Lekan Paul

May Day Channels TV Interview: Kogi State Government Clears The Air

So I had a telephone interview on ChannelsTV’s Sunrise Daily this morning. About 5 minutes of stilted talk-time during which horrible network and static feedback prevented me from hearing Chamberlain Usoh’s questions clearly, and thus from responding in a concise or sequential manner. Next thing I know, there is a trending video of the interview posted by the station under a banner headline I consider utterly irresponsible.
Anyway, we in the Administration of Governor Yahaya Bello are used to the media stable in which Channels is tethered. Their unfortunate shenanigans have become comic relief around here. If we cough and they declare there is a tuberculosis pandemic in the state, we have learnt to take a sip water, smile and continue with what we are doing. No be today.
Were it for them alone, I would not be making this rejoinder. But when our failed, rudderless Senator, the one we all know as the Regret of Kogi, who has no constituency office and who only visits home as elections near to pick fights, takes up on that video and begins to wax songs and dance naked in the marketplace with it, well, then, we must reply. Men may sympathise with a madman on account of his insanity, but if he starts trying to burn down the village, they must restrain him – for his health, and others’.
It is important to understand the positions I espoused on that brief call. My reference to Kogi workers who are owed 12 months of salaries was not directed to those workers who were cleared in the first or second stages of our Staff Screening and Verification Exercise because those ones started receiving payments as soon as they were cleared. I meant those who were screened out by the earlier Screening Committees for one reason or the other. Those among them now cleared after the Kogi Stakeholders Congress which ended around 8pm last night are the ones still having delayed outstandings of up to 12 months some cases. However, the Government has promised to do everything within her powers to pay them in full this month.
To get them to this point after they were initially screened out, the  Government, Labour and other stakeholders conferred on the way forward and agreed to reopen the process to see if they could be helped in any way. A fresh Review Committee led by a seasoned team from the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) was therefore set up in January 2017 for this purpose.
Since no two cases are similar, this Review Committee had to physically listen to every worker who had been declared uncleared previously and who appeared before her. At the end of the 90 days alloted the Committee by Government to conclude her work, about 70% of those who came for review were readmitted into the workforce. Some were found victims of errors by previous Committees, but most were readmitted on compassionate grounds, and not because they were able to objectively overturn their earlier classifications.
To make that readmission possible Government had to bend over backwards on some offences prescribed in the Public Service Rules which are not ‘too criminal in nature’ (for want of a less inventive description). Such infractions as joining the service while still underaged, multiple declarations of age to put off retirement, stagnation (achieving over 8 years in a particular grade level with nowhere else to go), falsification of academic, work or other documents, mild to serious offences while in service, double employment and salary, etc.
It is among these class of people, who were slated for dismissal and sanctions before, but who have enjoyed clemency, that you will find those owed up to 12 months. It is to them I made reference. They were already out of the system. In some cases the Government owed them nothing based on the nature of the offences disclosed against them. Then the Government agreed to give them another chance. Following this soft landing approach accorded these category of formerly uncleared workers by the Governor, most are now back on the payroll and the Government has assumed responsibility again which was why my Boss directed they should be paid in full this month of May, including all arrears.
Yesterday evening we held a massive stakeholders meeting in Government House attended by all stakeholders where these issues were fully presented to the people. The Labour and Student unions turned out in full. None provided any counter to these facts. Instead, they commended Government for the amnesty and expressed their joy at the sanitation of the payroll, praying it meant genuine workers will now be promptly paid their salaries and emoluments.
This makes it the more unfortunate for Ranti Ojo Matthew, the TUC (Trade Union Congress) Leader to claim to still be on some uncleared list, and to still be owed 12 months backlog of salaries. As far back as the end of last year, Government records say different. He received his salaries up till December 2016 (including all his arrears which we inherited from the previous administration). He appeared on the uncleared list when it was discovered that he had failed to produce his original certificates for sighting, and that most withdrawals from  his salary account were from everywhere but Kogi State, in particular his place of work. A suspicious quantum of those banking transactions were also at times when he should be at his desk, working. Payments to him were thus withheld from January 2017 on account of this.
Luckily dirty him, after the initial bluster about privileges as a labour leader, he realised that no one who wished to remain a worker in Kogi State would be exempted from full screening and submitted himself and his documents for physical scrutiny. He also explained that he was making so much withdrawals from out of station because his duties as a labour leader involves a prodigious amount of travel. He has since been cleared, readmitted and will be receiving his unpaid salaries (3 months only) with everyone else in this batch.
It is also important to note that his NLC (Nigerian Labour Congress) counterpart, Comrade O.J Edoka did the needful promptly and was on the first list of those cleared. He has continued to earn his pay without undue interruptions.
Finally, on the allegations that May Day Celebrations were cancelled in Kogi State as a form of protest against the suffering of workers, the Kogi State Government is just hearing that one now. Government is not owing Labour a dime in statutory or customary contributions. Just two weeks ago at the formal presentation of the the Review Committee’s Report, Labour gave Government profuse thanks for clearing her outstanding and ensuring they will hold robust May Day events in the state.
It was the Labour leaders themselves who requested for a time out this year from Government because they claimed to have security reports indicating that forces external to them were working to hijack any public gathering today and wreak havoc. The Government of Kogi State is more than equal to the task of securing locations and participants at any event of any magnitude which they have approved, May Day not excepted. Just this morning I was in Government House when the Youth Corpers mobilised by Government for the usual May Day parades were asked to go home and rest because Labour would not be holding rallies.
Are these not the same Labour leaders who kept crying that their cooperation with the State Government to clean up the workforce was earning them the sobriquet of ‘weak’, ‘bribed’, ‘compromised’, etc from their peers outside the state? Are they not the ones who claimed they backed and participated in the Exercise because of their love for Kogi and the workers they represent who have been short-changed for too long in the past? So which one be say dem doam as protest? What is there to protest? That Government wants to keep what belongs to genuine workers for only genuine workers? I will advice my brothers to stand by their principles always and shame the devil. No matter the threat.
After all, did not Obakpolor Uzazakpo, the Court Jester of Old Benin Kingdom say, ‘If you tell the truth you die, if you tell lies you still die…?’ Or something like that. You know Obakpolor, though a young man at the time he was fooling himself for a living, had a problem gathering his thoughts and his wits so let us not expect too much sense from him, and take what we can salvage from his incessant babblings.
Come to think of it, maybe it’s not even that particular jester who made that saying. There were jesters aplenty those days, as nowadays. It may have been Mr. Bean. Or Mr. Ibu. Anyway, I suppose the jester who said it meant well, but as he was trying to say one thing, another thing was entering his mouth. It’s the curse of jesters.
Anyway, I stand by the promise of The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived. He said that that if we know the truth, it will set us free. This is great advice, and I commend it to all of us holding sacred trusts as leaders and servants of our people. If we also tell the truth that we know always, no matter what, it will set us free from the fear of man which can be a snare.
In concluding, and for the records, and entirely by the Grace of God, the Kogi State Government, after May 2017, would have completely paid all cleared workers up to date. Uncleared workers and ghostworkers will know themselves because they/their alter egos would have been expelled from the payroll, with or without prosecution for their crimes.
These  are the facts which the Government of Kogi State wants to put out to all people of goodwill. We will not be moved by the contrived umbrage of those who persist in fraudulent misinterpretation of events in Kogi State. They do so for their own selfish political, albeit, defeated, ends. These ineffective remnants of the late (and unlamented) buffoonery which almost wrecked Nigeria in the years of the locust from expecially from 2011 to March, 2015 can wail all they want, but they cannot turn the clock of our New Direction in Kogi State backwards. Despite the vicious, malicious and atrocious flood of negative Press they persist in unleashing on us through their captive media, we will continue to defeat their lies with our truths.
In closing, can those Elected to pass the National Budget and Confirm The President’s nomination’s get to work do the needful and pass the 2017 Appropriation Bill sent in nearly half a year ago. At least so that the Nation can move on.
Edward David Onoja
Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor
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Speaker Dogara Congratulates Heavyweight Champion Anthony Joshua, Says Nigeria Must Harness And Promote Talent

