Gov Orji Inspects Project Sites In Abia

Abia-Gov-Theodore-Orji1The Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji, has inspected some ongoing projects in the state to ascertain the level of work done and to ensure that all the various projects embarked on by his administration are completed within the stipulated time .

The projects visited included the e-library located at new government layout, the 5,000 sitting capacity international conference centre, the new ShopRite Shopping complex amongst many others.

Arriving at the e-library, the governor who was in the company of some dignitaries among them is the Minister for Labour, Emeka Wogu,  inspected the Projects.

The inspection started at the power generating site which is very critical to the structure in place to ensure steady power supply and afterwards the entourage went inside to see the interior of the library.

The governor expressed optimism at the pace of work and was delighted that his vision of transforming Abia State through long lasting infrastructural projects were becoming a reality.

Satisfied with what he has seen, he hinted that the quality of job is outstanding and very remarkable, as the project when completed would encourage reading culture among the youths.

From the e-library, the entourage visited the new international conference centre, where work was almost 98 per-cent completed.

No doubt, these projects, when completed, would boost socio-economic development of the state. The e-library with the facilities in place would be a centre for research while the youths would have a place to channel their exuberant energy by reading in conducive environment.

Labour Minister Says Vision 20-20-20 On Course

Nigeria’s Minister of  Labour and Productivity,Vision 20-20-20 Mr Emeka Wogu, says Vision 20-20-20, which is the country’s vision of becoming one of the world’s top 20 economies by the year 2020 is on course.

Mr Wogu gave the assurance during the year’s annual National Productivity Order of Merit Awards in Abuja.

According to the Minister of Labour and Productivity, improved productivity at all levels of the economy is key to the attainment of Nigeria’s vision 20-20-20.

He said this as 16 recipients of the year’s National Productivity Order of Merit Award filed out to receive their awards.

It was the 14th edition since the year 2000, when the National Productivity Centre was established to honour Nigerians who have made their marks in both public and private sectors of the economy.

While expressing confidence in the awardees’ ability to help realize President Goodluck Jonathan’s vision 20-20-20, the Minister enjoined them to remain productive and not to relent in their good works to the nation.

The Vice President, Namandi Sambo, who represented President Goodluck Jonathan at the event, charged award recipients to continue in their services towards moving the nation forward.

Judiciary Workers Call Off Strike

courtThree weeks ago, the judiciary workers commenced an industrial action which effectively paralyzed activities in the state courts across the country.

Across the country, the workers stayed away and the courts remained under lock and key.

Their grouse was the refusal of the state governments to implement an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja, delivered on January 13 and which directed them to ensure that all allocations meant for the state judiciary should be paid directly to the heads of state courts.

With all the complaints trailing this industrial action, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, intervened and at a meeting that lasted several hours on Friday, a truce was reached after a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, was signed between the Minister and the leadership of the Union in Abuja.

The MoU states that all governments are obliged to respect the provision of the 1999 Constitution as amended and comply with the judgment of the court.

The agreement also indicates that the demands of the judiciary workers union would be met within the next 45 working days.

With this development, the courts across the country would now resume work on Monday, August 4, with the caveat that no Judiciary Staff Union member would be victimized as a result of participating in the strike.

FG, Governor Uduaghan Say Doctors’ Strike Almost Over

Onyebuchi Chukwu2The ongoing strike by the Nigeria Medical Association will soon be over as talks are ongoing between the Federal Government and the association to put an end to this action that has led to untold sufferings of patients across the nation.

This was revealed on Friday at the Government House, Asaba, by the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, during an interview session with newsmen.

Dr Uduaghan revealed that a meeting of some elders of the medical profession and Government representatives held in Abuja on Thursday night.

He gave assurance that some of the pressing issues were addressed and resolved at the meeting and by the end of the week, the strike would be called off.

Present at the meeting were the Delta State Governor; the Chairman, Senate Committee on Health, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; Dr Doyin Okupe, the Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu; Minister for Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr Anyim Pius Anyim and members of the medical association.

Governor Uduaghan, while admitting that there were indeed challenges in the health sector, urged medical professionals to be weary of strike which does more harm than good, because every life lost during the period of strike cannot be brought back.

The Federal Government has also corroborated the claim by saying that the nationwide doctors’ strike may be called off next Monday, following the Thursday meeting between the leadership of the NMA and representatives of Government.

The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, disclosed that a Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the end of the 10-hour meeting between the two parties.

Workers Gather At Eagles Square Abuja For Rally

nlcThe workers day rally in Abuja may not witness the usual pump that is associated with the day.

At about 10am only a few workers were  at the Eagles Square for the rally that goes with the day.

Some of the Union Leaders who spoke to Channels Television blamed the situation on insecurity in the land.

One of the officers used the public address system to plead with the workers who were outside the Eagle’s Square to get into the center stage for the rally, a plea that only a few workers adhered to.

Among the groups that came in on time was the Drivers’ Union otherwise known as the National Union of Road Transport Workers, followed by the Vice President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, Issa Aremu

Also, the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu had been at the Eagles Square very early trying hard to ensure that things are in order.

