Labour Minister Meets Oil Companies, Workers Over Labour Issues

Oil companiesThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has advised oil companies to dialogue with their workers to prevent industrial actions and loss of jobs.

The Minister gave the advice at a meeting with oil and gas workers and their employers to resolve petitions from the workers unions on allegations ranging from indiscriminate dismissal of workers to job outsourcing.

This joint meeting followed separate meetings held with the workers, the oil companies and their contractors on the crisis.

Prior to this meeting, the Labour Minister said that he had held separate meetings with the oil companies and their employees over petitions of mistreatment.

According to him, some of the allegations against the oil companies include indiscriminate dismissal of Nigerian workers at the expense of the expatriates.

Some representatives of the oil companies said that the continued fall in the prices of oil is making them take hard decisions to sustain their operations.

“The current business environment of sustained low oil prices requires us to make tough and difficult decisions to sustain the business for a long term.

“Many of the projects we have underway are uneconomic, so our activity level is declining and we are having to make adjustments in the resourcing of our operations and our projects,” said the Managing Director of Chevron Nigeria, Mr Clay Neef.

In spite of the explanation, the workers insisted that the actions of the oil companies are not in harmony with what happens in other African countries.

The President of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Igwe Achese, made this assertion.

“The oil price drop did not only hit Nigeria alone. It is a global issue and Nigeria is not the only country producing oil in Africa.

“Angola had the same issue and other African countries, those countries are not experiencing the level of job loses that we are experiencing in Nigeria.,” he said.

Oil workers have threatened to go on strike if the issues raised in their petitions, including the alleged indiscriminate dismissal of workers, are not addressed.

President Buhari Keeps Petroleum Ministry, Assigns Others

FasholaAs Nigerians waited anxiously for the President to assign his ministers, many were secretly making permutations on who gets what, just as the ministers themselves were eager to know the portfolios they will be assigned.

Assigning the portfolios on Wednesday, President Muhammadu Buhari confirmed his headship of the Petroleum Ministry while he appointed the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum.

Former Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, was announced as Minister of Works, Power and Housing.

And for Nigerians, this is key because the economy revolves around power, just as many want to see the roads fixed.

The Solid Mineral Ministry is headed by Dr. Kayode Fayemi, as the former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, was also assigned Transportation and Aviation ministry.

Ministry of Labour and Employment is headed by Dr. Chris Ngige, while the Ministry of Finance is headed by the former Commissioner for Finance in Ogun State, Kemi Adeosun.

The ministers took their oath of office on Wednesday, which automatically concluded the process of constituting a new cabinet.

In a group of four each, the ministers took their oath.

“Keep Hope Alive”

The President, after the swearing in, said that his administration would continue to implement policies that would improve the economy of the nation.

He emphasised that the Federal Government would implement policies that would generate massive employment for youths and ensure food security.

“We are optimistic that bringing this set of ministers into the service of our country today, is a step in the right direction and a timely move towards realising our positive goals for our country.

“Since we assumed office in May, I have been mindful of the need to ensure that appointment of the new ministers translates into putting round pegs in round holes wile showing sensitivity to our diversity as a people and our various positions as groups of stakeholders of our country,” he said.

The President further told the gathering that he had been mindful of the need not to repeat mistakes of the past where the right people are allocated the wrong portfolios which translated into poor performance to Nigerians collective detriment despite their obvious capabilities.

“Our government shall continue more decisively to implement its policies in respect for the economy and in other areas.”

He reiterated his determination to diversify the economy with agriculture becoming a major sector.

“While working hard to maximise the revenue from oil in the face of the sharp decline of the price of the commodity, we are determined to diversify the economy in agriculture to enhance employment and explore solid minerals, as a major revenue earner.

“The primary aim is to achieve self-sufficiency in production of such staples as rice and wheat and to become a major consumer and exporter of those items as well as solid minerals,” the President stated.

He emphasised that ‘government business’ must be conducted with transparency, citing the adoption of the Treasury Single Account as a way of blocking financial leakages in the public sector to make more funds available for the business of government and welfare of Nigerians.

“Our new ministers must proceed to work speedily and do their uttermost to justify the confidence we have placed in them, not only by their conduct but also by their performance in their various positions,” President Buhari stressed.

With assurances that the country will experience positive changes, the President asked that all Nigerians “keep hope alive” and sustain their optimism about the future of the nation’s economic well-being.

