Osinbajo: Patronise ‘Made-In-Nigeria’ Goods To Drive Economy

Yemi Osinbajo, Made-In-Nigeria, Economy, Chris Ngige, Kayode FayemiActing President Yemi Osinbajo has reaffirmed the Federal Government’s determination to drive the Nigerian economy with locally manufactured products.

Professor Osinbajo made the pledge at the 2017 National Productivity Day in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.

According to him, the current economic realities indicate that continued dependence on importation is not sustainable.

He, however, called for the patronage of made-in-Nigeria goods.

“Permit me to make a comment on made-in-Nigeria initiative, which has also been recognised here.

“As the president said in his 2017 budget speech, we must grow what we eat and we must use what we make; we must patronise made-in-Nigeria products to encourage local production,” Professor Osinbajo said.

Bedrock Of Every Economy

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, stressed the importance of the occasion.

“We are here today to celebrate and reward excellence in service by recognising individuals and organisations that have made significant contributions to the growth and development of the nation.

“The National Productivity Day is therefore a day we set aside to demonstrate that high productivity is the bedrock of every economy.

“It is time to reflect on ways of energising all sectors of the economy towards our goal of institutionalising productivity consciousness and excellence in service,” the minister said.

Celebrating Criminal Brigands

The Minister of Solid Minerals, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, on his part highlighted the importance of a reward system in encouraging local entrepreneurship.

“Society can only develop and be productive when our reward systems are robust and effective.

“Good must be rewarded and evil must be punished; government can however, not do this alone.

“It is a task we must all tackle collectively right from the family unit to our community to the nation at large.

“We can only make progress and be productive when we stop celebrating criminal brigands and start recognising unsung heroes in our society,” the minister said.

The National Productivity Day has been set aside by the Federal Government to promote local production of goods and services, as well as reward indigenous entrepreneurs who are contributing to the growth of the economy.

At the 2017 edition, 15 individuals and five organisations were rewarded by the government for their contributions to Nigeria’s economy.

NUPENG Suspends Three Days Warning Strike

NUPENG Declares 3-Day Warning StrikeThe leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), has suspended the three day warning strike it declared a day ago.

The union called off the strike after a meeting with some government officials and representatives of oil companies held in Abuja.

At the meeting, disagreement between the union and oil companies over staff welfare was discussed.

NUPENG had declared a three-day warning strike to press for the implementation of the agreement reached with the oil companies on staff welfare, which the Federal Government mediated in 2016.

Both the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige and the president of the union, Mr Igwe Achese, told reporters that a timeline of two weeks had been set to resolve some of the issues that led to the strike action.

FG Gets Land For Automotive Industrial Park In Anambra

landThe government of Anambra State has handed over 80 hectares of land to the Federal Government for the development of an Automotive Industrial Park.

The Governor of the State, Mr Willie Obiano, gave the Certificate of Occupancy of the parcels of land within three communities in Nnewi South and Aguata – Akwaihedi, Unubi and Uga – to the Federal Government.

Handing over the document to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okey Enelama, Governor Obiano demanded for a speedy development of the park within a period of 18 months.

He says failure to complete the park within the stipulated time would mean forfeiture of the land.

Governor Obiano said his decision to add a caveat was due to the ugly experience the previous administrations had with the Federal Government in allocating land to them that has remained unutilised till date.

“This is a very important ceremony. We are handing over 80 hectares of land to the Federal Government to develop the Automotive Industrial Park.

“It took us a while to arrive at this decision purely because we have not had good experience with previous Federal Governments in giving them land.

“Anambra state is the smallest state in Nigeria today because of erosion and therefore, we are very careful about giving lands.

“This land we are giving is half of what the Federal Government requested for because we said no, let us try with this, but if you do well we will give you another one. Because there is a land at Amansea, we gave that land to the Federal Government 21 years ago and nothing happened there and we don’t want to be giving lands and nothing happening.

“So my good friend, the Minister, Okey, has reassured me that I will see the difference, that they will fire like no man’s business and that this place will develop very fast. And you know, there will be an industrial park here, there will be ancillary industries that will be creeping up around here. That is what industrial parks attract, ancillary industries,” Governor Obiano stated

The minister, who was accompanied by the Minister of Labor and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, assured the government of Anambra State that the latest partnership would not only be successful but would trigger more investment and rapid industrialisation of Anambra State.

Dr. Enelama told the Governor that the development of an Automotive Industrial Park would crystallise into provision of adequate infrastructure for entrepreneurs, industrialists, and manufacturers from far and beyond that would make Anambra State an investment destination.

“One of the goals I had and still have is to see Anambra industrialise to its fullest potentials and because I know that by doing that we will be industrialising Nigeria.

“In order to do that, there is absolutely no question that you need special economic zone and industrial parks such as the one we are bringing to life today.

