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New minimum wage: Senate takes stand on N30,000 proposal

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Majority Leader of the Senate, Bala Na’Allah, has restated that the National Assembly will give the new national minimum wage bill speedy hearing as soon as it is sent to the legislature.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Na’Allah, who represents Kebbi South Senatorial District of Kebbi, gave the assurance in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Abuja.

NAN reports that Rep Ezenwa Onyewuchi, Chairman, House Committee on Labour, Employment and Productivity, had earlier corroborated Na’Allah’s statement.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on Nov. 27, 2017, set up a 30-man National Minimum Wage Committee headed by former Head of Service of the Federation, Ms Amal Pepple.

The committee had recommended a N30, 000 minimum wage for workers, but the governors, who argued that they were not carried along, insisted it would be impossible for them to implement without reducing their workforce.

The senator told newsmen that the National Assembly would protect the interest of Nigerian workers by giving the minimum wage bill quick passage when President Buhari forwarded it.

“The disposition of the National Assembly is to do what the Nigerian public wants and what is in conformity with the acceptable standard.

“I assure you it (the bill) will receive expeditious hearing,” he said He said when the bill is finally sent to the parliament, the various stakeholders should recognise the fact that there is a constitutional authority vested with the responsibility of bringing this law into fruition and to allow it to function,” Na’Allah said.

What will happen to leaders who deny workers their benefits – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Friday in Abuja said leaders who undermine the economy by denying workers their benefits, while stuffing personal accounts with public funds will not escape the current anti-corruption dragnet.

Receiving the All Progressives Congress, APC, delegation from Benue State, led by Sen. George Akume, President Buhari said the Federal Government’s bailout to states and Paris Club funds were basically to alleviate the sufferings of the people, describing misappropriations as unjust and unfair to workers.

This was contained in a statement forwarded to Veloxnews by Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity.

He said, “I honestly don’t know how people sleep when workers have not been paid. The workers have to pay rent, buy food, send their children to school and they have healthcare to take care of.

“I assure you that my main interest is all Nigerians in all parts of the country. Therefore, if anybody who tries to create any impression that I prefer any group across ethnicity or religion let him dare me by being caught red handed stealing public funds. I will deal with him,’’ he said.

The President told the APC delegation that the Federal Executive Council had been monitoring the plight of workers across the country and utilisation of the bailout and Paris Club funds by some states.

“I thank you for your courage to come and see me. This visit has resuscitated our morale,’’ he said.

President Buhari said the Federal Government had made significant progress in diversifying the economy by investing in agriculture and encouraging more individuals and entrepreneurs to go into farming, pointing out that Nigeria would soon become self-sufficient in feeding its citizenry.

“We are proud of what we have achieved with resources at our disposal,’’ he added, listing ongoing road, rail, sea port, airport and power projects as hallmarks of his administration’s commitment to improving lives.

President Buhari said the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Bank of Nigeria will be further motivated to work together and support all interested Nigerians to take up farming on commercial scale.

He noted that the killings across the country, including in Benue, Zamfara and Taraba, were carried out by “ungodly’’ people who had no religious or ethnic inclinations.

“We know about herders. The ones we knew carried sticks, and sometimes cutlasses to cut foliage for their cattle. We now have people who carry AK 47s and pretend they are herdsmen.

“We are working hard to secure our borders. We are going to see how the old cattle routes can be opened. We will control movement. Please beg our people to be patient,’’ he said.

The President pointed out that security personnel were already uncovering the network of the killers and arresting them.

In his remarks, the leader of the delegation said the narrative in the state about the Federal Government was fast changing for the positive as more people had discovered the good intentions of President Buhari to secure lives and property, and alleviate poverty.

“Your Excellency, Mr President, we know your commitment to Nigeria. We know how much you love the country and will be ready to die for the good cause,’’ Sen. Akume said.

Akume, a former governor of Benue State, told the President that APC members had started sensitization and mobilisation of voters for the 2019 elections, noting that more had accepted the party and its manifesto in the state.

He commended the President for the flag-off of the dualization of the Abuja-Keffi-Lafia-Makurdi road, urging more attention on the Makurdi-Otukpo road and the water projects in Gboko and Otukpo.

