​Repatriation: Cameroon hands over 5,000 Nigerian refugees to Borno Governor  

…Returnees being allocated new homes, food, cash  

Cameroonian officials, led by Minister for Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji have repatriated and handed over first batch of 5,000 Nigerian refugees  to Borno State Governor, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum. 
The hand over took place on Monday, at a brief ceremony in Amchiide, a border community between Nigeria and Cameroon, close to Banki in Bama local government area of Borno central.  

The returnees were part of thousands of Nigerians, mostly from Borno, who since 2014, fled in batches to Minawao camp located in Mokolo, far north region of Cameroon, to escape Boko Haram’s killings. Many Nigerians in uncertain numbers, some accounts saying more than 60,000, fled to the camp from parts of Borno and Adamawa but over the years, the number came down following isolated returns.  

The handover ceremony was attended by top officials from Cameroon, including Governor of the Far North Region, Midjiyawa Bakary and officials of United Nations High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR.  

Cameroonian Minister for Territorial Administration, Paul Atanga Nji Paul announced that President Paul Biya had approved a big relief package which included food items, mattresses, blankets and other non food items for distribution to all 5,000 returnees as support.  
The Minister commended Governor Zulum for constructing homes were the refugees were to be resettled.  
Governor Zulum had approved funds and supervised the ongoing construction of over 6,000 urban and low-cost resettlement houses sited in Banki, Gwoza, Kondugu, Kaga and different others, with substantial number already completed. Majority of them are used for resettlement of refugees and internally displaced persons.  
Zulum, on behalf of Nigeria, thanked Cameroonian President, other officials and host communities, for taking good care of Nigerian refugees in the last six years. The governor appreciated the donation made by President Biya.  
“I wish to sincerely convey our deepest appreciation to the government of Cameroon under the distinguished leadership of President Paul Biya, for the enormous support to my fellow Nigerians who took refuge in the Minawao [refugee] camp. We remain eternally grateful” Zulum said.   
The repatriation was to implement the outcome of a tripartite commission meeting held in Marwa, Cameroon, February 10, 2021, which was attended by officials from Cameroon, the UNHCR and a Nigerian delegation that comprised Governor Zulum and top officials from federal ministries of foreign affairs, humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development, the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs as well as Zulum’s special adviser on monitoring and evaluation, who chairs a technical committee on the repatriation, Engr. Lawan Abba Wakilbe. 
… Zulum distributes food, cash to returnees  
After receiving the refugees, Governor Zulum in Banki town, flagged-off presentation of food and non food  items to the 5,000 Nigerian. 
Male heads of families were each given N30,000 while each woman was given N10,000 and a fabric. 
The governor showed his sympathy for how they lived as refugees, promising that government was committed to their security, welfare and the creation of enabling environment for them to return to normal life.  
Commissioners for Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Engr. Mustapha Gubio, Local Government and Emirate Affairs, Sugun Mai Mele, and Former Commissioner of Housing and Energy, Babagana Tijjani Banki were part of Zulum’s delegation.

Niger Gov Flag-Off Covid-19 Vaccination, Gets Vaccinated

Niegr State Governor Abubakar Sani Bello has flagged-off COVID-19 vaccination in the State as he received the Oxford Astrazenece COVID-19 vaccine. 

The vaccine was administered on the Governor by his physician, Dr Shehu Ahmed at the Government House, Minna. 

The Governor was vaccinated alongside members of the state executive council during the official flagg-off  of the vaccination,at the Government House, Minna  Niger state capital. 

He said it is necessary to get vaccinated even though some concerns has been raised by some persons in the public, adding the state government was doing everything possible to fight COVID19 pandemic. 

“We all need it, once it is done, we will be able to convince Nigerlites that it is safe”, he said. 

The Governor directed that any council member that refuses to get vaccinated should be barred from council meetings subsequently. 

He applauded the State Primary Healthcare for standing up to the occasion especially in the fight against the deadly virus. 

Earlier, Commissioner for Health and Hospital Services, Dr. Muhammad Makusidi said that the state received 74, 110 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, estimated for one per cent of the state population. 

Makusidi explained that the vaccine was safe and efficacious as it had gone through scientific and clinical trials. 
He said that those in the frontline could be the priority while calling on the public to get vaccinated and shun fake news about the vaccine and the virus. 
The commissioner said that 10, 613 have been tested for COVID-19 in the state with over 900 positive cases reported,while only one person is on admission at present. 
The Governor, Abubakar Sani Bello, took the first shot followed by his Deputy Ahmed Mohammed Ketso and other Executive Council Members. 

