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    About 48 hours after petrol tanker accident resulted to fire disaster at Upper Iweka and Ochanja areas of Onitsha, another petrol tanker caused yet more damage early on Friday morning in Onitsha.

    The fire incident occurred at Omaba Phase two around Chukwudi Bus Stop Onitsha after another tanker laden with petrol fell at the middle of Onitsha/Enugu Expressway about 3.30am Friday.

    Mr Emeka Obinwa, Executive Assistant to Gov Willie Obiano on Anambra State Emergency Management Agency (SEEMA) media confirmed the incident to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Awka.

    He said that SEMA team visited the scene about 4 am on Friday, adding that no life was lost.

    Obinwa said the incident took the same dimension as that of Wednesday afternoon, but noted that timely arrival of fire fighters in the state led to the quenching of the inferno.

    “The second fire outbreak in Onitsha within the week was equally severe, property worth several billions of naira including buildings, vehicles and other valuable property were affected at Omaba Phase two.

    “The petroleum product spilled through the gutter and resulted in the fire extending beyond the point the vehicle fell,’’ he said.

    He said the fire extended to a mechanic workshop around the area and burnt vehicles parked in the place.

    Obinwa said that full assessment on both Upper Iweka/Ochanja and Omaba disaster would be carried out by the agency. (NAN)

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    Delta NLC suspends minimum wage strike
    By Ifeanyi Olannye

    The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Delta on Thursday announced the suspension of the strike embarked on over the failure of the federal government to fully implement the new N30,000 minimum wage.

    The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the NLC in the state had on Tuesday embarked on strike to protest what it considered a failed negotiation by the Joint Negotiation Council (JNC) on the new minimum wage.

    Addressing newsmen on the sideline of the 5th Quadrennial State Delegates Conference of State Chapter of the Medical and Health Workers Union on Thursday in Asaba, Mr Goodluck Ofoburuku, the NLC Chairman, announced the suspension of the strike.

    He said that the strike was suspended in Delta State following intervention and directives from the national body for it to be allowed to conclude the negotiation on the consequential adjustment on the new minimum wage.

    The initial directives that we received was that, if negotiation was not concluded by Tuesday, we should commence strike by Wednesday, which we complied with.

    That is why, yesterday our people moved out to ensure that there was a compliance but based on the advice of the national body, we have advised our members to return to work and gradually they are going back to work.

    We have been told that significant progress has been made by the Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), the chairman said.

    Ofoburuku , however, said that the NLC in the state would await further directive from the national body should the negotiations fail.

    We have soft pedaled but waiting for directive from the national should the negotiations fail.

    The truth of the matter is that the state government has committed itself to pay the minimum wage once the template is ready.

    However, if it is unsuccessful, the national headquarters will tell us what to do; I have no regret for taking an action that I am directed to take.

    I was elected to fight for the interest of my people and if it means that going on strike is what will make the union get what it is asking for, I will not regret it, Ofoburuku said.

    The NLC chairman, who is the outgoing State Chairman, Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria, said that his administration achieved some goals, including salary reviews, encouraged the building of capacity of workers and in house training for members.

    But lately, those of our members who had in house training are finding it difficult to be converted after their education, it is a challenge that I want the incoming executive to take up that issue, he said. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    JUST IN: Finally Labour, FG agree on new minimum wage adjustment
    Following three days of negotiations by Government and the Organised Labour on the consequential adjustments of the implementation of the new minimum wage of N30,000, both parties have finally reached an agreement.

    The Concillators to the agreement are Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and his state counterpart, Dr Festus Keyamo.

    Witnesses to the agreement from the Government side are; Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan, Ag. Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and Mr Olusegun Olufehinti, Director IPPIS, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

    On the Labour side are Mr Simon Anchaver, Ag. Chairman, JNPSNC and Mr Alade Bashir, Secretary General, JNPSNC.

    A communiqu was issued and the end of the negotiations and signed by all parties.

    Following the threat by Organised Labour not to guarantee industrial peace after Wednesday, October 16, 2019, as a result of the deadlock in the ongoing negotiation on the Consequential Adjustment of emoluments in Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) arising from the New National Minimum Wage of Thirty Thousand Naira (N30, 000.00) as imbued in the National Minimum Wage Act, 2019, the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment in exercise of his powers under the Trade Dispute Act, CAP T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004, apprehended the trade dispute and called the parties to conciliation meetings.

