Labour Issues Attack Order Against Ngige …‘Workers Can’t Blackmail Me Over Kokori’
The Organised Labour, yesterday, declared total war against the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige over the attack by suspected thugs on union members that protested in his private residence in Abuja, last Wednesday.
Labour, in its resolution read by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba directed workers to attack the labour minister and any member of his family anywhere they were sighted.
Briefing journalists at the Labour House, the organised said that instruction had been given to workers at airports to attack Ngige and members of his family when sighted, adding that the minister had been reported to national and international labour organizations.
Wabba said that labour was mobilized for a national protest that would take place in Abuja on Monday.
“We are coming prepared for him. The fundamental right of people to protest and assemble is sacrosanct. The minister tried to undermine the rights of workers. His son attacked the workers.
“Anywhere and everywhere himself or members of his family is seen by workers, even at the airport where we have our workers, he should be attacked.
“We have formally reported to security agencies and given them the police and the DSS.”
But briefing State House correspondents, Ngige said he would not be blackmailed by the NLC, insistence that ex-labour leader, Frank Kokori, be allowed to head the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).
He has, therefore, said there will be no further distractions on the NSITF board as a new date was going to be fixed immediately for inauguration.
Ngige accused the Nigeria Labour Congress President, Ayuba Wabba of equating himself to President Muhammadu Buhari because he answers president of NLC, and sees the NLC as the secondary arm of government.
According to him, the provisions of Section 4(a) of the NSITF Act is very clear on the sole responsibility of the Minister of Labour and Employment to nominate a neutral, fit and proper person for the approval of the president for the chairmanship of the board.
He added that Kokori was not nominated because he is not neutral.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month replaced Kokori with Austin Enajemo-Isire, a Chartered Accountant, professional Insurance Executive, and Banker.
Speaking on the allegation that he sent thugs to attack workers at his house in Asokoro, the minister described the report as misleading and unfortunate, insisting that NLC led by, Wabba, were hooligans who he was going to sue for arson.
Ngige alleged that Wabba led people to his to his private residence at 4:30am on Wednesday morning and blocked both the entrance to his house and that of his neighbour with two tankers laden with petrol.
He said the workers did not only succeed in traumatizing the occupants of both houses which included children, they also succeeded in preventing his neighbour and his wife from doing their business for the day as they were presented from leaving their home.
Ngige said: “Well, I just read the dailies today and I saw that story. It is a very fortunate misleading story because the scenario that emerged yesterday (Wednesday) was that I was woken up at 5am by my wife who reported to me that the security men were having problems with some strange fellows at the gate of the house. And that some people were also on the walls of my home that they arrived there by 4:30am.
“When the security people accosted them, they discovered that it was the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress himself that came physically with two tankers, one laden with petroleum, the second was half empty. One was put at the gate of my house and the second at the gate of my neighbour’s house.
“When I heard the story it was very strange. When I looked from upstairs I saw that the tankers were actually blocking the entrance to my house. I came down and asked for the chief detail who told me the whole story. And it emerged that they even had a scuffle with the president of the NLC when they were struggling for the key to the tanker.
“So, I went back and made some calls to the Commissioner of Police FCT, Director SSS and also the Federal Road Safety to see if they could move the vehicles.
“Picketing does not mean that you go to peoples’ private residence because you don’t know who occupies there. For example in my home, my wife, my children and the children of my domestic staff and security personnel were trapped.
“My neighbour, his wife and children couldn’t go out. It is obstruction; it is against the law of the country. Then putting a tanker with petrol is arson, the place can be caught on fire, the entire street could have engulfed on fire. I don’t know what to say.
“That is not trade unionism that is hooliganism. I have been preaching that you cannot exchange hooliganism for trade unionism. Trade unionism means you dialogue, you discuss, you talk. That is why we call it social dialogue because you must continue to talk if you are government you continue to talk, if you are Labour you continue to talk with your employer and if you are employers you continue engaging them.
“So, I was surprised to read about thugs and people hospitalised, people beaten. I have tried to do some investigations and enquiries and from my preliminary enquiry and the reports I got, it looks like the NLC people disagreed with the people they brought to my house. I understand that they were contracted to work till 10am which is council time, the aim being to obstruct me from going to council. I left my house at 8 o’clock, a friend picked me up and I was able to make it to council.
