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Picketing: Ngige, neighbour mull legal action against NLC

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, says he and his neighbour are considering taking legal action against the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the blockage of their houses by the union.

Ngige, who spoke with State House correspondents on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said blocking his house was an infringement on his fundamental human rights and that of his household as they were all traumatised.

The NLC had in the early hours of Wednesday took a protest to Ngige’s Asokoro, Abuja residence, over his failure to inaugurate the board of National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) with Frank Kokori as the chairman.

There were reports alleging that NLC members were attacked by suspected thugs allegedly hired by the minister who inflicted various degrees of injury on the protesters.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, had described the scene as barbaric.

“The act today is barbaric; where maximum force has been used on workers. And live bullets have been used on them.

“ Whereas workers went with bare hands but you have seen what has happened.

“They were carrying weapons and arms. And as I talk to you, we have four people in the hospital apart from those that were injured by bullets,’’ Wabba had said.

Ngige, however, denied the allegations of attacks, saying that reports he read in the dailies were unfortunate and misleading.

He said that NLC members arrived at his resident at 4:30 a.m in the morning.

The minister said that when the security people accosted them, they discovered that it was the president of NLC himself that came physically with two tankers one laden with petrol and one half-full.

He said he immediately contacted the FCT Commissioner of Police and the Director of SSS as well the FRSC to see if the tankers could be removed.

Ngige said that his findings showed that the NLC members were attacked by the thugs they hired over some disagreements.

“They put one at the gate of my house and put the other one at the gate of the other house which happens to be that of my neighbour.

“People in that compound were traumatised; some of the cooks and policemen who have quarters were traumatised.

“ It cannot be quantified.  Even my neighbours, the husband and wife and their children could not do their business yesterday.

“Those tankers were removed around 6.O’clock or so; it is quite unfortunate.

“My neighbour said they would take legal action; me also.  It is an actionable thing; illegal actions are actionable.  Nobody is above the law,’’ he said.

He said it was all about NLC’s contention on the composition of the NSITF board and its inauguration.

He said the event was postponed and a new date was going to be fixed but NLC had been maligning his character and integrity because he was the Labour Minister.

“They forget that by International Labour Organisation(ILO) Convention, I am what the ILO calls the competent authority.

“ The president will not come to do labour matters; the vice president will not come to do labour matters; neither will the Secretary to the Government of the Federation come to do labour matters until I pass the matters to them.

“But it is an obtuse scene that we have here; the labour people led by Wabba, under the NLC leadership, feels that they are secondary arm of government.

“ He equates himself with the president of Nigeria; but there is only one sovereign in Nigeria and that sovereign is the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and for today, by the Grace of God, is President Muhammadu Buhari.’’

Ngige said that the Act setting up the NSITF gave labour  two nominees, private sector two nominees but NLC appropriated the two for labour and  made their nomination.

He said that the government had also made its own nomination.

The minister said that the government had approved a fit and proper person, who was neutral, not a government officer, not a labour coloured man and not a private sector man.

According to him, that is what obtains in tripartite agreements.

He said that, as the minister permitted by law to do that recommendation, he did not recommended Kokori.

The minister dismissed insinuations that he was summoned to the Presidential Villa because of the May 8 incident in his residence, saying he was in the villa for a meeting with President Buhari

Defence/Security

Rep assures of improved welfare for military personnel

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Hon. Tajudeen Adefisoye, Deputy Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Army, has assured that his committee will give priority to the welfare of military personnel.

Adefisoye stated this when he paid a courtesy visit to the 32 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Super Camp, in Okitipupa on Monday.

The lawmaker, representing Idanre/Ifedore Constituency, said that his committee would work tirelessly to ensure that soldiers were well catered for in the discharge of their duties.

He also promised to foster robust relationship between the military and the civilian populace in the country.

“I am most impressed with the functional facilities that are available in the Super Camp, particularly the helipad.

“The Brigade Commander, Brig.-Gen. Zakari Abubakar, also deserves commendation for the humanitarian services being rendered by the military to residents of the host communities.

