Buhari Swears In Ngige’s Wife, Eight Others As Permanent Secretaries

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday swore-in nine permanent secretaries to their ministries.

One of them is Evelyn Ngige, wife of the Minister of Labour and Employment.

The new permanent secretaries appointed from across the six geopolitical zones include:

Mr Hassan Musa

Mr Aliyu Ahmed

Mrs Olusola Idowu

Mr David Andrew

Mr Umar Tijanni

Dr Nasir Gwarzo

Mr Nebeolisa Anako

Mr Tope Fashedemi

Mrs Evelyn Ngige (wife to the Minister of Labour and Employment)

The permanent secretaries while taking their oaths of office were advised not to allow personal interests overshadow the responsibilities which they are assigned.

President Buhari presided over the ceremonies earlier before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.

See photos below:

Electricity Unions Cannot Use Power Play To Punish The Country, Says Ngige


 

The Minister Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige has condemned the industrial action embarked upon by electricity workers, revealing that it is as a result of a power struggle between the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies (SSAEAC).

Dr Ngige who was on Channels Television Lunchtime Politics, said that an investigation by the Labour Ministry showed the level of a power struggle between the unions, and he told them not to do anything unfair that will affect the country.

He added that the effect of the strike action has caused the country billions of Naira and loss of lives.

“My initial investigation as the Minister of Labour is that there is a power-play between NUEE and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity Workers who are domiciled there.

“There is a power struggle on who is senior and who is more potent in terms of effecting unionism and they have carried this on and inflicted the whole country with a power outage that has caused us billions of naira and loss of lives; it is unfair and I have told them not to do that.”

READ ALSO: Exercise Higher Tolerance Before Industrial Actions, Gbajabiamila Tells Electricity Workers

The Labour Minister stated that his ministry will carry out further investigation on the matter and will invoke the relevant labour laws on liable unions.

“The unions are not ‘Omni-Sacrosanct’ that we can’t do anything to them, we will look at the issue and if they are liable, I will invoke the relevant sections of the labour act on that.

“The preliminary investigation shows that there is a power play, and they cannot use power play to punish the entire nation and make us lose man-hours, billions of naira and lose lives in hospitals that their generators are not working.”

On the lingering issues between the unions, the Ministry of Power, Distribution Companies (DisCos) and Generating companies (GenCos), Dr Ngige faulted the processes adopted by electricity workers to embark on the nationwide strike, stressing that respect for the rule of law must be adhered to.

“The rule of law is not for the government alone, it is for the citizens too. There are set laws for people to apply in industrial relations and all are encapsulated in the trade dispute act.

“Before somebody on essential service, of which electricity workers are one, can proceed on industrial action; you must notify your direct employers first and the onus is on them to convene a meeting, they then approach the labour ministry, the labour minister is there, that’s my work and they give the ultimatum and there are special forms called the ‘Trade Dispute forms’ which they fill and lodge in the Ministry; all that was not done.

“They just had issues with their direct employers which are the Ministry of Power, the DisCos which is mostly privatized with the government having just 40 percent while the investors have 60 percent,” he added.

Dr Ngige also revealed that the problems are more with the DisCos and GenCos, and where it concerns the Federal Government is in the aspect of the severance package.

He stated that since the unbundling of the power sector, 400 persons out of the remaining 600 outstanding cases have been captured.

“Some of the problems are in the DisCos, the GenCos and some with the government. The Government side of the problem is where they said that some of the people that were severed when those parastatals were privatized have not been paid off.

“The statistics are there and it is only about 600 persons that their cases are outstanding and out of those, 400 have been captured and sent to the Accountant-General of the Federation because what had happened is that all the monies gathered from the sales of privatization were expended in terms of the severance benefits and other allowances that were due to the workers that had to leave those DisCos and GenCos, so 98 percent of the money went in there.

“Shortfall in salaries is a continuous thing and is being addressed and it’s not even a government thing, it is with the DisCos,” he stressed.

The strike action by electricity workers was called off in the early hours of Thursday after the union had earlier issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Minister of Power for a dialogue to resolve the lingering industrial crisis in the sector.

The workers held a protest on Wednesday, over the non-payment of a severance package for members who were affected by the unbundling of Power Holding Company of Nigeria PHCN into eleven electricity distribution companies (DisCos), six generating companies (GenCos), and a transmission company (TCN).

The workers in blocked main entrance gate and locked out some staff to the Ministry of Power.

Reps Summon Labour, Power Ministers Over Planned Electricity Workers’ Strike

 

Leadership of the House of Representatives is set to meet with the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige and Minister of Power Saleh Mamman.

