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Ngige Dismisses TUC’s Seven-day Ultimatum to Reverse Petrol Price Hike

FEC Approves new policy on occupational safety

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday dismissed the seven-day ultimatum given the federal government by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to reverse the new fuel price or face industrial action as invalid.

Answering a question from State House correspondents after a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Ngige described the ultimatum as misplaced because it was wrongly directed.

He said the ultimatum was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, in contravention of labour laws which authorise labour bodies to address such an ultimatum to the labour minister.

“The TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they were writing the president and issuing ultimatum to him.

“The president is not recognised by ILO. The competent authority for this nature of dispute in Nigeria resides in the man who oversees them, which is whoever is the Minister of Labour and Employment,” he said

Ngige also said FEC yesterday approved a new national policy on occupational safety and health, tagged National Policy on Occupational Safety 2020.

He also explained that the policy was a derivative of the provisions of both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as well as the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention.

He said: “The Federal Executive Council today (yesterday) approved a new policy on occupational safety and health 2020. This policy is designed to make for safety and health of workers at work

places.

“It derives from the the 1999 Constitution as amended, which in Section 17 (3c) prescribes that the Nigerian state shall make laws and by-laws for preservation of the health and well-being of workers in the work places; men and women at work.

“It also derives from the ILO Convention 155, which Nigeria has also domesticated. Again, that talks about making the work place conducive and ensuring the health and well-being of workers.”

Ngige who said the last time the policy was reviewed was 14 years ago, added that this new 2020 policy would be reviewed every three years.

He said such a periodic review had become imperative because the world had gone digital.

“The last policy we have was approved in 2006 ,which makes it exactly 14 years since that was approved by the Federal Executive Council and that is the policy we have been working on. But you know that 14 years is a long span in the life of any law so in the course of operations certain issues have been thrown up.

‘’The world has gone digital, work place mechanism and hazards have been changing and it was therefore necessary that we do a new policy.

“This policy we did now is what you call repeal and replace and it takes care of all that is needed for now, for the health of Nigerian workers,” he said.

The minister explained that the new policy gives specific roles to some agencies of government, including National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health.

“Everybody has his own role now because it’s a cross-cutting situation as most ministries, departments and agencies of government are involved,” he said.

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Ikoyi Building Collapse: Bodies recovered from rubble ready for identification – Lagos State

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The Lagos State Government disclosed that 38 bodies recovered from the collapse site at Gerard Road, Ikoyi, are ready for identification by families.

This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso, in a press briefing with newsmen covering the state of rescue operations so far.

He added that the identification process would commence at the Infectious Diseases Hospital (IDH), Yaba, citing that 32 names submitted by families are still missing.

What he said

“The autopsy is important because the law says that whenever there is death, as a result of such incidents like the collapsed building, an autopsy must be done before the body is released.”

He added that search-and-rescue would continue until the government could account for everybody inside the building at the time of its collapse and certify also that no corpse was left behind in the rubble.

“So far now, we have recorded 38 dead bodies. And as you know, we have nine survivors. Some bodies are ready for identification. So, people can go to IDH, Yaba, to identify the bodies of their loved ones.

“For bodies that may be very difficult to identify, we shall conduct DNA tests for such bodies to be identified. There are rules for giving bodies to people.

“There are some of the bodies that are in a state that it would be unprofessional for the hospitals to allow people to look at them in that present state and for them to be released the way they are.

“That is why we have the little delay that we are having. But if you go to IDH, Yaba, you should be able to see some of the bodies and be able to identify who you want to identify.

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CBN revises guidelines for the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP)

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The Central Bank of Nigeria has revised the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) guidelines.

This was disclosed by the apex bank in a document “Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) Guidelines” by its Development Finance Department, revised in September 2021.

According to the apex bank, the programme evolved from consultations with stakeholders comprising the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, State Governments, agro-processors, commodity associations, financial institutions and smallholder farmers to ramp up agricultural production, boost non-oil exports and diversify the revenue base of Nigeria.

Key highlights of the guidelines

The CBN in line with its developmental functions as enshrined in Section 31 of the CBN Act 2007, established the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP) to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers (SHFs) and reputable companies (anchors) involved in the production and processing of key agricultural commodities.

The core of the Programme is to provide loans (in kind and cash) to smallholder farmers to boost agricultural production, create jobs, reduce food import bill towards conservation of foreign reserve.

