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Kaduna labour crisis: Federal Government wades in as NLC threatens general strike

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The Federal Government, yesterday, called on NLC and Kaduna state government to amicably resolve their grievances following the industrial dispute and picketing which has crippled economic activities in the state. The government appealed to both parties to return to dialogue to end the industrial dispute.

There is palpable tension as Labour’s five-day warning strike to protest the sack of workers by Governor Nasir el-Rufai entered its second day yesterday with no end in sight.

Hence, Labour and Employment Minister, Dr. Chris Ngige, appealed to El-Rufai, NLC President Ayuba Wabba, as well as President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Quadri Olaleye, to immediately cease-fire.

The minister reacted to the ongoing issue through a released statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Charles Akpan, the statement reads:

“We are not unaware of what is going on in Kaduna. It is a labour issue, which has snowballed into a national strike. We hope and pray the state governor not escalate matters to such a level where it becomes uncontrollable. We also appeal to the leaders of the labour unions to step down the action to make way for discussion.”

He pleaded to all workers on essential duties, including doctors and nurses, not to join the strike.

Meanwhile, Governor EL-RUFAI, yesterday sacked Kaduna State University’s lecturers who joined the strike. A statement by his spokesman, Muyiwa Adekeye, said any academic staff of KASU that does not report for work will be dismissed.

He gave a directive to the management to submit a copy of the attendance register for all categories of staff daily to the Secretary to the State Government and the Commissioner of Education. Also, all Ministries, Department and Agencies must tender daily copies of the attendance register to the Head of Service.

The El-Rufai administration vowed to reform and right-size the public service to meet the needs and resources of the state even if the strike continues indefinitely.

Organised labour, yesterday, dared the governor despite threats made to the NLC President and other members of the union. The labour leader also dared el-Rufai to come and arrest him after he was declared wanted by the governor.

“It is not about me. We are here and waiting for them,” the NLC President said in a telephone chat moments after el-Rufai declared him wanted for economic sabotage.

El-Rufai, in a tweet on Tuesday, said: “Ayuba Wabba & others of @NLCHeadquarters declared wanted for economic sabotage and attacks on public infrastructure under Miscellaneous Offences Act. Anyone that knows where he is hiding should send a message to @MOJKaduna. KDSG. There will be a handsome reward!”

In another tweet, he said: “The reform of the size, cost and quality of over-bloated, inefficient and barely educated public service is at stake here. We will neither retreat nor concede to any thoughtless and corrupt political hacks ever!”

THE Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) might shut down all power installations nationwide tomorrow (Thursday) night over the industrial crisis rocking Kaduna. General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajaero, said though there has been no electricity in Kaduna since Sunday, the blackout is likely going to be extended to the whole country if the governor insists on the planned mass sack of workers in the state.

This follows the directive of the NLC, which said the warning strike will be extended to the whole country if the governor does not halt the mass sack by the end of this Friday. Ajaero insisted that the organised labour would perform its function of protecting the interests of the working people.

However, the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has called on the Federal Government to immediately call el-Rufai to order before his arrogance and power-drunk ego push the situation into the calamitous end as he has been doing in all issues relating to human life and wellbeing.

NUPENG warned that if any harm is inflicted on any of the members of organised labour, the leadership of the union would not hesitate to call on its members across the nation for a total shutdown of services in the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of the oil and gas industry.

A lawyer on labour matters, Paul Omoijiade, said the governor was displaying his limitations. He said the issue of industrial conflict was not within the ambit of the police but should be handled within the trade dispute Act.

“If the NLC president is arrested, it can result to the industrial crisis. The unions are enough to bring the state to a halt. El-Rufai needs to bring his thinking cap and go to the negotiation table,” he said.

Also, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has advised the Kaduna governor to resolve the dispute with labour leaders amicably. Chairman of the Forum, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, said: “Noting all the challenges facing all our states, especially given dwindling revenue, we appeal to all patriotic Nigerians, including the NLC, to demonstrate more commitment toward engaging governments at all levels to address problems.”

“This is not the time for muscle-flexing. Nigerians are already overstretched with many challenges. At this critical point of our democratic journey, there cannot be limits to engagement between all governments and citizens. We appeal to both the State Government and NLC to return to the negotiating table.”

A staunch critic of the governor, Senator Shehu Sani yesterday lamented the use of armed thugs to disrupt workers peaceful protest in Kaduna, saying the action stands unreservedly condemnable. He recalled that the ruling party had enjoyed the freedom and rights to protest when they were in opposition, advising the All Progressives Congress (APC) to be tolerant of dissent and criticism.

Likewise, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has urged the Kaduna governor, to immediately end the growing crackdown on workers and protesters in his state.

In a statement signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said El-Rufai and Kaduna authorities must end the harassment and intimidation of NLC leaders and withdraw the illegal statement declaring Wabba and other NLC leaders ‘wanted’.

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Politics

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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