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Monday news update 30th November 2020

Benjamin Ukpabi

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Monday news update 30th November 2020

Strike looms as Niger slashes workers’ salaries

Niger has commenced payment of November salaries on percentage to civil servants in the state.

The action was despite the ongoing negotiations between the Organised Labour and Government over the issue.

Civil servants across Niger confirmed to The Nation the receipts of 50 to 70 per cent of their expected wages.

The Niger Organised Labour has vowed to resume the suspended indefinite strike action on Tuesday 1st December.

The Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Tanimu Yunusa described the action of the government as callous and without human feeling.

“What the government has done is unacceptable. But our standstill remains. We foresaw this coming and we warned them against it but they went ahead with their plan.

“They do not have human feeling. This government has money, they have lots of money but just want to victimize us, the workers in the state,” he said. (Monday news update)

He said it is disappointing that despite talks and negotiations ongoing regarding the salary cut, the government went ahead adamantly to pay the salaries of workers on a percentage basis.

Yunusa stated that the government has been depending on the Federal allocation but are silent on the Internally Generated Revenue in the state.

Some civil servants, told The Nation the action of the government shows it does not appreciate their contributions to the development of the state.

One of the Civil servants, Bello Ibrahim, said that this action by the government is an affront on the state civil servants saying that Labour and all the workforce IJ Niger state need to rise to condemn the ugly posture of the government. (Monday news update)

“It is wrong for the Niger state government to effect payment of salaries in percentage while engagement on issues relating to it is ongoing. It is no doubt that the government is out to provoke the organized Labour in the state. We must rise to condemn this ugly posture of the government.”

Another worker, Yusuf Ahmed, said the government is inconsiderate, wondering the workers can survive when food prices in the market are on the increase.

Gbajabiamila condemns killing of Borno rice farmers

Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives has condemned the killing of about 50 rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno by Boko Haram insurgents.

Gbajabiamila expressed sadness over the killings of the innocent rice farmers in a statement by his spokesman, Lanre Lasisi on Sunday in Abuja.

The speaker said the incident had once again brought to the fore the need for more military action against the terrorists.

He said it was unfortunate that at a time the country was focusing on self-sufficiency in rice farming, about 50 of the farmers were killed in a most gruesome manner. (Monday news update)

The Speaker commiserated with the families of the slain farmers, the people and government of Borno over the sad incident.

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He said the house was determined to provide necessary support, including the ongoing budgeting process to ensure that funds were allocated for security agencies to carry out their mandate of wiping out the terrorists.

“It’s unfortunate that about 50 of our countrymen lost their lives to the barbaric and inhuman action of the insurgents at this time.

“This incident is one too many for us as a country, here were innocent citizens going about their lives of looking for their daily bread to cater for their families,” he said.

According to him, their lives should not go in vain, this should call for more action from our military.

He said that the House of Reps was ready to give them all the necessary support, especially through budgetary allocation to deal decisively with the insurgents.

Hoodlums hold Customs officials hostage, snatch gun from soldiers in Ogun

Pandemonium broke out in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Friday, when hoodlums and smugglers held some officers of the Nigeria Customs Service hostage and as well snatched a gun from a female soldier.

It was gathered that the incident happened on Friday night and spread to Saturday after men of Nigeria Customs Service intercepted a truck loaded with smuggled bags of rice at Lafenwa area of Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital .

It was gathered that the crisis started when the smugglers mobilised some hoodlums led by a notorious cultist in the area, popularly known as Abacha .

The source said “men of the Nigeria Customs Service intercepted a truck with smuggled rice. They took the truck to their office, but some officers were still in the area and the hoodlums held them hostage . (Monday news update)

“The DPO Lafenwa waded in, but, the hoodlums insisted that they will free the customs men after the truck which had been taken to the office is released to them .

“In the process, NCS men called for reinforcement of soldiers and they clashed with the hoodlums”.

“The hoodlums snatched a gun from a soldier and ran away with it.”

It was further gathered that the loss of the gun provoked the other soldiers who blocked the roads”.