This is in a bid to avert the planned strike by the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE).

The House made the resolution on Wednesday, following a motion of urgent public importance raised by the House Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu.

READ ALSO: Electricity Workers Protest, Picket Power Ministry In Abuja

The lawmakers expressed worry that if the strike is not averted, there will be economic consequences.

The House then resolved to call the Ministers of Power and Labor to ensure the issues with the generating companies are settled without degenerating into a nationwide strike that will cause total blackout with resultant effect on the socio-economic conditions of the people

Electricity union had earlier issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Minister of Power for a dialogue to resolve the lingering industrial crisis in the sector.

Some of the unresolved issues are illegal transfer of union properties to power investors and the alleged refusal by some distribution companies (discos) to remit deducted contributory pension of their members of staff to pension managers.

Govt Set To Review Allowances Of Political Office Holders – Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige

 

As part of efforts to reduce the cost of governance, the Federal Government has directed the revenue mobilisation commission to review the allowances of political office holders including governors and lawmakers.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Wednesday, during a meeting with members of the National Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Abuja.

READ ALSO: Minimum Wage: Labour, FG Fail To Reach Agreement

Ngige also decried the huge sum of recurrent expenditure in the proposed 2020 budget, insisting that there is no option other than to cut down the cost of running the government.

“We cannot allow the government to shut down the economy because they want to pay salaries and wages. The 2020 budget of N10.3trillion has N3.88trillion as personal cost without an overhead. A budget that is 76% recurrent and 24% capital, for me, this is nothing to cheer about.

“Revenue mobilisation commission will also beam a searchlight and review what they are giving for political officeholders. Some of the allowances in their prescriptions are not allowances that should be gotten.

“What is a governor doing with hazard allowance? What is the hazard about, when the state is feeding him and his family? What is a governor doing with constituency allowance? The whole state is his constituency.

“These are things that will be holistically reviewed,” Ngige said.

The Minister concluded that both workers and politicians must be ready to make sacrifices so that more money will be available for infrastructure.

FG To Renegotiate Full Implementation Of N30,000 Minimum Wage

A file photo of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.

 

 

The Federal Government is set to reconstitute a new committee to begin fresh negotiations for the full implementation of the new national minimum wage of N30,000.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

“The President has put in place a new committee or council called ‘Presidential Committee On Salaries and Allowances,” he said.

READ ALSO: Lagos Task Force Busts Brothel, Arrests 14 Suspects With Drugs

Senator Ngige made the revelation when the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) paid him a courtesy visit at his office in the nation’s capital.

He, however, warned that the delay in agreement for the full implementation of the new minimum wage may put the Federal and State governments in a difficult position to pay because of the backlog that would arise.

The minister explained that it was important for workers earning above N30,000 and on grade level seven to 17 to be patient.

He gave assurance that the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage implementation was being sorted out.

Senator Ngige added, “It is important that we advise them (the stakeholders), because we are not yet back on that negotiation, that if they keep on piling debts, the Federal Government might run into problem of payment.

“The state governments that have not been regular with payments will have problems.”

He, therefore, promised to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the stalemated negotiation on the new wage.

The minister informed the labour leaders that the Federal Government was committed to the full implementation of the minimum wage.

Also present at the meeting were the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, and the NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, among others.

VIDEO: Peter Obi, Chris Ngige Hug At Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal

President Muhammadu Buhari’s former Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige on Friday met with the Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Peter Obi at the Tribunal.

Both from different political parties shared a quick embrace and laughed loudly when they met inside the courtroom.

They also exchanged pleasantries and jested after which Obi shook hands with members of the PDP legal team.

Ngige and Obi had past history of political rivalry when Ngige took over from Obi as Anambra State Governor in 2017, when both trade words about

The PDP at the Petitions Tribunal is challenging President Buhari’s victory at February 23, 2019 election.

Watch the video below…

NSITF Board: NLC President Is Being Economical With The Truth – Ngige

Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, says the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba is being economical with the truth.

He stated this on Tuesday while appearing on a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“The NLC President is being economical with the truth. I told them that this name you people have inserted there is an invalid nomination.

“It was on that basis that I asked Mr Kokori to give me his Curriculum Vita (CV). As a matter of fact, this NLC President came to my office and lied to me that the Vice President asked them to bring a nomination.

“And I told him, it cannot stand. You know what the Act says. Based on that, I wrote to the Vice President pointing out that I should nominate. As at two weeks ago, the Vice President said he didn’t see them,” he said.