And the reason is quite straightforward. That this industrial park will provide the enabling environment for the entrepreneurs, the industrialists, and the manufacturers to do their own work without having to do the work of the government or the work the communities should do for them by providing the basic infrastructure.

“The other reason such a park and such initiative are essential is the importance of partnership.

“So, I believe with all my heart, that what we are going to see is a model industrial park, from the handover ceremony we have done today, to the design, to the implementation, to the operations, I think it will do very well. And I know that this is only the beginning of what is going to be a very successful partnership,” the minister said.

The handing over ceremony took place in Unubi and the project would be handled by the Director General of Automotive Design and Development Council, Dr. Aminu Jalal.

After the Certificate of Occupancy was handed to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, he handed it over to the developer, Dr. Jalal, for immediate takeoff of development.

The occasion was rounded off with the unveiling of the plaque that seals the deal between Anambra State and the Federal Government with high hopes that the project impact on the people of Anambra state when completed.


Ngige Challenges NSITF On Workers’ Social Security

Chris Ngige, Social Security, Workers
, NSITFThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, has appealed to the management of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to provide social security coverage for workers in the public and organised private sector.

The Minister noted that the agency has failed to take companies to court and also claim compensation for workers whose social securities were threatened by their employers.

He urged the agency’s legal department to brace up to the task and take more companies that fail to provide social security for their workers to court by 2017.

The Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund is an agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Labour.

NLC Will Continue To Negotiate With Government – Ayuba Wabba

NLC, Ayuba WabbaThe Chairman of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, says the NLC will continue to negotiate with the Federal Government over its opposition to the hike in the pump price of petrol.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Monday, Mr Wabba noted that the tradition of the NLC is to continue to dialogue on issues that it is passionate about, especially the increase in electricity tariff and pump price of petrol.

The labour union, had on Sunday evening suspended an industrial action it called on Wednesday, May 18 to resist the new price of petrol.

This was after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee, where talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

There were reports that the suspension of the strike was one of the conditions the Federal Government had given for it to resume negotiations with the NLC but Mr Wabba reiterated that the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu and the National Assembly.

He did not give an assurance that all matters would be resolved, but promised that the union would indeed resume negotiations with the government, adding that they would remain consistent in their demands.

“We will go there with open mind to discuss those issues. In the discussion process, we will try to advance a lot of reasons why we think that it should not be only this issue of importation; we can also look at other policy options which we are going to come to the table with,” he said.

Mr Wabba also explained the rationale behind the decision of the labour union to embark on the strike and which they would continue to press for.

“Our standpoint is clear and unambiguous, we believe that it is not sustainable and it will be at a very high cost to continue to over-rely on importation of this product that God has blessed Nigeria with.

“As far back as 2011, we had a documented written agreement with government where they requested for a full-year monitoring period within which to ensure that the issue of importing products will be addressed.

“But here we are, many years down the line we are still at the same point. So, we thought that as NLC we must continue to be consistent and that is the process that actually drove the process of engagement of the NEC and the decision that was taken.”

Mr Wabba stated that as the union resumes negotiations with the government, they would be demanding for a timeline for which the new price hike would be in place as they believe the policy is not sustainable because it is dependent on factors like the foreign exchange rate which is beyond Nigeria’s control.

“We must also agree, like we did in 2011 – documented. When do we think we can be able to move into the next phase of fixing our refineries and also addressing the issue of bunkering and sabotage going on?

“We have realised that what is going on in the oil and gas sector, where most of our facilities are vandalized is because of the fact that it is cheaper and easier and you make quick money when you import and dispose of it.

“Therefore, it is like an incentive to those people that it is cheaper and easier to import product instead of working towards (rebuilding) the refineries,” he said.

Labour Minister Welcomes Suspension Of Strike By Wabba-Led NLC

Chris Ngige, Labour Minister, NLC StrikeThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has described the decision of the Wabba-led faction of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to suspend its strike as a welcome development.

In a statement by his ministry’s spokesman, Samuel Olowookere, Senator Ngige reassured the labour union that the government was ready to continue the negotiation.

“I wish to assure them that they are fully welcome back to the negotiating table to continue from where we stopped,” he said.

The Wabba faction of the NLC suspended the industrial action called on May 18  to resist the new petrol price of 145 Naira.

The leader of the union announced the suspension on Sunday.

It came after an emergency meeting of its organs – the National Working Committee and the National Executive Committee.

At the meeting, talks were focused on the strike and the way forward.

Mr Wabba said the strike was suspended due to the intervention of well-meaning Nigerians including the national leader of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Bola Tinubu.


Unemployed Graduates, Civilian JTF To Benefit From N5,000 Stipend

Ngige-StipendThe Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, says the Federal Government will target unemployed graduates, market women and the Civilian Joint Task Force in the north-east as beneficiaries of the Federal Government’s campaign promise to provide stipends for the poor and vulnerable.

