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Subsidy: Let’s Endure Now to Enjoy Later, APC Tells Nigerians

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has appealed to organised labour not to allow opposition narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs to hoodwink them.

The party admitted that it was not unmindful of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates, but assured that with little endurance, Nigerians stand to enjoy gains soon.

Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling party, Yekini Nabena made the appeal in statement shortly after the government-organised labour meeting was deadlocked Tuesday in Abuja.

According to the APC, “We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs.

“The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidizing fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant go improve the sector.

“The All Progressives Congress (APC) is not oblivious of the financial strains brought by the increase in fuel pump price and electricity rates. We urge Nigerians to endure now and enjoy gains soon.

“The reviews are crucial and hard thought decisions by government. On the positive side, the short and long-term benefits on the citizenry and our national life will become obvious and directly felt in critical sectors such as health, education, infrastructure and social services targeted at the poor.”

The party noted with shock the estimates by the Nigerian Institute for Social and Economic Research (NISER) which reported that the budget for fuel subsidies in 2019 was sufficient to enroll the entire population of Nigeria in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), adding that fuel subsidies took over N10 trillion of our national resources since 2006.

“At least, the generality of Nigerians and stakeholders agree on a thousand and one reasons why fuel subsidy has become unsustainable. The perceived benefits of fuel subsidies have long been overtaken by the previous corruption and drain on scarce resources that should be directed to other critical sectors.

“In line with the current administration’s deregulation drive and move to increase private-sector participation in the petroleum sector, the task before us now is to improve our local refining capacities which we are already on course to achieving and maintain a competitive, market-driven, transparent and accountable petroleum pricing template which meets global best practices, particularly in a developing country such as ours.

“While government works assiduously to solve the country’s electricity challenges permanently, it realizes that many Nigerians and businesses still rely on alternative sources for power supply to meet electricity needs, hence its current focus on improving electricity and service delivery while also protecting poor and vulnerable Nigerians from arbitrary and estimated electricity billing.

“As with government’s decision to increase Nigerian worker’s minimum wage and other social investments, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration takes the welfare of the citizenry seriously.”

The party then appealed for the understanding of the organised labour and civil socities by supporting government move at fixing the economy. “We call on all stakeholders — government at all levels, private sector organizations, labour unions, civil societies, students and youth groups to support governments decision on the ongoing deregulation exercise as the citizens will be the ultimate beneficiaries.

“We urge stakeholders, particularly the organised labour such as the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) not to be hoodwinked by skewed opposition party narratives on the deregulation exercise and electricity tariffs. The same partisans have failed to account for and return trillions of naira stolen from national coffers in the guise of subsidizing fuel and the degrading of the electricity sector under their watch despite huge allocations and subsequent theft of the resources meant go improve the sector.

“We urge all to support the current administration’s economic policies to uplift Nigerians,” the party concluded.

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Nigeria Immigration Service Places Embargo on Capturing, Issuance of Passports

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The Nigeria Immigration Service has placed an embargo on capturing and issuance of passports to applicants from today May 18th till the end of May 2021.

The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede made the announcement on Tuesday during a press briefing in Abuja.

He said the decision is to enable the service to clear its backlog, noting that it will no longer collect fresh applications until the backlogs are cleared.

This means that all passports in control offices are closed for applicants from today till May 31st and payments for passports will be online when the portal is opened which will be June.

The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola had earlier given a six weeks timeline for passport collection.

He said this will be six weeks which is meant to allow for enough time to investigate, verify and validate personal information supplied by the applicants.

“What we are driving at is the peace of mind that comes from the assurance of certainty. If there are circumstances that will make the date to change, it will be communicated to the applicant one week before the collection date”.

He noted that applicants will have no basis for further communication with officers, other than to complete their application process and leave the venue. The date for the collection of their passports or any challenge to the application will be communicated to them.

“The technology for the efficient running of this system has been acquired and will be deployed.

“We are publishing on our website the list of the backlog of passports that are ready which are yet to be collected by the owners. They will be required to go to the state commands to collect them.

“With these changes, it is my firm belief that we will arrive at a new dawn in passport application processing”, the minister added.

Below is the breakdown of the current backlog

Local: 71, 644

Enhanced: 46,814

Foreign : 17,906

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NLC President Dares El-Rufai, Leads Protesters to Kaduna Govt House

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The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, is currently leading union members to the Kaduna State Government House.

This is after Governor Nasir El-Rufai declared the labour leader and others wanted for “economic sabotage” and attack on public infrastructure.

Large crowd, led by Wabba, is marching through Waff road in Kaduna and heading towards the government house.

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Gov Obiano Imposes Curfew on 2 Warring Anambra Communities

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Gov. Willie Obiano has imposed a 7am to 6am curfew on Omor and Anaku communities in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state.

This is contained in a statement issued by Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the State Government.

The state government said the curfew is untill further notice.

”The curfew begins on Monday. Residents of the two communities should obey the order as security personnel are on strict orders to enforce the curfew directives.

”The government has lifted the curfew imposed on Igbariam, Aguleri, Umueri, Nteje, Awkuzu and Umunya communities on April 26, following the return of normalcy in the areas,” the government said.

It was reported that on Sunday, a violent clash broke out between residents of Anaku and Omor Communities.

The police says three persons have been confirmed dead in a clash between Omor and Anaku communities in Anyamelum Local Government Area of the state.

DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra, told NAN in Awka on Sunday that normalcy has since been restored in the area.

Ikenga said that Mr Chris Owolabi, Commissioner of Police in the state, personally led a team of operatives to quell the crisis between the neighbouring communities.He said that the command is still gathering information on the extent of damage while assuring that efforts were on to avoid deterioration of the situation and ensure lasting peace.

“Normalcy has been restored in the area and our men are still on ground to ensure safety of life and property. So far, we have recovered three bodies which have been deposited at the morgue.

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