a fundamental rights enforcement suit Mrs. Warmate filed against Abbo.

The judge held, among others, that the plaintiff established her case and awarded the N50 million in damages against the defendant.

Abbo was said to have assaulted the nursing mother when he visited the sex toy shop on May 11, 2019.

The senator reportedly visited the shop around 6 p.m in company of three young women to buy some adult toys.

Shortly after the attack, the police arraigned him before a Magistrates’ Court in Zuba, Abuja, on one count charge.

But the Magistrate, Abdullahi Ilelah, later dismissed the case when, in a ruling, he upheld Abbo’s no-case submission.

But Monday’s judgment was on a civil case filed for the victim by her lawyers, Esosa Omo-Usoh and Nelson Onuoha.

Nigeria may experience virus explosion in low testing states, NCDC warns [THE NATION]

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has warned that the country may experience an explosion

A few days ago, the NCDC listed nine states that have tested the least number of samples for COVID-19. Among the states are Taraba, Adamawa, Kogi, Nasarawa, Niger, Kebbi, Zamfara, Jigawa and Yobe.

Describing a second wave of the virus as inevitable, the NCDC urged states to thread on the side of caution by ramping up testing. It also implored institutions – both public and private, especially banks and religious institutions – to insist on the implementation of safety protocols and measures, even as the economy, air spaces and schools are opening up.

NCDC Director-General Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu stated these in Abuja during a television programme.

He said: “The data is what it is. We are having fewer cases reported than we had in April, May and the numbers are what they are. The states where we are most comfortable with are the states like Lagos, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Kano and Borno. This is because they are testing a lot and not finding as many as they used to find.

 “A few months ago, we used to have a test positivity ratio of up to 20 per cent to 25 per cent in Lagos – that is 20 per cent of all the samples we collected were positive. Now, that figure is down to five per cent. So, we are happy with the progress made in Lagos.

“In some other states, they are not testing enough, because they are not finding cases. It becomes impossible for us to say whether that is a reflection that there are really no cases or it is just a reflection that they are not testing.

“We have been reaching out to states to let them know that the national curve that we show every day is really a reflection of several sub-national curves. Some states have reacted positively and have started testing more.

“A perfect example of that is Plateau State. Initially very slow, but now they have started testing more and have found more cases which is a good thing. Now, they know where they are. Many states, unfortunately, haven’t learnt from that and are not testing and finding enough. I’m worried that we might find an explosion in those states that will then affect the rest of the country again.

“Ultimately, the sample collection and mobilisation efforts within states have to be driven by states. Until they see the benefits of testing more in order to define for themselves where they are, we will be in this position of not having a full certainty of where we are in the trajectory of the outbreak in Nigeria.”

INEC begins migration to electronic voting [THE NATION]

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has begun the replacement of the current manual system of voting to automated voting system.

Its National Chairman, Prof. Yakubu Mahmood, announced this on Monday in Abuja.

He said the commission had taken another decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process.

Yakubu said: “After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.

“Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest data base of citizens in Nigeria.

“In addition, the combination of biometric voters’ cards, commonly known as the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) and the Smart Card Reader (SCR), have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections. More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.

“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.”

He added: “Today, the commission is taking yet another decisive step towards the full automation of the electoral process. For some time now, the commission has been working on the deployment of technology in voting during elections to replace the current manual system, which is tedious and requires enormous logistics to deliver huge quantities of printed materials and a large number of ad hoc workers to administer the process.

“To this end, the commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.

“Over 40 companies that indicated interest will demonstrate to the commission how their IT solutions meet our specifications.

“I wish to emphasise that this is only a demonstration that will enable the commission to evaluate the available technology and, where necessary, fine-tune our specifications before proceeding to the next stage, which will involve the participation of stakeholders. Details of the next steps will be given at the end of the demonstrations.

 “The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of EVMs in elections in earnest.”

Also, a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) yesterday urged the National Assembly not to disappoint Nigerians on the expected legislative process to review the nation’s Constitution and electoral reforms.