READ ALSO: Ngige, Labour Trade Blames Over NSITF Board Inauguration

But reacting, the NLC President faulted the Minister for the delay in the constitution of the board, blaming the action on an alleged lack of communication between the Federal Government and the labour.

While maintaining that Kokori was not recommended by the labour, he insisted that his appointment was based on a recommendation from the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being a member.

He said: “The issue of Kokori’s appointment was not the issue mainly, it was inaugurating the board. So clearly speaking, there is a breakdown in communication. That communication which was made public to Nigerians only came at the eve of the inauguration two days ago.

“We are social partners in this particular issue. It’s a labour market institution. We shouldn’t wait until the 11th hour. Labour should have been informed. Even him Kokori should have been informed.

“Even now, there is no formal communication to him. After the Minister invited him to his house and had dinner to say you have been appointed, there is no formal communication to labour.

When asked when the implementation of the new national minimum wage would commence, the Minister said he doesn’t know.

He, however, explained that the Federal Government would constitute an Implementation Committee comprising of seven ministers and the Salaries and Wages Commission.

“An implementation committee on the government sides would be inaugurated today in the office of the Attorney General of the Federation.

“There are about seven ministers who are there. The head of the Civil Service of the Federation will chair the committee, the Chairman, Salaries Income and Wages Commission will be the secretary and we will have the secretariat,” he said.

Ngige’s comment follows the faceoff between himself and the NLC over the constitution and inauguration of the board for the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Members of the Labour Union have been aggrieved following the replacing of Frank Kokori as the Chair of NSITF Board with Enejamo-Isire and his subsequent reappointment as the chair the board of Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies.

Ngige, Labour Trade Blames Over NSITF Board Inauguration

The faceoff between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Federal Government continued on Tuesday with a blame game over the inauguration of a new board for the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

While the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige, spoke on behalf of the Federal Government, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba represented the labour union.

Both appeared as guests on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, a day after Ngige swore in a new board for the Fund following a two-year delay.

Prior to the inauguration, NLC members last week protested against the Minister for his alleged failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Wabba criticised the Minister for the delay in the constitution of the board, blaming the action on an alleged lack of communication between the Federal Government and the labour.

READ ALSO: Ngige Inaugurates New NSITF Board After Two-Year Delay

He, however, insisted that Kokori was not recommended by the labour, insisting that his appointment was based on a recommendation from the Delta State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) being a member.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba                                               Labour Minister, Chris Ngige

“We are social partners in this particular issue. It’s a labour market institution. We shouldn’t wait until the 11th hour. Labour should have been informed. Even him Kokori should have been informed.

“Even up to now, there is no formal communication to him. After the Minister invited him to his house and had dinner to say you have been appointed, there is no formal communication to labour.

“The issue of Kokori’s appointment was not the issue mainly, it was inaugurating the board. So clearly speaking, there is a breakdown in communication. That communication which was made public to Nigerians only came at the eve of the inauguration two days ago,” he stated.

But reacting to the allegation, the Minister accused the NLC President of being economical with the truth.

According to Ngige, Wabba came to his office claiming that the Vice President had instructed the NLC to bring a nomination.

“I did not recommend Mr Kokori for an appointment. The NLC President is being economical with the truth. I told them that this name you people have inserted is an invalid nomination.

“It was on that basis that I asked Mr Kokori to give me his Curriculum Vita (CV). As a matter of fact, this NLC President came to my office and lied to me that the Vice President asked them to bring a nomination.

“And I told him, it cannot stand. You know what the Act says. Based on that, I wrote to the Vice President pointing out that I should nominate. As at two weeks ago, the Vice President said he didn’t see them,” he said.

‘My Family Members Are Traumatised,’ Ngige Laments Picketing Of His House By NLC

 

Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige has narrated his experience and how picketing of his residence by members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) affected his family.

The Minister revealed this in an interview with journalists at the presidential villa in Abuja, on Thursday.

Ngige said the ‘blockage’ of the entrance of his Asokoro residence by the protesting labour members is an unlawful action because all occupants of his compound including his neighbours were hindered from going about their daily normal activities.

READ ALSO: Service Chiefs Brief Buhari On Kidnappings, Other Crimes

“In my own home, my wife, some of my children, the children of my staff members, my cooks and my stewards were all trapped. My neighbour also couldn’t go to work. That is obstruction. It is against the law of the land.

“Putting a tanker with petrol… that is arson. The entire street could have been engulfed with fire.

“I was speechless. I am very distraught, my family is traumatised. All of the people in my compound are traumatised. Some of the cooks and policemen who have families, aides who have families in that compound are traumatised.

