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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

Age Falsification: ICPC arraigns ex-border agency boss

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A former Acting Executive Secretary of the Border Communities Development Agency (BCDA), Mrs. Victoria Olutayo Odumosu, has been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) for age falsification.

ICPC spokesperson, Rasheedat Okoduwa in a statement on Thursday said Odumosu was arraigned before Justice Olasumbo Goodluck of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Maitama on a five-count charge bordering on conferring corrupt advantage upon herself as a public officer in order to keep herself in public service beyond the statutory retirement age.

Okoduwa said Odumosu was alleged to have changed her date of birth on the agency’s nominal roll from 6th July, 1956 to 6th July, 1960, when she was made the head of Human Resources Department of the agency, contrary to Section 19 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

She added that this fact was unearthed by ICPC after it launched an investigation into allegations contained in a petition it had received against the accused person.

She added that Odumosu pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against her when they were read out to her, Counsel to the accused person, Sayo Odumosu, through a written application, sought the relief of the court to grant his client bail.

Justice Goodluck then adjourned the case to Friday 19th October, 2018 for bail hearing, while the suspect has been remanded in ICPC custody, the ICPC statement.

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THE NATION

Guild of Corporate Online Publishers holds second annual conference in Lagos

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The Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP) has concluded arrangements for its second annual conference holding on Friday, October 19, 2019 at Sheraton Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos State.

A statement released in Lagos on Wednesday by GOCOP Publicity Secretary, Olumide Iyanda, confirmed that the theme of the conference is “Online Publishers’ Role Towards a Sustainable Economy, Credible Election and Security in Nigeria.”

Former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba (CON), has confirmed his presence as chairman of the event.

“Aremo Osoba’s choice as chairman is informed by his enviable profile as a journalist, elder statesman and peace advocate.

“He brings in a wealth of experience as former Managing Director of Daily Times Nigeria Limited, Governor of Ogun State and member of the Nigerian Constituent Assembly, among others,” the statement said.

Former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Senior Team Manager for the Africa Program of the Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof. Chidi Odinkalu, has also confirmed his presence as the guest speaker.

“Recognised globally as an authority in international law, international economic and human rights law, public policy and political economy, Prof Odinkalu’s presentation will provide a clear roadmap for the media and other critical stakeholders in the Nigerian projects,” the statement added.

Chairman, Centre of Excellence in Multimedia Technology, Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos, Prof. Ralph Akinfeleye; and former Director, ICT Centre, Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof. Leonard Shilgba, will be the discussants.

The Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other stakeholder groups in the media will be represented at the conference.

GOCOP represents media organisations registered in Nigeria with promoters drawn from practitioners who have served at senior levels in the profession.

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THE NATION

Shekarau back in Court over N900m money laundering charges

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Thursday adjourned the case of alleged money laundering against former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Shekarau was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside former external affairs minister Aminu Wali and one Mansur Ahmad on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

When the case came up for hearing, the Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, who has just assumed duty at the Court, adjourned the trial till Nov. 19, 20, and 21, 2018.

The judge replaced Justice Zainab Bage who was transferred.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, had earlier told the court that the defendants, between March 26 and 27, 2015, conspired among themselves and received the said amount without going through financial institutions.

He said that the money was issued to the defendants by the Peoples Democratic Party and former petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Before the adjournment, the defense counsel, Mr Jibrin Okutekpa (SAN) prayed that the court to extend the bail granted to his clients by the former judge in line with Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The judge acceded to the request to extend the bail before adjourning to Nov. 19, 201 and 21 for continuation of the trial.

NAN recalls that Bage had granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum.

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