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Strike: FG craves labour’s understanding, dialogue adjourned to Sept. 28



The meeting between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour over the recent hike in fuel price and electricity tariff has been postponed till Monday, Sept. 28, for further deliberation, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Labour leaders and the Federal Government had met in Abuja on Thursday to deliberate on the development after organised labour threatened to shut down the economy on Monday, Sept. 28, if the hikes were not reversed.

But with the duo unable to reach an agreement during the closed door meeting, Mr Ayuba Wabba, President of the Nigeria Congress (NLC), told anxious newsmen that discussions would continue on Monday.

“The discussions will continue on Monday, by 3 p.m,” he said.

NAN reports that shortly before the bilateral talks went into the closed door session, Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had appealed to the organised labour to “show understanding on the issues”.

“The recent increase in electricity tariff and petroleum pump price was not intended to cause pain or harm. The decision was taken in the utmost interest of all people and the working class.

“I had the privilege of working in the Presidential Transition Committee set up by President Muhammadu Buhari and I remembered some of the decisions that were presented to him.

“One of the decisions by the team considered as low hanging fruit in 2015 was deregulation. President Buhari objected to it. Thereafter, the issue was reflected in the final report.

“There was the need to consider seriously the issues relating to deregulation of petroleum sector and the need to look at energy sufficiency and efficiency, and what needed to be done.

“When the report was submitted to President Buhari, his reaction was that the Nigerian people elected him not to inflict pain on them.

“Five years down the line, that decision has become imperative and cannot be tampered with, it is a decision that must have been painfully considered.

“I am just sharing this reflection in order to put in perceptive the fact that the decision was never intended to cause great pain,” he said.

He also noted that the National Minimum Wage was implemented over a year ago but that the ravaging COVID-19 pandemic had affected the entire world and had disrupted the strongest economy.

Boss added that due to the pandemic, countries of the world were still trying to find solutions to the economic disruption that COVID-19 had brought to the entire world.

“Nigeria does not survive in isolation. We, as a government and as a people and those of you on the other side of the divide, are part of the government, because you are leaders in your own right in the places you operate and in the spheres where you exercise influence.

“So, it is for this reason that today we will resolve matters relating to the issues that have made us gathered here, because today, I am confident that each and everyone has Nigeria at heart.

“The leadership of NLC, TUC and other leaders should assist the government toward arriving at a conclusion on these issues.

“I understand the hardship that certain decisions of the government will always bring and I believe that in the course of these hardships, there are opportunities that will ameliorate the hardship,” he said.

Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, in a remark, noted that the government representatives at the meeting had been enlarged to discuss how to ameliorate the pains that the modulation of the petroleum price and the increase in tariff had brought.

“Today’s meeting is a bilateral meeting and it has a new colouration in that some specific items had been listed.

“We will like to assure the labour unions that we we are addressing the issue and we think that we can resolve the issues and nobody will be in the mood to go on strike or go on demonstrations in the streets as this country belongs to all of us.

“So, whatever is going to be discussed here, it will be for the furtherance of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, especially the section that talks about welfare and security of the citizens of the country,” he said.

In his remarks, Wabba, NLC boss, said that the best way to address social economy or labour issues and challenges was to proactively engage Labour unions and have their perspective.

“The last time we were here, we also had a lot of discussions about what we expect that should have been done; we have been on the same issue for over 30 years.

“I think the argument has been the same – people want to see reduction in those prices, which will bring improvement to the lives of Nigerians, particularly workers.

“Clearly, part of the challenge is that this new increase has also reduced our purchasing power and eroded the gains that we have been able to make with the minimum wage. As we speak, many states are yet to implement it,” Wabba said.

Mr Quadir Olaleye, TUC President, in his contribution, said that government must first revert to the previous price template for both fuel pump and electricity tariff before labour will dialogue with it on the economic recovery solutions.

He insisted that TUC maintains its last week’s position on embarking on nationwide protest or proceed on strike if the government refused to reverse the increase in electricity and fuel pump price.

