Thursday, August 11, 2011


8h August 2011
“As I talk to you, only four states can comfortably pay without compromising their development programmes – Lagos, Rivers, Bayelsa and to some extent Delta. We have reached a stage now that if we pay, we are damned. If we don’t pay, we are damned,”
A governor who prefers to remain anonymous, Source ThIsday 4th August 2011)
Not even after the chairman of the governors’ forum finally agreed on behalf of his colleagues that they would pay the minimum wage, not a few governors have been grumbling - not even that of Lagos, which generates an IGR of between 18 to 21 billon naira monthly - about the high cost of the minimum wage on their finances. The complaints centre mostly on the balances which will be left after they return from monthly federation account meetings.
The federal government perhaps negotiating from a position of weakness and keen on avoiding an imminent industrial action has agreed to pay across board. We must however give it to the federal government. They have been the pacesetters in improving the pay of their workers. For close to a year they have increased the wages of federal workers. A civil servant on level 9 working in a federal agency earns about N120,000, while his counterpart in some states on the same level including Plateau takes home about N26,000.00
It is true that many governors concern about the practicability of paying the minimum wage is not in doubt. Many have the burden of competing demand and how to address them. They have to cope with a bourgeoning political class, challenges of insecurity, demands of other arms of government, the public service, political, tribal and social patronage, sudden contingencies, demand for social services and infrastructure. To compound issues, the numbers of pensioners are on the increase, while productivity is on the decline.
Yet, the anger, according to a union official, for the imposition of the minimum wage has some link with how the political class are rewarded in Nigeria. A huge gulf exists, according to him, between the two. He gave me an example of a Health Assistant who worked in one of the ministries I headed who was engaged during the Chief Dariye era and whose last level was level 6, who hitherto received N12, 000 a month as total emolument but is now receiving around N500, 000.00 monthly as a member of the House. Little wander organised labour said it would no longer negotiate with governors over the N18, 000 minimum wage. This is coming against the background of the stance of many governors that they would rather brace up for a “crippling strike” because the new wage cannot be implemented. Organised labour on the other hand has asked all governors “to toe the path of honour” by immediately commencing the implementation of the new wage since the Federal Government had agreed to pay across board. This is coming against the backdrop of the nature of our federation where decisions of such nature are taken at the centre and passed down without consultation with key stakeholders at the state level. At the same time, the idea of a national minimum wage across the country is good as it provides a standard. It is the practice even in developed countries.
What is the way out? There are many things wrong with the nature of the Nigerian society. It is a consumer society that loves pleasure, where we indulge in consumption with little thought of how to create wealth and improve our productive capacity. We live in a society where almost everything is imported from food items, to diesel, to generating sets, to tooth pick to mango juice and even kerosene reading lamps. We spend hundreds of billions of dollars importing things we ought to produce. The new minister of Agriculture has stated that Nigeria spends trillions of naira importing food yearly. Nigerians have become guinea pigs to be used to improve the technology of many Asian countries and because the elite class has not shown the way forward in patronising local goods, imported goods have become a status symbol and means of personal prestige. Nigeria is a renter state that depends on rents collected from the sale of crude oil. To make matters worse, a lot of money is spent on overhead and recurrent expenditure mostly gotten from proceeds of oil money which is shared monthly.
While many governors have complained that they cannot afford to pay, yet they lack the necessary political will to begin the process of taking concrete measures towards radically improving their state’s economy through improvement of the revenue base. Lagos stands out. It didn’t happen in Lagos by wish. It came about through hard work, diligence and proper planning. It came about through putting square pegs in square holes. Many others are not living by example. They make the right statements about improving their revenue base, entrenching due process, ensuring probity and accountability, having zero tolerance for favouritism, sleaze and systematic looting, yet their acts and conducts are far from it. Albert Schweitzer has noted that example is not the main thing in leadership it is the only thing. Many of them have not been good models beyond rhetoric. They must do the difficult thing and practice what they preach. There is nothing more confusing to the masses than a leader who gives good advice and sets bad example. A pint of example they say is worth more than a gallon of advice. This issue of minimum wage offers us an opportunity to prioritise and see how governance can offer us the best result towards concretely improving the lives of our people and reducing the cost of governance..
MY MARCH THROUGH GOVERNMENT: By the time the Chief Dariye/Baba Botmang administration was winding up in 2007, it was evident that the people of Plateau were yearning for change. The two were variously accused of corruption - a matter EFCC is still prosecuting in court. The latter was in fact accused of tribilization of power - a condition where others outside the tribe of power were made to think that they were done a huge favour if they got any appointment or patronage. So when that change came in 2007, yours sincerely had the privileged of been Commissioner for Housing and Environment, then Commerce and Industry and finally Youth and Sports. How did I cope with pressure of people who dissuaded me from accepting to serve, some even as we appeared at the House for screening? Did I sell out when I accepted to be a commissioner or was it merely a continuation of service? If I did not, what has been my contribution in concrete terms? What did I meet on ground when I first reported on 29th of August in the Ministry of Environment? What were the challenges of setting up an engine room for environment? (i.e. purchase of about 32 vehicles made up of trucks, compactors, water tankers, cars, tractor, motorcycles for supervisors and forest officers, strengthening the Forestry Department and raising 2 million nursery trees, engagement of over 5,000 ad hoc staff- mostly made up of widows - and supervisors who worked in 40 communities, installation of sidewalk refuse bins in Jos and all tertiary institutions in the state including UJ etc) How did we go about the issue of cooperative revitalisation in Commerce? After so many false starts how did we get it right to restart the abandoned Zaria road stadium with an increased seating capacity from 27,000 to 44,000 not to forget the Jakatai (Mangu) NYSC permanent orientation camp. How about getting approval for the renovation of the derelict Rwang Pam Township Stadium to a befitting standard with proper seats and standard dressing room and borehole? How did I handle the issue of those who made a big issue just because I engaged a non indigene as SA? What of some political elite in (from) my local government who have an obsessive hatred for my district which has since developed into an encompassing political philosophy? What has been my experience and what are the lessons? Did I take my assignment too seriously? Did I make a difference? What initiative and ideas did I bring into governance? If I did, where did I draw my inspiration? Did I ensure that government resources were used prudently and creatively? Did II walk the talk? What are the legacies? Questions and questions and questions....for another day