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, has congratulated British-Nigerian boxer, Anthony Oluwafemi Olaseni Joshua on clinching the unified world heavyweight champion title.
This was made known via a statement released by his Special Adviser on media and publicity, Turaki Hassan, in Abuja on Monday.
“I would like to congratulate the World Heavyweight champion, Anthony Olaseni Joshua, for this great feat that he has achieved. His dedication, discipline and commitment to boxing has paid off, as his is now a household name.”
“The young man’s affinity for Nigeria is also apparent and commendable, as he has acknowledged his Nigerian roots in interviews and fully embraced the Nigerian identity.”
The Speaker then called on sports development authorities in the country to seize this challenge as impetus  to identify and develop home grown talent so that Nigerian athletes may compete on a global scale.
“Anthony Joshua’s success should be taken as an indication of what’s possible if we devote the required resources to training our athletes and offering all the support that they need. Many athletes of Nigerian origin represent and win medals for other countries because the environment which we offer is not very conducive, and now is the time to change that.”
“Tales of our athletes being owed what’s due to them and the gruelling circumstances in which they have to prepare for tournaments discourage many from engaging in sports, and in cases where they do, we lose such talents to other countries, which are serious about capacity development, in no time at all.”
“This calls for deep introspection on our part, as there are career opportunities for our teeming youth population outside academic institutions and white collar jobs that corporate entities have to offer.”
“Young Nigerians have excelled in entertainment, for instance, and gone on to build enviable careers in the creative industry. This, they have managed to achieve without deliberate effort on the part of government and one can only imagine the heights which our youths would attain if we took deliberate steps towards genuinely supporting them in their chosen fields.”
“I would like to, once more, congratulate Mr. Joshua, while calling on the Executive, through the relevant agencies, to implement policies which would help greatly with developing home grown talent.”
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Jollof Rice War And Lai Mohammed’s Suicide Response To Richard Quest By Bemdoo Hulugh