“So, I am very distraught, my family is traumatised, the people in my house are traumatised, my domestic staff with families are traumatised, even my neighbour and his wife couldn’t do their business for the day. Those tankers were removed around 6pm.”
Asked if he was planning to take any action, the minister said: “my neighbour said he is going to take legal action. I will also take legal action, illegal actions are actionable, and nobody is above the law.
“Their grouse is the inauguration of the NSITF board. We had fixed the date for April 18th and they invaded the place with thugs and disrupted the function. We had postponed the function and said we were going to fix another date for inauguration but since then, they have been maligning my character and integrity because I am the Labour minister.
“And they forget that according to the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention, I am what they refer to as the competent authority. Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Secretary to the Government of the Federation will not come and do Labour matters. But, it is an obtuse thing we have here.
“The Labour people led by Wabba feel that they are secondary arm of government and he answers president of NLC, so, he equates himself with the president of Nigeria. But there is only one sovereign authority of Federal Republic of Nigeria and for today by the grace of God, is President Muhammadu Buhari.
“The Act setting up the NSITF gave labour two nominees, private sector under NECA two nominees. Labour appropriated the two for NLC and made a nomination and government has also made a nomination. What we are doing now is that we have proposed and the government has approved a fit and neutral person, not a government officer, not a Labour coloured man and not a private sector man. That is what obtains in tripartism, and we exhibited it for you all to see under the national minimum wage tripartite committee.
“Ms. Amal Pepple is a neutral person that has experience and background as a former permanent secretary, former minister of housing, former head of service of the federation and even a former clerk of the Senate.
“So, she was a round peg in a round hole. We are also going to put a square peg in a square hole. We are going to go ahead and inaugurate the board, we will not have any further distractions on this and we are consulting to fix a date for the inauguration immediately.”
Asked if Kokori was not neutral person, Ngige responded: “I did not recommend him. I am the minister permitted by law to do that recommendation and I am telling you unequivocally that I did not recommend him, simple.”
Asked if he had anything personal against Kokori, he said, “Nothing. I am following the law. I cannot recommend a labour coloured person, I did not recommend him and I am not foolish to do so. And if I am not foolish to do so, NLC should not arm twist me, blackmail me into a submission. I am not a man who will submit to blackmail and you will floor him, no!”
Asked if he was summoned to the Villa because of the matter, Ngige said: “No. Mr. President did not summon me, I came for a meeting and I have finished my meeting and I am going.”
NDLEA Arrests 2 Members Of Afro-Europe Cartel
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operated between Nigeria, East Africa, and Europe, with the arrest of two members of the cartel.
The Director, Media and Advocacy, NDLEA, Mr Femi Babafemi said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Babafemi said that the NDLEA operatives at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, (MMIA) Ikeja Lagos made the arrest and foiled the attempts to traffic the drugs.
He said that the operatives at the Lagos Airport had on Monday March 13 intercepted a member of the drug syndicate, Ejezie Ifeanyi, during screening of inward passengers on an Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.
Babafemi added that a search was conducted on him, saying that it was discovered that one of his two bags had a false bottom concealment.
He said: “During preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him.
According to him, an immediate follow up operation led to the arrest of Franco Chukwu, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ to receive the drug consignment.
“After his arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted before the two suspects leading to the recovery of 3.00 kilograms of heroin.
“Findings revealed that the drug syndicate networks operate between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe.
“Chukwu who lives in Lagos is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, “ Babafemi said.
Sanwo-Olu, Makinde, Buni, Abiodun, AbdulRazaq Win Second Term Election …As INEC Declares PDP’s Eno Governor-Elect in A’Ibom
The Governor of Lagos State and candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has won 18 local government areas out of the 20 LGAs of the state in the just concluded governorship and state House of Assembly elections.
The results were announced on Sunday by the Independent National Electoral Commission at its state collation centre in Yaba, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu who is seeking re-election is contesting against the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Olajide Adediran popularly known as Jandor, and the candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour.
The incumbent governor polled the highest number of votes in Lagos Island, Epe, Agege, Ibeju-lekki, Surulere, Ikeja, Mushin, Ajeromi-Ifelodun, Apapa, Ifako-Ijaiye, Badagry and Lagos Mainland.
