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Fuel Subsidy Removal: Labour intensifies mobilisation for protests

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The Organised Labour has intensified consultations ahead of its Thursday nationwide rallies against the proposed removal of petroleum products subsidy.

Its Deputy President, Joe Ajaero at the weekend said letters had been sent to heads of the over 50 affiliates and state councils of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) asking them to host strategic meetings today on how to make the rallies successful.

He also said leaders of Civil Society Organisations (CSO) in support of the protests had been briefed on the activities planned for that day.

But the Federal Government last night faulted the planned rallies because it was yet to take a final decision on subsidy.

The National Economic Council (NEC) chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had recommended an increase in the pump price of fuel from N162.50 to N302 per litre.

The recommendation followed the report of a NEC ad-hoc committee interfacing with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on the appropriate pricing of petroleum products in the country.

Nasarawa State Governor Abdullahi Sule had, after Wednesday’s NEC meeting in Abuja, announced that the Federal Government would stop petroleum products subsidy payments in June 2022.

Sule clarified that governors, who are members of NEC, have no role to play in determining the prices of petroleum products.

He added that with the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) in place, the decision on the new price regime belonged to the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation(NNPC) Limited.

Ajaero explained that the rallies which will have civil servants and others participating were to sensitise Nigerians on the implications of subsidy removal.

He said: “Nothing stops the rally planned for this week; whether they are removing it (subsidy) tomorrow or next year. The thought of it is not acceptable.

“Mobilisation is high in all the states. We need to sensitise Nigerians. We are through synergy meetings with civil society groups. We are going to states to mobilise workers, civil servants and other Nigerians.

“There is a letter to every person; every affiliate because they took a decision at the National Executive Council meeting. Letters have been sent to state councils on the mode of operation.

“Letters have also been sent to all the people that will coordinate each state who are coming from the National Administrative Council.

“Labour has been delegated to go to the field from Monday (today) to start holding consultative and preparatory meetings ahead of the protests.

“Civil society groups would go back to their cells and take decisions on how they want to participate.”

But Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige faulted the rallies, saying the government will not stop it from holding.

He described the rallies as unnecessary given the fact the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which according to him, has the final say on whether or not subsidy should be removed, has yet to decide.

“The government has not come out with its own position….All these beats of war, to me, are not necessary,” he told The Nation last night.

He, however, stressed that the government would not stop the rallies since the NLC leadership has failed to understand explanations on why it should sheathe the sword.

His words: “The government has not come out with its position. What the governors are saying is their decision at the Governors’ Forum and they have tabled it to the National Economic Council (NEC) which is an advisory body on economic matters to Mr President.

“All these beats of war, to me, are not necessary. There is an ongoing discussion of two committees. There is the one headed by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (Boss Mustapha), which is representing the high level of government. I am there.

“Why don’t they wait till we come to that committee meeting? We have not said that (fuel subsidy ending in June) to them.

“It is not a Federal Executive Council decision. So, you cannot call it a full government position for now.

“What the NLC is doing is precautionary; something that should not have been taking place now. It is coming much earlier than it is when it will be necessary.

“The protest is not necessary because they are going ahead with their rallies based on assumptions of the announcement of the Finance Minister (Zainab Ahmed), according to them.

“We are not stopping them. I have held meetings with them and they said it is their right to hold rallies.

“I have explained to them that the issue of fuel subsidy has no government position on it yet.”

Ngige also said the work of the committees on petroleum and electricity tariffs would continue until the recommendations proposed by the committees are adopted.

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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