When the Minister Of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed said Senegal has the best jollof rice, CNN’s Richard Quest was also in shock. He said “I hear a shock across the country. I hear a sigh across the country”. But the Minister who was at that moment obviously unaware of his crime was smiling sheepishly. He didn’t understand that he had just betrayed his countrymen and women who have been telling the whole world that Nigeria has the best jollof rice. Since ignorance is never an excuse and it is a crime for a Minister of Information to be uninformed, Mr Lai Mohammed has been rightly tried and found guilty in the Court of public opinion for committing treason. He did not just betray his countrymen and women, he also missed the opportunity to officially support our social media claim that Nigeria has the best jollof rice. In fact he aided the enemy in the Jollof Rice war.
On a more serious note, some people feel this is a minor issue that should not be talked about for too long but it is not. We are talking about our national pride. Do you understand what it means for the spokesman of the Cuban government to say cigars from Dominican Republic are better than Cuban cigars? That will be a national disaster. Do you understand what happens to the pride and self-confidence of French citizens when you fry potatoes in your village but still call it “French fries”? Do you understand the feeling of self-worth in the mind of a japanese citizen when instant noddles which was  invented by Aondo Momofuku in Japan after world war II is now your favourite meal in the deep jungles of Africa? Do you know what happens to the mentality of an American when you prefer a chilled bottle of coke(not kunu or zobo) which was invented by a pharmacist called John Pemberton long time ago in Atlanta, Georgia? The Honourable Minister had the opportunity to give us all that sense of pride but he failed woefully. What a man! What a disaster!!
All great countries throughout the ages make deliberate effort to dominate politically, economically and culturally. That is how they become great. Though jollof rice is a West African delicacy, it became more prominent when Nigerians and Ghanaians argued about who cooks the best jollof rice on twitter. This was about cultural dominance in the region and the Honourable Minister missed a golden opportunity to tell the world we cook the best jollof rice. That our jollof rice has different varieties that are all cooked with different ingredients which gives them all a slightly different taste. We expected him to tell a powerful story of how Mark Zuckerberg or any other foreign dignitary enjoyed our jollof rice and said good things about it. And how all ceremonies in Nigeria, be it mourning or celebration are not complete till jollof rice is served. He missed the opportunity, failed in his responsibilities and also betrayed his country. This is how Mr Lai Mohammed became a traitor.
Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi
You can also interact with him on Twitter @bumy04.
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Removing ‘Danfo’ From Lagos Roads’ll Create Jobs says Gov. Ambode

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Monday allayed fears that plans by his administration to phase out the yellow commercial buses, popularly known as Danfo would lead to massive job loss, saying that it would instead create more jobs in the transportation sector.

The Governor, who spoke at the May Day Rally held at the Agege Stadium to commemorate the 2017 Workers Day Celebration, said the Bus Reform Initiative, aimed at introducing over 5000 air-conditioned buses to replace the Danfo buses would open new vista of opportunities, while also redefining the means of road transportation in the State.

