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Calabar: No minimum wage, no 2019 elections, NLC warns

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…Kano gov’t pledges to pay N30,600 as minimum wage‎ ***

The Cross River State Chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress, (NLC) warned on Tuesday that its members will not participate in the 2019 general elections, except the Federal and State governments implement the N30,000 new minimum wage.

The Government of Kano State however restated on Tuesday, its determination to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000, even with additional N600.

The state NLC Chairman, Mr John Ushie, made the declaration in Calabar, during a peaceful protest in Calabar to press home the workers’ demand for the implementation of the minimum wage.

Ushie said that the current minimum wage of N18,000 had become obsolete since 2015, and accused the Federal Government of playing on the intelligence of workers’ by holding several fruitless meetings to avert strike.

The chairman decried the long period the minimum the wage bill had been with the Presidency with no plans of transmitting it to the National Assembly for passage into law.

“Labour will continue the struggle until we get victory. Victory does not come easy, it will require all our energy, and it will require us to put all.

“The minimum wage is long overdue since 2015. Workers have run out of patience, so we are here to take our destinies in our hands.

“We are here to protest because it is a national directive; we will do so until we get a commitment from government concerning the N30,000 minimum wage and when it will be enacted into law.

“Secondly, we are here to send a message to President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately transmit the minimum wage bill to the National Assembly for passage, so that the money can get to Nigerian workers without further delay.

“If the Federal Government and governors say no to minimum wage, we also say there is no vote for them; no election,’’ he said.

He said that the rally will culminate into an indefinite strike if nothing was done quickly by the Federal Government.

Also, Mr Boniface Isok, a national officer of the NLC, who said he was in Calabar to monitor the rally, maintained that workers would not participate in the 2019 general elections if the minimum wage was not implemented.

Isok said that the organised labour would not hesitate to embark on an indefinite strike if the Federal Government failed to transmit the bill to the National Assembly.

“Anytime the Federal Government heard that we want to go on strike, they will fix a meeting with no reason for it. This time, we are not giving a notice for strike.

“The Federal Government wants to hold the 2019 general elections without implementing the minimum wage because they know that once the election is held, that becomes the end of the minimum wage.

“If the Federal Government does not sign the minimum wage bill into law, there will be no election. We are ready for them this time,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Government of Kano State has restated its commitment to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 and even with additional N600.

Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano disclosed this when members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) staged a peaceful protest to the government house on Tuesday in Kano.

He said that his administration has given priority to the welfare of civil servants in the state.

Represented by his Deputy, Alhaji Nasiru Gawuna, he said that Kano state was among the few States in the country that pays monthly salary on time.

“We are ready to pay N30,000 monthly salary because welfare of our workers is paramount to anything and we will always give it preference.

“We will pay the N30,600 as soon as all processes are completed,” he added.

Ganduje then urged ‎women and youths to stay away from drug abuse and addiction due to their harmful effects to health.‎

‎”Our women, particularly married women and youths must say no to drug abuse and addiction. They should stop abusing it because it will ultimately damage their systems and cut short their lives,” he warned.‎

‎Earlier, the NLC Chairman in the state, Mr Kabiru Minjibir, commended the governor for his commitment to pay the minimum wage of N30,600.‎

‎”We are not surprise for this kind gesture taking into consideration your labour friendly disposition.

“We also urge your excellency to convey our polite gesture to your co-governors to enlighten the public on new national minimum wage and it’s speedy enactment into law,” he added.

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Onslaught: Troops Eliminate 105 Terrorists, Arrest 140 Others In 1 Week – DHQ

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Exercise Enduring Peace recording successes in FCT – Army

The Defence Headquarters (DHQ) says the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria operating in different theatres of operation eliminated 105 terrorists and apprehended 140 others in the last one week.

The Director, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. Edward Buba said this at a bi-weekly news briefing on the operations of the armed forces on Thursday in Abuja.

Buba said the troops also arrested 26 perpetrators of oil theft and rescued 86 kidnapped hostages in the South-South region.

He added that the troops recovered 208 assorted weapons and 5,332 assorted ammunition comprising 95 AK47 rifles, one assault rifle, 39 locally fabricated guns, 34 Dane guns, 14 pump action guns, among others.

In the North East, Buba said the troops of Operation Hadin Kai neutralised seven terrorists and arrested four terrorists as well as recovered 20 AK47 rifles, two fabricated guns and 12 dane guns.

He added that 353 rounds of 7.62mm special ammo, 209 rounds of 7.62mm NATO, 34 live cartridges, 62 mobile phones and the sum of N100,000, among others, were also recovered.

According to him, 224 ISWAP/JAS terrorists fighters and their families comprising 23 adult males, 126 adult females and 87 children surrendered to troops in the Bama and Konduga areas of Borno within the week.

