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Nigerian newspapers headlines Tuesday morning

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Fuel Scarcity Looms As PENGASSAN, NUPENG Begin Nationwide Strike [LEADERSHIP]

Nigerians are about to witness another fuel scarcity as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers (NUPENG) have ordered their members to commence an indefinite nationwide strike with effect from yesterday.

The decision of the unions to embark the industrial action followed the expiration of a seven-day ultimatum they had earlier served the federal government to either accede to their demands or risk their members downing tools.

LEADERSHIP learnt that the strike was pursuant to the oil workers’ lingering disagreement with the federal government over the directive on the registration of some of its members on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Although discussions over the issues have been going on for some time, the oil workers have accused the government of not making concrete moves to settle the differences.

PENGASSAN spokesperson, Mr Jerry Amah, who confirmed the development to LEADERSHIP, said the strike started at the expiration of the ultimatum.

PENGASSAN and NUPENG had on 2nd November 2020 issued a seven-day ultimatum to federal government to address the issue on IPPIS or face the anger of the unions.

In the ultimatum notice, the duo threatened to withdraw their services which will mean a total shutdown of oil and gas facilities and distribution of petroleum products in the entire county should government fail to address their concerns.

The letter jointly signed by the general secretaries of the two labour unions and addressed to the ministry of Labour and Employment, noted that the unions were aggrieved over the breach of agreement on the implementation of IPPIS to their members and failure to pay arrears of 22 month owed their members working with Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NNRA).

IPPIS, an information Communications Technology (ICT), is a project initiated by the federal government of Nigeria (FGN) to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of payroll administration for its Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

A statement signed by general secretary of PENGASSAN, Comrade Lumumba Okugbawa, on Sunday and sent to all branch chairmen of the union reads in part: “It was regrettable that upon the expiration of the ultimatum, nothing concrete had been done with regards to the outstanding issues as enumerated in the letter.”

Last week, long queues resurfaced in most filling stations in Abuja and its environs after oil workers threatened to commence its strike at the expiration of its ultimatum to the government on October 30.

 

It’s In Your Interest To Keep The Peace, PMB Tells Youths [LEADERSHIP]

President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian youths to eschew violence and toe the line of peace, saying it is for their own interest.

The President spoke yesterday while receiving in audience the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations and Nigeria’s former minister of environment, Amina Mohammed, at the presidential villa.

“Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting,” President Buhari told the youths in response to the recent #EndSARS protest and the mayhem and destruction of public and private property that came in its wake.

“It is in the interest of the youths to keep the peace. They want jobs, infrastructure and development. I have sent a team led by the chief of staff (Professor Ibrahim Gambari) to go round the country, talk to traditional rulers, who will then talk to the youths. The views of the youths have been heard,” a statement by his special adviser on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, quoted the president as saying.

Buhari said that the current administration inherited severe infrastructural deficits, “and that is what we are fighting to correct. We can’t just sit, fold our hands, and do nothing. We are doing our best within the limits of resources.”

President Buhari rued the fact that COVID-19 has shrunk the global economy, noting that “this is something you can’t see, smell, or hear,” but which has wrought devastation on lives and livelihoods round the world.

On climate change, he said Nigeria was concerned about the recharge of the Lake Chad, which has great implications on security, irregular migration, and livelihoods.

The deputy secretary-general said she was on a courtesy call with her team to flag off  interest on challenges that concern the UN, particularly COVID-19, climate change, security, and humanitarian responses to the diverse challenges.

 

We May Not Escape Another #End SARS Protest, Lawan Warns

Corroborating President Buhari’s stance, the Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, yesterday warned that Nigeria may not escape another protest considering what the youths face in the country.

According to him, the 2021 budget, which is being processed by the National Assembly, should be made to cater for youth unemployment in the country in order to avert further protest.

Lawan spoke against the backdrop of the recent #EndSARS protests in the country at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Agriculture on the 2021 budget defense by the Ministry of Agriculture.

He said, “Recently we had some of our youths protesting, some of them very genuinely. They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention of leaders.

“So our budget, especially for 2021, should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths. They demonstrated. They protested because they could do so. There are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need and they didn’t protest.

“Let’s meet them where they are. We don’t have to wait until they also try to grumble or protest. We should be proactive. We should reach them and they are in the rural areas, most of them.

