The Big 5: FG says N30,000 minimum wage is only a recommendation; Boko Haram attack town in Yobe, set houses ablaze | Other top stories

These are the stories you should be monitoring:

The Federal Government on Wednesday cleared the air about the adoption of the N30,000 minimum wage as contained in report of the tripartite committee submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday, saying it was still a recommendation and had not been approved.

Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this to State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting, said President Muhammadu Buhari would still study the report before taking a decision on it, adding that the report will be presented before the National Economic Council and the Council of State before a decision will be made.

“I think it (N30,000) was a recommendation. Mr President will consider it and will make his views known in due course,” the minister said.

In reacting to the statement by the Minister, Organised Labour has said it will embark on strike should the Federal Government fail to approve and implement the N30,000 minimum wage recommended by the tripartite committee.

General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Musa Lawal, said labour shelved its planned strike because the government had expressed the willingness to accept the report of the tripartite committee, warning that anything short of the full implementation of the report would be met with stiff opposition.

“They can say anything they want to say. Why were they panicky before? Why did they agree to the N30, 000? They can call it a mere recommendation or whatever they want to call it but the important thing is that at the end of the day, if we do not get the N30,000, they know what we will do,” he said.

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved N628 million as variation for the Abuja runway and N12.66 billion for the procurements of Fire Service equipment, Green Maria vehicles for the Nigeria Prison Service.

Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, who disclosed this to State House correspondents after the weekly FEC meeting, said the approval of fighting trucks and water tankers was to fight fire incidents, while the 116 Green Maria (formerly called Black Maria) vehicles was to facilitate the transportation of prisons inmates to court, especially those in the awaiting trial category.

Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, confirmed that the Abuja runway variation of cost (total of which is now N6.5 billion), which was earlier stepped down was considered.

Katarko town in Yobe, located 20 kilometres to Damaturu, the state capital, on Wednesday witnessed its second attack since July 27, 2014 by suspected Boko Haram insurgents, as several  houses were set ablaze.

Although no casualty is yet to be confirmed, a resident who escaped the attack revealed that the attackers upon arrival through the eastern part of the town around 5:05pm in a convoy of three RPG laden Hilux vans, began sporadic shootings and set houses ablaze, adding that “both residents and security operatives have fled to safe locations.”

“As we are talking, I don’t know the condition of my wives and children because they ran and left me while trying to pick my 7-year-old boy from the house,”  Daily Trust reports.

A Kaduna High Court on Wednesday refused bail to the leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, ruling that the accused did not attach enough medical evidence to warrant being granted bail.

Justice Kurada also ruled that the IMN leader and his wife would remain in the custody of the Department of State Services (DSS) until January 22, 2019, for the bail application.

El-Zakzaky and his wife, Zeena along with four other members of the group are facing trial for eight counts bordering on alleged culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disturbance of public peace, since their arrest in Zaria in December 2015.

And stories from around the world:

Russia would consider any new chemical weapons-related sanctions imposed by the United States to be illegal, a Kremlin spokesman said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

Embattled U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned at the “request” of President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Similarly, the White House suspended the press pass of CNN correspondent Jim Acosta after he and President Donald Trump had a heated confrontation during a news conference.

Australia will offer Pacific countries up to A$3 billion ($2.18 billion) in grants and cheap loans to build infrastructure, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday, as Canberra seeks to counter China’s rising influence in the region. (Reuters)

Counting is under way in Madagascar after millions of people cast their ballots in Wednesday’s presidential election. (Al Jazeera)

Karim Benzema scored twice as Real Madrid swept Viktoria Plzen aside with a 5-0 win in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United produced a stunning late comeback to beat Juventus 2-1 on Wednesday in their Champions League campaign, while a Gabriel Jesus hat-trick helped Manchester City all but secure a last-16 berth, following its  6-0 crushing of Shakhtar Donetsk. (AFP)

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