NLC rejects proposed N5,000 stipend to replace petrol subsidy | The Guardian Nigeria News - GIST NOWNOW
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NLC rejects proposed N5,000 stipend to replace petrol subsidy | The Guardian Nigeria News



• Says no talk with FG on palliative, demands domestic refining
• Senate: No N5,000 transport allowance payment for 40 million Nigerians in 2022 budget
• FG to transfer transport subsidy payment digitally for at least six months
• Why labour opposes subsidy removal, by Esele
• HURIWA charges Nigerians to reject FG plan

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has rejected the proposed N5,000 for 40 million poor Nigerians when the subsidy on Petroleum Motor Spirit (PMS) is removed.

NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, said in Abuja last night that there are no ongoing talks between labour and the Federal Government, as negotiation was adjourned sine die many months ago.

NLC accused government of adopting monologue in arriving at its conclusion on subsidy removal, stressing that it will continually reject a deregulation that is anchored on importation of petroleum products.

It also said constant devaluation of the naira wouldn’t guarantee a realistic pump price of petrol.

“This situation will definitely be compounded by the astronomical devaluation of the naira, which currently goes for N560 to 1US$ in the parallel market. Thus, any attempt to compare the price of petrol in Nigeria to other countries would be set on a faulty premise as it would be akin to comparing apples to mangoes,” it stated.

It submitted that the contemplation by government to increase the price of petrol by more than 200 per cent is a perfect recipe for an aggravated pile of hyper-inflation and astronomical increase in the price of goods and services, saying this will open a wide door to unintended social consequences such as degeneration of the current insecurity crises and possibly citizens’ revolt.

The congress described as ‘nonsensical’ the argument that the complete surrender of the price of petrol to market forces would normalise the curve of demand and supply as it is being wrongly attributed to the current market realities with cooking gas, diesel and kerosene is very obtuse.

It, therefore, warned that the bait by government to pay 40 million Nigerians N5,000 as palliative to cushion the effect of the astronomical increase in the price of petrol, is comical. It urged the government to establish empirical data on the quantity of refined petroleum products consumed daily by Nigerians.

MEANWHILE, the Senate, yesterday, said there was no provision for the payment of N5,000 to 40 million Nigerians monthly as transportation allowance in the proposed 2022 budget. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, Senator Adeola Olamilekan Solomon, made this known to reporters at the National Assembly complex in Abuja.

He, however, acknowledged that there is a provision for subsidy in the budget submitted by the executive. He contended that the proposed expenditure, which will cost the government over N2.4 trillion will require the nod of the National Assembly.

According to him: “I don’t want to go into details. If there is something like that, a document needs to come to the National Assembly and how do they want to identify the beneficiaries?

“For us, we still believe the proposed subsidy grant is news because the budget we are considering contains just petrol subsidy and we can only speak on the document currently before us.”

BUT the Federal Government reiterated, yesterday, that its transport subsidy payment of N5,000 to the vulnerable would be transferred digitally for a minimum period of six months and a maximum of 12 months. This, the government noted, would happen after the removal of fuel subsidy in June 2022 to give people time to adjust.

Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, made this known while briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari.

She said that as at the last Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting, fuel subsidy costs the country nearly N250 billion per month and N3 trillion yearly as the NNPC remits near-zero naira.

According to her, this has made the removal expedient. The support fund upon approval from FAAC for 20 to 40 million Nigerians will not be done in cash. She further encouraged states to financially contribute to the N5,000 relief fund to improve the productive abilities of Nigerians.
THE organised labour movement has, however, vowed to oppose deregulation policy that is anchored on importation, a former President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele, said.

Esele said imported petroleum products and gas would never be affordable to Nigerians who are mostly poor and live below two dollars a day.

“To the best of my knowledge, both NUPENG and PENGASSAN have never opposed subsidy removal. What the labour unions are opposed to is a deregulation policy that is anchored on importation. If previous administrations have been sincere, we have been on this subsidy removal since 1999 and no singular refinery has been able to work out of the three refineries we have. Why is that difficult to achieve?

“The situation is dicey right now. The government does not have the money to continue to fund subsidies, the people are too poor to afford PMS at the international price. That is the dilemma that is facing us as a country.”

While there was no definite resolution after a series of meetings between 2020 and early 2021, both parties – organised labour and the Federal Government – said the status quo should be maintained even in the face of the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

HUMAN Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has kicked against planned hike in the cost of fuel and withdrawal of subsidy by the Federal Government.

