TOP STORIES: FG, TUC break deadlock on fuel subsidy, to reconvene onTuesday.Adunni Adetola
The Federal Government and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) have made progress on the negotiations toward resolving dispute over the removal of fuel subsidy.
The Federal Government team and that of TUC led by its President, Comrade Festus Osifo met on Sunday in a meeting that started at about 4pm and ended around 7.30pm.
Addressing the State House Press Corps after the meeting, Mr. Dele Alake who is part of the government negotiation team said much progress has been made in the talks with the TUC leaders.
He revealed that a major demand from TUC is wage increase for workers to accommodate the burden of rising cost of living the subsidy removal will bring noting that the Federal Government is not averse to wage increase as President Bola Tinubu himself had hinted on that during his meeting with governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Thursday.
The leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), led by Joe Ajaero didn’t attend the Sunday meeting with government team that had Mr. Wale Edun, Olayemi Cardoso, Group Managing Director of NNPCL, Mele Kyari, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, labour leader and former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole among others in attendance.
Mr. Alake said the meeting with TUC will resume on Tuesday after further consultations by both sides to firm up resolutions.
Fuel Subsidy: Crisis Deepens As FG Woos TUC After Deadlock With Organised Labour.
The federal government Sunday met with representatives of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to dialogue over the controversies generated by the fuel subsidy removal by the Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration.
The meeting, which kicked off around 5pm at the State House Abuja, according to our findings, was at the instance of the federal government.
The government had last Wednesday held similar meeting with the Organised Labour (OL) comprising both the TUC and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
The meeting, however, ended in a deadlock as the OL got worked up by the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL)’s decision to announce a new regime of pump price, thus signaling the formal removal of the fuel subsidy.
The newly appointed Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Senator George Akume is at the head of the federal government’s team which comprises the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele, former Edo state Governor Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole and the NNPCL Group Chief Executive Officer Mele Kyari.
Also on the government’s side were among others, Executive Secretary National Sugar Development Council (NSDC) Zacch Adedeji, Executive Vice President Downstream of the NNPCL Yemi Adetunji, former Lagos state Commissioner for Information and Strategy Dele Alake and Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Finance and Appropriation Hon James Faleke.
TUC President Festus Osifo led a seven-man team to the meeting, which was still on as at the time of this report.
At the meeting, the TUC presented a list of demands to government including an increase in minimum wage to cushion the effects of the increase in prices of fuel, tax holiday for certain categories of people and revert to status quo as negotiations continue.
The government side acknowledged the feasibility of the demands, stressing that the demands would be presented to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu immediately.
Spokesperson for the government delegation, Mr Alake told State House correspondents that most of the demands by the TUC “are not impracticable.”
He said the demands would be presented to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu whose decisions would be reverted to the labour leaders at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday.
Asked if the demand by labour leaders that the new pump price of petrol be reversed pending conclusion of negotiations, Alake said a decision would likely be taken on Tuesday when the two sides meet again.
“As you all know, we had this reconvened meeting today as we promised you few days ago when we had the initial meeting with the Labour movement.
“We said we were going to reconvene today to keep the engagement on in order to diffuse the tension in the land as a result of the withdrawal of subsidy, which is a reality. Now, we are very happy to announce to Nigerians that this engagement has been very productive.
“The TUC that attended today’s meeting presented a list of demands and those demands we have studied and we are going to present to Mr President, for his consideration.
“But those demands we can announce to Nigerians that a lot of the items on the list, are not impracticable.
“What we need to do is to study the numbers very well. Then, we have asked the TUC to also give us a leeway to consult very exhaustively and reconvene on Tuesday to actually look at the numbers, viability, practicability of all the items that have been presented to us.
“Now, most important and top priority on the list which the government is also looking at very seriously and the president has announced before, is the issue of the minimum wage which the Labour movement has demanded is the consequential impact of this removal of subsidy.
“So, government is look at that and Mr President is most likely going to constitute a tripartite committee that is a committee of federal government, including the state and then the organised labour and the private sector.
“Now, this is a tripartite arrangement, it will be a committee that will study all the dynamics of a wage increase in percentages, the numbers and the categories that will be affected.
