Nigerians may face another industrial labour action, soon if the National Assembly fails to rescind its earlier decision to remove the National Minimum Wage issue from the exclusive to concurrent list in the constitutional amendment.
The organized labour took this position at the end of a one-day National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Nigeria Labour Congress held in Abuja, Tuesday.
Briefing newsmen at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Conference hall, Port Harcourt Wednesday, the State Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Chief Chris Oruge said the organized labour took the decision as part of measures to ensure that the National Assembly returns the issue of minimum wage to the exclusive list in the constitutional amendment embarked upon by the Federal legislators.
Oruge further stated that the labour has given the national lawmakers two weeks to reverse their decision or be ready to face mass protest by workers across the country.
According to him, the essence of the briefing was to intimate Rivers workers on the out come of the NEC meeting as well as prepare their minds for the forth coming mass protest over the removal of the National minimum Wage from the exclusive list to concurrent list by the National Assembly.
“We the members of the State Administrative Committee of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), we are using this medium to inform our members on the decision taken by the National executive at the last NEC meeting. That the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has given the National Assembly two weeks to change their position of removing the minimum wage from its original position in the exclusive list to concurrent list”, he posited.
He said that if the National Assembly fails to change its decision on the proposed amendment, labour will mobilize its members across the country to vote against their candidature in the forthcoming 2015 general elections.
The State NLC boss urged workers in the state to be ready to support labour in this move in other to enable labour achieve its motive even as he solicited for their maximum cooperations.
Meanwhile, the Administrative Working Committee of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Rivers State Council has denied any rift at the State Council.
The Chairman of NLC, Chief Chris Oruge accompanied by seven other members of the Council, said this at a press briefing organized by the Council held at the premises of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Choba in Port Harcourt, Wednesday.
Oruge said that there was no vacancy at the leadership of the NLC in the state which should have prompted any crisis or rift as purportedly reported in some quarters and described the purported crisis in the labour house as a desperate move by one of his Vice Chairmen, Adah Williams to clinch power by all means.
According to him, the State administrative working Committee has elected officers with three Vice Chairmen adding that the organized labour has a way of running its affairs when crisis or vacancy exist.
He explained that in the event of any vacancy in the Chairmanship position in the council, the three Vice Chairmen would go for election to determine who would succeed the Chairman.
He disclosed that the purported crisis was due to the forth coming election billed for next year adding that the national election for NLC would hold between 9-11th February, 2015.
Oruge called on the general public especially workers of the state to ignore such purported crisis in the labour as it was only geared to cause distraction among workers adding that the leadership of the State NLC was committed to workers welfare.
Also speaking, the State Auditor, NLC, Comr. Chukwu Emecheta described what happened at labour house last week as an assassination attempt on the State NLC Chairman and called on the State Police Command to speed up investigation on the matter in other to bring the perpetrators of the crime to justice.
Responding to the allegation via telephone interview the Vice Chairman Administration, State NLC, Comr. Adah Williams urged Oruge to stop deceiving the public adding that he has been suspended as the Chairman of the State NLC.
“Comrade Chris Oruge was suspended on 22nd October, 2014 during a SEC meeting chaired by him. There was a motion for his suspension moved by Comr. Temple Mofot, Construction union and seconded by the Auptre Chairman, Comr. Henry Orubo.
“The suspension was based on the a purported letter written by NUT suspending from office on financial embezzlement”, adding the SEC directed that until he clears himself from the allegation, the Vice Admin will continue to act.
Comr. Williams told Our Correspondent that the matter has been reported to the National executive too for further directive and ratification.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, Rivers State Council was last week engulfed in leadership crisis.
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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