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Daily Archives: November 6, 2018

JUST IN: Buhari endorses N30,000 minimum wage

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday endorsed N30,000 as the new national minimum wage.

He said this while receiving the report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The report was submitted by the committee’s chairman, Amal Pepple.

Buhari has also promised to send a bill to the National Assembly to effect the change from N18,000 to N30,000.

Brexit: Theresa May urged to scrap ‘hostile’ immigration laws for foreign students

UK’s Prime Minister, Theresa May, is being urged to take international students out of the UK’s controversial net migration target amid warnings that the country is losing its lucrative reputation for world-class universities.

A report launched on Wednesday said that tougher immigration rules introduced under the Conservatives — specifically the target to cut migration below 100,000 — are repelling international students from applying to study in the UK and damaging university finances.

The report, from the all-party parliamentary group on international students, said that the “hostile environment” for migrants introduced by May as Home Secretary had contributed to falling numbers of international applicants.

Speaking to Business Insider, former education secretary Nicky Morgan said that it was the “right time” to reassess the inclusion of students in the net migration target.

“When the coalition government came in in 2010, there was a real desire among the public to see more controls on immigration,” Morgan said, adding that some colleges had been abusing student rules to hand out visas illegitimately.

But she said the “mood music” had now changed on international students. “All evidence points to taking students out of the net migration target and that’s why this report is welcome,” she said.

The report also recommended a host of other measures to attract more international students, including a more generous visa system which would allow students to stay in the UK to work after completing their studies.

Prince Charles cancels Jos trip due to security concerns

UK’s Prince Charles, who is in Nigeria on the final leg of his West African tour, alongside his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, has cancelled a planned trip to Jos, citing security concerns.

Prince Charles had earlier scheduled a trip to Jos on the final day of his royal tour of West Africa, to undertake engagements including a discussion about peacebuilding and conflict resolution, but he would not be going based on the advice of the Foreign Office, reports UK Telegraph.

Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as saying that the decision was made “upon advice from the Nigerian government and others involved in security and operational aspects of the visit”.

A source added there were no known specific threats to the Prince’s safety, with “additional security precautions relating to recent clashes”.

The Prince is understood to be disappointed he is unable to make the trip, which had been planned for some time.

Events arranged in Jos will now be moved to Abuja, to allow him to speak to people about their rural livelihoods and attend a service of commemoration.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: [VIDEO] President Buhari receives Prince Charles and wife, Camilla

He will also take part in an hour-long discussion about “peace-building and conflict resolution”.

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said:  “Due to operational constraints beyond our control, we have decided at this time not to include Jos during Their Royal Highnesses visit to Nigeria.

“We are delighted to have an exciting programme of activity in Abuja and Lagos which will showcase those issues close to The Prince’s and The Duchess’s hearts.

“The decision was taken upon advice from the Nigerian Government and others involved in security and operational aspects of the visit.

“We’ve arranged an interesting and engaging programme on Thursday in Abuja, which will include showcasing alternative livelihoods focussing on poultry and Acha super grain, water aid and a peacebuilding discussion with youth peace ambassadors.”

The inability of Prince Charles to visit Jos may not be unconnected to the discovery of the body of retired Major General Idris Alkali, who was murdered in Plateau State, while on his way to Bauchi State.

His body was recovered on Friday and buried on Saturday.

19 suspects have so far been apprehended in relation to his murder.

Buhari receives Prince Charles, Duchess of Cornwall in Aso Rock

Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife, Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, have arrived Nigeria on a three-day visit.

They were received by President Muhammadu Buhari at the state house, Abuja, on Tuesday.

While in the country, the prince of Wales will engage in peace-building activities and address the clashes between farmers and herders.

The visit is also aimed at strengthening the ties between both Commonwealth countries.

Charles took over as head of the 53-member Commonwealth of Nations in April 2017, succeeding Elizabeth II.

He is the eldest son of the British monarch.

Senate probes NNPC’s alleged diversion of $1bn from NLNG dividend

BREAKING: Buhari receives minimum wage committee report

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday received report of the Tripartite Committee on the Review of National Minimum Wage at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The report was submitted by the committee’s chairman, Amal Pepple.

The committee which recommended N30,000 as the new national minimum wage also submitted a draft bill that will be sent to the National Assembly.