“So, by Tuesday when we come back to reconvene, to meet with the TUC again, we should have very concrete items to present to the world. But the most important thing for today is that we are making appreciable progress with the labour,” he said.
Alake also told journalists that the federal government is yet to engage the NLC, stressing that government was making efforts to reach the congress.
“No. We are not but we are making efforts to reach NLC. We all agreed that we are going to meet here but again, in this game there are dynamics.
“Sometimes, they could be meeting with their own executives and not able to meet with us, or they could want to postpone or they have not actually articulated their list of demands as the TUC.
“But we cannot second guess why they are not here. But efforts are being made to reach them, we are not isolating them at all,” he said.
He declined to give a full list of the demands presented to government on the grounds that the congress wants to continue negotiating in good faith as the government delegation also did not reveal details of its own side of the meeting.
“As will be recalled that we were all here on Wednesday last week and after the meeting, after the meeting of Wednesday, government gave us their position and told us the reason why they did what they did, but on our part we did not agree with them.
“So, they presented some of the things they considered as palliatives to us, that we should consider them in the meeting, but we told them no, that we cannot consider them in that meeting, that we’re going back to call our respective organs.
“So we went back, called the NEC of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria on Friday and during the NEC meeting, the NEC of TUC decided that because we already told government as at Wednesday that we’re taking their demands back, we want to go and look at them because they asked us for our demands, we said we didn’t have the mandate to discuss the mandates as at then.
“We went back, we called our meetings on Friday, we had extensive deliberations and our NEC now mandated us with some lists of demands, to come and meet with the government side today. So the meeting we just concluded, we have detailed and marshalled out the list of our demands to them.
“They also in turn told us that when they presented the items to us on Wednesday we told them that we were going back to our principals, so they also need to touch base with Mr President so that we’ll reconvene this meeting again on Tuesday. Topmost in our demands was clearly stated, that for utmost good faith and in the interest of social dialogue, that they should revert to back the pump price while discussion continues.”
SERAP threatens legal action.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)has urged President Tinubu to “set up a presidential panel of enquiry to promptly probe the grim allegations that US$2.1 billion and N3.1 trillion, being public funds from oil revenues, which were budgeted as fuel subsidy payments are missing and unaccounted for between 2016 and 2019, as documented by the Auditor-General of the Federation.”
Following this, the body implored the president to “name and shame anyone suspected to be responsible for the alleged widespread and systemic corruption in the use of oil revenues and the management of public funds budgeted as fuel subsidy and to ensure their effective prosecution as well as the full recovery of any proceeds of crime.”
It also asked Tinubu “to promptly, thoroughly, independently, transparently and effectively probe all fuel subsidy payment made by successive governments since the return of democracy in 1999, and to use any recovered proceeds of crime as palliatives to address the impact of any subsidy removal on poor Nigerians.”
The letter dated June 3, 2023, and signed by SERAP’s deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, reads in part: “There is a legitimate public interest in ensuring justice and accountability for these serious allegations. There will be no economic growth or sustainability without accountability for these human rights crimes.
“Your government should urgently act to follow due process of law in any policy to remove fuel subsidy, ensure that suspected perpetrators of these crimes against Nigerians are brought to justice, and full recovery of any missing public funds.”
“Arbitrarily removing fuel subsidy without addressing outstanding accountability issues in the alleged mismanagement of oil revenues and fuel subsidy payments would amount to punishing poverty and further impoverishing the poor while letting high-profile officials and non-state actors get away with their crimes,” the group said.
SERAP further said: “Any removal of fuel subsidy should not be used as a ploy to keep the poor in poverty while those who allegedly stole oil revenues and fuel subsidy payments keep their ill-gotten wealth.
“Allegations of corruption in oil revenues and fuel subsidy payments suggest that the poor have rarely benefited from the use and management of the revenues and payments.
“Poor and socio-economically vulnerable Nigerians should not be made to continue to pay the price for the stealing of the country’s oil wealth while state and non-state actors pocket public funds.
“We would be grateful if the recommended measures are taken within three days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter. If we have not heard from you by then, SERAP shall take all appropriate legal actions to compel your government to comply with our request in the public interest.
