NIGERIAN GOVERNORS PROMISE NIGERIANS OF BETTER WAGES Governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), on Wednesday, met to discuss on the call for a new minimum wage in the country. The governors during their meeting in Abuja, assured Nigerians that better wages will result from the ongoing negotiations between the government, private sector and organised labour. A statement released by the Governors forum and signed by the Chairman of the NGF and Kwara State Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq, reads, “We, members of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), at our meeting held today, deliberated on issues affecting the country. “1. Members received the Acting Country Director of the World Bank, Mr. Taimur Samad, and his team to discuss the Bank’s various programmes currently being implemented in the States, including HOPE – Series of Projects: Nigeria Human Capital Opportunities for Prosperity and Equality, Food and Nutrition Security, NFWP-SU: Nigeria For Women Project Scale Up, NG-CARES: Nigeria Community Action (for) Resilience and Economic Stimulus Program, SABER: State Action on Business Enabling Reforms Program, SPIN: Sustainable Power and Irrigation for Nigeria Project. Members expressed willingness to continue to provide the much-needed support to ensure programme effectiveness across the country. “2. Members received a briefing from Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, Chairman of the Presidential Fiscal Policy & Tax Reforms Committee. He highlighted the progress made regarding the ongoing Fiscal Policy and Tax Reforms. He sought the input and support of their excellencies on a number of proposals which would directly impact the subnational level of government. Members pledged their support for the Committee to ensure the successful implementation of these reforms and to collaborate closely to address any challenges that may arise. “3. The Forum received a presentation from the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs on the World Bank–Nigeria for Women Project Scale-Up, along with other activities of the Ministry. Members noted the importance of the project and emphasized the need to implement it at the State level as initially conceived, as the States are the primary obligors of the project. The governors acknowledge the work and contributions of the Ministry of Women Affairs in promoting gender equality, empowering women, and advancing social development across Nigeria. “4. The Forum discussed the New National Minimum Wage. The Governors agreed to continue engaging with key stakeholders to reach a mutually agreeable solution. We remain dedicated to the process and assure that better wages will result from the ongoing negotiations.”


WE’LL SEEK TINUBU’S INTERVENTION IN RIVER’S CRISIS – ORJI UZOR KALU Orji Uzor Kalu, senator representing Abia north, says he will work with his colleagues in the red chamber to seek President Bola Tinubu’s intervention in the political crisis in Rivers state. Kalu spoke on Wednesday when he led a delegation of the senate committee on privatisation and commercialisation on a visit to Siminalayi Fubara, governor of Rivers. Rivers is engulfed in a political crisis over a power tussle between Fubara and Nyesom Wike, his successor, who is now the minister of the federal capital territory (FCT). During the visit, Kalu said Fubara and Wike needed to end their feud to avert anarchy in the state. “We should not derail democracy; we should support democracy because democracy needs to be supported. If we don’t support democracy, democracy will collapse,” he said. “So, I would like to plead with you and the former governor that you people should take the interests of your people foremost in your hearts. “Continue to be holding your people, because if your people demonstrate like other people, we will have a state of anarchy, and it’s not good to have anarchy. “Few of us here have access to President Bola Tinubu, and we are also going to plead with him seriously to see how we can shorten everything happening here.” In his remarks, Fubara said he is not to blame for the political crisis in Rivers. “We should be bold enough to look at the faces of people to tell them the truth,” he said. “I am not fighting anybody; if I am fighting, people will know, and my pattern will change. “What we are doing is to defend ourselves. We can’t just fold our hands. It is only a tree that will be standing, only for some to come and chop it off.” In October 2023, Tinubu intervened in the political feud, facilitating the signing of a peace pact agreement by both parties involved.However, hostilities have continued between the governor and his predecessor as well as their supporters.