Nankin Bagudu esq.

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khalid kassim

Wednesday, August 10, 2011





Friday, August 27, 2010



A little over a week ago, a widow who sweeps around the secretariat junction died and the women in their zone, after doing their daily sweeping core took permission to go and attend the burial. A week later, the women now reported to receive their monthly salary, only to be told that three hundred Naira (N300.00) will be deducted from their monthly eight thousand naira (N8000.00) pay for abstention from work each day. The women in unison rejected the cut and decided they have had enough. They refused to be intimidated. The matter became a matter of public discourse and the women stood their ground. On Tuesday 3rd August 2010 they were called to collect their full pay.

The above scenario is a reflection of the crisis state of development our widows are subjected to through out the 17 Local government areas of Plateau state by a few hands that are saddled with the responsibility of paying widows in the state.

When the Plateau State government introduced measures to keep the city clean and its quest to give a lifeline to the underprivileged, that single act drew a lot of applause from the people of the state. People that were engaged from the on set of that initiative started the work with every zeal and determination and discharged their duties to the admiration of the populace.

Supervisors in the field are required as a matter of priority to ensure that they put in the names of absentees every month so that the money would not be shared amongst a few people. In all the local government areas where this policy is implemented, the people doing the payments are feeding fat on the sweat of widows. The system in the ministry of environment must be the only one where poor widows are made to sign for N8000.00 on the vouchers and are paid less. In some cases when the widows are absent on pay day, they are made to forfeit the entire pay for the month. No account is given of how much is deducted. It is shared by a few people who are feeding fat on the lapse in the system.

The Plateau state government introduced this policy to address the problem of poor sanitation in the state and their contribution has gone a long way in improving the face of the state. The purpose was also to ameliorate the suffering of these widows. It is therefore shocking that this well thought

policy has become a means of self enrichment for a few who are feeding fat on the sweat of the widows.

