Any Strike Action Will Worsen Nigeria’s Economy, NGF Tells Organised Labour

NGF Vice Chairman and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal

 

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has cautioned the organised labour against embarking on industrial action.

The warning was contained in a communique issued on Friday by the NGF Vice Chairman and Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal.

Tambuwal argued that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“On the call for national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Forum believes that the labour unions should exercise caution on the call for strike action, noting that any strike action will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the communique partly read.

“While expressing concern over the call for national strike action by the  Nigeria  Labour  Congress  (NLC)  and  the  Trade  Union  Congress (TUC),  Forum  members  suggested  the  provision  of  a  cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal.”

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE

Communiqué ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 18th TELECONFERENCE (EMERGENCY MEETING) OF THE NIGERIA GOVERNORS’ FORUM HELD ON THURSDAY, 24TH SEPTEMBER 2020

  1. The Emergency  Meeting  was  convened  to  deliberate  on  two  key issues – ALGON Vs FAAC: deduction of LGC statutory allocation for the construction of primary healthcare centers in each of the 774 LGAs; and the NLC & TUC call for a national strike action over the recent increase in  the  pump  price  of  Premium  Motor  Spirit  (PMS)  and  increase  in Electricity Tariff.
  2. Governors expressed  serious  concern  over  deductions  from  the Federation  Allocation  of  the  774  local  governments  of  the  country  to construct and equip healthcare centres in each local government area on behalf  of  the  Association  of  Local  Government  Areas  of  Nigeria (ALGON);
  3. The Forum  rejected  the  legality  and  the  legitimacy  of  the  contract including all financing arrangements;
  4. On the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC), the Forum believes that the labour unions should  exercise  caution  on  the  call  for  a  strike  action, noting  that  any  strike  action  will  worsen  the  currently  deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  5. While expressing concern over the call for a national strike action by the Nigeria Labour  Congress  (NLC)  and  the  Trade  Union  Congress (TUC),  Forum  members  suggested  the  provision  of  a  cushioning arrangement to ameliorate the effect of subsidy removal;
  6. Governors confirmed during the meeting that an Industrial Court had barred Labour from  embarking  on  its  planned  industrial  action  but nevertheless decided to  use  the intervening period to  mediate  between the stakeholders.1

Communiqué  After  a  long  and  arduous  deliberation  on  the  two  issues,  the  Forum Resolved to:

  1. Call on  the  Minister  for  Finance  and  the Accountant  General  of  the Federation not to disburse to receiving entities monies already deducted for  the  construction  of  primary  healthcare  centers  in  each  of  the  774 LGAs, and that further deductions should be halted forthwith;
  2. Constitute a Committee comprising the Governors of Ekiti (Chairman), Ebonyi, Delta, Gombe, Plateau, and Kano States to represent State and local governments on the matter. The Committee will also approach Mr. President, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, the National Judicial  Council  and  the  Minister  of  Finance,  Budget  and National Planning to appeal against the judgement;
  3. Intercede with the Labour Unions, the Federal Government and other stakeholders and especially call labour to exercise caution in its plan to embark on an  indefinite  strike  action,  noting  that  any  such  action  will worsen  the  already  deteriorating  economic  situation  of  the  workers brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic;
  4. Set up a Committee made up of the Governors of Jigawa (Chairman), Nasarawa, Ogun, Kwara, Gombe, Abia and Bayelsa  States  to  interface with  the  National  Economic  Council,  the  Labour  Unions  and  relevant stakeholders  for  the  overall  interest  of  the  nation.  The  NGF  Secretariat will  provide  relevant  support  to  the  Committee  on  the  details  of  the mechanism for deregulation put in place by the federal government;
  5. Call for an Emergency NEC meeting as soon as the Committee comes up with a common position on the deregulation of both the petroleum and power sectors and the figures laid bare for all to see;

Finally,  members  advised  that  any  position  taken  by  the  Forum  should not  be  seen  to  be  contrary  or  injurious  to  the  position  State  Governors 2

Communiqué  have  always  maintained  in  support  of  deregulation.  Governors  insisted that subsidy in the petroleum sector, apart from promoting corruption in petroleum  pricing  and  distribution,  brings  about  loss  of  revenues  to  the three tiers of government and loss of jobs to the populace.

