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Buhari’s Minister In N21.5m Debt Scandal, Dragged To Industrial Court

Peter Okunoren

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Two former aides to the Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, on Tuesday, dragged the minister before an Abuja Division of the National Industrial Court (NIC) over twenty-one million, five hundred thousand Naira (N21,500,000.00) unpaid salaries and allowances.

They were former Personal Assistant to the minister, Razaq Olubodun and Special Assistant on Media, Victor Oluwadamilare.

The duo in their separate suits filed by their counsel, Adewale Lawal prayed the court to order the payment of their outstanding salaries and allowances which the Minister allegedly denied them while serving under him.

Olubodun, in his suit numbered NICN/Abj/132/2019 is seeking to recover from the Minister the sum of N9.8m allegedly paid alongside the Minister’s salaries and allowances for 24 months.

It was gathered that no fewer than seven aides of the minister have resigned due to issues bordering on nonpayment of salaries and allowances since he (Shittu) was appointed in 2015.

Recall that Olubodun resigned after failed attempts to reclaim his salaries from the Minister.

Oluwadamilare in his suit, NICN/Abj/133/2019 is claiming N11.7m being his outstanding salaries and allowances for 28 months.

He also resigned after failed attempts to reclaim his salaries from the Minister.

The duo are seeking the order of the court to declare that the non-payment of full salaries and allowances to them for those periods as wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.

They urged the court to order the minister to pay them their unpaid salaries and allowances according to the Federal Government directive for payment of aides to the Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The claimants are asking for an order on the defendant to pay the sum of N50m to each of them and to also pay them their full taxed costs of the prosecution of the suits. They averred that by their letters of appointments as PA and SA respectively, they were informed that their monthly emolument would be in line with the existing practice for paying PA and SA to Hon. Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Though, the claimants noted that the above-stated fact was indicated in the ‘paragraph 3′ of their letters of appointments dated 23rd Nov. 2015, the defendant “tried to make the salaries and allowances of PA and SA to Hon. Minister to look like his own personal affairs. The defendant tried to indicate this by an Internal Memo, seven months after the claimants’ appointments”.

While Olubodun claimed to have received just N1m all through his period of service from the Minister, Oluwadamilare disclosed that he was paid thrice to the tune of N2.3m in his 28 months of service under the Minister, yet, the defendant was alleged to have collected all salaries and allowances belonging to them from the FGN and refused to forward or remit same to them.

The claimants recalled that based on the circular from the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) dated 27th July, 1999, it indicated in paragraph 1a that the salaries of PAs and SAs to the Ministers are Grade Levels 12 and 16, steps 4 respectively.

The Minister was accused by the former aides of applying intimidation, harassment, draconian and Machiavellian approach and threatened to take them to the court where he would ensure that they are frustrated and would still not pay them the salaries in contention each time they demanded for their rights while serving under him.

The claimants disclosed that they have been subjected to immense sufferings, ridicule and untold hardship as a result of the denial of their rights by the Minister.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the case in which both the PA and SA presented 35 and 40 statements of facts respectively.

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Nationwide Strike: NLC Shuts Offices, Schools In Delta

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Delta chapter has started to shut offices and schools in Asaba ahead of the planned strike over delay to implement the new minimum wage.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Wednesday that the NLC members were seen patrolling Asaba in a marked Hiace mini-bus, closing government offices and turning back school children.

Recall that the national body of the NLC had threatened to go on strike from Thursday if the Federal Government fails to meet its demand on the consequential adjustment.

Before the meetings, labour was demanding a 29 per cent increase for officers at grade levels 07 to 14 and 24 per cent adjustment for officers at grade levels 15 to 17.

While the Federal Government proposed an 11 per cent increase for officers at grade level 07 to 14 and 6.5 per cent adjustment for workers at grade level 15 to 17.

Mr Goodluck Ofuburuku, NLC State chairman confirmed to NAN on the phone that labour was on strike in the state.

“We are on strike and that is all I can tell you for now. We expect offices and schools to comply.

“The strike is in force that is why we are going round to enforce compliance,” Ofoburuku said.

NAN reports that most government offices and schools within Asaba metropolis were closed as at this morning.

The state government secretariat, along Okpanam road, was equally shut as some workers who had reported for work were seen milling around the gate.

Mrs. Tina Okolo, a civil servant told NAN that the NLC members came and locked her office premises and ask the workers to go home.

“They came this morning and ask us to go home. I reported to work at about 8:15am, but now am going home.

“I don’t know much about the strike, so I am just waiting to see how things will turn out,” Okolo said.