Other LGAs where Sanwo-Olu won include Alimosho, Ojo, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Oshodi-Isolo.
However, his opponent, Rhodes-Vivour, defeated the ruling party in Amuwo-Odofin.
The only result left is from Eti-Osa LGA which is yet to be released due to the election currently being held at the Victoria Garden City polling units.
Also, the Oyo State Governor and candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Seyi Makinde, has been declared winner of Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the State.
Makinde won 31 out of 33 Local Government Areas in the state, while his closest rival, Teslim Folarin of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won two local government areas.
Makinde, who was seeking re-election contested against a three-term Senator, Teslim Folarin of the APC and Adebayo Adelabu of the Accord Party, who was former deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Makinde polled 563,617 votes to defeat Folarin who garnered 251,230, and Adelabu who came a distant third with 38,757 votes.
The returning officer for the governorship election and a professor from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Olusola Kehinde, however, declared a 20-minute break before the declaration of the final result.
The announcement of the results was monitored by the state Resident Electoral Commissioner, Tella Adeniran, alongside heads of security apparatus in the state.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Governor and governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Saturday’s election, Dapo Abiodun, has been re-elected for a second term of four years.
The Independent National Electoral Commission declared Abiodun as the winner of the governorship election on yesterday.
Meanwhile, before Abiodun was announced as the winner of the poll, PDP collation agent, Sunkanmi Oyejide, cautioned the electoral umpire declaring the winner for the election.
Oyejide said the INEC should consider a clause in the Electoral Act (amended) that orders the commission to declare a rerun in the case of total rejected votes outnumbered the lead margin.
This was raised shortly after the Sagamu collation officer, Prof. Oluwagboyega Afolabi, presented the scores of the political parties in the council.
Afolabi had said that 15 polling units were canceled as a result of violence during the governorship election on Saturday.
The PDP agent, however, raised an observation against further submission of the copy of the results.
Oyejide said no fewer than 33,750 voters in Sagamu, Ijebu-Ode, Ikenne, Ijebu-North and Ogunwaterside were asking the commission to look into it.
He added that his party has a petition for the commission.
While raising the objection, Oyejide said, “The electoral act 2022, Section 24 Sub-Section three says where an election has commenced and there is reason to believe that there is or has been substantial destruction of election in a polling unit or constituency or it is impossible to continue with the election, occasioned by the threat to peace and security of electoral officials and materials.
“Electoral officials and materials should be underlined in the case of Remo where BVAS did not function and I argued it out. The commission shall suspend the election and appoint another date for the continuation of the election or the process.
“Secondly, if we invoke the principle of lead of margin enshrine in the electoral act 2022, the rejected votes according to results submitted to local government by local government are far higher than the lead of margin.
“This just to inform you when you are through with your final collation and what happened is found to be true that you will know that the election shall be inconclusive and a rerun should be ordered where necessary”.
The petition titled “Petition against deliberate disenfranchisement of a large number of voters in some local governments of Ogun state” dated March 18, 2023, was addressed to INEC National Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu.
The petition reads “We write to remind your authority of the above-mentioned issue.
“You will recall that the Commission is aware of the level of thuggery planned and orchestrated by the All Progressive Congress to unleash mayhem in some polling units across the state to destabilise innocent voters from freely exercising their voting rights as a result of planned and well-executed action.
“We are aware that the principle of margin of lead as established by the Commission in Section 24(3) is in effect, affected by the inability of the population greater than the reflected lead between the assumed winner of the election and the runner-up. Therefore, a re-run in appropriate to address this injustice.
“We, therefore, implore the Commission to evoke this principle and declare this election inconclusive.”
Reacting to the protest, the returning officer, Prof. Kayode Adebowale, said the complaints have already been looked into.
Adebowale said, “I have tried to check our records and I want to say that everything he said is at variance with what we have as records.
“But, if it is found to be incorrect, INEC has seven days to review its decision.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has also declared Mr. Umo Eno of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as the winner of the governorship election held last Saturday in Akwa Ibom State.
The Returning Officer and Vice Chancellor, Nigerian Maritime University, Delta State, Prof. Emmanuel Adigio, announced the results at the collation centre in Uyo yesterday.
Adigio said Eno won in 29 out of 31 local government areas of the state to defeat Senator Bassey Akpan of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).
