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Extortion: COMTUA loses 10 members in 7 months – President

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Last Updated on July 26, 2023 by Fellow Press

The Council of Maritime Truck Unions and Associations (COMTUA) said it had lost 10 members in seven months to extortion and attacks along the port corridors.

Mr Adeyinka Aroyewun, the President of COMTUA, disclosed this during an interactive session with the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) on Wednesday in Lagos.

Aroyewun who pleaded with the Lagos State Government to ensure that the dead members get justice added that 20 members sustained various injuries during the period.

He urged government to evict hoodlums on the road as most of the destruction on members trucks were as a result attacks by the hoodlums.

Aroyewun noted that the association had made a lot of submissions on the issue with over 50 letters appealing to the government to weed these vandals off the road.

According to him, the level of damage on their trucks cannot be estimated because presently, they still vandalise trucks given that extortion points and places where the vandalism takes place have not been removed by government.

“We heard on the news and saw when the Nigerian Ports Authority in conjunction with the Lagos State Government claimed they had removed shanties in the guise of removing hoodlums and extortionists on the way.

“They concluded this on July 23, but as at today July 26, everything that they did had returned back, so we cannot estimate how much we have lost to vandalisation of our trucks.

“We can only say that we have lost 10 of our members to the cold hands of death this year and lot of our members numbering 20 had been seriously injured by these hoodlums,” he said.

On the crisis rocking the association, Aroyewun said that the association had not been dissolved as being speculated.

“New members are coming in, so if some people feel that they don’t need to remain in the collaboration, some who see reasons to remain are there.

“We are reviewing our Memorandum of Understanding from time to time and so it’s not about the dissolving of COMTUA, the council has not been dissolved.

“To improve on this, we are forming new alliance with the Lagos State government, so there is freedom of association for everyone,” he said.

He added that the reason why the collaboration with COMTUA was created was not limited to traffic gridlock but for welfare of members and other unfolding issues in the industry.

“The word that it appears that the idea behind COMTUA is defeated is not correct, as it stands now, we are still faced with the difficulties of getting to the port at the appropriate time, it is still congested.

“The extortion that is still taking place online which is the electronic call-ups at the Truck Transit Park regime is still there.

“However, the beneficiaries of this failed policy are the ones we are seeing opting out of COMTUA. As much as some people are opting out of COMTUA, other members are coming in,” he said.

Metro

Gunmen kidnap another Catholic priest in Anambra

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Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Fellow Press

Anambra State based Catholic priest, Reverend Father Christian Ike, has been abducted by assailants.

The clergyman was reportedly taken away by the assailants on Sunday, along Amagu junction, Ndiokpaleke, in Ajali community in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State.

An eyewitness in the area, who narrated the incident our correspondents, said the priest was returning alongside two other persons from an early morning Mass at St. Michael Catholic Church when the assailants double-crossed his vehicle.

The source said unknown gunmen kidnapped the priest and took some personal belongings in the vehicle, but the reason for the incident has yet to be ascertained.

The eyewitness said, “The priest and two other persons were returning from St. Micheal Catholic Church, where they attended morning service.

“On getting to Amagu Junction, their vehicle was double-crossed by armed men operating in three vehicles, while the other two other persons escaped the scene, the criminals took away the priest and some personal belongings of the occupants in the vehicle.”

Confirming the incident, the Anambra State police spokesman, SP Tochukwu Ikenga, said the command had deployed its intelligence and operational assets for the priest’s possible rescue unhurt.

He added that further development will be communicated as it unfolds.

Ikenga said, “Anambra State Police Command received the information of the abduction of Rev Father Christian Ike and has deployed its intelligence and operational assets of the Command for possible rescue unhurt.

“Eyewitness account revealed by 10:30 am on 16/6/2024, the priest and two others were returning from St. Micheal Catholic Church Ndiokpaleke where they attended morning service, along Amagu Junction, they were double-crossed by armed men operating in three vehicles, while the other two escaped the scene, the criminals took away the priest and some personal belongings of the occupants in the vehicle.

“To this end, the Command has activated its intelligence and operational assets for possible arrest of the assailants and rescue unhurt of the priest.”

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Minimum wage: Archbishop urges compromise

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Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Fellow Press

Archbishop Joseph Ojo, General Overseer of the Calvary Kingdom Church, Okokomaiko, Lagos State, on Saturday urged labour leaders and the Federal Government to reach a compromise as regards a new minimum wage.

Ojo made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.

The archbishop described wage negotiation as a social contract that should be approached with empathy by parties.

According to him compromise is needed in the matter to save the country from anxiety.

“They should consider the fact that the unemployed are much more than the few that are in government employment.

“The federal, states and local governments only employed some workers.

“Others are in firms owned and operated by individuals that might not be able to pay higher wage.

“The higher they push it, the higher the inability of the unemployed to survive, because firms, which struggle to pay staff, may not talk of hiring new ones,” he said.

The cleric said that lack of employment might result in increase in crimes.

“There are private sector employers, who cannot cope with what the federal or states will offer,” he added.

The cleric said that high wage bill might compel private schools to increase school bills to meet up with overhead costs.

“Some parents will not meet up, and their children would be forced to drop out of school,” he said.

He also advised governments to consider subsisting social-economic variables, such as cost of food items, transport and medical bills, and offer a sustainable minimum wage.

“The parties ought to put all these into consideration to achieve progress in their negotiation,” the cleric said.

NAN reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress are now demanding N250, 000 as a new minimum wage.

The Federal Government has offered to pay N62,000.

Negotiations are ongoing.

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