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NiMET to begin strike on Monday due to unpaid arrears

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Aviation unions, including the National Union of Air Transport Employee Association of Nigeria, the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations and Technical and Recreational Employees, have instructed Nigeria Meteorology Agency staff to begin strike action on Monday, May 20, 2024.

This was disclosed in a letter dated 14 May 2024, obtained by our correspondent on Wednesday.

The strike stems from management’s failure to address 45 months of minimum wage arrears and consequential adjustments for staff members.

The union, represented by the three General Secretaries: Ocheme Aba, Abdulrasaq Seidu, and Waheed Sikiru, wrote a letter addressed to NiMET’s Director General, Prof Charles Anoske, with the subject line ‘Re: Failure to Pay 45-Month Arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment—14 days ultimatum.’

The ultimatum had been issued, and management responded with what seemed like a compromise: paying off the 45 months of arrears in installments.

They also expressed their dismay that the agency’s staff has been awaiting the palliative payments sanctioned by the Federal Government since October 2023. Furthermore, they highlighted that the 25-35 per cent salary increase has not been implemented for them, alongside NiMET’s exclusion from receiving Peculiar Allowances.

“Furthermore, our Unions through a joint letter dated 4, April 2024, did request for review of the outdated conditions of service. To date the management has deemed our Unions unfit for any response,” it read.

The letter further reads, “The above catalogue of woes, and others unmentioned confirm that NiMET Staff have been consigned to the lin bin of abject poverty – worse than any existing aviation establishment. In our considered view, it is inhuman on the part of management to be forborne with these conditions and irresponsible on the part of unions to tolerate this situation for this long.

“Therefore, this letter serves as notice to the management of NiMET that the staff members of the agency are, by a copy of this letter, directed to withdraw all services with effect from Monday, May 20, 2024, unless and until the outstanding 42 months arrears of consequential adjustment is fully liquidated.

“NIMET Salary structure is adapted to an appropriate Federal Government approved structure and all accruable payments liquidated, Management commences review of the outdated CoS with our Unions with a definite timeline for delivery and actualisation.”

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Empty streets, markets as residents comply with IPOB’s sit-at-home order in south-east

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Streets in some parts of the south-east have been deserted.

There is no vehicular movement in vast swathes of the geopolitical region as residents comply with the sit-at-home order issued by the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

In certain neighbourhoods, you could hear a pin drop in the distance.

Traders have also not opened for business due to fear of attacks by the sit-at-home enforcers.

Last week, IPOB declared May 30 as a sit-at-home in the south-east to honour “our heroes and heroines” who died in the civil war between 1967 and 1970.

“Annually, 30th of May is solemn memorial day for Biafrans. To honor our heroes and heroines. Biafrans are asked to observe this one (1) day sit-at-home in reverence to the spirits of our departed heroes who fought for us to be alive today,” Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesperson, said in a statement.

“Every Biafran in Biafra territory is expected to sit-at-home on this day and reflect on the danger of the forced unity called Nigeria that have taken millions of lives of Biafrans.

“To that effect, IPOB directs all schools, government offices, Private offices, Banks, transport unions, market unions and private individuals to shut down all operations in honor of our our heroes and heroines on Thursday, May 30, 2024.

“IPOB directs all the residents of Biafra Land to stay indoors from 6am to 6pm on the 30th of May 2024. IPOB warns residents in Biafra to avoid loitering about on this day.

“Those who intend to travel to and fro Biafra land must do so before the evening of May 29th.”

The group is known for forceful and violent enforcement of its sit-at-home directives.

SKELETAL MOVEMENT IN EBONYI

Residents and traders in some south-east states, including Imo and Ebonyi, told TheCable on Thursday morning that there is no vehicular movement and that the streets are empty, with people remaining indoors for fear of being attacked.

A community leader in Ikwo, the largest LGA in Ebonyi, told TheCable that there was panic buying on Wednesday as people planned not to go out today.

“As I can see, the traffic is not as usual, only few and skeletal movement is happening within,” the community leader who craved anonymity said.

“There is a lot of panic such that some of the occasions that were scheduled today were postponed. Today was to be the local government delegate and councillorship primaries, but to that effect it was postponed for 31st.

