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Subsidy Removal: Protesters Breakdown National Assembly Gate, Force Way into Complex

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….Protesters at National Assembly

The protest by the Organised Labour against the “anti-people” policies of the President Bola Tinubu administration is getting intense as protesters, on Wednesday, morning broke down the first gate of the National Assembly (NASS) complex and forced their way into the premises, reports Channels TV.

The protesters subsequently moved to the second gate of the Assembly Complex even as Senators immediately entered a closed-door session.

The Organised Labour including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliate unions, today, kicked off a protest in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and other states of the Federation including Lagos, Abia, Plateau, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Zamfara, Katsina, Cross River, Ebonyi, Enugu, Kwara, Ogun, Imo, Ondo, and Edo.

The protesters in their hundreds convened at the Unity Fountain from where they marched to the NASS Complex.

Read Also: Subsidy Removal: Fintiri Pledges Measures to Cushion Hardship

Senate President Godswill Akpabio is expected to address the protesters ahead of today’s screening of ministerial nominees.

Earlier, the NLC President, Joe Ajaero, told Channels Television at the Unity Fountain that there is “nothing stopping the protest, not even an overture from the government.”

He said that the Organised Labour won’t shelve the protest until there is a desired response from the government.

Ajaero said the response from the states will determine “whether the protest will be from today, or tomorrow or next or till thy kingdom come, it is not by using force.”

“We are here for the protest and to make a statement that since we started negotiation, that there is nothing we have in our hands,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, on Tuesday, warned against “violent mass protests” across the country.

Tinubu had removed subsidy on petrol during his epic inauguration speech on May 29, 2023, with a litre of the petrol jumping from N184 to over N620 and food prices and general inflation galloping at an unprecedented rate.

Last week, the NLC issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government and demanded “the immediate reversal of all anti-poor policies of the federal government including the recent hike in PMS (Premium Motor Spirit) price, increase in public school fees, the release of the eight months withheld salary of university lecturers and workers”.

The union also demanded an upward review of the minimum wage from N30,000 to N200,000, saying that since the President’s “subsidy is gone” inauguration speech of May 29, 2023, the peace of mind of Nigerians has gone.

Several meetings between the Presidency and the unions on palliatives for Nigerians suffering hardship in the wake of the petrol subsidy removal proved abortive.

Also, the intervention of the Senate and the House of Representatives achieved no success as the unions insisted that the government’s palliatives’ package was out of touch with the economic realities that Nigerians face.

In a last-minute move to placate the aggrieved unions, Tinubu, in a broadcast to Nigerians on Monday night, promised to review workers’ salaries and minimum wage.

He also announced a N75 billion palliative for the manufacturing sector, saying 75 businesses would benefit within a nine-month period spanning the third quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of next year. Tinubu went on to declare a N125 billion fund to energise “this very important sector”.

According to him, provision has been made “to invest N100 billion between now and March 2024 to acquire 3000 units of 20-seater CNG-fuelled buses”.

However, the NLC immediately faulted the palliative measures announced by the President to cushion the biting effect of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians, saying the programmes to be rolled out by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government are totally out of touch with economic realities and hardship currently being faced by poor citizens.

The union said “the promises and assurances made by President Tinubu is not the silver bullet that Nigerians expected”.

The NLC said the President was expected to tell Nigerians his plans to resuscitate public refineries which have been lying comatose for so many years but he was completely silent on the issue.

NEWS

SEC Warns Nigerians Against Investing in $Davido Meme Coins 

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The Securities and Exchange Commission, Nigeria (SEC) on Friday warned Nigerians against investing in Meme Coins, known as “$Davido”, allegedly linked to popular Nigerian singer David Adeleke, known as Davido.

In a statement on its website, SEC said that it does not recognise $Davido as an investment product or investable asset class under its regulatory purview.

The regulator noted that, consequently, individuals who invest in it do so at their own risk.

“Generally, meme coins are cryptocurrencies inspired by memes and internet jokes.

“They are often envisaged as a fun, light-hearted cryptocurrencies promoted through a social media community and sometimes through celebrity endorsements,” it said.

According to SEC, meme coins are not intended to serve as a medium of exchange accepted by the public as payment for goods and services or as digital representation of capital market products.

The commission listed such capital market products as: shares, debentures, units of collective investment schemes, derivatives contracts, commodities or other kinds of financial instruments or investments.

The regulator said: “The general public is hereby advised that meme coins lack fundamental value and are purely speculative.

“The general public is further warned that investing in meme coins, including $Davido, is highly risky and should be done with a full understanding of the associated risk.

“Capital market operators are by this notice warned not to associate with instruments that fall outside the SEC’s regulatory purview.

“Such instruments should not in any manner be distributed or monitored through any capital market mechanism.

SEC stated it would continue to monitor developments within the ecosystem and would not hesitate to deploy its regulatory powers as needed. (NAN)

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Nigeria Deploys Troops for Peace Keeping in Gambia

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The Armed Forces of Nigeria on Friday, announced the deployment of 197 personnel for the peace keeping mission in the Gambia.

The Chief of Operations Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Boniface Sinjen made the announcement in Jaji, Kaduna State, at the graduation of troops of Nigerian Company 9 Economic Community of West African States Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG).

