An elder statesman and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Frank Kokori, has been confirmed dead.
Naija News understands that the former General Secretary of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) died at exactly 1:30 am on Thursday, December 7, 2023, coincidentally on his birthday at exactly 80.
According to Tribune, Kokori’s passage was disclosed at about 2:30 am by his personal assistant, Atawada Barry Oke.
Oke disclosed that the former labour leader’s health relapsed on Monday as he was unable to interact with people around him while he was placed on life support.
Kokori’s death came barely one month after he cried out from his hospital bed on Thursday, November 9, 2023, that he had been neglected and abandoned to die in spite of his huge contribution to the democratic growth of the country.
The Octogenarian has been in sick bed at Mount Horeb Clinic, Warri, Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State, over kidney-related ailment since early November.
Kokori had, on Thursday, November 9, 2023, made a distress call at about 12:40 am to complain that life was ebbing out of him where he was receiving treatment for his kidney-related ailment.
Kokori had lamented how NUPENG and the nation had abandoned him to fate in the hospital where air conditioner was switched off by the hospital management possibly owing to a shortage of diesel.
The Ovu-born fiery labour leader had complained over the idea of being abandoned in the hospital in Warri by those who should cater for his wellbeing.
He, thereafter, said he would not mind if he were taken abroad for a top-notch medical treatment by the Federal Government of President Bola Tinubu with whom they fought the military junta of late General Sani Abacha in the early 90s over the annulment of the historical June 12 1993 presidential elections.
Chief Kokori’s November outcry attracted dignitaries such as Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State to his sick bed on Friday, November 11. The latter picked up the bills including those of two other patients.
“Life is like the oil within a lamp. It can be measured, but the pace at which it burns depends on how the dial is turned day by day, and how bright and fierce the flame is. And there is no predicting whether the lamp might be knocked to the ground and shatter when it could have blazed on a great while longer. Such is the unpredictability of life.” – Margaret Rogerson.
Life is indeed unpredictable, which means that it can be full of surprises, both good and bad.
The unpredictability of life is what makes it worth living. Overall, life is unpredictable, and there’s no way to know what the future holds. However, it’s essential to be adaptable and flexible to cope with unexpected events, to find a way forward, and also to live in the present.
However, it is worthy of note that I use the subject of ‘Unpredictability’ of life to underscore a COPIED POST that I stumbled upon as regards Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (OUK) and Femi Adesina’s working relationship.
Before I continue, I would like to share with us the profound and humbling experience, as explained in the COPIED POST below, between Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Femi Adesina:
“Orji Uzo Kalu owns Daily Sun Newspaper, he employed Femi Adesina as a staff of the newspaper company, for years, while Orji remained a strong member of PDP, Adesina remained an ardent admirer and supporter of then General Buhari. Femi used Orji’s newspaper platform to promote and support Buhari’s ambition to become president of Nigeria. Orji never liked Femi’s support for Buhari, especially since his newspaper platform is being used by Femi for the same purpose. He tried to stop Femi severally but Femi’s love for Buhari wasn’t too easy to wash away. During former President Jonathan, Orji Kalu was summoned at PDP’s BOT meeting to answer questions over his inability to sack Femi Adesina despite the damage they believe he was creating for their party through the Sun Newspaper which is also owned by a BOT member, Orji Kalu.
Orji came to the BOT meeting and replied with a smile on his face saying, “Sometimes we must allow our boys who work under us to think differently, that’s another way of allowing them to grow and to be independent”. He promised them at the meeting that he would continue to talk to Femi, and that he believed Femi would change one day.
Orji continued to allow Adesina to use his newspaper platform to support Buhari even though he was a PDP member and Orji was supporting Jonathan at that time. To cut the story short, when Buhari won the 2015 presidential election, he appointed Femi Adesina as a senior Media aide. When Orji was sentenced by the court for corruption allegations under Buhari’s government, Femi Adesina was among those who stood firm by his former Boss while in prison by engaging Senior lawyers and stakeholders until Orji got an unprecedented and uncommon U-turn by the Supreme Court over his imprisonment. Orji went back to active politics and he is currently a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Those who are proud of sacking their brothers over simple and understandable political differences should learn from the story of Orji Kalu and Femi Adesina.
A person who works under you today may become your helper tomorrow, and a person who works under you today may become your children’s boss tomorrow”.
