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The talks between the Federal Government and the Organised Labour over the removal of petrol subsidy and the increase in electricity tariffs, ended in a deadlock on Monday.

While welcoming the labour leaders to the meeting held at the Bouquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, in Abuja, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, urged stakeholders to join heads and deliberate how Nigeria can survive the economic challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ngige said the meeting is “a bilateral dialogue between us as Nigerians to consider the state of the economy and events that have necessitated recent increases in electricity tariff and the price of petrol.”

The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, urged the labour to show more understanding with the government over its policies.

According to Sylva, Nigeria lost about N1billion daily between 2016 and 2019, as a result of fuel subsidy and N3.74billion daily before 2016.

“There are a lot of issues to discuss; from 10 o’clock we haven’t been able to trash out all the things; I think it will be right to set committees to further deliberate and resolve them,” he said.

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But the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, argued that the recent hike in cost of fuel and electricity tariffs further aggravated the economic hardship facing Nigerians.

Wabba said workers who have lost their jobs and sources of income due to COVID-19, are being forced to make further sacrifices.

“Those issues that constitute the price are part of the inefficiency in the system which the government hitherto has been paying and christened subsidy. The government cannot transfer the inefficiency to the people. Nigeria should refine its products,” he said.

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“At this point, what do you have on the table to cushion the effects on workers – their families because they have been pushed to the wall and already at the edge. Do you have anything for us? So that we can now say that despite these challenges, this is what I have for Nigerian workers that they can have something that can cushion this effect for them.”

According to him, “Already the value of minimum wage had been eroded. The purchasing power parity, when you compare with all West African countries, we are already on the ground.

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“That is the reality. In Ghana, compare their minimum wage with our own; in all West Africa countries, including Niger Republic that has just started refining recently, they are now serving us with products. That is not how we ought to be.”

The meeting ended with no agreement reached, while no date was fixed to continue the talks.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Again, Boko Haram ambush Borno governor’s convoy

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Two days after an attack on the convoy of his officials, the convoy of the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, was ambushed Sunday by gunmen suspected to be members of the Boko Haram.

The ambush occurred as the governor’s convoy was departing Baga town in Kukawa Local Government Area.

At least 15 security personnel had died in an ambush on Friday as a convoy of the governor was driving towards Baga town to participate in the official relocation of IDP back to their reclaimed communities after years of displacement.

The Friday ambush was condemned by President Muhammadu Buhari who suggested sabotage of Mr Zulum’a efforts as governor.

Sources familiar with the latest incident said the attack happened near a village called Cross-Kauwa.

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Cross-Kauwa is a few kilometres from a location called Mile-4, where the Nigerian military has its biggest camp in that area.

“As we approached Cross-Kauwa an explosive believed to be landmine detonated and was immediately followed with the serious firing of guns from all sides,” said a government official who does not want to be named in this report.

“It was so terrifying that some of the security details in the convoy engaged in a brief moment of argument as to whether to make a U-turn and return to Baga or we should charge through. It was later decided that we had to forge on despite the shooting. That was how we charged through the ambush, and most of our vehicles had their tires deflated or riddled with bullets. We did not stop until we got to Monguno town.”

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The source said there was no death from Sunday’s failed ambush.

“Thank God there was no death except some few injuries,” another survivor, Sadiq Abubakar, said,

“About three vehicles escaped with shattered windscreens, while the Press Crew bus conveying journalists, had flat tyres. A military gun truck was also severely hit, while a soldier sustained a bullet wound on his shoulder.”

The governor and his entourage have since arrived in Maiduguri.

 

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More details of the latest incident will be provided in subsequent updates.

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BREAKING: Labour suspends nationwide strike, protests (PHOTOS)

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Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has suspended its planned nationwide strike that would have started today, Monday, September 28, in protest against the hike in pump price of fuel and electricity tariff.

Earlier, there were indications that the Federal Government and NLC might reach an agreement to avert the looming nationwide strike.

The meeting, which started at about 8:30 pm on Sunday and spilled over till Monday morning had Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo; Minister of State for Power, Godwin Jeddy-Agba and Group Managing Director of the NNPC.

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The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo(SAN) tweeted that there was hope the industrial crisis might be avoided.

He stated on his verified Twitter handle(@fkeyamo): “Still negotiating with labour at exactly 12.34am. Some progress have been made. Concrete proposals on the table from both sides. “Details being worked on by the temporary Secretariat. Gradually moving towards a point of convergence. Let’s hope….”

Furthermore, a source told Vanguard that it is possible the tariff will be suspended for two weeks, but said nothing specific about fuel pump price.

The source also said a joint government/Labour committee will be set up to review the issues within those two weeks.

Vanguard also learned that a communique is being hammered out, an indication that some sort of agreement had been arrived at.

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A communiqué, read by the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, after the meeting, disclosed that government agreed to suspend electricity tariff hike for two weeks pending when a committee set up would 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.

He, however, noted that total deregulation in the downstream sector remains, adding that palliatives would be offered to Nigerian workers to cushion the effects of burden.

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Details of the agreement reached by parties below.

 

 

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