President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrive for a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 30, 2018. Credit/VoA

President Donald Trump and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari arrive for a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, April 30, 2018. Credit/VoA

 

Tuesday bomb blasts, Labour rage dross Buhari’s claims in US

 

Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, on Monday told international media in the United States of America that life in the country’s northeast is improving, “as the threat of Boko Haram militants recedes and people return to their homes and farms”

But on Tuesday, one of the deadliest Boko Haram attack happened in Nigeria. Dozens of people were killed and 56 injured in two suicide bomb blasts in the city of Mubi, Adamawa State, North-East Nigeria, said the principal medical officer, Mubi General Hospital, Dr. Edgar Sakawa.

Dependable police sources said 70 people lost their lives in the twin bomb blasts.

Buhari also claimed that Funali herdsmen in Nigeria “do not carry guns but only sticks and occasionally matchets to cut down foliage and give to the animals”.

Tuesday was also the May Day, also known as the Labour Day. Workers across the country used the opportunity to challenge the government to “wake up”. Workers bemoaned insecurity as well as poor standard of living in the country.

Chairman of Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Ayuba Wabba said Nigerian government must pay a minimum wage of N65, 500 per month (that is about $181 USD) to lift workers from miserable living condition.  He said the payment would no longer be restricted to employers that have 50 workers or above.

“We have also proposed that the minimum wage law should apply to all workers and not be restricted only to establishments with 50 workers and above. We have also demanded that there should be minimum pension for our retired workers and senior citizens who currently, in some cases, are receiving N2000 as monthly pension. We insist that once the Minimum Wage Act is signed into law, all employers in public and private sectors must pay at once. We shall stand with those willing to pay more than the minimum. We shall resist any move to renegotiate the minimum wage at any level,”

The President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Kaigama, on his part, declared that labour would resist the five per cent petrol tax levy inserted into the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill (PIGB).

“Why is it coming now that Nigerians are going through excruciating pains from the mismanagement of the economy? What is the necessity of the marginal levy when Nigeria has not fully broken the shackles of fuel scarcity?” Kaigama asked, adding: “If the National Assembly cannot lessen our burden, they should not make it worse. That levy has to be removed immediately. The excuse that the money would be used to fund the Petroleum Equalisation Fund (PEF) is not tenable.”

He faulted the idea of a single regulator for the Nigerian oil and gas industry, saying: “We reiterate that government should ensure that the oil and gas industry operates in line with international best practices in the interest of the nation, more particularly, on technical and commercial regulations. The need for two independent regulators as obtained prior to the proposed PIGB, one for the upstream and one for the downstream sectors, (should) be maintained.”

He called for the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (PPPRA) to superintend the downstream sector, having had the relevant experience, structure and personnel, while the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) oversees the upstream sector.

Kaigama added: “The Federal Government must see the issue of electricity as a priority. The future still looks bleak and gloomy. The investors have failed in most of their undertaking so far, and are even arm-twisting the government to cover up their failure.

“We urge government to hold these investors to account and stop treating them with kid gloves. They must comply with the agreement they signed in their contracts with the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE). Excuses must stop. The contracts should be reviewed immediately. We need real investors to take over the power sector. This so-called privatisation has failed.”

Buhari said that when he took office in 2015, the Islamist militants controlled a majority of local government areas in Borno state. “But now they are not holding any local governments, according to what the military told me, and I believe them,” he said Monday.

 

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