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Ogun pensioners protest N68bn unpaid gratuity, N3,000 monthly stipend

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Local government pensioners in Ogun State have called on Governor Dapo Abiodun to increase their monthly pension, saying some of them still receive N3,000 as monthly pension.

The pensioners also demanded the payment of their 10-year outstanding gratuity, which they put at N68 billion.

Defying the morning showers on Wednesday, the aged pensioners marched to the Governor’s Office in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, but were denied entry.

The pensioners, under the aegis of Local Government Pensioners Association of Nigeria (LOGPAN), were armed with placards demanding their gratuities’

The placards read: “Gratuities are on sales to pensioners”, “Governor Dapo Abiodun, honour your father and treat pensioners well”. “Governor Abiodun, we don’t deserve this worst humiliation”, among others.

Speaking to newsmen, the State Chairman of LOGPAN, Sikiru Ayilara, lamented the alleged inhuman treatment meted out to retirees by the Abiodun administration.

Ayilara accused Abiodun of failing to keep his promises to the pensioners, regretting that they still earn paltry sums as pensions.

“Some of us still earn a paltry sum of N3,000 as monthly pension.”

He described as a “wicked act”, the quarterly payment of N500 million to clear the outstanding gratuity, saying it would take 34 years to clear.

The chairman stressed that the association had written 13 letters to Gov Abiodun but alleged that the governor had remained recalcitrant and unyielding to their demands.

He said the payment of his members’ pension through the Ministry of Finance “is illegal”, instead, he requested that the Bureau of Local Government Pension be saddled with the responsibility.

“We have written 13 letters to the Governor through various channels without response. We had informed all security apparatus in the state: DSS, Commissioner of Police, Commandant of NSCDC, SSA on security matters to the Governor. They all intervened without any positive response from the Governor.

“We have informed all the four paramount rulers in the state with no result. We have held six meetings with the SSG, Chief of Staff, Head of Service, Commissioner for LG and Chieftaincy Affairs, among other notable government officials.

“Governor Abiodun should honour us, grandfathers and grandmothers, by directing his personal attention to us for us to meet and find a lasting solution to the inhuman treatments being meted to us at our old age, leading to untimely death among us after serving the state for between 10 and 35 years.

“We demand immediate harmonisation of the pensions. Some of us still receive N3,000 monthly as a pension. We demand regular payment of our pensions as it was.”

Reacting to the allegations and complaints by the pensioners, the Secretary to the State Government, Tokunbo Talabi appealed to the protesting pensioners to be more patient with the government.

He said, “the government is currently experiencing hard times” as a result of the paucity of funds.

He, however, assured that the state government would look into the demands of the aggrieved senior citizens.

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Sudan military declares state of emergency after coup, shuts down internet

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Sudan’s military leader has declared a state of emergency across the country and dissolved its transitional cabinet, which is seen as a huge blow to the country’s already fragile transition to democracy.

Abdel-Fattah al-Burhan made a televised announcement on Monday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded the streets of the capital Khartoum, and its twin city of Omdurman, after soldiers arrested several government officials.

Among those detained on Monday is Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. He was moved to an undisclosed location after refusing to issue a statement in support of the coup, said the information ministry, still apparently under the control of Hamdok’s supporters.

The military also raided the television and radio headquarters and shut down the internet. The capital’s airport has been also closed, together with some of the city’s roads and bridges.

At least 12 people have been wounded so far in the protests that have been called by the pro-democracy coalition born out of the uprising which put an end to the 30-year long rule of Omar al-Bashir.

In his announcement, Burhan said that the military will continue the process towards democracy, but dissolved the sovereign council, a joint military and civilian body created to run the country since al-Bashir’s removal.

“We have started our path towards the state of freedom and peace but some political powers are still trying to maintain everything in their hands, without giving attention to political, economic and social threats,” he said.

Al-Burhan said the military will appoint a technocratic government to lead the country to elections, set for July 2023.

But he made clear the military will remain in charge.

“The Armed Forces will continue completing the democratic transition until the handover of the country’s leadership to a civilian, elected government,” al-Burhan said.

The move came just before the military was supposed to hand leadership of the country’s joint military-civilian administration to civilians next month.

The information ministry called his speech an “announcement of a seizure of power by military coup”.

Tensions have been rising for weeks between Sudan’s civilian and military leadership over Sudan’s course and the pace of the transition to democracy.