In conclusion, the key message here is the unpredictability of life. You never know what life will bring tomorrow. Therefore, if you are in the position to lead today, remember to be fair, impartial, and righteous even if uncomfortable doing so at that time. It’s called selflessness.
On a last note, it is remarkable that history is never complete and always changing. It is subject to our own bias and prejudice and views and all manner of other human foibles. And yet, considering carefully the OUK/Femi Adesina testament, it can teach us an enormous amount about ourselves and life.
The Islamic Forum in Kano, has called for compensation for victims of the Sunday military bomb attacks in Tudun Biri village, Kaduna State.
The Forum comprises: Tijjanniya Qadiriya, Shiites and the Izala sects.
Mallam Abubakar Rabo, who spoke on behalf of the Forum, also called on the Federal Government to set up an independent panel to investigate the matter.
“This act is condemnable and we are tasking the Federal government to rise up and unearth the truth behind it.
“The Federal government should make the safety of lives and property of the citizens a priority; without people, there can never be a government,” he said.
The villagers were hit while celebrating Maulud.
The Army has since claimed responsibility for the attack, explaining that it was done in error.
A shooting on a major shopping street in central Brussels Wednesday evening left four people wounded, the Belgian capital’s police said.
The assailants had left the scene by the time the police arrived after being called at about 7:30 pm (1830 GMT), police spokeswoman Ilse Van de Keere told AFP.
“At this point, there is nothing to make us think it was a terrorist act,” she said.
One of the wounded is in critical condition.
The shots were fired on the Avenue de la Toison d’Or, a busy commercial street near a covered passageway featuring upscale fashion boutiques. The passageway was evacuated, according to Belgian media.
The recent announcement by Procter and Gamble regarding plans to cease operations in Nigeria echoes a Déjà vu moment for consumers, raising fears of significant job losses and escalating prices of essential items such as diapers, sanitary pads, and other household goods.
Following the earlier exit of GSK, Nigeria witnessed a staggering 1000% increase in the cost of drug items, amplifying concerns about the potential consequences of another major consumer manufacturing company leaving due to macroeconomic challenges.
What Nigerians are saying
Nigerian reactions on social media (X)reflect a deep sense of apprehension and economic jitters. @StephAdamu expressed concern about the impending rise in consumer goods prices, drawing parallels with GSK’s departure.
- “The potential exit of Procter & Gamble in Nigeria is going to deal with us terribly. It’s already expensive buying Always sanitary pads and pampers then imagine when they leave, we can all see the result of prices of drugs after GSK left. How are we going to handle purchases of products like always sanitary towels, pampers, Ariel and co? When will Nigeria as a country grow beyond importing every thing and manufacture our own products locally? The coming year is going to be a tussle”
- Another user, @MissPearls said “GSK left Equino left Sanofi Left Procter and Gamble (P &G) is leaving too Many more companies will fold up or leave. Unemployment is skyrocketing, your currency is almost becoming useless which way forward?”
@SportsDokita underscored the potential rise in job insecurity and the discouraging effect on foreign investors, stating.
- “P & G is the latest company to close down its operations in Nigeria and will now revert to IMPORTATION which will make their products more expensive. In case you don’t know what they produce, they produce Ariel, pampers, batteries, shaving stick, etc. Now imagine the number of Nigerians that have lost their jobs just because these guys are leaving. Tinubu keep making the economy unbearable and say you’re looking for foreign investors when the ones here are freaking LEAVING!!!!!”
@Mavisikpeme corroborating previous thoughts on the new development said “P&G living Nigeria means 5,000 Nigerians have lost their jobs . This was a company producing the likes of Ariel detergent , oral B toothpaste , always pad , pampers to mention but a few . Renewed shege promax !!”
Emphasising on the economic impact the FMCG company would have on the job market as a whole @ChijiokeIke gave a breakdown of the company’s employment history.
“P&G entered the Nigeria Space in 1992 employing only 40 people in their Lagos Office Fastfoward 10 years they had employed a total of 1800 people from the Nigerian Labour Market In 2015, the APC government of Buhari took over from PDP promising Change.
As of 2018, P&G laid off over its first batch of 120 staff shutting down their biggest plant in Ogun state. As at the time this plant was the single biggest American owned Non-Oil Investment in Nigeria Fast forward to 2021, they conducted another round of redundancies in Ibadan.
Now in 2023, they have finally thrown in the towel due to the Obscenely High cost of Operations and Corrupt Practices slowing down their supply Chain Over 1500 people will lose their Jobs.
