Osun Assembly To Begin Probe Of Aregbesola Over 34.5bn Naira Bailout Fund

Osun-State-House-of-AssemblyThe Osun State House of Assembly has directed some officials of the state government and organisations to appear before it on Wednesday for questioning on how the 34.5 billion Naira bailout fund given to state by the Federal Government was used.

The planned probe followed the decision of the Senate to commence similar probe.

There have been allegations of misappropriation against the Governor of the south-west Nigerian State, Mr Rauf Aregbesola.

Those invited to appear before the Osun State House of Assembly are the Accountant-General, Permanent Secretaries Ministry of Finance, Office of Budget Planning and Ministry of Local Government.

Others are the Director-General of Debt Management Office and officials of Wema Bank, Zenith Bank and First Bank.

Also invite to be part of the proceeding are Chairmen, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), Nigeria Union of Local Government Employee (NULGE), Market Women, as well as representative of Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) and Civil Society Organisations (CSO).

A statement by the Chairman, House Committee on Information, Olatunbosun Oyintiloye, urged the invitees to arm themselves with all the necessary information and document on the bailout fund given to the state.

Mr Oyintiloye explained that the exercise had become very necessary in line with its constitutional powers, as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.

He said those invited were expected to appear before the House with useful documents and necessary information concerning the bailout fund given to the state government.

The federal Government had given bailout funds to states to enable them meet some financial obligations, especially payment of workers salaries.

TUC Issues Ajimobi 5-Day Ultimatum Over Unpaid Salaries, Pensions

Ajimobi, Oyo State, Unpaid Salaries, TUCThe Oyo State chapter of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has issued a five day ultimatum to the state government to immediately offset a backlog of unpaid salaries, pensions and other arrears for 8 months.

Chairman of the TUC in Oyo State, Comrade Emelieze Andrew, issued this warning in Ibadan during a chat with journalists following the expiration of a grace period of 15 days.

The Union noted that the recent agreement between Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Oyo State Government is unacceptable, describing the alliance as unholy.

Comrade Emelieze further emphasized that the agreement to end the 7-week old strike was not a true reflection of the yearnings of the various unions involved in the struggle.

The TUC therefore stated that it would mobilise its people to begin an indefinite mass action if government remains adamant.

This 2nd ultimatum is coming barely a week after the NLC suspended a 7-week industrial action across the state over unpaid wages and related issues.

TUC Gives Oyo Govt. 15-Day Ultimatum To Pay Workers

Oyo-Students-Traders-Protest
FILE: Students and traders protesting in Oyo State.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Oyo State Government and all governors owing workers to pay up or face mass action in affected states.

Members of TUC at the national level joined their counterparts from Oyo state to protest the non-payment of their salaries for over 6 months.

They called on the Governor of the state, Mr Abiola Ajimobi to urgently find a solution to the lingering crisis.

The Head of Service, Mr Soji Eniade, while addressing the protesters, appealed for calm and assured that the committee to be inaugurated between labour and government will come up with a lasting solution to the problem.

Meanwhile, all public primary and secondary schools in Oyo State remain closed despite the order to re-open the schools by the governor.

In an interview with Channels Television, TUC Chairman, Oyo State chapter, Comrade Niyi Akano, maintained that teachers are not resuming until their demands are met.

A visit round schools by Channels Television Correspondent on Monday, revealed that no school was functional despite the order and labour insists it will remain so until issues at stake are resolved.

In the meantime, the Oyo State Government insists that the proposed participatory management of public schools will happen and to be sure of government’s seriousness, a 31 member Education Reform Initiative Committee has been set up to widen the scope of consultations on the project.

Members of the committee were drawn from the University of Ibadan, commissioners from relevant ministries, community and religious leaders, and private sector education practitioners while the NUT, NLC, Ancopps and NANs are expected to submit 2 representatives each for the committee.

FG Inaugurates Committee To Look Into Lingering Labour Issues

Chris Ngige, Labour Minister, NLC Strike
Nigeria’s Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, will Chair the 16-man committee.

