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Nigeria Labour Congress draws battle lines, warns against salary slash

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Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday warned the Federal Government against slash of workers’ salaries in its plan to cut down personnel cost in view of the cash crunch facing the country.

Organized Labour Congress and the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria threatened that any attempt to reduce workers’ pay would be suicidal.

The union revealed that if the government is desirous of reducing its bloated payroll, it should slash the fat remuneration and allowances of political office holders “who do very little but collect so much.’’

Recall that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, at the policy dialogue on corruption and cost of governance organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission in Abuja on Tuesday, said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) had directed the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission to review the government payroll.

The event had in attendance the Director-General of the Budget Office, Ben Akabueze disclosed that the cost of governance under the Buhari regime had risen sharply from N3.61tn in 2015 to N5.26tn in 2018 and N7.91tn in 2020.

There were reports on making rounds on Wednesday that the review planned by government would lead to slashing of workers’ salaries.

But the minister’s Special Adviser on Media and Communications, Yunusa Abdullahi, in an interview with Journalists disclosed that the review would not lead to salary reduction.

He added that the government was working at ensuring pay parity among staff under its employ in various agencies.

Abdullahi, said, “Government is not thinking of cutting wages, rather salary harmonisation. There are some government agencies who pay much higher than other agencies for staff at the same grade level. So if you like, it’s more of a pay parity.

“What government hopes to achieve is to redistribute wages equally across board. So, the (finance) minister’s thesis and mandate of the President is: ‘let’s bring our salary structure within government agencies as close or as equal as possible.”

Also in a statement on Wednesday titled ‘Workers to earn more as FG seeks pay parity, says finance minister,’ Abdullahi said the aim of the payroll review directive given by the Federal Government which the minister mentioned was to achieve salary harmonisation, not reduction.

Despite the minister’s aide explanations, the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in a statement on Wednesday titled, ‘We have no more blood to bleed: Organised labour in Nigeria condemns and rejects plans to slash the salaries of Nigerian workers,’ berated Ahmed.

He urged government to respond to the demands by Labour for an upward review of salaries of all workers.

He stated, “It is most unthinkable that government would be contemplating to unilaterally slash the salaries of Nigerian workers at this time. The question to ask is ‘which salary is government planning to slash?’ It certainly cannot be the meagre national minimum wage of N30,000 which right now cannot even buy a bag of rice. The proposed slash in salaries is certainly not targeted at the minimum wage and consequential adjustment in salaries that some callous state governors are still dragging their feet to pay.

“It is public knowledge that the multiple devaluation of the Naira in a very short time and the prevailing high inflation rate in Nigeria have knocked out the salaries earned by Nigerian workers across board. Nigerian workers are only surviving by hair’s breadth. Indeed, Nigerian workers are miracles strutting on two legs. It is, therefore, extremely horrendous for a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pronounce salary slash for Nigerian workers at this time.’’

“This call for salary slash by Mrs Zainab Ahmed is tantamount to a “mass suicide” wish for Nigerian workers. It is most uncharitable, most insensitive, most dehumanizing and most barbaric. Nigerian workers demand an immediate retraction and apology by the minister of finance.”

In his reaction, the ASCSN president, Dr Tommy Etim admonished the government to cut salaries of political office holders, adding that National Assembly members should sit on a part-time basis.

He said, “The government should reduce the pay of political office holders, the pay cut should begin with the political office holders. Not only that, let them also come up with a law that will make National Assembly to be on a part-time basis. Their sitting should be on a part-time basis because the chunk of money goes to them.

“So, it would be better if the government looks towards that direction and leaves the civil service alone. A civil servant is responsible for more than five family members by African tradition extended family system. So, how do you expect them to survive on N30,000 minimum wage? Some states are not even paying. I mean, it is absurd for any government to contemplate pay cut for workers at this point.’’

Also some civil rights groups condemned the Federal Government. The Convener of Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju, said the political office holders should cut the cost of governance.

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Oyetola To Aregbesola: We’re Proud Of You, You Performed Well As Gov, You’re Doing Well As Minister; Those Calling For Nigeria Break-up Ignorant, Says Aregbe 

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The Governor of Osun State, Adegboyega Oyetola has stated that the state is proud of its former Governor and Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola. 

 

Oyetola spoke in Ilesa on Saturday, 5 June, 2021 at an event marking the 64th birthday celebration of the Minister.

 

He noted that the former Governor of the state performed very well while ruling the state and still performing as the Minister Of Interior.

 

Oyetola who was represented at the event by the state Commissioner for Political Affairs and Inter-governmental Relations, Mr Taiwo Akeju, said: “You performed very well in the State of Osun and you are performing well as the Minister of Interior. We are very proud of you.”

