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NASS workers revolt, say no pay, no sitting

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NASS workers revolt, say no pay, no sitting

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The workers shouted: “No alert, no sitting!” which meant lawmakers would not be allowed to sit in plenary until their demands are met.

Fred Itua and Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja

National Assembly, workers made good their threat to shut down the third arm of government, yesterday, in protest against unpaid salaries and eight-year-old backlog of allowances and non-promotion by the management.

READ ALSO: TUC: 35 states owe workers salaries, benefits

The protesting staff shut down both chambers of the parliament, and effectively prevented Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara from convening plenary.

They also prevented some lawmakers, including the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, from accessing the chamber, threatening that until they are paid, the National Assembly won’t sit.

For over five minutes, Ekweremadu tried, without success, to convince the protesting staff. His pleas were rebuffed. Thereafter, Ekweremadu accessed his office through another route.

Saraki got into the building at about 10.25am but was advised to boycott the White House, which houses both chambers of the National Assembly.

Hours into the protest, Saraki resurfaced at the lobby of the White House where he addressed the aggrieved staff.

Using a public address system, Saraki promised to look into their challenges and promised to hold a meeting with the management, where the issues would be resolved.

Saraki’s assurance was met with shouts of ‘No! We want our money!”

His voice was drowned by the protesters, who vowed not to end the siege until their demands were meant.

On charting ways for implementation of CONLESS, Saraki asked the workers to give the management till Friday.

“Let me assure you that we are on the same page to ensure the implementation. We are not in direct control of the issue but we have asked your leadership to give us from now till Friday.”

The timeline, however, was not in agreement with the workers who insisted deliberations and decisions come earlier than Friday.

“What I am committing to you, alongside the leadership, is that we must find money to ensure the implementation of your demand. But, for us to find a solution, we must be able to sit down and hold a meeting.

“If you allow us, the report on the condition of service will be considered immediately by the two chambers so that we can pass that immediately. We want to meet with you and communicate to you on the way forward but for that to happen, we must be able to sit.”

Immediately, the workers began to shout: “No alert, no sitting!” which meant lawmakers would not be allowed to sit in plenary until their demands are met.

In a joint statement, thereafter, Saraki and Dogara, directed the National Assembly management Committee, headed by the Clerk, Alhaji Sani Omolori, to resolve all issues raised by the protesting members of staff and report back to them by Friday.

Saraki’s Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, said in the statement that, at a meeting attended by the management and staff under the umbrella of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria (PASAN), the senate president and the speaker, who addressed the meeting, on behalf of the leadership of both chambers, said it is important for the workers to be well-motivated and their demands properly addressed; in order to create a conducive atmosphere for the legislature to perform its duties.

The senate president and speaker noted that the demands of the workers are part of the responsibilities of the National Assembly’s management and that the grievances of the workers should not be allowed to linger.

Hitherto, the protesters took strategic positions at about 8:00 am when, over 200 staff stormed the entrances leading to the two chambers with placards, with different inscriptions.

Some protesters called for the removal of the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mohammed Sani-Omolori. They claimed that the Clerk is due for retirement, but refused to proceed on his terminal leave.

One of the protesters told Daily Sun that arrears of over 10 years had not been paid. The protester, who identified himself as simply Sule, said salaries are also being owed, while promotions are delayed. He said the picketing will not end until their demands are meant.

In his response, Sani-Omolori said: “It is a matter that has been on for some time now and, we have tried to explain to them. We approved salary increase for them, which was captured in 2the 018 budget but, as it is today, it is a common knowledge that the level of implementation of the 2018 budget, especially the new addition to the National Assembly, which has not been implemented–that is where we had hoped that the addition would be paid.

“So, to the extent that the money has not been released, there is no way we can make the payment. We told them it is wrong and we tried to prevail on them to try to see through things in the correct way.”

READ ALSO: Return of the EEG: What the National Assembly should do

The post NASS workers revolt, say no pay, no sitting 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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