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NLC Suspends strike for two weeks

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Organised Labour has suspended its planned nationwide industrial action for two weeks over the recent hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price in the country.

Sen. Christ Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment said this while reading a joint communique on the resolution of the Trade Dispute between the Federal Government and the organised Labour on Monday in Abuja.

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had threatened to embark on industrial action over the Federal Government’s refusal to reverse the hike in electricity tariff and fuel pump price on Monday, Sept. 28.

NAN recalls that the removal of the subsidy had led to an increase in electricity tariff from about N30.23 to about N62.33 per kwh, while the price of petrol was increased from about N145 to about N161 per litre.

Ngige said the resolution reached with the organised labour was an outcome of a fruitful deliberation.

According to him, on the issue of electricity tariff reforms, the parties agreed to set up a Technical Committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC, which will work for a duration of two weeks effective from Monday, Sept. 28.

“The committee is to examine the justifications for the new policy in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff.

“The technical committee membership included Mr Festus Keyamo, Minister of State Labour and Employment, as chairman, Mr Godwin Jedy-Agba, Minister of State Power, Mr James Momoh, Chairman National Electricity Regulatory Commission,

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“Others were Mr Ahmad Rufai Zakari, SA to Mr President on Infrastructure, Dr Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Member, NLC, Mr Joe Ajaero NLC, Mr Chris Okonkwo, TUC and a representative of DISCOS.”

The minister said the committee should also look at the different Electricity Distribution Company (DISCOs) and their different electricity tariff ‘vis-à-vis NERC’s order and mandate.

Ngige, on the issue of the downstream sector deregulation, said all parties agreed on the need to expand the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the over dependency on importation of petroleum products

He said NNPC was directed to expedite the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna and to achieve 50 per cent completion for Port Harcourt by December 2021, while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive Steering Committee.

According to him, the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association (PENGASSAN) will be integrated into the Steering Committee already established by the Corporation.

“The Federal Government and its agencies are to ensure delivery of one million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable the delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.

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“A Governance Structure that will include representatives of organised Labour shall be established for timely delivery,” he said.

Ngige also said on the issue of general intervention that the government will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.

He said the Federal Government would give the labour unions 133 CNG/LPG driven mass transit buses immediately and ‘provide to the major cities across the Country on a scale-up basis, thereafter to all States and Local Governments before December 2021.’

He said 10 per cent of the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance housing initiative would be allocated to Nigerian workers under the NLC and TUC.

According to him, a specific amount is to be unveiled by the Federal Government in two weeks’ time, which will be isolated from the Economic Sustainability Programme Intervention Fund that can be accessed by Nigerian Workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC.

“This is for participation in agricultural ventures through the CBN and the Ministry of Agriculture. The timeline will be fixed at the next meeting,” he said.

In his remark, Mr Ayuba Wabba, NLC President said that both the government and organised labour have looked into the issue of fuel price hike and what was needed to be put in place in order to address the issue of the increase.

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“We have discussed the state of our refineries and how to achieve sustainable refineries.

“We have also looked at the issue of the tariff hike and other challenges.

“We agreed to suspend the strike, and we agreed to also put a committee in place to work outlasting solution in addressing these challenges, including the issue of metering and importantly also is to bring about the issue of efficiency.

“We also reviewed the process of privatisation and other issues such as clear palliatives that were needed to be extended to our members and Nigerians to cushion the effect of these policies,” he said.

Wabba, therefore, called for social dialogue as a way of addressing issues of industrial relations, socio-economic issues and also issues of development.

According to him, the labour hopes that the communique will be implemented, and therefore, the decision of the organised labour as represented here is to suspend the action.

“We are going to convey our Central Working Committee meeting to present the communique to them,” he said.

Also, Mr Quadiri Olaleye, TUC president noted that based on the agreement signed between the government and the labour, the planned industrial action would be suspended for two weeks.

He added that the planned industrial action was called to draw the attention of the government to certain issues.

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BREAKING: Tension in Imo as gunmen engage police in shootout

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There is palpable fear in Imo State on Tuesday as gunmen engaged police in a gun duel as they attempted to burn Orji Divisional Police Headquarters situated on Owerri-Okigwe Road in Owerri under reconstruction.

Security operatives made up of soldiers, policemen and Air Force engaged the hoodlums in shootout which resulted to casualties on the side of the hoodlums

The situation caused panic in the area that forced two banks in the area to hurriedly close.