“The reason I believe is not that the state government is afraid but then, to avoid casualties. You wouldn’t know when an untoward event can occur and some people will be affected.

“Of course, some shops are closed, some busy areas are not as it usually was. That is how my own area is.

“I haven’t seen any student move around. A lot of people that were meant to come from outside south-east — for fear of being attacked, had to leave yesterday.”

EMPTY STREETS, MARKETS IN IMO

A trader in Owerri who wished not to be named, expressed support for the sit-at-home order.

“I like what is happening today. Biafrans are marking their day. You can see no market today, no vehicular movement. It is like that in all Biafran states. We want Biafra to come and it will surely come,” the trader said.

“Nigerian government is suffering us. We are hungry and poor now. The president should change his style of leadership. People are dying of hunger and the government is not doing anything to alleviate our suffering.”

‘DISREGARD IPOB SIT-AT-HOME ORDER’

Meanwhile, police commands in the various south-east states have asked residents to ignore the sit-at-home order and go about their normal businesses.

Henry Okoye, the police spokesperson in Imo, said the order was “unlawful”.

Okoye said Aboki Danjuma, the commissioner of police in Imo, has strategically deployed security operatives to all nooks and crannies to ensure public safety.

Similarly, the Anambra police advised residents to shun the sit-at-home order.

“The Anambra State Police Command has become cognizant of the activities of criminal elements disseminating, threatening voice-overs and violent videos in an attempt to enforce illegal sit-at-home directives and instill fear among the residents of Anambra,” Tochukwu Ikenga, police public relations officer in Anambra, said in a statement.

“It is imperative to inform the public that actionable intelligence indicates that these individuals, in their bid to enforce the unlawful sit-at-home order, fabricate threatening voice-over recordings and circulate outdated videos of violent incidents, some of which did not occur within the state or even the country.

“The Command is fully aware of these secessionist activities and urges the law-abiding citizens of Anambra to disregard such propaganda.

“Rest assured, the Police, along with other security agencies, have mobilized law enforcement resources to ensure the safety and security of every citizen in the state.”

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Chioma Okoli suffers miscarriage amid legal battle with Erisco brand, remanded in prison

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Chioma Okoli has reportedly suffered a miscarriage amid the legal battle with Erisco Foods Limited.

On September 17, 2023, Okoli made a post on Facebook stating that she tasted Nagiko Tomato Mix — one of the tomato paste variants of the firm — and found it sugary.

Reacting in a statement, Erisco Foods Limited described the claim as untrue and unfounded.

Okoli was later arrested by the police following a petition by Eric Umeofia, president and CEO of the company. Both parties have been in court since.

In a post on X, Inibehe Effiong, Okoli’s lawyer, said his client suffered a miscarriage, adding that he made the disclosure to the court during proceedings on Tuesday.

“Prior to yesterday, we decided to keep this information private and to only disclose it in the court,” the post reads.

“I am only stating this here due to the fact that the Court is already aware of it and many people are asking for confirmation.

“The evidence of the miscarriage is before the Court, is not for the media.”

Effiong also said Okoli has been remanded in prison pending the ruling on her bail application.

“I can also confirm that she was arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday on a two count-charge of alleged “cyberstalking” to which she pleaded not guilty,” the post reads.

“Chioma was remanded in Suleja Custodial Centre (Suleja prison) pending ruling on her bail application fixed for Friday, May 31, 2024.”

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Sanwo-Olu appoints Egube as deputy chief of staff after Soyannwo’s death

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Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, has appointed Samuel Egube as the new deputy chief of staff.

Gboyega Akosile, chief press secretary to the governor, announced the appointment on Wednesday on his X page.

Akosile said Egube would replace the late Gboyega Soyannwo, the former deputy chief of staff, who died on May 15 after a brief illness at the age of 55.

He added that Egube would be sworn in on Thursday.

Egube was the former commissioner for economic planning and budget in the first term of Sanwo-Olu’s administration.

Egube, who was born on March 5, 1969, is a fellow of the Institute of Credit Administration (FCIA), a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management (AMNIN), a member of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), and an honorary senior member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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