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FG averts clash with labour, revalidates Eagle Square for May Day rally



FG averts clash with labour, revalidates Eagle Square for May Day rally

The Federal Government has asked the Nigeria Labour Congress to ignore a revocation of an earlier permission granted the organised labour to use the Eagle Square as venue for tomorrow’s workers’ day rally.

It says the use of the Eagle Square by the labour unions is sacrosanct.

The revalidation of the use of Eagle Square Abuja by the NLC for the annual May Day parade in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) on Monday, May 1 was announced by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in a statement signed by Olajide Oshundun,
Director of Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

The minister urged all invited guests including the President, Vice President, ministers, diplomatic missions and international partners, to endeavour to be at the venue, which remains sacrosanct.

The development came on the heels of media reports that the Federal Government, acting through the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA), had withdrawn the permission granted to the NLC to use the Eagle Square for this year’s May Day celebration, for reasons bordering on the preparation of the venue for the May 29 inauguration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

He said on getting the information, he contacted his colleague, the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammad Bello, who attributed the development to some overzealous officials of the Federal Capital Development Authority (FCDA) , acting without his authority.

Ngige said sequel to his consultation with the FCT Minister, the NLC has been asked to go ahead with its preparation for the May Day celebration at Eagle Square, which the President, Ministers, other top government officials and the diplomatic missions are expected to attend.

The statement read: “The attention of the Honourable Minister has been drawn to press releases and statements in the media that the Federal Government disapproved of the NLC using the Eagle Square for the annual May Day parade for reasons bordering on the preparation of the venue for the May 29 inauguration of President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

“On receiving the report, the Minister contacted his colleague, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, who blamed the development on some overzealous officials, acting without his authority, as well as a minor communication gap between the FCDA, the Federal Government Transition Committee and the NLC.

” It was actually the contractor handling the renovation of the Eagle Square that informed the Transition Committee for the handover ceremony that they erected their equipment even before last Thursday when the Nigerian Army used the venue for an event attended by the President.

“Consequently, the FCT Minister assured the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment that the place is available for NLC to use on May 1, which is the worker’s day.

“This May Day is the last in the life of this administration. The NLC parade belongs to everybody, including government, diplomatic missions, international organisations, organised labour and affiliate unions and members of the public. The President, Ministers and others cannot shut themselves out. Eagle Square is still available for all these individuals.

“All invited people should make themselves available for the parade at Eagle Square, most especially the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), the diplomatic missions and the international partners.

“The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment has been in touch with the leadership of organised Labour led by Comrade Joe Ajaero and has briefed them on these developments and equally extended the apologies of the Honourable Minister of FCT for the unintended embarrassment occasioned by the action of their officials who misinterpreted the general intention and work plan of one month of Messrs Julius Berger the company in charge of the renovation of the Eagle Square for the May 29 inauguration to also include the May 1, 2023.”

The statement added that the FCT Administration has promised to give all necessary material support to make the event hitch-free and successful, while the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment wishes all Nigerian Workers a blissful Workers Day on May 1.
Meanwhile, the NLC in an earlier statement by its Secretary General, Emmanuel Ugboaja, said the celebration would be held on the streets of Abuja to deepen its reconnection with the people.

“As you must have been aware of the last-minute questionable action of the government at the centre to deny us the use of the Eagle Square for this year’s May-Day celebrations three days to the event, despite having granted us the permit months ago,” the NLC said.


FG averts clash with labour, revalidates Eagle Square for May Day rally


Buhari to make farewell broadcast tomorrow morning



Buhari to make farewell broadcast tomorrow morning

President Muhammadu Buhari will tomorrow, Sunday, address the country in a nationwide broadcast.

A statement by Femi Adesina, presidential aide, said the broadcast would be Buhari’s farewell speech to the nation.

The address is billed for 7am and will be aired on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria.

“President Muhammadu Buhari will make a farewell broadcast as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on Sunday, May 28, at 7 am,” the statement read.

“Television, radio stations and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority and Radio Nigeria for the broadcast.”


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Why I openly criticised some of my husband’s policies  – Aisha Buhari



Why I openly criticised some of my husband’s policies  – Aisha Buhari

Outgoing First Lady, Aisha Buhari, said she was relentless in her support for President Muhammadu and sometimes came hard on those in government trying to take advantage of him.

She said she knew his husband needed help and had to step him, which came as opposition to some of his policies.

The President’s wife said she openly criticised decisions “taken for the interest of one person and not for the general public’s interests”.

Aisha made this revelation in an interview with The Sun published on Saturday concerning her time as first lady and the performance of her husband in office.

She said, “Because they did not know how we came in, we came in because of the love Nigerian people have for my husband, the trust, you know, and then after coming in, the expectations. So, I told myself we cannot afford that, I just knew my husband needed help.

“That is why I am here as a First Lady and as a wife. I don’t like people who want to make money to rubbish the image of the family, the hard-earned name of my husband, you know, and then we keep quiet and look at the person. So that’s why I normally step in and speak up.”

