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Lagos Doctors Reject New Minimum Wage

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Doctors in Lagos State, under the aegis of Medical Guild, have rejected the new minimum wage paid to workers by the state government, saying it is below the expectations of civil servants.

Dr. Babajide Saheed, Chairman of the Guild, made the doctors’ decision known on Monday at a media briefing on the Scientific Conference scheduled to hold on December 3 and 4, in Lagos. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Medical Guild is the association of doctors under the employment of the Lagos State Government.

Saheed said that not only was the new minimum wage unacceptable, the Guild was not part of the negotiations which was communicated to the government, adding that it was still awaiting a response.

“You cannot be talking about our salary when we are not there; and when workers started receiving their salaries over the weekend, they were disappointed and unhappy.

“Not only the doctors but generally, all the civil servants because the increment was unimaginable and short of expectations.

“The problem we have identified is high taxation.

“No matter the amount of increment in the minimum wage, which makes the gross high, but the take-home after-tax reductions is peanuts.

“Government should look at that issue and let workers have the benefits of the new minimum wage, and we hope that the state government will listen,” he said.

Saheed called for the exemption of tax on-call duty paid to doctors, saying it would lighten the tax burden on members of the Guild, as was the practice during the administration of former Gov. Bola Tinubu.

He also called for a review in the retirement age of medical doctors to 65 years, adding that the same had been done for teachers. The chairman said that to address issues of shortage of medical personnel, exit replacement of staff should be done in phases, with about 25 percent done by the end of 2019.

According to him, the remaining 75 percent should be done before the end of the first quarter of 2020.

“This is to reduce the pressure of physical and mental exertion on health workers,” Saheed said. He said that improvement in the welfare of workers would stem the current brain drain affecting the sector. Saheed said that incentives like car and housing loans would help to boost morale in the health sector.

Also, Dr Saliu Oseni, Lagos State Chairman of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), urged the public to treat health workers with respect. Oseni said that the government should be held responsible and accountable for problems of service delivery in the health sector and not the workers.

He as well appealed to the Nigerian Police to desist from harassing and arresting medical doctors over the deaths of patients, saying the issue might discourage doctors from treating patients if not stopped.

Meanwhile, Mr. Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, Director, Public Affairs Department, the State Ministry of Health, when contacted by NAN, said that he could not respond to the Guild’s rejection of the new minimum wage.

Ogunbanwo, who claimed that he just heard about the issue, said that the Commissioner for Health could not also respond to the issue.

(NAN)

BIG STORY

Pastor Arrested For Raping, Impregnating Daughter Three Times, Procures Illegal Abortion For Her

Gbemileke Ajayi

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A 44-year-old pastor of Christ Apostolic Church, Ogo-Oluwa parish, Oluwafemi Oyebola, has been arrested by the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly raping, impregnating and procuring abortion for his daughter three times.

It was gathered that the cleric had been living with his daughter since his wife, the victim’s mother, died a few years ago.

He was arrested following a complaint by his daughter at the Owode-Egbado Divisional Police Headquarters.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the incident in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the victim told the police that her father had been forcefully having carnal knowledge of her since 2015 when she was 19-year-old shortly after the demise of her mother.

The PPRO said, “The victim further reported that she got pregnant for her father three times after which her father took her to a nurse where those pregnancies were aborted.

“After the third abortion, the suspect did family planning for her so she would not get pregnant again.”

Oyeyemi said the victim, upon realising that her father was out to ruin her life, ran away from the house and reported to a non-governmental organisation, Advocacy for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network.

“Consequent upon which she was taken to the Owode-Egbado Police Station to complain.

“After the report, the DPO Owode-Egbado division, SP Olabisi Elebute, led her detectives to the pastor’s house where he was promptly arrested.

“During interrogation, the suspect made confessional statements that all his daughter said was nothing but the whole truth,” the police spokesman added.

The PPRO noted that the state Commissioner of Police, Kenneth Ebrimson, had ordered the immediate transfer of the suspect to the anti-human trafficking and child labour unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for further investigation and prosecution.

In a related development, a Senior Magistrates’ Court in Port Harcourt on Monday remanded a 26-year-old man, Kelechi Nwankwo, in a correctional facility for defiling an eight-year-old pupil at his residence at Elele, Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State.

The accused, it was learnt, was a private home tutor of the victim before he allegedly committed the crime on June 23, 2020, at his house in Elele, where he coached schoolchildren.

It was gathered that the accused allegedly inserted his finger into the girl’s private parts when he was alone with her.

The police prosecutor, Ochogwu Wilberforce, told the court that the offence was punishable under Section 218 of the Criminal Code Cap. 37 Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,1999.

The charge read, “That you, Kelechi Nwankwo, on June 23, 2020, at Elele Town in Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, but triable in the Port Harcourt Magisterial District, did unlawfully have carnal knowledge of one (name withheld) aged 8, by inserting your finger into her vagina, thereby committing an offence punishable under Section 218 of the Criminal Code Cap. 37 Vol. II, Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria,1999.”

The Senior Magistrate, Lenu Baridam, declined jurisdiction in the matter and referred the case file to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions for legal advice.