The broad objective of the ABP is to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors with a view to increasing agricultural output and ensuring food price stability.

  • The CBN stated that it would increase banks’ financing to improve agricultural productivity by creating an ecosystem that drives value chain financing.
  • The CBN would bear 50% credit risk after satisfactory evidence that every means of loan recovery has been exhausted by the PFI.
  • The CBN may vary the risk-sharing ratio based on the specific peculiarities/prospects of the Anchor/Project.
  • For losses arising from the negligence and/or inaction of the PFI in the execution of any project, the PFI shall bear the full risk and financial losses thereof.
  • The PFI shall foreclose on pledged collateral one year after expiration of the initial facility and the risk-sharing ratio prescribed above shall apply on the amount net in default.
  • The maximum loan limit for each eligible farmer under the Programme shall be decided based on CBN ratified Economics of Production (EOP) and validated land size. Repayment shall be by produce and/or cash as may be prescribed by the CBN.
  • The loans granted under the Programme shall be fully repaid within the tenor of the facility.
  • Where the facility was accessed through a Commodity Association, the leadership of the Association shall be responsible for full repayment of facility granted to its members.

According to the CBN, the revised Guidelines addresses current realities and developments in the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme, aimed at promoting best practice in the implementation of the Programme.

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N40 Million Refund: Court grants relief sought by ex-OPIC MD, Odusola

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A Lagos Division of the Federal High Court has granted reliefs sought by Mr Babajide Odusola, former Managing Director of the Ogun Property Investment Corporation (OPIC), seeking to enforce his fundamental rights.

Justice Peter Odo Lifu granted the reliefs sought by the applicant (Odusola)  in an ex-parte application filed and argued by Mr Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN) and Mr Adetunji Adedoyin-Adeniyi, who are counsel to the applicant.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, the applicant sought an order of the court restraining the respondents from taking any action against him related to a report by the Ogun assembly either by invitation or by arrest until the court has heard and determined the substantive suit. The matter was adjourned till January 13, 2022, for a hearing of the substantive suit.

What happened in court

At the resumed hearing on Friday, Mr F. E Bolarinwa, Counsel for Ogun State Ministry of Justice told the court that he had issues in filing his processes, he then sought an adjournment to enable him to file a counter affidavit in opposition to the suit.

Justice Lifu noted that the respondents had not shown cause in the matter. He held that an application for adjournment was not unmeritorious.

The court made a declaration that the report of the committee and proceedings of the assembly which it earlier adopted constituted an infringement on Mr Adesolu’s fundamental rights to a fair hearing.

In an affidavit in support of his application, Odusola averred that in October 2020, he had received a letter inviting him to the Ogun state assembly to appear at its Public Account and Anti-Corruption Committee (PAAC) to clarify alleged irregularities in the activities of OPIC.

He said he honoured the invitation but was confronted with an allegation of misappropriation of OPIC funds. According to him, he never received any complaints or charges against him during his tenure as OPIC Managing Director.

He therefore, sought an interim order, directing respondents to maintain the status quo in respect of the decision of the assembly, pending final determination of the originating motion.

He also sought an order restraining the respondents from taking further steps in relation to the subject matter pending the final determination of the suit.

In case you missed it

It was reported that the Ogun State House of Assembly had ordered the former OPIC boss to return the sum of N40 million which has not been accounted for since 2019. He was given six months to return the money to the state treasury.

It was also reported that Mr Odusola described the allegation levied against him on financial misappropriation by the State’s House of Assembly as false.

What you should know

  • While Babajide is the applicant in the suit, Respondents included: Ogun State House of Assembly, the clerk of the House, Inspector-General of Police, Assistant Inspector-General of Police in charge of zone II, and Commissioner of Police, Ogun State.
  • In a suit marked: FHC/L/CS/1273/2021, Mr Adesolu had instituted a fundamental rights enforcement suit against the Inspector General of Police and others.
  • The Chairman of the Committee that allegedly investigated OPIC funds was an interested party, who served together with Odusolu in the previous administration.
  • On September 21, 2021, during the plenary, the Ogun state assembly adopted the report of its Committee on Anti-Corruption and Public Accounts, which claimed to have investigated the finances of OPIC and huge sums of money that were missing from OPIC accounts.
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