Aisha however said President Buhari had fulfilled half of his campaign promises.

She said insecurity had been significantly tackled under the administration of her husband.

The First Lady said, “Compared to what we met on the ground, he has done wonderfully well. But if one is to compare with the zeal that we came into power, we have achieved 50 per cent in all the areas captured in his campaign promises, especially in the areas of work like road constructions, bridges, you know, infrastructure in general. He has made a lot of difference.”

On security, she scored the president 70 per cent, noting that most kidnappings were perpetrated by family members for mischievous purposes.

“I think maybe we scored 70 per cent on security. I say so because before now, there were lots of barricades, roadblocks, but now there are no more roadblocks, nothing,” Aisha said.

“Even the kidnapping that is happening now is being organised among the family members. It is a deliberate thing, you know. And then the insurgency or the banditry may be organised by some local people, you know. But if there is no connivance, I can say that we have achieved 90 percent on security,” she added.


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Don’t go with official vehicles, Buhari tells ministers



President Muhammadu Buhari

Don’t go with official vehicles, Buhari tells ministers

Two days to the end of the eight-year administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, and handover of power to the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu on May 29, the Presidency has said ministers will not be allowed to leave office with their official vehicles.

It said they would only get what the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission prescribes as their severance benefits.

It noted further that Buhari and the Vice-President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), would also leave behind their armoured, luxury vehicles, which would be taken over by their successors, Tinubu and his deputy, Kashim Shettima, respectively.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, gave the clarification in an interview, following the usual practice of government officials leaving office with their official vehicles.

Across the country and at all levels of government, it has become a norm for heads of the executive arm and some heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to leave office with government vehicles; some sold the vehicles to themselves at a rate many people describe as ridiculous; some allocate huge funds for themselves for the purpose of buying vehicles; while some buy or convert government properties to personal use after their tenure.

Shehu stated that Buhari, Osinbajo and the ministers would not leave office on May 29 with the vehicles allocated to them.


He said, “As we speak today, nobody is entitled to official cars. What they use are project vehicles. These ones can only be boarded and sold after four years of usage. That is when the book value has been exhausted.

“This is as far as the law recommends as we speak. So, don’t expect that because ministers are leaving, they will carry their vehicles under Buhari. It is not going to happen. If the ministers are not taking their vehicles along, you don’t expect the president to take any. It is not going to happen.”

The presidential spokesperson explained that the law already provides for former presidents and their deputies to get a certain number of vehicles at certain intervals, and that there was no need for them to take government vehicles.

He stated, “Former Heads of State have a prescribed number of vehicles they are entitled to, which may be changed after a certain number of years. And the President has kept to this by supplying that number of vehicles to all former Heads of State each time it is due. The President will not place himself above the others; that I can assure you.”

‘Vehicles too sophisticated’

Meanwhile, a top source in the Presidency has explained that the vehicles used by the President and the Vice-President were purpose-built and could not be used by private citizens, which the occupants of the offices become after leaving office.

The source noted that apart from the high cost of the vehicles, they come with high-end customisation, including security and other features.

The source said the vehicles, including Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser sport utility vehicles, buses and luxury vans, meet certain comfort, security and durability requirements.

Findings revealed that the President and the Vice-President use armoured 2019 Mercedes Benz Maybach S650 bullet-proof sedans, which some experts estimate to be worth at least N300m.

The Buhari-led government earmarked N907m in 2018 for a phased acquisition of new vehicles and spare parts for the presidential fleet.


The 2019 budget also allocated N843m for the purchase and maintenance of motor vehicles.

The high cost is due to the extensive customisation, security features and the limited production of the armoured luxury vehicles.

It was gathered that the President’s official vehicle is a five-seater sedan, fitted with massage and heated seats. With a 5.5-liter 12-cylinder turbocharged engine, it revs at 5,000 per minute, with 510 horsepower. It also has miles per gallon rating of 25mpg on the highway and 15 mpg in the city.

The 2018 allocation meant that Buhari would no longer use the defective 2014 Mercedes Benz S350 passed to him by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.

In 2022, N1.6bn and N30m were allocated for car-related expenses in the offices of the President and the Vice-President respectively.

However, as Buhari and Osinbajo leave office on May 29, a source in the Presidency said both officers would leave behind the high-end luxury vehicles that have chauffeured them for the past few years.

Like Shehu, the source stressed that since the country caters for all past Heads of State, there was no need to leave office with such expensive vehicles.

The source explained, “Past presidents are already under the care of the government. In the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, there is a department that monitors the affairs of past Heads of State. That department takes care of everything past presidents need.

“He (Buhari) cannot take those vehicles. Those are bulletproof vehicles that cost a lot of money. They don’t come cheap. They will be used by the next President. What will he be doing with them as a private citizen?

“I know there are governors and heads of ministries, departments and agencies who after using a vehicle for a while, they may leave office with it. But that does not apply to the Office of the President and the Vice-President.”


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