The Federal Government has assured the organised labour that the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage would conclude its negotiation before the expiration of the 14-day ultimatum.
The Chairman, Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage, Ms Amal Pepple gave the assurance while speaking with newsmen, yesterday in Abuja.
The organised labour had on September 12 issued a 14-day ultimatum that would expire on September 25 to the Federal Government for the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage to reconvene and complete its assignment.
Also, labour said it would commence nationwide strike immediately after the expiration of its 14 days ultimatum if its demand was not met.
According to Pepple, “We do not want strike and I am sure that even the Federal Government does not want strike, and also Nigerians.
“So, we pray that everything will be resolved before then. So, labour does not have to embark on any strike,” she said.
The chairman also noted that the committee have worked hard and have finished its assignment.
She, however, noted that organised labour, organised private sectors and individuals from other sectors have submitted their figures but that the state governors were yet to submit theirs.
“We have some figures from organised labour, organised private sectors and individuals from others sectors.
“But, we still need approval from the Federal Government and some figures from the state governments.
“We do not want to fix a date for the reconvening of the meeting on our own without everyone’s opinion.
“We believe it is better to have all the figures and the government position for the sake of peace.
“So, that we can comfortably say that we have taken everyone position into consideration before the recommendation,” Pepple added.
Meanwhile, the organized labour has threatened to vote out those owing workers salaries, pension and gratuities in the 2019 general elections.
This was part of the resolutions of the National Executive Council (NEC), of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), last Wednesday in Abuja.
The NLC, in a communiqué issued, yesterday, and signed by its National President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, said that the organized labour would interface with aspirants into different political positions to determine whether they are workers friendly and the welfare package they have for the Nigeria workers.
Commenting on the importance of free, fair and credible 2019 general elections, NLC said, “Given the increased tempo of political campaigns and other activities towards the 2019 general elections, the NEC urges INEC to provide a level playing ground for all political parties.
“Pursuant to the promotion of free, fair, credible and participatory elections, the NEC also posits as follows: 2019 General Elections and Workers’ Participation.
“Workers and pensioners and their families are encouraged to vote only for credible candidates with clear agenda for workers, pensioners and their families.
“There is need to consolidate and deepen our democracy after 19 years of uninterrupted democratic rule. A conducive environment must be created for rancour free and peaceful conduct of the 2019 general elections and respect for democratic values and norms. “Nigerians and politicians should shun politics of do or die.
“The attitude towards the 2019 general election should be moderated by issue-based engagements and campaigns. The NLC and its allies will provide a platform to engage aspirants on their agenda on governance issues, as well as their agenda for the welfare of workers and pensioners.”
The NEC frowned that the bailouts from the national treasury given to commercial banks between 2006 and 2008 which was about N2.5trillion equivalent to $7billion were yet to be refunded.
“The NEC resolves that the bailout funds be recovered and invested in critical national infrastructure especially in the power sector.”
It also expressed dismay that the constitution of the board of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Funds (NSITF), had not taken place almost four years after the dissolution of the last board of management.
The NEC demanded under the Freedom of Information Act for the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on its investigation and prosecution.
It also demanded for the report of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment’s Administrative Panel Report and approved that congress leadership takes all necessary action not limited to protest and engagement to ensure that the board of NSITF was constituted to protect the interest of workers.
On Paris Club Refund, NEC noted the conditions attached to the payment of the last batch of the Paris Club refund and applauded the decision.
It urged the Federal Government to implement the decisions to the letter and keep organs of the Congress informed.
The NEC further considered the Electoral Act Amendment Bill as a very important legislation and instrument for the conduct of the 2019 General election and posited that it was important that the rules of engagement for the elections were understood by all stakeholders and Nigerians.
It called on both the Executive and the National Assembly to expedite action on the quick passage of the bill.
Declare Buhari’s Seat Vacant, Owuru Urges Court
The candidate of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) in the last presidential election, Chief Ambrose Owuru, has approached the Federal High Court in Abuja, asking it to declare the seat of President Muhammadu Buhari vacant.
Owuru, who was among the four petitioners that went to tribunal to challenge Buhari’s re-election, in his fresh suit, sought for an order to restrain the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), from “undertaking or planning any other election into the office of the President”, in 2023.
The Plaintiff, in his suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/480/2021, maintained that Buhari is “an unlawful President that is illegally occupying the Presidential seat”.
It would be recalled that Owuru and his party, HDP, had in an earlier appeal they litigated up to the Supreme Court, insisted that the Justice Mohammed Garba-led Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, erroneously dismissed a petition they lodged against the return of Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as winner of the presidential election that held on February 23, 2019.
They specifically prayed the apex court to sack Buhari on the premise that he emerged through an illegal process.
According to the Appellants, INEC, failed to follow condition precedents stipulated in the Electoral Act, when it unduly postponed the presidential election that was originally fixed for February 16.
The HDP claimed that its candidate, Owuru, secured over 50million votes in a referendum that was conducted by both electorates and observer networks that were dissatisfied with the unilateral postponement of the presidential election by INEC.
