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Fed Govt, Labour Seal New Minimum Wage Agreement

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Nigeria Labour Congress and the Federal Government last night reached an agreement on the consequential adjustment to the salaries of senior civil servants towards the full implementation of the new minimum wage.

The agreement, after two days of talks, ended the strike threat.

In addition to Federal Government workers on Levels 1-6, who already enjoy the N30,000 minimum wage, Grade Level 07 workers, will now have 23% addition to their pay.

The other categories of federal workers will get the following increment: 20 per cent for GL 08; 19 per cent for GL 09; 16 per cent for GL 10 to 14 and 14 per cent for workers on GL 15 to 17.

At yesterday’s meeting on the side of organised Labour were: Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba, Trade Union Congress (TUC) General-Secretary Musa Lawal Ozigi; NLC’s General Secretary Emmanuel Ugbaoja; Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) Chairman Simon Achaver; JNPSNC Secretary Alade Lawal; Nigeria Union of Civil Service President Amaechi Lawrence (JNPSNC member) and General Secretary Issa Aremu.

The government team was led by the Head of Service of the Federation (HoCSF) Mrs. Folashade Yemi- Esan; Minister of Labour and Employment Chris Ngige; Minister of State for Employment Festus Keyamo; Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Williams Alo and the Acting Chairman, National Salaries Income and Wages Commission, Ekpo Nta.

The TUC confirmed the agreement in a statement by its President, Comrade Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary-General, Comrade Musa-Lawal Ozigi.

They said: “We commend the Head of Service of the federation, Dr. Folashade Yemi-Esan and her team for their sincerity.

“Though they argued that government cannot afford to meet our earlier demand of N30, 000 minimum wage across the board because of the economic situation in the country, we made them understand that some people cannot be more Nigerian than others.

“If we are tightening our belts, the government should also do so.

“By the agreement reached, the core civil servants:- GL 7 (23.2%), GL 8 -(20%), GL 9 – (19%), GL 10-14 – (16%) and GL 15-17 (14%).

“Others, GL -7 (23.2%) like above; 8-14 shall earn (16%) and 15-17 (10.5).

“As an organization and a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project, we believe that the parties have done well. We shifted grounds and that is why we were able to resolve things without major injuries. It is a win-win situation.

“This is a unique agreement and we promise to build on that by God’s grace.”

Speaking before the resumption of talks yesterday, Ngige urged both parties to conclude negotiations on the consequential adjustment for the full implementation of N30, 000 minimum wage to workers.

He urged them to fast track discussions and put an end to the minimum wage discussion.

The minister addressed reporters before the meeting started at about 8: 30pm.

Ngige said: “We have often repeated that the essence of that law was for the President to lift the vulnerable working force both in the private and public service.

“This is a national law and it must be obeyed by all, state government, local government and all persons concerned that employ more than 25 per cent in their organisation.

“We have decided to fast track discussions. We are fast-tracking it because we need to put an end to the issue of minimum wage till the next five year when it will come up again.

“We need to finalise this today (yesterday). The suspense is too much for the people. Even your constituency- workers, if we don’t conclude today, they will be thinking otherwise. They will start thinking that you have been compromised. Even on the government side, if we don’t conclude today, they will start saying you people are influencing us.

“This negotiation should be, in the spirit of give and take, in the spirit of one nation, end this thing. If we decide to empty the purse so that the nation will go broke, it will affect all of us. If we do give and take, look at government purse and know that this purse has been badly depleted, make some concession, it will be in the interest of Nigeria.”

Wabba said organised labour was ready to ensure that the negotiation on the consequential adjustment came to an end.

He said: “We are trying to see how we can conclude what we started yesterday. We on this side of the table we are ready to ensure that we bring the entire process to a conclusion.

“In the normal practice of collective bargaining, you look at issues from both sides, you look at the situation with workers, vis a viz their pockets and what will make the workers happy and very productive.

“If wishes were horses, we would have wished that this entire negotiation was concluded yesterday.”

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High-Profile Nigerians Threaten To Kill Me, Says EFCC Boss Abdulrasheed Bawa

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Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, says corruption does fight back, adding that he has been receiving death threats since he came on board as the chairman of the anti-graft agency.

He spoke on Tuesday when he featured in Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme.

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had in November 2016 said, “Corruption is fighting back vigorously”.

When asked on Tuesday if indeed corruption is fighting back, Bawa said, “Last week, I was in New York, as all Nigerians are aware of. A very senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation. What he (the caller) said to him on phone is that; he is going to kill the EFCC chairman, the young man.

“He said, ‘I am going to kill him. I am going to kill him. This is to tell you how bad it is. It is actually real. Corruption can fight back.”

When further asked if he meant he has been receiving death threats, the EFCC chairman said, “Yes”.

The President had in February 2021 named 40-year-old Bawa as the new EFCC chairman to replace the embattled ex-acting chairman of the anti-graft commission, Ibrahim Magu.

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Twitter Founder, Jack Dorsey, Liable For EndSARS Losses —– FG

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The Federal Government says Twitter and its founder, Jack Dorsey, are vicariously liable for the losses the country suffered during the EndSARS protest.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this on Tuesday when he featured on “Politics Nationwide,’’ a Radio Nigeria call-in programme monitored by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

Mohammed alleged that Dorsey raised funds through Bitcoins to sponsor the EndSARS protest while his platform, Twitter, was used to fuel the crisis.

