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Court Gives FG, Labour Till Jan 30 to Submit Report on Minimum Wage



The National Industrial Court of Nigeria in Abuja on Thursday ordered the Federal Government and Organised Labour to submit a report of their negotiations on the disputes over the new minimum wage by January 30, 2019.

Justice Sanusi Kado had on November 2, 2018 adjourned the case till Thursday after issuing an ex parte order stopping the strike which the labour had planned to commence on November 6.

The strike was however averted after an agreement was reached on November 5 between Labour and the Federal Government with N30,000 recommended to President Muhammadu Buhari as the new minimum wage.

At the resumed hearing in the case on Thursday, the three defendants – the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Trade Union Congress and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum – were absent and were also not represented by any lawyer.

But the plaintiffs – the Federal Government and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami – were represented by their legal team led by Mr Emmanuel Omonowa.

Following the absence of the defence team in court on Thursday, Omonowa informed the judge that based on the order made by the court on November 2, negotiations on the new minimum wage were ongoing.

He therefore pleaded with the court to give more time to the parties in the suit to enable them to continue with the negotiations and later give a report on the negotiation efforts to the court.

“Pursuant to Order 42(1) of the National Industrial Court Rules, the court should allow parties to see the possibility of amicable settlement of the matter,” Omonowa said.

Following Omonowa’s request, Justice Kado restated his November 2 order restraining the labour from embarking on the planned strike and warned all the parties to the suit against taking any step that could cause disruptions in the case.

He then adjourned till January 30, 2019 for the parties to report to the court on whether or not they had settled amicably or would still be interested in going on with the case.

Justice Kado had on November 2, in a ruling on an ex parte application moved on behalf of the Federal Government by the Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Dayo Apata, stopped Labour from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on November 6.

The judge said the order of an interim injunction was made due to the urgency of the matter and the need to protect the overall interest of the public.

He fixed November 8 as the return date in the case as he warned the governors of the 36 states of the federation joined in the suit as the 3rd defendant under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, not to do anything that would adversely affect the interest of their workforce pending the hearing and determination of the suit.

He directed that the orders stopping the planned strike and other court papers filed by the plaintiffs be immediately served on both the NLC and the TUC.

But the defendants – NLC, TUC and NGF – were not represented in court on Thursday.

This is despite the fact that a bailiff, Abolaji Matuluko, in his affidavit of service filed in court, said he had served the court order and other processes filed by the Federal Government in the case on the defendants.

Concerning the NLC, the bailiff said after the court’s ruling on November 2, he served the union by dropping the court order and other documents on the premises of the union’s office when those he met at the office refused to accepted them from him.

The bailiff stated in the affidavit that on getting to the headquarters of the NLC at Labour House, Central Business District Abuja, at about 4.15 pm, he met union members and informed them of his mission to serve the documents on the NLC president.

He added, “That I was informed by the union members on the premises of the Nigeria Labour Congress that the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress informed them not to receive any court process on his behalf.

“That the union members at the premises of the Nigeria Labour Congress refused to collect the above court processes and also refused to allow me from effecting the service on the President, Nigeria Labour Congress.

“That I dropped the above stated court processes at the office of the Nigeria Labour Congress and also took a picture as evidence.

“That service is said to have been properly effected in accordance with the NICN Rules, 2007.”

The Punch

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Labour Threatens Indefinite Strike, Gives One Week Ultimatum




Barely one week after leading a two-day nationwide warning strike,  the organised labour on Tuesday threatened to begin an indefinite strike should the Federal Government fail to meet its demands at the end of a 21-day ultimatum which will expire in approximately one week’s time.

The workers union said the proposed strike was necessary following the failure of the Federal Government to provide palliatives to assuage the Nigerians hardships as a result of the fuel subsidy removal.

The Nigeria Labour Congress said the industrial action which may commence any day from next week would lead to an indefinite shutdown of commercial and economic activities across the country.

Speaking with The Punch on Tuesday, the National Assistant General Secretary of the NLC, Mr Christopher Onyeka, said the FG was wrong to share a bag of rice to a dozen citizens while reportedly giving N100m palliative to each member of the National Assembly.

The union had on September 1 handed down a 21-day ultimatum to the FG over the delay in sharing of palliatives, saying it might be compelled to declare an indefinite labour action if its demands were not met.

“If the government fails to provide the appropriate responses to our demands, we encourage you to maintain your steadfast resolve. The same passion and determination that fuelled this warning strike will be crucial if we find ourselves compelled to embark on an indefinite nationwide strike,’’ the labour body said in a letter to the FG.

To demonstrate its seriousness, the NLC mobilised workers for a two-day warning strike on September 5 and 6, partially grounding social and economic activities in several states with banks, ministries, agencies and departments closed to the public in some states.

The NLC leadership had said the action was in preparation for a total shutdown which would start at the expiration of the ultimatum next week.

Among other demands, the NLC and the Trade Union Congress were asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances to the public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.

Though the FG made a commitment to restructure the framework for engagement with organised Labour on palliatives, the eight-week timeframe set for the conclusion of the process expired in August with no action whatsoever.