However, in a unanimous decision, a five-man panel of Justices of the Supreme Court led by Justice Mary Odili, struck out the appeal for constituting “a gross abuse of the judicial process”.
Meantime, in the fresh suit, Owuru and his party argued that their suit against Buhari at the Supreme Court was inconclusive.
The Plaintiffs argued that the case was fixed outside the 60 days period that was allowed by the law.
Owuru asked the court to declare him the authentic winner of the last presidential poll, as well as, to issue an order for his immediate inauguration to take over from Buhari.
He prayed the court to declare that he is entitled to serve out a tenure of 4 years after his formal inauguration.
More so, the HDP presidential candidate, aside from asking for Buhari’s immediate removal from office, equally prayed the court to compel him to refund all salaries, allowances and emoluments he collected while he unlawfully stayed in office as President.
Owuru also asked the court to give an order that salaries, allowances and emoluments be paid to him from May 29, 2019, when he ought to have been sworn in, till date.
The Plaintiff further applied for, “An order of interlocutory injunction restraining the Respondents by themselves and acting through their agents, servants, privies and or proxies howsoever from any further organizing, undertaking or planning of any other election into the office of the President of Nigeria or any such other Presidential Election interfering, harassing and or disturbing the Applicant adjudged acquired right as unopposed and unchallenged winner of the original scheduled and held the February 16 Presidential Election thereof until the 1st Applicant unserved constitutional four years term of office is served pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit by this honourable court”.
Cited as 1st to 3rd Respondents in the matter were Buhari, the Attorney General of the Federation, and INEC.
Meanwhile, no date has been fixed for the matter to be heard.
World Bank Report Exposes Buhari’s Lies, PDP Affirms
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the report by World Bank that 7 million Nigerians have been pushed into poverty in the last year, has clinically belied the integrity posturing of President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The opposition party said the World Bank report came in the face of the recent claims by President Buhari that his administration has lifted over 10 million Nigerians out of poverty in the last two years.
The PDP asserted that the report by the World Bank has further vindicated its position that President Buhari runs an uncoordinated and clueless administration that thrives on lies, false performance claims, deceit, and perfidious propaganda.
The statement added that, “Nigerians can now clearly see why the APC and President Buhari’s handlers are always in a frenzy to attack our party and other well-meaning Nigerians whenever we point to the poor handling of the economy and on the need for President Buhari to always be factual on pertinent issues of governance in our country.
“Unfortunately, it indeed appears that Mr. President enjoys living in denial while watching millions of Nigerians go down in abject poverty, excruciating hunger, and starvation as our country now ranks 98th out of 107 in Global Hunger Index under his watch.
“Otherwise, why would Mr. President claim that his administration has lifted over 10.5 million Nigerians out of poverty while official figures even from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show worsening poverty rate with 142.2% growth in food inflation and over 82.9 million Nigerians being unable to afford their daily meals due to the failure of the administration to take practical steps to grow and protect the food sector?
“Under President Buhari, Nigerians are now subjected to the worst form of poverty and hardship, with collapsed purchasing power, occasioned by a voodoo economy management that has wrecked our productive sectors and pummeled our naira from the about N167 to a US dollar in 2015 to the current over N500 per dollar.
“It is unfortunate that Mr. President will choose to always bandy fictitious figures and false performance claims, when he has, in a space of six years, destroyed our national productivity and reduced our country to a beggarly nation, a laughing stock and object of pity among the comity of nations.
“The PDP invites Nigerians to note President Buhari and APC’s similar false performance claims in other critical sectors, including power, transportation, road infrastructure, health, education, agriculture, security, aviation among others, where the Buhari administration has been bandying fictitious figures with no tangible project to point at.
“Our party counsels President Buhari, his handlers as well as their party, the APC, to note that Nigerians have seen through their deceitful clams.
“The PDP, once again, urges Mr. President to end his false performance claims and get more competent hands to manage the economy before every Nigerian is turned into a street beggar.”
Amnesty Kicks As FG Pushes Social Media Regulation
Amnesty International has strongly opposed the call by the Nigerian Government to regulate the use of social media and online broadcasters.
It would be recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, had urged the House of Representatives to include regulation of Twitter in the National Broadcasting Commission Act.
The minister made the call at the public hearing on a bill to amend the NBC Act organised by the House Committee on Information.
“I will want to add, that specifically, internet broadcasting and all online media should be included in this because we have responsibility to monitor content— including Twitter,” he said.
Reacting, Amnesty International, in a tweet via its Twitter account, yesterday, kicked against the motion.
It noted that when social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the internet and limit access to social media.
It further noted that criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“When social media is regulated, authorities can arbitrarily have powers to shut down the Internet and limit access to social media.
“Criticizing the government will be made punishable with penalties of up to three years in prison.
“Regulating social media in Nigeria could be easily abused to punish critics of government policies and actions, and anyone who asks difficult questions could find themselves liable for ‘diminishing public confidence in the government.’
“Seeking a law to prohibit abusive, threatening and insulting behaviour is open to very wide interpretation. This section would pose a threat to critical opinion, satire, public dialogue and political commentary,” the statement added.
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