All posts by Abimbola Ayobami

Blackout imminent in Southern Nigeria as NLC issues ultimatum

power-black-out

The meeting was attended by NLC leadership from the southwest, south south, Kwara, and Kogi.

The poor electricity supply across Nigeria may worsen in the southern part of the country if a threat by workers is carried out.

The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Thursday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government and the investors in the power sector to resolve issues related to the working condition of workers of the former Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN.

The congress, after a meeting with the officials of the Nigeria Union of Electricity Employees NUEE, in Akure, said government should address the issues raised before the expiration of the ultimatum in order to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the power sector.

The meeting was attended by NLC leadership from the southwest, south south, Kwara, and Kogi. It was held to deliberate on issues, grievances and matters relating to the working condition of members, particularly those disengaged by the new owners.

According to a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting and read by the chairperson of NLC in Ondo State, Bosede Daramola, the meeting also frowned at the epileptic power supply in the country, lamenting the alleged exploitation of Nigerians by the buyers of the electricity distribution companies.

The union also said the ongoing actions of the new investors to de-unionise workers is unacceptable. It called on the federal government to caution the investors.

“The meeting in session condemn(s) in strong terms the victimization of labour leaders and the failure of the federal government to call the investors in the power sector to order in tandem with the tripartite agreement reached with the organised labour on 13th January, 2014 so as to promote industrial harmony which is key to our national productivity.

“The meeting in session called on the federal government and all the companies to as a matter of national interest for a prosperous economy address all the issues canvassed within seven days from the date of this communiqué in order to guarantee industrial peace and harmony in the power sector as the labour movement will resist any attempt to balkanise the movement by either individual or group in whatever disguise or name.

“That the labour movement should not be held responsible for any action taken to drive home their demands if the government fails to address the issues after the expiration of the seven days ultimatum,” the communiqué reads.

The union called on the federal government to urgently direct the recall of all union leaders disengaged as a result of transfer of ownership of the power companies to the private sector.

In his reaction, the General Secretary of NUEE, Joe Ajero, said the investors in the power sector had been making life miserable for members of the union.

Mr. Ajero, who spoke through the Central Executive Committee member, Benson Okorodudu, said the investors had been trying to ensure that the workers are not heard.

He said those that had laboured to keep the system going and agreed with government on the privatisation were being made to suffer; as their entitlements were not paid to them.

Ondo Government, Agagu family at war over hiring of crashed Associated Airlines plane

Agagu plane crash3

The Ondo State Government and the family of late Governor Olusegun Agagu are now locked in a war of words over the hiring of the ill-fated Associated Airlines plane which crashed in Lagos while carrying the remains of the late governor to Akure for burial.

The Agagu family had two days ago issued a statement suggesting that the Ondo government hired the plane and that the speculation that the family did was “false, wicked and deliberate distortion of obvious facts.”

“We appreciate the immense support of the state government since the demise of Dr. Olusegun Agagu. But we would like to state here that we were only invited to point to the type of casket we wanted,” Femi Agagu, younger brother to Governor Agagu, said in a statement. “Every other arrangements including the flight, lying-in-state and even transportation to Iju Odo were made by the state government and MIC. For anybody to say we chose Associated Airline is total falsehood and we believe such report couldn’t have come from the state government quarters.”

But in a statement Tuesday, the Ondo government punctured the claim by the Agagu family, saying it had no hand in the hiring of the crashed plane.

In a statement by the Commissioner for Information, Kayode Akinmade in Akure, the government said a committee it set up met regularly with the Agagu family to draw up a burial programme agreeable to the family.

At one of the meetings, the statement said, the issue of transportation of the body from Lagos to Akure was discussed.

“The committee deferred to the family’s insistence that the body be moved to Akure by air,” Mr. Akinmade said. “The family thereafter introduced Mr. Tunji Okusanya (now deceased) of MIC Funeral as the official undertaker, who would make necessary arrangements regarding the movement of the body and the funeral.”

“Thereafter “the MIC boss forwarded the names of various airlines through an e-mail message to the Committee, namely, Aero Contractor; OAS Helicopters; Chachangi; Arik; Dana; and IRS as the Airline operators that have been contacted”.

“It was indicated in his message that IRS was not available for conveying human remains; Dana aircraft had gone for maintenance; and Arik does not fly the Akure route”. He, therefore, suggested Chachangi as “the best offer”.

The Ondo government said it was neither the wish nor the prerogative of government to indicate any preference for a particular airline stressing that the interface with MIC at the instance of the family, was necessary for facilitation of payment, insisting that “at no time was Associated Airline mentioned.”