Responding to the fears raised by the Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Lagos Council, Comrade Idowu Adelakun and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Comrade Francis Ogunremi on the implications of the initiative to drivers, conductors, mechanics and other artisans, Governor Ambode assured that it would benefit all Lagosians on the long run.

He said, “If Lagos is to be globally competitive, we need to change the outlook of the way the city runs. What is of paramount interest to this government is to make sure that every Lagosian has a comfortable means of moving from one point to the other. But I promise you there will be no job losses.

“The Governor is not interested in driving all the new buses. It is the same bus drivers, the technicians, the mechanics that will also still be employed and trained to use these new buses. Instead of job losses, we are going to employ more people for the greater number of the buses and it will make the city more beautiful and more comfortable for all our workers.”

Governor Ambode, who also addressed the request of the labour leaders on workers’ welfare, assured that as the State’s Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) continues to increase, his administration would work out modalities to improve the welfare of workers in line with his mantra of all-inclusive governance.

Punch Newspaper

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Cross River State Gov. Ayade Surprises Workers, Pays May Salaries

Cross River State government has paid its workers their May salaries to mark Workers’ Day.

Governor Ben Ayade, had on April 30 ordered that the May salaries of workers be paid.

This is not the first time that Ayade, whose cardinal priority had been the prompt payment of salaries, will be paying workers ahead of the due date which falls within the 25th of every month.

The first was in May 2016 when Ayade ordered workers to be paid on Workers’ Day, while the second was on December 1, 2016.

Workers in the state got two months salaries in one week, as salaries for April  were paid a few days ago.

State chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. John Ushie, said the union had advised against the payment of salaries in advance.

Ushie said, “We had advised the governor not to be paying salaries like this but he insisted. Maybe it is his own way of showing that he cares for the people. He feels he should make the life of the people better and he has expressed this by paying a month salary in advance.”

Punch Newspaper

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Kanu’s Release: APGA Commends FG

The All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) has expressed satisfaction over the release of Mr Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

Dr Victor Oye, National Chairman of the party said in Awka on Monday that the party was happy that the rule of law had been observed on the matter.

He described the freedom of Kanu as long expected, observing that although the bail conditions were tough, they were fully met.

“APGA is happy with the bail granted Mr Nnamdi Kanu and his eventual release from prison, this development we must say is long overdue.

“It is also good that at last rule of law is being observed and it is a step in the right direction.

“However, we are not comfortable with the bail conditions which the party views as stringent and punitive,’’ he said.

The APGA chairman decried the rising agitation and tension on the country, insisting that the situation could not be controlled by force but through strict adherence to principles of true federalism.

He said such agitations might persist in as much as the crucial national questions that gave rise to them remain unaddressed.

“All we need is justice, equitable distribution of national wealth, implementation of the Federal Character provisions in the 1999 Constitution as amended.

“Once these things are in place, then ethnocentric interests and agitation will be drastically reduced,’’ he said.

Punch Newspaper

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Worker’s Day Without Workers Pay By Muhammad Kano

There are some few, effortless and simple things, which I have already assured myself that, if they are not confronted and solved squarely and completely in Nigeria, we should all continue to consider Nigeria as a joke. In other words, if the Nigerian rulers and the ruled are unable to solve these simple managerial crises, we should all forget about anything development and continue to wallow in our self deception mode. On these issues, I have assurance but I remain to be corrected. They are only four (4) simple things, among others;
1) Fixed date for the payment of salary: this doesn’t mean that, salaries should be paid on 24th, 25th…… it should be paid on whichever day chose by the government. However, one thing must be considered, that’s FIXING a specific date for that purpose. Salary is something that must be paid, then, why this deceptive and unorganized approach? For Nigeria to even start thinking of development, workers must be truly and carefully considered. Their rights must be paid on time, because, as they say, it is not a privilege. If the government likes, let it pay it on 30th of each month, or even make every month to contain 31 days and pay it on the 31st. Let’s have a fixed date please. If not, let’s take the police for instance. A police may not know when to get his salary for risking his entire life to protect people; however, he is sure, he can be bribed by the poor through corrupt ways. How can you deny him something that he is certain about with an uncertain? This penetrates deeper into every sector.
2) Our epileptic power supply must be scheduled and planned. The little we have must be given not in random. People are entitled to know when they should expect the little. 10:20am-11:20am on Wednesdays? Saturday and Sunday nights? Two hours every day? When? This must be planned and relayed to the payers if we are not jokers! This electricians switch on and off at their will and we pay for the rubbish.

