- FG, NLC Meeting on Fuel Subsidy Ends Deadlocked
- Tinubu, APC Oppose BVAS Evidence in Presidential Tribunal
- No Need for Senate, Reps – Shekarau Tells Tinubu
- Gender Bill Scales Second Reading At Senate
- Lagos Govt Warns Motorists Against Gridlock Amid Fuel Scarcity
Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldn’t miss
FG, NLC Meeting on Fuel Subsidy Ends Deadlocked
The highly anticipated meeting between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) regarding the removal of fuel subsidies has concluded without reaching an agreement.
Held at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the meeting commenced at 4 pm on Wednesday, bringing together key representatives from both sides. Among the government officials present were Dele Alake, spokesperson for President Bola Tinubu, and Mele Kyari, the Group CEO of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited. Additionally, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, and former Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole were in attendance.
The Organised Labour was well represented by Joe Ajaero, the National President of the NLC, and Festus Osifo, the President of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC).
After hours of deliberation with the Federal Government, the NLC made a demand for the government to revert to the previous fuel price as a precondition for further negotiations. Joe Ajaero, the NLC National President, voiced his criticism of the subsidy removal and emphasized the need for the status quo to be restored before engaging in formal talks with the NLC. This step, according to Ajaero, aims to safeguard the interests of the Nigerian workforce and explore additional solutions.
The NLC expressed disappointment, asserting that the Federal Government failed to address any palliative measures for Nigerians during the discussions. As a result, the latest announcement was rejected by the NLC, and the union has decided to reconvene with its members to determine the subsequent course of action.
In contrast, Dele Alake described the meeting as robust and expressed optimism that discussions would continue. He expressed hope that a reasonable conclusion would be reached in the forthcoming adjourned meeting.
This development sets the stage for further engagement and negotiations between the Federal Government and the NLC as they seek a resolution on the contentious issue of fuel subsidy removal.
Tinubu, APC Oppose BVAS Evidence in Presidential Tribunal
President Bola Tinubu, through his legal team led by Wole Olanipekun, SAN, objected to the admissibility of evidence extracted from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines used in the 2023 presidential election. The opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presented certified copies of BVAS printouts to the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC) in Abuja.
Atiku’s legal team, led by Chris Uche, SAN, tendered the documents on behalf of their client. The documents were certified by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) after payment of necessary fees. The INEC team of lawyers, along with President Tinubu’s legal team and the All Progressives Congress (APC), raised objections to the admissibility of the documents. Final written addresses will be submitted to provide further reasoning for their objections.
Despite the objections, the five-member panel led by Justice Haruna Tsammani admitted the BVAS documents as evidence, marking them as Exhibits PT 1 to PT 33. Atiku also presented results from Abia, Bayelsa, Kaduna, and Ogun states, downloaded by INEC from its I-Rev portal in the form of Forms EC8A. INEC, President Tinubu, and the other respondents in the case opposed the admissibility of these election results, resulting in further debate.
The court admitted the results from Abia state as Exhibits PJ, PJ1 to PJ16, and their certification receipt as Exhibit PJ-17. Results from eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Bayelsa state were marked as Exhibits PK 1 to PK 8, with the certification document marked as Exhibit PK-9. Results from 23 LGAs in Kaduna state were marked as Exhibits PL-1 to PL-23, and results from Ogun state were marked as Exhibits PM 1 to PM 20.
President Tinubu and the other respondents agreed to allow the admittance of results from five LGAs in Kogi state: Olamaboro, Ofu, Omala, Okehi, and Ajaokuta. The court admitted bundles of Forms EC8E from 23 LGAs in Kaduna state as Exhibits PN 1 to PN 23 and marked the ones from Kogi state as Exhibits PT 1 to PT 23. Forms EC8C from Kaduna state were admitted as Exhibits PQ 1 to PQ 20, and 40 copies of Forms EC40G from the same state were admitted as Exhibits PR 1 to PR 40. Additionally, copies of Form EC 40G from Ogun state were marked as Exhibits PS 1 to PC 10.
The total number of exhibits tendered before the court by Atiku’s legal team now stands at 337. Meanwhile, Peter Obi, the candidate of the Labour Party, requested an adjournment due to the sudden illness of key staff members. The court granted the adjournment until the following day, as President Tinubu’s legal team, INEC’s legal team, and the APC had no objections.