​Workers protest in Edo over plan to place wages on concurrent list

Organized labour in Edo state led the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), yesterday in Benin Cityjoined their counterparts across the country to protest against bill seeking to remove the National Minimum Wage from the Exclusive Legislative List to the Concurrent Legislative List.

The workers marched through the popular Oba Ovonmramwen Square to the Edo State House of Assembly where they submitted their grievances to the Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, Hon. Marcus Onobun.

At the house of assembly, the workers were received by the Clerk of the House, Mr Audu Omogbai on behalf of the Speaker who was said to have been out of the state for official engagements.

Presenting the union’s demands to the Speaker, chairman of NLC in Edo State, Comrade Sunny Osayande said moving the minimum wage from its current list to the proposed Concurrent Legislative List will be tantamount to negation of the efforts of the “Nigerian working class in the past forty years to free itself from the cruel manacles of slave wages, savagery working conditions and the slave drivers.”

He noted that the National Minimum Wage is a global standard adopted by the International Labour Organizations (ILO) and that Nigeria being a member of the ILO, it will be wrong to implement such law.

He said “The National Minimum Wage is the benchmark minimum below which no employer of labour can pay an employee in any given national jurisdiction. It is a global standard. It was adopted as an International Labour Standard by the International Labour Standard by the International Labour Organization (ILO) as Minimum Wage Fixing Machinery Convention 026 of 1928.

“Each member state of the ILO that adopts this convention undertakes to establish a system of minimum wage which covers all the sectors of the economy including the organized private sector in which wages are to be paid hourly, daily or monthly as the case may be,” he said.

He said removing the minimum wage from the exclusive list is “A license for state governors to drag the country back to the era of ridiculous slave wages which in the past had participated in a multifarious industrial crisis in different parts of the country.

“The exponential creation and expansion of a community of the working poor with all the attendant consequences for socio-economic cohesion, stability and progress,” he said.

CAN Confers Award Of “Friend Of The Church” On Kogi State Gov.

The Christian Association of Nigeria has conferred an award on Kogi State Governor as a “Friend of the Church” in recognition of his stand on equity and fair treatment meted on Christians in the state and his friendliness to the religion.

The Award was presented to the Governor by the CAN National President, Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle during the official dedication of the Government House chapel after 28 years of the existence of the State Government House.

The CAN president thanked the Governor for his step to bring justice and inclusiveness adding that it was only leaders who have the spirit of God that could take the bold step to build a house for God.

Rev. Ayokunle urged the Federal and other State governments to emulate the Kogi State Governor’s approach in ensuring fairness and balance in the affairs of governance between every religious sect in the state, alluding that such steps have guaranteed peace in the state and for his government.

He said “In the atmosphere of justice and mutual respect prosperity would be guaranteed and the country bring a plural nation, it is our duty that while practicing democracy we apply apply native sense taking into cognizance our plurality”.

Governor Bello represented by His Deputy, Edward Onoja in his address noted that he could not understand the dynamics behind why previous administration refused to build a befitting worship center for the Christians within the premises of the Government House noting that because of the plural nature of the state such action was wrong.

He noted that it was quiet surprising that those who belonged to a much more enlightened generation have decided to politicize issues of religion as such parochial thinking was antithetical to the stride of any generation or society to make any progress.

Governor Bello noted that when he took office, he saw the absence of a worship center for Christians as an error which his administration deliberately decided to correct hence the dedication of the Chapel was quiet significant for his administration.

He added that the significance of the Chapel being dedicated would surpass its size with such compelling messages of the binding responsibility of equity on leaders, equity, fairness and justice as the bedrock of an egalitarian society, inclusivity and equal access to governance are the inevitable rights of every citizens and that affirmative action is for every section of the populace, as leadership must always take the step to balance the scales.

The Governor asserted that his government had taken such affirmative action beyond just religion but in other aspect of the society pertinent of which was governance and the inclusion of women in governance as made evident in its administration’s appointive and elective positions.

Governor Bello lauded the CAN President for being a veritable source of encouragement as he understood just like himself that the very soul of the nation was a stake whenever inequity and inequality was allowed to thrive reiterating that he was opened to counsel from the Christian leader at all times.