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Minimum wage delay: Nigerian workers unfairly treated- Oshiomhole says

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The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has called on organised labour to challenge political leaders to ensure that state resources meet the needs of workers and other Nigerians.

Oshiomhole made the call  in Abuja at a reception in honour of the Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr Guy Ryder.

Oshiomhole expressed concern over non-chalant attitude of leaders towards improving the lives of Nigerian workers, and said the organised labour must adopt aggressive engagements to change the status quo.

“We have to do things differently about minimum wage,” he said, noting that whereas prices of goods and services had gone up astronomically in the country, workers wages have remained static.

“So if every other costs are changing, and labour cost is constant…, somebody is being squeezed.

“Rising crises, stagnant wages, a very miserable lifestyle, and you have to fight for that.

“And we now see in Nigeria the difference between signing an agreement and the challenge of translating those laws, and even the contradiction of signing laws first before getting consultants to tell us how to implement these laws.

“Just to tell you that from inside, I am much more convinced that unions should not only exist, but should have the capacity and ruthlessly deploy that capacity to ensure that the resources of states are dissipated in favour of working people and working families,” the former NLC president said.

While commending the ILO for its focus on Youth Employment and Social Justice, Oshiomhole said focus should also be on ageing population and under employment of young persons.

He said Nigeria ought to do something about it’s population growth which was at 3 per cent annually, as against 2 percent national economic growth.

“With population at 3 per cent, poverty must be endemic, it is not rocket science, so we so need to have conversations on various aspects of society, particularly at what we do differently to get the youth busy.”

He urged young people to collaborate to fight poverty by pushing those in government to create the environment for them to think and change the narratives.

Earlier, the ILO DG, Mr Guy Ryder, said Nigeria trade union movements have made great impact in defence of basic fundamental rights in line with the provisions of the organisation.

According to him, the organised labour has also played extraordinary role in building the nation’s democracy, saying the consistency was in line with the fundamental values of the ILO.

The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, commended the ILO for the privilege given to Nigeria to host the Global Youth Employment Forum.

“It is also important in all jurisdictions that without the issue of standards, certainly workers organizations will have nothing to celebrate.”

Wabba noted that the rights of workers to belong to trade unions and engage in collective bargaining has put workers and employers on the same pedestal.

“The most profound challenge of the world of work lately was insecurity, uncertainties and impact of technology

“Technology has made jobs threatened; decent jobs should be at the centre of all economic policies, because human beings are at the centre of every development.”

Wabba said NLC would continue to seek ILO’s support for capacity building and intervention for Nigeria to be at par with its counterparts, pledging more commitment to the values of social dialogue on minimum wage and other issues affecting Nigerian workers.

TAK/ MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

Metro

NiMet predicts sunny, cloudy weather for Tuesday

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Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has predicted

sunny and partly cloudy conditions over Northern and Central cities with possible chances of thunderstorms over the Southern region on Tuesday.

NiMet’s weather outlook on Monday in Abuja predicted sunny and hazy condition over the Northern states throughout the forecast period.

The agency further predicted the day and night temperatures of the region to be 35 to 38 degree Celsius and 15 to 21 degree Celsius respectively.

“For Central states, partly cloudy to sunny conditions are envisaged over this

region in the morning hours.

“These conditions are expected to continue over the region into the afternoon/evening period with day and night temperatures expected to be 28 to 35 degree Celsius and 14 to 23 degree Celsius respectively,” it said.

NiMet forecast partly cloudy to cloudy conditions over Southern states with chances of thunderstorms over Lagos and Yenagoa in the morning hours.

“Later in the afternoon/evening hours thunderstorms are expected over the region with day and night temperatures expected to be 30 to 34 degree Celsius and 20 to 25 degree Celsius respectively,” it said.

Edited by Donald Ugwu

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More gains with social media regulation, Lai Mohammed assures NUJ

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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), Guild of Editors and their members have more to gain with the Federal Government’s plan to sanitise the social media space.

The minister gave the assurance on Monday in Abuja when the President of NUJ, Mr Chris Isiguzo led other executive members of the union on a courtesy visit to him.

Mohammed who was reacting to the concerns raised by NUJ that the planned regulation could lead to gagging of press, assured that the union has nothing to fear.

