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Again, labour draws battle line

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Again, labour draws battle line

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Labour warned that any reduction in the N30,000 agreed in the committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari would lead to devastating consequences.

Bimbola Oyesola and James Ojo, Abuja

Organized Labour has given the Federal Government December deadline to commence payment of the N30,000 new national minimum wage to Nigerian workers.

This is even as feelers emerged that labour may resume its suspended nationwide strike in the next two weeks should the government continue to foot drag on the implementation of the report of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage.

READ ALSO: How we arrived at new minimum wage for Nigerian workers – Pepple, chairman, Tripartite Committee

Besides, Labour warned that any reduction in the N30,000 agreed as contained in the committee’s report to President Muhammadu Buhari or any further delay in its passage would lead to devastating consequences.

The President of Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Bala Kaigama and the Secretary General of the Association of Senior Civil Servant of Nigeria (ASCSN), Bashir Alade Lawal, gave the warning at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja yesterday.

They both warned that labour would not accept anything less than the N30,000 agreed by the Committee, as Nigerian workers patiently await President Buhari to forward an Executive Bill to the National Assembly for passage into law.

Kaigama stressed the urgent need to fast-track the implementation of the newly agreed national minimum wage.

Specifically, he said the expectation of labour is that the full implementation of the N30,000 would not exceed December.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige was not available for comment last night.

His mobile phone indicated it was switched off, while his Chief Press Secretary could not also be reached.

But the Deputy Director of Press in the ministry, Mr Samuel Olowookere said he could not comment on the threat by Labour.

“I cannot comment on what I don’t know, I can only speak on what I know with the permission to do so. All I know, which is known to everybody, is that the ministry has concluded its work on the minimum wage and my ‘Oga’ has submitted the report to the president. That is all I can say,” he said.

Though Kaigama stated that he would not preempt President Buhari that the N30,000 agreed through the process of tripartite negotiation could be reduced, he warned that the consequences of reducing or delaying its implementation would be very devastating.

“The Federal Government is advised to avoid any action that can delay or truncate the process of enacting the new Minimum Wage Act as the consequences of allowing that to happen can be very devastating.

“It is worthy of note that the single most important issue agitating the mind of an average Nigerian worker today is that of the new national minimum wage, the report of which was presented to Mr. President on Tuesday 6th November, 2018. It is apt to state that against all odds, the tripartite committee that negotiated the new minimum wage was able to scale all hurdles and agreed to the sum of N30,000 as the new minimum wage for the country.

“It is on this premise that I strongly want to appeal to the Federal Government to fast-track the process of enacting the new national minimum wage into law.

“Our expectation is that the government should be able to complete the entire process before the end of this year so that workers who have waited for so long can begin to enjoy a new lease on life provided by the newly agreed minimum wage.”

The TUC president also regretted that the core civil service, which is the engine room of government, is the least paid in the public service.

According to him, other segments have had their emoluments beefed up over the years.

Kaigama explained that even though civil servants, for instance, possess the same qualifications and experience as their counterparts in the parastatals and agencies, “yet, the salaries of these other employees are, in most cases, three times more than that of officers in the core ministries.”

The labour leader added: “This situation has been made worse by the fact that since 2010 when salary relativity was carried out in the core civil service, no salary increment has been granted to civil servants except for the N900 monthly that was added to the emoluments of senior officers across board after N18,000 was approved as the national minimum wage in 2011.”

Lawal said they were holding President Buhari to his words that he would send the report submitted to him to the National Assembly.

“The way we interpret the president speech is that he said he is going to forward Executive Bill to the National Assembly, and on that we stand. We are not going to accept five kobo drop on that N30,000; we are not going to accept it. We are not going to accept anything less that N30,000. Like I said earlier on, we have mobilised already, we only suspended (the strike). So, we will pick off from where we left. It is not going to be a difficult thing,” he said.

He explained that the president should send the bill to the National Assembly before the next two weeks.

“We want it done less than two weeks; we cannot wait till end of November because we want the minimum wage achieved this year.

“We are taking Mr. President on his words now, but we have a timeline on when we will swung into action. Our members are ready and only waiting for directive; we are prepared because as we have always say, we have never gotten anything on a platter of gold. We are going to do all we can within the law to ensure implementation this year.”

READ ALSO: Minimum wage: Buhari’ll follow due process – Presidency

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CATHOLIC WORLD

Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump – CAN fumes

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Killing of Christians: Buhari lied to Trump - CAN fumes

The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari’s revelation of his conversation with United States President, Donald Trump, on the massacre of Christians in Nigeria, saying President Buhari was economical with the truth.

President Buhari had on Tuesday, revealed that at the heat of the bloody clashes between herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria, the United States President, Donald Trump, unequivocally accused him of killing Christians.

Buhari said these in his closing remarks at the two-day ministerial performance review retreat held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Tuesday.

At a point, the President digressed from his prepared speech and narrated his encounter with Trump on the bloody clashes.

He said he managed to explain to the American leader that the clashes were not about ethnicity or religion.

He said, “I believe I was about the only African among the less developed countries the President of United States invited.