 

Meeting held from 6pm – 7:30pm.

          Signed

Rt Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal

Governor of Sokoto and Vice Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum

Three Nigeriens Arrested Over Arms Smuggling In Sokoto

The Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche speaks during a press conference in Abuja on August 21, 2020.

 

Three citizens of the Republic of Niger have been arrested in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State over arms smuggling.

Speaking during a press conference in Abuja on Friday, the Coordinator of defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche said the suspects are members of a notorious arms smuggling syndicate.

He explained that the foreigners smuggled the special ammunition into the country by concealing them in their vehicle.

Sokoto, usually referred to as Sokoto State to distinguish it from the city of Sokoto, is located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River

 

“Troops of Operation Sahel Sanity deployed at Forward Operating Base Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State on the 15th of August after an undercover operation successfully smashed a notorious illegal arms smuggling syndicate who specialise in massive arms supply to bandits in the northwest from across the international borders.

“The three suspects, all Nigeriens were intercepted at Dantudu in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State with six AK-47 rifles, two AK-47 rifle magazines and 2,415 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition concealed in various parts of their vehicles,” he said.

Speaking further, the defence spokesman said some of the nation’s “security challenges have an external influence.”

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Enenche recalled that two foreigners were also arrested in Niger State recently over arms smuggling, adding that the Armed Forces will not relent in tackling the security challenges in the country.

Sokoto has been experiencing a series of attacks from bandits recently with the latest happening on August 17 in the same local government.

Just four days ago, three suspected arms smugglers – Alhaji Adamu Alhassan, Salisu Adamu and Abdullahi Sani were arrested by the troops following credible intelligence.

The suspects were said to be citizens of the Republic of Niger.

The military authorities said preliminary investigation revealed that the dangerous consignment was meant for some bandits in Isah Local Government Area of the state.

Troops Arrest Three Arm Smugglers In Sokoto, Recover Weapons

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of troops.

 

As parts of efforts to rid the nation of bandits, troops of Operation Sahel Sanity have smashed a notorious illegal arms smuggling syndicate in Sabon Birni Local Government Area of Sokoto State.

The suspects – Alhaji Adamu Alhassan, Salisu Adamu and Abdullahi Sani were arrested by the troops following credible intelligence.

This was disclosed in a statement issued on Monday by the Acting Director of Defence Media Operations, Brigadier General Benard Onyeuko.

The suspects were said to be citizens of the Republic of Niger.

“In what could be described as an unprecedented stride, gallant troops of Operation SAHEL SANITY deployed at Forward Operation Base Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State on 15 August 2020 after a painstaking undercover operation successfully smashed a notorious illegal arms smuggling syndicate who specialize in massive arms supply to bandits in the North West from across the international borders,” the statement partly read.

Items recovered from the suspects include six AK-47 Rifles, three AK-47 Rifle magazines and 2,415 rounds of 7.62mm Special ammunition deceptively concealed in various parts of their vehicle.

The military authorities said preliminary investigation revealed that the dangerous consignment was meant for some bandits in Isah Local Government Area of the state.

According to them, a swift interception by the troops prevented the further loss of lives of innocent people of the state.

Similarly, troops destroyed 12 bandit camps at Yobe Baranda in Batsari Local Government Area of Katsina State last week Wednesday.

Following the clearance operation, three bandits were killed in the process with others fleeing with “various degrees of gunshot wounds.”

Troops successfully “arrested a suspected bandit named, Shehu Abdullahi while spying on traders’ activities in the market with the intent of organizing for their kidnap.”

Troops Kill Three Bandits, Recover Over 500 Livestock

A soldier backs the camera during a clearance operation in northern Nigeria.

 

Troops have killed three bandits and recovered over 500 livestock in a series of operations carried out in Sokoto and Katsina States.

In a statement on Thursday, the Coordinator of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, noted that the operations were conducted in two days.

He said troops of Operation Hadarin Daji under Operation Accord came in contact with some bandits at Sabon Birni LGA of Sokoto State on Tuesday.