“The proposed panel should be headed by a retired Justice of the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal, and its members should include people with proven professional records, and of the highest integrity that can act impartially, independently, and transparently.”
NLC boycotts meeting, As TUC seek options out of Wednesday’s strike.
Ahead of its proposed industrial action on Wednesday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday, shunned the meeting with the Federal Government delegation held at the Presidential Villa, stating that there would be no discussion unless the government returns the price of fuel to its previous rate.
NLC President, Joe Ajaero, said yesterday that until the Federal Government obeys the Appropriation Act of 2023, which makes provision for subsidy till the end of June, Congress will boycott the meetings with the government.
He said: “We have boycotted the meeting until they revert. There is no point meeting with people who do not have the mandate when what they are doing is illegal, because the Appropriation Act of 2023 has not been obeyed, which makes provision for subsidy till the end of June.
President of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Festus Osifo, had told journalists after the first meeting that the government must return to the old price of petrol, or workers will embark on a nationwide strike slating for Wednesday.
President Tinubu’s Meeting With Opposition Reps-Elect Moved To Thursday.
A planned meeting between President Bola Tinubu and incoming members of the House of Representatives from opposition parties has been postponed to Thursday.
The meeting was originally scheduled for Monday, alongside a meeting with opposition members-elect of the Senate, which remains on schedule.
President Tinubu’s invitation, sent out on Saturday, was signed by the Permanent Secretary, State House, Tijani Umar, on behalf of the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The letter was addressed to the Clerk of the National Assembly, asking for all concerned members to attend and provide their details for security clearance.
The change in date was communicated to the members-elect through a notice which stated, “This is to inform members-elect that the meeting with the President has been postponed till Thursday. Proper communication will be sent subsequently. Regards.”
Police Record 1,630 Cases of Major Offences, Arrest 3,619, Rescue 316 Kidnapped Victims Within 5 Months – IGP Alkali Baba.
The Nigeria Police Force on Monday stated that, a total number of one thousand six hundred and thirty (1,630) cases which cut across major offences such as Terrorism, Secessionism, Kidnapping, Armed Robbery, Banditry, and proliferation of firearms were recorded between January and May this year.
Inspector-General of Police IGP, Usman Alkali Baba made this disclosure during his June 2023 meeting of Strategic Police Managers at Firce Headquarters, Peacekeeping Conference Centre, Abuja.
The IGP June 2023 meeting of Strategic Police Managers is organised to assess the internal security situation within the country vis-à-vis our policing mandate.
Second is to disseminate some emerging strategic and policy-driven directives that will guide our operations towards policing the new Nigerian Ideal under the amiable leadership of the new President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.
According to the IGP, available data and crime analysis between January and May 2023 revealed that the internal security situation of the country is relatively calm and continues to improve with a decline in incidences of major crimes recorded across the six geopolitical zones.
He said, about three thousand, six hundred and nineteen (3,619) suspects were arrested for their participation in various crimes across the country; three hundred and sixteen (316) victims of kidnapping were rescued during the same period, while four hundred and eighty-six (486) assorted firearms consisting of AK-47 rifles and locally fabricated automatic weapons were recovered.
Equally, the IGP said four thousand and seventy-two (4,072) assorted calibers of live ammunition and other incriminating items linked to various major crimes were also recovered within the same period.
IGP noted that regardless of the quantum of achievements recorded within the period under review and the successful democratic transitioning that happened on the 29th of May, 2023, there still remains prevailing and projected threats across the country, including the aftermath of the fuel subsidy removal with the emerging threat of industrial strike action.
He stressed that the Nigeria Police Force will continue to leverage on the support of the Federal Government as we re-evaluate internal security dynamics and adapt our strategies towards ensuring that the current downward trend in crime across the country is sustained.
Gov. Makinde Appoints New PMS Chairman To Replace Auxiliary.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has replaced Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi a.k.a Auxiliary with Alhaji Oluwatomiwa Omolewa as the Chairman of the Park Management System (PMS) in the state.
The replacement was announced in a statement on Sunday by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sulaimon Olanrewaju.
