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Ngige: Why Doctors Are Still Being Paid N5,000 As Hazard Allowance

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Chris Ngige, minister of labour, says doctors in the country are being paid N5,000 as hazard allowance because they have not called for a review of the amount.

The doctors had embarked on an indefinite strike on April 1, owing to the federal government’s failure to pay their owed allowances and salaries.

Speaking during an NTA programme on Wednesday, the minister said the last review of the hazard allowance was done in 2009.

“The hazard allowance for medical doctors came on board in 1991 under circular 1 of 1991. There were three of us that wrote that circular. I was there as deputy director,” he said.

“The director constituted us into a committee on this because the minister then was waiting for this document.

“That was when your hazard came and since then the other medical persons agitated to get into that N5,000 — nurses, midwives, radiologist — people started coming into that N5,000 from that 1991, implementation started in 1992.

“The last group of people that came in I think was in 2009. That was when it was reviewed for everybody to have N5,000.

“NMA because they are the parent body abdicated their responsibilities and ran away because other people have come into N5,000. They did not make any move now to ask for that allowance to be reviewed and adjusted. They are now sharing it with other people.”

Ngige said he was not aware that the doctors were still being paid N5,000 as hazard allowance until the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I didn’t even know it was still N5,000 until we started COVID and when I mentioned it in the economic sustainability committee, both the minister of finance and the vice-president said N,5000 for somebody working in a health sector? It is criminal. The vice-president is a lawyer, finance minister is an accountant,” he said.

“They told me: you have to do something. Please we leave it to you. I convened the meeting immediately in my house under COVID and we gave them a special COVID hazard allowance that was up to 1,000 per cent of N5,000.

“Some people went home for the three months with N600,000, that is N200,000 a month, some N300,000. My professor friend and classmate told me it was a hazard that protected him through the ASUU strike, that he got N350,000 every month.

“So government paid N32 billion for three months. What was in the COVID budget for it was N20 billion. We started paying and we couldn’t go round, and I had to make a special case, fought in the economic sustainability committee because there is no money and the minister of finance had to go outside the COVID budget of N500 billion to get another N12 billion for the payment. That is N32 billion.”

Meanwhile, Uyilawa Okhuaihesuyi, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) president, who also featured on the programme, said the federal government has not shown sincerity in honouring the memorandum of action (MoA) it signed with the union.

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BREAKING: Ex-Minister Aisha Al-Hassan ‘Mama Taraba’ Is Dead

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Aisha Jummai Al-Hassan, popularly known as Mama Taraba is dead.

She died at 61.

Alhassan reportedly died from an unknown illness.

She was a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) before defecting to the United Democratic Party (UDP) in September 2018.

She decamped after resigning from the Buhari administration.

Details Later…

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Oil License: Reps Issue 14 Days Ultimatum To NNPC, Threatens To Summon Buhari

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The House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) has given the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) 14 days ultimatum to appear before it. Should the NNPC fail to appear, the committee said, it will summon the Minister of Petroleum, President Muhammadu Buhari.

According to Premium Times, The committee is investigating the revocation and reversal order on the operating licenses of OML 123, 124, 126, and 137.

The oil assets have been the subject of dispute between Chinese-owned oil companies and the federal government. The dispute led to the revocation and restoration of the mining licenses by the Buhari administration.

On Thursday, NNPC, Addax Petroleum Exploration Nigeria Ltd, Kaztech Engineering Ltd, and Salvic Petroleum Resources Ltd all failed to appear before the committee. However, the Minister of Petroleum (State), Timipriye Sylva, and the Director of Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), Sarki Auwalu, appeared before the committee.

Myrki Adar (APC, Sokoto), the chairman of the committee, issued the ultimatum and expressed readiness to summon the president if the Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Mele Kyari, should fail to appear before the panel.

He disclosed that the NNPC sent a letter to the committee that the matter was at the Supreme Court. However, Mr Sylva disputed the claim that the matter was in court.

