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NIGERIA

Your strike is illegal, FG tells JOHESU

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The Federal Government has directed the various unions in the health sector operating under the Joint Health Sector Unions not to go ahead with the strike declared for Sunday midnight by JOHESU.

The Ministry of Labour and Employment in a statement said it had “apprehended the dispute” with the conciliation initiated last Thursday, which is still ongoing.

A statement on Sunday by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations in the ministry, Mr Charles Akpan, said going ahead with the action would be illegal as it is in clear breach of the International Labour Organisation Principles and Conventions on Strike and sec. 18 of the Trades Disputes Act, Cap T8, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

It urged JOHESU not to arm-twist or intimidate the FG “that has shown a clear commitment to tackling the challenges in the sector as evidenced by the huge resources it has been pouring into the sector since the COVID-19 pandemic broke out.”

The statement was titled, ‘FG declares JOHESU strike is unnecessary, ill-timed and illegal’.

It said, “Parties in disputes are expected not to arm-twist, intimidate or foist helplessness on the other party while negotiations are ongoing as per sections 8 and 18 the of Trade Dispute Act 2004 barring any strike when the matters are before a conciliator and undergoing conciliation.

“Any strike now is inimical to an equable settlement of the dispute, bearing in mind, especially, that this is a grave period of a pandemic where the Federal Government has spent about N20 billion to pay April/May 2020 and an additional N8.9b for June 2020 on COVID-19 hazard and inducement allowances, respectively, to all categories of health workers that are mainly JOHESU members.”

Besides, the government said all health workers on essential services such as pharmacists, nurses/midwives, radiographers as members of JOHESU are statutorily barred from strikes during emergencies, by both the ILO Statutes and the Trade Dispute Act 2004.

It said such an action while the nation battles the COVID-19 emergency accentuates its illegality, noting that the strike would compound and aggravate the challenges in health services, causing further risk and deaths to the sick in the hospitals across the country.

It added that both the ILO and World Health Organisation’s statutes and regulations have forbidden strike for health workers during the pandemic period.

“This call for the withdrawal of services is clearly unnecessary as the Federal Government has demonstrated capacity in her amelioration of age-long challenges in the health sector and has overly shown a commitment to the welfare of health workers by providing enough Personal Protective Equipment and boosting their morale while tackling the strange pandemic,” the statement noted.

The FG further added that it had addressed most of the unions’ demands except the issue of Consolidated Health Salary Structure adjustment which the conciliator ( Minister of Labour and Employment and Minister of State, Labour and Employment) advised JOHESU was not a consent judgment of the National Industrial Court flowing from Alternative Dispute Resolution agreement.

The statement, therefore, urged the JOHESU leadership to have a rethink “on this illegal strike by putting the welfare of their patients and Nigeria first.”

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NIGERIA

Edo guber: Don’t compromise standard, INEC warns staff

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has read the riot act to the Commission’s regular and Adhoc staff participating in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, warning them not to compromise standard.

In the message he sent to them ahead of the crucial poll, the INEC boss reminded them that the eyes of both Nigerians and the international community are on the Commission to conduct a free, fair, and credible poll.

He further challenged them to ensure that no party or candidate is accorded any undue advantage over the other, promising that the management will continue to improve their welfare and conditions of service within available resources.

While charging them to be neutral and stick strictly to the Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality, he said: “As we begin the final countdown to the Edo governorship election, it is clear that all eyes are on INEC to deliver a free, fair and credible process.”

According to him, “I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again. The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate.

“The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources. Let me appeal to all of you to remain steadfast and committed to the ideals of the Commission Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us.

“They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties. We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other.

“We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed. For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust.”

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NIGERIA

Nigeria records 221 new cases of COVID-19, total now 56,956

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According to a tweet from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, 48,305 patients have now been discharged, with 1,094 patients losing their lives to Coronavirus.

The tweet revealed that Lagos State had the highest number of infections on Friday night with 59 cases, with Abia State following with 46 cases. The Federal Capital Territory was next, recording 22 cases

Other states recorded as follows:

Gombe-20 Plateau-17 Rivers-11 Bauchi-7 Benue-6 Ekiti-6 Imo-6 Kaduna-4 Kwara-4 Ondo-4 Ogun-3 Osun-3 Bayelsa-1 Edo-1 Kano-1

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NIGERIA

FBI uncovers fresh evidence against Hushpuppi

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The tide seems to be rising in the United States against suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpuppi, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) unveiled how he allegedly laundered unemployment benefits of Americans.

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and immediately flown to the US to face a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

The Nigerian pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance in Chicago in July.

He has since been transferred to California with October 13 set for his trial.

The FBI, in an affidavit filed on September 14, with the United States District Court, Central District of California, alleged that Hushpuppi using his email address, registered on a website whizzlog.com (“Whizzlog”) which is a marketplace for buying US Bank Logs to perpetrate fraud.

The FBI said it found in Abbas’ email address “registration contamination from Whizz Log.”

Also found therein were “numerous confirmations and receipts of bank logs he purchased.”

One of the messages cited by the agency read “Your order was successful. You have purchased (the “Financial Institution”) bank log with a balance of $9,839.44. Purchase Price: $955. The bank log details are in your account. Login to your Whizz Log account to view.”

He allegedly bought a “bank log with a balance of over S9,000 for as low as $900.”

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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