“So we should meet them there. Give them what we can and what they need to some extent, within the purview of our resources and give them, to make them live a productive life and that is the only way we can make a difference in the lives of the people”.

The Senate president said with practical and radical approach, Agriculture sector would change Nigeria’s fortune.

“This sector (Agriculture), without prejudice to any other sector, is enough to turn around the fortune of Nigeria, something that the oil has not been able to do.

“But why have we not been able to do so? We need to be very practical and radical. I believe that the way we go will not take us to the El Dorado. But there is every potential, every possibility and there are so many experts here.

“Oil cannot give jobs to the youths; only few people, mostly white collar jobs. But we know that this sector (Agriculture), from the President, to the last man or woman in the country, has all the potentials to create the wealth that we need to have a fairly and meaningful life for everyone.

“So we need to apply ourselves fully to operating this sector. Government alone cannot make it happen. Government can come up with the necessary and desired policies but those that will make it happen are the private sector”.

The Senate president described Agriculture sector as the “mother of all sectors” in the Nigerian economy and urged all stakeholders at all levels of government to accord it more attention.

“I still believe that we need to do better for this sector because to do better for the Agriculture sector is to do better for Nigerians and what can be better for a government than to do better for its citizens”.

The minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, however, told the lawmakers that the Ministry had registered 5.1 million farmers in the country with 2.4 million of them cleared for a Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) funding.

 

Second Wave Of COVID-19 Imminent, NCDC Warns [LEADERSHIP]

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has urged Nigerians to be wary of a second wave of COVID-19 infection, saying they must abide by safety protocols.

The director-general of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, who gave the warning during a press conference organised by the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) as part of preparations for the resumption of orientation camps today, said despite the constraints of the pandemic, the NCDC has found a  way to collaborate and ensure that NYSC orientation camps across the country can reopen safely.

He noted that in consultation with NYSC authorities, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 (PTF) was working very hard to facilitate the safe conduct of activities at the 2020 NYSC orientation camp.

He said, “In addition to the interactive webinar over the weekend, today we will be providing updates on infection prevention control measures taken to ensure that activities in the camp are conducted safely in the context of COVID-19. Our corps members are young, mobile populations, who have been shown by our social data to have the lowest risk perception across age demographics. However, epidemiological data has also shown a high no of infection among young people.

“The virus does not know the reason people congregate, whether it is for learning or partying. Whatever it is, this virus takes opportunity of people coming together to spread.

“In addition to the fumigation/decontamination of the camps, other measures that have been instituted include: Reduction in the number of participants during each orientation exercise in order to free up spaces in the hostels and make for proper physical distancing and better ventilation”.

 

Lagos, FCT, Ondo move to stem new COVID-19 wave [PUNCH]

Amidst the fear of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country due to rising numbers of infected persons, some state governments have spoken of their determination to stem new infections.

The states include Lagos, Ondo and the Federal Capital Territory.

The PUNCH had reported that there were fears that Nigeria could soon be hit with a second wave of COVID-19 following rising daily cases and the abandonment of safety protocols by states across the country.

For instance, Nigeria recorded 937 cases last week as against 923 the previous week.

Between Monday, November 2 and Friday, November 6, there was a steady increase in the number of confirmed cases, with 72 recorded on Monday; 137 on Tuesday; 155 on Wednesday; with the figure rising to 180 and 223 on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

The figure, however, dropped to 59 on Saturday, but this was because there were fewer tests conducted on Saturday.

The fear of the second wave of the virus is also reinforced by many state governments that have abandoned the enforcement of safety rules.

The Federal Capital Territory Administration, on Monday, lamented the failure of Abuja residents to wear face masks, noting that the majority of the populace was not complying with COVID-19 regulations.

The FCTA said it was waiting for an advisory from the FCT COVID-19 Response Team to decide on the action to be taken in the event of a second wave of the disease.

The Chairman of the COVID-19 Enforcement Team, Ikharo Attah, confirmed that residents had not been very cooperative, noting that his committee had been engaging in moral suasion and advocacy to ensure compliance with the regulations prescribed by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.

According to him, while banks and some government offices are still complying with the use of face masks, worship centres, including churches and mosques, have not been cooperative.

He noted, “We have followed the guidelines despite challenges of unbelief from several quarters. We have been able to do everything to ensure compliance. All the banks and government offices are trying, but not all the people still wear face masks and use hand sanitizer.

