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FG owes pensioners N400bn – Senate Committee

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The Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service has revealed that the Federal Government currently owes its retirees over N400bn accrued pension rights.

The committee has also vowed to take up the issue with the government to ensure that all the arrears were cleared, even if it would be the only achievement that the 9th National Assembly would be remembered for.

The Chairman of the committee, Ibrahim Shekarau, disclosed this during the second annual National Assembly retreat with the Pension Funds Operators Association of Nigeria in Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, on Monday.

“Government owes the accrued pension funds of over N400bn, the committee has written a seriously worded letter to the Senate President, insisting that the Senate should take this up with Mr President to make sure this matter is addressed, otherwise it is one step forward, 10 steps backward,” he said.

Before addressing the issue constitutionally which could take a longer time, Shekarau said the Senate committee hoped to facilitate a special meeting with key relevant government officials and agencies and pension operators, where they would be told all the stories of pensioners’ sufferings.

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He said President Muhammadu Buhari might not be aware of the huge debt.

He, however, expressed confidence that Buhari would address the issue.

Shekarau, who decried the indebtedness of state governments and local governments to their retirees, blamed the attitude on lack of political will.

To deter the state governments from further owing their retirees, he said, “We will initiate appropriate amendments. This is very important; otherwise, the pensioners will be suffering.”

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The President, PenOp, Mrs Aderonke Adedeji, said pensions affected all of groups of people.

She said,

“So, it is evident that a well-functioning, transparent and efficient pension system is critical for all groups of Nigerians and our nation at large. A well-functioning pension industry will reduce the menace of corruption; because individuals will be assured that they have funds they can fall back on during their retirement years.”

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Magu’s seven demands from Salami-led Presidential Investigation Committee [List]

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Magu EFCC coronavirus

Lawyer to the suspended Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu, on Friday pleaded with the Presidential Investigation Committee to grant him bail.

He said Magu needed the bail because the print and electronic media had taken undue advantage of his detention to launch a campaign of calumny against him.

He made six other demands including making the terms of reference of the committee available to Magu and giving him the opportunity to know the allegations against him.

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See The Demands Below

i) That our client will appreciate if afforded the privilege of the terms of reference of this distinguished Committee.

ii) That the petitions containing the allegations be given to our client to afford him the opportunity of knowing the allegations against him, study same and prepare a robust defence.

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iii) That our client will appreciate the intervention of the Committee in ordering the release of our client from custody to enable him defend himself adequately and attend to his deteriorating health in custody.

iv) That our client be given adequate time to respond to the allegations against him including providing necessary materials and evidence before this Honourable Committee.

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v) That our client be afforded the opportunity to confront the petitioners with his own defence.

vi) That witnesses be examined in his presence and that of his counsel.

vii) That our client be guaranteed his right to fair hearing including his right to liberty in the course of the proceedings of this distinguished Committee.

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Details of salary promised 58 doctors attempting to swap Nigeria for the UK revealed

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Lagos AIrport

The details of the expected earnings of the 85 doctors who were attempting to board a plane from Nigeria to the United Kingdom have been revealed.

WuzupNigeria gathered that the doctors were intercepted by the Nigeria Immigration Service [NIS] on Friday.

However, it has emerged that the doctors were expected to earn between £51,384 (N25.1m) and £98,112 (N47.9m) per year depending on the experience they have.

The figure does not include the special allowances and other perks such as free-feeding they were expected to get on the job, an advertorial by NES Health Care, a UK-based firm that helps over 150 private hospitals to recruit doctors from all over the world, revealed.

The advertorial read in part,

“Are you a doctor with ICU (Intensive Care Unit) and anaesthesia experience, looking for a better work / life balance? At NES Healthcare we can offer you this with one of our ICU RMO positions.

“You will be working in a private Hospital group, and we have various locations around the UK. The rotation is one week on duty then one week off + accommodation and meals are provided free of charge during your on duty week.

“To apply you will need a minimum of three years post-graduate experience and have 18+ months of ICU and Anaesthesia experience.

Salary is from £51,384 to £98,112 dependent on experience. Contract is for a minimum of one year. You will need to hold full GMC registration with a licence to practice, or be eligible to apply.”

The firm states that its aim is to successfully address the acute shortage of doctors in the UK and to do so in a way that simultaneously reduces overall expenditure.

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It was gathered that hundreds of Nigerian doctors had applied for the jobs advertised by NES Health Care as far back as January and had written exams and been interviewed via Skype.

Many of them had also been offered employment in the UK and had processed their necessary documents through the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria and obtained security clearance from the Nigeria Police Force attesting to the fact that they had no criminal record.

However, the last step to their emigration which was obtaining a UK visa was not achieved because the UK High Commission in Nigeria had remained closed since April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to PUNCH in mid-June, the recruiting firm sent an email to the doctors, informing them that they had received approval from the UK government to fly them to England after which they would be issued visas on arrival.

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The doctors were also asked to pay £500 (N244, 500) to secure a seat on a chartered aeroplane that would fly from the UK to convey them from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos because Nigeria had not yet lifted the ban on flights due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am the recruitment director with NES Healthcare and I would like to inform you of an important update,” the email, the Punch reported, said,

As you are aware, the TSL Contact Visa Centres in Nigeria are currently closed and there is no guidance when they will be re-opening.

“In addition, we are aware that there are no immediate plans to re-open Nigerian airspace to international/commercial flights.

“We have therefore been in discussions with UK Visas and Immigration about a potential solution that would allow you to travel to the UK. With their agreement, we will issue you a visa waiver letter. This will allow you to travel to the UK and then apply for your visa once you are here.

“We are also planning to arrange a private charter flight to the UK leaving from Nigeria… The cost of the flight will be heavily subsidised by NES Healthcare so we will only ask for a contribution of £500 towards this.”

It was learnt that after the necessary payments had been made by about 58 of the doctors, they made their way to the MMIA but were stopped from travelling by the NIS.

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The NIS spokesman, Sunday James, said in a statement on Friday that the doctors claimed to be going for training but had no visas.

The statement read in part,

“The 58 medical doctors were refused departure in line with Section 31 subsection 2a and b, of Act 2015.

The chartered flight approved for landing in Nigeria was to carry 42 medical doctors for a training program but they were 58 with only two having visas for entry into the UK, a situation that calls for refusal of departure.”

Calls put through to NES Healthcare’s London phone number went straight to voicemail on Saturday.

Nigeria has witnessed the exit of hundreds of doctors in recent years due to the poor salaries they earn which is usually between N80,000 ($206) and N150,000 ($387) per month for doctors with less than three years experience working in public hospitals.

These doctors who usually have to work under poor conditions are known for embarking on strike at least once every year.

Punch

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Lagos shuts down illegal Covid-19 lab in Ikoyi

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The Lagos State Government has shut down a private laboratory in the Ikoyi area of the state for running Covid-19 tests without approval.

It was gathered that Acouns Medical Laboratory and Diagnostic Centre was situated in a pharmacy on Banana Island.

The state’s Health Facility Monitoring and Accreditation Agency said the outlet was closed on Friday.

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It added,

“We will continue to do our best to ensure that health facilities in the state adhere strictly to standards to guarantee the health and wellbeing of Lagosians.

“Members of the public are encouraged to cooperate fully with the Lagos State Government to ensure the safety and health of all even as we strive to contain the spread of Covid-19 in Lagos.”

 

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