The Minister made further clarifications in Abuja during an interview with journalists. He explained that the 5,000 Naira stipend will be disbursed through a social security scheme.

Ngige gave the assurance that while the Federal Government empowers unemployed graduates through a teacher conversion scheme,other unskilled individuals, including market women and the civilian JTF in the north-east will undertake training at various skills acquisition centres across the country.

The Minister also said that the promised stipend for the unemployed will vary, depending on the programme a candidate is engaged in.

Addressing Youth Unemployment

Dr. Ngige recently called on Nigerian youths to embrace technical skills in order to wriggle out of joblessness.

He was speaking to Channels Television after President Muhammadu Buhari’s presentation of the 2016 budget at the National Assembly on Tuesday, December 22.

With a promise that the 2016 budget would focus on addressing youth unemployment and cater for the vulnerable, Channels Television sought to know the plans of the Ministry of Labour and Employment on the implementation of this key feature of the 2016 budget.

“We will give employment that will be decent. For example, one of the programmes we are going to execute is the conversion of graduates into the teaching cadre. We’ll give them training after Youth Corps, 1-year post Youth Corps, 2-year post Youth Corps, that is the bar and we will start form there; get them into teaching.

“Whether you are an engineer or lawyer, we will convert you and use that as a transition job for the time being.

“We are also going to do skill acquisition. All our skill acquisition centre scattered all over the country are going to be raised into performing their roles,” he said.

Abia Governor, Ngige Commission Osieke ICT Centre

Abia Governor, Ngige Commission ICT CentreAbia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, has commissioned an Information Communication Technology (ICT) centre in the state.

This comes as part of the government’s effort to reduce unemployment and create wealth through skill education in Abia State, south-east Nigeria.

The Osieke ICT skills acquisition centre was built by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), with an aim to drive economic activity in the state, empower the youth and make them self-reliant.

At the commissioning of the ICT complex, Governor Ikpeazu said that his government would provide the graduates of the centre with a monthly stipend of 20,000 Naira each throughout their training, as well as empower them with some money to establish their own businesses.

While lauding the Federal Government’s cooperation, he disclosed that the State government had initiated the Education for Employment programme designed to train youths in trades and technical vocations.

The Director General of the NDE, Abubakar Mohammed, acknowledged the supportive role of Abia State government in tackling unemployment.

On his part, the minister said: “This is one among the Federal Government’s ways of curbing social vices by creating befitting jobs for youths in Nigeria.

The minister urged the participants to diligently apply themselves to their training and make maximum use of the opportunity offered them.

The Centre which has all the necessary facilities in computer and phone repairs among others would be training about 125 beneficiaries in the first phase.

APC, Others Condemn Election Process In Anambra

anambraIssues and complaints have continued to trail the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly Elections in Anambra State, as collation of results is concluded in various constituency  and Local Government Headquarters of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by the Senator representing Anambra Central and a leader of the party in the State, Senator Chris Ngige, on Monday condemned the election and called for its cancellation.

In a press briefing, Senator Ngige, demanded that the election should be conducted based on the use card reader and the release of party members held hostage in some parts of the State.

Senator Ngige’s statement came days after the factional senatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for Anambra South senatorial zone, Mr Chris Uba, asked the INEC not to announce any of the candidates of the PDP winner of the election or issue the certificate of return to any “until the suit at the supreme court is determined to State”.

Similarly, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has maintained that the collation of results had not been transparent.

The APGA  commended the INEC for ensuring a good outing at the riverine areas of Anambra East and West, but, however, had issues with the collation of results. Members of the ruling party in the State had accused the PDP of hijacking the process of collation to suit it.

Addressing the grouse of the political parties, the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Edwin Nwatarali, said all issues should be addressed to the appropriate quarter, as the election and the commission were guided by law.

While the complaints mount, results of winners of the National Assembly elections are being announced.

APGA, Senator Igbeke Sue Buhari For Constitution Breaches

APGAThe All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, and one-time senator representing Anambra North Senatorial Zone, Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, have gone to the Federal High Court, Awka, Anambra State, to stop the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari, from contesting the election on grounds of breaches of the constitution and the Electoral Act 2010.

The plaintiffs, through their lawyer, Mr. Nsobundu, had filed a nine paragraph originating summon and a 22 paragraph affidavit before the court presided over by Justice M.I. Abubakar in suit number FHC/Awka/CS/117/2015, dated March 12, 2015.

Speaking with journalists, Senator Alphonsus Igbeke said that the suit filed by himself and the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, seeks an order declaring that General Buhari is not constitutionally qualified for the office of the President.

Ngige Reacts

Meanwhile, the leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Anambra State, Senator Chris Ngige, has dismissed the suit by APGA and Senator Alphonsus Igbeke, describing it as frivolous.

