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Group organises conference on tackling unemployment, crimes in Niger Delta region

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The Niger Delta Young Professionals (NDYP) moves to organise a youth conference on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) to combat unemployment and crimes in the region.

Convener of the summit, Mr Moses Siasia, in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja, said “the event is a sustained initiative that has been creating enormous opportunities and growth for young MSME owners in the region.”

According to him, the organisers of the Niger Delta MSME Summit are desirous to enable MSMEs achieve growth and address the persistent problems of unemployment, crimes and other vices in the oil-rich region.

“The beneficiaries of past editions, many of whom have received grants to grow their businesses, have been able to grow a huge business capital and create employment opportunities for other prospective MSMEs.

“At the inaugural edition of the summit held in 2021 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over 400 Niger Deltans benefited from the NIRSAL Intervention Loan for small business owners in the area of agriculture.

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“Also the NDYP gave out grants to innovative businesses,” he said.

Siasia said that there was a clear evidence that crude oil would not be the driver of economic growth in the future, hence, the need to focus on emerging areas with new opportunities and potentials like agriculture, renewable energy, information technology, and the knowledge-driven economy where MSMEs could thrive and provide enabling platforms for prosperity and sustainable development.

“This year’s event will feature product exhibitions, grants, main-stage keynotes, panel discussions, interactive master sessions, style breakout, business-to-business meetings, mentoring sessions, networking opportunities featuring outstanding line-up of successful entrepreneurs, innovators, strategists and business leaders from top brands.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion, titled: “Building the Culture of Entrepreneurship and Competitiveness Beyond Oil,” would be held on Aug. 12 in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom.

Participants, according to the organisers, are expected to be between the ages of 20 and 45 years.

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FRSC launches 2023 “Ember” months campaign in Abia, warns against overloading

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Abia Sector Command, has launched this year’s “Ember” months campaign against overloading and speed before and during the Yuletide.

In a speech at the event in Umuahia, the South-East Zonal Commander of the corps, RS9HQ, Mr Ocheja Ameh, said that the campaign would focus on encouraging road users to observe safety measures.

The theme of the campaign is “Speed thrills but kills: Drive responsibly and avoid overloading”.

Ameh said: “The focus of our campaign this year is against overloading, failure to install speed limiting device by commercial vehicles, dangerous driving, lane indiscipline and absence of wipers.

“Also, vehicles that are abusing the use of several lights in the night, other than the factory-fitted ones and use of phone, while driving, amongst others.

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“I want to assure you that this year’s campaign will be more vigorous than that of last year, because we want to start early for best results.”

He thanked the government and stakeholders for their support to FRSC programmes, adding that the corps was poised to intensify it’s campaign against violation of safety rules by road users.

The Acting Sector Commander, Mrs Bridget Asekhauno, said that the campaign was targeted at recording minimal road crashes, zero fatalities and free flow of traffic during the Yuletide and going forward.

Asekhauno said that in order to achieve its goal, the command had deployed personnel, operational vehicles and ambulances in all the strategic roads across the state as well as made provision for mobile courts.

She urged drivers to install speed limiting device, use safe tyres in their vehicles and avoid overloading their vehicles with humans and animals, amongst other infractions.

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She also said that the command would not hesitate to prosecute violators of any road safety rules and urged road users to cooperate with FRSC personnel deployed in various locations in the state.

In a speech, Gov. Alex Otti of Abia said that the FRSC core mandate of minimising road crashes and fatalities was in line with Abia Government’s agenda to achieve effective traffic management in the state.

The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Transport, Mr Sunny Onwuma, described road safety as a shared responsibility, which makes it important for all drivers to drive safely to save lives.

Otti urged road users to obey traffic rules and regulations to enable them to arrive at their different destinations, safely.

Earlier, the State Chairman, Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners, Mr Amobi Ohaeri, commended the corps for embarking on a campaign to encourage safe driving.