Army raid kidnappers, rescue C/River commissioner; Police neutralise 3 suspected gunmen, recover 50 arms

In the North Central, Buba said the troops of Operations Safe Haven and Whirl Stroke neutralised 35 insurgents, arrested 65 violent extremists and 15 rescued kidnapped hostages.

He added that troops also recovered various caches of arms and ammunition within different theatres of operation.

In the North Central, the defence spokesman said the troops of Operations Hadarin Daji and Whirl Punch, neutralised 57 insurgents, arrested five and rescued 66 kidnapped hostages during the week.

In the South-South, Buba said the troops of Operation Delta Safe destroyed 18 illegal refining sites and recovered 657,300 litres of stolen crude oil, 23,750 litres of illegally refined AGO and 1,050 litres of DPK.

He added that the troops discovered and destroyed nine dugout pits, 19 boats and 21 storage tanks, 35 cooking ovens, nine vehicles, nine mobile phones, and three pump machines.

According to him, troops rescued three kidnapped hostages and apprehended 50 people suspected of oil theft and other violent extremists/insurgents as well as recovered 20 weapons and 243 ammunition, amongst other items.

In the South East, Buba said the troops of Operation UDO KA neutralised six insurgents, arrested five and recovered various types of arms and ammunition.

“All recovered items, arrested suspects and rescued hostages were handed over to the relevant authorities for further action,” he said.

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Food Prices: Tinubu Directs Immediate Release Of Grains, To Foreclose Crisis

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A little respite in the nation’s food crisis is expected as President Bola Tinubu has directed the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to release about 42,000 metric tonnes of grain including maize, millet, and garri. The gesture is to douse hunger and prevent looming protests.

Some Nigerians however told the Maritime First that the directive was a lot coming late; and the metric tonnes being expected, too little, for over a hundred million people. Some cynics bluntly blame the President for his inability to tame insurgency and terrorism, which apriori, prevented the farmers from going to work.

ALSO READ:… Nigerians Now Eat Junks as High Food Prices Put Balanced Diet Out Of Reach- Survey

Some states have begun dress rehearsal for the real crisis protests, over galloping food prices. A bag of rice which sold for N62,000 Tuesday, last week in Bodija Market in Ibadan, emerged N69,000 Wednesday morning. less than 24 hours later, throwing calculation to the winds.

The Maritime First can freely indicate that widows, single mothers, and those from polygamous-induced large families are presently, not finding it too easy to cope.

In the meantime,, the Rice Millers Association of Nigeria has also committed to immediately release over 60,000 metric tonnes of rice to the public. The body however failed to indicate why they waited till the Presidential directive, before making their commitment.

The Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, disclosed this after the meeting of the Presidential Committee on Emergency Food Intervention on Thursday in Abuja.

The Minister also failed to indicate measures to be adopted, to ensure that middlemen do not hijack and mess up Tinubu’s honest effort.

He said that these were immediate measures taken by the Federal Government to reduce the hardships faced by Nigerians who are made to bear the brunt of high prices of food in the market.

“These will be made available and we know that that is enough to take Nigeria in the next couple of weeks. One month, six weeks, perhaps up to two months.

“Now the whole idea of this is to crush the cost of these food items. And these are measures that will happen immediately.

“Now, the third item is that government is also looking at the possibility of, if it becomes absolutely necessary and as an interim measure, to also import some of these commodities immediately so that these commodities can be made available to Nigerians,” he said.

Idris also said that the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security would further invest massively in the farming process to boost production and ensure the country’s food potential is fully exploited.

He said that government would appeal to persons or groups to stop hoarding these products in order to maximise profit at the detriment of ordinary Nigerians.

“Government of course is also looking at all those who are hoarding these commodities because actually, these commodities are available in the stores of many traders.

“Government is appealing to them that they should open up these doors and make these commodities available in the interest of our nation.

“There is no point when the whole country is looking for this food you are locking up these products where you make more money and then Nigerians suffer. Of course, the government will not fold its arms.

“If they don’t respond by bringing these commodities to the market, the government will take appropriate measures to ensure that these products are made available to Nigerians.”

The Minister said that the government would also take measures to ensure that food continues to be accessible and affordable to Nigerians.

“We ask that Nigerians need to be more patriotic; be our brother’s keepers. Sell this thing, of course at a margin but at a margin that is not also killing to Nigerians.

“This is an emergency. Every nation faces emergency situations. This is our own time to face these challenges.

“The President has directed that whatever it will take, food will be available to Nigerians at a cost that is also very reasonable,” he said.

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President Tinubu Returns After Private Visit To France

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President Bola Tinubu has returned to the country after a two-week private visit to France.

The President arrived in Abuja aboard the presidential flight at about 9:0 pm on Tuesday.

He was received by top government officials led by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume.

The president left Abuja on Jan. 24 for his first break since assumption of office on May 29, 2023

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