The Nigerian workers, yesterday, threw their weight behind the 14-day ultimatum issued by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to the Federal Government over the delay in the implementation of the new national minimum wage.
The labour leaders had, last Wednesday cautioned the Federal Government against foot-dragging on the new minimum wage and to allow the tripartite committee to conclude its job to avoid industrial action.
The labour leaders, who are members of the Minimum Wage Committee at a joint news conference addressed in Lagos, gave the Federal Government 14 days to ensure that the committee conclude its work or be ready to face action.
The President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, had said that the committee was not pleased with the comments allegedly made by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
Ngige had last week said that the committee should adjourn indefinitely to give room for further consultations with the government.
“We view his supposed pronouncement with great concern, suspicion and outrage.
“This new antic certainly is not acceptable to Nigerian workers, who had expected a New National Minimum Wage since 2016,’’ he said.
However, some of the workers, who spoke with newsmen, yesterday, in Abuja, expressed disappointment over the way and manner government was handling the issue.
A civil servant, Mr Salisu Umar, berated the Federal Government for obvious lack of concern to the plight of workers.
He said it would be outright lack of feelings for Nigerian workers not to heed the call for increased wage in the face of harsh economy.
Umar called on the NLC not to rest on its oars in the pursuit of a new minimum wage, adding that whatever action the union resolved to take to press home their demand would receive the support of workers.
Another worker, Mrs Dorcas Abulu, called on the NLC to put the Federal Government on its toe until the national new minimum wage was approved.
She noted that prices of goods and services had skyrocketed, adding that workers could hardly afford the basic needs of life because of inflation.
Abulu said the NLC should not succumb to intimidation or be compromised on the negotiation processes, adding that nothing must be done against the interest of Nigerian workers to get a new wage.
Another civil servant, Mrs Aderinola Kemi, urged NLC to ensure that they were not deceived with promises of implementation after the 2019 general elections.
She said that election time was the best period to force the Federal Government to implement the new wage, adding that no political party would want to jettison its workers’ demand during electioneering.
Another worker, Mr Issa Kamar, said the NLC should make good its threat by taking prompt action at the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum, adding that the workers were fully behind it.
Others, who spoke with newsmen, were unanimous in their support for any action taken by the NLC that would favour the workers and force the Federal Government to return to the negotiating table.
The Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, had on May Day while addressing Nigerian workers at the Eagle Square, said the implementation of the new minimum wage would begin in September.
Also, the NLC president had on September 10 said both the government and labour agreed that the September timeline must be respected.
According to him, the NLC was committed to respecting the timeline and that is why we left everything we are doing to do the needful to be able to do a good job.
However, against the backdrop of the Federal Government’s alleged lackadaisical attitude over new minimum wage, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) has warned the government not to push workers to the wall, saying that the consequence may be consequential.
The university non-teaching staff union has also told security agencies in the country to stop in-fighting among themselves and go back to the drawing board to fight the Boko Haram insurgents that have recently unleashed onslaught on the military and civilians in Borno State.
Speaking at its 34th National Executive Council (NEC), meeting, at Delta State University, Abraka, SSANU President, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke noted with regret the Federal Government’s unwillingness to come up with new minimum wage despite its promise.
He said, “We warm the Federal Government not to push labour to the wall. When it comes to the welfare of workers, they start being economical, but when it comes to election, they easily dish out money to buy votes.”
On the security situation in the country with regard to insurgency, Ugwoke said that current reports did not show that Boko Haram has been decimated as claimed by government. He said, “the military should go back to the drawing board, they should work together as the in-fighting among the security agencies cannot help in the fight against insurgency.
“Budget for the Defence should be well utilized and should not be used to drive big cars by security agents.”
SSANU condemned the use of security agencies by the executive arm of government against the legislative arm, describing such action as “a threat to our democracy.”
He also advised the executive arm of government to respect the rule of law and abide by court judgements, adding that the rule of law is the bedrock of democracy which should be respected.
On the 2019 general elections, Ugwoke raised the alarm that the way politicians were going about the political process was frightening and urged politicians to play according to the rules in order not to bring back the military.
He lamented over bad condition of roads in the South-South and South-East, describing the roads in the two geopolitical zones as death trap and appealed to the government to rise up to her responsibilities.
Commenting on the inability of the Federal Government to implement the judgement on staff schools, he said that the union may be forced to drag the government to court over contempt of court.