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Sudan: UN condemns military takeover, PM detention

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The United Nations Secretary General António Guterres has condemned the military coup in Sudan, and called for the release of the prime minister and other officials.

He said this in a tweet Monday

In a military takeover on Monday morning, Sudan’s armed forces dissolved a governing council that included civilians and detained the prime minister and other civilian officials, endangering the country’s transition to democracy.
Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, his wife and members of Sudan’s cabinet were detained and taken to an undisclosed location.
In a security alert posted Monday, the US Embassy said it “has received reports that armed forces are blocking certain areas in and around Khartoum” and “internet in Khartoum is non-functional.”

Guterres said the UN would “continue to stand” with the people of the country.

“I condemn the ongoing military coup in Sudan. Prime Minister Hamdok & all other officials must be released immediately. There must be full respect for the constitutional charter to protect the hard-won political transition. The UN will continue to stand with the people of Sudan.”
An aide and office director of Sudan’s now-arrested Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok told CNN that the premier was aware of army plans and was under pressure to dissolve the government.

The adviser, Adam al-Hireika, said that he visited Hamdok on Sunday evening where he discussed the current state-of-affairs.

Hamdok had just met with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who declared the coup on state-TV on Monday.

“I say he was cautiously optimistic that there was an opening for agreement, but I think the military side wanted him to dissolve the government and he insisted on not unless there is a process and there is an agreement between political parties,” he told CNN’s Becky Anderson.
“This morning, when I heard about what happened I went to the PM’s residence, he is my boss and friend. I went to his residence unfortunately he wasn’t there. His wife and him were taken to an unknown destination by soldiers,” he added.

Burhan said in a statement that power-shared council and government were dissolved and declared a state of emergency after a balanced power-sharing agreement with the civilian component “became a conflict” over the past two years, “threatening peace and unity” in Sudan.

“What, General Burhan mentions in his address, actually what most of a lot of it was agreed between the two parties, but as the PM stood very strongly against dissolving the government without a process. I think that was the biggest issue of contention,” Hireika said.
Hireika warned of a civil war in Sudan if there was a return to military rule. “
“Well, I think the bigger picture, a return to military rule will mean more civil war in Sudan and instability in the region as a result,” he added.
Amnesty International calls on Sudan authorities “to respect human rights” following military takeover
From CNN’s Mohammed Tawfeeq
Amnesty International has urged the authorities in Sudan “to respect human rights” following the arrest of the country’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other officials in an apparent coup.
“We are concerned by the escalating tensions in Sudan following the reported arrest of the Prime Minister and other civilian leaders and the imposition of an internet shutdown,” Amnesty International said in a post to Twitter on Monday.
Amnesty International “calls on the authorities in Sudan to respect human rights—including the right to life, right to freedom of association, expression and assembly, both offline and on the internet. The right to peaceful protest must be respected, now more than ever.”
General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, the head of Sudan’s armed forces, dissolved the power-sharing Sovereign Council and transitional government, saying in a televised statement that an “independent and fair representative government” would assume power until one is elected in 2023. Burhan also announced a state of emergency across Sudan.
Several articles of the constitution were suspended and state governors were removed, Burhan said.
Those arrested by “joint military forces” include various civilian ministers of Sudan’s transitional government and members of Sudan’s sovereign council, the Information Ministry said. CNN could not independently verify the Information Ministry’s claims, however family members said the Minister of Information was one of several senior officials detained.
Protesters who opposed the coup have taken to the streets in the capital Khartoum and have faced gunfire near the military’s headquarters, according to the information ministry.

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Boko Haram attacks Yobe military base, three soldiers injured

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Three soldiers were wounded on Saturday when Boko Haram insurgents attacked a military base at Katarko village in the Gujba Local Government Area of Yobe State.

The reportedly insurgents drove into Katarko village in about 10 gun trucks and attacked the military formation.

They were said to have engaged the security operatives at the base in a gun duel.

The Cable reports that troops of the Nigerian Army, who repelled the attack, alongside airstrikes by the Nigerian Air Force, were said to have killed many of the insurgents.

However, a precise number of fatalities had not been ascertained as of the time of filing this report. It was only gathered that three soldiers were injured in the attack.

“Two to three soldiers were injured and have been taken to hospital in Damaturu for treatment,” the source said, adding, “Many Boko Haram members are also feared dead. They were struck by foot soldiers and air support.”

 

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