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FG meets labour Monday, NLC presses ahead with Tuesday strike



In its desperate effort to avert the Nigeria Labour Congress’ warning strike scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, the Federal Government says it is ready to meet with the labour union on Monday.

However, the labour union said there was no going back on the two-day warning strike, even as it affirmed that it remained open to negotiations with the government despite breaking its previous promises.

Already, some state chapters of the NLC said they were ready to proceed with the strike, while some others said their executive committee would meet on Monday as a precursor to the strike.

The NLC had in a communiqué jointly signed by its President, Joe Ajaero, and National Secretary, Emmanuel Ugboaja, on Friday said the decision to go on nationwide strike followed the failure of the President Bola Tinubu-led government to dialogue with organised labour on efforts to cushion the effects of the removal of petrol subsidy on the “poor masses”.

The union accused the Federal Government of abandoning negotiations and failing to implement some of the resolutions from previous engagements with the government.

The labour union listed no fewer than six grievances it had with the government, noting that its NEC resolved “to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from today (Friday) until steps are taken by the government to address the excruciating mass suffering and impoverishment being experienced around the country.”

On the other reasons for the strike, it accused the police of laying siege to the national headquarters of the National Union of Road Transport Workers, alleged violation of rights and privileges of workers and trade unions in Imo State, interference in trade union matters by the Abia State Government, proposed demolition of houses by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike, among others.

The organised labour had on August 2 staged a one-day protest on the economic hardship in the country, an action that grounded activities in many states and the FCT.

Following the declaration of the strike, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, told Sunday PUNCH in an interview on Saturday that the government would meet with leaders of the union to avert the looming strike.

He said in a telephone interview, “Definitely, we are hoping the warning strike can be averted. They are still engaged in discussions and have started to understand each other’s position more. They will meet again on Monday, but the gaps are being closed. You know the new minister just came in and has just begun to engage with the NLC. Going forward, you will see more expeditious engagement with the labour union. So far, tension has reduced but work is still in progress. By Monday, they will meet again and hopefully find an amicable resolution on the issue.”

On what the Federal Government plans to do concerning the 21-day strike scheduled to commence later in the month if the parties fail to reach an agreement, the minister expressed conviction that the matter would be resolved before then.

He stated, “This is why I said we are trying to find a common ground to avert the impending strike. Once this is achieved, the other one would have been taken care of.”

‘No going back’

Meanwhile, the NLC said on Saturday that the Federal Government had yet to meet with it since it announced the warning strike, noting however that it was ready for negotiation.

The Assistant National Secretary, Christopher Onyeka, said, “They didn’t invite us to any meeting, so there is no meeting between us and the government. They have not met with us and there is no official plan to meet with us.”

Asked if the union would honour an invitation to meet despite its accusation that the government had broken its promises three times, he stated, “The labour movement is a negotiation platform built around dialogue. We are not the ones who left the table; it’s the government that has been running away from the table.”

Asked further if there was anything the government could do to avert the Tuesday strike, Onyeka said, “Our demands are heavy; they are not what the government can meet between now and Tuesday. We are going on strike and this is a warning strike.

“This is to demonstrate to the government our determination, commitment and preparedness to embark on strike, so they would know that we mean business and we are prepared, committed to ensuring that the right things are done for Nigeria. You don’t treat Nigerians with contempt or disregard them. They cannot treat Nigerians as if our desires and interests do not matter.

“Government is about the people and providing benefits for the interests and desires of Nigerians. It is not about the interests of those who are in government, so they should listen to us. They should listen to the position of Nigerians. As leaders, don’t just listen to foreign bodies, you listen to Nigerians.”

He called on Nigerians to continue to hold the government accountable. “If we don’t save this country, we may no longer have one,” he added.

States express readiness

In Ogun State, the NLC Chairman, Hameed Ademola, on Saturday disclosed that the union was already mobilising its members for the strike in compliance with the directive of its national leadership.

