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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

FFK’s Admission Into APC, A Symbolic Presidential Amnesty – Kayode Ajulo

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FFK’s Admission Into APC, A Symbolic Presidential Amnesty – Kayode Ajulo

Dr. Kayode Ajulo, a legal practitioner, has described Femi Fani – Kayode’s (FFK) admission into the APC as a ‘symbolic presidential amnesty’, considering his past attacks on President Muhammadu Buhari.

Ajulo said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja, against the backdrop of FFK’s recent defection to the APC.

He said the APC was magnanimous to have received FFK, irrespective of the fact that some persons including some party members might not be happy with the development.

”FFK’s past attacks on President Buhari and the APC had unwittingly influenced passions in some quarters, for armed and unarmed agitations against the President and the Nigerian state.”

Fani Kayode-Crystal News

Fani Kayode-Crystal News

He recalled that FFK had suggested on different occasions with his tweets, that the APC government was filled with terrorists.

Ajulo, however, said that the commendable magnanimity of President Buhari to FFK should be extended to various agitators across the country as a basis for amnesty.

According to him, amnesty in this context is not to be viewed from the strict standpoint of legal knowledge, rather the ordinary meaning is desirable.

“For our immediate purpose, therefore, amnesty means forgiveness, cessation of remembrance of wrong, leniency, and mercy,” he said.

READ ALSO: APC Postpones State Congresses, Announces New Date

He stated that it might not be wrong to state that the symbolic ‘amnesty’ granted to FFK by the President and the APC almost came on a platter of gold.

“The symbolism by the President signposts the fact that the vilest of ‘sinner’ in his lucid moment of thorough reflections, can be granted safe passage toward the “mercy seat,” he said.

Ajulo admitted that FFK is misunderstood man and has a controversial personality.

According to him, haven been given the benefit of ‘eating his cake and having it, the same level of understanding, leniency, and mercy should be extended to his allies.

He said some of the agitations by secessionists had not gone without the open endorsement and support of FFK.

He advised FFK to totally divest himself of his divisive un-nationalistic past.

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Sanwo-Olu Seeks Innovative Solutions For Cardiovascular Disease Patients

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has tasked the Nigeria Cardiac Society, (NCS) to develop innovative solutions and reinvent methods to reach out to patients with cardiovascular diseases in Nigeria.

Sanwo-Olu, represented by Dr Olusegun Ogboye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Lagos state, made the call at the 50th anniversary and scientific conference of the NCS in Lagos.

The theme of the conference was : “Delivering Cardiovascular Care in Emergency and Disaster Situations”.

”Science and technology has successfully made life easier and better through several inventions and innovations, such as telemedicine and use of artificial intelligence in the health sector.

“As we are aware, people with underlying health issues such as cardiovascular diseases, are more at risk of the severity of COVID-19 complications.

”The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed in 2016 that non-communicable diseases are estimated to account for 29 per cent of all deaths in Nigeria.

”With cardiovascular diseases being responsible for 11 per cent of these deaths and also responsible for a high burden of morbidity and disability leading to strokes and others.

“These statistics serve as a pointer to the fact that cardiovascular diseases have somewhat dire consequences when not properly and closely monitored,” Sanwo-Olu said.

He said that in Lagos state telemedicine has been integrated into our health care system.
“It is one of the innovations we have embraced from the lessons COVID-19 has taught the world.

“I remain proud of all the great strides and achievements of the society, being the first cardiac society to perform an open heart surgery in black Africa.

“This society has contributed to manpower training in cardiovascular medicine and surgery,” Sanwo-Olu added.

Speaking, Dr Okechukwu Ogah, President, Nigerian Cardiac Society said there was a need to collaborate with basic, social and public health scientists in order to advance our research in common cardiovascular health conditions in the country.

Ogah said that in recent time there had been remarkable contributions of our members in the areas of congenital heart disease, hypertension, COVID-19 and other heart diseases.
“We are also working with the World Heart Federation(WHF) and Federal Ministry of Health in many areas to tame the growing burden of Non-communicable Diseases.

”It is no doubt that we are working in very difficult terrain at a time the world is bedeviled by a pandemic, “he said.

Oga noted that locally, they were facing a very disruptive health care system, massive migration of health workers, economic down turn, devaluation of our currency and high cost of drugs.

“We therefore, use this opportunity to call on our governments at all levels to look into the plights of our patients and those who provide the care.

”We thank all the public and private health institutions that have added value to the practice of cardiovascular medicine in Nigeria.

“At the founding of our society, there were very few human and material resources to take care of the cardiovascular needs of the country.

”Today cardiac care services are provided in many tertiary centres and private-owned super-specialty cardiac care services are springing up, but currently affordable to the rich in the country, “he said.

Sanwo-Olu Seeks Innovative Solutions For Cardiovascular Disease Patients

Oga called on the Federal and State Governments to embrace universal health coverage and provide the enabling legal framework and resources in Nigeria.

Also contributing, Prof. Amam Mbakwem, Chairman, Local Organising Committee of the conference said that the time was apt for us to deliberate on the best way to deliver cardiovascular care during these periods.

Mbakwem said that the level of environmental degradation, global warming, encroachment on the natural habitats of some of the hosts or carriers of these pathogens, no one was sure what happens next.

”However, come what may, we would innovate and look after our patients in a safe and effective manner.

“The problems of cardiovascular care delivery are magnified in our environment with very weak and fragile infrastructure and health systems.

”During this conference, we will take a critical look at how far we have come as a society as we attain the golden jubilee age.

“In this conference, we have three generations of cardiologists; founding fathers, the cardiovascular care professionals of today and our young fellows,” she said

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CBN Sets To Roll Out E-naira October 1

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CBN Denies Non Remittance Of 80% Surpluses-Crystal News

The director of Information Technology, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Rukiya Mohammed, on Wednesday said the apex bank has concluded plans to launch the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) on October 1.

Mohammed disclosed this in a webinar, themed “Digital currency and the prospects of CBDC in Nigeria”, organized by the committee of e-Business in industry Heads Nigeria (CeBIH).

Mohammed said that the use of digital payment was rising while cash payment was declining both in Nigeria and globally.

She said that over 85 per cent of Central Banks worldwide were considering digital currency and so CBN was also innovative to cope with global trends.

“CBDC would contribute to macro-economic growth in the country, if people adopt more of the usage of the e-naira, it would enhance more data to formulate macro economic policies.

“Also, when more countries have their own digital currencies, it would increase exchange of currency and be able to build cross border trade at lower cost.

“Even though Nigeria has a good payment system, this would also improve Nigeria’s payments efficiency,“ she said.

She said the CBN has partnered with a lot of experts in digital currency technology providers such as MasterCard, came up with the design and would soon publish the design.

“CBN would focus on low amount payments at the introductory stage, instant settlement with low cost.

“CBDC would be legal tender with one e-naira equivalent to one naira which shows fundamental differences between CBDC and crypto currencies,” she said.

Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adedutan, Managing Director, First Bank Nigeria, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria CBDC was a game changer that would provide an alternative payment system and would radically transform the payment landscape.

Adedutan, who was represented by the Banks deputy chief executive, Mr Francis Soba, said CBDC provides a platform for the government to leverage blockchain technology to maintain a centralised and institutional role over of the currency.

‘’It should be noted that there are significant differences between CBDCs and cryptocurrencies,” he said.

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