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Economic hardship: Protesters give Makinde letter to deliver to President Tinubu

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…as Makinde joins protests, empathise with Nigerians

By Bushrah Adeshina, Ibadan

Protesters in Ibadan, Oyo State on Monday conveyed a letter highlighting the demands of the organized labour to Governor Seyi Makinde to deliber to President Tinubu.

The protest which kicked off from the NLC Secretariat in Agodi saw workers from the state joining forces with fellow demonstrators across the nation in addressing pressing national issues.

The Oyo State Governor took a stand alongside thousands of workers in Ibadan on Tuesday as they protested against hardships and deteriorating economic conditions in the country.

In his address to the protesters, Governor Makinde highlighted the alarming levels of hardship and poverty that have gripped many, leaving them unable to afford basic necessities or secure employment.

He emphasized the urgent need for collaborative efforts in finding solutions to the challenges exacerbated by the removal of fuel subsidies and the escalating exchange rates.

He stressed the necessity of implementing policies which fosters economic growth and facilitates job creation.

The governor also warned against generalisation that states had been doing nothing to ease the hardship, stating that Oyo State Government had been paying wage awards to workers and pensioners in the state since October 2023.

He added that the state government only recently extended the payment of the wage award by another six months to allow for the conclusion of discussions on a new minimum wage.

He said: “My message to the protesters and people of Oyo State is to simply let them know that this is a trying period for our country. It is not the time for divisive activities. We have to pull together and confront the challenges that we are faced with.”

“Usually, when you are going through a period where you are trying to reform a system, there will be challenges. We saw it in 1989 during the Structural Adjustment Programme. We had riots but, at the end of the day, we still all came together to solve our problem.”

“I told the NLC president that this is not the time for lies and propaganda. No one can say that no state is paying wage awards, as we have been paying it to our workers and pensioners since October 2023.”

“Even, I have extended it by another six months to give us the opportunity to sit down and negotiate the minimum wage and the adjustment that will come with it.”

Assuring the protesters that he would deliver their message to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Governor Makinde appealed for calmness from the protesters, saying: “So, I have appealed to them though I know that this protest is their right. I will pass the letter they gave to me to the President.

“I know there is hunger and anger in the land, but the solution is still for us to pull together.”

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Ogun Assembly passes Assembly Commission Amendment bill

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The Ogun House of Assembly on Wednesday passed the State House of Assembly Service Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2024.

The passage of the bill followed  presentation of the Committee’s report by the Chairman, House Committee on Establishments and Public Service Matters, Mr Babatunde Tella at plenary in Abeokuta.

Tella moved the motion for its adoption, seconded by Mr Adeyanju Adegoke and supported by all the members.

The bill was later read and adopted clause by clause before the Committee of Whole.

The Majority Leader, Mr Yusuf Sheriff, moved the motion for the third reading of the bill, seconded by the Minority Leader, Mr Lukmon Adeleye and supported by the Whole House through a unanimous voice vote.

Consequently, the Deputy Clerk of the House, Mrs Funmilayo Adeyemi, took the third reading of the bill before the lawmakers.

The Speaker, Mr Oludaisi Elemide, directed that the clean copy of the bill be forwarded to Gov. Dapo Abiodun for his assent.

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Abuja court gives EFCC go-ahead to arrest ex-Kogi Governor, Yahaya Bello

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A Federal High Court, Abuja, on Wednesday, ordered that a warrant be issued to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for immediate arrest of former Governor of Kogi, Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

Justice Emeka Nwite, in a ruling on EFCC’s ex-parte motion, held that after listening to the submission of commission’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, and reading the affidavit in support of the motion, including the exhibits and written address, he was inclined to grant the application.

It was earlier reported that a High Court sitting in Lokoja on Wednesday, restrained the EFCC from arresting, detaining and prosecuting Bello

Justice I.A Jamil, who gave the order in a two-hour judgment delivered in suit no HCL/68/M/2020, held that infringing on Bello’s “fundamental human rights is null and void.”

The judge, who dismissed the commission’s application challenging the jurisdiction of the court, said: “By this order, the EFCC is hereby restrained from arresting, detaining and prosecuting the applicant.

“This is a definite order following the earlier interim injunction given.”

However, in a ruling delivered by Justice Nwite on Wednesday, the judge ordered that a warrant be issued to the commission for Bello’s immediate arrest.

He also directed that the former governor be produced before the court on April 18 for arraignment.

“It is hereby ordered as follows:

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing and/or issuing a warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.

“That case is adjourned to 18th day of April, 2024 for arraignment,” he declared.

NAN reports that the EFCC, in the motion ex-parte marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/98/2024 dated April 16 and filed April 17, sought six orders.

These include “an order granting leave to the complainant/applicant to effect service of the charge together with the proof of evidence on the defendant by substituted means to wit; by pasting the charge at the last known address of the defendant within the jurisdiction of this honourable court being: 9, Benghazi Street, Wuse Zone 4, Abuja.

“An order directing and/or issuing an arrest warrant for the immediate arrest of the defendant for the purpose of bringing him before this honourable court for arraignment.”

In the alternative, the anti-graft agency sought an order issuing and directing the publishing of a public summons requiring/ commanding the defendant to appear before the court on a named date, among others.

The conflicting orders came after the EFCC had appealed against the initial order, and the appeal was scheduled for hearing on April 22 in Appeal No: CA/ABJ/CV/175/2024 between EFCC and Alhaji Yahaya Bello.

The Yahaya Bello Media Office had, in a statement signed by Onogwu Mohammed, alerted the nation to a siege on the former Governor’s Abuja residence.

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Zulum approves N1.3bn scholarship for 997 nursing, midwifery students

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Gov. Babagana Zulum, of Borno has approved the release of N1.3billion as scholarship for 997 nursing and midwifery students from the state.

Zulum stated this on Wednesday while inaugurating the scholarship programme at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Maiduguri.

He said that out of the 1,080 nominations, 40 from each of the 27 local government areas of the state, 997 qualified to benefit from the scholarship.

He also announced that the 997 beneficiaries of the scholarship would receive automatic employment after graduation.

The governor said that the support was to encourage the students to complete their studies so as to bridge the workforce demand in the state’s healthcare system.

“The government has allocated  N1,305,189,000 for scholarship, with a breakdown of N124,149,000 earmarked for tuition fees, the remaining N1,181,040,000 will be disbursed as monthly stipend of N30,000 to each beneficiary throughout their studies,” Zulum said.

He added that N201 million bursary allowance would be given to 2,010 nursing and midwifery students who did not benefited from the scholarship, and directed that each of them should receive N100,000.

Zulum, who stated that ongoing construction of two colleges of nursing would be completed this year, inaugurated a lecture theatre complex and a 3,000-capacity multipurpose hall at the college.

Earlier, Lawan Wakilbe, the Commissioner for Education, said that the government had approved over N6 billion scholarship, out of which about N2.7 billion was disbursed to students from the state studying in higher institutions across the country.

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