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Minimum Wage: Labour blackmailing govt with ultimatum — Ngige

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Minister of Labour Sen. Chris Ngige: Taking workers for granted?

Minister of Labour Sen. Chris Ngige: Taking workers for granted?

The Federal Government has described Labour 14-day ultimatum as “a subtle blackmail” to stampede the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage.

Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment stated this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, noting that the ultimatum was uncalled for.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls the organised labour has accused the Federal Government of stalling the negotiation by failing to mention a figure as a new minimum wage for the Nigerian workers.

The organised labour also issued the Federal Government a 14-day ultimatum, insisting that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage concluded its work within the stipulated time frame.

According to Ngige, it is not true that the Federal Government is trying to stall negotiations.

“The following facts speak in that direction, if the Federal Government is not interested why did Mr President inaugurate the Presidential Committee on the new National Minimum Wage.

“If it is not interested, Mr President would have asked me to do an inter-ministerial meeting, but Mr President took interest and set up a presidential committee.

“This Presidential Committee, he monitors it and I also brief him from time to time, both written and verbally.

“As a matter of fact, before the meeting adjourned last week, I have told the committee that the Economic Management Team could not hold.

“This is due to the fact that most people in the team travelled with Mr President to China.

“Also if the Federal Government is not interested, why will l brief the entire tripartite committee and tell them that work is in progress, “he said.

The minister also noted that he had requested for two weeks from the committee to enable the Federal Government delegation consult with state government delegation.

“That means that the meeting can be called at any time, in one day or within three days which is still stipulated within the month of September.

“So it is very surprising to know that labour gave ultimatum of 14 days to the Federal Government, this is uncalled for and a subtle blackmail to the Federal Government.

He also said that the chairperson of Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage would lead a delegation on Friday to brief Mr President on the negotiations so far.

Ngige further assured Nigerians workers that there was no cause for alarm, adding that Federal Government was working assiduously to ensure the implementation of the minimum wage, soonest.

“We were unable to fix a figure because of many factors that have occurred.

“For example, the components in review, organised labour finds easy to give a figure.

“They have brought a figure which is N56, 000 and later change it to N65,000 and it is within their ambit to do so.

“The organised private sector also brought a figure, initially they brought N42, 000, and by last week before the Committee on National Minimum Wage adjourned they brought their own figure down to N25, 000.

“The organised private sector also took into account the economic situation in the country, the ability to pay and the ability to enhance and create new jobs in the country.

“So it is important for us to look at all those things because one of the cardinal principles of the International Labour Organisation is the minimum wage fixing, which is the ability to pay.”

He also said that the Federal Government had requested that the state governors give a tentative figure, noting that they had not yet been able to make available.

The minister further said that the Federal Government delegation had written, as a committee, to the state governments and had also followed it up with visits and is still awaiting their response.

Ngige said that the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had further requested for time to do more work on what their delegation in the committee had proposed and requested for an extension of time.

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How Obama plotted my defeat in 2015, and rigged in Buhari — Goodluck Jonathan

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President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan


Former President Goodluck Jonathan has railed against the conduct of Barack Obama, describing the former U.S. president as overbearing and ‘condescending’ in his message to Nigerians ahead of the 2015 general elections.

Mr Jonathan said Mr Obama displayed an unusual level of bias during the 2015 elections, issuing a video appeal to Nigerians which all but advised them on which candidate to give their mandate.

“On March 23, 2015, President Obama himself took the unusual step of releasing a video message directly to Nigerians all but telling them how to vote,” Mr Jonathan said in his new book, ‘My Transition Hours’, which launches Tuesday.

“In that video, Obama urged Nigerians to open the ‘next chapter’ by their votes. Those who understood subliminal language deciphered that he was prodding the electorate to vote for the opposition to form a new government.”

PREMIUM TIMES obtained a copy of the book hours before its unveiling in Abuja on Tuesday. Mr Jonathan had strictly kept the book secret in order to avoid excerpts of it being published ahead of its formal launch.

Mr Jonathan lost the 2015 elections to now-President Muhammadu Buhari, marking the first time an incumbent president would lose reelection. He assumed office in 2010 following the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, getting his own mandate of four years at the 2011 presidential election.

The days leading to the 2015 election were crucial for both Mr Jonathan and his cabinet officials. Only two weeks ahead, the election was postponed to March 28 from its initial date in February.