“When it comes to private places like churches and mosques, what the minister has said is that they should own the process. We met with the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Council of Ulamas, and we told them to own the process and safeguard their members. In the advent of a second wave of COVID-19 – we pray it doesn’t come – people should own the process.”

Attah also noted that traders and commercial motorists were no longer taking safety regulations seriously, adding that the situation in the satellite settlements was also worrisome.

“In markets, people are no longer wearing face masks. I went to a market in a neighbouring state and they were laughing at me, because I was wearing a face mask,” he stated.

When asked if his committee would change tactics and impose sanctions on offenders, Attah said, “Unless the second wave comes; for now, we will be talking to them.

“If the second wave comes and we see it looming very closely, based on medical report from the health secretariat or the COVID-19 response team, then we will have no option but to take tougher measures to save the populace; but for now, advocacy remains our watchword.”

 

APC convention holds in 2021, NEC meeting before Christmas [PUNCH]

There were strong indications on Monday that the National Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress would meet before December 25.

The PUNCH gathered that because of the limited time at the disposal of the party’s National Convention Planning Committee, it would seek an extension of its tenure for six months during the meeting.

Multiple sources in the party, who confided in our correspondent, said it was becoming inevitable that the national convention would hold next year.

Recall that the APC NEC at its meeting in the Presidential Villa on June 25, 2020, dissolved the Adams Oshiomhole National Working Committee and set up a panel headed by the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni.

According to the decision reached at the NEC meeting and the constitution of the party, the Buni-led interim committee has a six-month tenure within which it is expected to organise a national convention, where substantive leaders of the party will emerge.

But multiple sources within the party’s hierarchy, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity on Monday because they were not authorised to speak to the media on the issue, said it was now almost certain that “the convention can no longer hold this year.”

One of the sources said, “The process of rebuilding anything takes time, efforts and patience. The wounds inflicted on cohesion within the party by Adams Oshiomhole are still fresh.

“You will agree with me that the National Caretaker Committee started the reconciliation process while preparing for the governorship elections in Edo and Ondo states, respectively.

“With these elections over, they are just settling down to the real business of reconciling aggrieved party members and have just set in motion the machinery for the planned nationwide registration, update and revalidation of the party’s membership register.

“These are needed not just for record purposes, but to ensure that those who will participate in our forthcoming convention are actually party members. Other things being equal, we should have our National Executive Council meeting on or before December 25, when the initial six months given to the caretaker committee will lapse.”

Another party leader, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “It is almost certain that the interim committee is not prepared to hold the convention this year. If it is ready, it would have started preparations from the ward level. Besides, no timetable has been released for the convention.”

Hold convention in Dec or resign, Marafa group tells Buni

However, a factional leader of the party in Zamfara State, Senator Kabiru Marafa, restated his position that the caretaker committee, which was a creation of compromise, would be overreaching itself if it failed to hold a national convention by December.

He said, “Our position is clear; the Buni committee was given six months to conduct a national convention to elect substantive leaders of the party; that has not changed. It is either Buni does this by December or he resigns.”

The spokesperson for a group of party supporters under the aegis of Concerned APC Members, Abdullahi Dauda, while supporting Marafa’s position said, “We are waiting. The tenure of the committee will expire in December, so we expect our convention to hold on or before the expiration of the tenure of the caretaker committee. A fresh registration of members is not part of their mandate; they should leave that one for the incoming NWC.”

The Chairman, National Union of Road Transport Workers, Jabi Park Unit, Mr Taiwo Oshobu, admitted that commuters and drivers were no longer wearing face masks or practicing social distancing.

“We observe that people are no longer wearing face masks or observing the regulations. To God be the glory, we don’t have COVID-19 (outbreak) in our park,” he stated.

 

Strange disease hits Oyo communities, 11 dead, five hospitalized [PUNCH]

At least, 11 persons have been reported dead with five hospitalised following the outbreak of a strange sickness in the Lagelu Local Government Area of Oyo State.

The five persons being hospitalised are said to be battling for survival.

Unconfirmed report indicated that it was an outbreak of cholera as the symptoms closely compare with the deadly disease.

However, the state government said the claim could not be immediately established as results of samples taken from the victims were still being awaited.

Residents of the community said tthe first case was recorded at Ariku village, where five people had, so far, been reported dead.