WE WON’T REMAIN SILENT IN FACE OF INJUSTICE – CARDINAL ONAIYEKUN Cardinal John Onaiyekan, the former Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, has called on Nigerians to stand up against injustice, emphasizing that staying silent in the face of wrongdoing is equivalent to being complicit. Speaking at the launch of the Catholic Social Teaching (CST) program at the Catholic Secretariat of Nigeria (CSN) in Abuja over the weekend, Cardinal Onaiyekan stressed the significant role of actively combating social injustices. He highlighted that the Catholic Church holds a duty to promote the right values, even if it invites criticism from political circles. “As Catholic Bishops, we often engage in interviews and issue impactful political statements. No one can hinder us from doing so because it is part of our duty. We are obliged to promote the correct values, even if it means encountering backlash from politicians,” Cardinal Onaiyekan articulated. He continued by stating, “Remaining silent in the face of injustice is not an option. Silence equates to complicity, and it is our responsibility to speak out against injustices wherever they may arise.” The Emeritus Archbishop underscored the necessity for the Catholic Church to advocate for social justice, emphasizing its longstanding tradition of teaching on such matters. He noted the important role of individual actions in fostering a more just and fair society. Reverend Father Uche Obodoechina, the Director of the Department of Church and Society, elaborated on the CST programme’s objective. He described it as a platform intended to educate staff members of the Bishops’ agencies comprehensively about CST, enabling them to impart the knowledge to others and disseminate the message effectively. “We aim to equip Catholics with the knowledge and skills to champion social change by applying the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in their daily lives,” said Obodoechina, who also serves as the Executive Secretary of the Catholic Caritas Foundation of Nigeria (CCFN).The program seeks to empower Catholics to become catalysts for social transformation, fostering a cascading effect of awareness that can positively impact communities and society as a whole.


FG FAULTS DANGOTE, MEETS LOCAL REFINERS OVER PRICING The Federal Government, on Tuesday, declared that there was no importation of dirty fuel into Nigeria, countering the recent position of an official of the Dangote Petroleum Refinery. It declared this after meeting with oil marketers and local refiners of crude oil in Abuja, where parties at the meeting discussed issues about refined products’ pricing, issues of competition and the importation of products that are produced in Nigeria. Also at the meeting, oil marketers stated that though local refineries were producing some of the refined products, this would not stop marketers from patronising other sources, while also buying products from the indigenous producers. Speaking through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, while reacting to claims of dirty fuel importation to Nigeria, the government stated that refined petroleum products with high-sulphur contents were last imported in February, stressing that this had since been addressed by the regulator. The Executive Director, Distribution Systems, Storage and Retailing Infrastructure, NMDPRA, Ogbugo Ukoha, disclosed this to journalists after the regulator concluded its meeting with the oil marketers and local crude oil refiners, which had officials from Dangote refinery and modular refineries. “There is no dirty fuel that is being brought into Nigeria,” Ukoha declared when asked to react to the allegations levelled against the NMDPRA by a senior official of the Dangote refinery. It was reported on Monday that the Vice President of Oil and Gas at Dangote Industries Limited, Devakumar Edwin, accused the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority of granting licences indiscriminately to marketers to import dirty refined products into the country. He had stated that even though Dangote was producing and bringing diesel into the market, complying with the regulations of the Economic Community of West African States, “licences are being issued, in large quantities, to traders who are buying the extremely high sulphur diesel from Russia and dumping it in the Nigerian market.” Edwin had explained, “Since the US, European Union and the United Kingdom imposed a price cap scheme from February 5, 2023, on Russian petroleum products, a large number of vessels are waiting near Togo with Russian ultra-high sulphur diesel and they are being purchased and dumped into the Nigerian market. “Some of the European countries were so alarmed about the carcinogenic effect of the extra high sulphur diesel being dumped into the Nigerian market that countries like Belgium and the Netherlands imposed a ban on such fuel being exported from its country, into West Africa recently. Sadly, the country is giving import licences for such dirty diesel to be imported into Nigeria when we have more than adequate petroleum refining capacity locally.” But responding to this on Tuesday, the Federal Government’s agency insisted that it had adopted all the stipulated procedures required for the importation of refined petroleum products into Nigeria to halt the inflow of dirty fuels. It further stated that refineries in Nigeria were also taking steps to see that the refined products that they produce conformed with the standards approved by ECOWAS for the region. Ukoha said, “NMDPRA takes very seriously its statutory mandates to ensure that only quality petroleum products are supplied and consumed in Nigeria. A lot of people do not know the backgrounds that I’m to provide now. “The ECOWAS heads of states in 2020 endorsed a declaration adopting a fuel roadmap that requires that certain products should have as a minimum 50 parts per million litres of sulphur. Whilst it encouraged almost immediate enforcement against imports to comply with standards, the same treaty deferred enforcements for local refiners up to December 31, 2024. “Now the PIA (Petroleum Industry Act), when it was passed in 2021, section 317 also captured and upheld these ECOWAS…