“To the best of my knowledge, the trained, professional journalists cannot afford to engage in fake news, because this will kill public trust in the media.

“They also cannot afford to engage in hate speech, because of its implication for national peace and unity.

“As a professional body for journalists, the NUJ has its code of ethics for journalists, and this guides their operation.

“After all, there has to be a country before you can even practice your profession.

“It is therefore, imperative for the NUJ and other professional bodies to guard their turf very jealously and ward off charlatans and fakes,” he said.

The minister said that the NUJ put the cart before the horse by publicly rejecting the planned social media regulation without trying to understand what it entails.

He clarified that the regulation was not an attempt to gag the media or muzzle free speech and journalists have nothing to fear.

“If the NUJ or the Guild of Editors, or indeed any professional body has any fears, we expect them to reach out and engage us, rather than rushing to the media to condemn a plan to inject sanity into the social media space and protect the integrity of the media.

“As a matter of fact, the NUJ and other media professional bodies should take the lead in sanitising the social media space.

“This is because they will be the first victim when the people lose confidence in the media due to the reckless actions of non-journalists and purveyors of fake news and/hate speech.

“Only the purveyors of fake news and hate speech need to be worried,” he said.

Mohammed assured that the government would not unilaterally impose the measures aimed at injecting sanity into the social media space.

He said government would work with stakeholders, including the NUJ, Guild of Editors, Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria, the Civil Society, Online Publishers and Bloggers.

“Already, we have dispatched letters to these stakeholders.

“A government that has the intention of gagging the media won’t engage stakeholders in dialogue on the way forward,” he said.

The minister reiterated that there were many options open to the government in regulating the social media including the use of technology, legislation and regulatory bodies.

He said the stakeholders, when they meet soon, would decide on the best option.

Mohammed disclosed that government had also taken the initiative to meet with the platform owners, like Facebook, WhatsApp, Google, Twitter and Instagram, among others, to engage them on the way forward.

While welcoming the debate that had trailed the announcement of the plan, the minister said there was no going back in regulating the social media.

“No responsible government will sit by and allow these purveyors of fake news and hate speech a free reign.

“That’s why many countries of the world are taking measures to regulate the social media.

“The UK, France, Germany, China, Singapore, South Korea, Kenya, Zambia….we can go on and on.

“Only last Friday, France’s National Assembly approved a draft bill that will require social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and others to remove any hateful content within 24 hours.

“France is seeking to lead in regulating the tech giants and containing the spread of illicit content and false information on the most-used platforms,” he said.

Earlier, Isiguzo underscored the importance of free, independent, vibrant and nationalistic press to good governance in a democracy.

He however, noted that events in recent times had given the union concern about journalism profession, particularly the safety and freedom of practitioners.

Isiguzo said that, though the union regretted the escalation of fake news and hate speech, it would not support any legislation that would be used to silent the media and perceived opponents.

The NUJ president also disclosed that the Union would soon sponsor a Bill on enhanced salary package for journalists before the National Assembly.

Members of the NUJ delegation included its National Secretary, Shuaib Leman and the National President of National Association of Women Journalists, Mrs Ifeyinwa Omowole.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi/Ese E. Ekama

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Buhari meets Bayelsa Gov-elect, Nyon at Aso Rock

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday met behind closed doors with Bayelsa Governor-elect, Mr David Lyon, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the governor-elect was accompanied on the visit by National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiohmole, Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi state, Gov. Badaru Abubakar Jigawa as well as Minister of State, Petroleum Resources, Mr Timipre Sylva.

NAN reports that Lyon, the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Nov. 16 election in Bayelsa was declared winner after polling 352,552 votes.

Lyon defeated his closest rival, Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 143,172 votes.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi/Ali Baba-Inuwa

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Sex-for-Grade: 1,700 signs online petition to NASS

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An NGO, Exam Ethics Marshals International (EEMI), says it has received 1,700 signed online petitions to fast track the passage of the Sexual Harassment Bill before the National Assembly.

Mr Ike Onyechere, the Founder of the organisation, made the disclosure in a statement issued in Abuja on Monday.

According to Onyechere, 56 per cent of the petitioners are women, while 44 per cent are men.

“This indicates that men and women are equally concerned about the sex-for-grade pandemic in the tertiary institutions,” he said.

