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Ban on sachet alcoholic drinks: NLC, TUC call for suspension of NAFDAC DG



The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have called for the suspension of the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, over the recent ban on sachet alcoholic drinks, accusing her of colluding with multi-national companies to kill local companies involved in alcohol production in Nigeria.

The two labour unions, who made the call while protesting the ban on sachet alcoholic drinks by NAFDAC, described the move as an anti-people policy, which it is targeted at killing local manufacturing companies in the Nigeria.

Leading another protest in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, the Chairman of Ogun State chapter of TUC, Akeem Lasisi and his counterpart at NLC, Hammed Ademola Benco noted that the policy would further worsen the economic hardship currently being experienced by Nigerians.

Members of the Food Beverages and Tobacco Senior Staff Association (FOBTOB) and the National Union of Food Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBE) also participated in the protest.

The protesters who chanted anti-government songs stormed the Ogun State House of Assembly in Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, armed with placards with various inscriptions such as: “Sachet alcohol is not Nigeria’s problem”, “Our industries must not die of wicked policies MAN save our industries”, “NAFDAC don’t take away our work” and “Don’t create another problem, don’t make us jobless in this biting economy”, among others.

It would be recalled that the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) recently banned the production, distribution and sales of alcoholic beverage in sachets, PET and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

Enforcing the ban, NAFDAC shutdown some production factories for not complying its directive.

This has generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions across the country.

Lasisi, while addressing the Speaker of the Assembly, Hon. Oludaisi Elemide lamented that the ban would force over 500,000 workers out of job, while over N800 billion investment in the industry would be lost.

He said, “we believe this policy is anti-people, it is not welcomed by Nigerians. Drinking of alcohol is a choice, you either take it or leave it and large quantity of sales in this industry comes from the sales of sachet alcohol.

“This ban will affect Nigerians seriously, especially the Nigerian workers. We have over 500,000 direct employees in these companies, we have over 2 million indirect employees in these companies, the direct employees will fall back into the labour market, the indirect employees will become unemployed.

“Even the Ogun State government will be affected by the ban because these companies pay billions of naira into the government account as taxes, the internally generated revenue of Ogun State will drop.

“With this ban, over N800 billion investment in these companies will go down the drain. The packaging material industries who are supplying materials to these alcoholic producing companies will also fold up.

“What we are saying is that this policy is anti-people, the Director General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye should be suspended because we believe that has colluded with multinational companies to destroy the indigenous and local industries. We will not accept this.

“Adeyeye must go. She has colluded with multinational companies to destroy the local economy. The arguments of NAFDAC to ban the production of sachet alcoholic drinks are baseless.”

On his part, the NLC Chairman called on State Houses of Assembly to prevail on NAFDAC to lift the ban so as to save the manufacturing sector.

The Speaker while responding to the protesters promised that the Assembly would intervene and plead with the Federal government to reconsider the ban.

“We are in a very critical moment in this country, though the ban is a federal government decision, but we will let them know what and what pleases us”, the Speaker said.

The protesters later matched to the palace of the Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, where representatives of the labour unions met with the monarch behind closed-doors.

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Electricity Tariff: Speaker Abbas Says Increase Must Be Fair, Equitable, Beneficial To Citizens



By Gloria Ikibah 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, has said that any adjustments made in the electricity tariffs must be fair, equitable and beneficial to all the stakeholders. 
The Speaker stated this at a special public hearing on the increase in electricity tarrifs organized by the joint House committees on power, commerce, national planning and delegated legislation on Tuesday in Abuja. recalled that the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) recently increased electricity tariff, a development which sparked great displeasure and attracted strong opposition from different groups across the country.
Speaker Abbas who was represented by the deputy speaker, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, said the public hearing was to ultimately examine all issues of concern with a view to proffering solutions. 
He said: “The fears expressed by many are valid – that such a sharp increase in electricity tariffs will only exacerbate the economic hardships already faced by our people. There are genuine concerns that higher utility bills resulting from this tariff hike could have a ripple effect on operational costs for businesses, potentially leading to increased prices for goods and services
“Electricity as we know, is not just a commodity; it is a lifeline for many households and businesses across our nation. Any significant rise in tariff could have far-reaching consequences for our economy and the livelihoods of our people. Therefore, it is essential that we carefully assess all factors before making any decisions that may affect the affordability and accessibility of electricity for our citizens. It is imperative that we engage in constructive dialogue to address these issues and ensure that any adjustments made are fair, transparent, and ultimately beneficial to all parties involved.
“It is in the light of the foregoing that the House convened this public hearing. As representatives of the Nigerian people, it is our duty to carefully consider the implications of such policies on our constituents’well-being and livelihoods. 
“Our goal is to ensure that any adjustments made to electricity tariffs are fair, equitable, and ultimately beneficial to all stakeholders involved.
“We must strive to strike a balance that safeguards the interests of consumers while also enabling sustainable growth and development within the energy sector.”
He assured that the House will continue to work with the executive arm of government, even as he urged the stakeholders to make valuable submissions that will help the parliament make an informed decision on the issue. 
“I urge all stakeholders present here today to engage in constructive dialogue and provide valuable insights that will guide us in finding a balanced solution to this pressing issue. Let us work together towards ensuring that electricity remains affordable for all Nigerians while also aupporting the growth and stability of our energy sector. Let us use this public hearing as an opportunity to listen to all stakeholders,understand their perspectives, and work towards finding a sustainable and equitable resolution to this pressing issue. 
“I want to emphasize our commitment to working closely with the executive to transform the Nigerian power sector into a model of efficiency and sustainability as outlined in our Legislative Agenda. We are dedicated to providing legislative support to the efforts of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s Administration in reforming the power sector by addressing all legal and legislative impediments accordingly”, he added. 
Speaker Abbas however expressed displeasure at the failure of the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to honour the invitation of the committees to make their respective presentations. 
He urged them to submit their memoranda to the secretariat of the committees, saying that positive results can only be made when all the stakeholders come into a partnership.
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Democracy Day: Senator Dafinone Felicitates Tinubu, Deltans, Nigerians, Calls For Unity