Jonathan Urges NASS To Expedite Action On 2014 Appropriation Bill

The Federal Government has appealed to members of the National Assembly to expedite action on the 2014 Appropriation Bill currently before them to ensure that the administration delivers dividends of democracy to the people.

Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu,who represented President Goodluck Jonathan made the appeal  during a  forum of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme (SURE-P) held inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

He reiterated President Jonathan’s determination to continue to impact positively on the infrastructural needs of the country and that the SURE-P had since its inception in 2012 become a critical unit of his administration’s transformation agenda.

He said over 190,000 youths have so far been employed under various categories of SURE-P alongside massive intervention in railway, road construction and health among others.

The acting chairman of SURE-P, Gen. Martin-Luther Agwai (Rtd), agreed that there were obvious challenges in the implementation of its programmes.

Agwai explained that the forum was therefore meant to review past operations to assist the programme to fulfil its mandate.

FEC Approves N240 Million Worth Of Vehicles For SURE-P Officials

The Federal Executive Council has approved the procurement of 44 Innoson Motors (IVM) G5 jeeps for the 37 chairmen of the State and FCT Coordination and Implementation Committee of the Community Services, Women and Youth Employment Projects of SURE-P.

Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu made this known to journalists at the end of the council meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan.

The Labour minister said the vehicle will enhance the monitoring and supervision of the community services, women and youths employment activities at the state and local government levels nationwide.

The approval which has a budgetary provision in the 2013 Appropriation is in line with the federal government’s policy to patronize locally manufactured vehicles through direct procurement method and will cost N240.2million.

Also, the FEC has approved a draft Nigerian Metallurgical Industry Bill, 2014 for passage to the National Assembly.

The Minister for Mines and Steel Development, Mr Musa Sada, said the objective of the bill amongst others, include regulating the operations of all metallurgical plants in Nigeria through ensuring that metallurgical products and raw materials being manufactured or imported into the country meet set standards.

Doctors Suspend Planned Strike

The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has suspended its impending industrial action scheduled to commence on Monday, January 6, 2014.

The Association made this declaration to the media at the end of its emergency National Executive Council (E-NEC) meeting held in Abuja on Saturday, January 4, 2014, to reappraise the efforts made so far to resolve their demands.

The NEC, while noting the several appeals made by Nigerians and the media for more time to be given by NMA for dialogue with government, also noted the efforts and the personal commitment of President Goodluck Jonathan and the Federal Government of Nigeria to address some of the demands of the association.

In a statement signed by the President, Nigerian Medical Association, Dr. Osahon Enabulele, the association directed all medical and dental practitioners nationwide to “continue to render their normal and highly cherished services to the lovely and caring people of Nigeria.”

The statement reads: “The National Executive Council of the Nigerian Medical Association has resolved to suspend for now her earlier directive to all medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria to withdraw their services from Monday, January 6, 2014 to allow for full implementation of all the elements of the MOU within the government set time lines.”

The said Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was reached at the end of the meeting held on Thursday, January 2, 2014 between the Nigerian Medical Association and the Federal Government, wherein appeals were made to the NMA by government for more time for the resolution of outstanding demands.

The statement also highlighted as being behind their decision, some welcome developments in the implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) reached between the NMA and the Federal Government of Nigeria.

These include the decision by the Federal Government to “redress the gross injustice done to doctors, establishment of a Hospital Development and Intervention Fund (HDIF) for health infrastructural upgrade, appointment of a Surgeon-General of the Federation, and expansion of Universal Health Coverage.”

The doctors’ body embarked on a 5-day warning strike from Wednesday, December 18 to Sunday, December 22, 2013, with a further declaration to proceed on a total strike from Monday January 6, 2014 if their demands before the Federal Government of Nigeria were not addressed.

Their demands bothered amongst others on the absence of a regulatory environment for practice in the healthcare sector, funding of healthcare in Nigeria and expansion of Universal Health Coverage to cover all Nigerians, health infrastructural upgrade, fundamental injustices done to doctors in terms of workplace conditions/conditions of service, and other health sector challenges.

Looming Doctors’ Strike May Not Hold – FG

There are indications that the Nigerian Medical Association, NMA, may not go ahead with its planned strike, following a meeting between the officials of the association and some top government officials.

Rising from a 9-hour meeting in Abuja, the Minister of Labour, Emeka Wogu, said that the Federal Government had fruitful discussions with officials of the Nigerian Medical Association and that the planned strike was no longer necessary.

“The purpose of the meeting is to avert the other strike which they (NMA) have given notice (of), and we held a successful meeting from yesterday up till this morning.”

The Minister of Health, Onyebuchi Chukwu, also corroborated the claims: “The resolutions were mutually accepted, and they promised to talk to their members with a view to averting the strike. We hope that will come to past.”

The NMA President, Doctor Osahon Enabulele, in an exclusive interview with Channels Television, said that the organisation has indeed reached some understanding with the government.