“You have worked hard to stop herdsmen and farmers clashes in Benue. It is important to note that many people used religion and ethnicity to score cheap points. Religion was used in Benue for sinister purposes,’’ he added.

On corruption, Sen. Akume said the President has made significant difference by tackling perpetrators.

EPL: Sarri names two clubs that’ll stop Chelsea from winning Premier League

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Chelsea boss, Maurizio Sarri, has named two clubs that will stop his side from winning the Premier League this season.

The Italian played down Chelsea’s chances of winning the title this season while suggesting that Manchester City and Liverpool will finish in the top two.

Both City and Liverpool are unbeaten in the Premier League this season but so too are Sarri’s Chelsea.

The Blues have recorded eight wins and four draws so far.

Sarri insisted that the gap between his side and Man City remains a big one.

“I think there is a team above, which is Manchester City, then a very good team in Liverpool. For sure, Liverpool will be in the first positions,” Sarri told press conference ahead of clash with Tottenham.

“Then four or five teams that will have to fight for the Champions League positions – Arsenal, Tottenham, United, someone else. Sometimes, usually there is a surprise.

“For me they [City] are stronger than us at the moment and we have to work, work very hard to try to recover the gap, but at the moment the gap is still there. We have to do it.

“We can recover but I don’t think in the first season we can recover 30 points [the deficit between the sides last season.”

Ahmad Salkida reveals those behind attack on military base, killing over 100 soldiers

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Ahmad Salkida, a journalist known to have access to Boko Haram, on Friday revealed those behind the recent attack on a military base in Metele, Borno State.

Salkida disclosed that a factional group of the Islamic State West Africa Province, ISWAP, was behind the recent attack that claimed the lives of several military personnel.

In a series of tweets, Salkida stated that ISWAP was set to become the most lethal branch of IS terrorist group in the world.

According to the journalist, the factional Boko Haram group intended to achieve its aim through its current trend of attacks and recruitment.

He wrote: “#ISWAP in Al-Naba news confirmed that it carried out attacks on a military base in Metele, on 18th and a second one on 19th/20th, when the military went to collect the fallen comrades. In all, the terror group claimed to have killed 100 soldiers.

“If the current trend of recruitments and attacks continues, #ISWAP looks set to be the most lethal branch of #IS in the world. The pace of recruitment today, is almost similar to 2013/14. Today, there is a competition to join Jihadi herd between Nigerians and Francophone youths.

“The current video that is trending online (as pictured here), is not the latest attack in Metele, it is the Zari attack on 30th August and the video was released September 7/8, 2018. Now, the question is, where will #ISWAP or #BokoHaram attack next, because the trend is apparently predictable?”

2019: APC ‘change’ mantra deceptive, don’t be deceived – Gov. Okowa tells Deltans

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Delta State Governor, Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, Friday said the “change mantra” being chorused by the All Progressives Congress is deceptive.

He, therefore, begged Deltans not to allow anyone deceive them.

Governor Okowa made the assertion while receiving decampees from the APC to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP at the party’s Delta South Senatorial rally in Warri.

“Nobody should deceive you. The change mantra is deception,” he warned.

Governor Okowa, who was represented by his Deputy, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro, said, “We will follow the PDP because the PDP knows the road. Okowa knows the road.”

He welcomed the decampees and thanked them for making the wisest decision stressing, “You are entitled to the rights and privileges like every other member in the party.

“Let us work together and build the PDP and deliver our Governor for second term.”

Earlier, the Delta State PDP Chairman, Barr. Kingsley Esiso who thanked the decampees for joining the party said,” There is no new comer. You’re entitled to the rights and privileges like every other member. ”

Esiso also appealed to party faithful and Deltans to arm themselves with their Permanent Voter Cards so as to enable them vote all the party’s candidates in the 2019 elections.

Among those who dumped the APC included, former Commissioner in Delta State, Hon. Mitsan Ukubenyinje.

Also, Chief Afro Biukeme, former governorship aspirant of the Merger Peoples Progressives Party, MPPP and the Delta State Chairman of the Young Democratic Party, YDP Prince Marvin Ekrika and his executive were among others who also joined the PDP today.

In a remark, Hon. Mitsan Ukubenyinje said, “It is good to be home. The PDP is my home. I went out from the PDP to receive breeze and now I am back from the wilderness.”