By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

The Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial District, Senator Ede Dafinone has called on Nigerians to take time out as the country marks 25 years of unbroken democratic rule to remember sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy.

The renowned accountant, now a lawmaker while congratulating President Bola Tinubu, the people of Delta Central and Nigerians in a signed statement, noted that Nigeria’s 25 years of unbroken democratic rule is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

The Delta Central lawmaker also called on Nigerians to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another and to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy, and to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society.

Senator Dafinone’s media release titled: “Celebrating 25 Years of Unbroken Democratic Rule in Nigeria,” reads.

“I extend my heartfelt congratulations to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and to all Nigerians as our beloved country commemorate 25 years of unbroken democratic rule. This significant milestone is a testament to the resilience, dedication, and unwavering commitment of the Nigerian people to the principles of democracy and freedom.

“As we celebrate this historic day, let us remember the sacrifices of those who fought valiantly for the democracy we now enjoy. June 12th is not just a date; it symbolizes our collective struggle for justice, equity, and the rule of law. It is a reminder of the power of the people’s voice and the strength of our democratic institutions.

“I urge every Nigerian to embrace unity, love, and respect for one another. In our diversity lies our strength, and it is only through mutual understanding and cooperation that we can achieve the greatness we aspire to as a nation. Let us set aside our differences and work together towards a common goal: a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Nigeria.

“Furthermore, I call on all citizens to deepen their engagement in participatory democracy. It is our collective responsibility to guard against antidemocratic tendencies and ensure that our democratic values and culture are firmly entrenched at all levels of society. Let us hold our leaders accountable, participate actively in the democratic process, and foster an environment where every Nigerian feel valued and heard.

“As we celebrate this momentous occasion, let us renew our commitment to building a Nigeria where democracy thrives, where every citizen enjoys their fundamental rights, and where the future is bright for generations to come.

“Once again, congratulations to President Bola Tinubu, the Urhobo Nation and to all Nigerians. Together, let us continue to strive for a more united and democratic nation.

“God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Senegal Joins Oil-Producing Countries In West Africa, Produces Oil For The First Time



By Kayode Sanni-Arewa

Senegal has become one of West Africa’s oil producing countries as the country started producing oil for the first time on Tuesday.

As President Bassirou Diomaye Faye promised that profits from the sale of the country’s oil and gas would be “well managed”, Australian energy giant Woodside described the oil production in Senegal as a “historic day” and a “key milestone” for the company and the country.

BBC reports that the Sangomar deep-water project, which also has gas, aims to produce 100,000 barrels of oil per day.

It is expected to generate billions of dollars for Senegal and boost the country’s economy.

The general manager of the national oil company Petrosen, Thierno Ly, said that the country had entered a “new era” when production began on Tuesday.

Ly was quoted as saying, “We have never been so well positioned for opportunities for growth, innovation and success in the economic and social development of our nation.”

It was reported that Petrosen has an 18% stake in the project while Woodside owns the remainder.

Elected in April this year, President Faye has been keen on renegotiating the deal as part of reforms he promised during the election campaign.

The President, while speaking to students on Tuesday, said that the earnings from the oil and gas production would be “well managed”, and that an “inter-generation fund” had been set up for the benefit of “your generation and those to come.”

The country’s move to renegotiate oil and gas contracts has been seen by some analysts as making investors jittery, but government supporters have reportedly said that it is vital for the West African state to increase its stake in projects so that the nation benefits from its natural resources.

A former opposition politician, Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko, who was a key figure in the president’s election campaign, recently insisted that contracts signed by previous administrations were ”unfavourable” to the country, and would be reviewed.

Sonko was quoted as saying on Tuesday, “We’re the ones who promised you we’d renegotiate the contracts, and we’re going to do it. We’ve started already.

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