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Workers Panic As Lagos Waterworks Sacks 450

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Employees of the Lagos State Water Corporation are currently in a state of anxiety as the state government sacked 450 casual workers last week Thursday.

The PUNCH learnt on Thursday that the affected staff members were shocked when they were served with sack letters on Tuesday and given an ultimatum to surrender all the government property in their care.

It was learnt that the decision to sack the workers jolted some of the staff members who were not affected by the exercise.

Some of the workers who spoke with our correspondent who visited one of the state waterworks on Thursday expressed fear that they might suffer a similar fate.

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Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a staff member told PUNCH Metro that many of the laid-off staff members had spent several years working with the corporation.

She said, “Nobody knew this was going to happen. We were all shocked that a large number of people could be sacked in a day. Currently, these waterworks no longer have casual workers.

“One of my friends was affected by the decision. She has a family she is taking care of. She doesn’t even know where to start. She left the office weeping last week. Even if they are going to sack anyone, they should have given people more time to find alternatives.”

Meanwhile, The PUNCH further probe showed that the workers were laid off due to a claim that the state government wanted to undergo restructuring despite the current shortage of staff.

READ ALSO: NJC Sacks Osun Judge, Rejects Adeleke’s Request To Suspend CJ

“We don’t have enough staff. As big as this place is, only one person is left to clean it. There were many of us at the maintenance units before. But now there are just the three of us left,” one employee said on condition of anonymity.

“They said they are restructuring, but how many staff will need to be sacked before this is accomplished?” another source queried in a separate interview with The PUNCH.

However, when contacted for his reaction, the Public Relations Officer, Lagos State Water Corporation, Kehinde Fashola, confirmed some workers were laid off because they breached the contract of agreement.

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“The government found out that the Lagos Water management contract staff members have not been in accordance with the contract appointment law. Some of them have been contract staff for 10 years and some for five years, which is not in accordance with the country’s labour law.

“The normal time is two years. So, the government is trying to correct any abnormality without any bias,” she said in a telephone interview on Thursday.

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Wike Lists His Priorities As FCT Minister To British High Commission

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Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike, has told the British High Commission in Abuja that security, agriculture and job creation are among the top priorities of the FCT Administration.

The minister made this statement when he received a delegation from the British High Commission in Nigeria led by the British High Commissioner, Richard Montgomery, on a courtesy visit to the FCT Administration on Tuesday.

The British High Commissioner had sought to understand the priorities of the FCT Administration for the development of the FCT in order to improve bilateral relations.

Responding, Wike said the creation of jobs, especially in the agricultural sector, is being prioritized to ensure that the teeming youth in the FCT are provided with a source of livelihood. He added that the FCT Administration, in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has also provided the necessary support to the security agencies to address the security challenges in the FCT.

READ ALSO: Wike Places N20m Bounty On Two Wanted Abuja Kidnappers

He said the ongoing provision of infrastructure in the Abuja city center and the Area Councils, apart from accelerating the development of the FCT, are also avenues for job creation for the youths who would be engaged during the course of the projects.

According to the Minister, “When you say priority, creation of jobs is key. If you are not able to create jobs, of course, you know what that will mean for the teeming youths. So, we believe that the creation of jobs is not only in the white-collar sector. Through these activities, many of the youths are employed.

“If you go to the area councils today, there are lots of jobs going on that have created opportunities for the youths to be employed. So, the creation of jobs is a priority for this administration.”

Stressing that the FCT has vast arable lands for agriculture, the FCT Minister also expressed the readiness of the FCT Administration to collaborate with investors in the agricultural sector to create employment for youths and promote food security.

READ ALSO: SERAP Drags Wike, Others To Court Over Missing LG Funds

We have to remove the youths from the streets. So, we believe that in partnering with investors in the area of agriculture, that will also create jobs. So, that, in fact, to us, is a major priority. We will be interested if we can see partners in these areas,” the minister stressed.

Wike also added that the FCT is open to investments and collaborations in the tourism sector to make the city a major tourist attraction.

Speaking further on the security challenges in the FCT, the Minister stated that remarkable improvements have been achieved in the last few months due to the level of support and commitment of the security agencies.

The FCT Minister, who blamed the heightened insecurity in the FCT in the recent past on the activities of kidnappers and bandits, from the states sharing borders with the FCT, noted that the security agencies have done quite well to tame the activities of the bandits and other criminal elements.

He expressed confidence that the improved security in the FCT will also increase investors’ confidence in the nation’s capital.

We cannot say that we have been able to solve all the problems, but it is important to know that we are making progress, particularly on the issue of security, which has been a source of concern, not only to residents but the diplomatic community,” Wike said.

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Alleged Diversion Of Palliatives: Sacked Kogi Council Boss, Atawodi Breaks Silence

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Hassan Atawodi, the sacked Transition Chairman of Ofu Local Government Area, has opened up on why he was removed.

The Secretary to Kogi State Government, Folashade Arike Ayoade, had on Monday announced the sack of Atawodi in a statement by Governor Ahmed Usman Ododo, for allegedly diverting palliatives meant for his local government.