The committees were given eight weeks to conclude their assignment and hasten the implementation of the framework in cushioning the effect of petrol subsidy removal on Nigerians but weeks after the timeframe expired, the sub-committees had yet to meet or actualise their mandates.

President Bola Tinubu had since June 19 set up the Presidential Steering Committee and various sub-committees to discuss the framework to be adopted on the palliatives.

The sub-committees had been created to implement FG’s palliative package in areas such as Cash Transfers, Social Investment Programme, Cost of Governance, Energy, and Mass Transit and Housing.

This was a fall-out of the President’s closed-door session with the leadership of the NLC and the TUC during a nationwide protest by the organised labour.

Nationwide protest

Giving an update on the planned walk out following the lukewarm attitude of the government, Onyeka insisted that the FG had absconded from the negotiation table, noting that it had also failed to meet the workers’ demands.

The union leader hinted that the strike would not notify the government before carrying out any action it deems fit.

He said, “We sent the letter to the Federal Government on September 1, 2023, so by September 22, 2023, the 21-day ultimatum will end.

“We have made it clear that the Federal Government has abandoned and absconded from the table for negotiation; that government is no longer negotiating with Nigerians and there is no good faith negotiation that is going on.’’

The Punch

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‘Renewed Nonsense’: Atiku’s Aide Dismisses Tinubu’s N5bn Palliatives




By Eric Elezuo

Following the proposed distribution of N5 billion to various states governments of the Federation by the Federal government to alleviate the hardship occasioned by the petrol subsidy removal, Mr Daniel Bwala, an aide to the 2023 presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, has described the process as renewed nonsense.

Recall that the President Bola Tinubu-led government had declared to release administrative palliative of N5 billion to poor households through the state governors.

Bwala, who has remained vocal member of the Atiku/Okowa presidential council, made the remark in his verified X handle while noting that the exercise is a mockery to the sufferings of the people at the moment even as he stressed that organized labour has demystified the palliative.

Toeing the line and calculation of organised labour, Bwala noted that each person would get N1,500 from the palliative.

He wrote: “The organised labour has demystified the so-called 5 billion naira FGN gave to States; first the FGN said it was a palliative and they are now saying it is a loan.

“Organized labour further did their arithmetical calculations and arrived at a shameful conclusion that the so-called 5billion naira comes down to N1,500 per person.

“How much is the cost of food items in the market? Renewed nonsense.”

The Federal Government had announced plans to release N5 billion as palliative to cushion the effect of subsidy removal.

On May 29, 2023 when the administration took office, Tinubu had announced that ‘subsidy is gone’, thereby throwing the nation into economic crisis where the cost of food and services hit the roof, causing not a few households to starve and live in extended and abject penury.

Tinubu had followed up with more harsh policies that seem to ensure that the hardship persists with the price of petrol increasing to all time high with aa space of days. Today, petrol is sold at N617.

Information reaching The Boss has it that the disbursement of the N5 billion has commenced, and some states have already been credited.

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Ezenagu, Esso Properties Boss, Bags Award




The Managing Director /Chief Executive Officer of Esso Properties Limited, Dr. Smith Ezenagu  has bagged yet another award.

Ezenagu, who is also the Director of ISMT St. Salomon University, Cotonou was presented with an award and instrument of commendation by the All African Students Union last Saturday, August 5, 2023.

While presenting the award to Ezenagu at the company’s head office in Awoyaya, Lagos, the President of the Union, Mr. Osisiogu Osikenyi said the Union singled out Ezenagu for the award ‘’because of his lofty strides in delivery of the mandate of Esso Properties Limited; contributions to human capital development through the Esso Academy and his love for education and investments visible in the ISMT St. Salomon University, Cotonou, Benin Republic.’’

 Osikenyi added, ‘’Nigeria alone has over 28 million housing deficit and Esso Properties is mitigating this lacuna by availing home ownership solution to Nigerians at home and Diaspora, which is worthy of commendation.  In essence, Esso Properties Limited under the sterling leadership of Dr. Smith Ezenagu has demystified property  ownership and provided a solution with the “currency of credibility” which he has earned over the years by honest dealings and integrity in business.

 ”Moreover, St. Salomon University contributes towards enhancing access to higher education in Africa by availing more African students’ access. You would agree with me that access is still an issue in a huge population like Nigeria with millions of admission seekers annually.

 While responding at the award presentation which also had the Admissions officer, ISMT St. Salomon University, Cotonou, Mrs. Rita Cholu, Ezenagu said that he was glad that his efforts and contributions towards the development of the housing sector was getting some recognition.

 Ezenagu said, ‘’At Esso Properties Limited, we are driven more with passion than profit and we are focused on carving a niche for ourselves as a trusted, reliable and friendly real estate entity, having sufficient general property investment and real estate market experience as well as the requisite knowledge required to undertake property development, with sights on breaking new frontiers in the industry. We are excited that our efforts at making a difference are not in vain.’’

 He added, ‘’We are also making our mark in the educational sector and we are glad that ISMT St. Salomon University, Cotonou is fast becoming the preferred choice of University for African students and fulfilling one of its objectives by providing quality education to African students.’’

 Ezenagu holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Ecole Superieure Sainte Felicite University, Cotonou, Republic of Benin and Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Rome Business School, Lagos.

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