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Minimum wage: States’ll go bankrupt if we pay N30,000 – Govs

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Governors of the 36 states of the federation under the auspices of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) have said states cannot afford to pay the proposed N30,000 minimum wage.

The NGF chairman and Governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, told newsmen that it was impractical to implement the N30,000 minimum without states going into bankruptcy.

He said the only alternative to paying the N30,000 minimum wage was for the Federal Government to accede to the review of the national revenue allocation formula or to downsize workforce.

The governors who met, yesterday in Abuja, have therefore, resolved to put together another committee to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari to work out another formula to address the issue.

The members of the committee to see President Buhari are Akinwunmi Ambode (Lagos), Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi), Simon Lalong (Plateau), Mohammed Abubakar (Bauchi), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu) and Nasir El-Rufai (Kaduna).

President Buhari last week Tuesday received the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage.

The committee which recommended N30,000 as the new national minimum wage also submitted a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly. Organised Labour has given December date as deadline for all processes leading to the implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage else they will embark on another round of strike.

But speaking after an emergency meeting of the NGF, Governor Yari: “We have seen what has been presented to the president by the committee; as a member of the committee, Kebbi governor said the committee did not take our submission of N22,500 because it came late. I am surprised how you can do this without the input of the states, because the states are the key stakeholders in this business. So, a situation whereby our report is not taken or considered by the tripartite committee to present to the president, I don’t know how the committee wants us to work.

“But we still say we want to pay but the issue is the ability to pay. The N18,000 today, when the president assumed office, 27 states were not able to pay; not that they choose not to pay. So, now that you say N30,000, how many of them can pay? We will be bankrupt. As Nigerians, we should look at the issue seriously. While other people are saying that governors are flying private jets and living in affluence, that one is not luxury but compulsory.

“The issue of government overhead cost, if you put it together with personnel cost, it cannot solve this problem. Like Lagos that is paying about N7 billion as salaries, if you say it should pay N30,000, now it will be N13 billion. From our calculation, it is only Lagos State that will be able to pay N30,000. As Nigerians, there is no other country we have and we should be fair to this country.”

Asked the way forward, Yari said: “We will continue to talk with Labour, let them see reasons why governors have difficulties. Some of us have Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). For instance, the money Lagos State is using to pay is not coming from Abuja. They have a way of getting their money from IGR and that is why they can afford to pay. Lagos gets money through VAT. Apart from Lagos, even Rivers cannot afford to pay. So, we have been crying out about this since 2011 but no one will listen. One critical example is that some state ration their salaries while others put everything they earn on the table and ask labour to come and see and ask them to suggest how much should go for capital and personnel cost. Some say 70 percent for personnel cost and 30 percent for capital projects, yet the states cannot pay and they put the remaining as outstanding.

“If you are talking about oil, the price is not what it used to be. From last year to date, it is $20 less from $75 to $55. So where is the money to pay? We should not exploit this matter further. We are leaders today, tomorrow others will be there. So let us look at this matter seriously to see how we can do it properly. It is our primary responsibility to see that everybody is happy.”

When reminded that part of Labour’s grouse was that governors have refused to submit audited account, the NGF chairman said: “We have given the committee audited account of the states to guide them. But if they put the audited account for the past 10-14 years, can you get something out of it? We are going to use the report of the audited committee to make further presentation. It is the same labour that is pushing for the N30,000 that will still turn around to say that the governors did not do any infrastructure. How are we going to achieve that by paying only salaries?”

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Abisogun, Akinogun ruling houses adopt Adesegun Oniru as next king of Iru land

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Adesegun Oniru
The duo of Akiogun and Abisogun Ruling Houses, two of the ruling houses in Iruland in Lagos, have declared support for Prince Aremo Adesegun Oniru as the next Oniru of Iruland.
This is coming on the heels of the claim by the opponent of Adesegun Oniru for the stool, Mr. Hakeem Ajasa that he is from Abisogun family and that he had been endorsed for the coveted stool by the family.
It will be recalled that the Akiogun Ruling House in Iruland, where Prince Adesegun Oniru came from, had earlier endorsed him as their candidate for the stool.
In declaring their support for Prince Adesegun Oniru for the stool, members of Abisogun Ruling House spoke through the Odofin of Iruland, Chief Saliu Abisogun during a recent press conference.
Speaking under the topic; “On the Oniru Stool: The Need for Further Development Of Iruland,” Chief Abisogun revealed that the Oniru Stool came to statutory recognition in 1994 after a history of more than 200 years.
The Chief added that the late Oba Abiodun Oniru spent 25 years on the throne and that his reign brought about unprecedented development, government recognition and presence with lots of personal prosperity to both the indigenes and foreigners in Iruland.
“It is in connection with this that we, the Chiefs and Baales of Iruland have resolved to back the nomination of Aremo Adesegun Oniru as the next Oniru of Iruland.
‘We cannot afford, at this stage of our development to allow some elements, who have no contribution to the development of Iruland, to take over the leadership of the city and reduce it to the vassal of some foreign interests.
“We cannot afford stifling of our development in the hands of individuals, who have no knowledge of how we get here,” he said.
Abisogun stated that it was with the “distinguished cooperation of Aremo Adesegun Oniru that we recorded tremendous achievements in Ireland under our deceased monarch.”
The family emphasised that Aremo Adesegun Oniru assisted in ensuring unprecedented infrastructural development in Ireland.
According to them; “he brought the whole family of Oniru together as a united force in the absence of which it would have been near impossible to make the landmark progress we have witnessed in recent times.
“The Oniru family within the last 75 years, has transformed our collective existence to the pride of all indigenes. The best favour we can do ourselves to ensure continuity of this spate of progress and development.’
Chief Abisogun stressed that the fact that the late Oniru of Iruland, Oba Abiodun Oniru was the father of Aremo Adesegun Oniru was not a sound argument to prevent the ascension of Adesegun.
He explained that Aremo Adesegun Oniru could legitimately succeed his father if the “development of our land is of any meaning to all.”
“It is instructive to note that this is not an unusual practise as the neighbouring Kingdom of Ikateland wisely did the same in no fat a distance. In addition, the Abisogun Ruling House laying claim currently exclusively occupies the Ilase Royal seat, which is equally part of the Oniru Empire.”
Chief Saliu Abisogun pointed out that the “charade of some individuals carried out some few days ago in the name of nomination of Oniru of Ireland of someone, who has no connection with our historical progress is nothing, but an unnecessary provocation, which is better ignored to pave way for our continued harmony.
“We, the principal members of Oniru family have met together with all relevant Baales in Ireland and have resolved to back the aspiration of Aremo Adesegun Abiodun Oniru as the next Oniru of Ireland.
They then urged all the sons and daughters of Iruland to sheath their swords and join hands with Aremo Adesegun Oniru towards “further development of our kingdom.”
“The statutory process for nomination has not been ignited in line with the established legal procedure. Hence members of the public should ignroe any charade  being peddled as nomination for the stool. The obaship of Iruland cannot be a subject of campaign as videoed recently. It is a sacred institution that commands the highest respect and must not be subject to any ridicule,” he said.
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IBB not dead, hale and hearty – Spokesman