The magistrate, however, ordered the accused be remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service facility and adjourned till September 9, 2020.

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PHOTOS: Terminal Empty, Passengers Low As Lagos Airport Reopens

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The Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA 2) re-opened for domestic flights on Wednesday amid poor passengers turn out.

As early as 6.00 am, airport workers, airline personnel, and security officials were already at their duty posts but only a few passengers showed up at the departure hall.

The departure hall remained scanty as the few passengers filed through security and health checks.

Airline counters expecting passengers include: Max Air, which scheduled its Lagos / Abuja flight for 7.00 am with flight number VM1640; another flight for 11.20 VM 1644 and its last flight for 15.35 with flight number VM 1642.

Information obtained from the flight display terminal at MMA 2 did not give updates on whether the flights would proceed on account of poor passenger turnout.

Another carrier: Ibom Air, which scheduled its flight for 11.00 with flight number Z4300, is not sure to embark on the flight.

The staff of DANA Air, who opened counters at MMA 2, said they will not operate any flight.

A source hinted that Aero Contractors, which opened their counters also at MMA 2, will not operate any flight.

At the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) where Arik Air and Air Peace operate, passengers turnout was more encouraging as the carriers operated flight on the Lagos / Abuja route.

Amid tight security and health checks, personnel of both carriers were busy attending to passengers.

At the GAT, Air Peace opened many counters attending to passengers.

Air Peace plans three flights with schedules for 10.30 am; 2.30 pm and 5.30 pm.

 

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Corruption Allegations: Police Comb Magu’s House, As Suspended EFCC Boss Spends Second Night In Custody

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Some policemen attached to the Force Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department on Tuesday searched the home of the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu.

Also on Tuesday, the Justice Ayo Salami Presidential Panel, which interrogated Magu on Monday over allegations of corruption, again quizzed the suspended EFCC boss.

The suspended EFCC boss, who was detained by the police after Monday’s interrogation, was returned to the police custody at 8:30pm on Tuesday.

But earlier at 6pm, policemen searched Magu’s house located on Abduljalil Street, Karu Site, on the outskirts of Abuja and made away with vital documents.

The policemen, who carried out the search, were said to be the same ones who arrested Magu on Monday.

A police officer, who confided in The PUNCH, said, “On Tuesday evening, a team of policemen stormed the home of Magu in Karu. That is the house where Magu used to live before he moved to Maitama after his appointment as EFCC chairman.

“The policemen made away with some items and everything will be processed as investigations continue.”

It was learnt that at 8: 30p.m. Magu was driven from the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa venue of the panel’s sitting back to the Force Criminal Investigation Bureau where he passed the night on Monday.

“Yes. Magu has returned to police custody. He left the venue of the panel’s sitting at 8:30 pm and was driven back to the same police facility where he was detained on Monday,” a source told one of our correspondents on Tuesday evening.

It was gathered that before the presidential panel resumed its sitting on Tuesday, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), had suspended Magu.

It was gathered that Magu was suspended to allow the Salami panel to do its job without interference from the EFCC boss.

Magu was accosted by security agents in front of the old EFCC headquarters on Fomella Street, Wuse 2, Abuja, at noon on Monday, and taken to the Presidential Villa, where he was quizzed by the panel for six hours over 24 allegations.

It was reported on Tuesday that most of the allegations against Magu emanated from a report by the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and a report of the Department of State Services, which was submitted to the Senate in 2016 and 2017.

Among others, the suspended EFCC boss was accused of living above his means, fraternising with corrupt persons and diverting recovered funds.

When the panel resumed sitting at noon on Tuesday at the old Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja like what happened on Monday, security operatives stopped State House reporters from gaining access into the venue.

Confirming Magu’s suspension, a source told The PUNCH, “It is commonsensical that when an investigation of this nature is ongoing, you don’t allow the person being investigated to keep the keys of the office for which he is being investigated.

“This is because if he keeps the keys, there can be a kind of tampering with documents or evidence. It is not logical and it is even undemocratic to allow such to happen.”

The Presidency has yet to issue a formal statement on the issue as of the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, there are strong indications that the Director of Operations at the anti-graft commission, Abba Mohammed, may take over the affairs of the agency pending the appointment of Magu’s replacement.

A source said, “Deputy Commissioner of Police Mohammed, who is the director of operations, is expected to take over the running of the EFCC in acting capacity pending the appointment of a replacement for Magu.”

Meanwhile, pressure groups have been reportedly positioning various candidates for the EFCC top job.

It was learnt that some people had been pushing for the appointment of a former commissioner of police who arrested some politicians during the 2019 elections in the North-West.

Meanwhile, a top government official on Tuesday said the various allegations levelled against Magu were too weighty to be ignored.

The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not directed to address the press, said under the regime of Buhari nobody was above scrutiny.

He said whoever occupied an elevated position such as that of the EFCC chairman must be above suspicion.

The government official said, “The panel investigating allegations against the acting EFCC chairman had been sitting for some weeks now.

“Under the Muhammadu Buhari administration, nobody is above scrutiny. I repeat nobody. The investigation is to reinforce transparency and accountability, rather than to vitiate them.”

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