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Labour unions strategise ahead of proposed fuel subsidy removal

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Trade union opposition to the government’s planned removal of petrol subsidy will be stepped up this week as two of Nigeria’s most powerful private and public sector unions prepare to deepen their alliance.

The Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) said it has already begun to mobilise its members to resist the removal of subsidies.

National President of the association, Dr Tommy Okon, said in Abuja: “We are engaging in advocacy and enlightening our members to let them know that where this government is taking us to must be resisted. Why is the government still pumping money into the electricity sector it claimed to have deregulated and commercialised? As I sit here, my grandchildren are owing because this government has over-borrowed to the point that we do not even know what we borrowed again.

“Any attempt at removing petrol subsidy is akin to living on ‘fantasy island’. The government is suffering from what I will call ‘policy abortion’. In this case, the government is foot-dragging on the payment of N30,000 minimum wage; epileptic electricity supply, no pipe-borne water supply and no efficient public transportation are social drawbacks that are affecting the quality of life of Nigerians.

“Yes, it may be a matter of law since the PIA is now a reality, but laws must come with human face and sympathy. These things are not solely about legality but also about morality. Laws are made for man and not man for the law.
“Labour has the justification to go on strike of interest and strike of right. We can go on strike to force the hands of government on this matter if we are pushed to the wall,” he said.

Okon alleged that the removal of petrol subsidy is an attempt to mobilise resources for the 2023 elections and not about the wellbeing of the people.

THE Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had earlier insisted that workers and masses would not accept any further increase in the pump price of fuel in the name of subsidy removal, urging workers and the citizens to prepare for total war against the fuel price hike.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, in his New Year message to workers, also named Zamfara, Taraba, Benue, Kogi, Cross Rivers, Abia and Imo states as seven states yet to implement the N30,000 minimum wage that took effect on April 18, 2019. NLC directed the affected states to commence indefinite strikes to force the respective state governments to implement the new wage.

In a nine-page statement, NLC said the government is still not relenting in its determination to push through further increases in the pump price of petrol and which, as usual, had been dubbed as “removal of petrol subsidy.

“Organised Labour has made its position clear on this matter. We have told the government in very clear terms that Nigerians have suffered enough and will not endure more punishment by way of further petrol and electricity price increases.

“Our position in this regard is predicated on four major grounds. First is our concern on the deceit and duplicity associated with the politics of petrol price increase by successive governments. The truth is that the perennial increase by the government of the pump price of petrol is actually a transfer of government failure and inability to effectively govern to the satisfaction of the poor masses of our country.

“We are talking of the failure of government to manage Nigeria’s four oil refineries and inability to build new ones more than 30 years after the last petrochemical refinery in Port Harcourt was commissioned; the failure to rein in smuggling; and the failure to determine empirically the quantity of petrol consumed in Nigeria. The shame takes a gory dimension with the fact that Nigeria is the only OPEC country that cannot refine its own crude oil.”

ALSO, the People’s Alternative Political Movement (TPAP-M), a coalition of individuals and organisations committed to the emergence and building of a mass workers party, and the Socialist Transformation of Nigeria, has rejected the recent hike in the price of gas and the impending hikes in the price of fuel and electricity tariff, among other things.

The coalition stated in a communiqué signed by Comrade Jaye Gaskia and Comrade Omotoye Olorode of the TRAP-M secretariat, that it would organise another Occupy Nigeria Protests on the 10th anniversary of the first one this January.

The NLC, late last year, also announced plans to embark on nationwide protests on January 27, 2022, to protest against moves by the Nigerian government to increase fuel prices.

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Osinbajo to represent Buhari at 61st ordinary session of ECOWAS heads of state in Ghana

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo will on Saturday depart Lagos for Accra, Ghana to represent Nigeria at the 61st Ordinary Session of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government holding tomorrow.

Prof. Osinbajo, standing in for President Muhammadu Buhari at the summit, will join other leaders to deliberate and take decisions on the political, security and humanitarian issues among others regarding the sub-region at the regular ECOWAS summit.

The meeting will also review the situations in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso, particularly towards restoring democratic rule. West African leaders have since 2020 held several sessions, including emergency meetings, dedicated to finding lasting solutions to the resurgence of coups in some of the countries in the sub-region.

At the summit tomorrow, the Mediation and Security Council of ECOWAS will update leaders on political developments in the region and in the sahel region.

