Press focuses on challenges of insecurity in Nigeria, planned nationwide strike by Labour unions

The fear expressed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the challenges of insecurity confronting Nigeria is threatening…

The fear expressed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives that the challenges of insecurity confronting Nigeria is threatening its corporate existence and the news that the planned industrial action scheduled for Monday by the labour unions has been put in abeyance are the trending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Friday.ThisDay reports that the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said the challenges of insecurity confronting Nigeria is threatening its corporate existence.

Speaking at a two-day retreat in Abuja yesterday, Gbajabiamila noted that the insecurity challenge undermines the faith of the public in the government’s ability to protect lives and property.

The retreat was organised by the House of Representatives’ Committee on National Security and Intelligence and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) Foundation.

According to the Speaker, the citizens expect the government to fulfill its constitutional responsibility of protecting them.

The newspaper says that the meeting between the federal government and organised labour, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), was adjourned yesterday till Monday after both sides failed to agree on terms for the resolution of the dispute over the increase in petrol price and electricity tariffs in the country.

However, the planned industrial action scheduled for Monday by the labour unions is put in abeyance, pending further consultations with their various organs during the weekend on the offers made by the federal government to cushion the effects of the price hikes on workers.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Boss Mustapha, who led the government team, also yesterday informed the unions that President Muhammadu Buhari had asked him to reassure the labour leaders and Nigerians that the government’s decisions on petrol price and electricity tariffs were never intended to cause any pain or harm.

In the meantime, the National Industrial Court has granted an interim injunction restraining the NLC and TUC, their officers, affiliates and privies from embarking on any strike or stoppage of work from Monday, September, 28 2020.

The Punch reports that the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, the Director General of Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze and the Accountant General of Federation Ahmed Idris, on Thursday, failed to appear before the Senate Committee on Appropriation over the 2020 budget performance.

The Senate had also, two weeks ago invited Ahmed, Akabueze and Idris to to defend the 2020 budget performance, but they did not honour the lawmakers’ invitation.

The committee then rescheduled another budget performance meeting with the minister for Thursday, September 24.

Speaking after waiting in vain for the trio for over one hour on Thursday, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jubril Barau, expressed dissatisfaction over the development.

He said the committee was not only saddled with the responsibilities of appropriatng funds, it also had the mandate to appraise budget performance because ‘without budget implementation, the budget is nothing.

The newspaper says that within 48 hours a total of 174,574 persons successfully registered for the N75bn National MSME Survival Fund and the Guaranteed Off-take Stimulus schemes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan, the Federal Government announced on Thursday.

Registration for the MSME Survival Funds commenced at 11pm on Monday. The schemes were introduced by the Federal Government to support individuals and businesses negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister of State for Industry,

Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, told journalists in Abuja that “as at 8.30am this (Thursday) morning, total successful registrations stood at 174,574.” She added, “The following states have the highest applications as follows, Kano, 19,895; Kaduna, 13,575; Lagos, 13,640; Katsina: 8,383; Federal Capital Territory, 8,085.”

She stated that within the first 24 hours of opening the registration portal, approximately 138,000 individuals logged on, created profiles and completed the first stage of registration. Katagum said Kano, Kaduna and Lagos emerged the lead states.

The Nation reports that the Executive Chairman/CEO, BUA Group, Abdul Samad Rabiu has expressed excitement and readiness to work towards the implementation and success of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement which when fully operational, will transform the African economy and enhance development across the continent.

Abdul Samad Rabiu expressed this while receiving the Secretary General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene and the Acting Director, National Office of Trade Negotiations, Victor Offiong at the BUA headquarters in Lagos State.

Rabiu spoke about the current status of regional agreements from the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) to the East African Community (EAC) Customs union, dumping, proliferation of small arms and illicit, smuggling, the trans-African highway and Private sector/African Union/government partnerships – noting that these areas were critical to the success of the AfCFTA.

He specifically said due to the poor implementation of regional trade agreements, there is a high level of distrust amongst Africa nations despite their support for AfCFTA. He expressed serious concern over “a situation where people cannot move goods produced in African countries where over 90% value has been added to other African Countries”.

The newspaper says that the Emirates Airlines is engaging the Federal Government on a flight ban extended to the Middle East carrier this week.

The carrier said it has opened lines of communication with the Ministry of Aviation towards resolving the impasse insisting that it will give updates on the progress of the talks between the two countries.

The Federal Government at the weekend withdrew approval given to a Emirates Airlines to fly into Nigeria from yesterday.

In a reaction, the carrier said it was still committed to serving its teeming customers on the two Nigerian routes, Lagos and Abuja, to meeting the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country.

“Emirates remains committed to serving its two Nigerian points, Abuja and Lagos, to connect our customers to and through Dubai to Emirates’ global network, and meet the growing demand for air travel in and out of the country.

Emirates is working closely with the UAE and Nigerian authorities, and will communicate any updates to our customers. We look forward to continue serving our customers in Nigeria.” The Federal Government withdraw the approval to the airline following the refusal of United Arab Emirates (UAE) government to lift visa ban on Nigerians.