President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will partner with the organized labour to ensure that the country remains peaceful, prosperous and corruption-free.
The president stated this when he received leadership of the organized labour led by the national chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Ayuba Wabba, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, on Thursday.
The labour leaders were in the presidential villa to felicitate with the president on his electoral victory.
President Buhari reiterated the determination of his administration to remain focused in its core pillars of securing the country, transforming the economy and fighting against corruption.
“We cannot afford to go back to the days of violence and mayhem.
“I want to assure you, we as government will partner with all of you to ensure the next four years will be peaceful, prosperous and corruption-free.
“I therefore look forward to receiving all your written proposals and submissions on how we can partner together to achieve these goals,’’ he said.
The president stated that the current administration met a country with dilapidated infrastructure all round in 2015.
According to him, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) still owes Nigerians explanation on how it expended the humongous resources that accrued to the country from oil sales between 1999 and 2014.
While recalling the negotiations that led to the approval of the N30,000 minimum wage, President Buhari said he had to ask the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, to remind the workers what his administration met on ground and what it has been able to achieve with minimal resources.
“During your negotiation with the minister of labour and when he briefed us in council (Federal Executive Council) on N30,000 minimum wage. I gave an analogy of a mad woman, who went to fetch firewood but then she realized it was too heavy for her to carry, instead of reducing it, she added more.
“I said, we are struggling to survive as a nation. You (workers) knew what this country was earnings between 2009 and 2015, you knew the state of infrastructure when we came in, God gave them (PDP) 16 years of unprecedented earnings.
“Multiply 2.1 million by 100 dollars by 16 years. I don’t think the PDP has been able to successfully explain to Nigerians what they did with that money. Because some of the roads especially the main ones, from here to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt since PTF days not to talk of new ones…monies they earned from petroleum in 16 years.
“You know the rail was virtually gone and power, I asked where is the power? They spent $16 billion on power and Nigerians are asking, where is the power? It was unprecedented, irresponsible expenditure.
“Most of you are unanswerable to Nigerians, I appealed to you through our mutual friend, the minister of labour to tell you where we found the country, where we are, and what we have been able to do with the resources available to us,’’ he said.
He, therefore, called on the organized labour to show more understanding, and to support his administration’s efforts toward transforming the nation.
The President thanked the organized labour “for the support and patriotism you have shown during the presidential election, especially after the unexpected postponement.
“You and your members stepped in to support willing Nigerians to exercise their civic and patriotic rights to vote. You intervened as patriots, and not for political, religious or tribal purposes. You simply did the right thing during a difficult period for many of us.”
In his remarks, Wabba lauded the President for being workers-friendly, as exemplified in the granting of bailout funds to state governments to pay backlog of salaries and pensions.
He said: “We all remember the special bailout and budget support you introduced to support state governments during the recession.
“Your directive during this intervention was that state governments must offset accumulated arrears of salaries and pension liabilities. I Remember you publicly asked state governors, ‘how do you manage to sleep at night when the salaries of workers in your state are not paid?’
“For us, that was one of the finest moments we have had with any President in this country…I can stand here today and say your intervention was the difference between life and death for many workers.’’
While appealing to the National Assembly to earnestly pass the National Minimum Wage Act, Wabba also enjoined the President to thereafter sign it into law within the shortest possible time.
The labour leader pledged to remain “veritable partner in progress with government’’.
He, therefore, called on the president to continue to “make the Nigerian people, especially the poor, the centre-piece of your policy initiatives and actions.’’
Wabba also urged Buhari to inaugurate the Boards of National pension commission (PENCOM), National Insurance Fund Trust, the Micheal Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies and National Labour Advisory Council.
According to him, these institutes are key pillars in Labour-government relations.
He expressed the hope that the activation of the boards would “surely ensure our successes to date are taken to the Next Level. Please be rest assured we are ready to do our bit.’’
Tinubu describes Olumilua as servant leader committed to national unity
He said Olumilua provided leadership and mentoring to many during the aborted Third Republic and thereafter.
“He believed in democratic principles and worked assiduously to advance them.
“He ensured the will of the people triumphed.
“Olumilua was extremely loyal to his disciples,” Tinubu said.
He added that was why he had a large army of followers across not only the South-west but the entire country who believed in him and in what he represented.
“He was a brilliant man who was always bristling with noble and creative ideas about how to move the country forward.
“One remarkable thing also about the late Olumilua is that he was fiercely honest, almost to a fault of his,” Tinubu said.
“Evangelist Olumilua died when his wisdom and counsel are still needed by many of us and the younger generation of politicians in the country,” he said.
Tinubu, however, expressed joy that the late former governor lived a fulfilled life and attained the ripe age of 80.
He said: “We have all lost an illustrious father and leader.”
Tinubu urged everyone, especially Olumilua’s family members, to emulate his life of selfless service to the people.