3) The National Carrier: we should have it at least for our internal development. There are so many countries around the world especially in Africa which Nigeria and Nigerians underrate and undervalue, however, they have their Sudan, Ethiopian, Mali, Malawi, airlines, but the so-called giant of looting rely on ants for its air transport survival. This is a mischief of the highest order.
4) The over dependence and over reliance on dollar. Mark what I say, overdependence! Nigeria can use dollar. This is one of the cantankerous weaknesses which many people have agreed to live with, especially the Nigerians. However, the overdependence is alarming! Almost every individual in Nigeria, big or small, knows about dollar. Nigeria should learn to uplift its currency and leave dollar alone.
There are so many other simple things which you can help to count. In other countries they are not even remembered because they are subconsciously arranged for over hundred years. But in Nigeria, we are still battling with something which can be corrected in two months. In Nigeria we face price hikes, lack of infrastructures, no medicines, no qualitative education, good roads are there only in televisions or when Abuja airport is planned to be renovated, no nothing….. You can continue counting our lacks, they are many. However, the above mentioned four, are very simple, they can be corrected with a simple verbal order, without putting much money and effort. May Nigeria be great come what may!
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Central Bank, Intelligence And Cash By Austyn Ogannah

Watchers and followers of American history would readily admit that one of the most enduring scandals of the Ronald Reagan Administration was the clandestine sale of arms to Iran, at the time a sworn enemy of the US, with some of the proceeds sent to a South American Rebel group in cash. This scandal, generally referred to as the Iran-Contra Affair, led to an unreserved apology to the American people by President Reagan on 13th August 1987.

In a slightly related circumstance, about 3 months to the end of the Barack Obama administration, news broke that the US administration had ferried over $1.7 billion equivalent in foreign cash to the Iranian government. The monies drawn from the Federal Reserve Bank, the equivalent of our Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), were paid in “Swiss Francs, euros and other currencies”, the department of Treasury later confirmed.

The covert payment to Iran was also used as leverage to guarantee the release of four American prisoners.

One can also recall the scandal that broke in February 2000 when it was alleged that about US$20 million was paid in cash from Germany’s intelligence agency, known as the BND, to the favored political parties from 1974 to 1982 while Helmut Schmidt, a Social Democrat, was chancellor.

It is open knowledge that elite intelligence agencies like the CIA, MOSSAD, MI5 and others, mostly prefer to fund their operations in cash for ease and also so as not to leave money trails. It doesn’t matter what the operation is – whether it is to topple a foreign government, protect the homeland or counter-terrorism, etc., the mode of transaction is preferably cash. This is why their budgets are called black budgets – there dealings are opaque – no records – no receipts – It is that simple.

I have never read or heard in the news where the central banks of these governments are being vilified and hounded for funding these duly approved cash requests except of course lately in Nigeria. Why is this so? Your guess is as good as mine – the politics of power.

The Central Bank of Nigeria is the banker of the federal government and its corresponding agencies. The relationship we have with our banks is same one that these government agencies maintain with the CBN. For example, if I write you a cheque and you take it to the bank for payment, the teller will simply pay you, if my account is funded and the signature(s) match. In fact, sometimes you are asked, “How do you want your money – N1000 or N500 notes”. The teller is not going to ask you what you intend to do with the money nor will they ask the account owner why he/she is giving money to the person withdrawing.

I am using this simple analogy to highlight the disgraceful and dangerous plot being executed by some powerful but disgruntled persons to continue to taint and discredit an institution as sensitive as the CBN because it made duly authorized payments to security agencies for clandestine operations. Even though the cash payment being investigated now occurred during the administration of Goodluck Jonathan, reliable sources within the intelligence and financial industry confirm that this practice of paying cash to intelligence agencies such as the NIA, NSA, SSS, and Defence Ministry, is so routine that it has undoubtedly continued under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari. If indeed this administration found it so horrible that the CBN pays cash to these agencies, why did it continue this practice? Your guess is as good as mine—politics? Giving a dog a bad name so as to kill it?