Speaking with news correspondent on the development, the Public Relations Officer of the NCS, Ogun command 1, Hammed Oloyede confirmed the incident.

He said none of his men were injured, but one of the operational vehicles was vandalised by the hoodlums who held them hostage.

We need executive approval to bear arms – FRSC

Dr. Boboye Oyeyemi, Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), has said that the corps would require the executive approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to bear arms.

Oyeyemi made this known in a Forum in Abuja, noting that in the light of the recent attack, kidnap, and killing of personnel of the corps across the country, the corps need to bear arms.

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“What does the law says? What does the act of the corps say? The act of the corps as far back as 1992 empowers the corps to bear arms that were about 28 years ago.

“But again the corps management then and the council believes more on civil approach.

“But of recent, our staff were attacked, kidnapped, killed in the course of the patrol. That is why the public has been advocating for the corps to bear arms.

“Some sections of the public says look, it is high time the corps is protected, some are saying no. But again the final decision lies with Mr. President to activate what the law says.

“It is not for me, I have said it in my report but I think the government will make the best decision but the law of the corps empowers us to bear arms.

“But Mr president as the commander in chief has the final say on when the corps can bear arms. Even though the law authorised you but you still need executive approval to do that so on that we stand.” (Monday news update)

On the corrupt practice of personnel, Oyeyemi said that the organisation had partnered with the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Independent Corrupt Practice Commission and other related matters (ICPC) to checkmate corrupt practices by its personnel.

“We cannot run away from it, we cannot say our boys are fully perfect. When I came in and I saw what was happening, we have monitoring teams.

“When it was overwhelming, I met the Chairman of the ICPC and said I need a helping hand with the DSS to partner, and three of us collaborated. We go on surveillance, both on the highways and drivers’ licensing yard.

“This checkmate the bad behaviour of the boys. I think it must be on record that we got partners with ICPC and DSS to ensure the quality of the organisation to the public.

“Even though we still have some bad elements, but by and large, the partnership has enabled us to checkmate corrupt practices within the system.

“We must say it in this kind of forum that on corruption, we are one of the agencies that are well respected in tackling corrupt practices.

“I am not saying we are corrupt-free but it is the ability of the organisation to tackle it that gives that recognition,‘’ he said.

NYSC refutes report of rising cases of COVID-19 in orientation camps

The Management of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has refuted media reports that there had been rising cases of COVID-19 in its orientation camps, saying that no corps member had tested positive in any of the 37 orientation camps of the scheme across the country.

” The attention of management has been drawn to the write-up with the caption: ‘ Why the Rising Cases of Covid-19 in NYSC Camps’ trending on the new and traditional media,” Mrs. Adenike Adeyemi Director, Press and Public Relations of the scheme, said in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

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In refuting the report, she explained that even before the commencement of the ongoing orientation programme, the scheme had, in collaboration with the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), tested all the prospective corps members reporting to the camps and those that tested positive to COVID-19 were handled by the NCDC. (Monday news update)

“No one, both staff and prospective corps member, that tested positive to COVID-19 was allowed into any of the orientation camps. Therefore, it is erroneous and very misleading to talk about rising cases of COVID-19 in NYSC camps”, she said.

It is pertinent to state that the terminology, prospective corps member should not be confused with corps member as both cannot be used interchangeably, Adeyemi stressed, saying, “a corps member is a qualified Nigerian youth who has been duly admitted into the NYSC orientation camp, registered and formally sworn-in as a bona fide member of the service corps”.

According to her, the public should disregard the misleading story and clarification should always be sought from the NYSC or NCDC on issues pertaining to COVID- 19, so as to guard against the spread of false information.

She said that the scheme would never shirk its core responsibility of prioritising the welfare and security of corps members.

25m Nigerians to own 5m solar systems at N4,000 monthly – Presidency

The Presidency said it would deliver 5 million solar systems to 25 million Nigerians previously not connected to the national grid through Solar Home Systems, under the Economic Sustainability Plan (ESP).

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, disclosed this on Sunday in Abuja.