The six-week postponement drew outrage from within and outside the country, and Mr Jonathan’s opponents accused him of plots to perpetuate himself in office.

But the former president said he was not the only one responsible for the polls shift, saying other former leaders were all part of the decision, which was informed by the security exigencies at the time.
“The message was so condescending, it was as if Nigerians did not know what to do and needed an Obama to direct them,” Mr Jonathan said of the video message.

He lampooned Mr Obama, who was American president from 2009 until 2017, for saying “all Nigerians must be able to cast their votes without intimidation or fear,” but was reluctant to allow the Nigerian security forces drive Boko Haram insurgents away from the Nigerian territories they had been occupying in order to free Nigerian citizens there ahead of elections.

Mr Jonathan also took a harsh aim at former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the top diplomat was nonchalant in his attitude towards his government, despite all efforts to make him understand that the decision to postpone election was in the overall interest of Nigeria.

“How can the U.S. Secretary of State know what is more important for Nigeria than Nigeria’s own government? How could they have expected us to conduct elections when Boko Haram controlled part of the North East and were killing and maiming Nigerians?

“Not even the assurance of the sanctity of May 29, 2015 handover date could calm them down. In Nigeria, the Constitution is very clear: No President can extend his tenure by one day,” Mr Jonathan said.

The U.S. Embassy in Abuja could not be reached for comments. It is a public holiday in Nigeria.

A humiliating call

Mr Jonathan did not say what he did to offend the Western powers, but he painted a dreadful image of their attitude towards him in the waning days of his government.
“The foreign pressure on the issue of election rescheduling was intense. They maintained the curious posture of one who had been deceived before and therefore had every reason to cede no credence to our position. But there was no reason for such posture.

“The United States and the United Kingdom were especially agitated. David Cameron, then the U.K. Prime Minister, called to express his concern about the election rescheduling, just as John Kerry came from the United States to express further worry. It was at best unusual and sobering.

“In fact, John Kerry did not accept our reasons for the rescheduling. It was unbelievable because at the back of our minds we knew why the agitation was beyond what meets the eyes.

“There were deeper political interests. In attendance at the meeting of the Council of State were the decision to reschedule the election was taken were almost all the living former Heads of State in this country. That should have convinced John Kerry of the good intentions of the government.

“He cannot claim to love and defend Nigeria more than all our former heads of state present at the meeting. I have stated earlier how Kerry’s visit was designed to humiliate a sitting Nigerian president and clearly take sides in the country’s election.

Anyhow, the six weeks served us well. We received the military equipment we were expecting within that period and our Armed Forces commendable dealt a deserving blow on the terrorists and repossessed all territorial areas of Nigeria previously occupied by the terrorists. Boko Haram was deflated up to the point I handed over to my successor on May 29, 2015,” Mr Jonathan said.

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Buhari’s death rumour: Presidency seeks Bishop’s probe

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President Buhari

President Buhari


The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution, Mr. Okoi Obono-Obla, has written to the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police seeking the probe of an alleged peddler of false claim of the death of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Acknowledgment copies of the separate letters addressed to the Director General of the DSS, Mr. Yusuf Bichi, and the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, were obtained by The PUNCH on Tuesday.

Copies of the letters dated November 14, 2018 were received at both the DSS and Police Force Headquarters in Abuja on November 6.

Obono-Obla, whose office is domiciled in the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, specifically informed the heads of the security agencies in his petitions that one Bishop Eze Orieke made the false claim with purported documents from the London Bridge Hospital (Regional Medical Laboratory) to back it on the wall of a Facebook group called Ohafia Political Forum.

The letters read in part, “The said documents are attached herewith for your attention and consideration.

“It is a notorious fact and incontrovertible proof that his excellency, Muhammadu Buhari is not dead but very much alive and kicking.”
He added that the post on Facebook and the documents attached to it by the said Orieke “are fake and calculated to cause panic, disaffection and undermine national security.”

Copies of the documents, which were allegedly attached to the Facebook post and which Obono-Obla forwarded with his petitions to the security agencies, included a purported death certificate issued by the National Population Commission indicating that Buhari died of cardiac arrest in Abuja on September 19, 2017.

“It is ill-motivated, distasteful and made in extreme bad faith,” Obono-Obla said of the documents in his petitions.
According to him, the act violated the provisions of section 24(1)(a),(b) and (2)(a),(b),(c)(i),(ii) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition & Prevention etc) Act, 2015.