Ademola told one of our correspondents in an interview, “We are fully prepared and already mobilising our members for the warning strike. I was part of the process in Abuja and the national leadership has directed that all the 37 councils, including the 36 states and the FCT, Abuja, should proceed on warning strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

“So, we are fully prepared to observe this and make it a very successful outing.”

In Zamfara State, the state chairman of the NLC, Sani Halliru, said the union would go on warning strike as instructed by the national body.

Halliru, in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents, said the North-West zone of the union had met in Kaduna where it was decided that the two-day warning strike action would be complied with.

He added, “I was in the meeting of the North-West zone, comprising Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto, Jigawa and my state Zamfara, where it was unanimously agreed that we shall embark on the two-day strike. So, we in Zamfara State are ready to go for the two-day strike.

“We are ready to abide by whatever decision taken by the national body of the NLC. I am calling on all our members to remain calm and wait for further directives.”


In Abia State, the union chairman, Pascal Nweke Iheme, directed members to comply with the national directive. “We just met with affiliate union leaders today and have briefed them on that,” he added.


He noted that the warning strike would be devoid of street protest and that it would only be a “sit-at-home” strike, noting that all affiliate unions in the state had been told to mobilise their members for the strike.

In Sokoto State, the chairman of the union, Abdullahi Jungle, disclosed that workers in the state were ready to join the strike.

Speaking with one of our correspondents on Saturday, he stated that members of the council would meet on Sunday to agree on the modalities.

“Yes, we are joining the strike as we are already mobilising our members for the strike,” he said. “We are holding a meeting tomorrow (Sunday) on how to go about it, but I can assure you that we will join the strike.”

In Osun State, the Chairman of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, Mr Adebowale Adekola, said labour leaders in the state were ready to mobilise workers for the warning strike.

Adekola, who lamented the current economic hardship facing Nigerians following the removal of subsidy on fuel, said promises made to cushion the effects of the removal were not being fulfilled.

He added, “We are still expecting a directive from our national secretariat but we are always ready here in Osun. We are all feeling the pain. All of us will join the strike. There is an economic logjam. We are all feeling pain because of the removal of fuel subsidy. All the promises made are not being fulfilled. There is no other way for us but to down tools.”

In Lagos State, the NLC Chairman, Funmi Sessi, told one of our correspondents that mobilisation would commence on Monday.

“We will begin the mobilisation as planned but before then we will hold a press conference on Monday to announce it before the strike action starts on Tuesday,” she stated.

In Ekiti State, the leadership of the NLC said the decision on the two-day warning strike was a collective one and as such its members would participate.

The chairman of the union, Kolapo Olatunde, said, “If the needful is not done before then, we have to mobilise members for it. There is correspondence as regards the decision. There was a communiqué to that effect from the national body, which is already with our members. It is a collective decision; an injury to one is an injury to all.”

‘State chapters meet’

In some states however, they said their state executive council would meet on Monday to discuss the modalities.

In Gombe State, the NLC General Secretary, Ibrahim Fika, said members would be mobilised for the strike on Monday after its state executive council meeting.

Fika, in an interview with one of our correspondents on Saturday, said, “This is national. Even if we don’t mobilise, the union’s headquarters will mobilise them. But for us in Gombe State, we will possibly have our state executive meeting on Monday because we returned from Abuja on Friday and today (Saturday) is weekend.

“I’m very sure the headquarters will communicate to them, but nevertheless, we will have our SEC meeting on Monday so that the next day we will go for the action.”

In Kwara State, the NLC said its members would meet on Monday in Ilorin, the state capital, to decide on the modality for the strike declared by the national leadership of the union.

The NLC Chairman in the state, Saheed Olayinka, told Sunday PUNCH on Saturday, “The leadership of NLC decided that workers will embark on a two-day warning strike. It is not a protest but a strike. The state executive council meeting will hold on Monday to decide the modalities of the strike.”

Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress in the state, Tunde Joseph, said the state council was awaiting a directive from its national secretariat so as to know what to do.

In Benue State, the NLC Chairman, Terungwa Igbe, said the union would meet on Monday to finalise on the warning strike.