“Even my neighbour couldn’t go about their business. It is quite unfortunate,” he lamented.

Narrating his experience further, the Minister claimed that the protesters were at the entrance of his house as early as 4:30 am with petrol tankers.

He said further that the protesters were led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba.

“I was woken up at 5:00 am by my wife who reported to me that my security men were having problems with some strange fellows at the gate of the house and that some people were also on the walls of my house and that the people arrived there by 4:30 am.

“When the security accosted them, they discovered that it was the NLC President himself that came physically.

“They came with two tankers. One laden with petrol and the other one was half empty. They put one at the gate of my house and the second one at the gate of the other house which happens to be that of my neighbour.

“It was very strange. I looked from upstairs and saw that the tankers were actually blocking the entrance to my house.

“They (his security men) even had a scuffle with the President of NLC when they were struggling for the key of the tanker.”

Ngige, however, condemned the action of the protesters, saying, “Picketing does not mean you go to people’s private residence because you don’t know who the occupants are.

“That is not Trade Unionism, it is hooligalism. In Trade Unionism, you dialogue.”

The Minister said his neighbours have vowed to take legal actions and added that ‘the obstruction’ is an illegal action punishable by the law.

Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress on Wednesday protested at the Asokoro residence of Ngige over his failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

Ngige, Faduyile Disagree On Brain Drain, Migration Of Nigerian Doctors

 

Doctor Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment and the President of the Nigerian Medical Association are not on the same wavelength regarding the critical issue of brain drain and migration of Nigerian doctors. 

Ngige in an interview on Wednesday said contrary to the impression that the country is losing, the movement of the doctors abroad is actually attracting investment into the country.

Doctor Ngige who was a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast program, Sunrise Daily, said the mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria is not a thing so much a thing to lose sleep about, in that the nation has medical practitioners in excess.

READ ALSO: We Need More Doctors, We Don’t Have Enough – Nigerians Reply Chris Ngige

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me,” Ngige said.

However, the President of the Nigeria Medical Association, Doctor Francis Faduyile disagrees with the position of the labour minister.

Doctor Faduyile notes emphatically that the country’s doctor to patient ratio is grossly poor, citing poor welfare and infrastructure deficit as some of the reasons for medical brain drain.

We Need More Doctors, We Don’t Have Enough – Nigerians Reply Chris Ngige

 

 

Reaction have trailed comments by The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige,  suggesting that the mass exodus of doctors from Nigeria is not a thing to lose sleep about. 

Chris Ngige had on Wednesday, said that he is not bothered about the decision of medical doctors who choose to leave Nigeria to practice outside the country.

While featuring as a guest Channels TV Sunrise Daily, Ngige said the practice is not alien to Nigeria, because he was taught by Indians in secondary school.

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me.”

Nigerians in reaction to the minister’s comments have taken to social media to air their views on the subject matter, with many holding views at variance with Ngige’s claim that the nation has a surplus of medical doctors.

Below are what Nigerians are saying with respect to Ngige’s claim.

READ ALSO: FG Vows To Improve Primary Health Care Delivery In Nigeria

VIDEO: Doctors Are Free To Leave Nigeria Because We Have Surplus, I’m Not Worried – Ngige

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige has said that he is not bothered about the decision of medical doctors who choose to leave Nigeria to practice outside the country.

Ngige who was a guest on Channels TV Sunrise Daily said the practice is not alien to Nigeria, because he was taught by Indians in secondary school.

“I’m Not Worried, We Have Surplus (Doctors), if we have a surplus, we export. I was taught Biology and Chemistry by Indian teachers in my secondary school days.

“They are surplus in their country. We have a surplus in the medical profession in our country. I can tell you this. It is my area, we have excess. We have enough, more than enough, quote me.”

Ngige, when asked if nothing was wrong, owing to his position as a qualified medical doctor, said there was nothing wrong in their choice to practise overseas, at the detriment of Nigeria’s health sector.

“There is nothing wrong, they go out to sharpen their skills, earn money and send them back home here. Yes, we have foreign exchange earnings from them, not from oil.”

READ ALSO: Dogara Slams Tinubu, Lists 8th National Assembly’s Achievements

The minister said the move does not amount to brain drain when asked.

“Those guys go there, they are better trained because of the facilities they have there. Eventually, I know a couple of them who practise abroad but set up medical centres back home. They have CAT scan, MRI scan which even the government hospitals cannot maintain. So, I don’t see any loss.

“Brain drain will only be inimical when for instance neurosurgeons travel and we don’t have neurosurgeons here.”