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The Arole Oodua & Ooni of Ife, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II on Tuesday played host to several traditional rulers across the six South West region of the country, during the unveiling ceremony of an empowerment project initiated and sponsored by the prominent oil magnate, Mr. Jack-Rich Tein Jnr.

While addressing the gathering, Ooni Ogunwusi expressed his belief that project is capable fast tracking an all-round development in the Region, calling on traditional rulers to support the initiative.

“The Jack-Rich’s BELEMAOIL Producing Limited is the only indigenous company in the country’s oil sector with a very high profile of Corporate Social Responsibility.

“He and his family are renowned for helping others especially the poor and other vulnerable members of the society. This South-West (Oduduwa States Initiative) will benefit our subjects in the areas of education, infrastructure and more.” The Ooni noted.

While unveiling the project titled ‘South-West Nigeria Project’, Mr. Jack-Rich explained that the project is designed to empower its beneficiaries in the areas of Women and Youth development as well as the issuance of scholarship opportunities for the less privilege children in the South-West.

Also, it shall include the construction of several infrastructural projects like roads and water projects across the region.

“We have not come to showcase wealth but love, we are aware of the economic and social situation across the country and we can’t afford to watch without doing our best.

“We keep multiplying in this country every day but we are not making use of the population to improve the country’s productivity, this is the reason behind the rising cases of insecurity which we must carefully examine.

“This project is designed to transfer wealth to youth Nigerians and women towards making them realize their dreams, and we thank our father the Ooni of Ife and all traditional rulers across the region here present for their presence and show of solidarity.” Mr Jack-Rich noted.

In his words of appreciation, the Ayangbunrin of Ikorodu, Lagos State, Oba Kabiru Adewale Shotobi, thanked the Jack-Rich family for counting the Southwest region worthy of such lofty project, promising that it will get the needed support for a successful execution.

In the same vein, the Ajero of Ijero, Ekiti State, Oba Joseph Adewole, described Jack-Rich as a detribalized Nigerian who is interested in the development of the country, adding that such attribute should be emulated by other privileged members of the society.

The Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Soliu Adetunji, Orangun of Ila, Oba Wahab Oyedotun, Alara of Aramoko Ekiti, Oba Olu Adeyemi, Ajero of Ijero Ekiti, Oba Adebayo Adewole, Olugbon of Ile-Igbon, Oba Olusola Alao, Deji of Akure, Oba Ogunlade Aladetoyinbo, Ewi of Ado Ekiti, Oba Adeyemo Adejugbe, Elemure of Emure Ekiti, Oba E.A. Adebayo, Oloye of Oye, Oba Oluwole Ademolaju, Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Abduganiyu Adekunle, Olota of Ota, Oba Adeyemi Obalanlege and the Elerinmo of Erinmo Ijesa, Oba Michael Odunayo were among the traditional rulers present at the event.

Sultan Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar of Sokoto who missed the event due to delayed flight arrived the Ooni’s at about 10:35pm and ushered into inner chamber of the palace held private discussions with the Ooni only joined by Mr Jack Rich and his wife. Both kings later moved to the banquet hall for a dinner where Sultan gave his speech.

The Sultan expressed his delight for making it to Ile-Ife despite the delay, saying his love for the Ooni motivated his determination to make the trip which he found so important and inevitable.

“By my calculation,I had hoped to be in Ife by 2:00 pm to honour my dear brother the Ooni of Ife and other Yoruba kings for the launching of South west empowerment project by the Jack Rich Foundation. But God is the ultimate decider as the weather in Akure and Ibadan delayed and had to route through Lagos from Abuja and from Lagos to Ife, it took me five and half hours to arrived Ife.

“If it’s possible I would have driven from Sokoto to Ife to show our love that we are one in this country. We are brothers and sisters living in different regions of the world.

“I made up my mind that no matter what it takes; I have to be in Ife to be with my brother Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, Ooni of Ife who is doing a lot for the unity, peace and progress of this country to celebrate with him on the project launched today by the Tien Jack Rich.

“As for Jack Rich, I’m not surprised because that is what he(Jack Rich) normally does. He has done the same in North and now doing it in the Southwest starting from the source Ile-fe.

“The essence of our living is to bless the poor and the vulnerables which Jack Rich is doing and I know as he continues doing that; God will keeps blessing him.

“I have utmost belief that we would be here together in no distant time to commission it for the benefit and use of mankind.” Sultan said.