Igbe in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents said the members would sit at home and not go on a protest.

He stated, “There is a difference between protest and strike; no one is protesting now but to sit back at home on Tuesday and Wednesday. Meanwhile, we are meeting on Monday to finalise everything, but workers will sit back and not go to work. No protest.”

Also in Bayelsa State, the state chapter of the NLC said it had scheduled meetings for Monday in Yenagoa, the state capital, to deliberate on the strike.

The state chairman, Simon Barnabas, in his response to an enquiry by one of our correspondents, said the meetings would involve relevant organs of the congress, particularly the State Administrative Council and State Executive Council.

“We have slated both SAC & SEC meetings for Monday”, Barnabas added.

Meanwhile, in Katsina State, workers said on Saturday that they were still waiting for the directive of the national headquarters to know the form the warning strike would take.

The chairman of the state chapter of the TUC, Mallam Muntari Ruma, said, “We are still waiting for the NLC directives on the forms that the warning strike would take from the national headquarters. You can call me back by Monday morning. By that time, we would have received necessary and appropriate directives.”


Kwara Gov receives VP Kashim Shettima in Ilorin hails peace harmony in Kwara



Kwara State Governor and Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq on Saturday received Vice President Kashim Shettima (GCON) in Ilorin, the state capital, amid a rousing welcome by several APC leaders and people of the state.

Vice President Shettima was received by the Governor at the Tunde Idiagbon Airport, joined by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; Speaker Kwara House of Assembly Rt Hon Yakubu Salihu Danladi; Sen Salihu Mustapha (Kwara Central); Sen. Sadiq Umar (North); some members of the state executive council; and CEO KAM Holdings Nigeria Alhaji Kamaru Yusuf.

The Vice President touched down at the airport at exactly 3p.m., accompanied by his Special Assistant on Political Matters Dr. Hakeem Baba Ahmed; and top APC chieftain Dr. Isia’q Modibbo Kawu; among others.

Shettima headed to the Al-Hikmah University, Ilorin, where he commissioned the institution’s Nursing Science Complex, which has been named after him.

The Vice President then delivered the university’s 13th convocation lecture that was themed ‘Addressing Nigeria’s Food Security Challenges Through Hi-Tech Approach: The Role of Nigerian Universities’.

Other dignitaries at the occasion included the Inspector General of Police IGP Kayode Egbetokun, who has just received his doctoral degree from the institution; founder of the University Chief AbdulRaheem Oladimeji (OFR); and Vice Chancellor of the University Prof. Noah Yusuf.

Shettima, in his lecture, said Nigeria’s reliance on oil since the early 70s and the neglect of the agricultural sector are responsible for what has today become a national security challenge in the form of food insecurity.

He said the challenge assumed a disturbing proportion as a result of policy inconsistencies, mismanagement of resources, corruption, climate change, insurgencies, and natural disasters, among others.

He said President Bola Ahmed Tinubu understands the nexus between food production and national security, and has declared a state of emergency on food security alongside a policy commitment to improve productivity by injecting more funds in the sector.

Tertiary institutions are playing critical roles in assisting the Federal Government to promote food security in Nigeria through research and the integration of agricultural study in their curriculum, the vice president said.

He said no appreciable progress can be made in agricultural production without mechanization, calling for increased and efficient use of modern technology to maximise yield.

The Vice President described Governor AbdulRazaq as a prudent leader and commended him for various agricultural initiatives the administration has introduced to boost food production in the state.

Speaking about the cultural composition of Ilorin, which he said exemplifies a spirit of brotherhood, Shettima said Nigeria has a lot to learn from the ancient city, calling on all indigenes of Ilorin to continue to be tolerant and supportive of one another.


Rafiu Ajakaye

Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

December 9, 2023

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Japa: Feel free to leave, Bishop Kukah tells Nigerian youths



The Bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, has advised young Nigerians wishing to leave the country (the popular Japa syndrome) not to hesitate.