Engineers, govts, other professionals should partner for national devt – Don
A Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Lagos, Dr Olanike Buraimoh, on Thursday called for collaboration among governments, engineers and other professionals to solve Nigeria’s developmental challenges.
Buraimoh of the university’s Department of Microbiology, made the remark at the 11th Olu Awoyinfa Distinguished Annual Public Lecture, induction of new engineers and presentation of scholarship awards in Lagos.
The event with the theme “Forming Uncommon Partnership: Solution to Challenges of Developing Nations”, was organised by the Ikeja Branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Lagos.
Buraimoh said that microorganisms interacted with all elements within the environment and affected operations and activities in every field, hence the need for collaboration of other professionals with microbiologists to harness microbial benefits.
She highlighted the need for synergy between engineers and microbiologists, to avert most of the problems of environmental degradation causing building collapse and construction failure.
The lecturer made various illustrations on how microorganisms could cause degeneration of substances, chemical components, facilities and other installations because of the kind of materials disposed in the past on the portion of land.
“Chemically, microorganisms degrade chemicals, plastic or anything.
“Almost 50 per cent of the challenges we have in Nigeria is because we have refused to reckon with microorganisms,” she said.
Buraimoh said that 80 per cent of microorganisms were beneficial to humans if put to the right use, listing some of the areas of benefit to include construction, agriculture, water, health, among others.
She said that the introduction of microorganisms to agricultural sector had improved production more than 60 per cent in Nigeria, without affecting food quality or chemical interference which could cause toxicity.
The guest speaker urged all fields of engineering to collaborate with microbiologists, to assist them in using microorganisms to deal proactively with microbial challenges slowing down innovations.
Buraimoh said that bio wastes were available in huge quality in Nigeria and could be used to produce most chemical inputs, needed locally to reduce importation and dependence on other nations.
She urged governments and other professionals to partner with the academia to commercialise several abandoned viable researches good enough to industrialise Nigeria.
“A sustainable collaboration must take place between the academia and the industries, ministries, governments and policy makers to foster evidence-based policy making.
“To understand how humans and other life forms on earth, including those who we are yet to discover, can withstand an anthropogenic climate change, it is vital to incorporate knowledge of microbial unseen majority.
“Microorganisms affect climate change including production and consumption of greenhouse gases.
“The impact of climate change will depend heavily on response of microorganisms, which are essential for achieving an environmentally-sustainable future,’’ she said.
Mrs Funmi Akingbagbohun, Chairman, Ikeja Branch, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), said the nation had a combination of several issues which required uncommon partnerships with other professionals to resolve.
While delivering her opening speech, she eulogised the virtues of late Olu Awoyinfa.
She said that Awoyinfa, who passed away in 2017 at the age of 75, included annual awards for best graduating Chemical Engineering graduates of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in his will.
“Engineer Awoyinfa never became a chairman but we are celebrating him today because he was not looking for power; he focused on how to grow and mentor young engineers.
“Any nation that wants to grow requires engineers who are in every sphere of life solving societal problems,” she said.
Akingbagbohun commended his spouse, Mrs Abimbola Awoyinfa and her children, who had been supportive before and after the passing of the icon in all the series of the lecture.
“ This is the 11th of the series and Pa Awoyinfa enjoyed some of the series even when he was alive and because of the social distancing, we can accommodate only 20 in the hall and the others will have to join us online,’’ she said.
The Ikeja Branch NSE chairman boss challenged young engineers to strive to leave a legacy while highlighting the various efforts of the branch, to ensure commercialisation of researches of some young engineers.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adeniran, best graduating Chemical Engineering student of OAU, received a N100,000.00 scholarship award while 21 new members were inducted into the Ikeja NSE.
India pledges $15m to international vaccine alliance
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Thursday, pledged $15 million to “Gavi”, the international vaccine alliance, while participating in the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020, said an official statement issued by the PM office.
Referring to Gavi, he said it is not just a global alliance but also a symbol of global solidarity and a reminder of that by helping others we can also help ourselves.
“India has a vast population and limited health facilities and that it understands the importance of immunization,’’ he added.
He also stated that India had digitised its entire vaccine supply line and developed an electronic vaccine intelligence network to monitor the integrity of its cold chain.
These innovations are ensuring the availability of safe and potent vaccines in the right quantities at the right time till the last mile, he said.
Edited By: Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)
Kyrgyzstan prepares for resuming international flights
Airports in Kyrgyzstan are planned to be ready for international flights from June 15 and the resumption of international flights will be carried out by a separate decision of the country’s government, the statement said.
The health authorities of Kyrgyzstan also plan to take additional sanitary and quarantine measures at the airports to prepare for the resumption of international flights.
At the same time, in order to prevent the import of the virus, the Ministry of Health has proposed to introduce the requirements for the mandatory medical report confirming the absence of COVID-19 from passengers received 3-5 days before they fly to Kyrgyzstan.
Meanwhile, domestic flights in the country will be resumed from June 5.