Full List Of Ministers And Portfolios

Abubakar Malami (SAN) – Justice

Geoffrey Onyeama – Foreign Affairs

Khadija Abubakar Abba Ibrahim – State Minister of Foreign Affairs

Brigadier-General Muhammad Mansur Dan-Ali (rtd) – Defence

Adamu Adamu – Education

Professor Anthony Anwuka – State Minister of Education

Kemi Adeosun – Finance

Okechukwu Enelama – Industry, Trade and Investment

Aisha Abubakar – State Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment

Senator (Dr.) Chris Ngige – Labour and Employment

Barrister James Ocholi – State Minister of Labour and Employment

Muhammodu Bello – Federal Capital Territory

Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau – Interior

Senator Udoma Udo Udoma – Budget and National Planning

Zainab Ahmed – State Minister of Budget and National Planning

Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu – State Minister of Petroleum Resources

Babatunde Fashola (SAN) – Power, Works and Housing

Mustapha Baba Shehuri – State Minister of Power, Works and Housing

Chief Audu Innocent Ogbeh – Agricultural and Rural Development

Heineken Lokpobiri – State Minister of Agricultural and Rural Development

Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi – Transportation

Senator Hadi Sirika – State Minister of Aviation

Isaac Folorunso Adewole – Health

Dr. Osagie Ehanire – State Minister of Health

Senator Aisha Al-Hassan – Woman Affairs

Pastor Usani Uguru – Niger Delta

Claudius Omoleye Daramola – State Minister of Niger Delta

Barrister Adebayo Shittu – Communications

Lai Mohammed – Information

Amina Mohammed – Environment

Ibrahim Usman Jubril – State Minister of Environment

Engineer Suleiman Adamu – Water Resources

Barrister Solomon Dalong – Youth and Sports

Kayode Fayemi – Solid Minerals

Abubakar Bwari – Minister Of States of Solid Minerals

Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu – Science and Technology

Senate Confirms 18 Ministerial Nominees

Ministerial NomineesEighteen of the 37 ministerial nominees from the list submitted by President Muhammadu Buhari have been confirmed by the Senate.

They include Udoma Udo Udoma, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbe, Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, Lt.Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Amina Mohammed, Ibrahim Jubril, Babatunde Fashola, Aisha Alhassan.

Others are Senator Hadi Sirika, Solomon Dalong, Ibe Kachukwu, Kemi Adeosun, Abubakar Malami, Engineer Suleiman Adamu and Dr. Chris Ngige.

At the end of plenary on Wednesday, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki read out the names of the nominees who had fielded questions from the lawmakers. The senators in a vote confirmed all 18 nominees.

The lawmakers carried out the confirmation.

Former Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State was the first to take the stand at the Senate chambers today.

Mr Fashola held his audience spell bound for almost an hour and half answering questions from senators.

He told them that as governor for eight years in office he did not sign a cheque.

Mr Fashola also responded to questions on loyalty and on the 78 million naira allegedly sank to build a website.

Watch all videos of the Senates’s screening of the ministerial nominees on Channels Television YouTube channel.


Anambra Poll: Ngige, Nwoye, Ubah Reject Supplementary Election

Three principal candidates in the November 16 Anambra elections have rejected the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC’s decision to go ahead with a supplementary election in the state.

Mr Ifeanyi Ubah of the Labour Party, Chris Ngige of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party, PDP candidate, Tony Nwoye jointly condemned the INEC chairman’s pronouncement and insisted that they will not participate, as they are set to boycott the supplementary elections.

Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega, after a meeting of the commission on Friday, addressed journalists and announced Saturday, November 30 as the date for the Anambra supplementary election.

The INEC Chairman cited the inability of the political parties to provide substantial evidence to support outright cancellation of the process as a validation for the refusal of the commission to cancel the entire election.

In a swift reaction to Professor Jega’s claims, the candidates told Channels Television correspondent, Lanre Lasisi, that they have provided sufficient evidence to convince INEC that the entire exercise was a sham.

“As far as we are concerned, we have rejected the supplementary election fixed for 30 November, and we are not part of it. We advise the Independent National Electoral Commission to save the resources for that election, but they can go ahead and announce the APGA candidate as winner of the election, we will be more comfortable with that.” Dr Chris Ngige said.


Anambra Poll: INEC Announces November 30 For Supplementary Election

The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has finally announced that the proposed Anambra supplementary election will hold on Saturday, November 30, 2013.