It was learnt that the disease later spread to Lagun village where six persons were confined dead.

The Caretaker Chairman, Lagelu Local Government Area, Mr Kelani Abdullahi, said the cause of the cases was being investigated.

Abdullahi said, “So far, 11 persons have lost their lives to the epidemic, with five persons hospitalised while four persons have been discharged.”

The Commissioner for Health in the state, Dr Bashiru Bello, said, “The tests carried out on the affected persons are still premature and the samples collected have not confirmed the sickness to be cholera.”

 

Another protest looms if unemployment persists, says Lawan [PUNCH]

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on Monday warned political office holders and policymakers against paying lip service to youth unemployment.

He challenged his colleagues in positions of authorities to factor youth employment and empowerment into the 2021 budget so as to escape another round of #EndSARS protests.

Lawan gave the warning when the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr Sabo Nanono, led top officials of his ministry to defend its 2021 budget before the Senate Committee on Agriculture.

The Senate President said, “Recently, we had protests by some of our youths. Some of them, very genuine, were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention.

“So, our budget, especially for 2021, should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths.

“They demonstrated, they protested because they could do so. There are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need. They didn’t protest.

“Let us meet them where they are, we don’t want to wait until they also start to grumble or protest we should be proactive.”

Lawan said the oil sector and the white collar jobs could no longer provide the required employment to keep the youths busy and financially stable.

It’s in your interest to keep peace – Buhari

Meanwhile, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on Monday told Nigerian youths who have been protesting under the auspices of #EndSARS that it was in their interest to keep the peace.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, the President spoke during the visit of the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, Nigeria’s former Minister of Environment, to the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The statement was titled, ‘It’s in the interest of our youths to keep the peace, says President Buhari’.

The President was quoted to have sad, “Our own generation is on the last lap, we are exiting. It is in the interest of the youth to keep the peace. They want jobs, infrastructure and development.

“I have sent a team led by the Chief of Staff (Prof. Ibrahim Gambari) to go round the country, talk to traditional rulers, who will then talk to the youth. The views of the youth have been heard.”

Buhari also lamented that COVID-19 had shrunk the global economy.

The UN Deputy Secretary-General was quoted as telling Buhari that she was on a courtesy call with her team to flag interest on challenges that concern the UN, particularly COVID-19, climate change, security, and humanitarian responses to the diverse challenges.

 

#EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN [THE NATION]

The United Nations (UN) has blamed recent widespread public protests in various countries, including Nigeria, on the harsh socio-economic effects of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic.

Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Amina Mohammed stated this on Monday after separate meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The UN Executive, who was responding to a question on the global body’s stand on the #EndSARS protest in Nigeria, however lauded the nation’s response to the demands of the protesters, describing it as the quickest so far.

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According to Mrs. Mohammed, the lessons learnt from Nigeria’s response to the protests are part of what would be taken into the future on how to manage conflict situations.

She noted that the demands of the protesters and the steps now being taken by the Nigerian government are the building blocks to the process of needed reforms for security as well as rebuild trust between government and the people.

“The UN stance is clear, like the UN Secretary General had said in his speech, we believe everyone has a right to demonstrate peacefully for those issues they want to raise with their government.

“There is a social contract in place between the government and the people and it is important to have that freedom of speech, provided it is done peacefully.

“I think in the case where we heard that lives and property were lost, it was unfortunate and we believe that in addressing the demands that were made by young people, that in fact this is perhaps a lesson we can take into the future and how we engage in such issues.

“I have to say that there are lots of protests around this world that have been exacerbated by COVID because, COVID has left people out of work, left people hopeless because of the socio-economic impact and in many of those protests, we have not seen governments turn around in response as quickly as this government did.

“So, the UN’s response to this is that, we must make sure that what happened in this protests we are able to address those issues, those gaps and begin the reform, in fact I will say the transformations that are needed to address many of these outstanding issues and for that we need to engage youths, we need to engage government.

 

Ignore protesting youths at your peril, Senate warns [THE NATION]

The Senate warned on Monday that leaders will face a huge challenge should they ignore genuine protest by the youth.

The lawmaking body canvassed massive job creation, poverty reduction and food security to prevent another youth uprising similar to the #EndSARS protests.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the interest of the youth should be given consideration.