HURIWA noted that the decision of President Buhari to hearken to the recommendation for introduction of stiff economic adjustment programmes of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which will lead to astronomic hike in costs of pump price of fuel to over N350 per litre, means Nigeria is effectively re-colonised and re-purchased by foreign capitalist forces.

In a statement issued, yesterday, in Abuja, by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and Miss Zainab Yusuf, the Media Affairs National Director, the rights group said empirical evidence shows that Nigeria became the poverty capital of the world in 2018 with over 90 million extremely poor people even amid the so-called disbursement of conditional cash transfer to poor peasants by government.

This, they said, was a demonstration of the obvious fact that the promise of payment of replacement of fuel subsidy with N5,000 to poor Nigerians will obviously be mismanaged, and is a perfect opportunity and alibi for rogues in government to become richer off the back of poor masses, even as economic adversities bites harder.

“We urge Nigerians to speak out and reject this attempt at spreading toxic economic hardships as is being packaged by President Buhari with the support of IMF to pull out fuel subsidy. This government is the most recklessly corrupt, lawless and thieving administration since Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914.

“This government led Nigeria to the inglorious status as the poverty capital of the world. This government led Nigeria into two crushing economic depressions and under this government, the unemployment statistics have continued to skyrocket, hospitals, roads, schools have all but collapsed and organised social crimes, terrorism and anarchy have assumed gargantuan proportions.

“The attempt to hike the purchasing price of fuel will lead to the devaluation of Naira because it will lead to a spiral general price adjustments of goods and services and the consequential economic burdens to be transferred to the over 100 million absolutely poor citizens will lead to a bonanza of terrorism, organised crimes and mass murders in Nigeria once it is effected.”

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Amnesty International Condemns Attacks On Sowore By Nigerian Government-Sponsored Thugs



Global human rights’ body, Amnesty International, has expressed concerns over the safety and liberty of human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore.

The group condemned the nonchalance of security agents in the attacks by state-sponsored hoodlums on the activist – the latest episode of which took place at the Federal High Court on Thursday.

AI lamented that the attacks happened in the presence of security agents who made no effort to stop it.

In a statement on Thursday, Amnesty International noted that the series of attacks on Sowore had become disturbing, while it called on the Nigerian government to immediately launch an investigation into the issue.

The statement reads, “Amnesty International is concerned for the safety and liberty of Nigerian activist and human rights defender, Omoyele Sowore, following today’s attack by suspected thugs at the premises of the Federal High Court Abuja. The attack happened in the presence of security officials who made no attempt to arrest the attackers.

 “This is not the first time that Sowore has faced threats, attacks and intimidation since his release from DSS detention in December 2020.

”On 31 May 2021 Sowore was shot in the right side of the stomach by a female police officer at the Unity Fountain, Abuja during a peaceful protest.

“Today’s attack on Sowore comes amidst escalating threats and attacks on human rights defenders across Nigeria. The threats, harassment, intimidation and attacks on Omoleye Sowore and other human rights defenders and activists in Nigeria must end. 

”Amnesty International calls on the Nigerian authorities to investigate the attack and bring those responsible to justice.”

On Thursday, hoodlums pounced on Sowore while he was attending the trial of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

While Sowore attended the court session, the armed thugs in large numbers laid siege around, waiting for him to come out of the place.

Immediately they sighted him, the thugs rushed towards him and started throwing stones at the activist and his entourage.

As he navigated his way out of the court premises, the thugs rained several more stones on his car, damaging the front and rear side glasses.

Some of the hired hoodlums could be heard telling others to chase the vehicle and make sure the activist was dealt with.

Meanwhile, Sowore, in an account titled, “Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial: Deadly Attack on my person at the Federal High Court in Abuja,” narrated how the DSS Director of Operations informed the court security personnel to withdraw from the scene whenever the thugs were about to attack him (Sowore).

Narrating the incident, Sowore said, “I was at the Federal High Court in Abuja today to cover, observe and witness the trial of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu before Justice Binta Nyako.

“Soon as court proceedings ended I left the court room and tried going to my next assignment in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja. As soon as I reached the gate of the Federal High Court, I was alerted to the large presence of thugs and hoodlums carrying dangerous weapons. I had been briefed that these persons were mobilised by Nigeria’s secret police known as the DSS. During my last appearance in court for the same purpose, they physically attacked me while the DSS and police pushed me back to them; this was captured on tape.

“My lawyers wrote a petition to the police and the DG of DSS specifically requesting for their prosecution of the ‘thugs’ and their officers involved in these infamous acts but the security agencies either ignored the petitions or played hookie.