Enenche explained that the soldiers adopted aggressive tactical manoeuvres and engaged the bandits, thereby neutralising two while others fled in disarray with gunshot wounds.

He added that another suspected bandit, Ibrahim Alhassan, was arrested by troops while on routine patrol in Zamfara State.

“Upon preliminary investigation, the suspect confessed to being a member of Kachalla Bandit Group.

“The suspect further confessed to being a GPMG carrier for the group and was on payroll of N100,000 for every evil operation they conducted. The suspect is in custody as further investigation continues,” the statement said.

The military says troops recovered over 500 cows, rams, and sheep during clearance operations conducted in Sokoto and Katsina States.

 

In another development, troops intercepted three armed bandits and killed one of them while others escaped with gunshot wounds.

He noted that the soldiers, were on patrol along road Unguwan Doka- Sabon Layi in Faskari LGA of Katsina State, recovered one AK-47 rifle and one motorcycle.

On Wednesday, Enenche revealed that troops received credible intelligence on the movement of bandits with a large number of rustled animals from Jangemi village forest to Kwaren Ganuwa axis in Zamfara State.

According to him, the soldiers immediately mobilised and intercepted the bandits at Bawaganga village but the criminals fled towards Muhaye forest and abandoned 250 cows and 150 rams, on sighting the troops.

“Additionally, still on 8 July 20, acting on credible intelligence on the movement of bandits along Kwaren Ganuwa towards Tsafe with unconfirmed rustled livestock.

“Troops tactically mobilised to the scene. Bandits fled in disarray on sighting troops thereby abandoning the rustled animals. Troops exploited further and recovered 117 cows and 34 sheep,” the statement added.

Air Force Launches Fresh Offensive Against Bandits In Sokoto

Personnel of the Nigerian Air Force carrying out an operation in the north-western part of the country. Credit: NAF

 

 

The Nigerian Air Force has launched a fresh offensive against bandits in Sokoto State, Northwest Nigeria.

This resulted to the death of several bandits and the destruction of some of their camps by the Air Component of Operation Hadarin Daji.

In a statement issued on Tuesday by the spokesman of the Force, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola, the operation was carried out on July 6.

According to him, the military exercise aimed at ridden the region of armed bandits, cattle rustlers, kidnappers, and other criminal elements is in collaboration with the Defence Headquarters (DHQ)-led Operation Accord.

Meanwhile, the Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, has reiterated his commitment in fighting criminal elements in the north western states.

Abubakar who has been in Sokoto to oversee the planning and launch of the Operation, expressed satisfaction with what has been achieved so far.

He noted that while sustaining the air offensive, the Air Component was working closely with ground troops to ensure that the armed bandits that escape the aerial bombardments are mopped up on the ground.

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The Air chief disclosed that because the Kagara Forest extends to Niger Republic, there was also ongoing liaison with the Nigerien Authorities to ensure that the bandits do not escape through the international borders.

While calling for the support of all Nigerians, he assured the people of the military’s determination in creating a stable and secured environment.

“Security and development are two sides of the same coin and I am very happy with what the State Government is doing in order to enhance development of communities so that people can see that they have a stake in the system.

“With what we are doing and what State Governments are doing, the problem of armed banditry will soon fizzle out,” he said.

COVID-19: 101 Patients Discharged, 14 Deaths Recorded In Sokoto

 

Sokoto State Government says 101 COVID-19 patients have been discharged in the state.

The Commissioner for Health, Dr Muhammed Ali Inname who disclosed this via a statement on Saturday noted that 14 persons died from COVID-19 complications in the state.

He recalled that since the state recorded its index case on April 19 till date, a total of 731 samples have been collected for tests so far.

READ ALSO: 42 More COVID-19 Patients Discharged In Lagos

According to him, Sokoto has now attained zero-status of the virus following the discharge of the last batch of the five remaining COVID-19 patients from the state isolation centres on June 5.

The Commissioner explained that despite this feat, the COVID-19 Taskforce Committee is prepared for any eventuality.

He also reiterated the preparedness of the state government to partner with relevant bodies and organisations interested in the healthcare system.