The disgraceful infighting amongst our so-called elite security agencies which has led to washing of their dirty linens in public is a huge embarrassment to not only the federal government but to Nigerians in general. (Let me leave this for future discuss but suffice it to note that the Osinbajo Panel and President Buhari should heed the warnings of Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi on this matter).

For those who have not read the Sunday piece by the respected foreign affairs professor and former Foreign Minister, let me quote some paragraphs:

“External intelligence officers, otherwise called spies, do not operate under the same operational penalties as domestic intelligence officers.

“Under no circumstances should the report of the panel in as far as it relates to the activities of the NIA be made public and no more leaks from the panel… Normally, foreign intelligence activities are shrouded in secrecy, and not in the glare of publicity.”

“… Countries go to incredible lengths to hide the identities of their agents both domestic and foreign and their operations. No receipts get issued. Budgets are called black budgets because they are never publicly acknowledged.”

The CBN since its founding in 1958 has been paying out cash to government and its agencies to fund various operations whether they are covert or otherwise. This practice has been standard under all Presidents including this one. The CBN since the past leadership of Roy Pentelow Fenton through Clement Isong, Adamu Ciroma, Paul Ogwuma, Lamido Sanusi and now Godwin Emefiele at various times have paid out millions of dollars in cash to the federal government and security agencies to fund one operation or another. In fact, I gathered that Nigeria’s last intervention in The Gambia that led to the eventual peaceful ousting of strongman Yahyah Jammeh from power in January was funded by tens of millions of dollars in cash provided by the CBN to the Defence/NSA.

My point is, we must stop this silly culture of destroying the integrity of our revered institutions because of selfish interests and agendas. If any person or group wants to take up issues with how Nigeria’s funds are being spent then it must channel that effort to the right office and not the CBN. The CBN is just a bank – it has a civic and constitutional duty to pay when a mandate is presented with all approving signatories verified and of course with the account holders’ account funded accordingly.

*** Austyn Ogannah is the Publisher of THEWILL Newspaper (www.thewillnigeria.com) and an advocate of governance.


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HERE Photo Exhibition Launches To Fight Against Sexual Abuse

The much anticipated HERE photo exhibition organized by The Initiative for Equal Rights (TIERs) in partnership with Stand To End Rape Initiative (STER) was officially launched yesterday, Sunday April 30, 2017 at the Silverbird Galleria, Lagos.

The photo exhibition is aimed at using pictures to tell stories of people who have suffered from sexual abuse.

While describing the exhibition, Oluwaseun Ayodeji Osowobi, Executive Director, Stand To End Rape Initiative, mentioned that when she was abused seven years ago, there was no organization to stand with her through the entire process. This served as a motivation to start up an organization aimed at telling stories of those who have been sexually abused and to support them through the entire recovery process.

“The Here campaign is for those who have been sexually abused but are not able to tell their stories physically, through this exhibition we are helping them tell their stories using pictures” Osowobi said.

Jumoke Sanwo, Creative Director, Revolving Art Incubator, said she hopes the exhibition generates the right conversation that will influence positive actions from law makers, law enforcers, and the community, that’s what they are trying to communicate.

While addressing guests at the exhibition, Olumide Makanjuola, Executive Director of The Initiative for Equal Rights mentioned that it is an avenue to talk about the sexual abuse straight people and members of the LGBT community go through daily in the society.

“Tonight has been amazing, because it has been an avenue where we can talk about everything without holding back, but realizing that there is a problem. It is amazing that we can tell the stories of people who have suffered from sexual abuse, abuse from the public and the police because of their sexual orientation,” Makanjuola said.

“I’m also inviting everyone to be here during the closing on May 14, let’s have conversations about sexual abuse and rape, because you never know, it could happen to anyone,” he added.

The exhibition also featured a panel discussion which featured media personality, Arit Okpo; writer, Titilope Sonuga; and Head Psychotherapist of STER, Amanda Iheme.

The exhibition is now officially open to the public. It will stay open till Sunday May 14, 2017.

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Minimum Wage: NLC To Stage Protest Against Governors, Lawmakers

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has on Sunday, threatened to mobilise Nigerians against governors and some National Assembly members. This is in a reaction to governors and lawmakers pushing the bill which seeks to remove the National Minimum Wage from the exclusive to the concurrent legislative list.