While issuing the ultimatum, Mr Adar said the panel will not hesitate to summon the president, since he is the petroleum minister.

“Our message to all those that fail to appear before us as invited namely the NNPC, Addax petroleum company limited, Kaztech engineering ltd and Salvic petroleum resources limited.

“We are giving them two weeks from today. We would reschedule this meeting from now to two weeks to appear before this committee and continue our business.

“Unless they want us to invite President Muhammadu Buhari as minister of petroleum. If they do not come, we will not hesitate. Buhari is a minister. He appointed himself, approved by the parliament and he is doing his job. We would invite him. And I know as a law-abiding president he would come. If he comes, Nigerians should know that it is the failure of the NNPC to come that led him to appear before us.”

Background

On April 6, the DPR revoked four oil assets belonging to Addax, now owned by Sinopec, a Chinese state oil company.

A presidential panel headed by a former senator, Magnus Abe, had accused the oil company of “economic wastages.”

The DPR revoked the four Oil Mining Leases (OMLs) citing the inability of the firm to comply with agreed terms.

The assets were re-awarded to two indigenous companies; Kaztec Engineering Limited/Salvic Petroleum Resources Limited (KEL/Salvic) Consortium.

Less than two weeks later, the federal government in a statement by the spokesperson to the President, Garba Shehu, restored the mining right of OMLs 123, 124, 126, and 137 to the NNPC which has a Production Sharing Contract with Addax Petroleum; thus reversing its operations back to Addax.

Aborted motion
Last week, a motion to investigate the matter was listed on the Order Paper of the House.

The motion was in the name of Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta). However, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, asked the motion to be stepped down.

The motion was stepped down and not considered by the House.

Minister Speaks

On Thursday, Mr Sylva said the NNPC wrote a counter-memo against his memo on the Addax assets. He added that he is yet to recognize the restoration order issued by NNPC.

“I wrote a memo to Mr President and it was approved, and NNPC wrote another memo against my memo.

“Having said that, the issue at hand is that no law was breached at all as far as Addax affairs are concerned. I am also not aware of any matter at the Supreme Court on this particular matter. I have just consulted the director of the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) who also told me that he is not aware.

“The matter of Addax was not commenced by me, this asset has been sub-optimally managed from the beginning of the acquisition to this moment, it has not been optimally operated.

“When Sinopec group acquired this asset from Addax, production was 130,000 barrel per day, as at today, we struggle to produce 35,000 barrel per day, from this asset, because there are no new investments, and the asset has progressively declined. We believe that with the requisite investment, we would have probably taken the asset to beyond 130,000 barrels per day.

“Obviously, there was an issue of mismanagement of the asset. Now, in the wisdom of the attorney general of the federation, he wrote to the president to say that this asset has not been properly managed. The letter was forwarded to me by Mr President for me to review,” he said.

He added that “NNPC is not in a position to withdraw a revocation or advise the withdrawal or revocation.”

President Buhari is the substantive minister for petroleum and has been since 2015. However, back in December 2020, the Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, had said that the National Assembly cannot summon the President.

 

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Probe Begins Monday As FG Suspends NPA Managing Director, Bala-Usman

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The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has suspended the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala-Usman, sources familiar with the development said on Thursday.

It was learnt that a panel of inquiry had been constituted to look into the matter that prompted her suspension, as well as other concerns. The panel begins its work on Monday.

It was, however, not clear what necessitated the suspension of the NPA boss, who was only reappointed in January this year by Buhari.

Senior staff members of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the parent ministry of the authority, confirmed the development but insisted that there was no official statement on the matter yet.

The spokesperson of the ministry, Eric Ojiekwe, could not be reached for comments on the development, as he did not answer calls when contacted on Thursday night.

Bala-Usman was first appointed as the managing director of the NPA in 2016 and was reappointed in January this year for another five years.

On Wednesday, the suspended NPA boss led her organization to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Bureau of Statistics and the Nigerian Ports Authority to commence the production of statistical information and data analytics on port-related activities..

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