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Minimum Wage Strike Paralyses Business Activities

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The warning strike called by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC), over disagreements on the adoption of a new minimum wage for Nigerian workers was effective in some parts of the country.
The Tide source reports that business activities were paralysed in Sango-Ota, Ogun State, due to the action as the premises of public institutions remained closed.
On September 12, NLC issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to either agree with its demand for the tripartite committee deliberating on a new minimum wage to reconvene and complete its assignment.
Some of the places our source visited were Ado-Odo Local Government headquarters, the courts, Post office, Ansarudeen Secondary School and Primary Schools.
Some lawyers who came to the Magistrates’ Court and High Court in Sango-Ota to transact business could not gain access to the courts as the gates were shut, while school teachers in schools visited were at the gates sending wards home.
Some workers, who wished not to be identified, commended NLC and the organised labour for the strike aimed at ensuring that workers receive decent pay.
They said the current pay was not enough to take care of workers.
Also, in Adamawa State, government workers joined the strike.
The state Government Secretariat in Yola was locked as was the case in Yola North and Yola South local government secretariats.
The courts were also closed while some banks rendered skeletal services.
But at Federal Medical Centre, Yola, the doctors and nurses attended to patients.
Meanwhile, the Police Command in Adamawa has advised the public to remain calm and go about their normal businesses.
The command in a statement by its spokesman, SP Othman Abubakar, said it had put adequate security measures to ensure that no one was harassed because of the strike.
“Adamawa State Police Command has put in place security measures to ensure that the good people of Adamawa State go about their normal businesses without harassment from any quarters,” Abubakar said.
But in Gombe State, bank customers expressed anger over the strike and said the labour unions were not sensitive to the plights of the people.
They said the strike was uncalled for since government had not called off negotiations with the unions.
A businessman, Mr Ndubuisi Dibia, said that NLC had not taken into consideration the implications of strike on the economy.
“ NLC has not taken into consideration the strike implication on businesses. Businessmen like us have nothing to do with strike so why will the bank deny us services.
“ I do not think they know the implications of their action on an economy that is recovering from recession”, he said.
A trader in Gombe New Market, Mrs Roseline Nworah, said she was not happy with the action of the banks, adding that the strike was not necessary since negotiations were on-going.
A farmer, Abubakar Mohammed, said NLC should be more concerned with implementations rather than fighting for a new minimum wage.
Mohammed said: “ The last minimum wage of N18,000 is not being paid by most governors. What has NLC done to that?
“ Now they are on strike to get the government to implement N65,000 as new minimum wage. Who is deceiving who?
“ Let NLC force governors to pay the last minimum wage so that when we have a new one the workers can feel the impact.’’
Meanwhile, government ministries and other government buildings and schools remained locked.
Mr. Hussaini Pantami, the Principal of Government Junior Secondary School, Yelenguruza (Gombe State) appealed to all stakeholders to find a way of resolving the issue so that the students could go back to school.

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Sanwo-Olu Assures On Reduction Of Food Prices

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has assured residents of the state that the various interventions by his administration in the agriculture sector would soon put an end to the astronomic rise in food prices in the market.
The governor gave the assurance on Friday at the flag-off of distribution of agricultural productive assets and inputs under the 2021 Agricultural Value Chains Enterprise Activation Programme, with over 3000 agripreneurs empowered.
Sanwo-Olu said that breaking the shackle of dependency on foreign countries and states for food supplies was in line with his administration’s THEMES agenda for job and wealth creation as well as food sufficiency.
He stated that the empowerment scheme was a demonstration to the development, expansion and growth of agriculture in Lagos by providing tools, deploying innovation and creativity that would make it easier for all farmers to grow high quality crops, thereby raising their inputs to feed Lagosians and Nigerians.
The governor said that his administration was putting in place various interventions which included wholesale agriculture hub, urging farmers, youths and beneficiaries to work hard to nurture their businesses to maturity by building a sustainable wealth.
“We have emerged wiser and more determined to succeed in creating and nurturing a viable agribusiness sector in Lagos State. We may be Nigeria’s smallest state by land mass, lacking the large tracts of land available to others, but we will not allow that to stand in the way of our vision.
“We will maximise the little we have, while also deploying the innovative and entrepreneurial spirit we are known for, to create new opportunities to feed ourselves and feed Nigeria, and create economic growth and prosperity through agriculture”, he said.
 The state Commissioner for Agriculture, Abisola Olusanya, said that 70 per cent of the beneficiaries of the programme were youths and women chosen from the Lagos Agripreneurship programme (LAP), Agric YES programme, and value chain associations.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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Monorail Project, A Waste Of Rivers Resources – GDI