HOW ASO ROCK SPENT N244M ON TYRES IN ONE DAY Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of government, has spent a whopping sum of N244,654,350 for the purchase and supply of tyres in a single day, according to findings by Daily Trust. Investigation and data gathered from govspend, a portal documenting the Presidential Villa expenditure, showed that the State House made payments for the supply of an unspecified quantity of bulletproof tyres and Westlake tyres, the week that the President Bola Tinubu government marked its first year in office. Tinubu took over from his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, on May 29, 2023. Documents showed that the sums of N200,583,390, N38,070,000, and N6,000,960, were respectively paid for these items, on May 21, 2024. The documents revealed that two separate payments were made for the purchase and supply of tyres (no specified quantity) for bulletproof vehicles and another five armoured bulletproof tyres to Obi-Wealth Enterprises Nigeria Limited (RC-640684) for the sums of N200,583,390 and N38,070,000. A quick search on the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website revealed that the company is inactive. Hommy & Fay Investments Limited, active on the CAC portal, handled the other part of the supply of an unspecified number of Westlake tyres (315/80R22) for N6,000,960. Attempts to get reactions from the presidency over the tyre expenditure did not yield result as several calls made to the Special Adviser to the President on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, did not go through. The message sent to him had not been replied as of the time of filing this report. Twenty-four hours after the tyre payments were made, Minister of Budget and National Planning, Atiku Bagudu, apologised to Nigerians over the nationwide hardship. Speaking during the ministerial sectoral update, he said the policies of the Tinubu-led government were on track despite the currency crisis and inflation which has frustrated economic growth. “So what’s the answer to all of these? It’s to restore macroeconomic stability that will ensure that investors, both domestic and international put their face in our economy once again. And we are all doing this without a blame game. And I apologize for the pain that they may occasion, but they are necessary… Is our strategy, right? Absolutely. We believe our strategy is right, but it requires occasional calibration. Put good money to use,” he had said. Nigeria’s inflation has risen to a 28-year high, worsening the cost of living—a stance largely attributed to President Tinubu’s policies. However, critics have accused the Tinubu administration of “frivolous spending” despite numerous pleas to the citizens over the current hardship. There was a backlash the last time the president asked Nigerians to make sacrifice for the progress of the nation. Tinubu had, while addressing journalists after observing the Eid-el Kabir prayer at Dodan Barracks, Lagos, stressed the need for the people to follow the path of sacrifice to make the nation great. The comment had elicited reactions from Nigerians, civil society organisations, and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others. An economist and lecturer at Saadatu Rimi University of Education, Kumbotso, Kano, who is also the Director, Fiscal Discipline and Development Advocacy Centre (FIDAC), Dr. Abdulsalam Kani, said the government had failed to fulfil its part of the bargain, especially promises made to Nigerians. “The government has removed fuel subsidy and increased electricity tariff, plunging many into difficulty. Nigerians were promised that Port Harcourt refinery will begin production in December last year, and that has not happened. Despite these and the failure of the administration to fulfil promises, they are making plans to buy new aircraft for the president and vice president,” he said.He said the government had equally failed to address rising inflation which is above 33 per cent at the moment.


NIGERIAN GOVT SPENT N473M TO SPONSOR TINUBU’S WIFE TRIP TO UK, MOZAMBIQUE, ETHIOPIA The Nigerian government spent the sum of N473 million to sponsor the trips of First Lady Oluremi Tinubu to three countries; United Kingdom, Mozambique and Ethiopia, data from public payments portal has shown. The Nigerian government spent the sum of ₦126.295 million to sponsor the trip of the First Lady to London, UK. The amount was equivalent of $83,967.00 in March 2024, meaning the money was exchanged at the rate of N1,504/dollar. Another sum of N144.571 million was spent to sponsor her trip to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. The trip was made on February 9, 2024. The dollar equivalent of the amount was $96,118. Another sum of N202.386 million was spent to sponsor the First Lady’s trip to Mozambique in March 2024. The dollar equivalent of the money stood at $126,834.00. All of these expenditures were recorded on the same day, March 15, 2024 on the Govspend website. The expenditures come amid concerns on the need to ensure proper management of the country’s scarce resources. The Nigerian government has continually lamented inadequate revenue. The organised labour recently demanded an increase in the minimum wage, a development that has continued to trigger disagreements, with the government saying it is unable to pay due to paucity of funds. SaharaReporters recently raised flags on the inability of the country to release budget performance reports under the Tinubu-led administration, a violation of the law and one that denies citizens access to information on what the government is spending money on and how it is spent on a quarterly basis.The government also plans to borrow N6.6 trillion to manage budget shortfalls, yet prudence in budget management remains a keen concern.


