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Govt threatens to break sporting rights monopoly, orders DSTV to suspend tariffs hike

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The Federal Government has ordered the management of MultiChoice, to suspend the implementation of its new hiked tariffs on different bouquets on its DSTV.

The Acting Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, gave the order on Tuesday.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed,  also said that the government plans to break the Sporting rights monopoly in the country currently being enjoyed by the DSTV.

Idachaba and Lai Mohammed spoke at the National Assembly, while briefing members of an Ad Hoc Committee looking into the hike in tariffs by MultiChoice.

“I want to agree with the Committee and call on DSTV to suspend the hike in tariffs,” the NBC Acting DG said.

Mohammed had earlier told the Committee that he had already signed a code to break the monopoly of MultiChoice in Nigeria.

“Our amendments to the Broadcasting Act, will affect the break in the monopoly of MultiChoice. Amendments to Section 628 of the Broadcasting Act, is in our broad national interest.”

The lawmakers who quizzed the government officials on the new payment template issued by the South Africa owned company on payment of DSTV subscription, lamented the high cost of tariffs.

According to the lawmakers, the increase in the price of subscription of satellite television on the Pay As You Go system was an affront that must be suspended with immediate effect.

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NIGERIA

JOHESU directs members to resume as strike ends

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Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) are expected back at work on Monday, following the suspension of the seven-day warning strike by the union’s leadership on Sunday.

The leadership directed its members to resume work nationwide.

JOHESU stated it called -off the strike, despite the Federal Government’s refusal through its Health Ministry to address the health workers’ demands as presented within the seven-day warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.

In a statement, the union said its next line of action would be decided by the Expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU in due course.

The statement signed by its National Chairman, Biobelemoye Josiah, accused the government of resorting to intimidation and blackmail, instead of calling the leadership for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute.

On September 13, JOHESU proceeded on strike following the inability of the Federal Government to meet its members’ demands.

Some of JOHESU’s grievances to include non-implementation of the September 20, 2017 agreement on COHESS adjustment; some court judgments in its favour; a review of the implementation of COVID-19 hazard allowance; non-payment of all withheld salaries of members at JUTH, FMC Owerri, LUTH, among others.

The statement reads: “This is to bring to your notice that the seven-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions would come to an end midnight today, 20 September, 2020.

“By this notice, all health workers under the five unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professionals Association (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, 21st September, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.

”However, since the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven-days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector, the next line of action would be decided in due course by the Expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.

“It is pertinent to also inform the general public that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the the trade dispute, the federal government has resorted to intimidation and blackmail of JOHESU leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.

“JOHESU will continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector. Nigerian should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare delivery.

“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the Expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday 20, September, 2020, I hereby declare that the 7 days warning strike is suspended.

“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, 21 September, 2020 while awaiting further directives.

“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven day warning strike.”

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NIGERIA

Lightning kills 15 cows in Ekiti

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Lightning last Saturday evening killed 15 cows at Ikogosi in Ekiti West Local Government Area of Ekiti State.

The Asaoye of Ikogosi-Ekiti, Chief Ayo Ademilua, described the incident as a natural occurrence, which he said was strange in the town.

Narrating the incident to reporters via phone on Sunday, Ademilua said the incident occurred at the Ikogosi Warm Spring site along Ipole-Ekiti road.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ikogosi Warm Spring is notable tourism and recreational center where warm and cold streams meet in Ekiti.

The Ikogosi high chief said the thunderstruck during a torrential downpour between 4pm and 6:02pm.

“The whole town shook when the thunderstruck. Later, some commuters coming into town and those returning home from their farms saw Fulani herders lamenting that it was the lightning that killed their cattle,” he said.

Also speaking about the incident, the Onikogosi of Ikogosi Ekiti, Oba Abiodun Olorunnisola, said the herders were making efforts to sell the dead cows to residents, adding that this portends health risk to his people.

The monarch said he had already reached out to his colleague at Ipole-Ekiti, Oba Oladele Babatola, on the need to warn their subjects against consuming such a desecrated meat.

“The two of us have alerted our subjects that there was an attempt to begin the sale of the cows and we are making efforts to prevent the intending buyers,” he said.

The traditional ruler, however, urged the government to evacuate the carcasses of the cows, to prevent spread of communicable diseases.

Police spokesman Sunday Abutu said the incident was yet to be reported to the command because it was a natural occurrence.

“We have not been told, but if the owner of the cattle later realizes that someone was responsible, he will report at the police station and we will surely rise to the occasion if such happens,” he said.

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NIGERIA

Appeal Court upholds N3.8b, $4.9m verdict against Customs

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THE Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld an N3.82 billion and $4.95 million monetary judgment against the Nigerian Customs Service Board (NCSB) and its Chairman by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

A three-man panel of the Appellate Court, in a unanimous judgment by Justice Emmanuel Agim, dismissed an appeal filed by the NCSB and its chairman.

In dismissing the appeal, the appellate court held that the Federal High Court was in order when it held in favour of the plaintiff – Maggpiy Trading TFZE – in the judgment given by Justice Inyang Ekwo on July 10, 2019.

In the judgment given on August 20, 2020, Justices Agim, Peter Ige and Yargata Nimpar (of the Court of Appeal) were unanimous in holding that the appellants (NCSB and its chairman) failed to fault the judgment by Justice Ekwo.

Maggpiy Trading had sued the NCSB, its Chairman and the National Security Adviser (NSA), claiming that on March 18, 2017, officials of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) unjustly sealed off its warehouses located within the Tinapa Free Trade Zone and Resort (TFTZR) in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

It averred that the warehouses, at the time they were sealed off by men of the NCS, contained 90 containers of rice with each of the containers holding 540 bags of rice.

The firm added that without any provocation and after accepting N53 million from it as stamp duties, men of the NCS also detained, by the road side at Onne, Port Harcourt in Rivers State, 40 trucks with which it was transporting 317 transit containers of rice to its Tinapa Free Trade Zone and Resort facility.

Maggpiy Trading also said its warehouses were eventually unsealed after over four months and that it was compelled by the defendants to re-export the imported rice to Cotonou in Benin Republic on July 28, 2017.

The firm stated that it found that some of the containers had been stolen, it had incurred heavy costs and that most of what was left of the consignment had been destroyed.

The defendants denied any wrongdoing, claiming that the plaintiff (Maggpiy Trading) breached Federal Government’s fiscal policy on the importation of any physical goods into Nigeria.

They argued that the plaintiff’s action of importing rice into the country “was calculated to undermine the government’s fiscal policy on food security, which is meant to encourage local production of rice, and the ban on importation of rice through the land boarder.

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