Palestinian National Council stresses ending agreements with Israel, United States
The Palestinian National Council (PNC) on Thursday reiterated the commitment to implementing the decision to disengage from all the agreements with Israel and the United States.
The PNC, the highest legislative body of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), convened in the West Bank city of Ramallah, stressing that the Palestinian leadership’s decision comes in defense of rights, said a PNC statement, published by the official Palestinian News Agency (WAFA).
“There is no alternative to ending the occupation and restoring the legitimate rights to freedom, independence and return,” said the statement.
The PNC warned that Israel’s policies and measures “reflect the determination of the Israeli government to continue occupying the lands of the Palestinian state, and dragging the region toward further deterioration and escalation.”
Furthermore, the PNC urged the ending of the internal division and restoring unity under the umbrella of the PLO, in order to confront the United States President Donald Trump’s Middle East Peace Plan and the Israeli annexation plans.
Actors Guild set to eradicate sexual abuses in Nollywood —- National President
The National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), Emeka Rollas, on Thursday said that he was comitted to eradicating all forms of abuses on actors in the Nollywood industry.
his Senior Special Assistant (SSA) on Sexual Harassment and Related Abuses, to open communication links on the issue.
“The recent revelation of alleged rape and sexual molestation on some individuals in the film industry is calling for serious attention and I must put an end to such an abuse.
“It doesn’t speak well of us and of me as the president of AGN, I must restore sanity into the Nollywood industry as part of my commitments toward protecting my members and the image of this noble body.
” This wil enable us seek redress and offer counseling process for complete healing to victims of sexual abuse,” he said.
He, therefore , advised all victims of sexual abuse, molestations, financial demands and rape to make the best use of the links to send their petitions and complaints to the guild.
“[email protected], or call 0705 397 5522 for direct information”.
According to him, the communication lines will be opened and all related matters will be treated with strict confidentiality and respect of victims.
Rollas also appealed to both seasoned and young actors to feel free to speak out, promising that their interests would be protected.
India pledges 15 million USD to international vaccine alliance
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday pledged 15 million U.S. dollars to “Gavi”, the international vaccine alliance, while participating in the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020, said an official statement issued by the PM office.
Addressing the summit, Modi said India stands in solidarity with the World in these challenging times.
Referring to Gavi, he said it is not just a global alliance but also a symbol of global solidarity and a reminder of that by helping others we can also help ourselves. “India has a vast population and limited health facilities and that it understands the importance of immunization,” he added.
He also stated that that India had digitized its entire vaccine supply line and developed an electronic vaccine intelligence network to monitor the integrity of its cold chain. These innovations are ensuring the availability of safe and potent vaccines in the right quantities at the right time till the last mile, he said.
Security heightened in Sri Lanka as 2-day nationwide curfew gets underway
Security was heightened across Sri Lanka on Thursday as a two-day nationwide curfew got underway to prevent people from gathering and leaving their homes ahead of a religious holiday on Friday amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities said.
From June 6 onward, curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 4 am in all districts daily, to prevent people from leaving their homes at night.
According to the police, the two-day nationwide curfew was imposed ahead of the Poson Full Moon Day, an important religious day for the majority Buddhists, which will be commemorated in Sri Lanka on Friday.
Every year, thousands of devotees gather in Anuradhapura, in north-central Sri Lanka to offer their prayers in a Buddhist temple located there, but this year the government has urged people not to leave their homes as the number of COVID-19 patients rose to above 1,700 in the country.
Police and triforce personnel were deployed across the country to nab those violating the curfew but the government said employees from the private sector could travel to work, showing a letter from the employer.
According to Sri Lanka’s Health Ministry, 1,749 patients have been detected with the COVID-19 virus to date out of which 839 people have recovered and been discharged from hospital. Eleven deaths have also been reported.
Thai agriculture ministry to join hands with Chinese e-commerce giant to tap into international online market
Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on Thursday told the media that it is in discussions with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group to tap into its online market, aiming to woo 260 million customers from 190 countries and regions.
“The ministry is coordinating with Alibaba company for the development of small and medium-sized agricultural entrepreneurship, farmers’ institutions and farmers to do business and sell Thai agricultural products to foreign markets on the Alibaba platform,” said Alongkorn Ponlaboot, the Ministry‘s advisor.
Alongkorn said the ministry and Alibaba had earlier named the project “Thai Agriculture going Forward to the World Market with Alibaba.com.”
He said there are hundreds of successful Thai entrepreneurs using the Alibaba platform as a channel to sell Thai products to the world market.
More than half of the Thai entrepreneurs launch their agricultural products onto the Alibaba platform. The agricultural products include cassava, rice, black garlic, pineapple, corn, as well as processed agricultural products from black garlic and sugar.
According to Stephen Kuo, Asia-Pacific head at Alibaba.com, more than 170,000 products from Thailand are already on the platform.
“And many more new Thai entrepreneurs also express interest to showcase their products on Alibaba platform,” Stephen Kuo said.
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