Senator Accuses Military Of Abandoning Constituency In Sokoto

New Salary Scale Has Not Been Approved For Armed Forces – DHQ
A file photo of troops.

 

 

The lawmaker representing Sokoto East senatorial district, Senator Ibrahim Gobir, has accused the military of abandoning the people of his constituency in the time of distress.

He made the allegation during plenary on Tuesday at the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

In his contribution to a motion raised by Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the lawmaker decried that the alleged abandonment of the people has exposed them to attacks by bandits.

Earlier, Senator Abdullahi in his motion drew the attention of the Senate to the activities of bandits in Niger State.

He had also called on the Federal Government to extend its ongoing military operations in Zamfara and Katsina States to flush out bandits in Niger State.

On his part, Senator Gobir criticised the military, saying many of the people in Sokoto have fled to the Niger Republic for safety.

He also accused the military of not responding to distress calls from the people when bandits attack their communities.

According to the lawmaker, the people of Sokoto have lost thousands of cattle worth N2.5 billion to attacks by bandits.

He added that the activities of the bandits have displaced about 5,000 people in Basira area along the border between Nigeria and the Niger Republic.

In their resolution, lawmakers in the Senate commended President Muhammadu Buhari for his proactive leadership and directives on security amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

They, however, appealed to him to direct the military to extend their operations to Kaduna, Niger, Zamfara, Sokoto, and other states where the bandits were attacking innocent citizens.

The Senate also resolved to ask the military authorities to increase their surveillance and track the bandits.

Banditry: Senate Asks Buhari To Extend Military Operations To Sokoto, Other States

A file photo of President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo: [email protected]

 

The Senate has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the ongoing military operations against bandits to Sokoto, Niger, Kaduna, Kebbi and Zamfara States.

The lawmakers made the appeal on Tuesday during plenary at the Senate Chamber of the National Assembly in Abuja.

Senator Aliyu Abdullahi who sponsored the motion recalled that the Senate had on May 12, 2020, considered two separate motions, asking the Federal Government to immediately address the growing spate of banditry in Niger and Katsina States, respectively.

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Senator Sabi Abdullahi said the upper chamber was “aware through a Presidential Spokesman that President Muhammadu Buhari has authorised the commencement of a major military operation to sweep bandits and kidnappers out of Katsina State; as major proactive measures by Special Forces to replace the reactive strikes against the camps of these bandits and criminals”.

“The criminalities by these armed bandits and kidnappers are carried out mostly under the cover of the contagious forests reserves and areas stretching from Katsina, Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger States with pockets of safe havens in Kebbi State”, he said.

The lawmaker added that “A major offensive in Katsina State alone is likely to make the armed bandits and kidnappers seek a safer haven in Zamfara, Kaduna and Niger states which hosts the Zurmi and Kamuku forests among others, further compounding the plight of hapless and poor communities along these forest corridors”.

According to him,  the massive operations in Zamfara and Kaduna states forced the armed bandits to seek safe haven elsewhere.

The Senate in its resolutions appealed to President Buhari to expand the scope of the operations to include Zamfara, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto States and any other surrounding areas or States that the armed bandits may want to seek safe haven following the massive operation.

The upper chamber also called on the military and the police to increase their surveillance operations to the bandits.

 

Sokoto Govt Seeks FG’s Partnership In Fight Against COVID-19

 

The Sokoto State government is seeking to partner with the Federal Government on strategic ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Governor Aminu Tambuwal stated this on Monday when the Ministerial Taskforce Team visited the state.

Governor Tambuwal during the visit said that the state will continue to do its best in partnering with relevant stakeholders to defeat COVID-19.

He said that curbing the pandemic is still a work in progress while stressing that he is waiting for the report from the Ministerial Taskforce team on the best way to fight the virus.

READ ALSO: Presidency Assures Of Action Against Bandits In Katsina

In his remarks, the Chairman of the Ministerial Task Force Dr. Nasiru Sani Gwarz said the teams’ visit is in line with a directive by the Federal Ministry of Health.

He commended the state task force on COVID-19 but reiterated the need to have a strategic plan to fight the disease.