“Provision of potable water, distribution of sports wears and computers to students in the Ondo South Senatorial District by the military are undoubtedly deserving of commendation,” he said.

The lawmaker also thanked Abubakar for doing a great job to curb crime and criminality in the state.

Adefisoye also commended the traditional rulers of the host communities for supporting community policing.

He lauded the leadership of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, for making funds available to run the camp, thereby ensuring peace in the southern zone of the state.

Responding, the brigade commander said that the ongoing clearance activities of ‘Operation Crocodile Smile IV’ had been yielding the desired results in the state and across the country.

Abubakar urged the public, particularly the host communities, to take advantage of the hot lines provided by the Nigerian Army to provide useful information to attain success in clearance operation.

The commander later conducted Adefisoye round the camp and explained to him its strategic security importance.

Although Abubakar said that the camp was a military barrack, he, however, added that it also housed the police and other paramilitary agencies like DSS, Immigration, NDLEA and the NSCDC.

Edited by Ifeyinwa Okonkwo and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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LASG evacuates lion from private residence to Lekki Zoo

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 The Lagos State Task Force says it has successfully moved a lion found at a private home around Victoria Island to a zoo in Omu Resorts, Lekki.

The Chairman of the agency, CSP Olayinka Egbeyemi, said in a statement on Monday, that the exercise was carried out in conjunction with officials of the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and medical personnel from Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Ibadan.

Egbeyemi said that Dr Ogunmo Bamidele, who led the medical team from the University of Ibadan, had to tranquilised the lion thrice before evacuation.

He said that the agency responded to a petition from residents on the use of the lion as maiguard.

According to him, investigations revealed that the lion was brought in from Cameroun by an Indian national two years ago.

”Immediately I got the petition, I deployed my officers to the house at No. 229, Muri-Okunola Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, where they kept a close watch for more than 72 hours before the lion was finally removed today,” he said.

He assured residents that the owner of the lion would face the full wrath of the law, while warning residents to abstain from harbouring wild animals that endanger the lives of others.

”In as much as we appreciate residents around Victoria Island for their quick action, we urge every member of the public to be observant in their immediate environment.

”Residents should report any strange or unusual activity to appropriate government authority for prompt action,” Egbeyemi said.

The Director, Veterinary Services, Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Macaulay Rasheed, advised members of the public to stop rearing wild animals in private homes to avoid unnecessary attack and contagious animal diseases.

Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka/Wale Ojetimi

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Woman bags 3 years imprisonment for stealing one-month-old baby

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An Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court, on Monday, sentenced a 39-year-old woman, Mercy Momoh, to three years imprisonment for stealing one-month-old baby.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Adesoji Adegboye, found the convict, whose house address was not given, guilty of the charge of stealing.

The convict had pleaded guilty to the charge and begged for leniency by the court.

The Magistrate, who summarily tried and sentenced the convict to three years imprisonment, however, gave her an option of N100,000 fine.

Earlier, the police prosecutor, Sgt. Samson Osobu, had told the court that the convict committed the offence on Sept. 20 at the state government secretariat in Ado-Ekiti.

Osobu told the court that convict had stolen a month-old baby belonging to Funmilayo Dada.

According to him, the offence contravenes Section 371 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

He told the court that the convict had seen the woman with her baby and tricked her with the story that the Ekiti State Empowerment Programme at the state secretariat was disbursing money to the less-privileged.

The prosecutor said that the convict had further tricked the woman to leave her baby and cell phone with her, while she sent her to help purchase call card.

Osobu said that when the woman came back, both the convict and her baby were nowhere to be found.

He added that the mother of the baby reported the matter at the police station and that through information, the convict was apprehended by the police and the baby given back to the mother.

Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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Northern Governors Forum congratulate  Bayelsa, Kogi  governors – elect

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The Northern States Governors Forum, (NSGF), has the congratulated Bayelsa Governor-elect, Chief David Lyon and re-elected Kogi Gov. Yahaya Bello over their victories in the last Saturday’s elections.