Olaleye called on the government to diversify the economy and increase its revenue base.

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#EndSARS: Nigerians in Diaspora Hold Peace Rally in London, Condemns Violence by Protesters



Some Nigerians in the United Kingdom, on Thursday, held a peaceful rally to condemn the violence occasioned by the #EndSARS protests in their home country. 

Numbering in their hundreds, the Nigerians stormed the Nigerian House in London calling on their compatriots to give peace a chance. 

They also urged Nigerians back home to embrace the March4Nigeria rally that is presently ongoing across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory as well as other parts of the world. 

In a statement signed by Coordinating Chairman, Philip Amraevughe and member, Alvine Emechetta, the group said the current situation in Nigeria is a cause for concern. 

While admitting that it is in place for the youths to demand an end to police brutality, the group noted that this should not be at the detriment of the country’s peace, stability and progress.

According to them, the EndSARS protests have been hijacked by hoodlums, hence the need to March4Nigeria to send a strong message to these political thugs and their sponsors. 

The group reckoned that there is no other place to call home and as “such should not allow ourselves to be used as agents of destruction”. 

The statement added that the unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct, and the objective of the March4Nigeria is in total agreement with this statement of the fact.

However, the group warned, “those sponsoring acts of violence in Nigeria to desist from such enterprise and allow the government the time to implement the long-lasting reforms”. 

The Nigerians assured that the country will achieve its goals under President Muhammadu Buhari. 

Read the full speech below:

My dear youths of Nigeria, we all must be concerned about the state of affairs in our beloved country.  We all have a right to agitate and drive home our demands to the government to put an end to police brutality in Nigeria.

We have indeed shown that our voices can be heard in a most commendable fashion. For days, we were on the streets with the symbol of our unity, the national flag. For once, the world saw in us the strength of the youths in Nigeria.

We are all victors that spoke in one voice towards the betterment of our great country. Consequently, this March4Nigeria is to call on all of us to ensure that the future of our great country is not ruined by those that are angling to see to the disintegration of Nigeria. 

We all should be worried about the level of violence that has erupted and has seen to the death of scores of people on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and other parts of the country. Indeed we must join our voice to condemn this act of violence that is fast getting out of control. 

This March4Nigeria consists of those of us that joined our voices in demanding for an end to police brutality in Nigeria and that the government has accepted to implement our demands should give us a reason to hold back and not resort to violence of any kind. 

I know for certain that those perpetrating violence across Nigeria are not one of us and do not believe in our noble cause of seeing to an end of police brutality that has claimed the lives of young Nigerians in their prime. 

We must quickly realize that the once peaceful protests have been hijacked by agents of those that are against the interest of Nigeria.  By those that are hell-bent on seeing to the disintegration of our great country. 

I stand here to say that in the history of our great country, the youths have not been known to be violent. This has been the case from time immemorial and a reason why we must tread with caution at the risk of us been branded as criminals.

When I look into the crowd, I see intellectuals; I see visionaries, I see young and budding entrepreneurs, I see those that are passionate about our country. I see a group of people who are burning with passion for making Nigeria great again.

I also see a group of people that abhors any form of violence, and would never resort to looting, burning of police stations, attacking law enforcement officers and other forms of criminalities that are ongoing in Nigeria. This is not only condemnable, but it is also anti-growth, it is anti-progress, and it is anti-unity.

If I must add at this juncture that indeed the strength of Nigeria lies in the resourcefulness of her youths that dot the nook and crannies of Nigeria. Consequently, we must use this medium to condemn the attacks been perpetuated by hoodlums and political thugs that have seen the perfect opportunity to unleash violence to the detriment of the peace and unity in Nigeria. 

I firmly believe that this much the bulk the youths in Nigeria are aware of and have necessitated the convoking of the March4Nigeria to indeed send a strong message to those that are hiding under the EndSARS campaign to cause conflict in Nigeria. 

