The Federal Government on Friday requested the assistance of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in the review and strengthening of Labour laws in the country.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr William Alo, made the request while receiving the ILO Director General, Mr Guy Ryder, in his office in Abuja.
He also requested ILO’s assistance in capacity building for professional officers of the ministry.
According to him, there is the need to strengthen the Labour Inspectorate System in the country by providing technical assistance with regards to granting quotas for full fellowships to facilitate access to training programmes.
While appreciating the ILO for the Decent Work Country Programme I and Decent Work Country Programme II, Alo appealed to ILO to extend its usual full support to the Nigerian Government in the formulation and implementation of Decent Work Country Programme III, which had become overdue.
He also requested for technical and financial support from the ILO for the implementation of action plans of various national policies such as National Employment Policy and National Policy on Labour Migration.
Others are National Productivity Policy, National Policy on Child Labour and National Policy on Occupational Safety and Health.
Alo acknowledged the support extended to Nigeria in the development of the policies for the achievement of decent work, and urged ILO to consider providing technical and financial support for the establishment of the National Labour Market Information System.
The Permanent Secretary further acknowledged ILO’s recognition of Nigeria as a strategic partner and expressed delight that Nigeria was chosen as the venue for the Global Youth Employment Forum.
He reiterated Nigeria’s resolve to continue partnering with the ILO, pledging to continually extend all necessary support to the organisation in all areas desired.
In his response, Ryder said that he was in Nigeria to understand the process and challenges faced in the labour sector and how the organisation could be of assistance.
Ryder said that he was aware that in the past, ILO had collaborated in the formulation of major programme in the country, especially the National Agreement Programme, but noted that ”there are some pending issues like labour legislation review and reforms.
“I wanted to be sure, while in the country, that the different Tripartite Council and structure which exists, don’t simply exist on paper but in practice.’’
He promised to meet with the Trade Union, NLC, TUC and NECA to assess their feelings on how the Tripartite Cooperation was functioning in Nigeria.
Edited by Jane-Frances Oraka and Ephraims Sheyin
Buhari salutes former Military President, Ibrahim Babangida at 78
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday congratulated former military President, retired Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida on his 78th birthday.
President Buhari’s congratulatory message was conveyed in a statement issued by Malam Garba Shehu, his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, in Abuja on Saturday.
President Buhari said: “On behalf of the Federal Executive Council, my family and all Nigerians, please accept my warm felicitations on your 78th birthday.
“On this special day of your life, the reminiscences of your courage and invaluable service to the army in protecting the sovereignty of the country come to the fore. Thank you for the role of statesman you are playing in the affairs the nation.
“As you age gracefully, the country will continue to look up to you for guidance and wisdom.
”May Allah continue to increase your health and grant you the strength to give your best to your family and the nation.”
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari returns after 9-day visit to Katsina
President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday returned to Abuja after a nine-day official visit, including celebrating the Eid-el-Kabir with family members and inauguration of some developmental projects in Katsina State.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that shortly before departing the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua Airport, Katsina for Abuja, Buhari had charged the military to be more spontaneous in restoring peace to the country, particularly states troubled by bandits.
He gave the order when he addressed 15 officers and 160 soldiers of the 17th Army Brigade and Nigerian Air Force 213 Operational Base in Katsina, under the “Operation Hadarin Daji’’, at the Airport in Katsina.
While in his hometown, Daura, Buhari received Guinean President, Prof. Alpha Conde, and the two presidents performed Eid prayers in Daura on Sunday.
Conde, who was accorded a warm welcome by members of Daura community, was also conferred with a traditional as well as being treated to the traditional Durbar display at the palace of the Emir of Daura, Dr Faruk Umar Faruk.
NAN reports that the developmental projects inaugurated by the President included network of rural roads where he applauded the progress being recorded under the administration of Gov. Aminu Masari.
The president, who also inaugurated the Nigerian Air Force Reference Hospital in Daura on Thursday, met with Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from seven local governments affected by banditry in the state.
Buhari also received members of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and leadership of the National Assembly and Katsina State House of Assembly who paid him Sallah homage in Daura.
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz
NSE scrutinises sustainable rail transport in Nigeria
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Bwari Branch, on Saturday met to scrutinise the way forward for sustainable railway transportation system in the country.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that this was part of the association’s target at the branch’s 2019 Engineering Conference and Annual General Meeting in Abuja.
The theme of the meeting was ‘Effective Rail System in Nigeria; A Panacea for Sustainable Economic Growth and Development’.
Mr Dauda Musa, Chairman NSE, Bwari branch said that the theme of the conference was chosen in view of the achievement and stride of the present administration in developing the sector.
He said that the rail transport has been identified as a panacea to transportation challenges globally.
Musa said Nigeria’s developmental progress would be significantly enhanced with the attention given to rail transport by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Mr Babakobi Mohammed, Guest Speaker and also, Patron of the branch, said that the Federal Government was on the right track in reviving the system.