Rev father Ejike Mbaka of the Adoration Ministry based in Enugu who also had a similar delayed flight experience like the Sultan arrived the Ooni’s palace received by Mr Jack Rich and the Ooni’s Director of media, Comrade Moses Olafare who ushered him to meet the Ooni for a private meeting.

Earlier, the Lord Mayo of the city of Brampton in Canada, Mr Patrick Brown had described Ooni Ogunwusi as a special gift to the humanity, Africa is blessed to have such a dynamic visionary leader as a foremost king.

Mayor Brown who is on a 3-day working visit to Nigeria said this while making his speech at the palace of the Ooni during a courtesy visit to the Spiritual head of the Yoruba race worldwide. Mr Brown said his encounter with the Ooni has educated him better about Nigeria.

“Your majesty, you came to Canada and visited us in Brampton and you proclaimed Brampton as a city of love and Canadian city of the Africans. We promised to reciprocate the visit and we are here today in your palace”

“You are indeed a special gift to the humanity and Africa is so blessed to have such a dynamic visionary leader like as a foremost king. I am really feeling at home here.

We have seen this a tourist hub, we will look at business opportunities in tourism and in oder areas like agriculture, mining, healthcare and renewable energy and ultimately, we are going to really strengthen cultural relations between Brampton and Nigeria.” Mayor Brown said.



Tinubu To Protest Planners: Shelve Idea, Await Our Response




President Bola Tinubu has appealed to Nigerians who plan to stage nationwide hunger protests to shelve the plan.

The President also urged the citizens to give his administration enough time to respond to their requests.

The request was revealed by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, to State House Correspondents after closed-door talks with President Tinubu at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, on Tuesday.

He said, “On the issue of the planned protest, Mr. President does not see any need for that. He asked them to shelve that plan and he has asked them to await the government’s response to all their pleas.

“So, there is no need for strike. The young people out there should listen to the President and allow the President more time to see to the realisation of all the goodies he has for them.”

His comments come days after calls for nationwide protests from August 1-10 against the rising cost of living and the economic hardship.



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Lagos Students Shun National Protest, Plan Solidarity Walk




Students of tertiary institutions in Lagos State have disclosed their stand on the planned nationwide protests expected to commence on August 1.

JomogNews reports that Nigerians, particularly youths, have vowed to stage mass protests across the country beginning from August 1 to August 10 to draw the attention of the government to the plight of citizens.

According to the organizers, the protesters are expected to converge at state government houses across the country and the National Assembly complex in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to express their anger over the hardship in Nigeria.

However, Mr Alimi Lekan-Idris, President, National Association of Lagos State Students, NULASS, said on Tuesday that the students will not join the protest.

Addressing journalists at a press conference held at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital College of Medicine, Ikeja, Mr Alimi urged Nigerian youths to embrace dialogue.

He said, “It is crucial that we remember the importance of peace and stability and use dialogue to achieve our collective goals.

”Given these significant contributions and progress we have witnessed, we wish to state that we are not in support of any protest against the government of Lagos State”.

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Labour Plans Talks With Govs As N’Assembly Okays N70,000 Wage




Labour unions in the country say they will schedule meetings with state governments as part of efforts to ensure that they comply with the 2024 National Minimum Wage Amendment Act Bill, which on Tuesday empowered Nigerian workers to earn at least N70,000 on a monthly basis.

The Senate on Tuesday at plenary passed the 2024 National Minimum Wage Amendment Act Bill after President Bola Tinubu had transmitted the new wage bill to both chambers of the National Assembly, seeking expeditious support of the lawmakers for its passage.

The Senate and House of Representatives passed the new minimum wage bill.

The bill passed the first (President Tinubu’s request), second (debate on general principles) and third readings on Tuesday — all within an hour — in the upper and lower legislative chambers.

The new bill replaces the National Minimum Wage Act, No. 8, 2019 which approved N30,000 minimum wage with five years to negotiate a new wage. The new wage review period has now been reduced to three years following Tuesday’s legislation.

While leading a debate on the bill, Opeyemi Bamidele, Majority Leader of the Senate, said N70,000 was agreed upon by all the parties after negotiations.

“This is part of the Federal Government’s short term measure to mitigate the situation in the country,” Bamidele said.

Chief Whip of the Senate, Tahir Monguno, said there was the need to review the minimum wage to align with economic realities.

“The review of the minimum wage used to be after every five years. It is now every three years,” Monguno said.

No Senator opposed the Bill during its consideration by the Committee of the Whole.

