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THE NATION

Minimum wage may not be ready by Sept, says Ngige

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Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige said on Tuesday that the new National Minimum wage may not materialise by the end of September as originally expected. Ngige said the September date was just a date to conclude negotiation on the issue of minimum wage.

The minister told newsmen at his residence in Abuja that the committee on the new National Minimum wage is expecting to conclude its work by the end of September and present its report to the government for deliberation and approval before an executive bill is sent to the National Assembly on the issue.

He said however that the issue of capacity to pay is also paramount in the deliberations on the minimum wage, pointing out that it was to get the input of all those concerned including state governments and the organised private sector that the committee embarked on zonal public hearing across the country.

The Minister said further that in the course of the zonal public hearings, many state governments made different submissions ranging from N22, 000 monthly to N58, 000, adding that the governors were also of the believe that foe the new minimum wage to become effective, the current revenue allocation formula will have to be reviewed in favour of the states and local government.

He said further that some other states are also of the view that the minimum wage should be maintained at the current N18, 000 in view of the inability of some states to pay the current wages.

Senator Ngige said when the minimum wage committee concludes its report, it will be submitted to the National Council of State and the Federal Executive Council for approval before a bill is sent to the National Assembly to legalize the work of the committee.

He said even though it was not an easy task, the committee was making progress in its assigned responsibility, pointing out that it was in other to carry everybody, including the states and private sector along that six governors were elected to be members of the committee as well as representatives of the organised private sector.

On the threat by non-teaching staff of universities to resume their suspended strike as a result of government failure to honour the terms of their agreement, the Minister said government was sourcing the N6 billion needed to pay them their earned allowances as contained in the agreement.

He said his experience as Minister of Labour showed him that majority of about 95 percent of agreement currently being paraded by trade unions in the country were signed before the Buhari government came into office in 2015,adding that most of such agreements had no timeline for implementation.

He also said many of the agreement signed by the last government were not implementable because of the amount involved, adding that the principles of the International Labour Organisation allowed employers to renegotiate agreements which they feel they cannot implement.

He said further that what is important in all collective bargaining agreement is the ability to pay what is being demanded and what is agreed upon.

He appealed to striking health workers to return to work while negotiations continue on their demands, pointing out that the delay in the implementation of their signed agreement was as a result of failure of the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission to defend the two different figure presented to a government high powered committee.

He said the committee has directed the commission and the Federal Ministry of Health to go back and recompile the figures for onward submission to the committee for deliberation.

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THE NATION

Yakubu lamai tour media organizations in Nasarawa State

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The newly appointed Director General (strategic communication and press affairs) to Governor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, Yakubu Lamai will be conducting a working tour of media organizations in Nasarawa State beginning from 15 August 2018.

Mr. Lamai said that the purpose of this familiarization tour is to strengthen the relationship between Nasarawa State government under the stewardship of Governor Al-Makura and the media in the state and to specifically solicit the professional support of media organizations towards balanced media coverage prior to the 2019 Elections and constructive analysis of government actions and programs in Nasarawa State.

Lamai,who is an alum of the Ford foundation fellowship emphasized that he intends to adopt an approach of substance and constructive reasoning to the media management of the image of Governor Tanko Al-Makura given the fact that we live in a world of “information chatter” where citizens are bombarded by countless competing message where the lines between factual reportage, fake news, hate speech, political grandstanding and political campaign of sentiments is beclouding cogent development issues and constructive debate about how to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

Yakubu lamai will be visiting media optimizations like NTA lafia , BBS lafia, FRCN Precious FM, options FM Akwanga, Eggon News, Equity TV, platinum TV keffi and Maloney FM and also hold extensive discussions with NUJ; Nigeria Union of journalists and The correspondents chapel in the course of his Two Day Media Tour.

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THE NATION

Why DSS must obey court order, release Dasuki – APC chieftain, Orji Kalu

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A former Governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, has said if court has ordered the release of former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki, then security agencies should comply with the order.

Kalu, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, APC, made the call while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, on Sunday.

He noted that the various tiers of government, individuals and corporate entities should have respect for the decisions of the courts.

According to Kalu, “We are making many unlawful things possible.

“If a court issues an order that Sambo Dasuki be released, it should be obeyed.

“If we Nigerians genuinely want democracy to endure, we should learn how to respect the laws of the land.

“The law of the land is our constitution and any pronouncement made by the court based on the constitution should be obeyed.’’

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Ortom: No amount of persecution will make me return to APC

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Samuel Ortom, governor of Benue state, says no amount of “torment or persecution” will make him reconsider his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a statement issued on his behalf by Terver Akase, his chief press secretary, the governor accused the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of being a strike squad of the ruling party.

He also alleged that the federal government had been using the anti-graft agency to “cripple governance in the state.”

“After succumbing to nationwide condemnation of its illegal freezing of Benue State Government accounts, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has resorted to yet another shameful act in its desperation to cripple governance in the state,” the statement read.

“The anti-graft agency’s latest move is the bandying of figures in national dailies claiming that such figures are those of transactions in the accounts owned by the Benue State Government.

“It released figures allegedly withdrawn from the Benue State Government accounts without disclosing the dates of the withdrawals and the period during which they were made.

“The commission has also not been able to state accounts into which such monies withdrawn were paid to prove that the funds had been diverted.

“EFCC is contented with publishing the figures without stating how impropriety has been established.

“Are government monies supposed to be kept in the accounts indefinitely without expenditure? Their objective is apparently to give Governor Samuel Ortom and his administration a bad name.

“On this score, it is clear that the EFCC has now become both a strike squad of the APC for torment, and their law court for the trial and conviction of political opponents.

“The commission may torment and persecute Governor Ortom and his subordinates on the directives of the powers that be as much as it serves their purposes, but he will neither be distracted nor reconsider his defection from APC.”

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