Other decampees included, Gen. Nick Aigbokhan Rtd, Chief Efe Happy, Col. Ibe Rtd, Snr. Special Apostle Yemi Omaghomi, Chief Omolubi Newuwumi, Nathaniel Ovedje, Prince Martins Erikeya, Femi Uwawah, Ikedi Onome Joseph, Tuoyo Dougha, Comrade. A.S. Omajuro, Nelson Osandatuwa, Elder Jonathan Akpieyi, Robert Ayitsede Ayetuwewe.

Boko Haram: Buhari govt under fire over killing of 44 soldiers

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The President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government has come under attack over the recent killing of about 44 soldiers by Boko Haram insurgents.

Immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, in a tweet on Friday, queried the silence treatment of Buhari over death of soldiers yet was quick to criticize Goodluck Jonathan’s book “My Transition Hours”

Fayose tweeted: “Over 100 soldiers killed in just one week and our President and his men are acting as if nothing happened? And the same Presidency is jumping up and down over the content of @GEJonathan book? May the soul of those soldiers rest in peace and may God restore sanity to our land.

Recall the Senate had earlier taken notice of the killing of the soldiers and suspended plenary in honour of the slain officers. 

Meanwhile, the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, in a video posted on his Twitter handle commiserated with the families of the slain soldiers.

EPL: Emery speaks on Lacazette, Aubameyang injuries ahead of Bournemouth clash

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Arsenal manager, Unai Emery, has said that he has no injury problems over strike duo, Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, despite the pair pulling out of international duty.

Lacazette was brought into the France squad to replace Anthony Martial, though withdrew a few minutes later with a groin problem, while Aubameyang turned down a call-up to the Gabon team due to a back injury.

Both players were spotted during the training session at London Colney ahead of Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth, and Emery did not list them among his injury concerns.

“Today all the players trained OK,’ Metro UK quoted Emery as saying at his pre-match press conference.

“Only Danny [Welbeck] who has an injury and also Nacho Monreal now is not OK for Sunday.

“Laurent Koscielny now is close with us to start maybe little by little taking minutes. It’s good news.

“Stephan Lichtsteiner is starting to train with us but for Sunday he is not OK. We will look tomorrow.”

Scores feared dead as 7-storey building collapses in Port Harcourt

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A seven-storey building under construction has collapsed in Woji Road, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, trapping several persons.

Details are still sketchy, but report says masons and other workers were on site when the building collapsed.

Some workers who found their way out of the rubbles have been rushed to the hospital.

More to come.

Police finally vacate Akwa Ibom Assembly

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Police on Friday ended their siege on the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

Veloxnews recalls that all entrances to the complex were barricaded since Wednesday morning by a combined force of Police, Army and Civil Defense, thereby barring even the House of Assembly staff from gaining entrance.

The development came hours after the Speaker, Onofiok Luke, had declared the seats of five lawmakers, who had defected from Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC), vacant, a situation which later led to alleged thugs, disrupting plenary.

The police, thereafter, sealed off the complex, denying the lawmakers and staff of the Assembly access.

Subsequently, the Senate on Thursday directed the police allegedly laying siege and sealing off the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to vacate forthwith or risk six months sentence as provided by the constitution of the country.

However, the assembly has now been opened as the police vacated the premises on Friday.

CBN states position on New Minimum Wage, reveals effect of N30,000 increase

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday said the proposed increase in minimum wage for Nigerian workers would stimulate output growth in the economy.

Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, made this known in a communique published at the end of the 264th meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Abuja.

The communique read: “The MPC welcomed the moderation in inflation in October, reflecting declining food prices. The Committee believes that given the negative output gap, the proposed increase in the national minimum wage would stimulate output growth due to prolonged weak aggregate demand arising from salary arrears and contractor debt.

“Consequently, its impact on the aggregate price level would be largely muted, given that the monetary aggregates have largely underperformed in fiscal 2018. In addition, the prevailing stability in the foreign exchange market would continue to moderate pressures on the domestic price level.”

The MPC appraised recent developments in the global and domestic macroeconomic and financial environments, as well as the economic outlook in the first half of 2019.

The governments at both federal and state levels are still negotiating over the proposed N30,000 minimum wage which the Tripartite Committee recommended to government.