    He met each of the Joint National Public Service Negotiating Council (JNPSNC) on Wednesday, 9th October and Monday 15th October, 2019. Thereafter, joint meetings were held on 16th, 17th and 18th of October, 2019, after which the following Terms of Settlement and Agreement pertaining to the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the Public Service were reached.

    The consequential adjustment for Consolidated Public ServiceSalary Structure(CONPSS), called group one is;
    GL 07 -23.2 per cent, GL 08 -20 per cent, GL 09 19 per cent, GL 10 14 is 16 per cent, while GL 15-17 is 14 per cent.

    The second Group consists of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS), Consolidated Tertiary Educational InstitutionsSalary Structure(CONTEDISS), Consolidated University AcademicSalary StructureII (CONUASS II).

    Others are; Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Academic Salary Structure (CONPCASS) and Consolidated Research and Allied Institutions Salary Structure (CONRAISS).

    For Grade Level seven and its equivalent, it is 23.2 per cent, GL 8-14 Equivalent at 16 per cent, and
    GL 15-17/Equivalent at 10.5 per cent.

    Confirming the agreement, the Trade Union Congress in a statement, said it was a win-win situation for Nigerian workers and commended the Federal Government and organised labour for their patience while the National Minimum Wage negotiations lasted.

    The statement jointly signed by President of the Congress, Mr Quadri Olaleye and Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, said it was not an easy journey, applauding governments team for their wisdom and sincerity.

    We commend the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan and her team for their sincerity.

    Though they argued that government cannot afford to meet our earlier demand of N30,000 minimum wage across board, because of the economic situation in the country, we made them understand that some people cannot be more Nigerian than others, If we are tightening our belts, government should also do so.

    The Union said as an organisation and a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project, they believe that the parties have done well.

    We shifted grounds and that is why we were able to resolve things without major injuries. It is a win-win situation.

    The TUC boss said he was particularly happy with the agreement, because it has addressed some salary discrepancies and overlapping issues that workers have agitated about.

    This is a unique agreement and we promise to build on that by Gods grace, he added.

    Earlier, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige said the new minimum wage was a national law and it must be obeyed by all tiers of government.

    We have often repeated that the essence of that law was for the president to lift the vulnerable working force both in the private and public service.

    This is a national law and it must be obeyed by all; state government, local government and all persons concerned that employ more than 25 persons in their organisation.

    We have decided to fast tract discussions. We are fast tracking it because we need to put an end to the issue of minimum wage till the next five years, when it will arise again.

    We need to finalise this today, The suspense is too much for the people. Even your constituency- workers, if we dont conclude today, they will be thinking otherwise.

    They will start thinking that you have been compromised, even the government side, if we dont conclude today, they will start saying you people are influencing us.

    This negotiation should be, in the spirit of give and take, in the spirit of one nation, end this thing. If we decide to empty the purse so that the nation will go broke, it will affect all of us.

    If we do give and take, look at government purse and know that this purse has been badly depleted, make some concession, it will be in the interest of Nigeria.

    NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, had earlier said that the organised labour would continue to be open minded and would keep up with the principles of collective bargaining.

    We on this side of the table we are ready to ensure that we bring the entire process to a conclusion.

    In the normal practice of Collective Bargaining, you look at issues from both sides, you look at the situation with workers, vis a viz their pockets and what will make the workers happy and very productive.

    If wishes were horses, we would have wished that this entire negotiation was concluded yesterday. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Boko Haram: Why soldiers in N/East deserve compensation  Committee
    By Emmanuel Afonne

    A joint committee of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights have urged the National Assembly (NASS) to recommend adequate compensation and recognition for troops fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the North-East.

    The call was made in Abuja in a report of preliminary findings submitted to the leaderships of NASS after investigation on allegations of human rights abuse made against the Nigerian military by some foreign media organisations.

    The committee while absolving the soldiers of wrong doing said the troops have approached the war on insurgency with international standards on human rights and as such deserved to be compensated to serve as source of motivation and encouragement to others.

    Chairman of the committee, Dr Isaac Dikko, said the committee sacrificed a lot during the investigation because of national security.

    Dikko stated: if not for the interest of national security, nobody would dare to have a committee secretariat situate in the North-East for firsthand information given the low and gloomy media reportage of the military successes in the region especially by foreign media organisations.