The Council will also provide updates on the issues of insecurity, challenges relating to youth unemployment and the impact of diseases and pandemics on social tensions in the region.

Only recently on 4th June, 2022 in Accra, Ghana, President Buhari joined other ECOWAS leaders to deliberate on the situation in the sub-region, urging more attention to be paid to the victims of unconstitutional change of government

On the sidelines of the summit, the VP will also attend a meeting of the five West African countries involved with “The Abidjan – Lagos Corridor Highway Development Project,” a flagship project of the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). It connects the capitals of five West African states (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria) and stretches for approximately 1,028 km.

A release from ECOWAS Commission says the objective of this $42million project is “to promote cross-border trade, integrate economies within the ECOWAS area, reduce transport costs, stimulate inter-regional trade and strengthen regional integration in West Africa.”

The Vice President who will be accompanied on the trip by the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ambassador Zubairu Dada and some other members of the Federal Executive Council is expected back in Abuja later on Sunday.

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Candlelight vigil held at Nigeria House, London to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house

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Scores of Yoruba Nation agitators on Friday held a vigil in London to mark the one-year anniversary of the July 1, 2021 attack on the Ibadan residence of the embattled Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo, aka Sunday Igboho. 

Dozens of candles shined on the Nigeria House, London on Friday evening as the agitators, gathered for a candlelight vigil to reflect on the attack of July 1, 2021 and demanded self determination for the Yorubas.

Recall that the Department of State Services (DSS) had on July 1, 2021 raided the residence of the activist in Ibadan, Oyo state.

The DSS raided the residence, killing two people and arresting 12 aides but Igboho escaped.

The agency alleged that Igboho was stockpiling weapons, and subsequently declared him wanted.

Igboho was, however, arrested by the Benin Republic police on July 19 at Cardinal Bernardin International Airport in Cotonou while trying to fly from the country to Germany.

See photos from the vigil

Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house
Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house
Candlelight & Memorial Service to mark 1-year anniversary of July 1 attack on Sunday Igboho’s house

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‘Be ready to face God’s wrath if you blaspheme against Jesus’- Adeboye 

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The General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E.A. Adeboye, has warned that any individual that blasphemes Jesus will taste the wrath of God.

Adeboye, who spoke to his congregation at the RCCG monthly Holy Ghost Service for the month of July, which was held late Friday/early Saturday, made the comment as he reacted to the recent attacks and killings targeting churches and worshippers in some parts of the country.

Religion Nigeria reported that no fewer than 40 Catholics were killed by unknown gunmen in June at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State.

Two weeks after the Owo attack. bandits killed three persons during separate attacks on the Baptist Church and the St. Moses Catholic Church, all in the Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State.

He also took time to respond to a comment allegedly made by controversial On-Air Personality, Daddy Freeze, who alleged that some women turned to Ogun (god of thunder) to rain curses on the terrorists who massacred worshippers in Owo because “Bros J” (a nickname for Jesus which is common amongst Nigerians) did not answer them.

Freeze had written last month, “When dem call bros J and he nor answer dem nko? We abandoned African paganism to adopt European pagan ideologies. Until we start telling ourselves the truth and take our security issues more seriously this won’t end. Christ’s message is love and that’s the first thing so glaringly missing in Nigeria.”

Reacting, Adeboye said, “I understand that one funny fellow said that some people were calling on Ogun because Jesus didn’t answer them.

“Well, the one who said that there’s a Yoruba proverb, it said, the mouth that the snail uses to blasphemy God, that mouth would kiss the ground. From now on, anybody who dares blaspheme Jesus Christ, they will taste the fire of the Almighty God.”

Speaking further, the revered clergyman stated that, “Safety is of the Lord and nobody dies until their time comes.

“I don’t want to say much, because I know whatever I say, some people may want to twist it. But I’ve searched the Bible from cover to cover and there is nowhere in the Bible where God said a child of God cannot defend himself.

“If you find the place, let me know. He said, if they slap you on the right cheek, turn the left. If they now slap the left, what did he say? When God is silent, do you know the meaning of that, it simply means, over to you.

“Every enemy of the church, as long as my Father is still on the throne, as long as Jesus lives, as long as His name is the consuming fire, if they don’t repent, the fire of God will consume them. I’m not talking to everybody o, I’m only talking to my children.”

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