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UPDATED: Labour suspends planned strike as FG reverses electricity tariff hike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress have suspended the strike scheduled to commence today (Monday).

This followed an agreement reached with the Federal Government at a meeting which started at 8.30pm on Sunday and ended at 2:50am this morning.

After exhaustive deliberations on the issues raised by the labour centres, the meeting agreed to suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments for two weeks.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, read the five-page communique signed by the representatives of the government and labour.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba; and his Trade Union Congress counterpart, Quadri Olaleye, amongst others signed on behalf of Organised Labour while the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige; Minister of State Petroleum, Timipre Silva; Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN); Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed; and the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and others, signed on behalf of the government.

Olaleye confirmed the development in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday morning.

He said, “Definitely correct. We just left a press conference. We signed a document to suspend the action for two weeks for the government to implement those things that we agreed in the agreement. So, we are suspending for two weeks.

“We don’t need a notice again to re-convene if there is a need to do that.”

The parties agreed to set up a technical committee comprising Ministries, Departments, Agencies, NLC and TUC.

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It would work for a duration of two weeks effective September 28, to examine the justifications for the new policy “in view of the need for the validation of the basis for the new cost-reflective tariff as a result of the conflicting information from the fields which appeared different from the data presented to justify the new policy by NERC; metering deployment, challenges, timeline for massive rollout.”

The members of the committee include the Minister of State Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo (SAN) as Chairman; Minister of State Power, Godwin Jedy-Agba; Chairman, National Electricity Regulatory Commission, James Momoh; Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Ahmad Zakari as the Secretary.

Other members are Onoho’Omhen Ebhohimhen, Joe Ajaero (NLC), Chris Okonkwo (TUC) and a representative of electricity distribution companies.

The committee’s terms of reference are to examine the justification for the new policy on cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments; to look at the different DISCOs and their different electricity tariff vis-à-vis NERC order and mandate; examine and advise government on the issues that have hindered the deployment of the 6 million meters, among others.

“During the two weeks, the DISCOs shall suspend the application of the cost-reflective electricity tariff adjustments,” the communique noted.

It also noted that the FG has fashioned out palliatives that would ameliorate the sufferings that Nigerian workers may experience as a result of the hike in cost electricity tariffs and the deregulation of the downstream sector of the petroleum industry.

The palliatives will be in the areas of transport, power, housing, agriculture and humanitarian support.

The meeting also resolved that the 40 per cent stake of government in the DISCO and the stake of workers should be reflected in the composition of the DISCO’s boards.

It agreed that “an all-inclusive and independent review of the power sector operations as provided in the privatization MoU to be undertaken before the end of the year 2020, with labour represented.

“All parties agreed on the urgency for increasing the local refining capacity of the nation to reduce the overdependency on importation of petroleum products to ensure energy security, reduce cost of finished products, increase employment and business opportunities for Nigerians.”

To address this, the parties resolved that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation should expedite the rehabilitation of the nation’s four refineries located in Port Harcourt, Warri and Kaduna to achieve 50 per cent completion by December 2021, while timelines and delivery for Warri and Kaduna will be established by the inclusive steering committee.

“To ensure commitment and transparency to the processes and timelines of the rehabilitation exercise, the management of NNPC has offered to integrate the national leadership of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers and Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association into the steering committee already established by the corporation,” the communique stated.

It added that a validation team comprising the representatives of the NNPC, Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission, NUPENG and PENGASSAN would be established to monitor progress of the rehabilitation of the refineries and the pipelines/strategic depots network and advice the steering committee periodically.

It also said that post-rehabilitation, NNPC shall involve the PENGASSAN and NUPENG in the process of establishing the operational model of the nation’s refineries.

The statement added, “The Federal Government will facilitate the delivery of licensed modular and regular refineries, involvement of upstream companies in petroleum refining and establishing framework for financing in the downstream sector.

“NNPC to expedite work on the Build, Operate and Transfer framework for the nation’s pipelines and strategic depots network for efficient transportation and distribution of petroleum products to match the delivery timelines of the refineries as agreed.”

The government and its agencies agreed to ensure delivery of 1 million CNG/LPG AutoGas conversion kits, storage skids and dispensing units under the Nigeria Gas Expansion Programme by December 2021 to enable delivery of cheaper transportation and power fuel.

A governance structure that will include representatives of organized labour shall be established for timely delivery.

To cushion the impacts of the downstream sector deregulation and tariffs adjustment in the power sector, the FG agreed to announce in two weeks a specific amount to be accessed by workers with subsequent provision for 240,000 under the auspices of NLC and TUC for participation in agricultural ventures through the Central Bank and the Ministry of Agriculture.

The timeline will be fixed at the next meeting.

The meeting further resolved that the FG will facilitate the removal of tax on minimum wage as a way of cushioning the impacts of the policy on the lowest vulnerable.

The government would also make available to organized labour 133 CNG/LPG-driven mass transit buses immediately and provide to the major cities across the country on a scale up basis thereafter, to all states and local governments before December 2021.

“On Housing, 10 per cent to be allocated to Nigerian workers under the ongoing Ministry of Housing and Finance initiative through the NLC and TUC,” the communique disclosed.

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Court dismisses marriage due to supposed ritual

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Court breaks up 10-year old marriage over marathon sex, affirmed money ritual .