Chairman of the commission, Professor Attahiru Jega said this at the commission headquarters in Abuja on Friday, after the commission’s meeting over the inconclusive governorship election held on November 16 and 17, 2013.

Professor Jega said that INEC regrets the challenges faced in the polls, but explained that the commission did all it could to make sure the election was free and fair. He however dismissed calls for outright cancellation, as he said INEC was yet to receive substantive evidence from any political party on reasons why the polls should be cancelled.

“We have examined all the accusations and allegations that have been made, and we’ve come to the conclusion that in spite of minor challenges, unfortunate challenges in the field, there is no substantial evidence to support outright cancellation of the process.”

“There is no other decision that we can make as a commission other than that of the Returning Officer, to conduct the supplementary election in those areas where the results were cancelled before the final return is made.”

He added in his response to Journalists that the All Progressives Congress, APC’s petition to the INEC has not added any new information different from those already expressed by its candidate in the election, Dr Chris Ngige. He stressed that they have not provided any evidence to warrant outright cancellation of the election.

Still reacting to questions from Journalists, Professor Jega also denied hiding the identity of its Electoral Officer, Mr Chukwujekwu Okeke, who is said to be in the police net after allegations of compromise of the polls in Idemili North Local Government. He assured that Mr Okeke would be charged to court, as INEC will not protect any of its staff found defective.

He added that elections conducted in Idemili North Local Government on Sunday November 17 due to delays on the scheduled election day was conducted on the recommendation of stakeholders in the community and in agreement with a large number of the voters, and as such the INEC cannot be held responsible for the political parties that decided to boycott it.

He assured that the November 30 supplementary election will be better managed.

Poor Awareness Marred Anambra Governorship Election — Observer

Wale Ogunade.The president of the Voters Awareness Initiative, Mr. Wale Ogunade, has identified poor awareness as the cause of the irregularities that led to the declaration of the Anambra governorship election as inconclusive.

Mr. Ogunade, who observed the election, said that the electoral process did not meet the compliance standard, as voters’ accreditation schedule for 8:00am began around 9:00am local time in all 21 local councils in the state.

On Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, he pointed out that the electoral commission had, few days to the election, put in place strategies that would ensure a successful election.

“But a square peg was placed in a round hole on the day of the election. There was no proper monitoring. What Nigerians want is delivery and not excuses,” he said.

He insisted that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, should have been present in Anambra State to monitor the election.

In the election that has generated much criticism, voters’ names were missing in the register, an anomaly that the electoral body has been held responsible for.

But Mr. Ogunade stressed that the voters, political parties and INEC should take the blame for the missing names in the register.

Three Point Challenge

“Election starts form registration. There is a period for Claims and Objections. It is a time set aside by the electoral commission for voters and political parties to cross check the register for possible missing names and make complaints.

“I went round and about 5 people accosted me about their names not being in the register. They told me that they were not aware that they were to check the register for Claims and Objections. If information is not passed round, how will people know?

“It is a three point challenge. Are the people interested in the electoral process? The political parties, did they involve themselves in voters’ education? Did INEC conduct mass enlightenment of the general public as to their activities?” he asked.

He called for a total cancelation of the election, insisting that the election did not meet compliance standard.

A total cancelation and proper monitoring of the election by Jega, he said, would be a more appropriate decision to take at the moment.

“If the election is not cancelled there will be a legal process after the supplementary election and this will kill the political life of Anambra State” he stressed.

As reactions continue to trail the much publicised governorship election, the All Progressives Congress’ candidate, Chris Ngige and the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Tony Nwoye, are insisting on a total cancelation of the electing alleging that it was ‘massively rigged’.

INEC claims that the election had substantial compliance while APGA, the purported leading party in the election, described INEC’s performance as ‘excellent’, insisting that the anomalies were only in a spot – Idemili North Local Government Area.

Anambra Election: Ngige, Ubah, Nwoye Unite Against INEC

Three candidates in the Anambra State governorship election have brushed aside party rivalry to jointly condemn the conduct of the election.

The governorship candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Tony Nwoye, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr Chris Ngige, and Labour Party, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah held a joint press conference in Anambra on Sunday to voice their frustration over what they say is a flawed election.

In calling on INEC to “tow the path of honour”, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah said that an election in which “INEC officials would be watching some party members distributing money in the open should be highly condemned”

Dr. Chris Ngige of the APC on his part said “our stand is that this election that started yesterday has been beset by a lot of irregularities and fraudulent practices and therefore we reject the aforesaid election.”