The bill which scaled through first reading before the House,is set for second reading on the floor of the House where members will debate on it.

In a report in The Nation newspaper, NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, accused some members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum of sponsoring such an anti-workers’ legislation. He stressed that labour would explore every legitimate legal means to protect workers. “We have done in the past and we are going to deplore it,” said Wabba.

“All over the world, minimum wage is on the exclusive list. We are talking about protecting the most vulnerable group, that is the principle and philosophy. It is an ILO core issue under decent work agenda. It is a core ILO issue that all countries are conformed to.

“So, first is that it is the level of ignorance because he thinks that it is only for the state. No. It is for the self-employed for those that are from the private sector to protect the most vulnerable people from being exploited from false labour and slavery. That is why minimum wage law is there.

“It is a core ILO convention and in many countries of the world, including capitalist economy. As capitalist as the United Stated (U.S.) is, they have a minimum wage law.

“So, we must first understand the concept. It is not the state government. It is all employers of labour generally, both private and public. So, for public sector, who fixes their own? That is why it is a tripartite issue. I think that there is a level of ignorance he has demonstrated in this without even knowing what minimum wage law is all about.

“First, we condemn it in its entirety. We are going to respond immediately and effectively. Two, let him also go back to the archives. This issue was introduced even by some cabals within the Governors’ Forum at the last constitution amendment and it was defeated.

“It went to a referendum and it was defeated. So, we should start from where we stopped and not to take us back to areas we have actually advanced on.”

Wabba said that millions of Nigerians who are self-employed and those working in the private sector will be subjected to undue exploitation if the national minimum wage is removed from the exclusive list to the concurrent list.

“Who will regulate the case of the self-employed; for instance now, you are self-employed, you are not working under either the state or the federal government where you can even negotiate.

“So, the implication is that once you remove that from the exclusive list, workers will be exploited. We are not even talking of the maximum, we are talking about the minimum.

“Assuming the alteration bill sells through in the National Assembly, what will organised labour, especially the leadership of the NLC, do? It will not said through because we will stop it at all cost. Nigerian workers will not accept this.

“The proponent of the bill, Ayeola Abayomi Abdulkadir (APC-Lagos), seeks to alter the Second Schedule, Part 1 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) by deleting item 34 from the exclusive legislative list and renumbering the existing item 35 as item 34 and subsequent items accordingly.”

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Magu: Senate To Withhold Confirmation Of President Buhari Nominees

The Senate may have perfected plans to withhold the confirmation of nominees by President Muhammadu Buhari as part of the lawmakers’ strategies for a showdown with the Presidency.

According to a report in Punch newspaper, the upper chamber of the National Assembly is considering placing an “embargo” on approval of appointments by the President until the legislature and the executive resolved the lingering crisis between them.

It was gathered on Sunday that the Senate would make the move based on the recent comment by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, who said he agreed with human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that Section 171 of the Constitution empowers the President to make some appointments without National Assembly’s approval.

An impeccable source in the leadership of the Senate told our correspondent that a constitutional crisis was brewing in the country.

According to the source, the legislature and the executive have conflicting interpretation of the Constitution on their powers and responsibilities.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said while an intervention by the judiciary would be needed, the executive should go to court and not the legislature.

The Presidency and the Senate had clashed over the retention of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission despite the rejection of his appointment by the legislature.

The Senate had, on March 28, 2017, suspended the consideration of the 27 nominees by the President as Resident Electoral Commissioners of the Independent National Electoral Commission for two weeks.

The move was to protest the Presidency’s insistence on Magu as the acting Chairman of EFCC.

Osinbajo had ruled out the possibility of Buhari replacing Magu with another nominee, adding that the President did not find the DSS report, which was the basis for Magu’s rejection, as a strong reason to replace the EFCC boss.

Speaking to our correspondent on Sunday, the National Assembly source stated, “There is going to be a constitutional crisis in Nigeria because the Senate is now at a crossroads on what to do with the nominations made by the President for which he is seeking the confirmation by the Senate.

“Going by what Osinbajo said on Magu, it means that the nation’s Presidents from 1999, who sent nominations to the Senate for confirmation, had all breached the Constitution. Even Buhari, who has been sending nominations to the Senate, was not properly advised.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki had, at the plenary on Wednesday, read three letters from Buhari, seeking the confirmation of some of his appointments, including three non-career ambassadorial nominees,

The President, in another letter, sought confirmation of the appointment of five members for the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The President also wrote the Senate separately to seek the confirmation of the appointment of the Chairman, National Electricity Regulation Commission.

