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UNGA 78: First Lady, governors’ wives move to address “Japa” syndrome

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Oluremi Tinubu

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Fellow Press

Mrs Oluremi Tinubu, the First Lady of Nigeria, has called on the diasporas to contribute their quota to the “Renewed Hope Agenda” of President Bola Tinubu’s administration.

She also called on Nigerian youths to have hope in the efforts of the current administration to deliver on the dividends of democracy and provide for their basic needs.

According to the UN, in 2022, 26,400 Nigerian citizens requested asylum abroad while 27,000 Nigerian citizens were recongnised as refuges and granted protection in 2022.

Mrs Tinubu made the call on Monday at the New York 2023 Nigeria Economic Growth and Trade Summit with the theme“ Stemming Migration Flows by Providing Basic Needs’’ at Nigeria House in New York.

The UN correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports the summit was organised by the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum on the sidelines of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) .

The first lady said while migration could offer new opportunities and experiences, it also presented risks and challenges that could manifest in brain drain.

“The brain drain phenomenon where highly skilled individuals leave their home country for supposedly better prospects abroad, is a concern for many African nations, depriving them of their expertise and talents needed for sustainable growth.

“In our various communities, we must work towards creating conditions and providing basic needs that allow people to thrive by providing access to qualitative education, an enabling environment for job creation.

“And the development of local industries that will create viable economic opportunities.

“We must revamp our healthcare sector to ensure basic health care services are accessible to all.

“Improve health care conditions and stronger social support system that discourage migration driven by health concerns.

“Also, combating food security by investing in sustainable agricultural programs, especially in rural areas, can reduce the pressure of rural urban migration.

“I can’t over emphasise the need for conflict resolution and promotion of peace and stability in regions prone to violence,’’ she said.

Tinubu, however, commended the first ladies for their initiatives, noting that complementing the efforts of their husbands would enhance economic empowerment in their respective states.

She said by fostering collaboration and unity amongst themselves, they had been able to achieve a lot more by learning from one another.

“The Renewed Hope Initiative is an initiative that we just started, aimed at creating a better life for families.

“Our scope covers agriculture, education, economic empowerment, health and social investment, focusing on women and the youth, who are the bedrock of the society.

“As youths account for 70 per cent of our population and women represent 49.6 per cent of the population.

“I believe that schemes which focus on empowering this demographic, coupled with an enabling environment, will gradually begin to reverse the negative trend of migration.’’

She told the wives of the governors that as first ladies, their roles as leaders, were critical to driving sustainable change within their communities.

“You must work together with government agencies to complement and support the establishment of laws that protect human rights and provide equal opportunities.

“Policy reforms that encourage skilled individuals to return home after obtaining educational experience abroad, can help reverse the dream.

“We must continue to acknowledge the good work of international agencies, well-meaning individuals in the diaspora and in the private sector, are doing in our nation.

“Through fora like this, we can encourage diaspora engagement, establish avenues for Nigerians living abroad to contribute to the country’s development.

“Through investment, knowledge sharing, and collaborations which can help mitigate the negative effects of brain drain.’’

The first lady urged Nigerians to foster a positive narrative, celebrate their cultural heritage, national achievements and promote a sense of pride in Nigeria.

According to her, Nigeria is on the brink of a major economic recovery of buoyancy.

She charged Nigerian youths to learn the virtues of patience and resilience as everyone continued to work as a collective to help build a greater and better Nigeria.

Also speaking, Nigeria governors’ wives forum Chairperson, Mrs Olufolake AbdulRazaq, the wife of Kwara State Governor, called for support to provide basic needs for the citizens to stem migration flows.

AbdulRazaq expressed hope that the deliberations and outcome of the summit would further stronger partnerships and credible responses with lasting effects that would assuage the emigration concerns as well as aid shared prosperity.

“ We hope everyone will support the forum in all her programmes for New York in 2024 as we look forward to participating in Women’s ’ month in March 2024 and UNGA.

“ We hope to deepen all engagements formed in realising our common goods to the benefit of our country and the glory of God,’’ she said.

NAN reports that no fewer than 12 wives of the governors were at the event.

They included the first ladies of Oyo State, Mrs Tamunominini Makinde; Ogun, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun; Imo, Mrs Chioma Uzodimma; and Gombe, Hajiya Asma’u Yahaya.

Also in attendance were the first Ladies of Lagos State, Mrs Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu; Borno, Mrs Falmata Zulum and Kogi, Hajiya Rashidat Yahaya Bello.