He added that the government’s positions were subject to its members’ consideration, as the issues discussed at the closed door meeting would be presented before the emergency National Executive Committee meeting of the association.

The NMA had embarked on a 5-day warning strike in December 2013 to protest issues bothering on some health sector challenges, workplace condition of service for doctors and funding infrastructure and equipment upgrade of the nation’s health sector.

Uduaghan On Strike  

Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, who also attended the meeting, said that the Federal Government would not allow the proposed strike by the Nigerian Medical Association to hold.

Speaking to Channels Television’s State House Correspondent shortly after holding the consultative meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan at the presidential villa, the Governor said that President Jonathan had just constituted a strong negotiating team from the government’s side to meet with the national officers of the NMA, with a view to halting the looming nationwide strike.

He said that President Jonathan had looked at the issues raised by the doctors, adding that they were going to hold another meeting with the doctors’ leadership.

According to him, it is the determination of government to ensure that the strike scheduled for January 6, is averted.

Government Is Committed To Resolving Disputes Through Dialogue – Wogu

The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Chukwuemeka Wogu has said that the federal government will continue to accord priority to dialogue and democratic participation in resolving industrial relations challenges before degenerating to disruptive levels.

Mr Wogu said this while speaking at the ninth National Labour Relations Summit organised by the Michael Imoudu National Institutie for Labour Studies [MINILIS] in Ilorin.

The event which held at the hall of the institute was attended by labour leaders from different sectors across the country who came to partake in the summit themed ‘ Labour Laws, Institutional Reforms  and Development Process in Nigeria’.

Former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Modibbo Alfa Belgore who chaired the occasion, described the theme as well timed.

The Director General of the Institutie, Dr Niyi Olarewaju, who also spoke about the summit said that the annual event had been able to impact positively on labour leaders especially on the need to accord priority to dialogue rather than resorting to strikes.

Mr Wogu agreed with Mr Olarewaju and placed emphasis on government taking proactive measures in his address. He noted that the government had been able to resolve many industrial relations challenges by espousing dialogue and democratic participation, before they degenerate to disruptive levels.

He stressed that the willingness to engage the diverse actors and interests within the Nigerian industrial relations system, particularly labour and employers derives from the government’s attitude of regarding the actors as partners in development.



Health Workers Suspend Strike

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has suspended the strike which began on the 19th of August following an agreement reached between the unions, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, Federal Ministry of Health and the Head of Service.

Addressing journalists at the end of the meeting which lasted about 12 hours, Minister of Labour and Productivity, Mr. Emeka Wogu announced that an understanding has been reached with the unions.

He said: “We have reached an understanding after a lengthy deliberation, which started yesterday, and we resumed at 8 O’clock in the morning today (Tuesday).
“We were able to reach an understanding, which has been signed, and based on that understanding the unions have agreed to suspend the strike, which was embarked upon.”

President of JOHESU, Comrade Ayuba Wabba while announcing the suspension of the strike said an implementation committee headed by the head of civil service of the federation has been put in place with a mandate to iron the remaining grey areas within four weeks.

Wabba said: “As enumerated by the Minister of Labour and Productivity, the Joint Health Sector Union as you are aware embarked on an industrial action based on some grievances.

“Painstakingly, we have looked at these issues and through the process of collective bargaining, we have been able to come to conclusion.

“We on this side of the divide are convinced that all the issues in dispute have been addressed. Arising from this agreement, the industrial action that we have embarked upon is hereby suspended. This is to give room to full implementation of the agreement that has been signed today.”

The terms of reference of the committee include the non-skipping of  Consolidated Health Salary Scale (CONHESS) 10 in line with the judgment of the National Industrial Court, modalities for the payment of consultancy and specialist allowance and the review of retirement age for health workers from 60 to 65years.

At the end of the meeting, a five-page Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the Federal Government and representatives of the unions.
Issues deliberated upon included the constitution of board of management of Teaching Hospitals and implementation of 2008 Job Evaluation Report.

Others were promotion from CONHESS 14 to CONHESS 15 and constitution of a presidential committee to see to the implementation of the agreement.

Nigeria Moves To Domesticate ILO Maritime Labour Convention

The labour minister, Emeka Wogu, and his counterpart in the transport ministry, Idris Umar, have asked the Attorney General of the Federation to prepare an instrument for the domestication of the maritime labour convention 2006.

The memo which the Federal Executive Council has approved is expected to usher a a turn-around in the maritime sector.

Wogu explained that the law will enable Nigeria develop its maritime sector for better efficiency.

Meanwhile, maritime workers have expressed concern about issues affecting the industry and upper most on their minds is the alleged tax evasion.

The trade union congress of Nigeria and the maritime workers union are separately asking the federal government to probe what they call the dirty tax deals benefitting the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas company.

The unions have said they recognise that between 1998 and 1999, the NLNG was granted a tax break for its pioneering role in the natural gas project.

However, they are now wondering why there’s an issue over the refusal of the Nigerian maritime and administration safety agency to allow them carries on their operations, without paying the back log of tax.