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Suswam Appeals to Protesting Benue Pensioners to Return Home

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From Chris Gaga, Makurdi

The Senator Representing Benue North-East senatorial district, Gabriel Suswam has appealed to protesting Pensioners to end the six days all-night protest and return to their various homes. 

The former governor also appealed to the pensioners to trust and give him up till Monday next week to join heads with governor Samuel Ortom to address their demands.

 

But in a quick trigger, some of the protesters shouted, “we don’t trust the governor.

Suswam who addressed the pensioners at the gate of government house on Monday, said their continued sleeping outside was unpalatable, insisting that they would not allow “our parents to be sleeping outside”.

He pleaded to the pensioners to break the protest so as to reconvene Monday when he believed he will join heads with the governor to address their needs.

 

Suswam said, ” even If you don’t trust the governor as you said, give us the opportunity. Your staying here affects us your children and the whole state. It is a state matter and we stakeholders can not fold our hands and watch. 

“My appeal to you is please go back home, Monday we will be back here with other stakeholders to resolve this issue. Please give us a chance, just one opportunity and if we cannot solve this problem then, you can go ahead with your protest. But  we cannot allow you to continue staying here,” he pleaded. 

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The Senator Committee Chairman on Power explained that governor Ortom was constrained by the present economic realities, but appealed to the pensioners to count on him to making sure that the governor heed to their cry. 

Suswam who said the pensioners were bargaining for their rights, assured that he will take the challenge “personally” to solve the problem when he meets with the pensioners on Monday next week. 

In their response, the Vice Chairman of the Concerned Senior Citizens, Mrs Stella Peters said they were ready to continue protesting  day and night till Monday next week when the Senator feels solutions will be provided. 

Stella narrated that if the government had paid them two months of the arrears they bargained for before they commenced protest, it wouldn’t have gotten to this point. 

She cried that, “life has not been easy with us. We have lost dignity in our families and homes. This is not how to treat human beings”.

The Vice Chairman informed that they have lost three of their members in the cause of the protest, noting that they were surprised their cry and suffering is been speculated to be instigated by politicians.

They however appreciated former governor Suswam for his concerns, but refused ending the protest as the Senator pleaded. 

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Our Correspondent reports that the protesting pensioners accepted a token gift by the Senator to aide them purchase drinking water. It is the second offer they are accepting since they rejected governor Ortom’s earlier offer of 2million for same purposes. 

Labour

Group Gives FG 14-day Ultimatum to End ASUU Strike

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By Gom Mirian, Abuja

The Save-Education-Campaign, Nigeria, has issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to meet up with the ASUU demands for campuses to re-open or risk mass protest.

The group issued the ultimatum yesterday at a conference, tagged: “save – public – education campaign”, held in Abuja.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Comrade Vivian Bello lamented that the continued strike was an organized crime against students’ career and educational pursuits.

She further lamented the meager allocation for education sector in the country, said only N1. 29tn (7.9%) is budgeted for education in the year 2022 which is a far-cry from UNESCO’s standard recommendation of 26% minimum.

“We make bold to say, that if government will recognize the futility in its so-called insecurity-fighting campaign, change strategy and invest a greater proportion of the resources it is expending in the insecurity campaign in providing robust, efficient and quality educational system and structure and qualitatively educate its teeming citizenry, within a calculated period of time, insecurity will gradually die a natural death in Nigeria and the society will take on its hitherto regular and peaceful equilibrium

“We submit boldly that, Education can be a veritable panacea to insecurity in Nigeria,” she added.

In a communique jointly signed by the Co-Convener of the group, Comrade Dimeji Macaulay, the group damands that “the negotiation process of the strike action, including as led by the Prof Nimi Briggs committee, be immediately concluded and SIGNED.(We demand an end to the lingering foot-dragging).

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“The IPPIS has been specifically described and pointed out with evidence, by the striking academic unions as problematic, inconsistent and fraudulent. The Platform should therefore be set aside while the proposed more credible alternatives; UTAS, U3PS deployed accordingly.

“We call for immediate payment of ALL withheld salaries of the striking academic unions. Having become aware of a proposed bill by the Senate to establish financial Aid Scheme for students; we demand that such proposed Scheme be clearly explained to Nigerians.

“We want to see a properly public funded education at all levels in Nigeria and not creating another looting avenue or portfolio for some unscrupulous mindless public officials.

 “That in view of the gravity of the situation, we make a clarion call for unity and coming together of staff unions, students, workers and communities across the Country, to mobilize and get ready for civic mass actions to compel the government to take the necessary steps to end the strike and have the millions of our children and students, return to school to end the jeopardy of their Education and future.

“Therefore, we wish to state unequivocally that, If the strike action lingers, we will be forced to commence another round of mass protests Nationwide to bring an end to the unjust denial of innocent Nigerians their Right to Education”.

See also  Niger Workers Begin Strike Over Salary Cut
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Business News

Bakers Threaten Strike over Rising Cost of Flour, Sugar

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By Joseph Amah, Abuja

The Association of Master Bakers and Caterers of Nigeria (AMBCN) has threatened to withdraw their services nationwide, citing a hike in the price of bakery materials, neglect of by federal government and fleecing by regulatory agencies. 
The association said this on Friday in a communiqué issued after a meeting of its national executive council in Abuja.


In the communiqué, signed by the association’s executives, led by Mansur Umar, its national president, the bakers said they would commence an initial two-week strike from July 13, 2022.


They said the cost of flour, sugar and other materials used in the bakery business had soared beyond the reach of many bakers.


The group also said efforts to get the government’s intervention in the matter had been unsuccessful, as there had been no positive response from the concerned ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government.


“Increase in prices of bakery materials, especially flour and sugar having reached unprecedented levels, for example, flour is now between N25,000 and N27,500, so also other ingredients,” it reads.


“The National Wheat Cultivation Committee already constituted is yet to be inaugurated after over one year. NAFDAC, SON, and NESREA have turned the bakers into money-making machines by charging our members outrageous levies even at this very challenging moment.

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“Consequently, the NEC in session resolved that all zones, state, Local Governments and units of our association should commence full mobilisation of our members nationwide to embark on withdrawal of services starting from Wednesday, July 13, 2022, for an initial period of two weeks.”


The association, however, told its members to await further directives.
In March, bakers complained that the hike in diesel price and exchange rate volatility caused many of its members across the country to shut down their business operations. 



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Business News

Fuel Crisis: IPMAN Warns Members Against Sale of Fuel Above N165/litre

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) has warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.


IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.


The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.


He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product.

The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.


“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”
Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.

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“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.
The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”


On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”


He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”
The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.

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