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Forum calls for equity in zoning of NASS leadership

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Forum calls for equity in zoning of NASS leadership

Forum calls for equity in zoning of NASS leadership

The APC State Assembly Forum (ASAF) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu and APC leadership to ensure equity, while zoning principal offices in the incoming 10th National Assembly.

The Director-General of the forum, Mr Fubara Dagogo, made the appeal in a letter to APC leadership made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

The letter which was addressed to APC National Chairman, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, urged the party’s leadership to balance the lopsidedness in the Senate leadership by zoning its presidency to the North West.

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Dagogo said that the North West zone still remained one of the few zones in the country that had not produced President of the Senate since the country returned to democracy in 1999.

He said that allowing the North West produce the 10th President of the Senate would strengthen the APC political base and boost the morale of the people from that region.

He also advocated that the Speaker of the House of Representatives be zoned to the South East while the South-South should retain the office of Deputy Senate President.

He urged APC leadership to consider the South East for Senate Majority Leader, while the North Central zone should be given the House Majority Leader.

Dagogo explained that the Forum comprised of elected and serving State Assembly members on the platform of the APC across the federation.

He said that the platform provides a common platform for the party’s lawmakers at State Houses of Assembly to pool resources, share knowledge and experiences in a peer review approach.

He added that the idea was to promote the progressive ideology of APC for the purpose of bringing visible good governance across the country.

He further added that in a special consultative session on April 11 in Abuja, the forum convened a session to plan for the upcoming induction of newly elected APC State Assembly members.

“We took leave to delve into the topical issue of the leadership of the incoming 10th National Assembly under the majority party, APC.

“We noted the feverish interest it has generated in the party and the polity, and our deep concern draws from past experiences, especially witnessed in the choosing of the leadership of the 8th National Assembly in 2015.

“To this end, we resolved to communicate our considered position openly to the national leadership of our great party.

“In the light of the above considerations and after due consultations with the entire membership of the forum, we have hereby projected a zoning formula for further consideration and adoption,” Dagogo said.

He advised that this should be adopted as an official template for the party towards ensuring strict adherence to party cohesion, equity, fairness, justice and national unity.

He noted that haven occupied the position of the President of the Senate severally in this fourth republic; a Speaker from the South East will provide a soothing balm to members from the zone.

Dagogo added that it would also serve to encourage members in their efforts to grow the APC with renewed vigour in the zone for future victory at the polls.

He said the deeply considered projection was altruistic, nationalistic and futuristic, bearing in mind the best possible outcome for the party and the overall unity, progress and prosperity of the country.

“We urge all party faithful to look to this path as we prepare for a smooth swearing in and take-off of the incoming administration come May 29, 2023,” he said. 

Forum calls for equity in zoning of NASS leadership

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N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

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N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

By Halima Abdulkadiri

Chairman of the Labour Party (LP) in Oyo State, Sadiq Atayese, has stated that the newly-approved N70,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers is not the solution to the country’s economic challenges.

Atayese made this assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Ibadan.

He emphasized that sustainable solutions to the cost of living require positive economic policies from the government. Atayese highlighted the exchange rate as a key factor influencing fuel costs and subsidies.

He stressed that the government must prioritize fighting corruption and implementing policies beyond just increasing the minimum wage. According to Atayese, corruption in high places accounts for over 90 percent of corruption cases in Nigeria.

“Will this new minimum wage actually assuage the daily rising costs of foods and services? Can it bring a stable solution to the nation’s economic challenges? The answer is No,” he said.

Atayese also urged the government to focus on agricultural development and address issues such as security and funding for effective farming. He believes that addressing these critical issues would have more significant benefits than even a minimum wage of N150,000.

“Labour Party will continue to stand for the wellbeing of the people and development of the society,” he said.

The Federal Government and labor unions recently agreed on N70,000 as the new minimum wage for Nigerian workers. Initially, the government proposed N60,000, which was raised to N62,000, while labor demanded N494,000 before revising it to N250,000. Labor leaders agreed to the N70,000 offer due to additional incentives attached.

N70,000 Wage Not Solution to Economic Issues

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NDA 29th Regular Combatant Course Reunites in Maiduguri, Pledges Continued Nation-Building Efforts

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NDA 29th Regular Combatant Course Reunites in Maiduguri, Pledges Continued Nation-Building Efforts

NDA 29th Regular Combatant Course Reunites in Maiduguri, Pledges Continued Nation-Building Efforts

…as Buratai Lauds President Tinubu’s Increased Support in Counterinsurgency Operations

By Lawrence Audu

Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, played host to the 29th Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy NDA as they gathered for their 2024 Annual General Meeting. The event was a celebration of their rich heritage and a reunion of old colleagues.

The evening was filled with cultural dances, jokes, and sumptuous meals, creating a relaxing atmosphere for the members.

Former Chief of Army Staff and former Nigerian Ambassador to the Republic of Benin, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, commended the federal government for the support in the war against insurgency.