This issue needs to be looked into with a view to punishing the culprits. The three ministries, the ministry of environment, finance and local government should do something about it immediately. All right conscience people must condemn this outright fraud by these few selfish people bent on destroying this noble ideal.

We in the League condemn this shameful act intoto and call on the relevant officers to act so as to save the face of the situation.

Gad Peter


Thursday, June 24, 2010


8th June 2010


We observed with utter dismay the upheavals that rocked the city of Jos yesterday the 7th June 2010, which led to the displacement of people; partial collapse of economic activities in the city center; the killing of innocent citizens; and the vandalization of properties.
Every sane human being will condemn in strong terms the way and manner the okada riders resorted to taking the laws into their hands. The action of the Okada riders does not elicit sympathy from us because it smacks of high level of irresponsibility and a gross violation of an existing law. The innocent people killed by the protesters did not enact the law neither were responsible for the enforcement of the law. We candidly and urgently call on the leadership of the okada riders to call their members to order and find alternative means of channeling their grievances and remain law abiding citizens of the state.

In the same vein, we want to condemn in totality the half-hearted action taken by government in trying to enforce the law prohibiting the operation of commercial motor-cycle riders. It is saddening that the will of government is invariably tested without appropriate measures to curtail such brazen effrontery on the government. It is pertinent therefore, that if government lacks the political will to consummate this ban it should restrain from embarking on it than to start something that will cause the dead of innocent people. We are aggrieved at the insensitivity of the government towards the deployment of adequate security personnel to nip the senselessness of the protesters in the bud.

Looking at the volatile nature of the okada riders and their nuisance notoriety, which informed the ban in the first place, government would have been more sensitive in its approach to implementing the ban. We expect that adequate security measures should have been put in place in order to checkmate the activities of the okada riders as this would have averted the chaos that happened in the city of Jos.

When government is implementing its policies, it should be committed in ensuring that it is been enforced to the later instead of half-hearted implementation of policies. In implementing a ban of such it is expected that government provides alternative means of transportation which will ameliorate the suffering imposed by the ban on the citizenry. It is equally envisaged that government would integrate the okada riders through the provision of other sources of livelihood to check the impending negative influence their idleness will bring to the society. But the absence of such remedial policies undermines the effectiveness of the law. It becomes untenable if government puts a show in trying to ban the okada riders and later go to sleep only to be awoken by the same okada riders roaming the street.

This incident has created victims and it would be doubly insensitive on the part of government not to adequately compensate them. Everyone affected by the chaos should be adequately compensated.
The Okada riders should also be warned that there is no justification for flouting the law of the land and those found to have cause the chaos be dealt with accordingly. We also want to put it on notice that government would be held responsible in the event of another breakdown of law and order in the state because what happened yesterday was totally avoidable.

Patience Dassah
Programme Coordinator



10th June 2010


We condemn in strong terms the killing of a police officer and the attack on the places of worship by some hoodlums and commercial motorcyclist in the city of Jos. We observed with dismay, that some unpatriotic citizens have made it a habit that at the slightest provocation, they take the laws into their hands thereby distorting the peace of the state.

We want to use this medium to call with a loud voice on all well meaning Nigerians and religious leaders to condemn in totality these act of lawlessness which is directed at uniform personnel, worship centers and business premises.

To these end we call on the police authority to equip their personnel and to beef-up security at areas which have become flash points and susceptible to incessant attacks. Government should brace up to the challenges the ban has thrown up by tackling the unceasing lawlessness that is becoming the order of the day in the city.

The commercial motorcyclists should bear in mind that the law they are flouting and the law enforcement agencies they are confronting today will be their saving grace tomorrow.
Peace is the only alternative to an orderly society.

Patience Dassah
Programme Coordinator


Friday, March 26, 2010


12th March 2010


When the Acting President ordered the military to lead the security operations in Plateau State, the GOC issued a statement, albeit taking it beyond constitutional bounds, that he has taken over the internal security operations of the state, it was thought everything will be put under control and we would not be confronted by enemies that kill sleep.