 

The events celebrating the 64th birthday of the Minister included the presentation of a book titled “The Rauf I Know “, written by a journalist, Mr Dayo Olanipekun. Mr Olanipekun covered him as state house correspondent for the Broadcasting Corporation of Osun State (OSBC) in his two terms as governor.

 

Speaking later, Ogbeni Aregbesola warned that it would take 50 years for Nigeria to recover from another civil war.

 

He therfore warned Nigerians to desist from any act capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity, describing those calling for the separation of the country as ignorant.

 

Ogbeni Aregbesola said: “Those calling for Nigeria’s break-up are ignorant. Every Nigerian should work for Nigeria’s unity and development.

 

“It will take Nigeria 50 years to recover from civil war. Whoever likes women and children should not support, but rather condemn any call of separation and conduct capable of threatening Nigeria’s unity.

 

“Nigeria is a country created by God for us and for the black race.

 

“I am not saying everything that is happening in Nigeria is good. We should treat the problems and challenges facing Nigerians, not calling for her break-up. Decapitation is not the antidote for headache”.

 

Aregbesola also declared support for a new caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), The Osun Progressives (TOP), saying that he is in support of any move to consolidate progressives legacies in the State of Osun, strengthen the party from the polling units, wards and local government levels and strengthen internal democracy in the party, which are clearly stated in the objectives and mission of TOP.

 

In his address, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, said that Aregbesola’s legacy in the development of the State will forever linger in the sands of time.

 

The Ooni of Ife who spoke via Zoom noted that the State of Osun and its people cannot forget Aregbesola as his achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish.

 

“We will forever remember him. Your work will never cease to reflect in the sands of time. It is during his tenure that landmark achievements occurred in Osun which we cannot forget.

 

“We can never forget you. Your achievements are beyond what anyone can rubbish. We are proud of you and what you represent.”

 

The Registrar of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board (JAMB), Prof Ishaq Oloyede, who delivered a lecture titled “Power is responsibility” at the event, urged Nigerian political leaders to be responsible with power.

 

Oloyede who was represented by Dr Wahab Oyedokun, tasked politicians to operate with ideology that address people’s yearnings.

 

Speaking at the event, Chief Mrs Tokunbo-Awolowo Dosumu, daughter of the late sage, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, said Aregbesola is among the few Nigerian politicians that identify with and promote Awolowo’s legacy.

According to Dosumu, Aregbesola has always been committed to all the activities of Awolowo Foundation, describing him as an exemplary leader.

 

Politicians, traditional rulers, trade union groups and people from all walks of life from the state and across the country graced the occasion, while others spoke via zoom.

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UPDATED: NECO Registrar died of heart failure, not assassinated – says Official

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The Registrar of National Examinations Council (NECO), Prof. Godswill Obioma has been confirmed dead.

The late NECO Registrar reportedly died on Monday night in his sleep in his Minna residence.

The Director, Human resources of the examination body, Abdul Mustapha confirmed the death of the NECO boss, he dismissed viral media reports that Prof. Godswill Obioma was assassinated, says he died in his sleep as a result of heart failure.

Mr. Mustapha disclosed communication from Obioma’s second son, Prince Godswill Obioma, informing him of the death of his father thus:

“Mustapha K. Abdul (Director Human Resource Management, NECO),

“Dear Sir, this is to formally inform you that my father, Prof. Godswill Obioma, the Registrar/Chief Executive of NECO passed to eternal glory yesterday 31/5/2021 after a brief illness.

“We request that you kindly notify the Board, Management and the entire staff of the Council of this development.

“We shall keep you duly informed.

“Prince Godswill Obioma the 2nd, for the family.”

The release of the conversation between the deceased son and Mustapha contradicted some reports in some online and social media platforms alleging that the NECO boss was assassinated in his Minna residence by some unknown gunmen.

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INSECURITY: Arewa Consultative Forum directs Northerners to boycott Southeast

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The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has directed Northerners to boycott traveling to Southeast as a result of the level of insecurity in the region.

The warning under the guise of a statement was issued by the National Chairman of ACF, Audu Ogbe, on Monday, May 31. He expressed concern over increasing attacks and killings of northern residents in the southeast or those visiting the zone. He said the travel advisory was issued while taking into cognizance the killings of northern leaders in 1966, which he said triggered the events that led to the civil war.

“ACF issues a very strong advisory to all northerners who may wish to travel to the southeast. Northerners should weigh the importance and necessity of such travels. Unless such trips are absolutely necessary and of compelling nature, like matters of life and death, they should not be made.”the statement in part read

The travel advisory comes barely 24 hours after former presidential aide, Ahmed Gulak, was murdered by IPOB members in Imo state.

 

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