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Nigerian Governors’ Forum meets with labour leaders in a bid to avert Monday’s strike

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) met earlier on Saturday with leaders of the organized labour in a bid to avert the industrial action planned to commence on Monday.

Nigerian workers, led by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) planned the strike to protest Federal Government’s decision to increase the prices of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity.

NGF’s spokesman, Abulrazaque Bello-Barkindo said, in a statement on Saturday that the Governors and leaders of the organised labour “are on the path to resolving the impasse occasioned by the threat by workers to embark on industrial action if the Federal Government does not rescind the recent decisions to increase the pump price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) and electricity tariff in the country.”

He said the meeting, held at the Abuja residence of the Chairman of the NGF, Govrernor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, was also attended by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) President, Quadri Olaleye, the NLC General Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboajah and the Director General of the NGF, Mr. Asishana Okauru.

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Part of the statement reads: “The NGF Chairman explained that Governors decided to wade into the on-going negotiations with a view to broadening consultations and assisting to bring the impasse to an end, thus averting the impending strike action.

“He pleaded with the NLC that the timing of the action was inauspicious and could aggravate an already worsening situation if not averted.

Dr John Kayode Fayemi emphasised that the plight of workers in the country was already in dire straits and that any action embarked upon by the union at this time would further worsen their situation as contained in the communique issued by governors after their first emergency meeting on Thursday, 24th September, 2020, since the outbreak of the pandemic and eventual lockdown of the country, last March.

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“The NGF Chairman said, no one that is conversant with the prevailing situation in the country would disagree with labour and its demands, as it were, but pleaded that Governors be given time to consult more broadly with the various stakeholders, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, the Vice President and the President.

“This he said would be top priority for the NGF and promised to head straight to the presidency once the meeting was over.

“The NGF Chairman expressed the hope that this gesture from the governors would also energise the leadership of labour to put a hold on their planned action.

“In conclusion, Dr. Fayemi stated that Government and Labour are not that far apart in the negotiation and the differences are not irreconcilable. According to NGF Chairman, “our President who is always on the side of workers will not be averse to the issues being raised and I’m hopeful for an amicable settlement on the issues highlighted

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“On his part, the President of the NLC said the Federal Government violated the time-tested global process of dialogue and thanked the NGF Chairman for his efforts at ensuring that sanity returns to the negotiation table.

“When the cost of PMS rises, the cost of everything in the country rises with it, the NLC President explained.

“He agreed with the NGF Chairman and also praised him for agreeing to broaden the mechanism for consultation on the matter saying “I praise you for showing a good grasp of this matter and I believe that if they had widened the mechanism for consultation and involved people like you, we wouldn’t have come to this pass.”‎

 

SOURCE: THE NATION

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US Special military forces rescues an American citizen in Nigeria

Benjamin Ukpabi

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US military forces rescued an American citizen in Nigeria, the Pentagon said on Saturday, days after he was kidnapped by gunmen in the south of neighbouring Niger and apparently taken across the border.

The hostage, Philip Walton, was abducted Monday night on the outskirts of Massalata, a village about 10 kilometres (six miles) from the border with Nigeria.

Walton is safe and in the care of the US State Department, the Pentagon said in a statement. US forces did not suffer any casualties in the rescue operation, it added.

“The United States is committed to the safe return of all US citizens taken captive,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a separate statement.

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“We delivered on that commitment late last night in Nigeria, where some of our bravest and most skilled warriors rescued a US citizen,” he said.

President Donald Trump hailed the rescue operation.

“Big win for our very elite U.S. Special Forces today. Details to follow!,” he tweeted.

Niger’s Defence Minister Issoufou Katambe had earlier confirmed the hostage release to AFP without giving details about how he had been freed.

Local officials had said this week that the kidnappers had called the man’s father to demand a ransom, though the family did not confirm this.

Walton had been living in Massalata with his wife and child for two years, according to his father, who himself has been in Niger for nearly 30 years.

Niger lies in the heart of the vast Sahel region, which is struggling with a jihadist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven hundreds of thousands from their homes.

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US forces have two drone bases in Agadez and Dirkou, in northern Niger. Their aircraft provide significant support to the French anti-jihadist Barkhane force.

In October 2017, four American Special Forces soldiers and five Nigerien soldiers were killed in an ambush in Tongo Tongo, near Mali, in southwestern Niger.

The attack was claimed by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

Several Westerners are currently being held hostage in the region, including American aid worker Jeffery Woodke, who was kidnapped in the central town of Abalak in 2016 and is believed to be in neighbouring Mali now.

Three Europeans, including 75-year-old French charity worker Sophie Petronin, were released by their captors in Mali earlier this month under a prisoner swap arranged by the Malian government.

In August, six French aid workers and two Niger citizens were killed in the Koure wildlife reserve west of Niamey, in an attack claimed by the so-called Islamic State group.ci

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FG threatens to make migration difficult for doctors

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Dr Osagie Ehanire, The Minister for Health, made it clear that the federal government will do everything within her power to discourage doctors from travelling outside Nigeria.

The Minister said that the government will provide adequate medical facilities and also provide incentives that will discourage the Doctors from traveling outside the country, he said this on Friday in Abuja after inspecting the Cancer Centre in the National Hospital Abuja.

He said “I have heard the challenge of doctors leaving the country. We have plans to provide better funding for our hospitals in Nigeria and make such migration unattractive,”

Dr Osagie Ehanire praised the hospital staffs and administration, and encouraged them to better, he urged the hospital to be ready incase the global corona virus resurface again as seen in other countries. He advised the hospital to make judicious use of the funds made available to them.

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He added “Schools are resuming, people are travelling in and out the country so we must be prepared for any emergency”.

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Banks commence emergency system update due to threats from Anonymous

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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A global hacktivist network known as Anonymous stirred an aggressive campaign in Nigeria two weeks ago, Nigerian banks as part of the precautionary measure has decided embark on an immediate emergency upgrade.

Mohammed Abdullahi Minister of State for Science and Technology confirmed the threat from Anonymous, he clearly stated there was a well planned attacks on important government Databases.

Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy Isa Pantami, also  admitted that some government websites were tampered with. He said: ‘‘On my instruction, the NITDA and NCC worked almost round the clock last week to rectify the situation and ensure no vital data was compromised. I am happy the websites are back and running now.”

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He also assured Nigerians that stringent measures have been take taken to avoid further attacks,  emphasized  for all the relevant organization to upgrade their system.

 

 

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