NAN reports that the gate of West-End Mixed Secondary School, Asaba, was also closed, as the students were seen going home at about 10:15 am.

A teacher, who pleaded anonymity, told NAN that the students had been asked to go home because of the strike.

Also, members of the NLC were seen at the Achievers Group of Schools, DLA road Asaba, driving out the students and trying to lock up the school gate.

However, most banks in Asaba remained open for business as customers continued their transactions without hindrance.

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Kayode Alfred Now Writes For This Day Newspapers

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Industrious entrepreneur-cum-society Kayode Olanshile Alfred has officially joined the leading and widest-circulated news journal, This Day Newspaper as a columnist. The award-winning and dynamic writer will be reporting the social lifestyle of the rich and the famous personalities in the society.

The unassuming Kayode, still in the attitude of his passion for the written word, either by commission or omission again went back to his first love as a columnist with This Day on Sunday where he resumed with his society page, High Life.

The charismatic, innovative and very industrious Kayode Alfred, is one of Nigeria’s most prolific society writers that is dedicated, even obsessive, about his work even as he loathes the disappointments that at times, come with it. Alfred will always be a pride of the journalism industry, especially when it comes to society reporting. His impressive career as a journalist speaks volumes and this is just stating the obvious, as he has proved this over time, with his gist, interviews, articles, and stories on those who matter in the society.

The Lagos State University graduate has carved a niche for himself in this volatile industry and can conveniently rank among the best five in society reportage, and this is no hyperbole.
He started making waves in the pen-pushing world many years back, when he joined the National Encomium magazine as a very pro-active Society writer, the credentials of which gave him the leverage to move instructively to The Nation Newspapers, to resume his normal beat as a prolific society writer, with his must-read page, called Society Watch in The Nation on Saturday.

The journalist turned designer has carved a niche for himself among fashion buffs. He can also be regarded as a celebrity journalist and fashion aficionado, a self-driven entrepreneur with astounding diligence and sartorial depth. It is no surprise, therefore, that his foray into the fashion world is predicated on the high art and culture of bespoke designs.

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Sanwo-Olu Declares Emergency On Lagos Roads As Work Begins

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Work begins today(Monday) on the deplorable city roads in Lagos State as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Sunday declared an emergency on the situation.

The governor gave the directive for the commencement of repairs to construction companies. It followed his promise last week to start fixing the roads immediately after the rains.

Lagosians have been groaning under the state of roads and the attendant traffic situation. The extended rainfall has not helped matters.

According to the governor, all the construction companies had been mandated to mobilize their tools to the sites assigned to them.

He said: “This (Sunday) afternoon, we have just concluded meetings with various reputable construction companies and all of them have been given the brief to immediately commence major construction work in various parts of the state. The exercise will begin tomorrow with palliative work on the selected roads, which are on the Island and the Mainland.

“The contractors have been given the mandate to start mobilizing their equipment to their respective sites without further delay. Their activities must first give our people immediate relief on the affected roads so that there can be a free flow of traffic even during the rehabilitation work.”

To complement the major construction work on the highway, Sanwo-Olu said Lagos State Public Works Corporation (LSPWC) would be carrying out repairs on 116 inner roads across the state.

This, he said, would be in addition to the over 200 roads already rehabilitated by the corporation in the last three months.

Sanwo-Olu said his administration was not oblivious of the pain experienced by road users in the past few days, which was compounded by the persistent downpour.

He appealed to residents to bear with the government while efforts were being made to assuage their pains and bring permanent relief to them.

He said: “We expect the rains will begin to subside in this month of October and this is why we are mobilizing our contractors to immediately start the major construction work on the identified highways and bring permanent relief to residents. I am giving all Lagosians the assurance that the contractors will start the construction in earnest and will deliver on the terms of agreements reached with them.”

Sanwo-Olu said officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) would be working round the clock to control traffic on the areas where the construction would take place.

The Special Adviser on Works and Infrastructure, Aramide Adeyoye, listed some of the critical areas to include Ojota stretch of the Ikorodu Road; Motorways – Kudirat Abiola Way; Apogbon Highway; Babs Animashaun Road; Agric/Ishawo and Ijede roads in Ikorodu as well as Lekki-Epe Expressway from Abraham Adesanya to Eleko Junction.

She added that there would be massive re-construction on a network of roads in Ikoyi, Ikeja GRA and Victoria Island.

The contractors deployed by the government are: Julius Berger, Hitech, Arab Contractors, Metropolitan Construction, Slavabogu Construction, China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), Rajaf Foundation Construction and RCF Nigeria Limited.

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