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Ohaeri said that the effort would greatly help to improve the orientation of road users, especially commercial drivers, in driving responsibly and appealed to FRSC to conduct regular enlightenment programmes, particularly in motor parks.

“This campaign should go beyond Ember months.

“Take it to churches, mosques, town hall meetings, because drivers belong to all these places and do consider starting a road safety club for drivers to further drive the message home,” he said.

Also, the State Coordinator of FRSC Special Marshal, Chief Jerry Onyemachi, commended FRSC and the security agencies for their collaborative effort toward keeping the roads safe.

Onyemachi called on the people of Abia to be law-abiding and adhere to the safety measures outlined by FRSC.

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Subsidy: You can’t embark on strike, FG to NLC, TUC

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The Federal Government, on Thursday, asked the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and the Trade Union Congress, TUC, to shelve their plan to embark on a nationwide indefinite strike action on October 3.

Government maintained that the proposed industrial action by the labour unions would amount to a gross violation of a subsisting court injunction.

It stressed that issues bordering on fuel subsidy removal, which informed the decision of the NLC and the TUC to declare the strike action, are already pending before the National Industrial Court, NIC.

According to FG, it was due to the willingness of the unions to enter into a negotiation over the issue that it was persuaded to withdraw a contempt proceeding that it initially instituted against them.

Therefore, the government, through the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), wrote to the head of the legal team of the two unions, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), urging him to persuade his clients to abort the planned strike action.

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The letter, dated September 26, read: “The attention of the Ministry has been drawn to media reports on the proposed nationwide strike action by the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, scheduled to commence on 3rd October 2023.

“You are kindly invited to recall the antecedence of previous steps/actions on this matter, particularly the exchange of correspondence between this office and your firm, before and after the nationwide ‘action/protest’ declared by the NLC on 2nd August 2023.

“Whilst your clients had maintained that the nationwide protest by NLC is in furtherance of its constitutional right to embark on protests, the Ministry has repeatedly advised on the need to advise your clients to refrain from resorting to self-help and taking actions capable of undermining subsisting orders of a court of competent jurisdiction.

“It is also to be recalled that based on the conduct of the said nationwide action/protest, this Office instituted contempt proceedings against the labour leaders.

“However, upon the intervention of the President and National Assembly, coupled with the decision of the labour unions to discontinue their action/protest, the contempt proceedings were not prosecuted further.

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“This was advisedly done to enable the government and labour union engage in further negotiations without any form of encumbrances.

“However, in its Communique issued at the end of its National Executive Council meeting on 31st August 2023, NLC resolved to embark on a total and indefinite shutdown of the nation within 14 working days or 21 days from 31st August 2023.

“Also on 26th September 2023, the Presidents of NLC and TUC, jointly issued a communiqué stating that organised labour had resolved, ‘to embark on an indefinite and total shutdown of the nation beginning on zero hours Tuesday, the 3rd day of October, 2023.’

“From a review of the contents of the above communiques and available media reports, the proposed strike action is premised principally in furtherance of issues connected with the removal of fuel subsidy, hike in fuel price and consequential matters of making provisions for palliatives and workers welfare.

“These are undoubtedly issues that have been submitted to the National Industrial Court for adjudication.

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“Therefore, the proposed strike action is in clear violation of the pending interim injunctive order granted on 5th June 2023 restraining both Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress from embarking on any industrial action/or strike of any nature, pending the hearing and determination of the pending Motion on Notice.

“We wish to reiterate that a court order, regardless of the opinion of any party on it, remains binding and enforceable until set aside.

“It is the expectation of the public that the labour unions would lead in obedience and observance of court orders and not in its breach.”

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chief of Staff to the President, National Security Adviser, Inspector-General of Police and the Director-General, State Security Services, DSS, were copied.

Recall that the labour unions had vowed to enforce an indefinite nationwide strike action from October 3, following Federal Government’s failure to address the economic hardship that Nigerians are currently facing owing to its unplanned removal of fuel subsidy.

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