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Ngige intervenes, stops picketing of General Electric

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Members of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG), on Tuesday suspended its one-day picketing of the headquarters of General Electric (GE), following the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.

Newsmen report that NUPENG in solidarity with the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN), on Monday took to the streets of Lagos in protest against General Electric.

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The protesters, who had blocked the entrance into the company, did not allow other employees and management of the company into the compound.

They were dressed in red, chanting songs, and carrying placards with various inscriptions such as “GE must pay ARCO to pay our members”.

Mr Badmus Aiyedun, the Administration Head, Lagos Zonal Council, NUPENG, told newsmen on Tuesday that the union suspended the strike following the intervention of Ngige.

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Aiyedun hinted that the leadership of NUPENG, GE management and officials of the Labour ministry, would be meeting next Monday to resolve the lingering issues.

He, however, added that if after the meeting the matter was not resolved, the union might resume its action.

“But from today, no union member will be coming to picket the company again, ” Aiyedun said.

 

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Covid-19: 193 Almajiri children test positive in Kano

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Covid-19: Kano conducts 8,273 sample tests

No fewer than 192 Almajiri children have tested positive for Coronavirus in Kano state.

The state’s commissioner for education, Muhammad Kiru, disclosed this during the COVID-19 briefing at the government house on Thursday.

He mentioned that part of Almajiris who tested positive returned from other states.

The commissioner added that the state has received a total of 244 Almajiri children and repatriated 1,183 children to other states.

“Since we began the repatriation of Almajiri, we have successfully repatriated 1,183 and have received 244.

“We fed them, gave them the required healthcare and got them tested where we discovered 192 to be positive and got them isolated.”

The commissioner further disclosed that all Almajiri schools in Kano have been closed down pending the opening of schools in the country.

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Doctors’ strike leaves COVID-19 patients ‘without care’ in Sierra Leone

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A doctors’ strike in Sierra Leone has left Covid-19 patients in some of the main treatment centres without care.

The doctors say they were promised hazard pay for their work during the outbreak, which has not yet been paid.

The strike marks an escalation in a row between doctors and government over what doctors say is a misuse of funds for the coronavirus response and a lack of protection and compensation for health workers.

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“No patient showing Covid-like symptoms will be treated by any doctor until we have the support we need,” said S K Jusu, the head doctor at Fourah Bay College, a school whose dormitories have been transformed into the country’s largest Covid-19 treatment centre on a hill overlooking the capital Freetown.

Sierra Leone, which is among the world’s poorest countries, has recorded nearly 1,500 coronavirus cases with 60 deaths. Of the virus cases, 160 have been health workers.

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The former British colony was hard hit by the 2014-16 Ebola epidemic in West Africa, during which nearly 4,000 people, including 250 medical workers died.

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Eni, Shell aware of bribes in Nigeria case – Italy prosecutor

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Shell cuts dividend for first time since 1940s as oil demand collapses

Oil majors Eni and Royal Dutch Shell were aware that most of the money they spent to buy a Nigerian oilfield in 2011 would go in corrupt payments to politicians and officials, a prosecutor said on Thursday.

“They were kickbacks. And Eni and Shell knew it,” Sergio Spadaro told judges in Milan, summing up the prosecutors’ case in what is one of the industry’s largest corruption scandals ever.

Italy’s Eni and Shell, who deny any wrongdoing, bought the OPL 245 offshore field in 2011 for about $1.3 billion from Malabu, a company owned by former Nigerian oil minister Dan Etete.

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Prosecutors allege that about $1.1 billion of that money was siphoned off to politicians and middlemen, half of it to Etete himself.

During a 7-hour speech in a special courtroom to meet COVID-19 requirements, Spadaro read out a series of emails between former Shell managers, including one saying it had been taken for granted Etete would have only kept a part of the price for himself, using the rest to pay off Nigerian politicians.

“There are a whole load of sharks around,” the email read out by Spadaro said.

Prosecutors are expected to make their final sentencing requests for those involved in the long-running case at a second hearing in Milan scheduled for July 21.

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Besides the two companies, another 13 people are involved in the case including current Eni Chief Executive Claudio Descalzi and former Shell head of upstream Malcolm Brinded.

All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing, saying the purchase price was paid into an official Nigerian government account with all subsequent transfers being beyond their control.

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In a statement on Thursday Eni said it had paid the Nigerian government a fair and reasonable price for the field in a clear and transparent way.

“Eni did not know, nor was obliged in any way to know, the final destination of the funds subsequently paid to Malabu by the Nigerian government,” it said.

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