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Nigerians May Celebrate New Year In Blackout, Says Rep.

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Deputy Minority Leader of the House of Representatives , Toby Okechukwu , has expressed the fear that there might be a nationwide blackout over the ongoing industrial action by the National Union of Electricity Employees .

Members of the union had vowed to go on a nationwide strike after the 21 -day ultimatum it issued to the Minister of Power , Mr Saleh Mamman , expired .

The lawmaker representing Enugu said if urgent actions were not taken , Nigerians may end the remaining part of 2019 and celebrate the New Year in a blackout .

This is as the House of Representatives says it will meet with heads of Ministries of Power , Labour and the National Pension Commission to intervene in the industrial action by the NUEE on Thursday .

Okechukwu moved the motion under ‘ Matters of Urgent Public Importance ’ at plenary, presided over by the Speaker , Mr Femi Gbajabiamila , on Wednesday .

The motion was tagged , “ Urgent need for the Federal Government to interface with the management of electricity companies and the National Union of Electricity Employees to avoid impending electricity blackout . ”

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Okechukwu recalled that a petition was written by NUEE to electricity distribution and generating companies , warning of a nationwide strike if their demands were not met .

“A petition , dated Nov. 7 , was written to the Minister of Power by the NUEE and copied to all DISCOS and GENCOS , where the union warned , and gave a 21 – day ultimatum to declare a nationwide strike if their demands were not met by the electricity companies .

“ These include non – payments of salary arrears , remittance of pension deductions , refusal to pay over 2 , 000 disengaged workers of the ex – PHCN staff since 2013 , underpayment of over 50 , 000 ex – PHCN staff and casualisation /outsourcing of workers , ” he said .

The lawmaker said NUEE accused the ministry of power of failing to respond to their strike notification letter which expired on December 10 .

“ The union , having exhausted every avenue for resolution of the dispute , has no other option than to withdraw services, without further notice .

“ Their resolve to go on with the strike without further notification came as a result of the information by a power sector consultant, Mrs Rahila Thomas, wherein she stated that GENCOS and DISCOS direly need N1 . 2 trillion bailout to improve services, ” he said .

He expressed the concern that “ the whole country would be plunged into a blackout if the union should be allowed to carry out its threat . ”

The lawmakers also expressed the concern that if the reasons for the nationwide strike by NUEE were not addressed , it would lead to “ serious financial losses for both private and government establishments , and pose security challenges in our country . ”

(Punch)

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World Earth Day: Environmentalist Advocates End to Plastic Wastes to Save Mother Earth

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In commemoration of the 2024 World Earth Day, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) – Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), has called for a drastic reduction in the use of plastics to save planet Earth from suffocation.

World Earth Day is an annual event celebrated April 22, and it is designed to shed light on serious environmental problems faced from the climate crisis to air pollution and deforestation. This year’s World Earth Day was themed: ‘Planet Vs Plastic.’

In commemoration of the Day, Dr Nnimmo Bassey, Executive Director, HOMEF, in a statement made available to INFO DAILY by Kome Odhomor, Media/Communication Lead, HOMEF, advocated for urgent action to ban the production and
usage of single-use plastics.

Bassey, while calling on everyone to be involved in efforts to kick out plastics, urged humans to build a liveable future for humans, other beings, and natural systems.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Air: EFCC Arrests Ex-Buhari’s Minister Over N8bn Fraud

He said: “World Earth Day reminds us as humans that the Earth is ours to protect and preserve but over time humans have abandoned their roles in protecting the planet because of selfishness and drive for profit.

“We stand united in our fight against non-biodegradable waste pollution. Our addiction to single-use plastics suffocates the planet.

“Plastics can take hundreds of years to decompose, clog our water bodies, and cause harmful impacts as a result of their chemical composition. Sadly, the
world is literally a plastic civilisation due to a vested interest in hydrocarbons and ease of application.”

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He continued: “Now is a critical time to choose between planet and plastic. Good sense tells us to choose the planet, our Mother Earth that sustains all lives. A poor sense driven by profit urges humans to choose plastics because of the ease they bring, despite the harmful impacts on our health, climate, and overall health of the planet.

