The organised labour made up of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, (TUC), yesterday agreed to suspend its planned strike scheduled to begin tomorrow to enable further negotiations with the Federal Government.
This was part of the resolutions reached at the end of the meeting late Monday evening.Monday’s meeting and resolution were attended and signed by Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; President, TUC, Festus Osifo; Secretary General, TUC, Nuhu Torò; President, NLC, Joseph Ajaero; General Secretary, NLC, Emmanuel Ugboaja mni; and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ms Kachollom S. Daju.Other resolutions arrived at the meeting include: “Continued engagements by the TUC and the NLC with the Federal Government and secure closure on the resolutions above.
The organised labour and the Federal Government are to meet on June 19, 2023, to agree on an implementation framework.
According to the Negotiating Committee, the Federal Government, the TUC and the NLC are to establish a joint committee to review the proposal for any wage increase or award and establish a framework and timeline for implementation.
Other resolutions are that, the Federal Government, the TUC and the NLC to review the World Bank Financed Cash transfer scheme and propose the inclusion of low-income earners in the program.
•The Federal Government, the TUC and the NLC to revive the CNG conversion programme earlier agreed with Labour centres in 2021 and work out detailed implementation and timing.
•The Labour centres and the Federal Government to review issues hindering effective delivery in the education sector and propose solutions for implementation.
•The Labour centres and the Federal Government to review and establish the framework for the completion of the rehabilitation of the nation’s refineries.
•The Federal Government to provide a framework for the maintenance of roads and expansion of rail networks across the country.
•All other demands submitted by the TUC to the Federal Government will be assessed by the Joint Committee
In a related event, the National Industrial Court, sitting in Abuja, on Monday, restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on their planned strike to protest the unilateral removal of fuel subsidy by the Federal Government.
The order came on a day the NLC returned to the negotiation table, having earlier refused to attend the meeting called on Sunday by the Federal Government, insisting that government return the price of petrol to the status quo.
This is even as the TUC made public its demands and presentation to the government among which were N200,000 minimum wage and subsidy on food items.
Recall that the TUC had in a meeting with government representatives at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Sunday, demanded payment of a new minimum wage to mitigate the effects of the subsidy removal but was silent on the figure.
The court, in a ruling delivered by Justice O. Y. Anuwe, barred the two unions from proceeding with the strike, pending the determination of a suit brought before it by the Federal Government.
The court held that the interim order, as well as the substantive suit, should be immediately served on both the NLC and the TUC, which were cited as defendants/respondents in the suit marked: NICN/ABJ/158/2023, even it fixed the matter for hearing on June 19.
The court order followed an ex-parte application the Federal Government filed through the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The government’s lawyer, Mrs Maimuna Lami Shiru, who moved the application, maintained that the proposed strike was capable of disrupting economic activities, the health and education sectors.
The Federal Government further tendered Exhibits FGN 1, 2 and 3, which were notices from the NLC, TUC and the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), to their members, asking them to withdraw their services with effect from tomorrow, June 7.
The court, in its ruling, held that it was empowered by section 7(b) of the NIC Act, 2006, with the exclusive jurisdiction in matters relating to the grant of any order to restrain any person or body from taking part in any strike, lockout or industrial action.
It held that sections 16 and 19(a) of the NIC Act 2006, also empowered it to grant urgent interim reliefs.
The court held that the affidavit of urgency as well as the submission of FG’s lawyer revealed “a scenario that may gravely affect the larger society and the well-being of the nation at large.’’
Justice Anuwe held: “Counsel has pointed out that students of secondary schools nationwide, especially those writing WAEC exams, will be affected; the tertiary institutions who have only just resumed after a long ASUU strike will also be affected, not leaving the health sector, among other sectors; and above all, the economy of the nation.
“In my view, this is a situation of extreme urgency that will require the intervention of this court.”
According to the judge, “having, therefore, considered the totality of this application, I make the following orders: ‘’The defendants/respondents are hereby restrained from embarking on the planned industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice dated 5th June 2023.
“It is ordered that the defendant/ respondents be immediately served with the originating processes in this suit, the motion on notice and the order of this court hereby made.
“The motion on notice is hereby fixed for hearing on 19th June 2023. Hearing notices to that effect shall be served on the defendants/respondents along with the other processes.”
Fubara Set To Create New Cities In Rivers
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has disclosed that arrangements are at advanced stages to achieve the development of new cities in the state that would help to decongest Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas.
Fubara said that the new cities would end the one city status of Rivers State and attract more investors into the state.
The governor stated this when he inspected the Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority’s (GPHCDA) office and project sites in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
Fubara said: “I can assure you that in our time, we might not achieve the dream of that big city in four years, but we will add a few things that would also help us in getting at that target.