He said: “Recently, we had some of our youths protesting genuinely. They were seeking the attention of leaders and they got the attention of leaders.

“So, our budget, especially for 2021 should be mindful of what we do to provide employment opportunities for these youths.

“They demonstrated and protested because they could do so; there are so many other people who may not be youthful but are also in the same need and they didn’t protest.

“Let’s meet them where they are. We don’t have to wait until they also start to grumble or protest.

“We should be proactive, we should reach them and most of them are in rural areas and give them what we can and what they need to some extent within the limit of our resources and keep them there to live a productive life.  “That is the only way that we can make a  difference in the lives of the people.

“And for us, elected people, we are going to be accountable. If we escape this one (#EndSARS protests), the other one is inescapable and I am sure people will know what I am saying.”

Lawan also insisted that agriculture is enough to turn around the fortunes of Nigeria.

“This sector can do something that oil has not been able to do. But why hasn’t it been able to do so? We need to be very practical and radical.

“I believe that the way we are going, will not take us to the El-Dorado but there is every potential, every possibility and other countries have made it through the sector.

“Every time we talk about the diversification of the Nigerian economy, the first sector they mention is the agricultural sector.

“So it means this sector needs to be given all the support that is possible. Oil cannot give jobs to the youths that we have, only a few people and mostly white-collar jobs but we know that this sector can give everybody a job.

“And it has all the potential to create the wealth that we need to have a fairly meaningful life for everyone. So we need to apply ourselves fully to operating this sector.”

 

Blood scarcity looms for childbirth, malaria, sickle cell patients [THE NATION]

During this COVID-19 pandemic, we lost quite a lot of blood; over 200 units expired in the Abuja NBTS centre resulting from the lockdown in the country. Much more was lost in other states and the figures are quite alarming.”

This is according to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which it credits to Dr Omosigho Izedonmwen of the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS).

The centre further explained that approximately 750 units of blood were discarded all over the country due to the lockdown from April to June 2020 but with the gradual ease of the lockdown, it began embarking on small blood drives to ensure that safe blood is available.

In an article titled ‘Blood safety and availability,’ the WHO stated that of the 118.5 million blood donations collected globally, 40 per cent of these are collected in high-income countries, home to 16 per cent of the world’s population.

The Head of Planning, Research and Statistics for the NBTS, Dr Adaeze Oreh, stated that “These are countries that do not have challenges with pregnancy and childbirth like we have. They don’t have the challenges of malaria, sickle cell, high level of road accidents or trauma caused by conflicts and insurgency like we do, with some of these cases needing an urgent blood transfusion.”

She said the greatest hindrance the NBTS experiences while trying to convince people to donate blood are from myths and misconceptions.

Many Nigerians still believe that they might die, lose their fertility, their sanity and a lot more, from blood donations. According to her, these are issues that the NBTS is trying to educate people on through different forms of sensitizations right from the grassrootS.

“We are beginning to receive quite a number of positive responses now when we visit communities or go on radio call-in programs. People call and tell us that they are ready to donate when asked. But we tell them that they don’t need to wait until an emergency arises, to help. They can just walk into our offices and donate freely.”

Oreh also said the agency acquires its greatest donations when it embarks on special blood drives in higher institutions, churches and mosques. This is presently proving to be a challenge because of the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions put in place to minimize the spread of the virus.

Why blood donation is necessary

 

The WHO estimates that 2 per cent of all new-borns in Nigeria are affected by sickle cell disease. This brings it to a total of about 150,000 affected children born every year, according to a statement made by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullahi on the 2020 World Sickle Cell Day.

In a June 2019 report titled, ‘Maternal health in Nigeria: generating information for action,’ the WHO stated that a Nigerian woman has a one in the 22-lifetime risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth or postpartum/post-abortion; whereas in most developed countries, the lifetime risk is one in 4900.

April 15 was supposed to be Mary Yakubu’s due date and she was slated to deliver at the Kubwa general hospital in the Federal Capital Territory, which is not far from her residence in Dede but when it arrived, she was stuck in Dede due to the unavailability of vehicles because of the lockdown.

 

WAEC shifts WASSCE to Nov 30 [THE NATION]

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has postponed the 2020 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for private candidates in Nigeria.

Head of Public Affairs, WAEC Nigeria, Mr Demianus Ojijeogu, who made this known in a statement, said the examination commences by Monday, November 30, 2020.