However, he prayed that the right and conducive environment be created so that those left behind can compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.

Bishop Kukah, the Pro-chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of Veritas University, Abuja, said this while addressing graduands of Veritas University, on Saturday. It was the school’s convocation ceremony.

The Bishop said: “I encourage young people who want to leave Nigeria to please, feel free to leave. The country is big enough. We can assure you that by the time you settle down in the United States of America or wherever you have gone, you will discover that Nigeria needs you.

“And for those you left behind, our hope and prayer is that they will be competing at the same level with you. We have everything that it takes to turn the corner.


“We are Veritas University will continue to inspire and shape the new generation so that the change we expect in our country is not the change we expect from politicians.

“It is the change that will come with a big intellectual understanding of the complex nature of this country. So every graduate who walks out of the portals of Veritas will be truly equipped mentally and intellectually to conquer Nigeria.”

Kukah tasked the graduates to remain focused and remember the school they were leaving behind. He also appealed to teachers to strive to be role models for the students.

According to him, “The quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university.

“As you prepare to spend a new chapter in your life, I encourage you to remain focused on your dream. Do not forget your alma mater because you are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before you. Do not forget the sacrifices you have made.

“This is why we also appeal to teachers to become sources of inspiration because the quality of help and support you will get from the alumni will be determined by how they left this university. If they leave this university feeling sorrowful, they are not likely to look back.

“So we want to encourage you parents to please endeavour to serve as models and mentors to these young people. Remember it could have been done anywhere. It’s not by accident that they are in Nigeria,” he added.

He noted that some teachers were sacrificing to give their best to the country. Kukah said contrary to the claim that teachers’ rewards were in heaven, they are here on earth, appealing to them not to rest on their oars.

‘How pilot delayed plane for me’

He narrated an experience: “I have a personal experience of coming late to catch a flight to Sokoto. I was the last person to get on the plane.

“Miraculously, the plane continued to wait and when I got to the aircraft, the pilot was waiting at the foot of the plane.

“I tried to take my seat and knelt to greet me. I was quite embarrassed because I had never seen this gentleman in my life. But he said, ‘Well, Bishop, I have to kneel and greet you because you are the one who recommended me over 10 years ago for the job as a pilot’.

“We never know as teachers. Do not fall victims to the claim that your rewards are in heaven. Your rewards are actually here and they will also be in heaven.”

He congratulated the management and staff of the university, headed by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ichoku Hyacinth.

Kukah said the VC’s outstanding leadership and qualities “have been very clearly enunciated on how far the university had travelled.

“We hope that this university will achieve the elasticity that all those who started with Veritas will be able to secure the place.”

He appealed to the bodies that regulate university admissions to expand the opportunity for some universities, including Veritas University so that they can contribute their quota to the education of the citizens.

… to parents

Turning to the parents and guardians, Kukah said: “As a chairman of the Council, I’m fully aware of the sacrifices that people have made. (I am) also taking notes of the rising amount of internally generated revenue without necessarily punishing anybody.

“These things, we don’t take for granted. I, therefore, salute the management and staff of Veritas University for their courage and determination in fulfilling their obligation.

“As Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of Veritas University, we assure you of the unequivocal support of the council for the ongoing development of Veritas University.

“Once again, we appeal to you to please let your name be printed somewhere in this university. It doesn’t matter how big and how little. Step forward and make your commitment because it is through this that we can expand the frontier of knowledge through Veritas University.”

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PHOTOS: El-Rufai, Former Emir Of Kano, Visit Kaduna Community Bombed By Army



The Former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai and the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, have visited Tudun Biri in Kaduna State where villagers attending Maulud celebration were bombed on Sunday evening.

The village was struck by an accidental airstrike on Sunday during a Maulud celebration, resulting in the loss of scores of lives.

The two leaders joined other leaders from the Tijjaniyya Islamic sect for a visit to the village on Friday.

Sanusi is a spiritual leader in the Tijanniyah Sufi order of Nigeria.



Credit: X | MuyiwaAdekeye


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