The Senators also unanimously approved that the Bill be read for the third time and passed when it was put to voice vote by Senate President Godswill Akpabio.

The legislation gives legal backing to the N70,000 minimum wage recently approved by the President after weeks of a face-off with labour unions over a new minimum wage.

The Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress had both threatened a nationwide strike in the event of the failure of the Federal Government to approve a new wage for workers.

The NLC and TUC proposed N494,000 as the new monthly national minimum wage, citing inflation and the prevailing economic hardship in the country.

The unions in several statements lamented the hardship in the country, fueled by the removal of subsidy from the Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, and the rising cost of goods and services.

But the unions later reduced the amount to N250,000 after several meetings with the Presidency.

On June 7, the Federal Government increased its offer for the new minimum wage for workers from N60,000 to N62,000 but the unions insisted on N250,000.

On July 11, the labour leaders again met with President Tinubu at the Presidential Villa over the new minimum wage before eventually accepting N70,000 as the new minimum wage for workers last week.

At Tuesday’s plenary, the bill was speedily passed through the first and second reading stages, leading to the consideration of the report and final passage to pave the way for the immediate implementation of the new minimum wage.

After the bill passage on Tuesday, the Trade Union Congress warned states against delay in the implementation of the new minimum wage. The TUC noted that no delay should be allowed due to the biting economic conditions in the country.

The National Vice President, TUC, Tommy Etim, made this known in an interview with our correspondent.

Etim said, “We are happy that the Senate was able to pass the National Minimum Wage Bill promptly. It’s now for the President to sign it into law and for the implementation to commence immediately.

“Moreover, the states should not delay in the implementation because of the socioeconomic challenges and the need to address hunger in the land.”

The NLC also urged state governments to replicate the move by the Federal Government to hastily pass the new minimum wage bill into law. The Congress also advised states to implement the new minimum wage to the letter.

“We are delighted by the gesture of the Senate because it suggests sensitivity to the plight of our members. The 2019 law expired in April 2024. This means we are already in arrears. The states should not only obey the law to the hilt but timeously too,” the Head of Public Relations of the NLC, Benson Upah, told one of our correspondents in Abuja.

Ekiti, Osun pledge to pay

Meanwhile, The Kwara State Governor, Mallam AbdulRaman AbdulRazaq, on Tuesday forwarded a bill seeking the revised Supplementary Budget of the state by N201bn to the State House of Assembly for approval, as states begin moves to pay the new wage.

Though, the Governor did not state the reason for the budget in his letter to the Assembly, it was learnt it might not be unconnected with the recent enaqctment of the new wage bill.

In the letter, which was read at plenary by the Speaker, Yakubu Danladi-Salihu, the Governor sought consideration and approval for the 2024 Revised/Supplementary Estimate.

The Speaker stated, “The total budget size after review is now N493,449,372,429.00 as against the 2024 approved estimates of N292,741,292,132.30, representing 69 per cent increase.

“The bill, however, passed through first reading and thereafter the Clerk of the House was directed to circulate clean copies of the bill to the Honourable members and the bill was referred to the House Committee on Rules and Business to slate it for second reading at the next legislative day.”

Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji, on Tuesday assured workers in the state that he would not disappoint them on the new minimum wage for workers.

Oyebanji, who spoke in Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital, during the presentation of N1bn gratuity cheques to retirees, expressed hope that he would offset all outstanding pension arrears before the end of the year.

The governor said, “On minimum wage, once it becomes law, when the President signs it into law, all will be well. The only thing I know, I am here to serve you. Let us wait, at the appropriate time, all will be well. One thing I know is that I am not going to disappoint you.”

Also, Osun State Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi, said the state government would pay the new minimum wage, adding that the welfare of workers remained a priority of the present administration.

Alimi, who admitted that the new wage would strain the state’s finances, added that since the FG’s decision to pay the N70,000 minimum wage to workers was backed by law, Osun would not be found wanting.

“We will pay, but if the Federal Government is willing to give us more money, we will definitely be interested in collecting it. It is a question of law. Once they say an amount is the minimum wage and it is backed up by law, it is not negotiable.

“In Osun, the number one in the five-point agenda of the governor is workers’ welfare. If we can be paying arrears of salaries and pensions, we are going to pay the minimum wage. It is an obligation. I told you before now that whatever agreed upon as minimum wage, Osun will not be found wanting. It’s an additional burden but that notwithstanding, our government is committed to the welfare of the workers. We are going to pay,” Alimi said.


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