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Protest: NLC Urges FG to `Urgently’ Address Hunger, Economic Hardship




The Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) has urged the Federal Government to immediately address hunger and economic hardship in the country.

Mr Joe Ajaero, NLC President said this when addressing workers during a peaceful protest from its headquarters to the National Assembly on Tuesday in Abuja.

The protesting workers carried placards with inscriptions such as :”End hunger and poverty’, “Reject IMF/World Bank policies’,”End Naira devaluation, support local production”.

“Stop the profligacy in government, subsidise the poor’, “Fix local refineries, end subsidy’, ” Remove tax on drugs, our health matters, among others.

It would be recalled that on Feb.

16, NLC at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting had declared a two-day nationwide protest from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, over the worsening economic hardship and insecurity in the country.

It would also be recalled that the Department of State Services (DSS) had warned the NLC not to embarked on the planned protest gor the fear that it would be hijacked unscrupulous elements.

According to Ajaero, we are here for a peaceful protest. We are here to tell the Federal Government that Nigerians are hungry.

“The protest is to make Mr President to know how Nigerians feels, we know where it is pinching us.

“We are also here to register our complaints before Nigerians, the level of suffering and hunger in the land.

“We are here to call on the federal government to immediately address the issue of hunger in the country.

“There is nobody that does not know that bag of rice is over N70, 000 or more, we can not even buy indomi, even bread is out of reach and with N30, 000 minimum wage, if you eat a loaf of bread everyday, you will be spending over N40,000,”he said.

He expressed worried over why the government keeps reneging on most of the palliatives it promised to provide to ameliorate the pain of workers, since the removal of fuel subsidy on May 29th, 2023.

Ajaero said that the primary purpose of governance had always been the welfare and security of the citizens.

He said government must rise up to its responsibility of implementing the welfare provisions as contained in Chapter Two of the Constitution of-the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).

He added that, among the key welfare provisions is the generation of employment opportunities for citizens through massive investment in agriculture and value-added manufacturing.

The NLC president noted that to address issues of hunger government should immediately provide subsidies to farmers to boost agricultural production and food security.

Ajaero however, urged the government to open all food storage silos and enforce equitable distribution across the country.

He also said efforts must be geared towards fixing of abandoned factories and revival of our local production and patronage of Made-in-Nigeria goods and services.

He noted that the fixing of the four refineries have become germane and a matter of urgent national priority.

He added that electricity and water should be made available, affordable and accessible to all citizens, owing to the dire situation in the country.

According to Ajaero, we want government to invest massively in road-rail infrastructure and social housing.

“There is urgent need for deployment of cheap mass transportation, buses powered by CNG to ease the crisis of transportation for the poor people.

“Government must put an end to further privatisation and liberalization of the economy and take control of the commanding heights of the line with the Nigerian Constitution.

“Go after the oil subsidy cabal and other economic saboteurs instead of helpless Nigerians, put a stop to all dollarization of the Nigerian economy.

“They must also put a stop to wasteful spending and profligacy in government; proper and adequate funding of education and health care at all levels, among others of our demands,”he said.

Reports says that Ajaero presented a letter containing 17 point demands of the Congress.

Receiving the letter, Sen. Diket Plang, Chairman, Senate Committee on Employment, Labour and Productivity commended workers for the peaceful protest.

Plang also said that the NASS would do its best to ensure the quick passage of the minimum wage when implemented and the demands from the NLC would be looked into. (NAN)


14 Die, 13 Injured in Kogi Auto Crash




At least 14 persons died in a head-on coalition involving two Toyota buses on Sunday in Kogi.

Thirteen persons survived in the accident which occurred at Aloma community in Ofu Local Government Area of the state.

An eyewitness said that the accident involved a Toyota Sienna bus heading toward Abuja from Port Harcourt and a Toyota Hiace bus heading to the southern part of the country.

“Thirteen persons, including the driver of the Hiace bus were completely roasted by the fire that engulfed the bus immediately after the head-on coalition.

“One of the four surviving persons in the bus died in hospital from burns suffered bringing the number to 14 that died,’’ he said.

According to him, none of the 10 occupants of the Sienna Bus died, but were badly wounded and receiving treatment in a hospital.

He commended the villagers who quickly came to the scene of the accident and rescued the injured.

“It is because of their timely intervention that the Sienna bus did not get burnt as well,’’ he said.

The eyewitness blamed the accident on speeding and potholes on the road and added that it took rescuers three hours to remove the driver of the Sienna bus, whose two legs were badly damaged.

Contacted, the Kogi Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Mr Samuel Oyedeji, confirmed the accident. (NAN)

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Disability Act: Stakeholders Worry Over Delayed Domestication in Benue




By David Torough, Abuja

Stakeholders have expressed concern over delay in the domestication of Disability Act in Benue state and called on government to expedite passage of the law in the state.