That’s 1500 families not sure of their next source of income. That’s 7500 people not sure about how they will feed next year Let’s not even mention the Local Economies that will be effected”
In light of the impending closure, @KBT_BANKOLE urged people to stock up on essential items, “With the closure of operations of Procter & Gamble in Nigeria, the prices of FMCGs like sanitary pads, baby diapers, detergents, toothpastes, etc are about to skyrocket. Do you guys realize how serious this is? Please stock up on these items in bulk NOW if you can. Renewed Shege”
@hispri0rity, echoing the sentiments, anticipated a triple increase in prices for various products. “Procter & Gamble is leaving Nigeria, Vicks lemon plus, Vicks blue, pringles, Pampers, Ariel, Always, Oral B, Gillette Safeguard, etc will triple in prices.”
The much anticipated Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s power intervention projects will be ready by May, 2024, according to Project Management Office, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Engr. Engineer Matthew Ajibade,
The N122.223 billion projects, which cut across the states of the federation, aim to resolve the transmission and distribution interface bottlenecks to improve supply to end users and unlock the unutilised generation capacity in the country.
Ajibade, who led the CBN, Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), NESI and other stakeholders on tour of the projects sites in Lagos on Wednesday, noted that, manufacturing process for most of the contacts is scheduled to be completed early next year 2024 to pave way for shipment and delivery.
The projects, when completed, will enhance delivery of about 1,500MW of power nationwide.
Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had, in August this year, approved the sum of N122,289,344,369.39 for intervention in the nation’s power sector.The loans were accessed by the 11 electricity distribution companies at 9 % interest rate from the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).
According to Ajibade, so far, N85.4billion of the approved sum had been disbursed to 53 contractors to execute the projects.
Already, 10 of the power transformers have been delivered while the rest ranging from 150MVA, 100MVA and 60MVA are expected to be delivered and installed on or before May 2024.
“This intervention is anchored on firm Service Level Agreements (SLAs) between TCN and DisCos on the one hand and DisCos and their customers on the other hand. The facility was given to Discos to invest in TCN Networks by virtue of NERC regulation that permits third party investment in the Electricity Network.
Payment for the loan would be a net off from the TCN monthly invoice to DisCos. The project implementation Office (PMO) is resident in TCN for effective implementation”, he stated.
However, seven contractors that have finished with offshore production process are; Skipper Nigeria Ltd (BEDC), GTA Engineering Nigeria Limited for PHEDC network, T&D West Africa Ltd (IKEDC), Lagacee Power Ltd (AEDC), Bussdor & Company Ltd (AEDC) FOSAB Global Energy Services Limited PHEDC and Beam Energy Ltd (EKEDP).
Some consignments containing Power Transformers have been delivered to Gwagwalada, Oworonsoki 132/33KV Substation and TCN Ojo store in Lagos by Contractors.
CBN’s representative and Assistant Director/ Head Infrastructure Finance Office, Tumba Abdulrazaq Tijani, applauded the commitments of the contractors, saying, execution of the projects within a short time of accessing funds surpassed the bank’s expectations.
He noted that the projects, when completed, will impact positively on electricity deliveries by discos to consumers across the country.
The projects include eight 150MVA, 19 of 100MVA, 67 of 60MVA, three Re-conductoring existing Transmission lines (Conductors & Accessories) of 517.5 km, 24 contracts for upgrading Existing 132/33KV Substations and construction of 50 of 33KV line bays.
• Project worth billions of naira, delayed for efficiency, says FPRO
• ‘We buy our own uniforms, officers’ welfare not police priority’
• Lawmakers consider auction of ‘squalid quarters’
Seven months after handing quit notice to 22,500 police officers living in the 25 barracks marked for demolition by the Lagos State government, the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) is yet to effect payment of rent to the displaced officers seven months after the promise was made.
The barracks had been recommended for demolition for not meeting up with the structural integrity test and for vacating the barracks between May 1 and 30 to give access for rebuilding activities, affected officers were promised a particular amount of money to rent temporary accommodation for two years, which the rehabilitation project is expected to last.
Under the 2024 proposed budget, the Ministry of Police Affairs has a budget of N938.7 billion, with N806.7 billion allocated as personnel cost, N62.4 billion for overhead and N69.6 billion to be spent on capital projects.