The SSANU president, who is also chairman of Joint Action Committee (JAC), of the three non teaching staff unions of the universities announced that available information to him revealed that the Federal Government has released N8billion Earned Allowances to the unions and that the leadership of the unions would soon meet to come up with sharing formula.
In the lastest development, the Federal Government has described Labour 14-day ultimatum as “a subtle blackmail” to stampede the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stated this at a news conference yesterday in Abuja, noting that the ultimatum was uncalled for.
The organised labour had accused the Federal Government of stalling the negotiation by failing to mention a figure as a new minimum wage for the Nigerian workers.
The organised labour also issued the Federal Government 14 days, insisting that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage concluded its work within the stipulated time frame. According to Ngige, it is not true that the Federal Government is trying to stall negotiations.
“The following facts speak in that direction, if the Federal Government is not interested why did Mr President inaugurate the Presidential Committee on the new National Minimum Wage. “If it is not interested, Mr President would have asked me to do an inter-ministerial meeting, but Mr President took interest and set up a presidential committee.
“This Presidential Committee, he monitors it and I also brief him from time to time, both written and verbally. “As a matter of fact, before the meeting adjourned last week, I have told the committee that the Economic Management Team could not hold.
This is due to the fact that most people in the team travelled with Mr President to China. “Also if the Federal Government is not interested, why will l brief the entire tripartite committee and tell them that work is in progress, “he said. The minister also noted that he had requested for two weeks from the committee to enable the Federal Government delegation consult with state government delegation.
“That means that the meeting can be called at any time, in one day or within three days which is still stipulated within the month of September. “So it is very surprising to know that labour gave ultimatum of 14 days to the Federal Government, this is uncalled for and a subtle blackmail to the Federal Government. He also said that the chairperson of Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage would lead a delegation on Friday to brief Mr President on the negotiations so far.
Ngige further assured Nigerians workers that there was no cause for alarm, adding that Federal Government was working assiduously to ensure the implementation of the minimum wage, soonest. “We were unable to fix a figure because of many factors that have occurred. “For example, the components in review, organised labour finds easy to give a figure.
“They have brought a figure which is N56, 000 and later change it to N65,000 and it is within their ambit to do so.
“The organised private sector also brought a figure, initially they brought N42, 000, and by last week before the Committee on National Minimum Wage adjourned they brought their own figure down to N25, 000. “The organised private sector also took into account the economic situation in the country, the ability to pay and the ability to enhance and create new jobs in the country.
“So it is important for us to look at all those things because one of the cardinal principles of the International Labour Organisation is the minimum wage fixing, which is the ability to pay.” He also said that the Federal Government had requested that the state governors give a tentative figure, noting that they had not yet been able to make available.
The minister further said that the Federal Government delegation had written, as a committee, to the state governments and had also followed it up with visits and is still awaiting their response. Ngige said that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had further requested for time to do more work on what their delegation in the committee had proposed and requested for an extension of time.
FG Alerts On Massive Flooding In Rivers, FCT, Others
The Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency (NIHSA), an agency of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources, has predicted more devastating floods from the end of August to early October in some states of the federation, including Rivers and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Already, the agency said in line with its earlier predictions, Lagos, Nasarawa, Anambra, Abia, Kwara, Kaduna, Rivers, Enugu, Borno and Ondo states had witnessed severe flooding as a result of heavy local rainfalls compounded by poor drainage system.
The Director-General of the agency, Engr. Nze Clement Onyeaso, in an interaction with some journalists in Abuja, yesterday, said all areas earlier identified as flood prone this year as well as those along the Rivers Niger and Benue might likely begin to experience more devastating flooding from the end of August.
“Nigeria is located within the River Niger Basin which is occupied by nine countries namely Benin, Burkina- Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cote d’Ivore, Guinea, Mali, Niger and Nigeria. Nigeria is located at the lowest position of the Basin and this means that once the upper catchment of the Basin gets flooded, Nigeria should be prepared to experience flooding. The period of flooding in these upstream countries is August and September of every year,’’ he said.
The DG said his agency was monitoring the development as we approach these critical months, adding that it will also continue to monitor Cameroonian authorities with regards to flood scenarios in the upper catchment of the sub-basin.
Nze warned Lagosians against the practice of dredging and sound filling the Atlantic Ocean, to build what they usually call model cities like those in Lekki and Banana Island, saying such may, in the future, pose serious threats.
As part of the preparation for the expected floods, the DG called on Nigerians, especially the state governments to be fully prepared by ensuring cleaning of blocked drainage system and canals remove refuse, weeds, water hyacinths and floats on water channels.