He said that the PDP candidate scored 354,348 votes, beating his closet rival, Akpan who got 136,262 votes.
He also said that the All Progressives Congress (APC) scored 129,602 votes, the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) garnered 12,509 votes, while the Labour Party (LP) scored 4,746 votes.
The Returning Officer declared: “That the Pastor Umo Eno of the PDP having satisfied the requirements of the law is hereby declared winner of the governorship election in Akwa Ibom State.”
The PDP candidate won in 29 out of 31 local government areas of the state while his opponent in the YPP, Senator Bassey Akpan, won in only two LGAs.
The local government areas won by the PDP candidate include Udung Uko, Uruan, Ini, Esit Eket, Ikot Abasi, Ikot Ekpene, Etim Ekpo and 22 others while his YPP opponent won in Ikono and Ibiono Ibom LGAs respectively.
The PDP agent, Engr. Uwem Okoko, while commending the INEC for the improvement witnessed in the Saturday polls, also thanked Akwa Ibom people for voting for PDP in the state.
However, the YPP party agent, Mr kelvin Umoh rejected the results, alleging widespread violence, and intimidation that led to the alleged killing of his party supporters.
Umoh said, “It will be wrong for me to append my signature to the results sheets because there was widespread violence and intimidation.
In the same vein, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State has been declared the winner of the 2023 governorship election in the state by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).T
The governor won the poll to serve a second term of another four years in office under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).T
The governor beat the two-third requirement and won in all the 16 local government areas of the state in the election results declared by the INEC Returning Officer for the polls, Professor Isaac Itodo, theV ice Chancellor, University of Markurdi, Benue State.
Abdulrazaq polled 273,424 votes to beat his closest rival, Alhaji Yaman Abdullahi of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who scored 155,490 votes in the election.
The INEC had on Saturday night started the announcement of the 2023 governorship election results in the State with only three local government areas of Ekiti, Isin and Offa, with Governor AbdulRazaq winning the three LGAs.
At the resumed announcement of the election results yesterday morning, which lasted till evening, the APC governor also won in additional 13 local government areas.
Meanwhile, the Yobe State Governor, Mai Mala Buni, has been re-elected having won in all the 17 local government areas of the state with a total of 317,113 votes.
The candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Sharif Abdulahi, came a distant second with a total score of 104,259.
Announcing the results, at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) office in Damaturu, the Returning Officer for the Gubernatorial election in the state, Prof. Umar Pate, the VC of the Federal University of Kashere, Gombe state, said accredited voters are 459,492, valid votes 444,567 and total votes cast are 457,781.
UK Budgets £10m For Energy Solution In Sub-Saharan Africa
The United Kingdom has earmarked 10 million pounds grant for innovators in Sub-Saharan Africa, South East Asia, and South Africa to address the energy situation .
Mr Joshua Adedeji, Knowledge Transfer Manager for the Innovate UK Nigeria, said this in statement at the end of an Energy Catalyst meeting in Abuja.
According to Adedeji, the initiative is UK’s Energy Catalyst programme designed to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
He said the initiative was one of UK’s biggest energy access focused grant funding initiatives.
Adedeji added that the objective of the programme was to look out for innovations that could end energy poverty in benefiting countries.
‘One thing we do with this programme is to ensure that organisations are able to bring in their ideas, their solutions and utilize the fund that is available.
“It is a 10 million pounds fund that people can apply for. The fund is open till June this year.
“The mission of the energy catalysts is to accelerate the intervention needed to meet SDG 7 by providing financial and advisory support to innovators.
“To qualify for the grants, innovators must look for partners from the UK and present their proposals, stressing that the project must address transforming energy access and clean energy,”he said
According to Adedeji , transforming energy access is to speed up access to affordable, clean energy services for poor households, enterprises and social institutions in official development assistance (ODA) eligible countries.
He added: ‘’We are particularly keen to receive projects which focus on the Indo-Pacific region, It must support the development, testing or scale up of innovative technologies or business models.
“A clear social or economic benefit in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia or the Indo-Pacific Region is required.
“Creating new energy access in underserved regions improving existing access to provide a more reliable service’’.
The President of the Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria Mr Ayo Ademilua, said the intervention would boost clean energy access in the country.
Ademilua said the association would mobilise its members across the country and connect them with partners in the UK to benefit from the grant.
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