“When I was in his office, only myself and himself, only God is my witness, he looked at me in the face, and asked, ‘Why are you killing Christians?’

“I wonder, if you were the person, how you will react. I hope what I was feeling inside did not betray my emotion, so I told him that the problem between the cattle rearers and farmers, I know is older than me not to talk of him. I think I am a couple of years older than him.

“With climate change and population growth and the culture of the cattle rearers, if you have 50 cows and they eat grass, any root, to your water point, then they will follow it. It doesn’t matter whose farm it is.

“The First Republic set of leadership was the most responsible leadership we ever had. I asked the Minister of Agriculture to get a gazette of the early 60s which delineated the cattle route where they used meager resources then to put earth dams, wind mills even sanitary department.

“So, any cattle rearers that allowed his cattle to go to somebody’s farm would be arrested, taken before the court. The farmer would be called to submit his bill and if he couldn’t pay, the cattle would be sold, but subsequent leaders, the VVIPs (very important persons) encroached on the cattle routes. They took over the cattle rearing areas.

“So, I tried and explained to him (Trump) that this has got nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. It is a cultural thing.”

However, CAN’s Vice President and Chairman of the association in Kaduna State, John Hayab, was not impressed with Buhari’s submission, saying “Buhari and his government will never stop from amusing us with their tales by moonlight because what is happening in Zamfara, Sokoto, Katsina, Birnin Gwari, Southern Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau and others cannot be described as a cultural thing.

He told Punch correspondent in an interview: “President Buhari’s weak story about his conversation with President Donald Trump further confirms why his government does not care about the killings in our country by calling them cultural things.

“Just this (Tuesday) evening, I received a report from the Kaduna Baptist Conference President about the number of their members that have been killed by bandits in Kaduna State from January 2020 to date to be 105 and our President will call it a cultural thing? All we can say is may God save our Nigeria.”

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NATIONAL NEWS

CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

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CAMA: Bishop blasts Christian lawmakers

The Catholic Bishop of Nsukka, Most Rev. Godfrey Onah, has blamed Christians in the National Assembly (NASS), for the passage of the 2020 Companies and Allied Matters Bill (CAMA), signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari recently.

Bishop Onah, said in a remark during the Sunday Mass that if Christians in NASS had opposed the bill, it would not have been passed into law.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Aug. 7, signed the CAMA bill into law, giving provision for religious bodies and charity organizations to be regulated by the registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and a supervising minister.

“The question many Christians have been asking is, where were Christian legislators during the debate of this bill and its passage in the National Assembly?

“Because, if they had opposed this bill on the floor of the house, it would not have been passed and sent to the president for assent.

“I blame Christian legislators for doing nothing and allowing the passage of the 2020 CAMA Act,” he said.

“When I say that Christians are too divided and too selfish, don’t forget that the second in command in this country is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, a professor of Law and a pastor.”

Onah, however, wondered what the Federal Government wanted to achieve in monitoring how the finances of churches in the country are managed when it contributed no dime to the church, NAN reports.

“Government should focus and monitor its ministries, agencies and other government institutions where it budgets billions of Naira annually and not church offerings.

“Had it been that the government gave allocations to churches and decided to monitor its usage, nobody will question the government,” he said.

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NATIONAL NEWS

Nigerians spit fire over fuel, electricity prices hike

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Increasing Fuel and Electricity Prices

Anger and condemnations, across the country, have continued to trail last week’s take off, of new increases in pump price of petroleum products and electricity tariffs, as directed by Federal Government.

Recall that the Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC) official, D.O. Abalaka announced on Wednesday September 3, on behalf of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) that the new price of petroleum is now N151.56k per litre instead of N149 – N150 per litre which it was previously.

The new electricity tariff which the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) tagged “Service Reflective Tariff” has also come into effect. It requires consumers to pay N53.87 – N66.422 per kwh of electricity.

Outraged consumers of fuel and electricity have therefore warned government to get ready for collision with the masses if it fails to rescind these new prices.

Those who have expressed outrage over the new prices regimes include, the Organized Labour, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Nigerian main opposition political party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA) and the Major Marketers Association of Nigeria (MOMAN).

Others are: Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce (NACCIMA).

The NLC said, “The frequent fuel price increase will no longer be accepted. We will not allow Nigerians fall victim of government ineptitude and negligence to make the country self-sufficient in terms of refining petroleum products at home.”

On its part, the PDP has described the price hike as “callous, cruel and punishing” and demanded an immediate reversal to avert a national crisis.

The All Industrial Global sees the incessant increase as a confirmation that deregulation means just price increase.

“This is unacceptable! Under a pandemic, we should put money in the pockets of citizens to revive collapsed livelihoods and preserve lives.” In its reaction, NECA said it has always urged Federal Government to adopt deregulation policy in the oil and gas downstream sector.

The MOMAN in its statement insists that monthly price variation of fuel was no longer sustainable. It urged PPRA to adopt quarterly price mechanism which would save the market the hassles of price volatility. The statements by IPMAN and NACCIMA also followed along the same line that the hike “…serves only to increase the severity and duration of the looming economic recession.”

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