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Labour insists on strike tomorrow

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Labour insists on N30,000 Minimum wage

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Organised Labour had threatened to commence an indefinite strike to press for the increase in the national minimum wage from the current N18,000.

Bimbola Oyesola, Simeon Mpamugoh, Desmond Mgboh, Kano, Raphael Ede, Enugu, Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye and Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Hope that the planned industrial action billed to begin tomorrow would be shelved has been dimmed as the Organised Labour, yesterday, denied receiving any restraining court order.

Organised Labour had threatened to commence an indefinite strike to press for the increase in the national minimum wage from the current N18,000.

READ ALSO: Minimum Wage: Organised Labour insists on strike despite court ruling

As they shunned a reconciliatory meeting with the Federal Government, the labour leaders warned that only positive response from government at today’s tripartite committee meeting could forestall a showdown.

The meeting held behind closed doors at the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, was attended by Boss Mustapha, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, and some permanent secretaries.

Mustapha, who spoke before the meeting went into closed session, indicated that the tripartite committee on national minimum wage set up by the Federal Government would be concluding works on its report today.

He said the Federal Government was waiting for the report so that it could commence processes leading to the enactment of law on the new minimum wage.

The SGF explained that the report would still go through the National Economic Council and the Council of State before an Executive Bill would be sent to the National Assembly on the issue.

He added that the only outstanding issues left for the committee was to harmonize the 15th chapter of the report, harmonise figures and submit report to the President.

Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Sunday Salako, in a telephone interview, said members of the Organised Labour considered the meeting as unnecessary since there would be a meeting of the Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage which would have all the representatives in attendance.

“Though we are not preempting the government, as far as we are concerned, we cannot revisit the issue. We believe the meeting is for us to come and sign the report. Some of us, even from the Organised Private Sector and government, have signed because we’ve all thought it’s a mission accomplished.”

He maintained that no court injunction was served on the unions restraining them from embarking on the proposed strike from November 6.

“We don’t have a copy of any court injunction and we cannot speculate neither can we acknowledge what we do not have,” he said.

On the legal implication, the labour leader said: “It is only if we have it that we will be talking of legal implication.”

Justice Sanusi Kado, sitting in Abuja had last Friday restrained the organised labour from going ahead with its planned strike pending the determination of the suit brought by the Federal government.

His decision followed an ex parte application moved by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata.

The suit with No: NICN/ ABJ/287/2018, was filed on November 1 by the Federal Government through the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, as the 1st and 2nd claimants respectively.

After listening to Apata, the court held the planned strike would lead to huge economic loss to both public and private institutions and could jeopardise the health of many Nigerians who would not be able to access health facilities during the period.

Apart from the NLC and the TUC, the NGF is also joined as a defendant in the suit.

Justice Kado adjourned the matter till November 8 for the hearing of the motion on notice seeking the interlocutory injunction to stop the strike.

The judge ordered that the court order and other papers be filed on all the defendants.

The last meeting of the tripartite negotiation committee had ended in a deadlock after the Federal Government insisted that it could only afford to pay N25,000, while the governors under the aegis of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum held on to N22,500 and the labour N30,000.

Recall that the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, who briefed the media at the end of the joint meeting involving the three labour centres, NLC, Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC), on Friday, had also denied knowledge of the court injunction.

“We are not aware of any court injunction anywhere, and we can’t go into any speculation. Our judicial process has gone beyond ‘Jankara injunction.’ As we are now, no NIC notification has been served to us.”

He stated that the proposed strike would be a total shutdown of both the public and private sector of the economy.

“The only way government can stop the strike is to allow the chairman of the of the Minimum Wage Committee to submit the report which has the N30,000 consensus figure, anything short of it, we will commence indefinite strike from November 6.

“The N30,000 was not our demand, but a compromise figure which acceptance was bore out of patriotism.”

Wabba who was supported by Bobboi Bala Kaigama, TUC president and Joe Ajaero, ULC president, condemned the attempt

to clamp down on labour through the invocation of “No work no pay policy.

Already, the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) has directed its members to commence mobilisation for the indefinite nationwide strike.

Meanwhile, frontline lawyer Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) has called on labour to obey the order of the National Industrial Court restraining them from embarking on its indefinite strike.

He said Labour could approach the court to set aside the order if it was not comfortable with it.

According to him, it is trite law “a court order must be obeyed even if such Order is perverse, until such a time that the Order is set aside by a competent court.

“Those that procured the order must have convinced the court into granting it. So as it stands now, labour cannot proceed on the planned strike until the order is set aside, anything short of that would amount to contempt of court.

“The issue of minimum wage has been on for long and it should be resolved before the general elections.”

Kano State Chapter of NLC has directed workers in the state to embarked on indefinite strike.

The chairman, Ado Minjibiri said they would prevent flight operations at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) as workers there have been mobilized to join the strike.

He said they would only give room for skeletal services in some critical sectors.

The Enugu State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has assured workers that Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration will pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

According to the state Publicity Secretary, “even though some of the governor’s disagreed on the N30,000 minimum wage, I believe Enugu governor will pay because he has workers’ interest at heart and he believes that the only way to motivate workers for effective service is through better wage. So, I believe Governor Ugwuanyi will not pay anything less than N30,000 because he will not want the workers who voted him into power to suffer, he will not disappoint them so he must fulfill his promise of meeting their needs,” he said.

However, Lagos lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) faulted argument that Federal Government cannot pay N30,000.

He said the law on industrial matters were deliberately in the Exclusive legislative list, saying otherwise we would have people who would pay starvation wages or not pay salaries at all.

READ ALSO: Wages wahala

The post Labour insists on strike tomorrow appeared first on The Sun Nigeria.

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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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