Obi and the Labour Party are seeking to present their case against the presidential election results, alleging irregularities and non-compliance with the Electoral Act. They aim to nullify the election and withdraw the Certificate of Return issued to President Tinubu by INEC.
No Need for Senate, Reps – Shekarau Tells Tinubu
Kano Central Senator, Ibrahim Shekarau, has offered President Bola Tinubu advice on reducing the cost of governance in Nigeria. Shekarau suggested that Tinubu should consider reducing the composition of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
During an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday night, Shekarau expressed his belief that Nigeria does not require both chambers under Tinubu’s leadership. He emphasized the high cost associated with maintaining the current number of legislators.
Shekarau stated, “Left to me, we don’t need to have the two chambers, the two houses. It’s costing the country. I agree, a democracy means getting as many involved as possible, but the way it is going on now, it’s almost 500 legislators nationwide; I don’t think we really need this much at the moment.”
Presently, the National Assembly consists of 109 senators and 360 members of the House of Representatives.
Gender Bill Scales Second Reading At Senate
The Senate successfully passed the Gender Bill, now renamed the “Gender and Equality Opportunities Bill,” during its second reading on Wednesday. The primary objective of the bill is to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and individuals with disabilities.
Senator Biodun Olujimi, the bill’s sponsor, highlighted that if it becomes law, it will empower women to strive for and achieve their full potential. She emphasized the existence of various types of discrimination that hinder women’s participation in formal sectors of employment.
Furthermore, the legislation aims to remove barriers that impede women’s equal access to financial credit, technical support, family benefits, and cultural activities.
In December 2021, Senator Biodun Olujimi was requested to withdraw the bill following objections from some colleagues who claimed that it contradicted their sociocultural and religious beliefs. The Senate resolved that the concerns should be addressed and instructed Senator Olujimi to engage in broader consultations regarding the raised issues.
Numerous civil society groups and pro-women organizations had staged protests at the National Assembly, urging the passage of gender-related bills. Among their demands were reserved seats for women in the National Assembly, the right to claim indigeneship of their spouse’s state after five years of marriage, and a 35% affirmative action quota for women.
Lagos Govt Warns Motorists Against Gridlock Amid Fuel Scarcity
As the fuel scarcity crisis continues to grip the nation, the Lagos State Government has issued a stern warning to motorists who are contributing to traffic congestion by queuing up at filling stations and parking their vehicles haphazardly.
In a statement released on Wednesday by Babs Olorunkemi, the Principal Public Affairs Officer, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transportation, Engr. Abdulhafiz Toriola urged motorists to be mindful of the impact their actions have on traffic flow.
Engr. Toriola emphasized that even in the face of fuel shortages, there are no justifications for violating traffic regulations. He further stated that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has been directed to enforce the state’s traffic laws and ensure that motorists comply.
See the full statement below:
LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION
FUEL SCARCITY: LASG WARNS MOTORISTS ON INDISCRIMINATE PARKING.
The Lagos State Government has warned motorists in the State who are in the habit of parking their vehicles indiscriminately on highways and inner roads in a bid to purchase fuel, to desist from hindering traffic flow within the metropolis.
Issuing the warning, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transportation, Engr. Abdulhafiz Toriola stated that the Ministry has observed with dismay activities of motorists parking and queuing in unauthorized places thereby hindering free flow of traffic, hence the need for caution. He further stressed that those found queuing for fuel should also ensure that the flow of traffic is not adversely affected, stating there are no excuses for traffic violation.
He reiterated that efficient traffic management has remained crucial in the attainment of seamless multi-modal transportation system of the state, hence, the need for strong collaboration of the motoring public to ensure the efforts of the government is not threatened by the surge of unlawful parking.
While confirming that the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, have been mandated to enforce the state traffic laws in light of any impediment on traffic flow, the Permanent Secretary however, urged residents to join hands with the State Government in finding lasting solution to daily traffic congestions occasioned by these crop of traffic violators, by being traffic law abiding citizens.
Babs Olorunkemi (Mr.)
Principal Public Affairs Officer,
31st May, 2023.