He said when he made the allegations earlier, Nigerians did not take him seriously until an online media outfit carried out an investigation and fact-checking.

The minister said the online publication confirmed that Dorsey retweeted some of the posts by some of the coalitions supporting the EndSARS protest.

He said it was also confirmed that the Twitter founder launched fundraising asking people to donate via Bitcoins.

The minister said Dorsey further launched Emoji to make the EndSARS protest visible on the microblogging site.

He said Dorsey also retweeted the tweets of some foreign and local supporters of EndSARS.

“If you ask people to donate money via bitcoins for EndSARS protesters then you are vicariously liable for whatever is the outcome of the protest.

“We have forgotten that EndSARS led to the loss of lives, including 37 policemen, six soldiers, 57 civilians while property worth billions of naira were destroyed.

“164 police vehicles and 134 police stations were razed to the ground, 265 private corporate organizations were looted while 243 public property were looted.

“81 warehouses were looted while over 200 brand new buses bought by Lagos State Government were burnt to ashes,’’ he said.

The minister said it was unfair to conclude that the operation of Twitter was suspended indefinitely because it deleted President Muhammadu Buhari’s message.

He said the government was unambiguous that the action was taken because the platform was being used to promote the views of those who wanted to destabilize the country.

Mohammed added that Twitter consistently offered its platform to promote agendas that were inimical to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“Twitter has become a platform of choice for a particular separatist promoter.

“The promoter consistently used the platform to direct his loyalists to kill Nigerian soldiers and policemen, run-down INEC offices, and destroy all symbols of Nigeria’s sovereignty.

“Every attempt to persuade Twitter to deny its platform to this separatist leader was not taken seriously,’’ he said.

The minister said the Federal Government has no apology to offer to those unhappy over the suspension of Twitter’s operations in the country.

He said a country must exist in peace before people could exercise freedom of speech and fight for a source of livelihood.

(NAN)

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Outrage As FG Demolishes 12 Lagos Churches On Alleged Illegal Plots

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There has been outrage over the demolition of 12 churches on 2nd Avenue, FESTAC Town, Lagos State, by officials of the Federal Housing Authority.

It was learnt that the demolition started around 5 am and continued till around 3 pm.

The leader of the Gate of Righteousness Evangelical International Church, Pastor Joshua Obong, said he started his ministry in the community 18 years ago and wondered why his church was targeted for demolition.

He said, “The officials first came last week and started marking our buildings. After they were done, they left and returned two days later. That was when they gave us a seven-day notice, which expired last Wednesday.

“On Sunday morning, around 5 am, we suddenly saw bulldozers at the First Gate, FESTAC Town. They got to my church at exactly 11 am; they demolished all the churches along the road, except the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Communion Chapel and CPM, which they spared. All other churches were brought down.”

Obong said there was no other warning prior to the seven-day notice.

He claimed that the government took advantage of the strike action by judicial workers, adding that nobody could approach the court for injunctions to stop the demolition.

“We wrote to them, seeking extension of time, but the letter was not even acknowledged,” he added.

The Overseer of Christ Gospel Church International, Pastor William Ehiorenren, said a senior government official had advised them to send a lawyer to Abuja to sort out the matter.

He stated, “He promised that they would not touch any church till the lawyer returned. Our lawyer was still in Abuja when they came on Sunday, a day of service, and demolished our churches. The lawyer called all their staff members, but they switched off their phones.

“We heard that they want to re-allocate the land and sell to moneybags and make millions. I have not seen where seven days would be given for people to vacate their property.

“We have been in that area for years and we spent millions of naira in building our churches. They could not even give us time to move, because they had mapped out their evil plan to sell the land to people.”

Ehiorenren said his church usually paid tenancy rates to landlords, who he claimed had legal claims to the land.

The cleric accused the government of leaving certain churches because their leaders had political connections.

He explained that his church was not served any notice of demolition.

The Deputy Director, Social Security, and Intergovernmental Relations, Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, Lagos State, Pastor Barnabas Otoibhi, said 12 churches were demolished by the government.

He explained that the owners of the churches cleared a swamp and built their structures, adding that the affected worship centers had been in the community for between 13 and 20 years.

According to him, the government accused the pastors of “encroachment and erecting illegal structures.”

Otoibhi, however, queried why the demolition was carried out without adequate notice and while some of the occupants were asleep.

He said, “We are wondering why the government would do this on a Sunday. Are they now working on Sundays? Is it the government that is doing this or somebody that is powerful in government or a politician is behind this?

“The notice they sent to them, they called it final notice, without serving them any previous letter. We asked that they should be given time. We were discussing this when the bulldozers came in on Sunday morning. The first church was pulled down at exactly 5.45 am.

Aside from the churches, they also cleared those selling cars in that line. Only a few buildings were spared.”

The cleric said a protest was planned for today (Tuesday) to kick against the “shabby manner” in which the churches were treated.

The Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, did not take his calls or respond to a text message from our correspondent over the matter.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, FHA, Senator Gbenga Ashafa, did not take his calls, which rang out several times.

However, an official of the agency, who did not identify himself, said the government would address the matter during a press conference on Wednesday.

He explained that the government was in the process of restoring FESTAC Town to its original plan.

“Ask those people for their letters of allocation and approved building plans. They don’t have them. So, if you have been staying on somebody’s land illegally for over 15 years, how does the person owe you adequate notice? What notice are they talking about?” he queried.

 

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