Customers and passersby took to their heels as vehicles diverted while motorists scampered for safety after running out of their vehicles. The situation caused serious gridlock around the city

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Eyewitnesses told our correspondent that the gunmen, numbering over 20 attacked the police station after blocking the expressway with their vehicles.

Reacting, the police spokesman, SP Bala Elkanah said the police were able to repel the hoodlums before they could destroy the police station.

Some hoodlums in their number launched an offensive on the reconstruction site of Orji Divisional Headquarters which was earlier burnt by hoodlums during the #EndSARS protest in 2020. A philanthropist contracted the reconstruction project.

The hoodlums, who believed that the re-establishment of a functional police station may prevent them from carrying out their nefarious acts in Orji and environs, decided to invade the construction site.

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Before the arrival of reinforcement team, the hoodlums melted into the neighbouring townships area but abandoned their operational vehicles. The Commissioner of Police, Imo State, CP Abutu Yaro, fdc personally led an enforcement team to the scene.

The whole area was cordoned and five suspects, namely Chigaemezu Sabastine ‘m’ 26 years old, Casmir Ibe ‘m’ 36years old, John Chinonso ‘m’ 24years old, Chukwudi Okoro ‘m’ 28years and Alozie Daberechi ‘m’ 25years old were arrested. No life was lost. Three vehicles were recovered.

He said, mop up operation is ongoing to arrest more suspects and recover their firearms.

It was not ascertained whether there was any casualty on the said of the security agents, but the police Spokesperson in the state, Bala Elkana, said that ” we are repelling them. The war is ongoing. There is heavy security operatives detachment deployed to the scene. We have taken the way to them. We are wining. There is high number of casualties on the side of the hoodlums.”

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It would be recalled that the same police Divisional headquarters was in 2020 burnt during the nationwide #ENDSARS protest.

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Primate Ayodele exposes three PDP govs allegedly planning to decamp to APC

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The leader of INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, Primate Elijah Ayodele has revealed three state governors on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, planning to decamp to the All Progressives Congress, APC.

Primate Ayodele revealed that the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed Matawalle, Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and their Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu are planning to defect from PDP to APC.

In a statement on Tuesday, the clergyman noted that Matawalle has made up his mind already, while Ugwuanyi and Ikpeazu are still contemplating defecting from PDP to APC.

He warned that if the PDP’s reconciliation committee fails to work things out, they will eventually decamp to the APC.

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‘’The Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Muhammed Matawalle has made up his mind to leave the PDP. He is 99 percent out, If the party does not manage its situation well, the Governor of Enugu, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, and the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu will follow suit.

“They are currently contemplating and planning a strategy to leave the party, they are 40% out.’’

This is coming after the popular prophet made a prophecy days back that he foresees that PDP will lose more governors soon after the Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade decamped last week.

Primate Ayodele made it known that six top members that include governors, senators and honourable will leave the party if the party leaders do not work things out.

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BREAKING: Suspected Suicide Bomber Blows Self Up In Ebonyi

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A yet-to-be identified middle-aged man suspected to be a suicide bomber blew up himself in Afikpo local government area of Ebonyi State.

The incident happened at about 11.30am on Tuesday opposite the campus 2 of Amaizu/Amangbala primary school in Afikpo LGA of the state.

A resident of the area, who spoke to LEADERSHIP on condition of anonymity, said that on hearing the sound of the explosion, residents of the area scampered for safety.

He said that the yet-to-be identified man was carrying explosive, which exploded on his body killing him instantly.

He noted that after few minutes, the residents reconvened at the scene of the incident only to discover the suspected suicide bomber laying dead in the pool of his own blood.

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The resident, who pointed out that the incident happened close to the Eke Market in Afikpo, which happens to be the biggest market in the area, said that there was tension and panic in the community following the incident.

According to the source, the suspected bomber was earlier seen wandering within the area, adding that “He first came into a beer parlour and when the people inquired who he was, he left.”

He was said to have moved to the school side and when the gateman asked him to go back, he made effort to remove his clothes when the explosive went off.

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Efforts to get the reactions of the Ebonyi State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loverth Odah and the State Commissioner for Internal Security, Boarder Peace and Conflict Resolutions, Chief Stanley Emegha, proved abortive as several calls put across to them were not answered.

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