The statement also disclosed that Alhaji Kasali Ajisafe Lawal was named as the new secretary of the PMS.
“Oyo State Government has announced Alhaji Oluwatomiwa Omolewa, former Park Management System (PMS) Secretary, as the new Chairman.
“Alhaji Kasali Ajisafe Lawal is to serve as the secretary,” the statement reads in part.
Olanrewaju explained that the appointments are part of the reorganization of the PMS embarked upon by the state government.
‘Tinubu Reportedly Appoints Nuhu Ribadu As NSA’.
President Bola Tinubu has reportedly appointed a former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nuhu Ribadu as the new National Security Adviser (NSA).
The purported appointment was contained in a tweet on Sunday by former Kaduna Central lawmaker, Senator Shehu Sani.
According to Sani, many vicious and envious persons ensured Ribadu didn’t get any appointment during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari but his appointment as the NSA by Tinubu is commendable.
He wrote: “The appointment of Nuhu Ribadu as the new NSA is commendable. I was quite aware of the vicious and envious persons who ensured that Ribadu was denied any appointment in the last eight years because of the reason that he was not a buharist. The challenge before him is addressing our security challenges. I wish him all the best.”
The appointment is however yet to be confirmed by the presidency.
Fuel Subsidy: Nationwide Blackout Looms As Electricity Workers To Join NLC Strike.
Electricity workers under the aegis of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) have begun mobilizing to join the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) protest strike against the fuel subsidy removal by President Bola Tinubu’s government.
If electricity workers join the strike, the nation will experience a blackout.
NUEE disclosed this in a memo dated June 2, signed by its general secretary, Dominic Igwebike.
The memo reads: “Sequel to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held on June 2. 2023 at the Labour house Abuja, over the sudden removal of fuel subsidy, which has brought untold hardship to Nigerians as well as increased inflation in the economy, the NLC has directed that the nationwide withdrawal of Services action will commence on Wednesday, June 7, 2023.”
The planned strike will see electricity employees nationwide withdraw their services by midnight on Wednesday.
Makinde Opens Up On Why Auxiliary Was Sacked As Oyo State PMS Chairman.
The Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde has shed more light on why Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi a.k.a Auxiliary was sacked as the chairman of the Park Management System (PMS) in the state.
Speaking on Sunday at the thanksgiving service in commemoration of Omituntun 2.0 administration at St. Peters Cathedral, Aremo, Ibadan, Makinde explained that the need to ensure a peaceful atmosphere and avoid fights in the garages necessitated his action.
According to him, no meaningful activity can take place in an atmosphere of insecurity hence the need to sanitize the system.
The Governor revealed that before the last election, his government had approached the different factions and emphasized the need to avoid fights but one of them said he can’t work with the others.
In response, Makinde narrated that he told the disagreeing party that there can only be one government in Oyo State.
Lagos Gov, Sanwo-Olu Appeals To NLC Not To Go On Strike.
The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to embark on its planned nationwide strike to protest the fuel subsidy removal.
The Labour Union had kicked against the removal of fuel subsidy by President Bola Tinubu and also against the hike in the pump price of petrol by the NNPCL.
Speaking on Sunday shortly after a special “Thanksgiving Service” at the Cathedral Church of Christ in Marina, Lagos, the governor said going on strike will neither address nor resolve any issue.
Sanwo-Olu said “This is not the time to go on strike. Recall that all presidential candidates said the first thing they will do is remove fuel subsidy. So what has changed? What has President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said or done that is different from what others would have done?.
“The president has not even spent one week in office. We need to be very patient and reason together. Let us not make the issue about politics, but let’s support this man. We should allow him to go and reflect.
“Strike will not resolve anything; it won’t address the issue. The point should be how to ensure a sustained turnaround in our economy.
“The president mentioned better wages, and we started that in Lagos in January, and I hope other states can key into it.
“We don’t need to wait for the national government, we just need to reflect on what the challenges are in the country and seek ways to resolve them.
“So I plead with the NLC to not turn the subsidy issue into a political one. The leadership should know they are leading people and so there is a need to restrain themselves.
“Let us be patient and work with the president. NNPC has said it has more than enough fuel to go around, so there is no need to heat up the polity.