The Nigeria Labour Congress has said it will mobilise Nigerians for nationwide protests to resist the plan by the Federal Government to sell strategic assets under the guise of using the funds to be generated to get the country out of recession.
The President of the NLC, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said the consequences of the proposed sale of the strategic assets would be more grievous if Nigerians did not stop the government from carrying out the policy.
He made the comment on Monday in Abuja while inaugurating a think-tank of the NLC and the Academic Staff Union of Universities, entrusted with the responsibility of leading the intellectual engagement with the Federal Government on the contentious move to sell the country’s assets.
The members of the 10-man NLC’s ‘Think-Tank on Socio-Economic Issues’ are a former President of ASUU, Dr. Dipo Fashina; Prof. Toye Olorode, Dr. Mohammed Aliyu, Dr. Mustapha Usman and Dr. Isaac Nwogugu.
Other members of the committee are Dr. Yemisi Bamgbose, Mr. Issa Aremu, Mr. Sonny Atuma, Dr. Peter Ozo-Eson, and Mr. Auwal Mustapha, who is the secretary.
Wabba stated, “While it is important to rescue our country from the current economic recession, sale of our commonwealth and strategic assets is certainly not a move in the right direction, and all Nigerians must have the courage to oppose it.
“All the (national) assets are under threat depending on the interest of who is speaking; the NLNG, refineries, all the assets are presently under threat. If we work together, then we can try to defend these assets. It will take the effort of all of us to stop them.
“Nobody will buy what is not profitable. That is why people are looking in the direction of the most profitable.”
Wabba stressed that the problem with Nigeria was corruption, which had become endemic in both the private and public sectors, and not the economic model to use.
The NLC president believed that politicians, who stole so much money and had been hiding the loot, were looking for ways to buy the assets with their looted funds.
Wabba assured Nigerians that organised labour was united in the quest to preserve the nation’s strategic assets for Nigerians and future generations.
“We are sure of ourselves; this is of concern to every citizen. We should not allow the bidding of those few who don’t mean well for the country. On the issue of selling out, we are on the same page, we will do everything possible to try to work together.
“We shouldn’t be discouraged because of the fact that we envisage sabotage or an effort to undermine the struggle. In every struggle, there would be moves to sabotage such,” he added.
ACF, economists oppose sale of national assets
Meanwhile, opposition against the plan of the Federal Government to sell some national assets continued to mount on Monday as the Arewa Consultative Forum and the Nigerian Economic Society condemned the proposal, asking the Federal Government to rescind its decision to sell the assets.
The NEC stated that the decision of the government did not make economic sense in the face of the current challenges.
It faulted the argument by the government that the proceeds of the sale would be used to fund the 2016 budget, noting that the sale of the assets would further widen the level of income inequality in the country.
The President, NES, Prof. Ben Aigbokan, stated this in an interview with journalists on the forthcoming national conference of the society on Monday in Abuja.
Aigbokan described the approach being adopted by the government as “generationally irresponsible”.
The conference, scheduled to commence on Tuesday (today), has as its theme ‘‘The developmental state and diversification of the Nigerian economy’’.
The NES president added, “It is an irony that the government is planning to sell some of our national assets at this time because it is a contradiction of one of the policies of government, which is sustainable development.
“The economics of selling national assets now at a time of economic recession is very poor because we will not get a good value for these assets, because people understand that the county is in need of money.
“If you sacrifice our national assets now because we are in need of money, what do you leave for the future generations?
“So, generationally, it is irresponsible to sell these assets without subjecting the decision to a referendum because all Nigerians have a stake in them.”
Also, the ACF on Monday argued that it was needless for the Federal Government to sell off national assets to bail out Nigeria from its current economic woes.
The pan-northern socio-political organisation, through its National Publicity Secretary, Muhammadu Ibrahim, argued that the bloated allowances of public officers, which he said accounted for 40 per cent of the national budget, should be converted to capital allocation to boost the economy.
The ACF argued that selling off national assets to service the economy was completely “unwise” as such move never yielded the desired results in the past.
The statement read in part, “The growing calls by some prominent politicians and business tycoons on the Federal Government to consider the selling of strategic, viable national assets as an option to take the economy out of recession at this material time are inappropriate.
“Past privatisation did not yield the desired result in terms of judicious use of proceeds by the government or management of the assets by the new owners. Moreover, the amount to be realised is not worth the exercise.
“Government enterprises like the Nigeria Airways, Nigeria National Shipping Line, Ajaokuta Steel Company, NITEL, PHCN, etc, that were sold to selected Nigerians and their foreign collaborators in the spirit of privatisation, only succeeded in converting public enterprises to private ones, and some later became comatose. The ones that survived, their service delivery cannot be said to be better.
