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Renewed War over 774,000 Public Works Jobs as N’Assembly Rejects Slots

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The controversy over the 774,000 public works jobs of the federal government resurfaced yesterday as the National Assembly said that it would not be part of the ongoing recruitment in which 30 slots were allotted to each member of the federal legislature.

Senate Minority Leader, Senator Enyinanya Abaribe, while responding to THISDAY’s enquiries about the job scheme yesterday, said: “As far as the National Assembly is concerned, we are not participating in any form because of our earlier reservations about the lack of transparency in the programme where a minister has hijacked the programme for his own purposes.”

He cited the earlier decision of the upper legislative chamber not to be part of the controversial public works scheme, saying: “The Senate of the National Assembly agreed that it will not participate in the programme as vehemently promoted without due process by Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo.”

But Keyamo in his response yesterday told THISDAY that the rejection of the slots was irrelevant since their constituents would still benefit from the initiative.
Abaribe, however, explained that based on the earlier position of the National Assembly on the issue, the federal legislators will reject the various slots already allocated to them in their respective senatorial districts and constituencies.

“In states, they have been approaching lawmakers and offering them 30 slots for senators,” he said.
The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives also rejected the 30 slots allotted to each member of the House for their respective local government areas within their constituencies in the scheme.

The House Minority Leader, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, in a statement issued yesterday, described the allotment of 30 out of the 1,000 slots per local government area as grossly unfair and unacceptable by the lawmakers.
The caucus demanded more transparency and a review of the criteria being used for the allotment, which it alleged to favour certain interests in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

Elumelu said the 30 persons’ allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas, cannot by any criterion, said to be a true representation of the people they are mandated to represent.
He stated that the 774,000 jobs are meant for the people, adding that the people look up to the lawmakers as major channels through which they are reached for social and economic empowerment, a situation, which makes the 30 person, out of the 1,000 per local government, grossly inadequate.

He said: ”The 30 persons-allotment per local government for lawmakers is grossly unfair, inadequate and unacceptable to Nigerians. As the representatives of the people, we are closer to them and they directly interact with us, irrespective of religion, class and political affiliations.

“All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leanings. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.

”Moreover, the questions are: what criterion is being used in the job allotments? Given the 30 persons out of the 1,000 per local government area allotted to federal lawmakers, what happens to the remaining 970? What answers do we give Nigerians? How do we ensure that the programme benefits Nigerians and not enmeshed in allegations of sharp practices as witnessed in the COVID-19 palliative distribution?”

The lawmakers demanded more transparency and consultation in the implementation of the 774,000 public works jobs.
They also charged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately order a review of the implementation process to ensure that the targeted citizens benefited from the programme as intended.

It’s of No Consequence, Says Keyamo

However, Keyamo told THISDAY yesterday that the rejection of the slots was of no consequence.
He said: “It’s the PDP caucus in the House of Representatives but that is irrelevant because their constituents will still get the jobs. It’s 1,000 per local government.”

On what the move by the opposition lawmakers portend for the successful implementation of the job creation programme, Keyamo said: “It wasn’t their right but a mere privilege.”

Also reacting to criticism by PDP over the selection process of 774,000 unskilled jobs, the minister said: “It’s just their normal sense of entitlement that they always had over the years that is worrying them. During their time, all social intervention programmes nobody heard about them.

“This is the first time that this government is making it multi-sectoral, with Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Muslims, market women are there.
“They should tell me just one PDP administration’s programme that involves all segments of the society; not one.”

 

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Obadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Gov is deadObadiah Mailafia, former CBN Deputy Gov is dead

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Obadiah Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria is dead.

Mailafia, the 64-year-old reportedly passed away on Sunday morning at the National Hospital Abuja.

Recall that Obadiah Mailafia stirred controversy after he granted an interview accusing most top government officials of sponsoring terrorism in Nigeria.

Confirming his death, Fani-Kayode on his Twitter page wrote: “I am saddened by the passing of my dear friend & brother Mr. Obadiah Mailafiya who was one of the most powerful and progressive voices in our country. I was informed that he passed on this morning. He was a great nationalist, a believer in Nigeria, a kind and gentle soul.”

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APGA disowns Jude Njoku as Party National Chairman, insists on Oye

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The All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), has refuted viral claims of a court pronouncement affirming Chief Edozie Njoku as the party’s national chairman.

The All Progressive Grand Alliance is currently battling a leadership crisis that has led to the emergence of several factions, coupled with court litigations among each of the factions claiming to be the authentic elected national working committee (NWC) of the party.