The statement was titled: ‘West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) For Private Candidates, 2020-Second Series: Change in Timetable’.

Ojijeogu stated: “The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria wishes to inform all registered candidates for WASSCE for Private Candidates, 2020-Second Series and the general public that there has been a change in timetable.

“The examination, which was initially scheduled to commence on Saturday, November 14, 2020 will no longer hold as planned, due to circumstances beyond our control.

“The examination has now been rescheduled to commence on Monday, November 30, 2020.

“The Council wishes to reassure candidates that the new timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released soon.

“We regret any inconveniences this might cause our dear candidates and members of the general public.”

 

Fuel scarcity looms as PENGASSAN threatens strike [SUN]

The faceoff between the Federal Government and the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) over the implementation of the controversial Independent Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) may lead to a fresh round of petroleum products scarcity with the Union ordering its members nationwide to shutdown.

The government had stopped the payment of salaries of its workers not captured on the IPPIS electronic platform, including PENGASSAN members.

The Union in a memo, said it had earlier reached an agreement with the government to pay the outstanding salaries while the IPPIS dialogue continues but regretted nothing concrete has come out of it.

Consequently, PENGASSAN, through its General Secretary, Mr Lumumba Okugbawa, has directed all its branch chairmen across the country to withdraw their services from 12 midnight of November 8, 2020.

In the letter which read in part: “We refer to the above letter dated November 2, 2020 where we gave a 7-day ultimatum and further extension to the relevant government agencies and institutions. Regrettably and upon expiration of the ultimatum, nothing concrete has been done with regard to outstanding issues as enumerated in our letter.

The Union had in September staged a peaceful protest at the entrance of the Federal Ministry of Finance demanding the government to pay outstanding salaries of its members suspended by the government.

Already the latest strike threat has led to panic buying of products as motorists rushed to fuel stations to fill up the tanks of their vehicles and jerry cans.

IPPIS was created as a waste plugging mechanism to enable the government run a lower and more efficient  wage bill.

Managed by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, all government workers are to be mandatorily enrolled on it or have their salary payment halted. The government further  went ahead to withhold salaries of those that are yet to enroll on IPPIS including PENGASSAN members under it’s payroll.

The Union urged itsbranch chairmen to “ensure that branch members fully comply with the directive while awaiting further directive,’ General Secretary, Okugbawa added.

The Federal Government is also embroiled in another war with the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities (ASUU) over IPPIS.

 

Why Mahmood handed over to Mu’azu as Ag INEC chairman [SUN]

Fresh facts have emerged on why Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, handed over to AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (retd) instead of the most senior National Commissioner, to act, pending the confirmation of his reappointment by the senate.

Yakubu at a brief handover ceremony at INEC headquarters in Abuja on Monday said it would be inappropriate for him to remain in office beyond November 9, which is the last day of his tenure, without Senate confirmation of his second tenure.

Yakubu and five Commissioners were sworn-in on  November 9, 2015, followed by another six commissioners on  December 7, 2016 and one commissioner on  July 21, 2018.

Yakubu is still awaiting the confirmation of the Senate, following his nomination by President Muhammadu Buhari on  October 27 for a second tenure.

A source at the Commission told Daily Sun in confidence that though Prof Okey Ibeano, representing South East, was the most senior National Commissioner, Mahmood could not hand over to him because he was outside the country on  his annual leave.

“In fairness to Prof. Mahmood, he had invited all the remaining National Commissioners to a meeting and asked them to chose who becomes the acting chairman in the absence of Prof. Ibeano who is currently on his annual leave outside the country. The Commissioners unanimously settled for AVM Mu’azu to act. There is no need for ethnic interpretation to the emergence of Mu’azu, as acting chairman. Ordinarily, Prof Mahmood would have loved to handover to Ibeano, but he was unavoidably absent,” our source said.

Speaking while handing over, Prof Mahmood noted that though he had been reappointed, handing over to a National Commissioner to act was necessary since his first tenure ended on Monday.

He emphasised that having been appointed the same time with five National Commissioners, whose tenure equally ended on Monday, AVM Mu’azu emerged as the choice of the other remaining National Commissioners, noting that he had to transmute power to him pending the confirmation of his reappointment by the Senate.