    It is also to fact check if the war against insurgency is being truly successfully prosecuted.

    Unknown to us like majority of Nigerians, a lot of successes have been made in the war against insurgency in the North East.

    The only challenge is resettlement, rehabilitation and rebuilding of infrastructure hitherto destroyed; but this is beyond military mandate and will take time, he said.

    According to the chairman, the committee dared the region with double pronged view to validate or invalidate the allegations against the military authorities and censor the activities of the non-governmental organisations operations in the North-East.

    This, he said was to come up with facts that are verifiable.

    The report was coordinated by a foreign NGO, the Mahatma Gandhi Peace Foundation Nepal.

    Senior Programme Officer for the foundation, Rev. Solomon Semaka noted that their involvement in the committees fact finding mission was to ensure that the interest of NGOs and media organisations were represented and given fair hearing.

    He acknowledged on behalf of NGOs that the representations in the report were fair given the glaring evidence and testimonies the committee received.

    Semaka said: One of my lowest points and greatest shocker as a development worker, whose interest in the committee was to protect NGOs was when a medical doctor and Staff member of ACTION AGAINST HUNGER (AAH), one of the NGOs working in the North-East region, confessed before the committee that truly, they offer random treatment and provide food to wounded insurgents.

    However, under cross examination, he admitted that the action was not their major purpose in the North-East.

    Semaka rejected the confession of the doctor that they offer medical assistance to the insurgents just to protect themselves.

    The committee therefore recommended to the NASS that issues of human rights abuse are subjective, and that the National Assembly leadership submit in clear terms expulsion as a punishment for erring Non-Governmental organisations in the country.

    The committee also demanded that the National assembly Leadership legalise the auditing of non-governmental organisations by security agencies and also invite Action Against Hunger and Amnesty International with a view to answer why they should not be banned from operating within the Nigerian territory. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    AUPCTRE concerned over Minimum wage, poverty, others
    The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service, Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) has expressed concern over the myriad of challenges facing the nation.

    At a meeting of its National Governing Council (NGC), AUPCTRE expressed grave concern over the high rate of unemployment, poverty insecurity, medical tourism among others.

    AUPCTRE President Benjamin Anthony who spoke at its 23rd plenary session in Calabar, expressed worry that the challenges have assumed dangerous dimensions.

    He said that the situation called for serious concern of all patriotic Nigerians.

    The President expressed displeasure at the delay by the government to reach an agreement on the approved minimum wage.

    He decried that poverty has been on the increase, urging the government to work assiduously to tackle the challenges.

    AUPCTRE however commended the

    The union called on government to bring back the defunct Nigerian Marketing Board to regulate the price of agricultural produce.

    On his part, Raphael Imade, General Secretary of AUPCTRE said that the NGC is the second highest organ of the union which is expected to take stock of the union activities.

    Also speaking, Director General, National Orientation AgencyDr Garba Abari who bagged AUPCTREs Best Manager in Industrial Relations Practice Award 2019, thanked the union for its efoorts at ensuring cordialindustrial relations in the work place.

    Dr Abari urged the labour Union to also be in solidarity with the government, adding that they should emulate international best practices.

    Source: NAN

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    Christine Lagarde confirmed next EU Central Bank president
    European Union (EU) leaders have confirmed the appointment of Frances Christine Lagarde as the next head of the European Central Bank, thus removing the final hurdle between her and the powerful post.

    She is elected to the position for a non-renewable term of eight years, the EU leaders announced in a statement on Friday.

    Lagarde is set to succeed the incumbent head of the Frankfurt-based financial institution Mario Draghi on Nov. 1 as the first woman to occupy the post.

    The former International Monetary Fund chief was nominated for the job as part of a top personnel package thrashed out by EU leaders in July. (dpa/NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    EU leaders confirm Christine Lagarde next European Central Bank president

    European Union (EU) leaders have confirmed the appointment of Frances Christine Lagarde as the next head of the European Central Bank, thus removing the final hurdle between her and the powerful post.

    She is elected to the position for a non-renewable term of eight years, the EU leaders announced in a statement on Friday.

    Lagarde is set to succeed the incumbent head of the Frankfurt-based financial institution Mario Draghi on Nov. 1 as the first woman to occupy the post.