Offences under the said provision carry between three to 10 years imprisonment with or without fines ranging between N7m and N15m.
“In the light of the above, I respectfully urge you to investigate this matter,” Obono-Obla stated.

Our correspondent’s search of the Facebook accounts of both Bishop Eze Orieke and the Ohafia Political Forum did not yield a positive result.
Also, repeated attempts to contact the said Orieke through a phone number supplied in the petitions as his were also futile.
The repeated calls made to the telephone line indicated that the contact could not be reached.

The legal provisions which the suspect allegedly flouted according to Obono-Obla include, “(1) 24. (1) Any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that-

“(a) is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or
“(b) he knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7m or imprisonment for a term of not more than three years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
“(2) Any person who knowingly or intentionally transmits or causes the transmission of any communication through a computer system or network –
“(a) to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person.”

“(b) containing any threat to kidnap any person or any threat to harm the person of another, any demand or request for a ransom for the release of any kidnapped person, to extort from any person, firm, association or corporation, any money or other thing of value; or
“(c) containing any threat to harm the property or reputation of the addressee or of another or the reputation of a deceased person or any threat to accuse the addressee or any other person of a crime, to extort from any person, firm, association, or corporation, any money or other thing of value: commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction-

“(i) in the case of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection to imprisonment for a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00; and
“(ii) in the case of paragraph (c) and “(d) of this subsection, to imprisonment for a term of five years and/or a minimum fine of N15m.”

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Jonathan a patriot, democrat – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has described his predecessor, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, as a great patron and democrat for voluntarily conceding defeat at the 2015 general elections.

Buhari poured the encomium on the ex-President at the launch of a book entitled “My Transition Hours” written by Jonathan.

The ceremony was attended by hundreds of guests from within and outside the country, including members of opposition.

Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the president said Jonathan’s act of courage had made him a patriotic leader and earned popularity among Africans and other leaders.

“You are a leader of the past, of now and of the future; you will rise again; I wish you the best you wish yourself, ” Buhari said.

He called on Nigerians to see elections as contests and should be done in free, fair and peaceful environment.

He said Nigerians should eschew bitterness, bigotry, hate speech and “promote Nigeria for us and generation yet unborn.

Jonathan, however, condemned any act of inducement of voters and vote buying during elections in the country, adding that the act was contrary to democratic norms and therefore, wrong.

He said that vote-buying, which was gradually replacing other forms of electoral malpractices, had become scandalous and placed the country in bad light.

He pointed out that voters’ inducement through engraving of pictures of candidates and political party logos on gift items during elections was another rampant strategy of vote buying.

He advised the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to borrow a leaf from other African countries and create polling centres in public places such as schools where classrooms were used for voting to make it difficult for vote buying.

He explained that the book he launched was essentially an account of happenings during the 2015 general elections and the events that made him to place a phone call to President Muhammadu Buhari, which doused tension and ensured peaceful transition from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to All Progressives Party (APC).

The President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, saluted Jonathan for his statesmanship, sportsmanship and uncommon courage of conceding defeat to Buhari in 2015 when collation was still on.

Saraki said that the act of accepting defeat by Jonathan helped to stabilise the already charged political atmosphere during the elections.

He recalled how Jonathan used to vow that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian and called on political leaders to toe the same path and should not look at elections as declaration of war as the 2019 polls approached.

On his part, former President Olusegun Obasanjo who was Chairman of the occasion, also hailed the statesmanship disposition of Jonathan and urged him to remain committed to his residual responsibility of continuous service to his immediate community, Nigeria, Africa and beyond.

According to Obasanjo, there is no substitute to democracy as it unifies the people.

He said that Nigeria had the responsibility to unify West Africa, Africa and the black race across the world.

Former Head of State, Yakubu Gowon, who attended the ceremony also thanked Jonathan for conceding defeat in 2015 to save Nigeria from impending war and consolidating democracy not only in the country but the entire African continent.

He also applauded Jonathan for his role in fostering unity, peace, progress and strengthening democratic rule in Africa, saying “Goodluck Jonathan is a good man and when the history of democracy in Africa is written, his name will be etched in gold”.

The book launch was graced by hundreds of prominent Nigerians, including the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, and Sen. Godswill Akpabio, Speaker Yakubu Dogara.

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