“As we mark World Earth Day 2024, the alarm must be sounded that it is time to uproot plastics from their fossil base or be ready to be turned
into plastic humans living plastic lives and heading to an infernal
plastic future. At HOMEF, we are all for the planet, people, and all
life forms,” Bassey said.

The Executive Director noted that research has shown that 380 million tonnes of plastic are now produced every year, while only nine percent of plastic ever produced has been recycled.

He added: “Campaigns around the world calling for a 60 percent reduction in plastic by 2040 are commendable and worthy of support.

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“At Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF), we believe in the intrinsic Rights of Mother Earth and the rights of humans and other
beings to be respected and to live in dignity.

“It is time to build up courage and to preserve and protect our health,
and our livelihoods by embracing alternatives that are sustainable,
healthy, and safe for the planet. We must stop all forms of destructive
extractive activities in Nigeria, Africa, and the World.

“The Planet vs Plastics campaign is a call to arms, a demand that we act now to end the scourge of plastics and safeguard the health of every living being on our planet.

“We are submerged in a sea of plastic wastes, from our creeks to the ocean. It’s time we did better!”

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Obaseki Warns Against Open Grazing, Solicits Stakeholders’ Support

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Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said the ban on open grazing in the state still remains, warning that anyone found wanting will be made to face the full wrath of the law.

The governor said this while addressing stakeholders during an interactive session on the Edo State Regional Development and Benin City Master Plan, held at Iguobazuwa, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of the State.

Obaseki who reassured the government’s commitment to the safety and security of residents, called for the collaboration and support of all stakeholders to ensure a peaceful, secure and prosperous Edo State.

He said, “Any herdsman in our bush without permission is working against the law of our State, and anything that happens, they can’t blame anyone.

READ ALSO: Edo Police Parade 21 Suspects Over Alleged Murder, Cultism, Pipeline Vandalism

“Let us be sure that nobody gives that person the permission to enter our forest and if permission will be granted, let us know the type of permission given to them to come into our bushes or forest to graze with their cattle.

“Open grazing is banned in Edo State. If they are in your forest, let us know where they are because we have police and vigilantes who will help us get them out through a number we will give you to call.”

Obaseki added, “Anybody that wants to do ranching business should contact you, the community people and you will decide on the land to use and method of feeding their cattle. They should do the business with you and not invade our forest indiscriminately as if there are no owners. The forest and bushes belong us.”

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Nigeria Air: EFCC Arrests Ex-Buhari’s Minister Over N8bn Fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has arrested Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation under former President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration over an ongoing N8 billion money laundering probe of Nigeria Air.

Vanguard gathered that Sirika arrived at the Federal Capital Territory Command of the EFCC at about 1:00 pm on Tuesday.

Sirika is currently being quizzed by the EFCC investigators over alleged fraudulent contracts awarded by him to a company known as Engirios Nigeria Limited, owned by his younger sibling, Abubakar Sirika.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: Dangote Further Crashes Diesel, Aviation Fuel  Price

Recall that, in February, EFCC investigated the activities of the Aviation Ministry under Sirika for conspiracy, abuse of office, diversion of public funds, and contract inflation.

Others are criminal breaches of trust and money laundering amounting to N8,069,176,864.00 during Sirika’s tenure in office.

Apart from being listed as the company’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abubakar is said to be the sole signatory to the company’s two accounts, domiciled in Zenith and Union Banksy.

READ ALSO: BREAKING: EFCC Chair Vows To Follow Yahaya Bello’s Prosecution To Conclusion

It was gathered that the ex-minister’s younger brother, Abubakar Sirika, has been arrested and detained by the commission in connection with N3,212,258,930.18 paid to his company, Engirios Nigerian Limited’s, bank account by the former minister.

It was noted that there is no trace of work done on any of the contract items to date.

Sirika was arrested Sunday February 4 to assist the commission in its probe of the Aviation Ministry’s financial expenditures during his tenure.

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