He said that the objective of the NO-TO-SEX-FOR-GRADE Campaign was to get one million people to sign the petition to the National Assembly.

He noted that the first effort to pass the Sexual Harassment in Education Institutions Prohibition Bill started in 2016, but it died with the termination of the 8th Assembly.

“1,700 change agents have signed the online petition to Nigeria’s National Assembly to fast track action on the passage of the sexual harassment in educational institutions prohibition bill as at Monday, Nov. 18, 2019.

“The petition to fast track the sex-for-grade prohibition legislation, activated on Nov. 1; EEMI is in continuation of the Exam Ethics Campaign launched in 1996 to promote exam ethics and combat exam malpractice in education in Africa.

“Sex-for-Grade is one of the 33 types of exam malpractices that have been the focus of the campaign,” he said.

According to him, Sex-for-Grade is the practice of male lecturers blackmailing, forcing, intimidating and demanding sex from their female students as condition for awarding them pass marks in their courses.

He explained that the petition had inspired other petitions for the passage of similar sexual harassment prohibition laws in educational institutions in seven other African countries.

According to him, these countries include: Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, South-Africa, Benin Republic, Egypt and Rwanda.

“In addition to signing the petition, some petitioners are also sharing their experiences.

“Ex-female students have narrated stories of their traumatic experiences in the hands of some of their male lecturers.

“Some female students narrated what they are currently going through. Parents also shared the experiences of their children.

“The story paints the picture of invasion of tertiary institutions by sexual predators masquerading as lecturers,” he said.

Edited by Moses Solanke/Maureen Atuonwu

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Buhari congratulates Gov. Bello on re-election

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Congratulations

Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State on his re-election in the Nov. 16 gubernatorial poll.

The President, in a statement by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday, described the election and emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate as “a race well run and a victory well won.”

He commended APC supporters for remaining steadfast and resolute even in the “face of isolated incidents of violence”.

President Buhari condoled with families and loved ones of those who lost their lives as a result of regrettable acts of violence by thugs doing the bidding of their political sponsors.

“All political actors and stakeholders must take deliberate steps to eschew electoral violence as a peaceful and orderly process is vital to our quest for enduring democracy,’’ he said.

He saluted officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies for creditably discharging their responsibilities under difficult conditions.

President Buhari urged Bello to see his renewed mandate as another opportunity to build on the foundations already laid towards improving the lives of the people of Kogi.

He also enjoined the governor to imbibe the spirit of magnanimity in victory by extending a hand of partnership to opposition candidates.

The president urged those dissatisfied with the outcome of the election to approach the courts.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that the Returning Officer of the Nov. 16 Kogi governorship election, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, had on Monday declared Yahaya Bello as winner of the election after polling 406,222 votes to beat 24 other contestants, including Mr Musa Wada of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 189,704 votes.

Edited by Ekemini Ladejobi/Sadiya Hamza

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Buhari congratulates Bayelsa Gov-elect Lyon on election victory

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President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in the Nov. 16 election in Bayelsa, David Lyon, on his victory.

Buhari’s congratulatory message was contained in a statement by his Special Adviser, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Monday.

The President also commended APC supporters in particular and Nigerians in general in the State who exercised their civic rights in a peaceful manner, notwithstanding the pockets of unrest recorded in some locations.

While condemning the loss of lives in Bayelsa, particularly prior to the election, the President commiserated with the families of the victims.

‘‘Violence during elections vitiates our commitment to demonstrate to the world and upcoming generation that we are a people capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner,’’ he added.

He noted that officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies did their best within the ambit of the law to ensure free, fair and credible elections.

He, however, described as unfortunate that pockets of unrest, ”mostly sponsored by desperate politicians, were recorded during the poll.”

The President looked forward to working with the incoming government to improve the lives of the people in Bayelsa, while ensuring the security of lives and property of all citizens.

Buhari urged Governor-elect Lyon to carry other divergent interests along in the next phase of governance, imploring those not satisfied with the outcome of the poll to seek redress through the constitutionally established channels.

INEC had on Monday morning declared Mr David Lyon of the APC winner of the governorship election in Bayelsa after polling 352,552 votes.

Lyon defeated his closest rival, Duoye Diri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who scored 143,172 votes.

Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz

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