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Restore Democratically Elected NURTW, Not ‘Park Thugs’, Oyo SPN Tells Makinde

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Oyo State Chapter of the  Socialist Party of Nigeria, SPN,  on Thursday urged the Seyi Makinde led government to restore the state’s  NURTW and its democratization under the control of elected representatives of registered commercial drivers, operators of motorcycles and tricycles not ‘park thugs’.

SPN condemned the decision of Governor Makinde  to impose and force on mass of poor but struggling commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles in the state a newly established park management system, PMS and appointed park managers for the control and management of parks, and quarries across the state.

In a press release signed by its Secretary, Ayodeji Adigun, the party described the governor’s   decision as unlawful, stressing that it contravenes section 7(5) of the Fourth Schedule of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

SPN scribe said, “According to this section, the control of the parks, markets, and abattoirs is stipulated to be the constitutional responsibility of the Local Government Council and not of the state government. It is only expected of the state government through the state house of assembly to enact a law that will enable the local government to effectively perform and carry out the stipulated function”.

In a related development,  the party faulted  the appointment of Alhaji Mukaila Lamidi as the chairman of the disciplinary committee of the PMS and some others describing them as ‘ known park thugs with proven records of criminal and violent activities’ . It added that their appointments as park managers clearly show that, the PMS in itself is a dubious agenda to return through the back door, the control and management of the motor parks, to the section of the park thugs that are loyal to the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government.

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The statement  reads, ” Under this kind of arrangement one does not need to be a soothsayer to know that the exploitation, harassment including intimidation often suffered by mass of poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycles and tricycles under the banned park thugs controlled NURTW will not only continue but deepen in multiple folds especially now that the PMS arrangement has provided an official and legitimate basis for the exploitation and extortion of poor road transport workers.

“SPN frown against the continuous proscription of NURTW. It is illegal and undemocratic.  We therefore demand the return of the NURTW that is democratically controlled by transport workers (registered commercial drivers and operators of bicycle and tricycle across the state) with guaranteed right to freedom of association and election of leadership devoid of imposition, force, violence and thuggery.

“While we recognize that the operation of the banned NURTW under the control and management of the park thugs is condemnable in all ramification, we do not believe that dastardly and criminal acts of a few known park thugs should be a strong reason to continue to deny other willing law abiding commercial drivers and operators of tricycles and motorcycles their fundamental right to association and peace assembly for an adequate defense and protection of both their economic and political rights.

“NURTW like other trade union organizations like NUT, NULGE is a registered union by the law and intended to be a union for interested road transport workers for the defense and protection of their interest.  As it is obtainable in other trade unions, members are meant to pay dues and democratically direct the affairs of the union through popular participation such as meetings, congresses etc. Proceeds realized from such dues are meant to be subjected to democratic and open administration of members through the co-ordination of their elected representatives strictly for the purpose of achieving the goal of the union.

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“Neither is the proceeds realized from the dues paid by road workers meant for the advancement of the self-serving interest of the few individuals as we used to have it under the proscribed thugs controlled NURTW nor a means of generating revenues for the government as being proposed by Engr seyi Makinde-led government that will be largely stolen by the privileged few.

“SPN rejects the argument by the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that the range of levies planned to be imposed on poor commercial drivers and operators of motorcycle and tricycles are meant to boast the IGR of the state. If the transport operators are to be charged levies, such policy will have to be discussed with local government authorities and the transport operators with the aim of arriving at a levy/tax that is progressive and affordable, and such revenue generated are to be democratically transparently managed by government and transport operators for the purpose of developing the state and not to enrich the privileged few. We also demand that all big business owners and billionaires in the state many of who are currently enjoying tax holiday must be progressively taxed in order to raise some fund to finance public utilities.

“The SPN therefore charges the Engr Seyi Makinde-led government that if truly it is interested to curb the usual violent activities that often associated with NUTRW, the solution is neither by the proscription of the union nor the establishment of unlawful management system but to severe its relationship with park thugs with known criminal and violent records in the state with a view to arrest them and prosecute them in accordance with the law”, its continued.

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Adigun, however  called on the state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to initiate discussion with the state government with a motive to request all necessary logistics including provision of security that will be needed to convene a congress of all legitimate road workers in the state to democratically elect a new leadership for the union as a step to begin to reconstitute the union in the state.

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FMoH to receive supplies, medical experts from China to support fight against Coronavirus in Nigeria

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Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire  last Friday announced, during the Presidential Task Force Media Briefing , that an 18 man team of Chinese medical experts are expected to arrive Nigeria within a few days with a consignment of globally scarce medical supplies ,to augment the government’s efforts to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

As of April 6th2020 the Minister said that, Nigeria had recorded 232 positive cases of the disease, discharged 33 and recorded 5 deaths. He stated that, “We have 120 patients in Lagos State, 47 in FCT, Osun 20, Oyo 9, Edo 9, Bauchi 6, Akwa Ibom 5, Kaduna 5, Ogun 4, Enugu 2, Ekiti 2, while Ondo , Rivers and Benue have 1 each”.

Dr Ehanire informed that, COVID-19 cases are continuously detected and treated to recovery through enhanced surveillance systems and strengthened epidemic intelligence.  He added also that 5,000 samples had been tested so far, as targeted approaches are been taken to scale up the capacity.

The Minister revealed that, two additional Laboratories had been activated for COVID-19 testing at the Defence Reference Laboratory, FCT and  Biosafety Level -3 Laboratory Lagos. He stated also that a Joint Continental Strategy for COVID -19 responses had been developed and an African Task Force on Coronavirus (AFCOR) had been set up, to coordinate preparedness and response efforts in the continent, this in collaboration with African Union.

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He assured also that Rapid Response Teams will be deployed to all affected states to support them in strengthening their preparedness and response to COVID-19.

According to Health Minister, Dr Ehanire, the donations by the group of Chinese Companies in Nigeria, includes PPEs and other Medical consumables, with one million surgical masks for health workers and also ICU ventilators valued at over $100,000, all sourced in the face of global scarcity of these items. In addition, Chinese medical experts, comprising of doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and public health managers will share their knowledge, skills and real life experience of fighting covid-19 with Nigerian personnel in strengthening management of COVID-19 cases, especially with regard to critical care, he said.  He explained that this initiative would greatly build the capacity of hard working and resourceful Nigerian health workers at the fore front of fighting coronavirus.

He said, the much needed PPEs and masks will protect these frontline workers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the line of duty.

The Presidential Task Force Media Briefing ,Minister expressed that, “We have a window of opportunity to strengthen our own response mechanism through lessons learnt from any country that has had the experience and can provide hands- on demonstration of dealing with the outbreak and give the Nigerian clinical workforce the opportunity to share global best practices”

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Lagos Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory activated for COVID-19 testing

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The Lagos State Biosafety Level-3 Laboratory has been has been activated for #COVID19 testing. This brings the number of COVID-19 testing labs in Nigeria to 9 In progress- Maiduguri, Kano, Sokoto, Port Harcourt, Jos & Kaduna.

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Eight new cases of COVID-19 reported in Nigeria

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Eight new cases of #COVID19 have been reported in Nigeria: 5 in Lagos, 2 in the FCT and 1 in Kaduna State.

As at 09:30 pm 5th April there are 232 confirmed cases of #COVID19 reported in Nigeria. Thirty-three have been discharged with five deaths.

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