The Federal Government has set up a 16-man Technical Committee to look into the grievances and other labour issues arising from the recent increase in the pump price of petrol.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ingige, who is also the Chairman of the Committee told journalists at the inauguration that the committee will take decisions over the issues of a new minimum wage and palliative measures of the federal government to cushion the effects of the pump price increase.

Members of the committee are drawn from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and representatives of the federal government.

Edo NLC Join National Strike Despite Government’s No Work, No Pay Threat

oshiomholeThe Edo State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), on Wednesday said all member unions are fully committed to the compliance of a nationwide strike directive from the national body.

Chairman of the chapter, Comrade Emma Ademokun, stated this in his address during a rally organised by labour at the King’s Square in Benin City, the Edo State capital.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) as well as most private establishments in Edo State opted out of the industrial action.

Meanwhile, the Edo State government has directed workers in the state public service to shun the strike and stay at their duty posts, warning that any worker who shuns work under the guise of strike will forfeit his or her pay.

The government in a statement by the Head of Service, Mrs. Gladys Idahor said “all public schools and institutions are expected to remain open as school is in session.

The statement further said Heads of Departments and Parastatals are directed to keep records of workers’ attendance for further action.

It added that workers in Edo State Public Service should be aware that the current strike is “illegal” as the National Industrial Court had issued a restraining order on the strike.

Nasarawa NLC Complies With National Strike Directive

nasarawa-Al-makuraThe Nasarawa State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and it’s affiliates on Wednesday complied with the directive of the national body to embark on a strike action.

This is following the decision by the federal government to increase the price of petrol.

Speaking to journalist at the Labour House in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital, the NLC Chairman, Mr Abdullahi Adeka, said the intended internal strike action in the state has been resolved after reaching an agreement with the state government.

Meanwhile, the state Trade Union Congress (TUC) has refused to partake in the ongoing industrial action instructing members to go about their normal businesses.

NNPC GMD Stresses Need To Fine-Tune PIB

Emmanuel-Ibe-KachikwuThe Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Tuesday explained that the Petroleum Industry Bill, which has been pending before the National Assembly in the last seven years, requires extensive engagements with all stakeholders to iron out all grey areas.

Dr. Kachikwu, who chaired a special session on the proposed law at the ongoing 55th Annual General Conference of the Nigerian Bar Association in Abuja titled: Legal and Regulatory Framework of the Petroleum Industry in Nigeria: Review of existing Laws and the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), described the bill “as an essential legislation which must be approached with all the seriousness and thoroughness it deserves.

“PIB is a serious affair, it is an essential piece of legislation but as we all know a lot of engagement is required to address all the issues because the oil and gas environment has changed. There are issues of cost, with oil going down to $40 per barrel, the PIB cannot be the same,’’ Dr. Kachikwu said.

The NNPC GMD explained that because of the volume of extensive consultation and time required to make the bill a workable document, it is only natural to kick start the reforms in the industry with the existing laws while waiting for the eventual passage of the proposed law.

“The reform of the petroleum industry is key and it is an area where we are going to put a lot of focus. Transparency is key. Restructuring is key. Sometimes people don’t realize that the problem hasn’t been NNPC, it is a problem of political will to go forward and implement the outcome of researches and reports that had been done but fortunately for us this time around that is what the President has brought to the table. He has strong political will to see this through,’’ he said.

Commenting on what the Federal Government intends to do with the draft legislation, Dr. Kachikwu informed that PIB has come to stay though it would take a bit of time to perfect the draft.

“PIB is important, but we need to x-ray the issues. We need at least one year to get it back on track. The reality is that we cannot afford to wait any longer for change in the petroleum sector because of the delay in the passage of PIB, things have got to start happening and that’s exactly what we are doing,’’ the GMD stated.

Echoing Dr. Kachikwu’s position, Comrade Peter Esele, former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), who was also President of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), noted that though PIB is key, the industry can make do with existing laws to activate essential reforms in the sector.

TUC Stages Protest Over Xenophobic Attacks

XenophobiaThe Trade Union Congress (TUC) have condemned the xenophobic attacks in South Africa which has led to the death of some foreigners and the destruction of properties belonging to non-South Africans.