The agency had earlier predicted that 121 LGAs in 27 states and FCT might experience severe flooding this year.
Rivers Police Confirm Killing Of Disbanded OSPAC Leader In EMOLGA
The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the killing of one Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, the leader of disbanded OSPAC in Umudioga community in Emohua local Government Area of the state, last Tuesday.
The spokesperson of Rivers State Police Command, SP Nnamdi Omoni, who confirmed this in a telephone interview with The Tide, said the dismembered body of the victim has also been recovered and deposited in the mortuary for preservation.
The police spokesperson further stated that the police has restored normalcy in the community while the Commissioner of Police, Eboka Friday, has ordered for full investigation into the incident.
It would be recalled that gunmen suspected to be cultists, last Tuesday, invaded Umudioga community, and killed Alex Uwazuruike Isaac, who was said to be the leader of the disbanded OSPAC, a local vigilante group in the area.
A native of the community, who pleaded anonymity for fear of the unknown, disclosed that the gunmen, who were armed with sophisticated assault rifles, stormed the community in the afternoon and went for their target.
The source further revealed that the gunmen shot Isaac dead before beheading and dismembering his body, and later paraded the head of their victim in the community while urging natives not to panic as they came for the deceased and not for the community.
The Tide gathered that some other members of the disbanded OSPAC have already fled the community as a result of the killing of their former leader and fear of being attacked by the cultists who are hunting members of the defunct OSPAC in the area.
It was learnt that many suspected cultists were arrested and killed in the community while others fled during the reign of the deceased OSPAC commander in the community in 2019.
The Tide further learnt that the killing comes barely three weeks after the Chairman of Emohua Local Government Council, Dr Chidi Lloyd pronounced the dissolution of all vigilante groups in the LGA, and asked communities that make up the council area to submit five names of natives who would be screened and admitted into a new security outfit to be established and funded by the council in no distant time.
By: Akujobi Amadi
JAMB Fixes Mop-Up UTME For 18,000 Candidates, Aug 6
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has rescheduled examination for more than 18,000 candidates who experienced biometric verification challenges and those who genuinely missed the just-concluded Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) as a result of a clash with this year’s National Business and Technical Examinations Board examination.
The mop-up UTME is scheduled for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the country.
JAMB Spokesperson, Fabian Benjamin, made this known in a statement, yesterday, titled, ‘Mop-Up UTME Holds Friday, 6th August, 2021…JAMB’.
The statement read, “Following detailed investigation and careful analysis of the highly-successful 2021 UTME, and with due consultation (resulting in gracious concession) with the National Examination Council (NECO) concerning the timetable of the council’s on-going SSCE, JAMB has scheduled a Mop-up UTME for Friday, August 6, 2021, in some selected locations across the nation.
“About 18,000 candidates slated for the examination are being notified through both text messages on their designated phone numbers and their JAMB profiles. In addition, the candidate can check using their registration number on http://www.jamb.gov.ng/2021mopup.
“For the avoidance of doubt, no candidate whose result has been duly released will be rescheduled for another examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are in the following categories:
“Candidates who could not be initially scheduled for examination owing to their inability to timely procure and supply their mandatory NINs or profile codes until after the close of the registration exercise and, therefore, had to purchase Bank Drafts (as against the usual vending of PINs) after the scheduled period for the examination and were later registered.
“Few candidates who encountered peculiar biometric verification problem, or who failed biometric verification on the examination date (and were recaptured) but were not allowed to partake in the examination. (Adequate screening arrangements have been made to re-verify such claims and any candidate found to be involved in any form of impersonation will be identified for prosecution).
“Candidates who were unable to sit for the UTME owing to the clash of timetables of the UTME and the then on-going NABTEB examinations and whose particulars have been verified and supplied directly to JAMB by NABTEB.
“Candidates who have been ascertained by JAMB to have experienced genuine rescheduling/technical problems as was the case in 30 of the 760 centres used for the examination.
“The rescheduled candidates are to print fresh examination notification slips containing the venue and time of the examination. The slips are to be printed from the JAMB website https://www.jamb.gov.ng using the candidates’ registration number from Sunday, August 1, 2021.
“The board strongly advises candidates to avoid supplying their vital information, including registration number to fraudsters who abound especially in cybercafe(s), tutorial centres springing up almost everywhere in the nation as a result of the illicit activities of examination syndicates. CBT centres approved by JAMB which are consistently monitored are relatively more secured for printing examination notification slips by candidates who cannot print such on their own.”
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