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Former Military President,General Ibrahim B. Babangida (IBB) is “alive and bubbling”, his media spokesman, Kassim Afegbua, has said.

Afegbua made the assertion Sunday in a statement to debunk rumours about the former president’s death.

Dispelling the rumour, Afegbua said,”It has become consistent fake news for quite some time now wishing our own IBB, the one we easily refer to as “the last don” of Nigeria politics, dead. The “fake news bill” would be a suitable response to this category of fake news carrier. IBB is very much alive and bubbling. He just started attending to friends and associates who came to see him today, Sunday, 15th December, 2019 right here at his Minna Hilltop mansion. He is full of life and in nhis characteristic bubbling mood.

“May Allah forgive those who wish IBB dead. God is the giver and taker of life, not humans. Death, as the irrevocable end of all creation, will surely come to everyone some day and at the appointed time and hour, but to deliberately spread fake news and wish someone dead, is to take humanity to another bizarre level. May Allah forgive them. IBB, by the special grace of Allah, the omniscient and omnipotent One, shall live to fulfill his journey and destiny in life, to the consternation of those who are always wishing him dead. This is about the third time this year.

“We wish to thank those who took time to reach out to us, home and abroad, to find out the truth. We thank you all for your love, care and concern. May Allah grant us all good health, sound mind and long life. Amin. “

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How Minister of Power, Goddy Jedy Agba saved Nigeria from total blackout

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Not a few Nigerians were taken aback, when the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) declared a general strike on Wednesday 11th December, 2019 and threw the country into a total blackout.
The workers embarked on the strike action following crisis in the power sector at the expiration of the 21 days issued by the union.
However, the swift initiative of  Minister of State (Power), Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba in extensively engaging the stakeholders in the sector including those from the Ministry of Power, Director General of Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr. Alex Okoh, representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, leadership of NUEE and others.
The meeting addressed several issues that led to the suspension of the strike action by the electricity workers, who resumed duty after 24 hours of the exercise.
The communique issued at the end of the meeting was jointly signed by the Honourable Minister of State (Power),  Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba (OFR), Director General, BPE, Mr. Alex Okoh, President (NUEE), Comrade Engr. Martin Uzoegwu, General Secretary (NUEE), Comrade Joe Ajaero, and a representative of the Federal  Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Hosea Akayi Musa, JP..
On the non-payment of over 2000 disengaged PHCN staff, the Director General of BPE confirmed that over N360 Billion had been paid and that the verification of 600 staff processed and forwarded to Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) for payment, while 200 could not be verified.
On the issue of 16-month underpayment of severance benefit as well as the 7.5% Pension component, DG BPE acknowledged that this was pending and promised that modalities would be worked out on the payment.
On ownership of the schools, the DG gave his words that anytime they provided documentary evidence providing ownership of the school, the process of handing over would commence accordingly.
Director General, BPE promised to obtain the Condition of Service (COE) from the GenCos and DisCos within a week and hand them over to the Honourable Minister of State (Power).
The Honourable Minister of Power (State) promised to visit the GenCos in company of the Managing Director of NELMCO along with some officials of the union to see things for himself and resolve the issue of unionization in the GenCos and the non-remittance of the deducted check-off dues.
The meeting resolved that DisCos/GenCos be advised to negotiate with their bankers to ensure sufficient cash flow to enable them pay salaries as at when due.
The Director General -BPE promised to intervene on the non-remittance of Contributory Pension to PFA, especially for Kaduna, Kano and Jos.
The meeting also resolved that the DisCos could be advised to stop casualization of workers where or exists.
On the issue of harassment by security personnel, the Honourable Minister of State (Power) informed that he was not aware of the incident, apologised and promised that such an unfortunate incident would not occur again.
The meeting also resolved that all staff who participated in the Industrial action would not be victimised in any way.
Director  General-BPE explained that the pre-retirement training was processed, but that there was no cash backing to carry out the training.
On 10% equity, the Director General BPE explained that the percentage share had not been worked out because the 40% was yet to be determined and that until then staff could access their own share.
It was generally agreed by watchers of events that the move by the Minister of State (Power), Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba averted what would have led to a setback for the economy of the county at this time that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to restore the nation’s economy and a led ding festive season.
This has further increased the belief of people in many quarters that Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba is a round peg in a round hole as the Minister of State (Power) at this crucial time of the nation.
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