Leading a protest to a major telecommunications outfit having links with South Africa, the Federal Capital Territory Coordinator of TUC, Comrade Aliyu Musa, said the attacks on foreigners in South Africa must come to a stop.

A representative of the South African company however condemned the attacks saying the company has never been in support of such attacks or any form of man’s inhumanity to a fellow man.

The TUC expressed concerns over the ongoing xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa and called on the Jacob Zuma-led government to live up to its responsibilities by taking all necessary steps to stop the dastardly act of steal¬ing, killing and taking over of people’s properties in Johannesburg, Durban and Pretoria, adding the act at this time and age is appalling, abysmal and beastly.

Exhaust All Options Before Going On Strike, Jonathan Tells Labour Unions

SataPresident Goodluck Jonathan has asked labour unions in the country to exhaust all avenues of negotiations with the Federal Government before embarking on industrial actions to reduce the pains such industrial actions inflict on the Nigerian workers.

The President was speaking at the flag off of the 100, 000 mass housing scheme being built for the Nigerian workers in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.

President Jonathan said his administration means well for he Nigerian worker and called on the labour unions to always partner with the Federal Government in such initiatives promising that his administration will not waver on its commitment to transform Nigeria.

The Ministers of the FCT, Housing and Urban Development said the event is another land mark and a demnsration of the administrations commitment to the welfare of workers

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have also expressed confidence that the federal government will keep an eye on the project to enure its completion and occupation by Nigerian workers.

APC Women, Labour Leaders Demand Immediate Release Of Chibok Girls

Chibok girls videoAll Progressives Congress (APC) women and Labour unions in Lagos State on Tuesday joined the call for the rescue of the over 200 girls abducted from a secondary school in Chibok, Borno State a month ago by suspected Boko Haram insurgents as the incident continues to draw both national and international attention.

Led by their leader Mrs Kemi Nelson, the women submitted a letter to the State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN), for onward dispatch to President Goodluck Jonathan, demanding, among others the immediate and safe release of the girls.

In the letter read by Nelson, before submission to the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, who received them at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on behalf of the Governor, the women expressed dismay at the apparent inaction of the Federal Government towards securing the release of the girls.

They particularly accused the President of insensitivity toward the incident recalling “with sadness” that despite the untoward happening and the fact that parents of those children were going through serious trauma, President Goodluck Jonathan danced publicly at a campaign rally of the People’s Democratic Party in Kano State.

Noting that the kidnap of the Chibok girls was not the first of such incident in the country, the women told the President, “Like in the first kidnap on Tuesday January 14 2014, Nigerians and indeed the entire world have not seen any positive action. Instead, and sadly too, the local and international media are awash with saddening reports which point to complicity of inaction by even the Nigerian Military”.

They expressed shock Amnesty International’s disclosure that the Nigerian Military High Command was allegedly alerted four hours before the “unprecedented mass kidnap” and that even after the kidnap, the military kept away from immediately pursuing the terrorists in order to rescue the girls.

Noting that such reports did not depict seriousness on the part of the President in seeking the rescue of the girls, the women declared, “Mr. Presidents, we advise that you brace up to arrest the worsening security situation in the nation”.

The women, however, expressed relief that the international community, notably the United States of America, Britain, France, China, Israel and countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have all offered their assistance towards rescuing the girls.

In their own letter to the President, the State Councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), appealed to all well-meaning Nigerians, including religious leaders and the international community, to continue to put pressure on the Boko Haram to release the girls unconditionally.

The unions said they have chosen to toe the line of peaceful approach to the resolution of the problem because of its sensitive nature pointing out that if violence was employed in the effort to secure the release of the girls, it would lead to bloodshed and the casualty toll would inevitably include the girls themselves.

“We call on Mr. President and our allies to spare no rod to ensure that the Chibok Girls are brought back to their families and the nation hail and alive. We know that they would have to undergo medical and psychological treatment to heal the horrors they may have been subjected to”, the unions said adding that if all Nigerians work together as a single unit of humanity, the insurgency issue would be defeated.

