Organised Labour has suspended the seven days warning strike it called to protest the indefinite adjournment of the meetings of the tripartite committee on the new national minimum wage and to compel government to reconvene the meeting with a view to concluding its assignment.
The Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige had at a meeting of the tripartite committee on the 5th of September said that the government needed more time for consultation before arriving at a figure for the committee to consider and thereafter, the meeting adjourned indefinitely, a position that angered organised labour.
A 14-day ultimatum issued by Organised Labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union of Nigeria (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) for government t to reconvene the committee failed to achieve the purpose, forcing labour to ask workers to stay at home till further notice.
However, the Chief to the President, Abba Kyari was said to have invited the leadership of labour to a meeting at the Presidential Villa with a view to finding out what led to the strike.
Announcing the suspension of the warning strike, yesterday, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba said organised labour has received a firm and formal invitation to a reconvened meeting of the tripartite committee scheduled for 4th and 5th of October, 2018.
He said the leadership of organised labour, however, insisted that the two-day meeting would be the final session of the committee and that a final report will be submitted to Mr. President immediately.
Wabba, flanked by other leaders of organised labour said “you may wish to recall that four days ago, we informed you that organised labour was embarking on a warning strike as from Thursday, September 26, 2018, after our 14-day ultimatum to government to reconvene the meeting and conclude the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee elapsed.
“Indeed, on Thursday morning, the strike action commenced and was observed across the country. We wish to appreciate our workers and affiliate unions for their commitment and determination. We similarly commend members of the press for their vigorous and comprehensive reportage of the strike action. We thank all Nigerians for their support.
“We invite you here today to inform you that we have received a firm and formal invitation to a reconvened meeting of the tripartite committee scheduled for 4‘“ and 5th of October, 2018. We demand that this shall be the final session of the committee and that a final report will be submitted to Mr. President immediately.
“In order to avail the committee the necessary conducive environment to hold this crucial meeting and conclude its work, organized labour has, after obtaining the mandate of their necessary organs, decided to suspend the strike action with effect from today, Sunday September 30th, 2018.
“Once again, our commendations and appreciation go to you all who have been with us in this struggle. We urge all our unions and state councils to maintain a high level of mobilization and readiness until the struggle for a reasonable minimum wage is achieved.”
Reacting, SERAP, in a statement, yesterday by its Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale said, “The minimum wage of N18,000 for Nigerian workers stands in sharp contrast with outrageous and sometimes illegal salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officials who continue to enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity.
“Paid so little, already vulnerable Nigerian workers are left in a precarious situation, unable to ensure a decent standard of living for themselves and their families, with access to water, health, and education seriously undermined.
“Paying workers N18,000 minimum wage is tantamount to labour exploitation and ‘normalization of poverty’, and if urgent action is not taken to reverse it, will continue to drive Nigeria’s poorest families deeper into poverty.
“Having an exploited labour force will also exacerbate incidents of bribery and petty corruption and undermine access of marginalized sector of the population to essential public services such as water, health and education.
“As the government marks Nigeria’s 58th Independence Day, now is the time for it to choose between spending billions of naira to fund the lavish lifestyles of billionaire politicians or lifting millions of Nigerian workers out of poverty by ensuring that the national minimum wage is set at a level sufficient to provide all workers and their families with a decent standard of living.
“Successive governments have demonstrated scant respect for the fundamental human right of Nigerian workers to a just remuneration while at the same time increasing salaries and allowances of high-ranking public officials including members of the National Assembly, state governors and ministers.
“This not only violates the country’s international human rights obligations but undermines its international commitment to provide an adequate living wage for ordinary workers that ensures an existence worthy of human dignity.
“Buhari only last week in the US described the ‘working poor’ and ordinary Nigerians as his ‘constituency’. He now has to provide bold leadership to improve conditions for this marginalized sector of the population by publicly supporting a just remuneration for Nigerian workers to allow them to lead a decent life. His government can make this a reality by pushing to recover stolen assets and other illicit wealth by public officials and institutions since the return of democracy in 1999.”
Nneka Amaechi-Nnadi, Abuja
2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence
The Youth Wing of the Christian Association of Nigeria (YOWICAN) has said that the next President should be a Christian to ensure balance in leadership.
YOWICAN also said rotation of the office of the President will promote equity, unity and peace.
The youths further protested the activities of bandits and kidnappers, threatening to resort to self-defence if nothing is urgently done by the government.
They warned bandits and kidnappers to desist from perpetrating evil and put a stop to the ongoing kidnappings and killings.
The Christian association also pledged collaboration with Muslims and Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC) towards peace building.
These were contained in a communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of YOWICAN and read by its National President, Belusochukwu Enwere.
Enwere said, “The next President should come 2023 should be a Christian because the present administration, the president is a Muslim and so the President should rotate amongst the Christians and Muslims so that there will be balance in the leadership of Nigeria.
“We have competent Christian leaders who can represent and manage the affairs of this country. We urge our leaders to fully participate in politics so that we can produce a good president for Nigeria.
“As such the emergence of a Christian and youthful President come 2023 will be a true expression of equity, fairness and justice for Nigeria and Nigerians.
“That YOWICAN shall continue to collaborate and work in concert with brothers from the Muslim faith to pursue the desired peace, unity and progress of the nation; and more particularly under the auspices of the Nigeria Inter-religious Council (NIREC),” the group said.