Addressing reporters on behalf of other groups in Abuja, Banke Ilori Oyeniyi, of Raising New Voices Initiative, said there is need to curb incessant violence and voter suppression, which have marred the conduct of elections overtime, thereby seeming to have become a standard practice.

‘N2.67b school feeding cash in private accounts’ [THE NATION]

Anti-corruption agency Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has traced N2.67 billion school feeding cash to private accounts, its chairman Prof. Bolaji Owosanye, said on Monday.

The agency also discovered over N2.5 billion appropriated by a deceased senior official in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture for himself and others.

The occasion making the Second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and the launch of the National Ethnics and Integrity Publicity gave the ICPC boss the opportunity to enumerate the activities of the agency under his leadership.

He listed assets recovered from officials of the Ministry of Agriculture as including 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land.

Owasanoye said under the Open Treasury Portal (OPT) review carried out from January to August 15, only 72 out of 268 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) examined had cumulative infractions of N90 million.

According to him, 33 MDAs tendered explanations that N4.1 billion was transferred to sub-TSA and that N4.2 billion was paid to individuals, saying the explanations were not satisfactory.

He said: “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA was to prevent disbursement from being monitored. Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67 billion during lockdown when the children were not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts. We have commenced investigations into these finding.”

Reformed judiciary needed to win anti-corruption fight, says Buhari [THE NATION]

Reformed and forthright judiciary is a must for Nigeria to win the anti-graft battle, President Muhmmadu Buhari reiterated on Monday.

The President pointed out the need for the three arms of government on one hand and the three levels of governance to join hands against the menace of corruption.

Speaking on Monday at the 2nd National Summit on Diminishing Corruption and launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy, organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), the President Buhari noted that Nigeria needs a corruption-free public sector to achieve set goals.

The event was organised to mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the ICPC and the policy was put together by the anti-corruption agency, in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) and the National Orientation Agency (NOA).

He reiterated his earlier call on the judiciary to undertake reforms that would fast-rack delivery of justice.

Buhari said: “We need to deploy resources to address our common needs rather than the greed of a callous few. We need a corruption-free public sector to achieve this transformation; we need a judicial system that dispenses justice without undue delay and technicality.

“We need laws and legal system to be reformed to deliver justice to every citizen without regard to status and finally we need ethical re-orientation of the people to achieve this goal. When we work together against corruption we can defeat it.”

According to him, progress could only be achieved in the delivery of dividends when the arms and tiers of government work together.

He said: “I believe that it is when the three arms and the three levels of government work together that government will be enabled to serve the country. We will also see the positive impact of our efforts reaching all and sundry across the country.

“Bearing this critical factor in mind, I am happy that the theme of this year’s summit by ICPC is: ‘Together against corruption’. I am aware that this theme derives from the theme of our 60th anniversary celebration.

“Together as a nation, as a people, the three arms and three tiers of government working together, we can attack corruption and realise the vast potentials of our country.”

NLC, TUC leaders under attack for suspending strike [THE NATION]

Labour leaders were chided on Monday for shelving the proposed strike.

They suspended the industrial action in the early hours of on Monday after a marathon meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, with Federal Government officials.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had mobilised their members, Civil Society Organisations and other categories of Nigerians to protest the increase in the price of petrol and the hike in electricity tariffs.

Those who criticised Labour said the leaders should have reported to their members and their allies before shelving the planned action.

The Conference of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP), a former Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Second Vice-President Monday Ubani, the Alliance for Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB) and the Join Action Force (JAF) are among stakeholders who expressed disappointment with Labour.

CNPP, in a statement by its Secretary-General, Chief Willy Ezugwu, said: “We expected that this would happen and that was why the CNPP opted to rally civil society movements across the country.

“We are monitoring the situation and rejigging our plans given the now obvious reality that the ordinary citizens who cannot travel to Abuja are on their own.

“In the last five years, the NLC and the TUC have remained toothless bulldogs and compromised arm of the Federal Government.

“The suffering masses who believed the labour unions can now continue to suffer, while all voices are shut.”

Ubani was of the view that the decision amounted to a betrayal of Nigerian workers.

