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Government Meets Labour Over Wage Saga As Pensioners Threaten Protest

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The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, has met with organised labour over the minimum wage imbroglio.

The Guardian learnt yesterday in Abuja that the meeting with the president of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, and his Trade Union Congress (TUC) counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama, was to avert the October 30 rally and November 6 nationwide strike by the unions.

It was also learnt that the scribe demanded a full account of what transpired during earlier negotiations with a view to engaging state governments on an acceptable figure ahead of the threatened industrial action.

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Also, the Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUP) has threatened to picket the Pension Transitional Arrangement Directorate (PTAD) over their alleged 12-month arrears in the wake of the 33 per cent pension increase of 2010.

NUP’s national president, Dr Abel Afolayan, also demanded a harmonised pension upon approval of a new national wage. Speaking yesterday in Abuja, he cited sections 173 (3) and 210 (3) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to justify their position. Specifically, the provisions say: “Pensions shall be reviewed every five years or together with any Federal Civil Service salary reviews whichever is earlier.”

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He pointed out that the last pension review was in July 2010 and the next ought to be 2015 according to extant law, adding: “In other words, whatever amount is approved as minimum wage for workers should also apply as minimum pension for pensioners. We believe that whatever is good for the goose is also good for the gander, as both workers and pensioners go to the same market for their daily needs.”

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Afolayan held that it was sheer wickedness for any government officials to oppose an upward review of workers’ pay considering the economic realities in the country. He flayed the states for claiming to be financially incapable to pay the proposed new wage, saying their action contravenes the aforementioned sections of the constitution.The pensioners therefore gave government 21 days to defray the backlog.

Nigerian News

Buhari Condemns Killing Of Christian Youths In Gombe

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Buhari Decries Killing Of Christian Youths In Gombe

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed deep sadness over the killings of those Christian youths by the Nigerian policeman who was accused of intentionally ramming his vehicle into them in Gombe while on their Easter Sunday procession.

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The president also expressed sadness over the reprisal killing of the law enforcement officials allegedly responsible for the tragic incident.

In a statement on Monday, the president described the violent actions as “very unfortunate,” and extended condolences to the families of the victims.  He also wished the injured speedy recovery.

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Along with the Christian Association of Nigeria, Gombe chapter, and the state government, the president appealed for calm.  He also decried reckless driving, as well as what he called “quick resort to self-help and mob action.”

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Business News

Nigeria’s Borrowing Remains Relatively Low At 19% – Minister

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Nigeria's Borrowing Remains Relatively Low At 19% - Minister

Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has said Nigeria’s borrowing still stands at 19 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  She said this level is low compared to debt levels in Ghana, Brazil, South Africa, Egypt and Angola.

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The minister also said there is no plan to remove fuel subsidy. She said the International Monetary Fund merely advised the federal government to remove fuel subsidy but assured Nigerians fuel subsidy removal plans are not even being considered at this time.

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On the question of the country’s debt level, the minister said Nigeria’s borrowing is still at 19 per cent of GDP.  She said this is still within the country’s fiscal responsibility act which allows a maximum of 25 per cent of GDP.

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The minister said Nigeria has the lowest level of borrowing compared to other countries.

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Nigerian News

Sanwo-Olu Expresses Confidence In Election Petition Tribunal

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Sanwo-Olu Expresses Confidence In Election Petition Tribunal

Lagos state governor-elect, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has expressed confidence he will be victorious at the Lagos State gubernatorial electoral petition tribunal.

The governor-elect expressed the optimism when he visited the tribunal to sign responses to two petitions challenging his victory in the march governorship election in Lagos.

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His victory is being challenged by chief Owolabi Salis of the Alliance for Democracy, and professor Ifagbemi Awamaridi of the Labour Party.

Sanwo-Olu said the tribunal will find that the challenges to his victory were without merit because Lagosians went out and voted in large numbers and made their choice.  With him at the tribunal was deputy governor-elect, Obafemi Hamzat.

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