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Labour shuns Gbajabiamila’s palliatives, insists on strike

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The Nigeria Labour Congress on Sunday said there was no going back on a nationwide strike it declared with other workers’ unions from Monday.
To avert the strike, the House of Representatives has offered the organised labour some palliatives.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, at a negotiation meeting with labour on Sunday in Abuja, said the palliatives would be included in the proposed 2021 Budget.
But the President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the increase in electricity tariff and hike in fuel price had eroded the purchasing power of Nigerian workers.
He said the initial plan was that there would not be increase in electricity tariff until meters were provided for Nigerians.
Wabba commended the speaker for the intervention, adding that he had consistently represented the interest of Nigerians.
The NLC president said there was a valid court judgment nullifying the electricity tariff, adding that the judgment of the National Industrial Court asking it to stop its planned strike could not be sustained.
Wabba insisted that the NLC would go ahead with the strike if its demands were not met by the Federal Government before the expiration of the ultimatum.
Gbajabiamila had said the budget would soon be presented to the National Assembly, stressing that some palliatives were being considered to cushion the effects of increase in electricity tariff and fuel price hike.
The palliatives, according to the speaker, will include distribution of food items, reduction of taxes on minimum wage and payment of some special allowances.

Others are involvement in ownership of housing programmes through mortgage and distribution of special buses, which run on auto gas to public institutions.

Gbajabiamila said the palliatives would go a long way to assuage the suffering of Nigerians.

He said the lawmakers would also make provision in the budget to tackle the eight million deficit of meters to enable Nigerians to access them.

Gbajabiamila, who described estimated billing as a scam, said: “I have never heard it anywhere in the world.

“So if we may have to provide for the deficit, we will have to do that.”

He appealed to Labour to suspend the planned strike, saying embarking on industrial action at this critical time would not augur well for the citizenry.

He said: “You know, you cannot go on strike at this time.

“If you go on strike, the people you think you are protecting will be at the receiving end.”

Education

ASUU also corrupt, undermining govt investment – Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said a number of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) are involved in corrupt practices.

He said the corruption in the universities and other institutions was undermining government’s funding and investment in education.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 over increase in lecturers’ allowances and salaries as well as improved funding for the universities.

Buhari has appealed to the union to call off the strike but the lecturers have stood their ground.

The President on Tuesday while declaring open the Fourth National Summit on Diminishing Corruption organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), Office of Secretary to Government of the Federation (OSGF) and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), said ASUU was no less complicit in the corruption in tertiary education.

He said corruption in the education sector had continued to undermine investments, while critics downplayed funding by focusing only on budgetary allocations, urging a more comprehensive re-evaluation of expenditure.

The President said, “This year’s summit will mirror how corruption undermines educational policies, investments and create an unfriendly learning environment for our youths.

“Incessant strikes especially by unions in the tertiary education often imply that government is grossly underfunding education, but I must say that corruption in the education system from basic level to the tertiary level has been undermining our investment in the sector and those who go on prolonged strikes on flimsy reasons are no less complicit.

“The 1999 Constitution places a premium on education by placing it on the Concurrent List, thereby laying the responsibilities of budgeting and underwriting qualitative education on both the Federal and State Governments.

“The total education budget for each year is therefore a reflection of both federal and state budgets and should be viewed as other financial commitments in their totality.

“The allocation to education in the federal budget should not be considered via allocation to the Federal Ministry of Education and also academic institutions alone, but should include allocation to the Universal Basic Education, transfers to TETFUND and refund from the Education Tax Pool Account to TETFUND.

“Corruption in the expenditure of internally generated revenue of tertiary institutions is a matter that has strangely not received the attention of stakeholders in tertiary education, including unions.

“I call on stakeholders to demand accountability in the administration of academic institutions and for unions to interrogate the bloated personnel and recurrent expenditure of their institutions. Let me also implore the Unions to work with the government to put faces and identities to names on the payroll.

“Due to declining resources, the government cannot bear the cost of funding education alone. I task our academics to attract endowments, research and other grants to universities, polytechnics and colleges of education similar to what obtains in other countries.”

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Seven police officers dismissed, 10 others demoted

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The Police Service Commission (PSC), on Tuesday, dismissed seven senior police officers over gross misconduct.

The commission also announced the demotion of 10 other officers through reduction in rank.

These decisions were taken during the continuation of the 15th plenary meeting of the commission.

The meeting is expected to end on Thursday, October 6, 2022, according to a report by The Trust.

Presided over by its acting chairman, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, the meeting considered all the Pending Disciplinary Matters (PDM) before the commission.

The PDMs, which totalled 47, also treated some appeals from dismissed police officers.

Addressing newsmen shortly after the meeting in Abuja, the spokesman for the commission, Ikechukwu Ani, said, the dismissed officers include one CSP, one SP and five ASPs.

He said that one SP was retired in public interest, adding that the commission reduced the ranks of one CSP to SP, three SPs to DSP, and two DSPs to ASPs.

The commission further reduced the ranks of four ASPs to Inspectors.

10 senior police officers, including an ACP, a CSP, a SP and two DSPs were given the punishment of severe reprimand.

Five ASPs were also awarded the punishment of severe reprimand.

Thirteen officers received the punishment of reprimand; two are to receive letters of warning while four officers were exonerated.

Ani quoted Justice Ogunbiyi as saying the commission would henceforth give the desired attention to Pending Disciplinary Matters so that those found guilty are punished immediately while those found not guilty are cleared to continue with their career progression.

Justice Ogunbiyi called on police officers to ensure they operate within established rules and avoid taking laws into their hands.

The commission, she said, would continue to work to sustain a professional police force.

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Lagos working on salary increase for civil servants, says Sanwo-Olu

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday said the state government was working to increase the salaries of public workers in the state civil service.

He made this known while addressing the workers at the state secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.

“I have looked around and I know that as a country, there is pressure. I know that, as a country, there is a high level of inflation. At our cabinet meeting, I instructed the head of service office and the ministry of staff, training, and pensions to start work on how we are going to increase the entire salary of our public servants,” the governor said.

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