He told reporters in Ikeja that what the labour unions did amounted to a sellout.

Ubani maintained that it is wrong to have mobilised Nigerians in preparations for the strike only to dash their expectations.

He said: “Clearly, this is a sell-out and I feel totally betrayed and personally alarmed at the quality of leadership at the NLC. We have lost it completely.

 “I do not think Nigerians were initially interested in any strike and I knew it won’t hold, because the labour leaders are deceivers.

“I never hoped for anything about this particular proposed strike or protest before now, because I knew they will sell-out.

“I’m not surprised it happened. We do not have labour leaders in Nigeria. Nigerians must organise themselves to fight, to liberate this country. That’s what I will advise.

“Any time we feel aggrieved, and we feel the Nigerian government is not getting it right, we need to come together in the manner we did during the fuel subsidy protest under the Goodluck Jonathan administration with one spirit and one heart, not relying on labour.”

Breakup warning/60th independence anniversary: ACF warns Osinbajo over utterance, Ohanaeze, Afenifere, others back VP [PUNCH]

The socio-political groups such as Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and the Pan Niger Delta Forum, on Monday, said Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s warning that cracks in the country could lead to its breakup should not be taken for granted.

Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere and PANDEF, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, supported the Vice-President, saying Nigerians could not continue to live in denial.

But the northern socio-political group, the Arewa Consultative Forum,  admitted that there were unhealthy cracks in Nigeria. It, however, said the Vice-President should not make statements that would worsen tension in the country.

Osinbajo, who was represented by the Secretary to the  Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, at an  interdenominational church service in Abuja on Sunday to mark Nigeria’s 60th independence anniversary, said, “Our walls are not yet broken, but there are obvious cracks that could lead to a break, if not properly addressed.”  At the service, the SGF read Osinbajo’s speech.

In its reaction, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, agreed with the Vice President that cracks in Nigeria could lead to its breakup.

The National Publicity Secretary and acting Secretary General of Ohanaeze, Prince Uche Achi-Okpaga, who spoke to one of our correspondents,  said the Vice President’s concerns weren’t different from what other Nigerians had been saying.

Govt doing nothing to address cracks, prayers not enough, says Ohanaeze

Achi-Okpaga said government was not making efforts to address the problems, adding that prayers were not enough.

Although he described Osibanjo as a man of unimpeachable character, who knows where the problems of Nigeria lie, he noted that it was not enough to ask Nigerians to pray.

Achi-Okpaga said, “By his pedigree as the Vice President of Nigeria, law professor and pastor, he knows where the shoes pinch the government.

“In so many areas he is right.  You can’t take his words for granted. He has been inside there and he knows where the shoes pinch the government and the people of Nigeria. So when he drops a word like that you can always know he is serious and he knows the nitty-gritty of what he is saying.

“What he is saying is not even different from what Nigerians are saying. This thing is not rocket science; we are seeing it.  Look at the economy, the prices of the commodities have increased. Look at the electricity tariff increase and fuel pump price hike. Is it the gift that the government is giving Nigerians at the heat of this COVID-19 pandemic that has ravaged Nigeria economically?

“Look at security;  how Fulani herdsmen are ravaging communities and agricultural lands; killing Nigerians every day. The government is aware of this and no effort is being made to stem it.”

On the Vice-President’s call on Nigerians to pray, Ohanaeze spokesman said it was apt but noted that there should be a balance of prayers and actions.

We can’t continue to live in denial – Afenifere

On his part, the Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Yinka Odumakin,  in an interview with The PUNCH, said, “This is a perceptive observation and bold declaration by the Vice-President. It is an honest admission better than playing the ostrich. When you admit the problems you can begin to find solutions to them. But when you live in denial, you won’t find solutions to your problems. We hope his admission will

Nigeria needs restructuring, power devolution, not prayers – PANDEF

Also, PANDEF  said that what Nigeria needed was restructuring, justice and peaceful coexistence to bring about progress and development.

Spokesman for the group, Ken Robinson,   during a telephone interview with one of our correspondents on Monday, said the Vice President was right that there were cracks in the country.