“Today, as I drove away from the courtroom, I was attacked with dangerous objects leading to the destruction of my car and injuries to some of the occupants in the car travelling with me. I sustained minor injuries from broken glasses. These assailants were brought by the DSS according to Federal court security. It is not their first time.

“The federal DSS Director of Operations even informed court security to ‘withdraw’ whenever I was to be attacked. Since my partial release in December 2019, the police and DSS have tried to maim or kill me in several documented/reported incidents of abuse and assault including the shooting of a riot gun, physical attacks and recently the use of non-state actors to violently assault me in public.

“Unfortunately, the Nigerian media haven’t reported or investigated these violent deadly attacks.”

SaharaReporters had noted that Thursday’s attack was not the first time the DSS would be mobilising thugs to go after Sowore – the latest incident adds to an already swelling list.

On November 9, about 20 thugs were recruited by the DSS to attack Sowore while he attended the trial of Kanu at the same court.

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Alleged defilement: Court fixes December 15 to rule on Baba Ijesha’s statement | The Guardian Nigeria News



Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of an Ikeja Special Offences Court has fixed Dec. 15 to rule on the admissibility of the confessional statement of Nollywood actor Olanrewaju James, who is facing allegations of defilement.

Taiwo fixed the date on Thursday after the prosecution and defence teams adopted their written addresses on the trial-within-trial.

Recall that during the court proceedings on Nov. 19, the defence, led by Mr Babatunde Ogala (SAN) and Mr Dada Awosika (SAN), had objected to the confessional statement of James, alias Baba Ijesha, being admitted as evidence.

The objection was predicated on the ground that the statement the Nollywood actor gave to the police was made under duress.

Taiwo, during the Nov. 19 proceedings, had granted their request for a trial-within-trial to determine the voluntariness of the statement.

After the trial-within-trial, she had adjourned for the adoption of written addresses.

During Thursday’s proceedings, Awosika, while adopting his written address, told the court that the defence had filed a response to that of the prosecution.

He objected to the submission of the prosecution that the defendant was not tortured.

Citing Section 35(1) of the Evidence Act, Awosika argued that in criminal matters, there are two burdens of proof, noting that “one can change and the other doesn’t change.”

He said that the defendant had put forward facts before the court that substantiate the use of oppression.

The counsel said, “It is for the court to look at the evidence by the defendant that he was handcuffed, beaten and forced to sit on the ground.

“Does that not qualify as evidence of oppression?”

Citing section 29(5) of the Evidence Act, Awosika argued further: “Even from the prosecution’s evidence, the defendant was sitting on the ground and shaking; one cannot make a statement under that condition.”

He urged the court to discountenance the submission of the prosecution.

Responding, the lead state prosecutor, Mr Yusuf Sule, contended that there was no evidence before the court that the defendant was oppressed while making his confessional statement.

Sule said that the defendant told the court that he was beaten before he was brought to the police station.

This, he said, “means it was a mob attack from which he was rescued.”

He noted that the defendant was trying to mislead the court.

Sule urged the court to uphold that the confessional statement of Baba Ijesha was voluntarily made.

Following the adoption of the written addresses, Taiwo ordered a witness summon to be issued for a prosecution witness, Mr Brown Asuquo, mandating him to appear in court at the next adjourned date.

NAN reports that Baba Ijesha faces a six-count charge bordering on indecent treatment of a child, sexual assault, attempted sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault by penetration.

The offences contravened Sections 135, 259, 262, 263 and 262 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.

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Ibrahimovic reveals why he advised Mbappe to leave PSG for Real Madrid



AC Milan striker, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, has revealed why he advised Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe to leave the French Ligue 1 giants for Real Madrid.

Zlatan, a former PSG star, said he urged Mbappe to leave the club because he feels the 22-year-old needs a more structured environment like that of Real Madrid.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with a move to join Real Madrid.

The France international recently rejected talks to extend his contract with PSG.

The forward has only one year left on his current deal with PSG and he is expected to join Real Madrid next summer.

PSG recently rejected Real Madrid’s €220million deadline day bid for Mbappe despite the player’s contract expiring in a year.

When asked if it was true, he advised Mbappé to leave PSG, Zlatan told Corriere della Sera: “It is true.

“Mbappé needs a more structured environment, like that of Real Madrid. But then I told the PSG president not to sell him.”

Ibrahimovic reveals why he advised Mbappe to leave PSG for Real Madrid

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