Specifically, ongoing assessment of police barracks nationwide is expected to cost N100,513,975, construction/provision of police stations/barracks will cost N5.77 billion while N1 billion is expected to be expended on rehabilitation/repairs of police stations/barracks.
Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, had on May 3, announced the demolition, redevelopment and reconstruction of 25 barracks and facilities in full compliance with the Lagos State government’s recommendations.
The affected barracks are: Ijeh Police Barracks, Obalende; Highway Police Barracks, Ikeja; K9 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Falomo Police Barracks (A and B), Ikoyi; Bar Beach Police Barracks, Victoria Island; MOPOL 20 Barracks, Ikeja; Women Police Barracks, Obalende; MOPOL 2 Police Barracks, Keffi Street, Ikoyi; Mounted Troop, Ribadu Road, Ikoyi and Queen Barracks, Apapa.
Others are: FPRO Annex Office and Barracks, Ijora Olopa; Iponrin Police Barracks, Surulere; Adekunle Police Barracks, Yaba; Federal Highway Patrol Office, Yaba; Alausa Police Barracks, Ikeja; Mounted Troop, Ikeja; Okesuna Police Barracks, Obalende; Mccarthy Barracks, Obalende; Force Headquarters Annex, Obalende; Obalende Police Barracks, Obalende; Bourdillon Police Barracks, Ikoyi; New Staff Quarters, Ikeja; Elere Police Barracks, Agege; Onikan Officers Mess, Ikoyi and Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU), Milverton Street, Ikoyi.
The Force spokesperson, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), who refuted claims at the time that officers were sent packing without enough notice and provisions for alternative accommodation, had said: “We have not forced anyone out of the barracks. They are expected to move out between May 1 and 30. However, they will not be asked to move until their money is paid for a new accommodation.”
But alas, seven months after the May deadline, NPF has not started payment of rent to the estimated 22,500 police officers living in the affected barracks.
The Guardian investigations revealed that the majority of the officers living in the barracks are unaware of the relocation plan. Also, none of the affected police officers has been debriefed by barracks officials on the quit notice.
With police authorities’ lackadaisical approach towards the project, many of the officers and their dependents living in the derelict structures are confused on the next line of action.
The Guardian learnt that apart from the project cost, estimated to run in billions of Naira, the financial implications of relocating the affected officers in a city like Lagos are humongous and may not be feasible with the current national economic realities.
When The Guardian visited Ijeh Barracks, Obalende, housing about 1,000 people, the buildings were defaced with cracked walls, leaky roofs, broken windows and doors, while the barracks lacked potable water, with poor sanitation.
Some officers queried the motive behind the plan, stressing that police authorities have not been able to complete the redevelopment of the barracks at Government Reserved Area (GRA), Ikeja, which started during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
They alleged that they are doing their best to take care of the buildings but the police hierarchy is doing less to improve the living conditions of the officers. The officers argued that it would be difficult to carry out the exercise because each of the marked barracks had no fewer than 1,000 inhabitants, coupled with relatives and friends.
An officer who pleaded for anonymity said: “I am not against relocation of officers but before the relocation, they should provide a conducive place for us to stay. The buildings are long overdue for renovation.
“It has never been conducive living here, but when you don’t get what you need, you have to manage what is provided. We come back from work to live in a place that is not conducive and it affects our work and delivery. This is Ikoyi and if they are talking about relocation, they should consider that Ikoyi is not Iyana Ipaja, Ikorodu or Oshodi.
Another officer said: “We have been living in this condition and the police authorities have been shying away from their responsibilities. I buy my own uniform; we take care of the buildings within the barracks. I am still studying and it’s not as if they care about my certificate, but I’m doing my best to upgrade myself.”
When asked on the number of officers to be affected by the plan, the Force spokesman said he needed an audit to determine the staff strength in the barracks.
According to him, there are people staying in the barracks, who are not police personnel and that is one of the reasons the facilities are overstretched. He said the Force was working on identifying bonafide personnel before taking any action.
Asked about the estimated amount for the cost of construction, he could not confirm the amount earmarked for the project.
He said: “Billions of Naira. I can’t be specific now, but definitely, it runs into billions based on projections. We have a relocation plan for them. It will be done in phases. Money will be given to them to rent any accommodation of their choice around their barracks (locations) for two years before any relocation is commenced. It’s not eviction, but relocation. Note, please.”