Their PDP counterpart, Tony Nwoye said “there was massive rigging, there was massive disenfranchising, there was massive intimidation and harassment of voters, and above it all, my heart bleeds for the country called Nigeria if it is this type of election that is coming in 2015, I wonder whether Professor Jega is still fit and proper to man that post at INEC.”

They unanimously called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC to cancel the November 16 election and organize a fresh election that would be free and fair.

Anambra Guber Election: PDP, APC Candidates Ask Supporters To Shun Fresh Election

Chris Ngige and Tony Nwoye.The candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Chris Ngige and that of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, (PDP) Mr Tony Nwoye, have asked their members not to participate in the rescheduled governorship election in Obosi ward, in Idemili North Local Government Area (LGA).

The APC candidate is not only demanding a re-run in Idemili North and Idemili South LGAs, he says fixing a rerun on Sunday will not allow full participation of voters.

Senator Ngige also vowed to take legal action if results are announced without a re-run in Idemili North and South on a date convenient for voters in the area seen as his party’s stronghold.

“A petition has been prepared and addressed to the National Chariman. We cataloged all  our claims and it was put into the box of the chairman on Saturday. We made it clear tat the election is already compromised. We ask the commission to conduct the elections in the 306 polling units instead of slicing off Obosi for today (Sunday),” Ngige explained.

The PDP candidate called for total cancellation in the state election, contradicting a statement by the party earlier.

“There were multiple thumb printings. Security agents colluded with Peter Obi and INEC to chase away voters, intimidate people at the collation centres, to write results, falsify results and do many thumb printing. Some people did not vote. There were many malpractices and we call for the cancelation of the election,” Nwoye stated.

The party had issued a statement through its spokesman, Mr. Olisa Metuh, expressing its satisfaction with the election process.

But both Ngige and Nwoye are accusing the electoral commission of collaborating with the All Progressives Grand Alliance to manipulate the process by deliberately delaying the arrival of election materials and removing some sensitive materials like result sheets from the ones sent to their areas of strongholds.

INEC is expected to brief journalists on the election later on Sunday.

Nigeria Police Is Incapable of Providing Security- Ngige

The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the November 16 Anambra elections, Dr. Chris Ngige has declared that the Nigeria Police “as presently constituted, incapable of providing security to everybody”

Ngige, who was speaking during the Channels Television’s organized Town Hall Conversation with candidates of contesting political parties, added that this is so because “they are poorly funded”.

As a member of the Senate Committee on Police Affairs, he revealed that “30 per cent of police budget in the state formations are funded by the respective state governments” adding that “the Council of state and the National Economic Council have a proposal that two per cent of the revenue of the country be used for the police”.

He also noted that the conditions, welfare, logistics for work and the working equipment of the Nigeria Police is nothing to write home about insisting that “you don’t give what you don’t have”.

He also debunked the notion that state policing is usually used for political reasons insisting that “times have changed”.

Using an English adage “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”, Ngige said the security challenge the state is facing made him to invent “a vigilante services that comes up from the community level to the local government level and up to the state level and trained them in the conventional police system” to curb the security challenges the state was facing in 2003.

He argued that if he is voted into office, he will do it again noting that “that is what my security votes is for” insisting that the main function of government Is to protect its citizens.

Anambra Polls: Our People Now Know Better – Analysts

The youths in Anambra State are more enlightened and involved in determining who leads the state and this has led to a better sense of purpose by the candidates vying to lead the state.

This was a view expressed by Anambra State Co-ordinator of non-governmental youth organisation, known as Wakeup Call, Ifeanyi Aniago while appearing on a special edition of Channels Television’s Politics Today, live from Awka, Anambra State.

Also on the programme to do a post-mortem of the Anambra State Governorship Townhall Conversation was a member of the Anambra League of Professionals, Chike Nwegbe and Managing Editor of Telegraph Nigeria, Cheta Nwanze.

Speaking on the state of insecurity in the state, Mr. Nwegbe said “we are in agreement with most of the politicians that the major issue we have to address is how to engage our youths constructively, empower them with new skills, and again create wealth for the economy.”

Cheta Nwanze however highlighted industrialization as the top priority for the people of Anambra State; he believes that a proper drive for industrialization will ensure that the problem of insecurity, unemployment and education are solved.

When there is a plan to develop industries, there will be the need to employ people, a situation he said would mandate proper training of youths with the appropriate skills to be employed and be less interested in crime, thereby helping to reduce the insecurity in the state.