“Nine years ago, we would never have had the opportunity to gather like this here in Borno and in Maiduguri in particular. Once it is 2 o’clock as someone said, everyone goes inside and remains there till the following morning probably nine or ten. The restrictions were heavy, the atmosphere was charged with so much insecurity. But today, to the Glory of Almighty God, we are thankful to God for the sustained counterinsurgency operations leading to the sustainable security being achieved and being experienced today in the Northeast,” he said.

“We must appreciate the previous administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and thank President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the increased support to the Armed Forces to prosecute the counterinsurgency operations against Boko Haram and its subsequent version of ISWAP.”

Buratai also praised the members for their support during his tenure as Army Chief. “You have been wonderful for over forty years precisely 44 years when we met together for the first time 3rd January 1981 and we have maintained that relationship. I want to thank you for your support to me in particular.

“You stood by me when I was Chief of Army Staff in a very difficult period, the time of the Boko Haram rampage and it was a period that was volatile, uncertain, complex and of course ambiguous environment and times as well. The environments were charged with so much opposition and mischief that is within the sociopolitical environment and within the geographical environment of the northeast also was tensed with the various attacks that have been going on in this area but you stood by me and supported me and together, we succeeded.” He adds.

The Betara of Biu equally applauded the Theatre Commander Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, the other components as well as troops for their resilience and sacrifice.

Commodore MB Teidi (Retd), President of the Association, reflected on the journey that began over four decades ago. “Let me take a moment to reflect on the journey that has brought us to this moment. The history of NDA 29th Regular Course started on 3rd January 1981 when 155 young men reported for military training at the Nigerian Defence Academy. Most of us received the Presidential Commission and thereafter were posted to various services in the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy and the Nigerian Air Force to pursue their Military career, while some opted out of the training to pursue their next best destined options.

“The inaugural meeting of this association was initiated by Major TY Buratai when most of the members were on Staff Course at the Command and Staff College Jaji. It was not until 2014 after the burial of one of our course mates, that the idea of a formal body with a constitution was muted. Since then the association has enjoyed consistent yearly meetings in line with its constitution.”

The event brought together former colleagues from across the services and the business community, including serving military personnel such as Major General Wahidi Shuaibu, Theater Commander, Operation Hadin Kai, and the Air Component Commander.

The reunion demonstrated the strong bonds and camaraderie forged during their military careers. As they reminisced about their past experiences, they celebrated their achievements and the progress made in the fight against insurgency.

The 29th Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy is no doubt, a shining example of the power of friendship and service to the nation. As they look to the future, they continue to stand together, committed to their objectives and to the development of the nation.

NDA 29th Regular Combatant Course Reunites in Maiduguri, Pledges Continued Nation-Building Efforts

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Reps Probe Cement Price Hike, Summon Companies

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Reps Probe Cement Price Hike, Summon Companies

Reps Probe Cement Price Hike, Summon Companies

By Halima Abdulkadiri

The House of Representatives Joint Committee has initiated an investigation into the rising cost of cement in Nigeria, summoning major producers, including Dangote Cement Company and Lafarge Africa PLC, to present detailed production cost documents.

During a public hearing on Friday, Committee Chairman Rep. Jonathan Gaza (APC-Nasarawa) emphasized the need for transparency in the production costs from 2020 to the present, to assess whether the current market price of over N10,000 per bag is justified. The committee plans to visit production plants after reviewing the companies’ financial records.

The committee has requested information on the average daily consumption of raw materials such as coal, gas, gypsum, limestone, clay, and laterite, as well as daily cement production figures.

Additionally, they seek details on the prices of imported and local components used in cement production, monthly production quantities, and the companies’ audited accounts, including customs duties and tax incentives received.

Rep. Dabo Ismail (APC-Bauchi) highlighted the significant profits reported by Dangote Cement Company, with profits of N524 billion in 2022, N553 billion in 2023, and N166.4 billion so far in 2024. He questioned the continuous price hike in the market despite the company’s substantial local sourcing of raw materials.

Dangote Cement’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Arvind Pathack, attributed the price increases to the rising costs of imported and forex-linked materials, which have seen 100 to 333 percent hikes. He cited logistics challenges, forex shortages, and high-interest loans as contributing factors to the increased production costs.

Pathack noted that, despite the average selling price of N7,200 per bag, prices above N10,000 were due to retailer markups beyond the company’s control. He compared Nigeria’s cement prices to those in neighboring countries, where they are higher when converted to dollars.

The committee urged the companies to reconsider their pricing policies to alleviate the burden on Nigerian consumers. Rep. Gaza also criticized the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) for failing to curb middlemen’s excessive pricing, which has significantly inflated market prices.

“We are hopeful that this engagement will lead to a reduction in the price of cement,” Gaza stated, blaming the FCCPC’s inaction for the current price escalation.

The committee’s investigation aims to ensure fair pricing and protect Nigerian consumers from unjustified cost increases.

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