We’ve not been informed of tariff hike suspension – Discos [PUNCH]

Power distribution companies said on Monday that they had not received any directive from the Nigerian Electricity  Regulatory Commission on tariff suspension.

The Discos are confused about the decision of the Federal Government and labour unions as regards the reversal of the hike in electricity tariff, investigation has shown.

Senior officials of power distribution companies said on Monday that they were awaiting the NERC to come up with a new tariff plan to be implemented within the two weeks as agreed by the Federal Government and labour unions.

It was also gathered that up till 7pm on Monday, no order had been released by the NERC to Discos as touching the matter.

It was also gathered that the Discos told the regulator that it would take three to four days for them to change their billing/vending platforms and revert to the old tariffs.

“There is no communication yet from the regulator on that matter and I wonder how that can be implemented because right now, it is causing confusion in the power sector,” a senior official of a Disco in the northern region, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said.

Also, sources at the commission confirmed that although there had been prolonged meetings on the matter at the NERC headquarters in Abuja, no order had been sent out to Discos as of 7pm on Monday.

“The whole thing is a bit complicated now. There have been series of meetings about it since (Monday) morning,” an official at the NERC, who pleaded not to be named, said.

The official added, “But up till this time (7pm) that you are speaking with me, no order has been issued on this matter to power distributors.”

A top official of one of the Discos who was at the meeting said the regulator had yet to tell them exactly what to do.

The Chairman, NERC, James Momoh, neither picked calls nor replied a detailed text message sent to him by our correspondent on the matter.

N2.67bn school feeding funds found in private accounts –ICPC [PUNCH]

The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, says the agency has discovered N2.67bn meant for the school feeding programme in private accounts.

The agency, he added, also found over N2.5bn diverted by a deceased worker with the ministry of agriculture, noting that 18 buildings, 12 business premises and 25 plots of land, were also recovered in the ministry.

Owasanoye disclosed this in Abuja on Monday at the second National Summit on Diminishing Corruption in the Public Sector, which was organised in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary of the Government of the Federation.

The summit with the theme, ‘Together against corruption’, also included the launch of the National Ethics and Integrity Policy.

He said under the Open Treasury Portal review carried out between January and August 15, 2020, 72 out of 268 ministries, departments and agencies had cumulative infractions of N90m.

According to him, while 33 MDAs explained that N4.1bn was transferred to sub-Treasury Single Account, N4.2bn paid to individuals had no satisfactory explanations.

He stated, “We observed that transfers to sub-TSA were to prevent disbursement from being monitored. Nevertheless, we discovered payments to some federal colleges for school feeding in the sum of N2.67bn during lockdown when the children are not in school, and some of the money ended up in personal accounts.”

The ICPC chairman also said under its 2020 constituency and executive projects tracking initiative, 722 projects with a threshold of N100m (490 ZIP and 232 executive) were tracked across 16 states.

Wike: I’ll resign if Amaechi mentions one thing he has done for Rivers as minister [SUN]

Governor Nyesom Wike has challenged Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, to mention his contributions to River State in his ministerial capacity.

The governor, who threw the challenge while reacting to Amaechi’s claim that he (Amaechi) was one of the best governors the state has ever had, said he would resign immediately as governor if Amaechi could mention just one achievement.

The state governor made the statement, yesterday, on a live television programme, after the Minister of Transportation, Amaechi,  was credited to have described himself as the best governor Rivers State has ever had.

Amaechi reportedly made the claim at the funeral ceremony of the late Justice Karibi Whyte, former justice of the supreme court, at the weekend.

Amaechi also complained of rising insecurity, bad roads and intimidation of the judiciary in the state.

“You have lost your voice. The sage (the late justice) has gone under and nobody is speaking. When I was governor, I gave people voices, but they have blocked those voices,” Amaechi had said.

“Everyone is scared. We are going back to when Ateke held sway. We are going back to the period where we run away from our people. We are back to a period when nobody could speak. But from next year, I will begin to speak, if nobody wants to speak.