A Mapo Customary Court in Ibadan, on Tuesday, broken down a 10-year-old marriage between one Basirat Adeyoyin and spouse, Adeyoyin Niyi over supposed ritual and marathon sex.

Conveying judgment, the President of the court, Chief Ademola Odunade said that the court would not watch until there was insurgency prior to settling on the correct choice.

Odunade, consequently, disintegrated the relationship among Basirat and Niyi in light of a legitimate concern for harmony and peacefulness.

He granted guardianship of the two kids born to both of them to the offended party and requested the respondent to pay N10, 000 as the kids’ month to month taking care of recompense.

The court additionally requested Niyi to be answerable for their schooling and other government assistance. In her previous record, Basirat, an inhabitant of Olonsogo-Molete, told the court that she was throwing in the towel with her better half since “he was putting forth a urgent attempt to utilize her for money ritual”.

The woman added that she first notification this when her husband didn’t show any empathy after she lost her last pregnancy because of an excessive number of sexual intercourse with him.

Suddenly in 2018, Niyi came home one night and told me that he received a message that he must have seven-day marathon sex with me without a gap of any day. “I read no meaning to it and I allowed him until there was a problem. “I was already carrying a three-month-old pregnancy before that time and on the second day of the marathon sex, I lost the pregnancy.

“I took care of myself in the hospital only for Niyi to come home to start requesting for the continuation of the seven-day marathon sex even when I was still bleeding. “Then, I consulted my parents and relatives and from every indication, we discovered that he was trying to use me for money ritual,” Basirat said.

Consenting to the suit, the respondent didn’t prevent the claim from getting the marathon sex yet decided to raise new issues by and large.

Niyi presented that his wife was excessively inconvenient for him and was an imprudent housewife.

“Even if this court would dissolve my marriage, I pray to be given custody of the two children because Basirat cannot take care of them.

“One of the young boys in our neighbourhood raped our first child and she did not tell me about the incident. “My lord, it was because she often overstays in the market that such a thing could happen,” Niyi added.

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Army admits to firing live rounds at the Lekki toll gate incident

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The Nigerian armed force has conceded that soldiers took live bullets to the Lekki toll gate.

As indicated by The PUNCH, the Commander of 81 Military Intelligence Brigade, Victoria Island, Lagos, Brigadier General Ahmed Taiwo, has clarified that Phase Four of military inner security activity, which was conveyed at the Lekki toll gate on the night October 20, included the utilization of both live and clear ammo.

He said the troopers took live projectiles to the scene with the end goal of self defence .

Taiwo said a segment of the soldiers that worked at the toll gate on that night were to be sure equipped with live shots. He, nonetheless, kept up that lone officers with clear bullets discharged shots into the air. The overall expressed this on Saturday at the continued procedures of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry examining the supposed killing of #EndSARS dissidents at the Lekki toll gate evening of October 20 by soldiers.

Taiwo, who had prior made an introduction before the board with regards to the Nigerian Army on November 14, returned on Saturday for questioning by two guidance for #EndSARS dissenters, Messrs Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) and Mr Adesina Ogunlana.

When Olumide-Fusika asked Taiwo if soldiers who went to the tollgate carried guns, Taiwo said, “When you are talking of guns, you are talking about high-calibre guns. They were carrying rifles; not guns.”

On further pressing by Olumide-Fusika, Taiwo added, “Definitely, a portion of the Force will carry live bullets, in case they are attacked.

But the soldiers that formed the firing team, who fired, used blank bullets. And that is why you watched the video and saw exactly what happened.” Also, under cross-examination by Ogunlana, Taiwo explained that in Phase Four military internal security operation “soldiers would be given both live and blank bullets.” He said, “In this particular case, we saw that the peaceful protest had been infiltrated by hoodlums.

They were peaceful protesters, no doubt, but there were also hoodlums who sought to take advantage, that was why they were armed with blank bullets in addition with live bullets.”

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APC considering Jonathan as Buhari’s predecessor

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A report claims legislators in the APC are now attempting to find an appropriate official competitor for the 2023 political race.

It was announced that an ongoing visit by APC to ex-president, Goodluck Jonathan was partially political.

The visit by the APC lead representatives has again started with rumors about a Jonathan administration in 2023.

An arising report has asserted that the All Progressives Congress (APC) is attempting to persuade a previous president, Goodluck Jonathan, to run for president on its foundation in 2023.

The report which was conveyed by This Day asserted that a few heads of the gathering have been constraining the previous president to think about the offer.

The paper expressed that a source who talked secretly said lead representatives on the foundation of the APC who visited Jonathan to congratulate with him on his 63 birthday commemoration, utilized the event to inconspicuously speak to their official proposition to him.

As indicated by the cases, Buhari’s partners accept that Jonathan would be innocuous to their gathering interest and as such the perfect individual to dominate if control somehow happened to move toward the South.

A source in Buhari’s camp who would not like to be recognized was cited to have stated:

“He handed over power peacefully and nursed no bitterness against anyone and therefore will not be a threat to the interest of the north. In any case, Jonathan has in the past denied any interest in challenging for the administration.

The previous president clarified that he was centered around his foundation.

Then, following the tumults by some geo-political zones to create the following leader of Nigeria, the legislative head of Kogi state, Yahaya Bello, has uncovered the characteristics of who might become President Buhari’s replacement.

Bello when speaking Channels TV on Thursday, November 20, said the PDP’s ambition to take back power is a “lofty dream” and ”castles in the air.”

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