“This is because, we are thinking of decongesting the present one city state that we have, which is Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor. We are thinking of developing other parts of the state and our coming here is to see what the agency has been doing, what you have done already and what we can also do to make us achieve more new cities in our state.”
Fubara noted that despite the challenges the agency has been facing, there would be remarkable difference in what it would achieve within his tenure if the agency’s development ideals are aligned with those of the state government.
He, however, charged the agency to be self-sustaining by attracting investors as outlined by its establishment law.
Also speaking, the Sole Administrator of GPHCDA, Amb Desmond Akawor, said that since its establishment in 2009 by the Greater Port Harcourt Law, the agency has been slowed down in creating more cities because of its operational structure and the nature of the Public-Private Partnership it adopted.
Akawor, who is the Rivers State chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), explained that a new legal framework has been fine-tuned by the last GPHDA board, which the current management would present to the governor.
He said: “I am sure that with your directives, we will be able to reschedule some of the projects so that we can move forward with all of our partners, especially in the area of reforming or strengthening the public private partnership arrangements.”
Majority Leader Seeks Immortalisation Of Slain DPO
The Majority Leader of the Rivers State House of Assembly, Hon Edison Ehie, has appealed to the Police High Command to consider the immortalisation of the murdered Divisional Police Officer(DPO) in charge of Ahoada East Divisional Headquarters, SP Bako Angbashim, and commiserated with the State Commissioner of Police, CP Emeka Nwonyi; officers and men of the Police Force; and the family of the deceased over the brutal murder of the DPO.
Ehie, who made the appeal in a statement said the slain DPO deserves to be immortalised as he was a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, adding that the calamitous killing and decapitation of the DPO by Mr Gift David Okpara Okpolowu, alias 2 Baba and his criminal gang is “an unprecedented low which shocked me beyond words and threw my constituents into an endless mourning circle”.
As the Honourable member representing Constituency 2 at the Rivers State House of Assembly and the incumbent Leader of the House, Ehie said he is using this medium to unreservedly condemn the senseless killing and decapitation of the DPO, and also to reiterate the call for the immediate apprehension and prosecution of his killers and everyone associated with the condemnable act.
Describing SP Angbashim as a gallant, fearless and courageous police officer who distinguished himself in the fight against criminals and bandits in the State, the lawmaker said the slain DPO was the one who single-handedly restored peace and order in Ogoniland.
“Even within the few months he spent in Ahoada East Local Government Area, the results of his gallantry were visible for all to see and appreciate.This is why his killing is not only calamitous and lamentable, but an affront to the government of the day in the State”, he said, adding that no government worths its salt will fold it’s arms and allow criminals and bandits to freely prey on its citizenry in order to make the State ungovernable.
On this score, therefore, Ehie thanked the Governor of the State, Sir SiminalayiFubara for prompt response to the situation which he said has already started yielding wonderful fruits, with some of the criminals associated with the killing of the DPO now under police detention and interrogation.
He also thanked and commend the officers and men of the Police Force as well as operatives of other sister security agencies in the State for their uniquely stellar efforts in fishing out the killers of the DPO.
The Majority Leader, however, called on all Ekpeye people, traditional rulers, chiefs, political elites and the general public to gratuitously assist and work with the police and other security agencies in ensuring that the killers of SP Angbashim are fished out, apprehended and made to face the full weight of the law, saying, “May our State never again witness this type of murderous orgy and life wastage”.
Ehie also appealed to the Police High Command in the State to consider the immortalisation of the slain DPO, while also appealing for meaningful and deserving support to his family and dependants.
While conveying his heart-felt condolences to the Nigerian Police, especially the officers and men of the Rivers State Police Command, the lawmaker prayed the Almighty God to grant them the fortitude to bear the monumental loss. He equally extended his deepest condolences to the family of the DPO, and prayed God to console them and heal their wounds.
Ehie further noted that “the biggest debt we collectively owe SP Bako Angbashim is to redress his killing by arresting his killers and subjecting them to justice.”
Appeal Court Upholds Banigo’s Senatorial Election Victory
The Court of Appeal sitting in Abuja, yesterday, upheld the judgment of the Rivers State National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal that declared Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) winner of the Rivers West Senatorial District Election held on February 25, 2023.
The Appellant Court, in her judgment, dismissed the appeal filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial Candidate, Hon. Asita O. Asita as “lacking in merit”.
In her reaction shortly after the verdict at the court premises, the Banigo hailed the judgment, describing it as an “incontrovertible victory of irreversible Senate seat”.
She expressed gratitude to the Almighty God, the leaders/stakeholders of the PDP and the entire members of the Rivers West Senatorial District for their unflinching support.
Banigo assured them of her loyalty and total commitment towards realising the tenets of her Kingdom Mandate.
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