It became shockingly disappointing that in spite of the military taking over the security of the state, many innocent women and infants were hacked down by some blood thirsty Fulani herdsmen.

Instead of this happening to humble and make the GOC sober and make him come to terms with the fact that he has failed, he came out trading words and pointing accusing fingers and further showing his lack of understanding of the Plateau crises. One wonders how his pronouncement can bring the DEATH back to life.

The statement by Gen. Sale Maina sounds so absurd and illogical and depicts his lack of grasp of the enormity of his duty. We decline to defer to his submission that no government official called him. Where does the buck stops when it comes to the issue of intelligence? Is it with the government officials or the man who of late took over the security of the state? This clearly shows his proclivity to abdicate his responsibility and resort to blame game.

Another point of concern is the fact that the GOC alleged that he and his men were misled to the wrong direction. This is a confirmation of the urgent need to remove him. How can Nigerians entrust their lives in the hands of a military general who could easily be misled? By this statement he is likely to give a leeway to the assailants to always send him to the wrong direction and continue their reign of terror.

There is a huge credibility gap in all the claims of General Maina. Concerning the deployment of troops he contradicted himself by saying the troops were at Dogo Nahawa by 2.45am and that the carnage started at 4am. If that is the case then it would have been checkmated. We challenge the GOC that what he is saying is a blatant lie. As at the time we were at Ratsat village by 1.30 pm, there were just two military personnel seated in a Honda Accord car. It was at 5pm that we noticed the arrival of two trucks of military men into the village.

We wish to remind the military authority of the necessity to investigate the activities of the military personnel posted to Jos and to explain the reckless killing of innocent Nigerians by the military. Recently innocent people were shot by soldiers in Tudun Wada, Barakin Ladi and Police Staff College area. A 26 year old Dung Sambo was shot and killed in his family compound in Barakin Ladi and his mother was also ordered to be killed. The question is, who should the people be afraid of? Soldiers or the assailants? We call for the thorough probe of the military so that all that are involved in the extra-judicial killings be punished.

Since the GOC cannot provide the needed security and also stop the killing of innocent Nigerians by military personnel it is not debatable that he should be removed. We re-echo and re-enforce our earlier call that he be removed. NO MORE NO LESS!!! .

Shamaki Gad Peter



Wednesday, March 17, 2010


RC 483637

24th February 2010

National Advisory Council: Dr. Bala Takaya, Prof. Sam Egwu. Trustees: Hauwa Shekarau, Rev. Mathias Ndian, Dr. Ayodele Jegede.

Christine Olaniyan, Director: Shamaki Gad Peter


We are glad to receive the news of the arrival of President Yar’Adua back to the country. Though the arrival was without any fanfare because of its clandestine nature, we hope that Nigerians that tried without success to see the President will have the opportunity to see the once elusive president.

It is our expectation that the president has arrived with all his faculties sound and intact to be able to pilot the affairs of the country very well. This is because his presence alone will not guarantee presidential powers but the soundness of his health matters.

The Acting President so far has steered the ship of the country with dexterity and deserve the support of all and sundry and any attempt to rock the boat will be a great disservice to this nation. Therefore we demand that anyone plotting to destabilize the nation using the arrival of Yar’Adua should perish such an ambition because it will be resisted by all Nigerians.

We equally make bold to say any form of incitement by anyone to cause confusion or to resort to any illegal means to overheat the system will be a test of the will of Nigerians to oppose any illegality.

Yar’Adua and his supporters should know that his arrival is not a blank cheque for assumption of powers until he transmits a written letter to the National Assembly signifying his return from medical vacation. We warn that any form of forgery will not be tolerated because the president must be seen to be fit.

It is imperative for President Yar’Adua’s supporters to note that they should stop playing on the sensibilities of Nigerians by sneaking him out and sneaking him into the country. The President is accountable to all Nigerians and not a minority of Nigerians who feel they can hold this country to ransom.

Shamaki Gad Peter

posted by Khalid kassim