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Resolve Minimum Wage Issue, PENGASSAN Tells FG …Labour ‘’ll Not Accept Less Than N30,000 -Ajaero

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The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) has urged the Federal, state governments and the organised private sector to resolve the differences in the ongoing negotiation for a new national minimum wage.
The National President of the Union, Mr Olabode Johnson made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing newsmen on its planned 40th anniversary.
He described as ungodly, the shenanigans displayed by some state governors when it comes to payment of workers’ salaries.
“ We need to give priority to the issue of minimum wage now before the political campaigns starts in full by next month, all parties need to agree on a particular amount on this issue.”
According to him, PENGASSAN believes that the Federal and state governments have the capacity to resolve the minimum wage issue before campaigns start, so that it can be passed into law.
“PENGASSAN, as an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress, TUC, we are also bound to look at the dictates of the agreement.
“ When you look at the issue of the new minimum wage, you will agree that it is long overdue. You must be able to give Nigerians a minimum wage. Look at the current hardship, look at depreciation; look at what everybody is facing.
“I also want to appeal to the Federal and state governments, Nigeria Employers Consultative Assembly and other stakeholders, that a stitch in time saves nine.
“ Whatever everybody is supposed to do, because, by the end of November, politics will start; now is the time to do everything we have to do in that regard,’’ he said
He added: “ for every state that has political appointees, I have never seen that they are been owed salaries.
“ On the issue of minimum wage, we want to appeal to government to give it priority.
“Let this bickering of N24,000, N25,000 and N30,000 be sorted out, so that you don’t create an impression with Nigerians that you are insensitive to their plights. Let us pay everybody his or her due.”
On the planned 40th anniversary of the union on October 18, he said that President Muhammadu Buhari, would be the special guest of honour.
He listed others expected at the event to include, Aliko Dangote, Dr Maikanti Baru, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, state governors, chief executive officers of international oil companies and security experts.
Johnson noted that past labour leaders who fought for the actualisation of June 12 would also be recognized at the anniversary.
He added that the union would unveil its world class event center during the event, and would employ qualified Nigerians to run and mange the operation of the center.
He said that the conference has the theme: ‘Labour, fuelling the economy.’
Meanwhile, a labour leader, Mr Joe Ajaero, yesterday said that the organised labour would never sign any agreement with the Federal Government on new National Minimum Wage which is less than N30, 000. “N24, 000 can never be the new Minimum Wage for workers. If the government pays it, then it is an award,” Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), said.
Youth group writes Mimiko, calls for his exit from Labour Party Ajaero told the Newsmen in Lagos that the tripartite committee agreed that N30, 000 would be paid at the end of its negotiation as the New Minimum Wage for workers. He said it was sad that N30, 000 was adopted by the tripartite committee but the representatives of government announced N24, 000.
NLC The labour leader said that the organised labour would stand against it and would not sign any document, which does not reflect the true deliberation by the tripartite committee. He said that the committee had concluded its meeting on the new wage and labour was expecting the government to invite them to sign an agreement on the decision.
“No more meetings. A date has been fixed to sign an agreement on the figure agreed. On that day, if the amount is not what the tripartite committee agreed, the organised labour will not sign,” he said.
Recalls that on Nov. 27, 2017, President Muhammadu Buhari, approved the appointment of a 30-member tripartite National Minimum Wage Committee for the negotiation of a new national minimum wage for the country. Labour collectively demanded for N65, 000 per month as the new Minimum Wage for all workers as harmonized by the organised labour.
However, after many delays on reaching an agreement on the figure for a new wage, the NLC, TUC and the ULC on Sept. 26 went on a two-day nationwide warning strike, to protest government’s delay on the wage by not allowing the committee conclude its job.

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2023: CAN Pushes For Christian President, Self-Defence

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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.

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Clamping Down On Agitators Can Fuel National Crisis -OPC

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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.

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Nasarawa Monarchs Console Odili Over Brother’s Death

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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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