Also, the lawmakers have yet to screen and confirm the two ministerial nominees sent to the Senate by Buhari.

The source added, “They may not (be considered, including those of the CBN, NERC and others just sent to the Senate, because of the claims made by the Vice-President. He spoke as if he was speaking the mind of the President.

The source added, “They (Presidency) should proceed to court to seek endorsement for their position. It is their business to go to the court, not the Senate’s. The Vice President has already stalled the nomination and confirmation processes by his unguarded statements.

“He somehow agreed with Falana that there is no need for legislative confirmation for the appointments. With the Section 171 claim by the Vice-President, the Senate is now at a crossroads on whether to go on with the confirmation (of appointments) or adopt the new claim by the Presidency.

“The National Assembly follows established laws, which have been used for all dealings with the other arms of government. If they now have a contrary view, they should go to court.”

But a member of the Senate expressed his anger over the plan in an interview with our correspondent.

The All Progressives Congress lawmaker lamented that some recent decisions by the chamber were not enjoying the support of most members.

The lawmaker said, “Between you and I, that is rubbish. The issue of Magu is rubbish; the issue of (the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service) Hameed Ali is rubbish.

“If some of us insist on Magu’s removal and Ali should appear before the Senate in uniform, how does that put food on the table of Nigerians? And we are supposed to focus on what can improve the life of the average Nigerians; we are not doing that.  But we are busy with Ali, Magu and other issues. It is so unfortunate.”

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, could not be reached for comments on the latest development.

While he did not return our correspondent’s calls on Saturday, the lines indicated that they had been switched off on Sunday.

But the Vice-Chairman, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, said the Senate would address all issues relating to the relationship between the lawmakers and the Presidency.

He said, “By Tuesday, Senator Sabi (Abdullahi) will speak on the issue as reflected by the joint decision of the Senate. Nobody can take any individual position (on the matter); the Senate will take the position.”

When asked to speak as the deputy spokesman for the Senate, Murray-Bruce replied, “Sabi will take that position because I have not gotten any official communication from the Senate and I don’t have any opinion (on the matter).”

President Buhari had set up a reconciliatory committee chaired by Osinbajo, which has as members ministers, who were at a time, members of the National Assembly as members.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate), Senator Ita Enang; and Samaila Kawu (House of Representatives) are also members.

But while the Presidency said the panel had started to meet with the Senate leadership, Saraki had denied such meetings, saying the committee was not necessary.

The Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, could not be reached for comments on Saturday and Sunday.

Punch Newspaper

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Lasun’s Allegation of Threat To Life, A Wolf Cry Says APC

The All Progressives Congress has challenged the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Yusuf Lasun, to prove that his claims of alleged threat to life is true or stop the blackmail against the State of Osun.

In a statement, on Sunday, by the APC Director of Publicity, Research and Strategy in Osun State, Mr. Kunle Oyatomi, alleged that Lasun, who is one of the leaders of the party in the state, was behind the theory that Adeleke was poisoned.

The statement reads: “This (allegation) is a wolf cry and political gerrymandering, which cannot amount to a threat to life. There is no fragment of truth in all Lasun claimed, and it appears to have been the product of a very sick-minded person.

“We hereby state unequivocally that the Deputy Speaker and his band of delusional propagandists are mere opportunists clawing to the death of our late party leader and illustrious son of Ede, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, to create smokescreen and score undue political relevance for themselves.

“Alas, without searching further, Hon. Yusuf has, without any iota of doubt, revealed himself to us that he is the chief sponsor and promoter of the irritating blackmail against the government of the state of Osun that the late Senator of Osun West Senatorial District was poisoned. This, in its entirety, is illogical and irresponsible.”

Recall that Senator Isiaka Adeleke died on Sunday, April 23, after complaining of leg pain.

The Constituency Relations Officer of the Deputy Speaker, Niyi Ogunsola, had on Saturday, accused the APC chairman and some former commissioners of threatening Lasun’s life.

The media aide to the Deputy Speaker, Mr. Wole Oladimeji, in his reaction, challenged the APC in the state to prove that his principal was behind the outcry that Adekeke was poisoned by the state government.

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