LABOUR LEADERS DISRUPT LP MEETING WITH PETER OBI IN ATTENDANCE The leadership crisis within the Labour Party escalated yesterday as the Labour Party National Transition Committee (LPNTC) demanded the immediate resignation of Chairman Julius Abure, disrupting a National Working Committee (NWC) meeting with Peter Obi, the 2023 presidential candidate in attendance. The labour leaders, who forcefully entered the venue of the National Working Committee (NWC) meeting in Abuja convened by former presidential candidate Peter Obi, insisted that Abure’s tenure, along with those other executive members, would expire by the end of this month. Comrade Abdulwahed Omar, chairman of the Labour Party National Transition Committee (LPNTC), expressed the committee’s determination to forge ahead. “The issue at hand is the expiration of Abure’s tenure and that of the National Working Committee by the end of this month. We cannot afford a leadership vacuum. We have attempted to resolve this issue peacefully. If we can find a resolution without resorting to conflict, that would be ideal. “Today’s events suggest that we must either find our way forward or make our way forward. Rest assured, we will not tolerate lawlessness. If anyone attempts to undermine our efforts, we are more than capable of responding,” Omar said. According to him, the committee had been granted the mandate by stakeholders to organise a new and all-inclusive national convention. Meanwhile, Peter Obi addressed the labour leaders outside the party secretariat, emphasising his intention to reconcile all aggrieved party members. Obi urged the party leadership to continue their efforts to bring together all dissenting party members and supporters. “I will ensure that every discord within the party is addressed promptly. Leaders of the party must come together and determine the future of our organisation,” Obi said. He stressed the importance of the recent reconciliation between the party and estranged former leaders, led by former Deputy National Chairman (South) Lamidi Apapa, stating that it would greatly benefit the party. “The reconciliation we witnessed today is critical for the growth of our party. Everyone must reconcile with each other,” Obi said, adding that “reconciliation is a priority for me. “It is something I do every day, even within my own family. When we have disagreements with our loved ones, we reconcile. Today, during the meeting, I emphasised that I have come to initiate the process of reconciling our party.“The individuals present here are members of our family whom we must reconcile with. We will sit down together and decide the future of our party. I am ready for a reconciliation meeting whenever you choose.” After the crisis, the embattled Labour Party national chairman, Julius Abure, commended Obi for trying to make peace among the warring parties in the party. In a statement released by Labour Party national publicity secretary, Obiora Ifoh, Abure expressed satisfaction with Obi’s leadership role in revitalising the party and steering it towards becoming a formidable entity capable of bringing about the desired new Nigeria. Abure said, “The Labour Party appreciates your reconciliation efforts, and we will provide our full support. We are not the aggressors here. “We have always sought peace because we cannot approach future elections with divided loyalty. We have made it clear that we are focused on the 2027 elections, which is why we are the only party to have nominated our candidate. “We know where we are heading and refuse to be distracted. We will undoubtedly reach our destination of creating a better nation for Nigerians.” Meanwhile, members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) national transition committee have called on Julius Abure to resign from his position as national chairman of the party. The NLC, together with some party members, gathered at the Labour Party headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday to demand the his immediate…


FEC APPROVES VARIATION COSTS FOR THREE ROAD PROJECTS The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a total of N42.4 billion for the variation of costs on three major road projects in the country. The council, presided over by President Bola Tinubu, also reviewed the status of ongoing road rehabilitation and construction projects across the country. The first project approved is the construction of the Umulungbe-Umuoka road in Enugu State, which will see an additional N2.6 billion added to the initial budget of N6.245 billion, bringing the total cost to N8.85 billion. The second project is the repair of the Igamu bridge in Lagos State, which has seen its cost reviewed from N1.16 billion to N2.229 billion. The third project is the dualization of the Calabar-Itu road in Cross River State, which will now be constructed with a revised budget of N118.412 billion, up from the initial estimate of N79.649 billion. In addition to these approvals, the Minister of Works, Dave Umahi, announced that the ministry has completed 80% of the emergency repairs of roads and bridges across the country, with N300 billion already released by the Ministry of Finance. The minister also revealed that the Abuja-Kano road has been divided into three sections, with two contractors – Dangote and BUA – mobilized to site, while Julius Berger will be working on another section. The ministry plans to publish details of the projects and their completion levels by next week.The approvals and updates on these projects are expected to boost economic activities in the affected states and provide relief to commuters who have been affected by the poor state of these roads.