More to follow…

Billionaire businessman, Sunny Odogwu, dies at 87

Billionaire businessman, Chief Sunny Odogwu, has died atbtge age of 87.

According to a family source, Odogwu was said to have died in his home on Monday.

Born on March 20, 1931, in Calabar, Odogwu hails from Delta state and holds a high ranking traditional title of Ide Ahaba of Asaba.

He had his secondary school education at Ilesha Grammar School, Osun state and thereafter joined an insurance firm to work as a trainee.

The Delta-born high chief later travelled abroad for further studies.

Odogwu established the Sunny Iwedike Odogwu (SIO) Group of Companies, a firm with investment in property development, shipping, finance, industrial relations and hotel management.

He also established Robert Dyson and Diket, an insurance brokerage firm.

Odogwu was the publisher of now-defunct Post Express Newspapers.

He is survived by his wife, Theresa and nine children.

Nobody is safe in this country, says Ekweremadu

Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, says no one is safe in Nigeria.

Uche Anichukwu, media aide of Ekweremadu, had earlier disclosed that the Abuja residence of the deputy senate president was invaded by gunmen in the wee hours of Tuesday.

Speaking after the incident, Ekweremadu said the response of the police to the incident was poor.

The lawmaker said the security of the citizens is not in the hands of government but God.

“It was about 4am this morning that some people evaded the security in my house and got all the way to my room where I was sleeping with my wife. There was a struggle, there was a fight with heavy commotion and by the grace of God, we eventually caught one of them and the rest escaped,” the senator recounted.

“We handed that one over to the police investigating the matter. The annoying aspect of it or the one that is worrisome is that at that point, I called the inspector-general of police (IGP), his phone was off. I called some of his aides, their phones rang out and nobody replied till now. I called DIG operations, till I left my house nobody showed up.

“I now had my people invite the DPO in charge of Apo police station. We didn’t see him till about 5:30, he sent his 2nd-in-command who came and he saw the dangerous weapons that they left behind, he left and said that the DPO was coming. Until I left my house by 9am, the DPO had not come.

“Nobody is safe in this country, I want to appeal to my colleagues and the general public that we all continue to be prayerful, be conscious of our private security, it appears that the security is not in the hands of government but the Almighty God.”

On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the alleged poor response of the police is “disturbing”.

“It is unfortunate the security situation in Abuja. What is more disturbing is the poor response of the police. I hope the police is not being partisan with the way they treat cases,” Saraki said.

One arrested as unknown assailants invade Ekweremadu’s home

Gunmen invaded the home of Ike Ekweremadu, deputy senate president, in the early hours of Tuesday while he was at home with his family.

Uche Anichukwu, media aide to Ekweremadu, described the incident as an assassination attempt.

In a statement, Anichukwu said armed men “discreetly” bypassed the security in the home of the deputy senate president located at Apo, Abuja.

Anichukwu said the attackers could not shoot because they did not want to attract the attention of security personnel on duty.

He said they took hold of the senator’s son and asked him to lead them to his father’s bedroom.

“It was at the senator’s bedroom that a struggle ensued, leading to the arrest of one of the assailants with dangerous weapons and housebreaking devices, while the rest managed to escape,” the aide said.

“The arrested member of the gang has, however, refused to divulge any information on the operation and has been handed over to the police.

“Ekweremadu, his wife, and one of his sons were in the house at the time of the attack. It could be recalled that the lawmaker narrowly escaped an attempt on his life in Abuja on November 17, 2015.

“Although the 2015 incident was reported to the security agencies, nothing has been heard about the matter till date.”

UPDATED: NLC suspends strike, Buhari to approve new minimum wage

Organised labour has called off the nationwide strike scheduled to commence on Tuesday.

The industrial action was meant to press home workers’ demand for an upward review of minimum wage.

At the end of the meeting of the tripartite committee set up by the federal government, Ayuba Wabba, president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), told reporters that the decision to suspend the industrial action was taken after agreements were reached and documents signed.

“Having reached this position and agreements signed, the proposed strike action is hereby suspended,” he said.

Efforts to resolve the disagreement between government and labour initially suffered a set back on Monday as both parties failed to reach consensus on the minimum wage.

After meeting for over seven hours, the two teams arrived at different figures. While labour insisted on N30,000, the government delegation proposed N24,000.

Chris Ngige, minister of labour, had said the two figures would be forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari for approval.