“ACF therefore considers it unwise for the Federal Government to contemplate the selling of our major national assets like the crude oil refineries, federal airports, NLNG, while we can use them as security against needed funds to boost the economy, as the recession is considered to be temporary.
“In addition, ACF wishes to suggest that unnecessary allowances of public officers and overhead cost that form over 40 per cent of our annual budget should be converted to capital allocation to boost the economy.
“This is the time for national sacrifice in order to bequeath an enduring legacy to the next generation. Positive change usually comes with painful necessary sacrifice.”
On its own, the National Union of Textile, Garments and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria has cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the sale of the nation’s assets.
A member of the National Executive Council of the NLC, Mr. Issa Aremu, in a statement in Kaduna on Monday, said Nigeria was not short of resources, arguing that the nation lacked “genuine resourceful leaders at all levels”.
Oyo State Budgets N330M Monthly To Support Community Policing In LGAs
Oyo State Governor, Seye Makinde has said that the state has set aside a monthly budget of N330 million to be spent on security across the 33 local governments in the state.
The governor who disclosed this in Ibadan said each local government in the state is expected to spend N10 million to support the security of lives and property in their domain.
He said part of the measures was the instruction to local government chairmen to involve traditional rulers as well as other voluntary residents in policing their areas.
Each local government is to spend N10 million monthly on this security arrangement.
Makinde explained that the initiative amounts to spending N330 million in the 33 local government areas, besides other efforts the state government had put in place to tighten security.
“We said each local government should set up a security committee, which should include traditional rulers and voluntary people willing to police their areas.
“I encouraged them to budget N10 million to service the committee every month. For the entire state, that’s N330 million per month by all local governments, excluding what we are doing generally at the state level,” the governor told a group on a visit to him during the recent Muslim festival.
“On security, most of the data in the past months shows that things are now improving. The Igangan incident, some days ago, was only falsified by some people who were saying that Fulani herdsmen had invaded Igangan again. The truth is actually about the NCS and smugglers. They know each other.
“Customs officials were accused to have entered Igangan, which is not a border town. But we are working with Federal authorities and they have arrested most of them.
“The gun that was collected is still with us. I said I won’t release it until I get the attention of the Federal authorities.
“In the Constitution of Nigeria, Oyo State is a federating unit. We are not saying Federal agencies should not carry out their operations here. But they must tell us; they must inform us. They may not disclose the details of the operation to us, but we must know about it.
“If we had known about the operation, we would have pre-informed the security detail in the town and those who died could have been alive. The Amotekun Coordinator that died in Igboora would have still been alive today.
“How can you go operating in an unidentified vehicle in a town where the security tactics have been heightened? As they wanted to enter the town, they were confronted because we have heightened security in all of those places.
“So, we will keep appealing to them and to our people that false information won’t help anybody. Nobody will profit politically from the security issues we are faced with. It is our collective responsibility. The people will play their part and the government will play its own part,” Makinde said.
Security Operatives Arrest Sunday Igboho in Cotonou, Benin Republic
The security operatives in Cotonou, Benin Republic have arrested Yoruba freedom fighter, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho.
An anonymous source privy to the arrest disclosed on Tuesday morning.
According to the source, Sunday Igboho was arrested in Cotonou while trying to travel to Germany from the West African nation.
President Buhari-led administration is now working with the Benin government to repatriate him to Nigeria.
The source said, “Sunday Igboho has been arrested in Cotonou. He was arrested about an hour ago.
“He was supposed to travel to Germany through Cotonou this night. He wanted to leave Africa through Cotonou. He was arrested by security operatives in Cotonou.
“They are planning to bring him back to Nigeria.”
It would be recalled that the Department of State Services had declared Igboho wanted after its operatives carried out a bloody midnight raid on his residence in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State.
DSS Public Relations Officer, Peter Afunnaya, had advised Igboho to turn himself in to the nearest security.
“Those cheering and eulogizing him may appeal to or advice him to do the needful,” Afunnaya said. “He should surrender himself to the appropriate authorities. He or anyone can never be above the law.”
Pelumi Olajengbesi, one of the lawyers representing Igboho and others arrested in his House, told SaharaReporters he had not confirmed the news of Igboho’s arrest in Cotonou.
“I will contact Yomi Aliu (SAN) to verify the news,” he said.
IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia
Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies.
Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.
In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.
IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.
Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.
“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”
The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding.
IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis.
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