“You may recall that the current Commission was inaugurated in three batches. The Chairman and five Commissioners were sworn-in on November 9, 2015, followed by another six Commissioners on December 7, 2016 and one more Commissioner on July 21, 2018.

“The Commission is a constitutional body whose members are appointed for five years which may be renewed for a second and final term. This means that my tenure and that of the first set of five Commissioners ends today.

“As you are already aware, the renewal of my tenure as Chairman of the Commission has been announced, subject to confirmation by the Senate. Our work as election managers requires us to enforce the law, regulations and guidelines.

“In doing so, we must demonstrate strict respect for, and compliance with, the Constitution of Nigeria and subsidiary laws. Consequently, it will be inappropriate for me to remain in office beyond today, November 9, 2020, without confirmation by the Senate and swearing to another oath of office as provided by law.

“Pending the conclusion of the statutory process, the remaining National Commissioners have resolved that AVM Ahmed Mu’azu (retd) will oversee the affairs of the Commission. It is therefore my pleasure to hand over to him in the interim. We have worked as a team for the last four years. Therefore, there is nothing new to anyone of them.

“I wish to express my appreciation for the support of the Commission members, the Resident Electoral Commissioners, the Secretary to the Commission, the Director-General of the Electoral Institute, Directors, members of the technical team, heads of the various security agencies deployed to INEC and all staff of the Commission nationwide. I look forward to working with you again,” he noted.

 

Fresh civil protest looms, Senate president warns [SUN]

More than a month after #EndSARS protests rocked many parts of the country, President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, has predicted a second wave of civil unrest.

Lawan, who said the country was yet to fully recover from the first one that lasted for two weeks  before it was hijacked by hoodlums, warned that if issue of youth unemployment was not factored into the 2021 budget and meaningful changes made, there could be trouble in the days and months ahead.

The Senate President gave the warning, yesterday, as he declared open the 2021 budget defence for the Ministry of Agriculture.

Recounting the #EndSARS protests across the country, Lawan said while some youths  genuinely expressed their anger and successfully gained government’s attention, there were a good number of them who may not have had the opportunity to vent their anger in the rural areas, saying  that there was urgent need to meet the needs of this class of youths.

Lawan said the country should be more practical with budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Agriculture to allow it create jobs for majority of unemployed youths.

 

Buhari orders sale of forfeited assets within 6 months [SUN]

President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered the sale of all Federal Government forfeited assets within the next six months.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice (AGF), Abubakar Malami, stated this  yesterday while inaugurating a 22-member Inter-Ministerial Committee to supervise the sales of forfeited assets.

He said the composition of the committee was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari on October 27 and that they had six months to complete their assignment.

He said members were drawn from relevant agencies that dealt with recovery and disposal of government assets.

The minister said the committee, headed by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, had the mandate to ensure the expedient disposal of all forfeited assets and to generate revenue for the Federal Government.

“You may recall that pursuant to Mr. President’s directive in October, 2018 following the recommendations of the Presidential Audit Committee on Recovery and Management of Stolen Assets, there was the need for an effective and efficient management of recovered assets, as an interim measure, pending the passage of the Proceeds of Crime Bill. In compliance with the directives of Mr. President, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice issued Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations, 2019 to provide legal and administrative frameworks for the investigation, tracing, seizure and disposal of stolen or illegally acquired assets and proceeds of crime.

“The regulation was drawn from the extant laws of relevant anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies. It is aimed at ensuring proper coordination of the disposal of the Federal Government assets and for promoting a uniform, harmonised and transparent procedure to safeguard the assets recovered by the relevant agencies in line with the anti-corruption drive of this administration,” Malami said.

He listed the responsibilities of the committee to include implementation of provisions of the ATRM regulations, ensuring the transparency of the disposal of Federal Government final forfeited assets, ensuring synergy and collaboration between the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice and law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies.

Members of the committee include representatives from the Office of the Chief of Staff to the President; Auditor-General of the Federation; Economic and Financial Crimes Commission; Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission; army, police, navy,  federal ministries of justice, finance, works and housing;Nigeria Security Civil Defence Corps; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency; Department of State Security; National Drug Law Enforcement Agency; Department of Petroleum Resources; National Oil Spillage, Detection and Response Agency and Bureau of Public Procurement. Others include representatives of the Civil Society Organisation, youths and media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nigerian Communication Commission

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