The meeting continued at 10pm and after two hours of deliberation, both sides agreed on an amount.

Wabba, who did not disclose the figure of the new minimum wage arrived at by the committee, said only the amount would be presented to Buhari.

He said the amount would only be made public after the committee’s report would have been presented to the president by 4.15pm on Tuesday.

He thanked all their tripartite partners for its understanding while particularly, appreciating the role of the private sector.

Ama Pepple, chairman of the committee,  expressed delight that the assignment had been concluded.

“I am happy to report to you that we have concluded our assignment and we will submit our report to the President by 4.15pm on Tuesday,” she said.

“We will reveal the figure at the presentation.”

Shi’ites: If we had weapons, Nigerian army can’t face us

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) says the army cannot face its members if they had weapons.

The group made the comment on Monday during a press conference on the recent clash between soldiers and its members in Abuja.

Abdullahi Zango, leader of the group, said the statement issued by the military and police over the killing of Shi’ites were “fabricated lies cooked up to cover their atrocities”.

He accused the soldiers of attacking defenceless protesters.

Zango said: “They continue to say that we are armed, this is a blatant lie. If we are armed, Nigeria army cannot face us.

“If we have weapons with us, Nigeria army is too small to face us. With our courage and bravery, with empty hands, they are running away from us talk less of when we have arms.

“They know that we are not armed because they are cowards.”

Zango also accused the police of planting persons with arms among the Shi’ites in a bid to incriminate the group.

He said the movement has paid N8 million as hospital bills for 106 Shi’ites who are receiving treatment at various hospitals in Abuja.

He noted that an additional N25 million will be needed to cater for other casualties who are still recuperating.

He said the total number of persons killed by the security agents is now 47.

Zango added that the group does not regret throwing stones at the security agents during the clash, saying it is the only weapon of the defenceless.

He said: “The situation of throwing stones at them, yes it is the weapon of somebody who is not armed.”

The Nigerian army has been criticised over the handling of the altercation by its troops.

The killing of Shi’ites has been condemned by many Nigerians and rights groups, including Amnesty International, which accused the soldiers of “firing live ammunition to disperse a peaceful gathering without warning”.

The defence headquarters recently issued a fresh warning to the Shi’ites, saying “we don’t have rubber bullets when we are sent on assignments“.

Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, leader of the IMN, has been in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) since December 2015.

Appeal court strips Obono-Obla’s panel of prosecutorial powers

The court of appeal sitting in Abuja has stripped the special presidential investigative panel headed Okoi Obono-Obla, of its powers to prosecute suspects.

The court also ordered the panel not seize assets belonging to fraud suspects.

A five-member panel of the appellate court, led by Hussein Muhktar, gave the ruling on Monday.

The judgement followed a request by Tijani Tumsah, a civil servant, at the ministry of power, works and housing,  whose assets were seized.

A high court had ordered the seizure following a case instituted by the presidential panel.

In a reaction to the court order, Tumsah approached the appellate court, through his lawyer, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, a senior advocate of Nigeria.

The court also held that the panel can apply for forfeiture of the properties belonging to public officers under the EFCC Act.

Festus Keyamo, counsel of the panel, had argued that the lower court has the jurisdiction to grant an interim order of forfeiture.

He arguedthat the SPIP, being an agent of the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, can exercise prosecutorial powers under the EFCC Act.

In resolving all the issues canvassed by the parties, the court of appeal held that: “The Recovery of Public Property (Special Provisions) Act does not confer any prosecutorial powers on the SPIP. The powers conferred on the SPIP under the Act is limited to investigation and cannot prosecute under the Act or under the EFCC Act or any other Act.

“The SPIP, upon conclusion of investigation can only submit its report to the President. The SPIP cannot obtain forfeiture orders from any Court whatsoever. The SPIP cannot exercise the powers of the Attorney General of the Federation or the Chairman of the EFCC.

“The court has inherent powers to set aside an interim order of forfeiture. The SPIP cannot act outside its enabling Statute.”

Based on this decision of the court of appeal, the SPIP can no longer continue seizing properties of public officers, detention of private citizens and filing charges against citizens in court.

The power of the SPIP, according to the court, is now limited to investigation and submission of its report to the president.

The SPIP cannot apply for forfeiture of properties or file a charge against any person in court.