In the light of the above, I am calling on those that are still agitated to give peace a chance and embrace the March4Nigeria rally that is presently ongoing in Nigeria and other parts of the world. 

This generation of Nigerians and indeed the future generations have no other place to call home and as such should not allow ourselves to be used as agents of destruction. I condemn the riots in the same breath that I condemn the police brutality. 

Nobody likes riots. Money is lost. Properties are destroyed. People get hurt and killed. Riots become a reason to institute martial law and brutalize citizens, generally with little regard for what those citizens did in the riot. People who participate in riots don’t tend to be happy at the time or look back fondly on their memories of them afterwards. 

Let’s get something else clear right away — the term “riot” isn’t all that useful. It describes any disorganized outbreak of violence, but people running out and breaking things for the fun of it is not the same as violence in response to ongoing injustice. That is not what the youths of Nigeria represent or intended with the EndSARS protests. 

To draw a false equivalence and claim that rioting and violence taint a cause, make the oppressed just as bad as the oppressors–by that standard nothing accomplished is untainted. Trust me; it won’t be about the story itself; it won’t be about riots or property damage or civil unrest or law and order. Any more than it will be, specifically, about body cameras or written police procedures or deliberations. Any more than it will be about ballistic analyses or autopsies or expert testimony on how exactly a spine gets broken. 

My Nigerian youths, we are at a crossroad. We have to choose between getting things rights and getting things worse. I am convinced that we do not want to get things worse hence the need for all of us to condemn in its strongest possible terms the level of violence that has erupted in parts of Nigeria. 

The unity of Nigeria is sacrosanct, and the objective of the March4Nigeria is in total agreement with this statement of the fact. There can be no peace without unity. Our demands for an end to police brutality cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of lawlessness, arson, and loss of lives. 

I am using this medium to send a strong message to those sponsoring acts of violence in Nigeria to desist from such enterprise and allow the government the time to implement the long-lasting reforms in the operations of the Nigerian Police Force. 

We condemn violence and lawlessness in Nigeria, as there is no alternative to peace. We are carrying out this March4Nigeria because we believe in one Nigeria. Our message is that of peace and unity. Our message is that of an unflinching commitment to sustainable peace and progress in Nigeria. 

As we March4Nigeria, we March4Peace, we March4Progress and we March4 unity, and this much we must achieve God helping us. I thank you all for your perseverance so far and together we can make Nigeria great again. 

God bless the youths of the federal republic of Nigeria.

God bless Nigeria.

Thank you. 

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#EndSARS Crisis Eroding Credibility of APC, Political Leaders – PGF Boss



Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, has said that the ongoing crisis in the country is eroding the moral credibility of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and it’s leaders.

The APC chieftain said unless the current administration is able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election.

In a statement signed Thursday in Abuja, Lukman lamented the inability of so many federal government ministries and agencies to perform there functions as expected during this crisis.

“Perhaps, it is important to also state that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of our party, APC and our political leaders. A situation where lives of our leaders are being threatened and our party and our government demostrate weak responses is quite depressing. What is going on in Lagos State can happen to any state and any leader in an affected state can experience the same attack, if not worse. This must not be condoned and our leaders across all parts of the country must show strong solidarity and rise in defence of our leaders and Government in Lagos state. A threat to one, should be a threat to all, which is the needed reality!

“Unless we are able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election. This means winning elections in the country by APC, especially in the crisis affected areas will just be a daydream. Part of the sad reality is also that many of our political leaders live with the delusion that, if APC’s electoral viability is weakened or destroyed, they can move to other parties. All our political leaders should appreciate that the situation, as much as it is damaging to the APC as a party, it is more politically destructive to every leader of the party.

“If care is not taken, we may as well be writing our names as a generation of political leaders into a national black book. The implication of that may not be apparent at the moment. We therefore need to appeal to all our leaders to please treat the current situation with the utmost urgency it requires. This is the time when our claims to selfless service as progressive politicians is being tested, our humanity, nationalism and patriotism are being questioned. There is no doubt that our leaders are up to the task. We just need to strongly convey our appeals coming from our depressed and helpless hearts.”