Warning against any attempt by the international community to turn Nigeria into a theatre of war with terrorists like Afghanistan, Pakistan and others, the unions declared, “If we unleash the power of the working class within the confines of Nigeria and worldwide on anti-people  regimes or terror forces like Boko Haram, such bodies would disintegrate and collapse”.

Demanding the unconditional release of the girls by Boko Haram, the Unions also asserted, “We honestly hope that the Nigeria labour movement would not be forced to declare full battle against the abductors of the Chibok girls before the reasonable is done”.

Receiving the letters from the two groups on behalf of the Governor, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Lateef Ibirogba, thanked them for identifying with the rest of Nigerians, particularly the affected families, to seek the release of the Chibok girls.

The Commissioner, who expressed sadness at the nature of the abduction of the girls whom he described as “those expected to take over from us”, prayed that they would be rescued and returned to their families in good health, adding that the global reaction to the abduction has been spontaneous.

Hoping that the Federal Government would not misconstrue the action to mean that it is being sponsored like was the case during the mass action over fuel crisis, Ibirogba declared, “We are all in this believing that since no nation thrives on violence and irregularities that we have now, the God we serve will bring back these children hale and hearty”.

“We are happy that despite that some people in Abuja would have swept the issue under the carpet, the international community has taken it up and now we are all seeing the result and everybody is hearing the news globally. We believe that everybody has a right to life and nobody should be denied that right whether a minor or an adult”, the Commissioner said.

Prominent among those present were Chairman Lagos Council of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Idowu Adelakun and his Trade Union Congress of Nigeria counterpart, Comrade Kazeem Akeem on the Labour side, and Senator (Mrs.) Oluremi Tinubu and Hon. (Mrs.) Olufunmilayo Tejuosho, among numerous other prominent party Chieftains and Market women.

Minimum Wage: TUC Urges Osun Government To Fulfill Agreement

Osun state chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress has asked the state government to fulfill its agreement on the full implementation of the N18, 000 minimum wage for civil servants on grade level 8 to 17.

State Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Comrade Adetunji Francis said the agreement to spread the minimum wage across bar to all grade levels when the economy of Osun state improves  was signed with the state government in April 2012 and the state has not lived up to its promise.

Special Adviser to the governor on Regional Integration and Special Duties, Bashiru Ajibola maintained that the economy of the state is yet to improve; as such government has to work within the limit of what it gets as allocation from the federal government, which he said “basically 70 per cent goes on payment of worker’s salaries”.

Labour Shuts Down Economic Activities In Plateau State

Organised labour comprising of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) in Plateau state embarked on solidarity strike action in sympathy with their counterparts in the local government areas demanding for implementation of the minimum wage increase.

Plateau state government in reaction to the industrial action through director of research and documentations, Chris Kwaja urged labour to reconsider the option of dialogue as government recognises organised labour as a partner in progress both in governance and development of the state.

The government takes exception to violence as evidence in the harassment of citizens which had led to vandalising some properties, particularly that of government officials stressing that the welfare of workers and that of the citizens remain its priority.

The organised labour had threatened to embark on an indefinite strike if their Monday night deadline was not met by the government.

The entrance to Joseph Gomwalk Secretariat, at the state capital was filled with the striking workers preventing members from gaining entrance to the complex while labour officials were at hand to monitor and enforce total compliance of the order.

Apart from government offices that were shut down, customers could not have access to transact business as banks were also under lock and key.
Addressing members, Chairman Plateau State Chapter of Nigeria Labour Congress, Jibrin Banchir, warned workers to desist from been violent and should be careful not to allow miscreants hijack the planned action while claiming that labour has not received any court injunction concerning the ongoing strike.

State police Commissioner of Police, Chris Olakpe, who was recently appointed, addressed the striking workers in what can be seen as the first official engagement in plateau.

Plateau state government expressed disappointment in labour for not obeying the industrial court orders restraining labour from embarking on the strike while urging the striking workers to embrace dialogue in solving the protracted issue.