But in his reply, Wike said if the judges and judiciary have lost their voices, it was because Amaechi shut down the court for two years while he was governor.

He said he brought a lot of development to Rivers while he served as minister of state for education, but that Amaechi cannot boast of any achievement.

“Rivers people will ask you, what will you tell us. You’re doing rail to Niger Republic, which one have you done in your state? As minister of education, I brought faculty of law to Port Harcourt; I brought N500 million grant to Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic, I built so many schools. As a minister, I’m proud.

“You’re a minister, tell Rivers people I brought this, mention one. If you mention one, I’ll resign now. Mention what you’ve brought to Rivers people to convince them. We’re too educated for you to go to Kalabari to incite them.

“He said judges lost their voice. He’s right, why won’t they? A man who shut down the court for two years, NBA didn’t say anything. So, if he is now saying that NBA lost their voice, he’s right. Today, nobody talks about it that’s why he has the audacity to tell NBA they’ve lost their voice,” Wike said.

“You went to a supreme court justice house to tell him the president is not happy with him, why won’t judges lose their voice?

“I also heard him say he’s the best governor. I have no problem about that, he’s very right. If a man can close the court for two years, why would he not be the best governor?”

Wike also said Amaechi wasted the state’s funds on many uncompleted and abandoned projects “when there was plenty money”.

According to him, if he was in possession of those funds, “I will turn Rivers State to paradise”.

He also taunted the minister, saying he is still being bitten by mosquitoes even after he (Amaechi) spent N12 billion to fumigate the state.

“One of the things that made him the best governor, for fumigation of a state like Rivers state, we paid over N12 billion so that there would be no more mosquitoe. Today, mosquito is still biting me,” he said.

“He is not one of the best, he is the best. Who would have done all he did without being the best?”

Asked if his government would complete the abandoned projects, Wike said he would only complete those with economic importance, not “political projects”.

 Wike said his predecessor was more interested in awarding political projects to boost his personal ego than delivering services to Rivers people.

Anger, disappointment trail Labour’s suspension of strike [SUN]

Anger and disappointment have continued to trail the unceremonious suspension of the much-hyped industrial action called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to protest the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price.

Labour announced the suspension of the planned strike following an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which ended in the early hours of yesterday.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr.  Christ Ngige, said the resolution was an outcome of a fruitful deliberation.

The labour unions gave the government two weeks to implement the agreement otherwise it would declare industrial action and call out workers to protest.

The removal of subsidy had led to an increase in electricity tariff from about N30.23 to about N62.33 per kwh, while the price of petrol was increased from about N145 to about N161 per litre.

Some Nigerians, however, decried the suspension of the planned strike.

Members of labour in Edo, Lagos and Ogun states could not hide their disappointment as they expressed anger that the leadership, who represented them at the meeting with the Federal Government, failed to give members fair representation.

In Benin City, protesters led by the former presidential candidate of the National Conscience Party (NCP), Dr. Osagie Obayuwana and the state NLC chairman Mr. Sunny Osayande, assembled at the King’s Square (Ring Road) and bore placards with inscriptions such as “No to electricity hike”, “No to fuel hike”, “Kill corruption” amongst others, even as they attacked the government for the increase the prices.

Osayande said they decided to embark on the peaceful march to express displeasure over the manner the union called off the strike.

In Abeokuta, a labour leader who preferred anonymity lamented that the leadership did not actually get a concrete commitment from the Federal Government, but  mere promises.

In Lagos State, another labour leader expressed dismay that the leadership continues to make the Minister of Labour make fool of workers.

In Oyo State, the Joint Action Front (JAF) and Alliance on Surviving COVID-19 and Beyond (ASCAB), also, staged a peaceful protest in Ibadan against labour’s decision.

The protest, which began from the NLC secretariat in Ibadan, moved through Agodi-Gate, Oje, Yemetu and terminated at Government Secretariat.

Addressing newsmen, ASCAB Vice Chairman in the state, Mr. Femi Aborisade, said the group was against the resolution entered into by the leaderships of the NLC and TUC.

 

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