The Federal Government has scheduled a special meeting with representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress, their affiliates as well as members of Civil Society Organisations as one of the ways to end incessant industrial actions by workers.
The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige, disclosed this in an interview with State House correspondents after a meeting he held with the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
Ngige said at the meeting slated for Saturday, officials would disclose the true state of government’s financial account to the labour leaders so that they can appreciate the challenges facing the nation.
The minister, who briefed the President on the recent strike by the National Association of Resident Doctors which was suspended on Thursday, said Buhari had approved the meeting with the labour leaders.
He said, “The President has approved for us to have a bigger government side meeting with the organised labour.
“All government institutions that have to do with the finances of government will join us to meet with them and show them the books.
“So, the invitation is going out to them this afternoon (Friday), the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and their affiliates or supporters and friends in the Civil Society Organisations.
“The meeting is scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday), so, I will relate more with the Chief of Staff to the President and the leadership of the unions today so that we do this meeting tomorrow.
“At the meeting, government finances, challenges and everything will be laid bare on the table. They will also table their own fears and what they think is also good for the Nigerian people especially the workers, so that we look at them.”
On the recent hike in electricity tariff and the public outcry that followed, Ngige said, “The electricity tariff as you know, the Electricity Regulatory Commission approved the increase based on certain electricity band R1 and R2.
“Even in the R2 band, you have soft bands so that we can protect the rural poor and people who are in the suburbs.
“So, we are going to look at them holistically because we want a stable labour industrial union in the country so the President has been briefed and he is in tune and has given the support to talk to everybody we need to talk to.”
The minister said representatives of unions in the nation’s tertiary institutions would also attend the meeting to table their positions on some issues.
He added, “The tripartite unions of university system including some colleges of education and some hospitals; Non-Academic Staff of Universities, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities and the National Association of Academic Technologists, we have invited them to a meeting.
“The leadership met with me last week and the major thrust of the challenges they have is on the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information system.
“They claimed and alleged that the IPPIS system is over deducting some line items like taxes, the Pay As You Earn taxes they claim the IPPIS system is charging more than they supposed to debit.
“They also claimed that some allowances that are peculiar to the university system like responsibility allowance, hazard allowance, field trip allowance and education of children allowance, that the IPPIS has stopped all of them.
“At the government level, we have discussed and we now want to do a special session with them, they come with their facts and the Accountant-General will lead his team, the National Salaries and Incomes and Wages will also come and the Ministry of Labour will lead and then we discuss and find out who is treating the other unfairly,” he explained.
Nigeria Needs N1trn For Efficient Electricity Transmission – TCN
By Agency Report
The Transmission Company of Nigeria has said Nigeria requires nothing less than N1tn to effectively wheel electricity through the national grid.
The Executive Director, Transmission Service Provider, TCN, Victor Adewumi, said this at the 52nd Power Dialogue of the Nigeria Electricity Hub on which held online in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said TCN would require the sum to make the country’s power grid stable, adding that the $1.6bn which the transmission company was getting from international agencies would not be enough to stablilise the grid.
When asked to state how much would be needed to get the grid to transmit electricity effectively, Adewumi replied, “Simply put, TCN requires nothing less than N1tn to make the grid to be very stable.
“For the project that TCN is financing internally, relying on our IGR (Internally Generated Revenue) and the Federal Government budget system, TCN requires nothing less than N600bn. way that even the Federal Government can provide this kind of fund.”
He said investors were invited to come and fund some of the projects in TCN, as they would recoup their investments over time.
Adewumi said, “So the alternative way is to look at project financing, where those who have the money can come to TCN and finance probably the transmission lines and then look at the cost of energy to be wheeled on that line, spread it over a period of time and then get their money back.
He said, “But with the current kind of fund that is entering TCN, there is no way TCN can embark on that.
“This is because the Discos are not giving us the required money; we are getting less than 60 per cent of TCN tariff.
He added, “That is even after the Nigerian Electricity a Regulatory Commission forced them to do it.”