    The former International Monetary Fund chief was nominated for the job as part of a top personnel package thrashed out by EU leaders in July. (dpa/NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Sexagenarian in court for deceiving widow with marriage

    By Moronke Boboye

    A sexagenarian, Charles Chikwe, on Friday appeared before an Ikeja Chief Magistrates Court in Lagos charged with duping a woman of N150, 000 and valuables worth N627, 000 on the pretext of marrying her.

    Chikwe, 60, who is unemployed and resides at No. 26, Mohammed St., Ijegun, Lagos, is facing charges of obtaining by false pretenses and stealing.

    The prosecutor, Sgt. Chekube Okeh told the court that the defendant committed the offences sometimes in October 2017 at Igando, Lagos.

    Okeh said that the defendant met the complainant, a 50- year-old widow, wooed her and promised to marry her.

    The defendant later obtained N150, 000 from the woman and promised to pay back; he also collected documents of her land then valued at N627, 000, he said.

    Okeh explained that the defendant failed to marry the complainant as promised, refused to pay back the money he collected from her neither did he return the land documents.

    The offences, the prosecutor said, contravened Sections 287, 314 and 318 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.
    However, the defendant, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

    The Chief Magistrate, Mrs A.O Akinde, granted the defendant N100, 000 bail with two sureties in like sum.

    Akinde adjourned the case until Oct. 30 for mention. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    NUJ to sponsor bill against owing journalists salaries  President

    By Emmanuel Antswen

    The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) says he is planning, in collaboration with newspaper owners, to sponsor a bill to penalise media establishments that owe journalists.

    Mr Christopher Isiguzo, National President of NUJ, stated this in Makurdi at an interactive session with members of the union in the state, to appreciate members for electing him and also know their challenges.

    The members had also complained of regular intimidation, harassment and detention, over their reports like ordinarily criminals.

    Isiguzo said that when the bill is passed into law, media houses would no longer owe media workers salaries.

    He said there was need for stakeholders to respect journalists and desist from abusing them.

    According to the president of NUJ, the practice of journalism is gradually being viewed as a crime in Nigeria, as members are no longer honoured in the job.

    He said that journalists need to be accorded respect and where they violate the ethics, should be reported to the union or court of law, rather than resort to unlawful ways.

    He said he had already informed President Muhammadu Buhari, Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum, Mr Kayode Fayemi and other governors, on the incessant harassment of members.

    Isiguzo said that the union was engaging with the information and the Interior ministries, to ensure proper identification of genuine journalists in the country.

    We are going to collaborate with the Federal Ministry of Interior and security agencies, so that our members will be easily identified anywhere. We believe the cases of intimidation, harassment among others will be addressed with this move.

    We need to up our game and embrace social media to continue to maintain leading space in the media world. We need to be very serious with our media engagement.

    He said the union was planning to bring together all the online media organisations for effective regulation.

    In her remark, Mrs Victoria Ashar, Chairman of Benue Council of NUJ, commended the president for the visit and said that the union under her watch would continue to support him to actualise his laudable programmes. (NAN)

    Source: NAN

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    Why GenCos failed to generate 2,352.5 megawatts
    By Constance Imasuen

    Electricity Generation Companies (GenCos), comprising gas-fired and hydro stations said that they could not generate 2,352.5 megawatts of electricity on Wednesday due to unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

    This is contained in a daily energy report by the Advisory Power Team, office of the Vice President, a copy of which was obtained by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Thursday.

    The report also attributed the 2,352 .5 megawatts not generated to high frequency.

    It also noted that 1.55 megawatts of electricity was not generated due to unavailability of transmission infrastructure during the period.

    Similarly, it saidthat 1,551 megawatts was not generated due to unavailability of gas.

    The report, however, said that the GenCos released an average of 3,500 MegaWatts-Hour of electricity into the national grid.

    It said that the electricity sent out by the GenCos was up by 98.87 megawatts from the 3,401 released on Tuesday.

    The report said zero megawatts was recorded as losses due to water management procedures.

    The report revealed that the power sector lost an estimated over N1.94 billion due to insufficient gas supply, distribution and transmission infrastructure.

    On sector reform/activities, it said that the dominant constraint for Wednesdaywas high frequency resulting from unavailability of distribution infrastructure.

    The report said that the peak generation attained on Monday was 4, 140 megawatts.

    Source: NAN

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