When asked why the project didn’t take off on the proposed date and why officers were yet to get their notices, Adejobi said: “It doesn’t matter the time we start. It is better for us to start late than to rush into it and subject them to unnecessary hardship. We will start. It is capital intensive, we are making arrangements and we will do this in phases.
“Their buildings have been marked, but marking does not mean they are going to demolish them, they only mark to show that the buildings are affected and distressed. So, when it’s time for us to commence, those who are going to be affected will not be evicted, they will be relocated. We did it in Abuja and it worked out, so, it will work in Lagos.
“I read in the news that some officers said they are not sure the police hierarchy will give them back the apartment after the redevelopment. We did it in Kano, which is as big as Lagos in terms of population and they were relocated, and given back the keys when it was completed.”
Appalled by the sorry situations of the barracks, lawmakers in the House of Representatives had recently demanded that the Federal Government auction the barracks across the country, because they have turned to ‘squalor quarters’ despite the billions spent on renovating them.
This is even as the House noted that between 2019 – 2022, over N5 billion was spent by the Federal Government on Police barracks renovations in Nigeria, saying despite all efforts, barracks continue to fail to meet basic needs in their current state of disrepair and lack of maintenance.
This was sequel to the adoption of a motion on the “Urgent Public Importance on the Need to Address the Deplorable Living Conditions of Officers of Nigeria Police Force” moved by Murphy Osaro Omoruyi.
Presenting the motion, Omoruyi informed that in September 2020, the National Assembly passed the Police Reform Bill 2020, which was signed into law by the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, on September 16, 2020, which has as one of its core issues to address the living conditions of the nation’s gallant police officers.
The lawmaker noted that the problem of adequate and dignified accommodation for police officers persists and has so far outlived all previous measures.
He expressed worry that police officers and their families live in squalor quarters characterised by large cracks on the wall, bat-infested houses, leaking roofs and dilapidated structures for barracks across the country.
He argued that the deplorable living condition of the Police officers has dampened their morale and productivity, stressing that if this issue is not urgently addressed, the welfare of officers will continue to deteriorate.
When asked if the IGP, Kayode Egbetokun, is keying into the barracks project, the Force spokesman said: “He’s looking into some of the policies he met on the ground, particularly policies that affect the welfare of police personnel across board but let it be on record that welfare of police personnel is paramount to him. One of the agendas he has for the Nigeria Police Force is to reform, standardise and sanitise the police; we can’t ask somebody to stop corruption without giving him what he needs.”
Asked where the money for the project will be gotten from, he said: “It will come from the budget. We are compiling the budget for 2024 and the IGP has given directives to departments to make their proposals. I have submitted everything and mine is being considered. We will still need intervention funds but most of our projects will be budgeted for.
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Interior, Adams Oshiomhole, has raised the alarm that prisoners from foreign countries are working at construction sites in Nigeria.
He spoke in Abuja on Wednesday when the Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, appeared before the National Assembly Joint Committees on Interior for a budget defence session.
“Your ministry needs to regulate the issuance of the quotas very well as I have it on good authority that prisoners from foreign lands are working in Nigeria as construction workers,” Oshiomhole told the minister.
He said though it was heartwarming that the ministry surpassed its revenue targets on the issuance of expatriate quotas, the policy was giving room for expatriates to steal jobs meant for Nigerians in Nigeria.
“Many non-Nigerians are in the country, some of them live inside containers. They were being paid according to their country’s minimum wage by the construction industry that brought them. I don’t want to mention the companies’ names, but if I’m provoked, I’ll mention them.”
Responding, Tunji-Ojo said his ministry had already come up with the Expatriate Employee Network aimed at safeguarding jobs meant for Nigerians from being stolen by expatriates.
He said the ministry had raked in N1.195bn in revenue from the issuance of expatriate quotas from January to October this year, surpassing its N600m target.
He also said the N380m projected revenue from marriage registration was also surpassed by over N500m with N892.7m realised as of October 31.
A Federal High Court has frozen the accounts of the Kano State Government due to its failure to comply with a court order to pay N30 billion in compensation to victims of the Filling Idi Demolition exercise.
The frozen order affects 24 Kano State bank accounts, including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) account of the state.
The presiding judge, Justice E.A Ekwo, has also directed the Kano State Government to appear before the court on January 18 to provide an explanation regarding the freezing of N30 billion in the affected bank accounts.
The funds are intended to be granted to the Incorporated Trustees of Masallacin Eid Shop Owners.