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Nigeria marks 25 years of democracy with special parade

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Last Updated on June 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

As part of activities to mark the 2024 Democracy Day, the Guards Brigade Nigerian Army on Wednesday led the Nigerian Armed Forces and Nigeria Police in a special parade.

Nigeria is also celebrating 25 years of unbroken democracy.

The theme for the Democracy Day Celebration is “25 Years of Enduring Democracy: Prospects for the Future”.

The parade was mounted by the personnel of the Armed Forces of Nigeria and the Police who displayed a colourful parade.

President Bola Tinubu, who is the reviewing officer for the parade mounted the special military parade vehicle with his Aide de Camp to inspect the parade at about 10.15 am.

Afterward, the troops began the match past, first to salute the dignitaries and seek permission to commence the quick match past.

This was followed by the silent drill display by the Guards Brigade, mass bang and cultural troupes display and other important activities

President Tinubu and his wife, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu arrived the venue at exactly at 10.00 am heralding the commencement of the programme.

The President of the Senate and Speaker, House of Representatives, Godswill Akpabio and Tajudeen Abbas as well as the Chief Justice of Nigerian and Secretary to the Government of the Federation arrived earlier.

Also present were Ministers, state governors, lawmakers and security chiefs.

Earlier in a nationwide broadcast, President Tinubu praised the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993, presidential election, Chief Moshood Abiola and other heroes of democracy, including General Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and Pa Alfred Rewane, among others.

In his Democracy Day broadcast on Wednesday, the President also celebrated other heroes including Chief Anthony Enahoro, Chief Abraham Adesanya, Commodore Dan Suleiman, Chief Arthur Nwankwo, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, Admiral Ndubuisi Kanu, Chief Frank Kokori, and Chief Bola Ige, and other eminent Nigerians who made great sacrifices for the restoration of democracy in the country.

The President urged Nigerians to beware of elements who might want to undermine the current democratic dispensation.

He acknowledged the economic hardships in the country and expressed his commitment to supporting the citizens.

He said, “On this day, 31 years ago, we entered our rites of passage to becoming a true and enduring democratic society.

“Going through this passage was hard and dangerous. During the fateful six years that followed, we fought and struggled for our natural rights as human beings put on this earth by the divine hand of our Creator.

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Minumum Wage: Govs should resign if they can’t pay, says Labour

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Last Updated on June 9, 2024 by Fellow Press

Organised Labour on Saturday tackled the state governors, accusing them of acting in bad faith towards the new minimum wage negotiations ongoing in the country.

Recall that the governors under the aegis of the Nigeria Governors Forum rejected the proposed N60,000 minimum wage for Nigerian workers.

In a statement issued on Friday by the Director of Media and Public Affairs for NGF, Halimah Ahmed, the governors said the proposed minimum wage was too high and not sustainable.

The governors said if the N60,000 minimum wage is adopted, many states would allocate their entire Federal Account Allocation Committee funds to salaries, leaving no resources for development projects.

However reacting on Saturday, the Organised Labour faulted the NGF’s position, saying every part of the new minimum wage agreement should be implemented and any of the state governors who can’t pay it should resign.

According to Punch, the Deputy National President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, said, “There is no minimum wage. Every segment of it should be implemented. For the governors, we have said it very clearly. If you cannot pay minimum wage, please resign because you were voted for governance not for only infrastructure.”

“If you build the entire infrastructure and the people are not living to use it, who will use it? When they were campaigning did they tell us that? They didn’t tell us that. They make use of the poor to get to the top and when they get there, they start thinking outside the box. All the money they spent in electioneering campaigns, if they applied that to build infrastructure, to develop the revenue generation that would have solved some socio-economic challenges in their domain,” Etim said.

Describing the NGF statement as a recipe for industrial unrest, he said, “In this same country, the governors said that N30,000 was too much for governors to pay but it is in the same country that a governor emerged with over N80bn. What an irony! We cannot jump processes. We will also look at it together. Labour will be meeting. We are giving Mr President the benefit of the doubt to work the talk. The end will justify the means.”

Also reacting in a statement signed by its Head of Public Affairs, Benson Upah, the Nigerian Labour Congress said, “We do believe the Governors have acted in bad faith. It is unheard of for such a statement to be issued to the world in the middle of an on-going negotiation. It is certainly in bad taste.

“As for the veracity of their claim, nothing can be further from the truth as FAAC allocations have since moved from N700bn to N1.2tn, making the governments extremely rich at the expense of the people.

“All that the governors need to do to be able to pay a reasonable national minimum wage (not even the N60,000) is cut on the high cost of governance, minimise corruption as well as prioritise the welfare of workers.”

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