Speaking to journalists on Tuesday, Atawodi said he was removed from office courtesy of some political leaders who do not like him.

He added that the palliative meant for Ofu LGA was not handed over to him, saying, “How can I divert what was not given to me?”

While noting that it was a gang-up against him, as there was no time he diverted any palliatives meant for his people, Atawodi stressed that he was denied the clearance letter that would have allowed him to collect the palliative.

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“My travails began from the first day I was appointed, possibly because I was not the choice of some alleged power brokers in my local government. After signing for the palliative for Ofu, the next day I could not get the clearance letter because of orders from above.

“Upon assumption of office, I appointed my five aides and six special advisers. Later, they reported me to the powers that be that I made the appointments without consulting them.

“They went to the extent of sending pictures of somebody I appointed to say he was a member of an opposition party.

“I was asked to meet with the Leader of the local government in the company of the House of Assembly member, the local government, and the zonal party chairmen, which I did and asked that they should please forgive me, following their report, with a call on them to please join me so that we can work together.

READ ALSO: FULL LIST: Agencies That May Be Scrapped Based On Oronsaye 800-page Report

“Following my appeal to those who reported me over the appointment, I was asked to dissolve the aides I appointed, which I did by going on air as promised and dissolved all the SSAs.”

The former Transition Chairman said he is innocent of the allegations of diversion of palliatives leveled against him, calling on the State Governor of Kogi State to look into the matter critically, as the said palliative was never handed over to him.

Continuing, he said, “I was not given a palliative to share. On hearing about the palliative, I went to the Commissioner for Humanitarian Affairs, who said there is an instruction for me not to be given the palliative.

“The ommissioner asked me to put a call across to the Deputy Governor before it could be released. I called from the morning through till about 4:00 pm on the said day, without my calls being picked.

“I later went back to the Commissioner, who said the Deputy Governor is yet to call. I had to leave to return the following day.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Begins Sales Of Dollars To BDCs

“The next day, upon arrival at the Government House, I saw the DLG, SLG, and the APC Chairman for my local government. The commissioner said he has been directed to release the palliative to them.

“I was asked by the Commissioner to remain calm, particularly that with the several leaders I have in my local government, he doesn’t think I should bother myself with how the palliative would be shared.

“After they moved the palliative from the Muhammadu Buhari Civic Centre, I called the DLG to ask about the whereabouts of the palliative, that is the 1200 bags of rice. He said it was off-loaded at the residence of the Zonal Chairman in Ejule. I asked if it was safe there, as I would have guaranteed that if brought to the Local Government Secretariat, it would be safer and would reach the intended beneficiaries.

“I was at the Governorship Tribunal in Abuja yesterday when somebody called me to inform me that a letter of replacement was being typed to replace me, after which I was later told that I had been replaced.”

While the former Transition Chairman said he has taken the power play against him as the will of God, he lamented that he was surprised to read on social media that his sack was connected with the alleged diversion of palliatives that were never given or handed over to him.

“My hands are clean, and I know that my God will fight for me. Since my assumption, it’s been one battle to another. The DSS are all aware of my travails.”

The former Transition Chairman called on Gov. Ahmed Usman Ododo to constitute an investigation into the reason behind his removal, pointing out that it could not have been over a palliative that was not handed over to him.

 

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FX Crisis: Dollar May Exchange For N4000 By End Of 2024 — Ozekhome Warns

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Human rights activist, Mike Ozekhome, says the Dollar may exchange for N4000 by the end of 2024 should the Naira keep falling against the Dollar at its current rate.

Ozekhome stated this in an interview on Channels Television on Tuesday.

The senior lawyer said there are no visible signs that the Naira won’t fall any further.

He said, “Just today, we paid out another $400 million that was so identified. In terms of the reserves, it has gone up to $34 billion.

READ ALSO: Forex Crisis: EFCC 7,000-man Task Force Goes After Dollar Racketeers

“If we are not careful we will get to the situation in Ghana, where they were carrying cedis in baskets to the market to go and buy things and put in their pockets.”

”Why have BDCssit under the trees and tables control our economy.”

Ozekhome stated that the government needs to do everything in its power to alleviate the suffering by going back to the drawing board.

He expressed surprise at the current administration blaming its predecessors for the economic state of the nation

”But to me, it is most embarrassing when I see officials of this government blaming the Jonathan government that left office in 2015, nearly 10 years ago.

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”Ironically blaming his own predecessor whom they took over from in the APC government. I think everything has gone wrong,” he said

Ozekhome noted that the current administration’s slogan of renewed hope translates to poverty.

This is not renewed hope, this is renewed poverty.”

Recall that recently, the scarcity and demand for dollars have led to a significant decline in the Naira. The problem according to analysts has been compounded by persistent foreign exchange supply challenges and a significant demand backlog.

But, the CBN governor, Olayemi Cardoso, in his MPC meeting announcement on Tuesday said he ”will do what it takes” to address the monetary issue equally promising to generate more liquidity for the forex market.

”Before the end of this year, if we are not careful, the Naira may exchange for N4000 to the dollar because e there is nothing in place,” he added.

 

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