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Coronavirus: Kaduna court grants bail to Imams, others over curfew violation

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A Kaduna Chief Magistrate Court has granted bail to two Islamic clerics and 10 of their followers for violating the curfew order put in place to curtail the spread of coronavirus in the state.

The clerics were arrested while conducting congregational prayers on Friday in the state against the curfew order.

They were granted bail in the sum of N1m each.

The two Muslim clerics were caught while conducting the Friday congregational prayers in Malali and Ungwan Kanawa areas, all in Kaduna North Local Government of the state.

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The State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Mr Samuel Aruwan had earlier at a press conference on Saturday, given the names of the clerics as Malam Aminu Umar Usman and Malam Umar Shangel, from Malali and Unguwan Kanawa respectively.

However, on Monday, the two clerics and 10 of their followers were arraigned separately before the Magistrate Court at Ungwan Kanawa and Court 16 before being granted bail to the sum of N1 million.

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Besides, the defendants were to produce sureties who must be senior government officials with proof of landed property in Kaduna State, failure of which they would be remanded at the Kaduna Correctional Centre.

They were charged with criminal conspiracy and disobedience to public orders and they all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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Prosecution counsel and Director of Public Prosecution, Dari Bayero, had said that the defendants’ alleged violation of the law has the potency of spreading the coronavirus in the state.

The case was then adjourned to April 22 and April 29 respectively.

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Akande emerges Chairman of Ibadan LG Properties Company

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Mr. Kehinde Akande, the Caretaker Chairman, Ibadan South-West Local Government has emerged as the new chairman of Ibadan Local Government Properties Company.

He emerged winner of an election conducted at a meeting of Caretaker Chairmen for local governments and Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in Ibadanland on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Ibadan Property Company is a business entity of all local governments and LCDAs in Ibadanland.

Akande defeated his co-contender, Mr. Hameed Adekunle, the Chairman, Akinyele South LCDA with 16 votes to one.
Mr. Ibrahim Akintayo, the Caretaker Chairman, Ibadan North-East Local Government, told newsmen after the meeting that 16 of the 17 chairmen present voted for Akande.

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Akintayo said that the company was set up with the objective of trading in real estate businesses, while local government chairmen in Ibadaland are members of its board.

Akande, in his acceptance speech, appreciated Gov. Seyi Makinde for his forthrightness and commitment to see that Ibadan and the entire Oyo State was developed.

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He commended the governor for proving his democratic credentials by directing the local government chairmen to pick the chairman of the company through democratic means.

“As the newly elected chairman of Ibadan Local Governments Properties Company, I am using this opportunity to thank Gov. Seyi Makinde for his forthrightness to see that Ibadan and Oyo State is developed.

“This is one of the developments our able governor is bringing to the state by asking all the chairmen to elect their chairman through democratic means,” he said.

Akande said that his vision was to start doing things the right way and put Ibadan in good standing in terms of development.

“Ours is going to be visionary and sustainable development for Ibadan, and I promise to entrench transparency which is the watchword of our able governor.

“Everything we do must be transparent and I promise everyone that we are going to be accountable in everything we will be doing,” he said.

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Labour, Civil Society flays deduction of salaries of workers, pensioners by Kaduna Govt, other States

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The Labour Civil Society Situation Room on COVID-19 has criticised the arbitrary deduction in the salaries and pension of workers and pensioners by the Kaduna State Government and other States.

Mr Ayuba Wabba, the President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Chairman of the Labour Civil Society Situation Room, said this in a communiqué issued at the end of a meeting on Thursday in Abuja.

The meeting was held to review the recent developments pertaining to the management of the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly on the economic front.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reviewed the decision by the Kaduna state government and a few other states to deduct the salaries of workers in their states, including healthcare workers battling the COVID-19 challenge.

“Even worse is the threat by Gov. Nasir El-Rufai to sack affected workers if they go on strike.

”This anti-worker practice championed by the Kaduna State government violates the fundamental principles and rights at work.

“These principles and rights are key components of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) global labour standards and are also codified in our laws.

”The infringement of these rights is a crude abuse of power and akin to modern-day slavery.

“Wages are binding contracts which cannot be unilaterally or arbitrarily reviewed. It is unfortunate that while some states are giving incentives to workers at this time of grave health emergency, in line with the global trend.

“The Kaduna State Government is taking away from workers and pensioners. This is nothing but a full-blown industrial tyranny,” he said.

Wabba said the situation room was behind the ultimatum by workers in the affected states for a reversal of the unjust decision, adding it fully stands by workers’ resolve to embark on strike, if their demands were not met.

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He said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room demanded that the state governments must reciprocate Federal Government’s gesture in granting a moratorium on repayment of budget support palliatives by paying workers and pensioners their full entitlements.

“We also renew our calls for investigation on how states used the palliatives and Paris Club refunds.