He also explained that if the next administration in the state fails to solve the problem of massive congestion and traffic delays in Onitsha town, which is the commercial hub of the state, the effect of it will be that goods from the state will be more expensive due to cost of transportation, and this will be counter-productive to the drive for industrialization in the state.

Speaking in agreement, Mr Nwegbe also highlighted that Anambra citizens are more interested in deliverables as shown in Nwanze’s demands on fixing Onitsha. This, according to him, is a proof that politicians cannot deceive them with promises anymore, but rather they will be asking for a leader that has the experience to clearly communicate and deliver on his manifesto.

Citing the statistics released by Independent National Electoral Committee (INEC) that 52% of Anambra electorates are youths from age 18 to 35, Aniago stated that the Anambra youths are ready to make good use of their voting power as the majority. He boasted that his organization has done a good job of ensuring that the youths vote by merit. Therefore, the November 16 elections will be different from what has ever been witnessed in the history of Anambra politics.

He drew attention to the current calmness in the state despite the closeness of the election as proof that the youths are now aware of their strength and therefore cannot be bought over by politicians to engage in hooliganism; rather they are busy scrutinizing the manifestos of the candidates.

Several issues were also discussed, including the character traits of the leading candidates, Dr Chris Ngige and Mr Ifeanyi Ubah who were both present at the Governorship Townhall Conversation broadcast live on Channels Television.

Anambra Governorship Townhall Conversation Held

The much anticipated Anambra Town Hall Conversation has taken place between 2 candidates in the November 16 governorship elections in Anambra State.

How to tackle the security situation in the state became one of the critical issues that were discussed at the event which was organized by Channels Television.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige took the audience back into memory lane, reminding them of how he successfully utilised unconventional means to tackle the menace, and also made judicious use of security funds.

“I established a vigilante service that comes up from the community level to the Local Government level, to the state level. I trained them in the conventional Police method… We employed those people and you were here in Anambra State, robbery vanished.

For the APC candidate, unemployment provides a ready workforce for crime and criminal activities. His approach to crime prevention is therefore to create jobs, encourage skills acquisition and to overhaul the education system to facilitate skilled workforce.

On his part, the Labour Party candidate, Ifeanyi Uba said that corporate organizations doing business in Anambra State will be asked to contribute in the fight against armed robbery and other crimes.

“I sincerely believe that we need to go into digital solution for Anambra insecurity; there is no need arresting people or paying hoodlums. You cannot continue to pay hoodlums with the state fund, even if it’s from security fund.”

“What the security fund is meant for is to upgrade and transform the security system of Government.”

He promised to engage telecom firms operating in the state to develop an elaborate communication network that would facilitate speedy sharing of information on criminal activities, which would in turn help in preventing crimes like kidnapping.

While Senator Ngige also promised to reintroduce free education at the primary and secondary schools in the state, Mr Ubah insisted that free education is not what Anambra people need. Rather he would identify those who cannot afford to pay their fees and the Government will support them.

Candidates of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Tony Nwoye, the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Godwin Ezeemo and the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Willie Obiano were absent at the event.


Anambra Governorship Candidate Reel Out Campaign Promises

Chris Ngige and Ifeanyi Uba. Candidates of different political parties in Anambra State vying for the state governorship seat have intensified campaign around the state ahead of the election.

The different political parties’ candidates have made series of promises ranging from free education to the transformation of the Agriculture sector of the state into a viable foreign exchange earner.

At the Saturday campaign in Orumba South Local Government Area, the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Chris Ngige, promised to make the state self-sufficient in food production.

“We will build agricultural extension points in most places in Orumba and we will follow it up with fertiliser that will be free, loan that will be very cheap – interest free. We will give you farming equipment that will be hired free to you,” he promised.

The candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Ifeanyi Ubah, promised supporters in the Idemili-North Local Government Area that he would continue to support the development process in the area.

He described himself as an ‘action man’ that is young and energetic, being a youth.

He promised to bring change to the state if elected as the governor of the state.

Other parties’ candidates also held their campaigns in various towns in the state ahead of the election that the state electoral commission has registered over 20 candidates.

The candidates will hold a televised debate on Sunday, where there will have an opportunity to present their policies to to the indigenes of the state.

Security during the election is expected to be tight, as the police have put in place strategies that will ensure heavy presence of the force around the state.

Over two million people are eligible to vote in the state in the November 16 gubernatorial election.