He also described as phenomenal the rapid response team saying that it is one of it’s kind in the country, where one political ward has an ambulance attached to it.

COVID-19: 41 Persons Discharged in Sokoto

Sokoto, usually referred to as Sokoto State to distinguish it from the city of Sokoto, is located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River
Sokoto, usually referred to as Sokoto State to distinguish it from the city of Sokoto, is located in the extreme northwest of Nigeria, near to the confluence of the Sokoto River and the Rima River

 

Sokoto state government has announced the discharge of 41 COVID-19 patients from its Amanawa Isolation centre after they tested negative twice for the virus.

The State Commissioner for Health, Mohammed Ali Iname, revealed this to newsmen during a press briefing in Sokoto on Tuesday.

Iname, who is also Chairman of Sokoto’s COVID-19 taskforce, said 19 persons had earlier been discharged from the isolation centre.

According to the Commissioner, 13 persons have lost their lives to the virus in Sokoto.

He advised residents in the state not to stigmatize discharged patients saying coronavirus is not a death sentence.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Sokoto has recorded 106 COVID-19 cases, as of Monday evening.

Four Out Of 11 Travellers From Sokoto Test Positive For COVID-19

File Photo

 

Four out of the 11 travellers from Sokoto State en route Akure who were intercepted by the Oyo State Police at the weekend have tested positive to COVID-19.

The state’s incident manager, Dr Taiwo Ladipo disclosed this on Tuesday.

According to him, the four confirmed cases are currently being isolated at the Infectious Diseases Centre, Olodo.

A member of the COVID-19 task force, Prof. Temitope Alonge, also confirmed to Channels TV that the cases have been admitted at the Olodo Isolation Center for treatment.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state as of Tuesday stood at 39, with 28 active cases.

In the early hours of Wednesday, the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) announced that one more case had been discovered in the state.

So far, nine patients have been discharged, while two persons have died.

Police Intercept 11 Sokoto Travellers At Osun-Ibadan Boundary

Police-Policeeeee
A file photo of a police patrol van.

 

 

Eleven travellers who contravened the inter-state travel ban have been intercepted by the Oyo State Police Command in an attempt to sneak into Akure, the Ondo State capital through Ibadan.

The travellers explained that they came from Sokoto to go back to their families in Akure, after more than four weeks of being stranded in Sokoto as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown.

In his reaction, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, said the travellers would not be released to the Sokoto State government until they undergo COVID-19 tests which had already begun.

READ ALSO: Nasarawa Assembly Member Dies Of COVID-19

Governor Makinde made the remark after receiving a briefing from the Commissioner of Police in Oyo, Sina Olukolu, at the Gbagi Police Station where the culprits were detained overnight in Ibadan, the state capital.

He said that the travellers were apprehended at the Asejire Dam axis of the Ibadan-Osun boundary, adding that they claimed that they were travelling from Sokoto en-route to Akure.

The governor insisted that the travellers would remain isolated until the results of their COVID-19 tests were received.

He said, “We are not able to explain how they got here in the first place because there is inter-state lockdown throughout the country.

“They claimed they came from Sokoto and they must have passed through so many states.”

Governor Makinde revealed that he has given directives to the effect that the travellers would be kept isolated in Ibadan until the results of their COVID-19 tests were received.

He, however, noted that he had contacted the Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, saying the travellers would be sent back to Sokoto State afterwards.

The governor stressed that governors in the country were still discussing on how to enforce the inter-state lockdown throughout the country, to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

“It is a discussion going on with the rest governors in Nigeria because inter-state lockdown was put in place for a particular reason and what we have agreed to do is, in each individual state where you have inter-state motor parks, there must be on lockdown.

“If they are locked down, at least 80 to 85 per cent of our problems would have been solved. It is an ongoing discussion and I believe that will be the ultimate way to go,” he stated.

During an interrogation, the driver of the bus, Muritala Aliyu, said they passed through old roads and bushes from Sokoto to Niger and Kwara States and then got into Ogbomoso, from where they entered Ibadan.

He added that they were going to Akure “to reconcile with their family members”.

Members of the medical team of the COVID-19 Task Force were at the police station to administer COVID-19 tests on the travellers to determine their status.