He said that the solar system would be provided at N4,000 monthly over a 3-year period.

Akande was responding to inquiries about the cost of the ESP Solar programme tagged ‘SOLAR POWER NAIJA’ for which installations will start in December.

Akande said that the ESP Solar programme was being implemented by the Rural Electrification Agency(REA).

The media aide said the programme was designed to boost ongoing efforts to fix Nigeria’s energy supply challenge, the Solar Home System scheduled for inauguration by the Federal Government this week.

The presidential aide said that priority would be given to Nigerians residing in rural areas and urban settlements either under-served or totally cut off the national grid.

According to him, an important aspect of the scheme is the option of outright ownership by beneficiaries at a cost ranging from N1, 500 per week to N4, 000 monthly depending on the capacities, for a period of 3 years.

He said that that the arrangement allowed as many as 25 million Nigerians to own personal solar systems in their respective homes. (Monday news update)

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Insecurity: Reps Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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WORRIED by the worsening security situation in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity to effectively curb the ugly development.

The Speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this while reading the resolutions approved after a fourhour executive session held on the floor of the Green Chamber, during which lawmakers condemned attacks on security agents and formations across the country.

To this end, the House resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu; the service chiefs and other heads of various paramilitary agencies to appear before it and brief the members on the security situation in the country.

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The House also mandated all its security committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in the Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.

Gbajabiamila, who read the resolution, said: “The House reiterates its commitment to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.

“The House should urgently invite the NSA, service chiefs, and paramilitary chiefs, Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country.

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“Considering the security situation, the President should immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.

“Call on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.

“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country.

“The President should as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to Local Government Councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace.

“The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the  Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State. 

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“The House mandated all its Security Committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.

“That the number of personnel in the Police and Military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” the resolution read.

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Buhari Is Helping Fulanis Take Over, There Is No Govt in Nigeria – Governor Ortom

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of working for Fulanis. He said the country has no government following incessant killings by bandits and Fulani herdsmen in his state.

He lamented that over 70 people have been murdered in two weeks in Makurdi Local Government Area. Ortom spoke to protesters on Tuesday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abagena village. Suspected herdsmen, Monday night, killed citizens and wounded many others. “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”

He said Buhari’s body language is what is being played out and that the action and inaction of Mr President “shows that he is only the President of Fulani people”. Ortom decried that attackers regularly send indigenes away from their homes, yet go to kill them where they take refuge.

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Ortom called them “Fulani herdsmen”, stressing that They are not bandits. They are Fulanis. We saw and heard them speak the language.” The Benue helmsman stated that the federal authorities have been dragging foot on the matter.

“If the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons have been killed just in Makurdi Local Government Area alone.”

Noting that the situation is not acceptable, Ortom said similar killings were going on in Guma and Gwer-West. Ortom recalled he alerted Nigerians when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.

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He said they declared that except the prohibition of open grazing law was reviewed, “Benue will not know peace.” The governor wondered why the federal government was yet to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted the meeting. “It means we don’t have a government”, he declared.

“Mr President must do the needful and I want to suggest that immediately, let there be a security summit. I am aware that the situation is prevalent in other parts of the country.”
On Monday, the police command in Benue State also confirmed the kidnap of three students of the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi.

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Freeze Pantami’s Accounts – Rinu Oduala Urges CBN

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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An #EndSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his past controversial comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the resignation or sacking of the minister.

Oduala, who tweeted via @SavvyRinu on Thursday, urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to freeze Pantami’s accounts just as the apex bank swiftly froze the accounts of at least 20 #EndSARS promoters last year over terrorism-related allegations.

“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?”

The PUNCH had reported that the apex bank through an ex parte order froze the accounts of Oduala and 19 other persons who played a role in the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.

The CBN had said the accounts were frozen because of the nature of the investigation which was terrorism-related but after about three months, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the apex bank to unfreeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS protesters.

Oduala, a leading voice during the #EndSARS protests last year, had pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. She had faulted the decision of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to reopen the toll gate when justice hasn’t been served to the victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shootings.

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