A party chieftain, Edozie Njoku had approached the federal high court and sought among other reliefs, a declaration of the court in his favour as the National Chairman of APGA.

He also prayed the court to mandate Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to recognise him as the National Chairman of APGA and to stop recognizing Victor Ike Oye as the National Chairman of the party.

However, APGA, in a statement by its Chairman in Imo State, John Iwuala, while clarifying the outcome of court proceedings in the matter between Oye and Njoku held Friday, said Njoku breached part rules by appearing in court with a new lawyer.

“Trouble started in the court when he, (Edozie Njoku) in his usual way brought a lawyer for APGA as against the National legal adviser of the party, Sly Ezenwoke Esq. The question now is: who is to represent APGA as lawyer among the duo? he asked.

“After series of deliberations, the court later asked both lawyers to file briefs and decided to pronounce the authentic lawyer at the end of the matter on judgement. This decision did not go down well with Dr Oye and APGA, hence they approached the court of Appeal.

“On Friday, 17 Sept. 202, the Court of Appeal, Abuja Division directed that the matter be sent back to the Federal High Court for continuation. There is nothing beyond this.

“The court of Appeal has every right to invoke the authorities of Order 47 of the court of Appeal Act to assume jurisdiction as the court of first instance but didn’t want to do so as the substance of the case has already been dealt with by three appeal court judgements via Kano, Awka and Enugu respectively.

“It baffled the leadership of APGA Imo State Chapter how these fake news peddlers behave in a myopic way of feeding the public with fake news. This calls for a cry of reasoning and ecology of reasonableness.

“It must be recalled that this matter emanated from Bauchi State, where the plaintiff and his co-travellers went for “forum shopping’ to deceive the judge who on sighting danger that both plaintiff and defendant are same persons, sponsored by the same person, just trying to mislead the court, washed his hands off from it, the case was transferred to Abuja and Dr Victor Ike Oye was notified of the ongoing matter. What they specialize in is to sue, bring their lawyer and bring a lawyer for the defendant without the knowledge of the defendant until judgement is secured. That was what they did in Jigawa. Though the court of Appeal Kano division has set it aside and declared *Dr Oye as the duly elected and authentic National Chairman of APGA in a well organized and INEC monitored National Convention held on 31st May 2019.

“With the return of this matter to the High Court yesterday (Friday) from the court of Appeal Abuja, the matter is as good as dead as the High court lacks jurisdiction to hear any matter of which substance has already been heard and finally determined by the Court of Appeal. This one, three appeal court judgements in favour of Dr Oye including the award of N10m against Edozie Njoku for disturbing APGA and the courts of the land.

“I am seeing another N10m award against him soon. I wish with this, the reading public, especially our Anambra indigenes resident here in Imo State can remain calm and unperturbed over the fake news.

“We all know the pains you pass through when this fake, fabricated and malicious news came up as it has to do with the emergence of Prof Chukwuma Soludo as the next Governor of Anambra State, come November 2021”.

APGA accused political jobbers of peddling the fake viral news to mislead the reading public as part of their failed strategies to truncate the party’s chances for the November 6 gubernatorial election in Anambra state.

 

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Nigerian health workers issue fresh strike notice, lists demands

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The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) have issued a fresh notice of industrial action.

The notice confirms negotiations with the government is still ongoing as the recent strike notice expired the night of September 17.

JOHESU Acting General Secretary, Matthew Ajorutu, said an Expanded National Executive Council (NEC) emergency meeting of the unions was held on Friday.

In attendance were the Presidents and General Secretaries of affiliate unions and professional associations, NEC members of affiliate unions and JOHESU Chairmen and Secretaries at the state and branch levels.

The session appraised the reports of JOHESU negotiation and conciliation meetings with the federal government since the declaration of the trade dispute through the 15 days strike notice issued on September 2.

Ajorutu noted that NEC discussed the appeal by President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the pledge to pay any debt owed to health workers.

The scribe disclosed NEC received and examined reports of congresses held at various health facilities across the country on the mobilisation for the fresh strike notice starting September 18.

Ajorutu asked the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings.

The unions urged that the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for JOHESU members be completed and submitted to FG’s High-Level Body (HLB) not later than September 22, as agreed.

”NEC-in-session urges the Federal Government to ensure that the High-Level Body (HLB) completes and submits the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget within the Sept. 30th, submission window.

”NEC urges the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to expeditiously resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window”, the joint statement added.

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