“YOWICAN decries the increasing rate of insecurity in Nigeria, yet commends the efforts of government and security agencies in combating the nefarious activities of bandits, killer herdsmen, insurgents etc.
“YOWICAN in the performance of Christian tenets and faith believes strongly in peaceful coexistence, but this piety should not be construed as cowardice, therefore kidnappers, bandits, killer herdsmen, terrorists and unknown gun men should not push Christian youths to the extreme, such as to make them consider deploying self defence strategies as the last option,” Enwere said.
According to him, despite the efforts so far made in combating crime, YOWICAN observes the urgent need to curb the rising wave of attacks, killings, destruction of lives, properties, farmlands and livelihood of innocent citizens within the Northern states, and specifically within Christian communities in Southern Kaduna.
The CAN youths demanded the immediate release of all abductees and particularly the students of the Bethel Baptist High School, Kaduna State, who have been in captivity.
The NEC meeting held at the National Christian Centre on Saturday was attended by National Executive Members, Zonal Leaders, State Leaders (drawn from the 36 States of the Federation plus the FCT) and representatives from the Blocs/denominations under CAN.
Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC
The Oodua Peoples’ Congress (OPC) has advised the Federal Government against clamping down on agitators for self-determination, warning that such could lead to a national crisis.
OPC said this in a statement by its Publicity Secretary, Barrister Yinka Oguntimehin, weeks after the raid on the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo aka Sunday Igboho, by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS), during which two persons were killed.
The statement also followed Igboho’s arrest in the Republic of Benin after he was declared wanted by the DSS.
In the statement, the group “flayed Federal Government’s approach in Igboho’s ordeals, maintaining that the use and application of force on self-determination agitators has only justified Federal Government’s lack of respect for human rights and intolerance to the views of others.”
The group described the “treatment meted out to Igboho in Nigeria and also in Cotonou as very unpleasant, insisting that Federal Government ought to know that the citizens have rights and that such rights must be protected under the law.”
Oguntimehin said, “Unfolding events have shown that there are lapses in the way the Federal Government handles cases of self-determination agitators like Sunday Igboho, and I will like to state it clearly that the Federal Government must desist from clamping down on self-determination agitators because such move can only fuel national crisis.”
The publicity secretary urged the Republic of Benin to be fair with Igboho as he revealed that the rights activist will be facing immigration-related offences in the country, adding that he can also seek asylum to ensure his safety.
He warned against having Igboho brought back to Nigeria the way the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, was brought back from Kenya.
He said, “The Federal Government has been silent on the extradition order because it might trigger more crisis. You cannot treat Igboho the Nnamdi Kanu way, it would not work, so I am appealing to the Federal Government to learn from history and ensure that the fundamental human rights of the citizens are protected in such a way that we can begin to appreciate the fact that we truly follow the tenets of democracy.”
The statement said Nigeria and the Republic of Benin have no extradition agreement, adding that Nigeria has not been able to come up with charges that could lead the court to order Igboho’s extradition to Nigeria.
Oguntimehin said, “What Federal Government came up with were mere allegations against Ighoho such as trafficking in arms and inciting violence that could result in the social disturbance without evidence and the Government of Benin Republic had considered all that to be untenable and insufficient to warrant extradition.
“The case has been adjourned till Monday, July 26 to allow the Federal Government bring up whatever evidence they may have, and Mr. lgboho has been taken back to the police custody.”
He pointed out that the rights activist had been peaceful with his agitation, as he urged traditional leaders not to ignore him at his trying time.
Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death
The Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers has commiserated with former Governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili over the death of his elder brother, Chief Fidelis Obi Odili.
The Chairman, Nasarawa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad 1 (rtd), said monarchs and people of his state were saddened by the bereavement of the Odili family.
The Emir, who was accompanied by the Andoma of Domia, Alhaji Ahmaou Aliyu; and the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Rivers State, Engineer Emeka Woke, stated this during a condolence visit to Odili in Port Harcourt, last Friday.
He described Odili as a very generous, hospitable personality and one of the best leaders that Nigeria has produced.
To this end, he declared that whatever affects him (Odili), affects people all over the country.
“We have come here to commiserate with you, to pass our condolences to you on behalf of all of our people, the people of Nasarawa State and our respective kingdoms.
“As one of the elders of this nation, very respectful elder of this nation, anything that affects you, will touch us, will affect us. We ask you to take heart.”
He further added, “You’re one of the best we have in this country. You’re very generous, hospitable. Your Excellency, not because you’re here, this is a statement of fact. You’re one of the best that this country has produced.”
The Emir of Lafia, prayed God to grant the Odili’s family the fortitude to bear the loss of their beloved one.
He also urged God to continue to keep Odili in good health so that he’ll continue all the good works that he has been doing and will continue to do for the nation.
“On behalf of all the chiefs that are not here, we commiserate with you”, he said.
Responding, the former Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, said he felt honoured by the condolence visit and words of encouragement by the Emir of Lafia.
“I can’t find words appropriate to thank you for this consoling honour.”
Odili said he felt elated by the kind gesture of the Emir of Lafia.
According to him, the visit has further demonstrated the importance the Emir attaches to his relationship with the people of Rivers State.
“You’ve come with your colleague to pay this condolence visit, which was totally unplanned and unscheduled. But, like they say, people make out time for what they consider important.
“We feel honoured by your gesture, and so, we want to thank you and your colleague for this rare honour and for your kind words. Your friendship with our state goes back in history.
“Your new position in Nasarawa State has not altered it, rather it has strengthened it”, Odili added.
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