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Ngige vs NLC: Buhari Minister under fire over National Social Insurance Trust Fund

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Ngige vs NLC: Buhari Minister under fire over National Social Insurance Trust Fund

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The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, NUPENG, has accused the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, of desperately attempting to appropriate to himself perpetually the National Social Insurance Trust Fund.

NUPENG was reacting to Ngige’s explanation and defense on the recent protest of workers that turned bloody at the residence of the Minister during the week.

Ngige, who the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC and NUPENG are accusing of attempting to secretly inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund, had described the protest at his Asokoro residence as hooliganism.

NUPENG, in a statement to DAILY POST on Friday, signed by its National President, Comrade Williams Akporeha, claimed that the Abuja protesters were non-violent, but only sought after the primary aim of putting pressure on the Minister within their rules of engagement to inaugurate Chief Kokori as the NSITF Chairman.

The statement added, “We want to draw the attention of the whole world to the lies and despicable antics Minister of Labour and Employment in desperate attempt to appropriate to himself perpetually the National Social Insurance Trust Fund.

“Having listened to his explanation and defense on the recent peaceful protest of the workers (But turned bloody at the instance of Mr Chris Ngige), against his attempt to secretly inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) in his sitting room after organized labour had frustrated previous attempts, we thought it wise to not only unmasked Mr. Chris Ngige for what he is and has ever been but to also once again place the records of Chief Frank Ovie Kokori on the world screen to see and compare with the unknown and murky records of his traducer.

“Chief Chris Ngige from all indications has not represented the President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government and the APC well in this whole saga. It is really disheartening and worrying that a Federal Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would openly lie to the whole world in full glare of cameras and microphones that Nigerian workers brought fully loaded petroleum trucks to his house. This allegation was unfounded and belittling of an honourable federal Minister, former Governor and former distinguished Senator if he is ever honourable and distinguished.

“We are seriously surprised that a Minister will give an ‘alternative fact’ to the already known truth that is in public domain; he claimed that Tankers with loads of petroleum products barricaded his Asokoro residence; this is a show of shame to his status as a high-profile public servant so to say.

“We want the Nigerian public to help us ask Mr. Minister why he would want to inaugurate a Board in his private residence or at a hotel? This is an admittance to the fact that is has lost touch with decency and decorum, shamefully so.

“It is on record that defenceless workers were shot at, while some of them who sustained serious injuries were taken to the National Hospital in Abuja for treatment.

“It is a global practice that workers strive for their rights and interests through picketing, which is a form of protest in which they congregate to draw public attention to a cause that directly affects them and their members or any government policies or actions that are found injurious to their interest or welfare.

“I make bold to say that the Abuja protesters were non-violent, but only sought after the primary aim of putting pressure on the Minister within their rules of engagement to inaugurate Chief Kokori as the NSITF Chairman.

“Gentlemen and ladies of the press, there are visual and audio-visual evidences to substantiate my claim on this subject matter and I am sure as Labour Correspondents you all are abreast of this ugly development which is in public space.

“It is really appalling at this state of our national life to see topmost echelon of the NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NUPENG, Comrade Williams Akporeha (my good self) and others, being openly assaulted by thugs and hooligans is to say the least most irresponsible and a mockery of our democracy especially the aspect of our law which accommodates freedom to assemble freely and associate with other persons, as well as freedom of association and expression. This is worst and most disrespectful.

“From all indications, Dr. Chris Ngige is no match with Chief Kokori by any standard.

“Without fear of contraction, showing solidarity to Chief Kokori this time around cannot be said to be out of place under any guise. He is such a man with intimidating and enviable credentials, known for engendering justice, never compromising oil workers’ rights and of stainless integrity, purpose and vision throughout his reign as the General Secretary of NUPENG for 17 meritorious years of indelible records and the entire labour movement benefitted immensely from his efforts.

“Without the painstaking sacrifices of the Labour movement led by Chief Kokori and others, there would have been no democracy under which an Ngige became a State Governor, a Senator of the Federal Republic and the Minister of Labour and Employment where he is currently playing god.

“Chief Frank Kokori should be remembered and celebrated at a time like this because of his role in the struggle for democracy which made the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Amnesty International (AI) and labour federations across the globe declare him prisoner of conscience between August 1994 and June 1998. Kokori was in solitary confinement for four consecutive years in the infamous Bama Prison. He was just dumped there with no charges preferred against him by the evil regime of the Military. Kokori has a lot to offer Nigeria and he should be given all the support to serve this country.

“Gentlemen and ladies of the press, today NUPENG is putting the record straight by saying in the interest of industrial peace and harmony the Minister of Labour and Employment should:

“1. Apologize openly to the organized Labour and visit our members who are currently in the hospital and we also appeal to all our members for calm with the belief that this matter would be amicably resolved within the shortest possible time.

“2. Inaugurate the board of NSITF and make our veteran, Comrade (Chief) Frank Ovie Kokori as the Chairman with no further delay and also ensure that the process is not shrouded in secrecy but must be transparent.

“3. We appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) to intervene on this matter to ensure sustenance of peace between organized Labour and the Ministry of Labour and Employment. We can never be ungrateful to him neither can we forget so soon his effort on the implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage despite barrage of encumbrances it witnessed.

“4. We also ask all well-meaning Nigerians, to speak up on this matter as evil thrives when good people keep silent. What is the special thing or deal that Chief Chris Ngige is hiding from the public, that Chief Frank Kokori would expose if he is inaugurated as Chairman of NSITF board? “

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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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