He, however, stated that the Discos would not receive all the blame as many power users were involved in electricity theft.
Nigeria Ranked 3rd Most Terrorised Country Worldwide
Nigeria has been ranked third most terrorised country in the world by the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) report, which stated that death attributed to Boko Haram in Nigeria increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
According to the report, “Nigeria had the second largest fall in total deaths, owing largely to a 72 percent reduction in fatalities attributed to Fulani extremists.
“Despite this decrease, the number of deaths attributed to Boko Haram increased by 25 percent from 2018 to 2019.
“Renewed activity by Boko Haram in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, including Cameroon, Chad and Niger, remains a substantial threat to the region.”
The report added that: “In 2019, Boko Haram carried out 11 suicide bombings causing 68 fatalities. Suicide bombings accounted for 6% of all terror-related incidents by Boko Haram in 2019, marking an 89% decline from their peak in 2017.
“Boko Haram was responsible for Nigeria’s deadliest terrorist attack in 2019 when assailants attacked a funeral in Badu, Borno State.
“At least 70 people were killed and 10 others were wounded in the attack and ensuing clash.
“The two main factions of Boko Haram, the Islamic State West African Province (ISWAP) and the followers of Abubakar Shekau, are both engaged in an insurgency campaign against the Nigerian government.
“Violence by the two main factions of Boko Haram have taken a large toll on the civilian population, particularly in the North-East, where continued attacks have internally displaced more than two million people and caused a further 240,000 Nigerian refugees to flee to neighbouring countries.”
FG Receives Repatriated 600-year-old Ife Artefact
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed received the repatriated Ife Terracotta from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the company of the Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Nigeria, Harry van Dijk on Thursday in Abuja.
The Minister said the return of the stolen Ife Terracotta marked a milestone in Nigeria’s efforts at pursuing the return of the country ’s antiquities.
Segun Adeyemi, Special Assistant to Lai Mohammed, quoted the Minister as saying the government’s resolve to seek the repatriation of the nation’s timeless and priceless artifact was strengthened by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s marching order for Nigeria to tap into tourism and other fields, where Nigeria has comparative advantages, in order to generate income for the nation and secure jobs for our youths.
Mohammed said, “ It gives me profound joy to receive this very important antiquity, an Ife Terracotta , which is dated to be at least 600 years old . I am even more delighted that our efforts at pursuing the return of Nigerian antiquities , which we launched last November , have started yielding
“ One way of generating income for the country is if our cultural properties are exhibited around the world to a fee -paying audience, on the basis of proper agreement that acknowledges us as owners and confers the right benefits on us. But this is not possible for as long as most of them adorn the museums and private collections of others , who describe them as their properties. ”
While describing the handing over of the artifact as a new beginning, the Minister said apart from the pecuniary benefits , the priceless objects wrought by the nation ’s forebears are unifying factors among the diverse cultures in the country .
He said the Ife Terracotta was smuggled from Nigeria through Ghana to The Netherlands in 2019 with a forged document.
The Minister of Information and Culture said following the interception of the artifact by the Dutch Customs at Schiphol Airport in The Netherlands , Nigeria was invited to prove her case against the suspected smuggler , which the country did successfully , hence the return of the artifact .
“ Let me state here that Nigeria believes in joint international efforts to put a stop to illicit export and import of cultural goods . The issue of cultural property should not be a ground of rancour and discord among nations . That is if nations choose to tow the path which the Kingdom of The Netherlands has chosen by insisting on justice , fairness , and amity . ”
Onyeama thanked The Netherlands for the efficient and expeditious manner in which it deployed resources to identify , retrieve , and repatriate the Ife Terracotta to Nigeria .
Harry van Dijk said the return of the artifact is a fitting gift to mark the 50 th anniversary of the UNESCO Convention on the Prevention of Illicit Trafficking of Culture Heritage, of which Nigeria and The Netherlands are signatories .
The Director- General of the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Prof . Abba Isa -Tijjani, has taken custody of the artifact for cleaning and treatment at the Conversation Laboratory before its eventual display to the public.