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The Monorail Project that was abandoned by the Chibuike Amaechi-led administration in Rivers State has been described as a complete waste of state resources.
President-General of the Grassroots Development Initiative (GDI), worldwide, Bright Amehule, in an interaction with journalists at the weekend, alleged that the former state governor used the monorail project to squander Rivers money.
He said that the monorail was not desirable as at when it was embarked upon, adding that the money sunk into the project would have been used for more people oriented projects. 
According to the GDI boss, the state has not reached the stage where the monorail is necessary.
“We have not reached the stage of development where we will need monorail. Where is the power to run it ? We have not grown to the stage to run it, as we have observed in other developed countries.
“We need power to run the monorail, but even the power project former governor Peter Odilli executed was sold by Amaechi. He squandered the money he sold the power project built by Odili without giving account of it.
“There is just little to show for the huge amount of money spent on the monorail and the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority”, he said.
On account of his stewardship as the coordinator of taskforce on Street Trading and Illegal Parking, Amehule said that he performed his duties well, but pointed out  that no individual can satisfy everybody, irrespective of how the person tries.
He said that the state government engaged over 600 youths as task force men, adding that the state government is doing its best to ensure youths employment in the state. 
According to him, the state government has taken steps to provide employment through numerous projects such as the Cassava Plant at Oyigbo, the recent partnership with South Korea, numerous construction works being handled by Julius Berger, and the expansion of the Rivers State University, among others.

By: Corlins Walter

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SON Procures Warehouse For Goods’ Testing

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In a bid to stop the practice of arresting containers released at the seaports on the highways by its officials, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has procured a warehouse around the port where suspicious goods will be taken to for testing.
The Director General, SON, Mallam Farouk Salim who disclosed this at a one day capacity building workshop for journalists organized by SON in Lagos, recently, said that rather than blocking suspicious goods at the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, they would just take those containers to their warehouse and conduct their test.
Salim explained that after testing, if the goods were found to be okay, they would release them but if the goods were found not to be okay, they (SON officials) would show those individuals how to fix the products if the products were fixable, adding that where they were not fixable; the SON would destroy them in line with their mandate.
Salim explained that the idea was to encourage ease of doing business at the seaport, saying the organisation does not want bottlenecks and bureaucracy that would stop people from achieving their legitimate goals.
He assured that the SON management would continue to rejig the system to make it more efficient.
According to him: “We have done so many changes over the years. For example, we have our own warehouse right by the port where goods that are suspicious, instead of blocking them in the port and delay other legitimate businesses coming through, we just take those containers to our warehouse which are nearby and because we have a very high professional and efficient lab in this country, we do our test, if the goods are okay, we release them. If the goods are not okay, we show those individuals how to fix those products if they are fixable, if they are not fixable; we destroy them which is our legitimate mandate by the government and by the National Assembly”.
He emphasised that it was the SON’s responsibility to make sure that every goods that enter the country are up to standard.  
He said: “We make sure there are consequences to any product and that any person producing substandard products will have to pay one way or the other. We will have to make sure that there are consequences for individuals buying fake products and injuring our people. We are to make sure manufacturers of goods; building materials are up to standards because collapsing buildings are not discriminatory. 
“We, as an organisation, are committed to improving our responsibility. If we expect standards from people, we have to three times inspect how we handle ourselves. So, over the years, we have collaborated with market associations, we have collaborated with importers’ associations even though our responsibility is primarily to help our local producers but Nigeria has importers and they are legitimate businessmen and they are importing things that are needed in Nigeria. So, our responsibility is to make sure that whatever comes to this country is standard, is good, is not going to harm our people and our local industry”.

By: Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos

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