BREAKING: EL-RUFAI DRAGS KADUNA ASSEMBLY TO COURT OVER N432B PROBE The immediate past governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai, has filed a lawsuit against the Kaduna State House of Assembly over the N432 billion investigation findings. El-Rufai’s son, Bello, disclosed that his father filed the suit against the defamation of his character by the state assembly. Posting on X, Bello wrote: “Mallam Nasir El-Rufai filed a lawsuit against the Kaduna State House of Assembly today for Defamation of his Character, amongst other spurious, unfounded allegations levelled against his person. “I advise they start compiling legal fees to defend their lies in court.” Recall that El-Rufai’s administration was indicted to the tune of N423 billion. On March 30th, 2024, Governor Uba Sani revealed during a town hall meeting that the state faced a substantial debt burden of $587 million, N85 billion, and 115 contractual liabilities inherited from the previous administration. Sani had said the debt burden led to over 70% of the state’s allocation being used to service the inherited debt.Following this, the Kaduna State House of Assembly formed an ad-hoc committee to investigate the state’s financial transactions from May 29th, 2015 to May 29, 2023.


OPPOSITION PARTIES IN ENUGU SQUARE UP AS ENSIEC RELEASES TIMETABLE FOR LG ELECTION Political anxiety and fireworks now envelope Enugu State following the release of the schedule for local government Election by the Enugu State Independent National Electoral Commission (ENSIEC). The State Electoral Commission (ENSIEC) announced guidelines for the forthcoming Local Government Council elections scheduled to take place on October 5, 2024. In a public notice signed by the ENSIEC Chairman, Prof. Christian Chimdubem Ngwu, the commission outlined the guidelines for political parties and candidates participating in the elections. According to the guidelines, “political parties are to obtain nomination forms (ENSIEC 7 and ENSIEC 7A) for Chairmanship and Councillorship elections respectively from August 16 to 23, 2024. Completed forms must be returned on or before August 30, 2024.” ENSIEC further stated that to qualify for the elections, candidates must meet certain qualifications, including;Being a citizen of Nigeria. The candidate must also be at least 30 years old for Chairmanship and 25 years old for Councillorship ENSIEC further stated that candidate must also have a minimum educational qualification of School Certificate (WASC) or its equivalent. On the disqualification of candidates, ENSIEC further said that such candidates may be disqualified if they have voluntarily acquired the citizenship of another country or have been adjudged to be of unsound mind. Again candidates will be disqualified if they are under a sentence of death or imprisonment or have been convicted of an offence involving dishonesty. Finally, if they are undischarged bankrupts or are members of secret societies, they will be disqualified. ENSIEC went further to announce that “the election will be conducted by open secret ballot system. Voting will take place on October 5, 2024, between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm.” The election umpire however, said that “political parties and candidates are advised to conduct their campaigns in a peaceful and lawful manner. Campaigns shall start on September 14, 2024, and end by 6:00 pm on October 4, 2024,” while adding that political parties must submit the list of nominated candidates to ENSIEC by August 30, 2024. “Candidates must be sponsored by a registered political party. Candidates must be ordinarily resident in the ward or Local Government Area they seek to represent.” Finally ENSIEC stated that”Candidates must produce evidence of tax clearance for a period of three years immediately preceding the year of the election even as it warned that “any political party or candidate that fails to comply with these guidelines may be disqualified from participating in the election.” However, since the release of the local council election timetable in the state, political atmosphere has once again been charged with many candidates from different political trying to convince voters on why they should vote for them. From time immemorial, local council elections especially in the South East zone have become a mere formality. Governors are usually accused of literally handpicking candidates whom they think will be under their whims and caprices. These council chairmen so selected are always at the beck and call of these governors, with no meaningful infrastructural development in their respective local government, after two or four years of their tenures as the case may be. Opposition parties that field candidates for the election usually have themselves defeated or rather alloted some compensatory votes, thereby looking like a political novice in an election they might probably have won. Nevertheless, some opposition political parties have also rekindled their desire and readiness to muscle political power with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in the coming election in the state. In a chat, the Labour Party in the state stated that the party had been following the trend of events with regards the election timetable. The state Publicity Secretary Barr. Onuora Odo further explained that…