The Chairman of the Forum and Plateau Governor, Simon Lalong also rejoiced with the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the victory of its two candidates in the elections.

Lalong, in a congratulatory message issued by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Dr Simon Macham, described Lyon’s victory as a demonstration of the people’s confidence in his ability to perform.

The NSGF chairman said that Bayelsa people had no doubt in his ability of their governor-elect to deliver the change to the state in line with the vision of APC.

He said that the re-election of Bello was yet another sign of confidence reposed in him by the people of Kogi.

Lalong said that it was also an opportunity for the state government and the people to work harder in taking the state to the next level.

He assured the elected governors of the support of the Forum as they settle down to fulfill their campaign promises to the electorate.

/ DUA

edited by Emmanuel Nwoye/ Dada Ahmed

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Emir of Daura distributes relief items to 1,500 indigent persons

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The Emir of  Daura, Alhaji Farouk Umar has distributed relief materials to 1,500 indigent persons in the emirate to cushion their hardship.

The monarch made the presentstion at the Daurama palace in Daura on Monday.

He said the materials were donated by a philantropist, who did not want to be named, but entrusted the emir to share it to deserving families.

Nigeria News Agency reports that the items distributed included 1,000 each of matrasses, bags of beans, maize, salt, sugar, cartons of sphagehhtti, formade, noodles, blankets and packets of Lipton tea, as well as 2000 cartons of soap.

Other items are 2000 bundles of clothing materials, 1,000 jerrycan of cooking oil and other cooking ingredients.

Umar said indigent persons, including the blind, cripples, widows, orphans, lepers and some section of the media have been selected to benefit from the gesture.

The monarch added that 59 victims of the recent flood in the area and members of the NURTW were also selected to benefit.

He said the items would be distributed across the five local governments of Daura, Baure, Sandamu, Maiadu’a and Zango, which constitute Daura Emirate, and warned the beneficiaries against diversion of the materials.

“We have formed a formidable survellance committee that will report sharp practices to us for prompt action,” he added.

Malam Saminu Ahmed, who spoke on behalf of the beneficiaries, commended the donor for the gesture and prayed for long life to the emir for his just and fair leadership.

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

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YPP faults Kogi election, YDP says conduct perfect

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The Kogi Chairman of Young Progressives Party (YPP), Mr Chinda Emmanuel has faulted the outcome of the governorship election in the state, saying it was marred by violence and did not reflect the true wishes of the electorate.

On the other hand, Dr Sani Teidi-Shaibu, gubernatorial candidate of Youth Democratic Party (YDP) said the election was one of the best he had ever witnessed.

Emmanuel disclosed this while addressing newsmen on Monday in Lokoja after announcement of the election rwon by incumbent governor, Yahaya Bello.

According to Emmanuel, the exercise fell short of all known rules of engagement as contained in the electoral rules and regulations and was, therefore, not happy with the outcome.

“I am not happy with the way the election went. In my own Local Government Area, I voted at unit 007 Gboloko and my supporters also voted there but I’m surprised that INEC recorded only two votes for my party in the results.”

He claimed that in Dekina, Ibaji and Lokoja Local Governments people were killed and helicopters allegedly used to carry ballot boxes.

“My party, YPP and our candidate, Hajia Aisha Audu are not happy with the outcome of the election and the result announced today. They announced a cooked result and we shall challenge it in court”, he said.

However, Teidi-Shaibu, the gubernatorial candidate of  YDP said the election was one of the best he had ever witnessed.

“I think this is one of the best elections I have ever witnessed because they at INEC did their homework and the election was very perfect.”

According to Teidi-Shaibu, there was no rigging in the election.

“Whoever is aggrieved should put it aside and let us team up and work with government so that Kogi can move forward”, he said.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that, in the result announced by INEC Monday in Lokoja, Bello of the APC won with 406,222 votes, while Engr Musa Wada of PDP got 189,704 votes to come second.

Edited /Maharazu Ahmed

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