At the stakeholders’ consultative meeting to domesticate the disability law in the state held Tuesday in Makurdi in collaboration with Inclusive friends Association (IFA), Hope Alive for Possibilities Initiative (HAPI) and JONAPWD, the Director General, Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, Dr Leonard Viashima, represented by the Technical Adviser on Bureau for International Cooperation and Development, John Akuse, however said governor Alia’s administration was willing to domesticate the law in the state.

In his address, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Disability Affairs, Bem Anshe, who doubles as the chairman of JONAPWD, stressed the need for the domestication of the law in Benue, saying it would facilitate the inclusion of people with disability in governance.

Anshe decried the non-passage of the law in the state, lamenting that Benue was the only state in the North Central yet to domesticate it.

In her remarks, the Executive Director of IFA, Grace Jerry, represented by the Programme Manager of IFA, Stephen Idoko, noted that despite the challenges, she was confident that the forum would achieve its objective if all worked together.

She noted that the presence of stakeholders in the meeting reaffirmed the collective commitment to making a lasting impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in the state.

On her part, Prof. Christy Anyogo from IFA expressed hope that Benue would soon join the league of states that have domesticated the disability law, saying governor Hyacinth Alia never looks back on whatever he wants to do.

The consultative forum was attended by stakeholders from the state ministry of Women Affairs, ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, traditional rulers, religious leaders, social investment programme agency, Albinism association of Nigeria, leprosy survivors and spinal cord injury.

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Enugu Embarks on Inspection of Smart Schools, Healthcare Projects Across State




From Sylvia Udegbunam, Enugu

Governor of Enugu State, Peter Mbah has charged contractors and the site engineers handling construction of the 260 smart schools and 260 Type-2 Primary Health facilities in the 260 wards of the state on the delivery of world-class projects that would stand the test of time.

Governor Mbah enjoined them to deploy quality materials and build according to specifications, warning that any sharp practices would attract stiff sanctions and rejection by the government.
He equally underscored the need for contractors to deliver their projects on schedule as stipulated in their terms of contract.The governor spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Prof Chidiebere Onyia, during an inspection tour of ongoing projects in Ezeagu LGA on Wednesday.
He said the purpose of the inspection by the project’s monitoring team, which also comprises the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Engr Gerald Otiji; Commissioner for Education, Prof Nwabueze Mbah; Commissioner for Budget and Planning, Hon. Chris Robert Ozongwu; Chairman of the Enugu State Universal Basic Education Board (ENSUBEB), Dr. Gabriel Ajah; Special Adviser to the Governor on Projects Development and Implementation, Uche Nwatu, among others, was to ensure the quality and integrity of the projects, from start to finish.”We met with the contractors and their site engineers in all the sites we’ve visited. This is to ensure that there is no variation in the work specification, and that the quality of the materials they are using, starting from the foundation to completion, could guarantee the integrity and structural tests of these projects.”What His Excellency is setting out to achieve here is to make sure that we did not run the three risks that we know that are eminent in every construction, considering that a time will come in Enugu State when we will have almost five hundred live projects – smart schools, primary healthcare facilities – in all the 260 wards, in addition to the roads constructions that are going on across the board. So, we are building a very strong monitoring team that will address the quality aspect of it.”We are also taking into consideration the cost risk that comes when the time risk begins to happen, because, once we miss the timeline, the next is that we begin to discuss variation. So, this team here is to ensure that all risks are evaluated and compliance is strictly adhered to.”We are also working on engaging with the local stakeholders to ensure the security of the process here. So, that will help us address issues around theft of materials we brought to the site. But more importantly is that at the end of each project there will be sustainability and that these stakeholders will take ownership of these schools and other projects in their communities.”So, it is not just about monitoring, but also about building on all the key facets that will make sure that these projects achieve the objectives to have smart children and smart teachers coming out of our local governments and a smart workforce for the state,” Prof Onyia stated.That’s why we have accommodation for them and we are also going to ensure that Enugu generally has a smart workforce. That’s why we are here”.He allayed the fears over the culture of abandoned projects by various strata of the government, saying that the allocation of 33 per cent of the entire 2024 budget to education has guaranteed the start, completions, and handover of the smart school projects on schedule.On his part, Chairman of ENSUBEB, Dr. Ajah, said they were happy with the quality of work so far, adding that contractors were complying with specifications and corrections were immediately effected wherever there were gaps.Admonishing communities to take ownership of the projects, he urged them to see the facilities as their own by ensuring the security of the projects.”Security is everybody’s business. The people are happy. The government has never come to the people at ward level like this before now. So, I am calling on our people to protect these projects from vandals by taking charge and ownership of them”, he concluded.

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