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More allocation to state governors’ll increase stealing – TUC President

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More allocation to state governors’ll increase stealing – TUC President

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We thought the various state houses of assembly would justify their mandates but that has not been the case.

Sylvanus Viashima, Jalingo

Comrade Bobboi Kaigama is the national President of Trade Union Congress (TUC) and a governorship aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Taraba state. He speaks on new minimum wage, Taraba politics and other national issues.

READ ALSO: Minimum wage: TUC tasks governors on implementation of N30,000
In the event that the Federal Government and state governors insist they cannot pay the N30, 000 new minimum wage, what would be the next line of action for Organised Labour?

As far as we are concerned, on the issue of minimum wage, we are on a boulevard. The procedure is that, the tripartite committee presents its position to Mr. President and he would present it to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) and National Economic Council (NEC) and then to the national assembly. The national assembly would look at the bill we have drafted, make necessary amendments if need be and then pass it to the president for accent. To us, it is a procedure we are conversant with. With regards to the issue of some state governors saying that they cannot pay the new minimum wage, I keep saying that these governors should go back to their states and tell their workers that they would not be able to pay. We know them, and they are very few. In fact, you can just talk about the governor of Zamfara State who is the Chairman of Governors Forum. But he should speak for himself because most of the governors are willing to pay.

We are aware of the fears he has and he has created the problems himself. How can you imagine a state as small as Zamfara having over 45 Permanent Secretaries? And he is paying them over N500, 000 each monthly. What are they doing? He has over a 100 aides that he is paying huge sums of money. What are they doing? And then he has gone further to employ so many people in the name of civilian JTF, over 8,000 of them and he is paying them N15, 000 monthly. Where did he get the money to pay them from? Is he preparing thugs for the 2019 general election?

So the issue is about good governance, it is about prudent management of resources and building on Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), to supplement what is gotten from the federation account. Like we keep saying, any governor who thinks he will use the IGR as their pocket money or money for the boys is dreaming. Their times are up. You either do it right or give way for people who are prepared to serve their people.

What is your take on the clamour by state governors for the review of the current revenue sharing formula so that more money would go to the states?

As far as I am concerned, the organised labour would be the last to support the governors because the little they have been given, what are they doing with it? So why would you give them more, so that they can steal more? With due apology to the few governors who are doing well in managing their resources for the benefit of their people, most governors are just a shame, and we are calling on them to retrace their steps because Nigerian workers are prepared to send them parking with their PVCs.

You know that even the last time we had some states who complained that they would not be able to pay the minimum wage of N18,000, today, all the states are paying it. Of course you know that we have the challenge of those who have mismanaged the resources of their respective states as a result of the monumental wastages they indulge in towards the 2015 election and that is the backlog they are carrying over now. The Federal Government is very magnanimous, giving them budget support, bailout funds, Paris club refunds and yet, you cannot see them identify any particular project they have used the funds for. Instead, you see them chattering jets all over the place with bills accruing to over N10 billion as burden on the state. You see people who are using the funds to buy luxurious houses and hotels across the country. But what we are saying is that, if you cannot manage the available resources, what guarantee is there that when you are given more money, you will be able to manage them effectively? That is why we are calling on our members to make sure that they make their PVCs count. We thought the various state houses of assembly would justify their mandates but that has not been the case. We are working closely with the anti-graft agencies to make sure that at the fullness of time, they account for all the money released to them.

Don’t you see the insistence on the new minimum wage as a prelude to possible retrenchment?

Well, I don’t see any need for that. We sat down and analysed the situation critically before we arrived at this figure. Those talking about retrenchment are those crying wolves where there is none. The question we keep asking is that what are they doing with the money?

Away from Labour matters, you participated in the recent APC governorship primary in the state and nine of you lost to Alhaji Sani Danladi. Are you satisfied with the process that led to his emergence?

Well that is APC internal affairs. We have issues with the primary and have presented them to the highest authority and we are anticipating decision of that authority. If in the end the party decides that he remains our valid candidate, we would rally support for him and the party to fight the common enemy of democracy in our dear state. Party supremacy means that we make our personal ambitions subservient to party interest and decision. So it is not so much about my ambition.

Is it true that you lost the APC ticket because it went to the highest bidder?

Well I don’t want to see it as a cash and carry affair because it is a general complain across the parties, but some of us are so principled that we cannot afford the luxury of throwing money around. If my integrity and credibility would not win me the support of my people, then I am not interested. Of course our democracy is still growing and we all want to see ourselves in the Promised Land. We all want to see that charlatans who have no interest of their people at heart are curtailed from controlling the system. That is why some of us are now dabbling into politics.

I am aware that just a few weeks ago, my state governor made some frivolous press releases against me and I just laughed. I said at the right time, we would address the issues. For now, they should continue fooling around and throwing money here and there. Once the whistle is blown, we would show them what is called issue-based politics. We are aware that no gratuity has been paid in the state for the past three years or thereabouts. We are aware that governments have been setting aside a minimum of N200 million monthly for that purpose. We have never seen that in government. But there is no problem. At the right time, we would expose everything and look at it objectively.

The APC candidate in Taraba is standing trial for corrupt cases. Don’t you think this would affect his chances?

You know, we have always maintained a definite position that everyone should answer their mother’s name once it comes to corruption allegations. We call on all the anti-graft agencies to wake up to their responsibilities and live up to the expectations of Nigerians. Everyone involved should be treated with seriousness, irrespective of party affiliation. Having said that, you are aware that he is presumed innocent, until proven guilty, so that is not an issue.

What is your take on the rift between APC national chairman and its governors? That is part of political evolution. We are bound to have such crisis and it is across board, not just in the APC. You know party politics is all about who outwits the other. But we have this issue because our democracy is still evolving. However we urge our political gladiators to play the game such that we can bequeath a worthwhile democracy to our people. And then the political parties should have internal mechanism for a peaceful resolution of some of these issues rather than everyone taking to the media to fight their wars there.

What is your take on the continuous face off between the security forces and the members of the IMN?

It is a very pathetic case but we in the organised labour believe that the Nigerian constitution is supreme. If there is any form of religious sect that would want to go against the constitution of the land, of course we would never support that. So we urge the appropriate security agencies to do their job and do it well. We would however advise them to exercise restraint when it comes to the use of maximum force. Our religious leaders too must realise that Nigeria is a circular state and so you cannot impose any religion on the society.

The constitution gives everyone the right to operate without molestation. But we must understand that where your right ends, that’s where someone else’s begins. We must also begin to see security as a collective responsibility rather than the exclusive preserve of security agencies. We should be able to give intelligence to the security agencies to enable them do their work well, that is while some of us are strongly advocating for community policing where the structures that are obtained at the community levels would get actively involved in policing of their respective communities. And most importantly, government must create jobs for the teaming youths so that they would be gainfully employed and would not be used by religious bigots.

What is your take on prevalence of hate speech in the country?

We are talking about hate speech now because it has become very rampant, all thanks to the social media that has made social interaction so easy. That goes a long way to show you that for every great innovation, there are always the flip sides of it. However, our call is for the national assembly to put in place laws that would regulate our social interaction on the social media platforms. All these absurd and irresponsible things we see on the social media are because there are no laws on ground to moderate them. But the national assembly should put laws in place to check the excesses of social media interaction.

READ ALSO: Social media promoting hate speech, insecurity – Gov. Lalong

The post More allocation to state governors’ll increase stealing – TUC President 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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