Saying it made the clarifications against its wish, the Ondo government added that “this is definitely not the time for this as we are still mourning.”

“It is pathetic losing any soul in the course of paying homage to our former Governor, particularly government officials and other bread winners of their families, including the Managing Director of MIC, his son, and other workers of his company”.

The Agagu family is yet to respond to the new statement by the Ondo state government.

New Ondo police chief gets 500 petitions daily

police checkpoint

Some of the petitions are frivolous and centre on chieftaincy, land disputes and minor cases.

The Ondo state Police Commissioner, Patrick Dukumor, said his office receives no fewer than 500 petitions daily since his arrival in the state few months ago.

Many of the complaints are frivolous and centre on chieftaincy, land disputes and minor cases that should have been ordinarily settled in a family way, the police chief said.

“I know that people of the state are very intelligent and educated and I respect them so much; however, I feel disturbed by the level of petitions coming to my office. l took my time to go through all of them and l have discovered that they are baseless, lack substance and need not be investigated,” Mr. Dukumor said.

“People should also learn how to be their brother’s keeper and live in love with one another rather than writing unnecessary petitions that lack merit. There are some of these petitions that would have been properly handled at the divisional police level but people would still want to bug me with petitions.”

Mr. Dukumo spoke while addressing officers and men of Ondo Area Command at the Yaba Divisional Police Headquarters, Ondo during the continuation of his familiarization for tour of police formations across the state.

He however warned that the command would start arresting people who write frivolous petitions to mislead police authorities in the state.

This step, he said, would discourage some people from writing fake petitions to the police. He called on the people of the state to learn how to live in peace and harmony.

“I have warned my men not to dabble into land cases or chieftaincy affairs but rather advice parties involved in such matters to go to court and settle their cases. Some of the petitioners have approached me to take chieftaincy title but I turn them down because l don’t need it,” said Mr. Dukumor who hails from Bayelsa State.

“Any policeman who wants to take chieftaincy title while still in office should have a rethink before accepting such titles.”

He however assured the law abiding citizens of the state that genuine petitions would be treated on the basis of its merit and importance.

Suspect beats up police officer, escapes from court

policemen

The man was also accused of stabbing the policeman with broken bottles.

A 22-year-old man who was ordered to be remanded in Olokuta Prison custody has escaped from court while being led to the prison van.

Adegboyega Dauda, alongside 11 others, was arraigned on Tuesday before an Akure Chief Magistrate’s Court for allegedly beating up a Police Constable, Sunday Oluwole, and stabbing him with broken bottles. Mr. Dauda was also accused of obstructing the police constable from carrying out his duty.

The other accused persons were Pius Daniel, 25; Igbekele Samuel, 28; Godday Odoh, 41; Tunde During, 40; Okechukwu Clement, 32; Sunday Obezie, 30; John Aaron, 21; Ifedayo Ogunleye, 21; Kolade Ibiloye, 37; Eze James, 32 and Christ Adeko, 32.

The accused were also alleged to have collected the sum of N40,000 and a Nokia handset valued at N16,000 from one John Ihejirika under false pretense and thereafter stabbed him with knife and broken bottles all over his body.

The incident took place on May 18 at about 11:30 a.m. at Ojumu Street, Akure.

They all pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the five-count charge.

Although Chief Magistrate, Akin Akintoye had ordered that they be remanded in prison and adjourned the case till Thursday for bail consideration, it was, however, reassigned to Magistrate’s Court 5.

However, when the case came up on Thursday at Court 5, Police Prosecutor, Ayodele Atandeyi, told the court that the fifth accused, Mr. Dauda, had escaped from the court premises on their way to the police van.

The case, however, assumed a new dimension when Mr. Ihejirika did a u-turn by telling the court that those arraigned were businessmen randomly arrested by the police, adding that the police failed to arrest the real culprits.

“They [the accused] are not the people that took money from me and injured me. In the presence of the police, I was beaten up. It wasn’t these people that injured the police officer. It was the ’419′ that injured him when they were throwing bottles. When the DPO, ‘B’ Division arrived the scene, he ordered that people should be arrested house-to-house when the ’419′ had already escaped,” he said.

Counsel to the one of the accused, Olu Alade, prayed the court to dismiss all the charges, pointing out that the remaining three charges cannot stand on their own.

In her ruling, the Presiding Magistrate, Charity Adeyanju granted the accused bail with N150,000 each and one surety each in like sum and adjourned the case till July 2 for hearing.