“We demand that private-sector employers should stop the retrenchment of workers in the guise of COVID-19 as such moves would only impair efforts geared at economic revitalisation,” he said.

Wabba said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room applauded the Federal Government for reversing the directive by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to place workers on half salaries based on the claims of the shortfall in revenue owing to COVID-19.

“This is the way to go for all employers in the public and private sectors in order to protect the livelihood and dignity of workers.

“The continued incidence of job losses, income deprivation and denial of the means of livelihood for workers by some employers in Nigeria on the excuse of COVID-19 is a source of worry to us,” he said.

The NLC president, therefore, said that the Labour Civil Society Situation Room recommended that for the immediate term, governments should adopt a measured approach to the fallout of COVID-19.

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Wabba said the government should not cut down on budgetary allocations to education, health, agriculture and infrastructure as these sectors were critical for the needed economic rebound and growth.

He also said the government should unfreeze the embargo on public sector jobs, adding that hike in user access charges on public utilities should be shelved for the next six months.

“Given the abuse of security votes by many political officeholders. we call for the scrapping of security votes from public budgeting in Nigeria.

“We call on political office holders to reduce their salaries and allowances in order to free up finances for other areas of national developmental needs.

“We also call for an end to medical and education tourism for elected public officials and their families.

“We call for an immediate stop to the practice of borrowing to finance consumption.

“We call for foreign loans where necessary to be tied exclusively to capital projects with feasible income and debt repayment potentials cum projections,” he said.

Wabba also called for accelerated disbursement of palliatives and loans to workers in the informal sector.

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He said that this should be transparent, inclusive and monitored by mass-based groups, adding that the conditions for access to the loans should be minimal to deepen access.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room also recommended that the budgetary and planning process in Nigeria should be overhauled to become more socially inclusive, citizens-centred, value objective and reflective of real national developmental needs.

“We call on the National Assembly to set in motion legislative processes to deliver the promises of Chapter Two of Nigeria’s Constitution.

“On the budget process, we must cut our cloth according to our materials. We must discard the use of assumptive and deficit budgets that cannot be funded by available resources and heavily dependent on local and foreign loans, especially for recurrent expenditure.

“We call for the resuscitation of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex, proper governance for our solid minerals sector, the revival of moribund textile factories and other manufacturing concerns as a demonstration of our commitment to economic diversification,” he said.

Wabba said the Labour Civil Society Situation Room reiterates its commitment to defend jobs, wages and livelihoods.

He added that all interventions in this crisis must be geared at enhancing productivity, stimulating economic growth, promoting diversification of the economy and mobilising and empowering national productive forces.

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Gov. Ugwuanyi inaugurates 13-kilometre road in Enugu East council

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Gov Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State on Thursday inaugurated a 13-kilometer road that linked Abakpa Nike Lake Junction to Orie Emene to ease traffic flow in the Enugu East Local Government Area.

Inaugurating the road in Enugu on Thursday, Ugwuanyi said the project was conceived by his administration as the first bypass to ease the traffic flow in Enugu East local government.

He said that it would serve as a diversion for interstate vehicular movements as recommended by the Enugu State Urban Renewal Committee.

According to him, the bypass opens up development at the Harmony Estate in Amorji Nike, Adoration Pilgrimage Centre, and also provides access to the Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu currently undergoing massive rehabilitation.

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The governor also said that the completion of the entire road project was consistent with his administration’s procurement policy of starting and completion of projects.

He said the stretch from Airport roundabout to Eke Obinagu in Emene had been duly completed and inaugurated by his administration.

”It has elevated the status of Emene and its environs from a semi-urban city to an urban city within Enugu Capital Territory.

Ugwuanyi pointed out that the project would help to reflate the local economy of concerned communities and open a new economic corridor through stimulation of commerce, creation of employment, and job opportunities for the teeming youths.

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In appreciation, the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry, Enugu Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, described the road project as unprecedented and a miracle taking off in the state.

Mbaka disclosed that the area of the ultra-modern road built by Ugwuanyi before now was a thick forest.
The cleric said that he had dreamt of the road, envisioned it while the governor actualized it.

”May God be glorified and may the governor of Enugu State be blessed in Jesus’ Name, Amen, ” he prayed.

A road was constructed with drainage channels across five rivers including culverts and Bridges that linked a busy and thickly populated Abakpa Nike with Emene satellite town.

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Personalities at the event included Speaker of the Enugu House of Assembly, Chief Edward Ubosi, the Chief Judge of the State, Justice Ngozi Emehelu.

Others were, the member representing Enugu East and Isi-Uzo Federal Constituency, Mr. Cornelius Nnaji, the PDP State Chairman, Mr. Augustine Nnamani, the Enugu East Council Chairman, Mr. Alex Ugwu, among others

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