Senator Ngige, who maintained that General Muhammadu Buhari is over qualified to contest for the election, said that APGA had no presidential candidate and therefore had no moral justification to go to court.

APC Senators Condemn Obanikoro’s Confirmation

obanikoroSenators of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Nigeria have condemned the confirmation of a ministerial nominee, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, by majority in the Senate, saying they were extremely disappointed by the decision.

Senator Obanikoro was confirmed, without much questioning, by majority in the Senate on Wednesday during the plenary.

The APC lawmakers walked out of the floor of the Senate after their bid to stop the confirmation failed.

Number Advantage

Briefing reporters after Senator Obanikoro was confirmed, the Senate Minority Leader, George Akume, who is a member of the APC, said that the opposition party had objected the nomination of Senator Obanikoro, but lamented that the Senate President and other members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Senate took advantage of their numbers to override the process.

“We objected to the nomination of Senator Obanikoro and yet the Senate President and his colleagues from the PDP decided to take advantage of their numbers to override what was supposed to be basically a very straight forward issue. We wonder whether we want to grow democracy in this country or we want to destroy this democracy.

“I have said his (Senate President) action is a breach. He should have stayed to clear himself. The matter is in court and one of the rules of the Senate is that when a matter is in the court, the Senate cannot deliberate on it,” he said.

“Compromised His Office”

Senator Obanikoro was a former Minister of Defence before he resigned to vie for the governorship candidacy of the PDP in Lagos State. He lost in the primary election.

He is alleged to have planned out a process to rig the Ekiti State governorship election. Senator Obanikoro has denied the allegation.

But the APC Senators still said he had questions to answer in respect to what transpired in the Ekiti State election.

Another Senator and a member of the APC, Chris Ngige, expressed worries over the rush to bring back Senator Obanikoro, who he alleged had compromised his office as a Minister of Defence.

“One wonders what is the rush in trying to bring back a former minister of defence who has been alleged… and clips shown that he compromised his office.

“You oppose card reader, Permanent Voter Cards and everything that will make for a credible election and you want to bring back someone who is alleged to have been tented by all evidence,” he stated.

“Innocent Until Proven Guilty”

Responding to the grouse of the APC Senators, the spokesman for the Senate, Enyinnaya Abaribe, said although there were allegations against Senator Obanikoro, there was no court decision, condemning Senator Obanikoro for any crime.

“Well, what we know as a matter of fact is that there were allegations against Senator Musiliu Obanikoro

“But in our law and the Constitution of Nigeria, anything that is a mere allegation, that is not in any way a court decision, is nothing but a mere allegation and every citizen of Nigeria is deem to be innocent until proven guilty.

“And even the Senators, who addressed the press conference and spoke about the qualification and non-qualification of Senator Musiliu Obanikoro are enjoying this privilege because some of them have EFCC cases and they are still in the Senate because of this privilege of being innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

Senator Abaribe said that the APC Senator’s statement was an attempt to convict somebody when the person had not been convicted in a court of law.

“They cannot enjoy that privilege themselves and sit in this Senate and then turn around and say that somebody else cannot enjoy that privilege.

“And the laws of Nigeria is very clear. You are innocent until you are proven guilty and that is what played out on the floors of the Senate.

“The senate in its wisdom, having known that this is the law of Nigeria and this is the Constitution of Nigeria, and that every Nigerian is entitled to this privilege, went ahead to do what it is supposed by law to do which is confirmation of somebody that is on the floor of the Senate who has not been convicted of anything,” he stressed.




Ngige Wins APC Anambra Central Senatorial Primaries

Chris-Ngige1Senator Chris Ngige has emerged the winner of the Anambra Central Senatorial primary of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Anambra State.

Receiving the nod of the members of the APC in Anambra to re-contest the seat in 2015, Ngige was a lone aspirant in the election in which he polled 1,832 votes out of the 1,834 votes cast.

Announcing the result, the Chairman of the party’s National Assembly Primary Committee, Mr. Gideon Sammau, declared Ngige winner and issued him the Certificate of Return.

Reacting to the unanimous vote cast for him, Dr. Chris Ngige expressed appreciation to the people for the huge support and assured them that the party would win many seats in the 2015 election, within the state and nationally.

Dr. Ngige said that he was humbled by their affirmation that he should re-contest, maintaining that APC was alive in Anambra State to win many seats in the 2015 general elections.

He said that in the spirit of the change blowing across the country, APC would change the national leadership of the country as the ruling party has failed the country in the past 15 years.

The occasion also presented an opportunity for the APC to admit new entrants into the party. They were mostly those who were aggrieved over the outcome of primaries from their previous parties.

Amongst them was the incumbent member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Afam Ogene, who left the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, after losing in the primaries.