Report says that the 197 troops began Pre-Deployment Training (PDT) on May 4, at Martin Luther Agwai International Leadership and Peacekeeping Centre (MLAILPKC) Jaji Kaduna State.

According to him, the PDT is in line with the commitment of the Chief of Army Staff , Lt -Gen Taoreed Lagbaja and the Armed Forces of Nigeria in deploying quality peacekeepers in support of international peace and security.

He said that the training had equipped them with the necessary tactical skills and knowledge required for peace support operations.

“It  has prepared you for the protection of civilians and the accomplishment of assigned tasks under the ECOMIG mandate.

“You have learned the importance of teamwork, leadership and cultural sensitivity as well as other factors that would ensure your success in the mission area.

“You have been trained in the latest techniques and procedures for maintaining peace and stability in a complex environment and instilled with the values of discipline, respect for human rights and compassion for the people you are going out there to protect.

“Your mission comes at a critical time, as The Gambia faces a period of

uncertainty and instability, “he said.

According to him, the country’s political crisis has affected the lives of many innocent civilians and their presence will sustain the existing peace and stability to the region.

“Your role is crucial in maintaining peace, protecting lives and promoting sustainable development.”

Sinjen  charged  the troops to uphold the highest standards of professionalism, discipline and respect for human rights.

He advised them to adhere strictly to the ECOWAS’ mandate, which guides your mission and ensure that your actions align with the principles of peace, stability and human rights.

”Remember that your conduct will not only reflect on yourselves but also on your country, the ECOWAS region and the international community.

”Additionally, your training has exposed you to the culture and religious diversity of The Gambia.

 “You are, therefore, expected to approach all interactions with sensibility and respect. Be mindful of the local customs, traditions and socio-political dynamics of the mission area.

”You must remain vigilant in the face of potential security threats and   avoid any actions that may be perceived as insensitive,” he said.

He said that as peacekeepers in a sovereign nation, they must adhere strictly to the UN principles and guidelines for peacekeeping operations.

 “Respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of The Gambia and avoid any actions that may be perceived as interference in the country’s internal affairs.”

He said the Armed Forces of Nigeria had zero-tolerance on sexual exploitation and abuse in line with United Nations’ policies.

”Therefore, any form of sexual exploitation and abuse will be met with severe consequences.

“As ambassadors of the armed Forces of Nigeria and our great nation, you must uphold the esteemed values and enviable image of this country, “Sinjen said.

Earlier, the Commandant of MLAILPKC, Maj-Gen. Ademola Adedoja, said the six weeks training had been intense, comprehensive, and was conducted in line with the Standard UN Core Pre-Deployment Training Modules.

Adedoja said the PDT was to equip the earmarked unit with the requisite skills and knowledge to function effectively and efficiently in their deployment to the Gambia.

He said as  part of their training, the troops were taken through crosscutting issues like Sexual Exploitation and Abuse, Conflict Related Sexual Violence, Conduct and Discipline as well as Protection of Civilians amongst others.

“This graduation is a testament to the capacity and capability of the MLAILPKC as a United Nations accredited Centre to conduct quality training of prospective peacekeepers for deployment to multidimensional Peace Support Operations in fulfillment of her mandate.

“The Centre has within the last six weeks been able to train, retrain and refresh the troops on requisite knowledge and expertise to succeed in a Peace Support Operation environment.

” It is my fervent belief that these men are better informed and equipped to perform their roles in the Gambia, “Adedoja said.

He said the graduation ceremony once more showed the commitment of Nigeria and the Nigerian Armed Forces to global peace and security. (NAN)

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Putin Demands Ukrainian Troop Withdrawal in Exchange for Peace

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday said the withdrawal of Ukrainian troops from the territories annexed by his country is a prerequisite for any settlement of the ongoing war.

Putin said this during a visit to the Foreign Ministry in Moscow ahead of the Ukraine peace summit in Switzerland at the weekend.

If Ukraine also renounces membership of NATO, Russia would be prepared to cease fire and enter negotiations immediately.

His speech was clearly aimed at the current G7 summit in Italy and the Ukraine event opening on Saturday in the Swiss mountain hotel resort of Bürgenstock.

The affiliation of the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhya and Kherson to Russia is no longer in question, Putin said.

Ukraine should withdraw its army from the parts of these regions that it still controls, he added.

The Kremlin leader said he was stating Russia’s minimum demands in order not to freeze the conflict but to resolve it once and for all.

At the same time, Putin repeated the demands he made when he ordered the invasion of the neighbouring country in February 2022: The creation of a neutral, non-aligned and nuclear-free Ukraine.

The country should also be disarmed and “denazified,” said Putin, using a term widely interpreted in the West as meaning the instalment of a Russia-approved leadership in Kiev.

Russia currently occupies around a fifth of Ukraine’s territory, including the Crimean peninsula, which it illegally annexed in 2014.

Ukraine has so far adhered to its stated goal of retaking the occupied territory, including Crimea.

President Volodymyr Zelensky is also calling for the prosecution of Russian war crimes and Russian reparations for the destruction caused. (dpa/NAN) 

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