According to the PGF boss, how can we have a Ministry of Police Affairs and the ministry is unable to simulate good engagement strategy with innocent young Nigerians calling for reform of the Nigeria Police? What is the advantage of democracy if a ministry cannot be able to engage the demands of citizens? Where is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services in all these? Doesn’t the mandate of the ministry include initiatives to prevent disaster? Or, is disaster management limited to attending to human casualties by way of providing palliatives? Where is the Ministry of Youth in all this? How can the ministry absent itself from centres of legitimate protests of our youth for more than a week? Where is the Ministry of Defence? Where is the Ministry of Interior? Where is National Orientation Agency?

“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies have handle their responsibilities as is expected, this crisis would have been averted. In fact, the pressure on President Buhari’s direct intervention will not have been the case.”

Lukman, however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government.

“The crisis produced by the #EndSARS protest highlight the need for the President to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government if our democracy and our government is to be able to meet the expectation of citizens. It is the constitutional prerogative of the President to determine the best strategy and the details of governmental reforms aimed at overhauling the machinery of government to make them more effective in responding to the democratic needs of Nigerians.

“We also need to appeal to all Nigerians, especially our young ones, that we must all rise above our current anger, legitimate as they are. While invoking our inalienable rights to protest and struggle for better conditions in our country, we must also resist attempts by lawless people to take advantages of our actions to create anarchy resulting in the destruction of lives and property. As part of such resistance we must condemn every attempt to reduce legitimate struggles, which have potentials of developing our democracy to make it more responses to demands of citizens into sectional conflicts. Those who reduce national struggles into sectional conflicts don’t mean well for anybody. They are only opportunists, hiding behind so-called sectional interests to promote their personal agenda and therefore they are enemies of the people.

“Similarly, we must appeal to Nigerians in diaspora. It is within your right to join the campaign to make Nigeria better and every Nigerian should welcome your contribution, which is expected to come with superior knowledge of best practice across the world. However, it will be very unfortunate, if we all join the campaign to destroy our country by promoting sectional and religious hatred. No doubt, recognising that as Nigerians you also nurse the pains we are going through, your contribution is desirable and welcome but must avoid the opportunistic traps of joining the anarchistic enterprise of promoting hatred and violent conducts. Hate can only lead to destruction and self-destruction.

“Initiatives to resolve our national challenges is the responsibility of everyone. At the moment, the weight of responsibility is more on our APC leaders as much as is for all Nigerians. This is the time when for incidence a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC will be urgently required to ensure a coordinated political response to the current crisis. It is possible that this is being considered as I am confident our leaders are working round the clock to ensure immediately restoration of normalcy in every part of the country.”

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#EndSARS: It’s Fake News, I Didn’t Call For War – Shettima Yerima



The leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF) Shettima Yerima, has called on Nigerians to disregard various fake news being attributed to him by some persons he described as “enemies of Nigeria.”

Shettima Yerima described as false and malicious claim of war and other fabrications in circulation being attributed to him, urging Nigerians and friends of the country all over the world to disregard them in totality.

In a statement the AYCF President signed on Thursday in Abuja, said he remain unapologetic in the promotion of democracy through legal and legitimate means, in lines with the nation’s constitution.

He also denied making statement regarding Tuesday Lekki shooting in Lagos.

Shettima said: ” I appeal to Nigerian at all levels to, please disregard all the false claims being attributed to me in the social media. I will never call for war, I will never call for disunity of this country, I am unapologetic democrat and I remain resolute.

“Nigerians should know that all these fabrications are coming from the enemies of this country. So, I call on Nigerians to disregard the fake news and know that such will never emanate from me.”

The Arewa group leader said he didn’t speak with newsmen anywhere in the recent times and could not have make such reckless statements been attributed to him.

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