While commending the Buhari administration for the effort, he also noted that the transport system would undoubtedly have an extensive impact on the economy.
He said: “These impacts are on job employment, reestablish commercial hubs and socio-econmic development.
“An efficient rail network is critical to reducing the overall carbon emissions given the existing underserved volume of passengers and freight traffic across the country.
“Nigeria’s rail development will also spill to the standardisation of our ports. For instance, decongesting the Apapa port and removing trucks from the road.
“This will enable the ports to be more efficient and make goods cheaper for Nigerians and ultimately drive down cost of doing business in Nigeria.
“Nationally, it will also reduce the cost of road maintenance, promote longetivity of our road network, ensure safety of vehicle, drivers and less road accidents.”
Also speaking, Mr Ali Rabiu, President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), said that the development of the rail system was key in every developing country.
Rabiu, who was represented by Mr Felix Ebuzeme, said that the government needs to put more efforts in the development of the sector.
He said: “Its development in this country has since lingered and is still struggling to meet up with other developed nations.
“It is imperative for government at all levels to consider the development of the system for a sustainable economic development. All hands must be on deck to achieve this,” he said.
NAN reports that the conference coincides with the branch’s one year Anniversary and First Annual General Meeting since its inauguration in July, 2018.
The event had in attendance representatives from various Engineering societies and their Executive members, Council members and government and private stakeholders.
Edited by Ismail Abdulaziz
Non-teaching university workers begin 5-day warning strike Monday
Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) will begin a five-day warning strike from Monday, August 19, following alleged delay of the Federal Government in addressing their grievances.
Among the contentious areas included, Earned Allowances which the non teaching staff unions claimed that they were shortchanged in the sharing formula.
They said that out of the N23 billion released to the four unions in the university, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) allegedly took over about eighty per cent of the money, leaving only twenty per cent for the three unions.
They also lamented the inability of government to obey court judgment, especially the judgment of the Industrial Court in 2016 that directed government to reinstate sacked workers of Staff Schools, which had not been complied with and the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement.
The National Public Relations Officer of SSANU, Mr Salaam Abdussobur in a statement on Friday, said the one week strike would commence on Monday.
He said: “Based on poor response from the federal government, it is inevitable that a one week strike action shall be held as from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd August. This is following the expiration of the 14 days ultimatum given to the Federal Government.
“We met with officials of the Federal Ministry of Education led by the Permanent Secretary last week. While the meeting appeared successful on its face value, the resolutions are yet to be backed up by any correspondence or digest as agreed at the meeting
“This is not the first time that meetings would be held and we will take them by their words only to be disappointed by their actions.
“Our members, being our principals, have contended that for all decisions reached with Government, there must be a level of corresponding actions that show their sincerity and commitment to those decisions. If the actions do not correspond, we must continue with our agitations.
“So, a five day warning, being part of the activities lined up in our agitations, have been resolved to proceed between 19th to 23rd.
“After the warning strike, another review shall be made which will determine the way forward,” he said.
The Nigeria News Agency recalls that the Joint Action Committee (JAC) comprising NASU and SSANU had issued a 14-Day Ultimatum to the federal government last week to either address their grievances or they would embark on total and indefinite strike.
It would be recalled that the two unions in a circular to all the branches after the JAC meeting in Abuja, said that at the expiration of the 14-days ultimatum, if the federal government failed to address all their grievances, they would be left with no other option than withdrawing their services.
In the circular to all their branches with the title “Notice of Industrial Action”, which was signed by the Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Mr Samson Ugwoke and the General Secretary of NASU, Mr Peters Adeyemi, the two unions lamented the delay in obeying court judgment.
“After extensive deliberations, JAC further observed that: No date has been rescheduled by the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Senator Ahmed Lawan for the meeting with the national leadership of JAC.
“The meeting earlier scheduled by the Federal Ministry of Education with the leadership of JAC national has been rescheduled for Wednesday, August 7, 2019 with no reason(s) stated.
“From the foregoing, JAC national has resolved as follows: that a 14-Day ultimatum of Industrial action be given to the federal government of Nigeria to address the pending issues with effect from Monday, 5th August, 2019.
“ During the period of the ultimatum, all branches are hereby directed to carry out peaceful protest on Tuesday, 6th August, 2019 and Thursday, 15th August,2019 respectively.
“At the expiration of the 14-days ultimatum, Sunday 18th August 2019, without any positive response from the Federal Government of Nigeria, members shall proceed on a 5-day warning strike in all branches from Monday 19th to Friday 23rd August, 2019, inclusive.
“You are therefore directed to properly mobilise our members for this action. All defaulting branches shall be sanctioned accordingly,” it said.
After the threat to proceed on strike, the senate president, organised a meeting with the unions to resolve the contentious issues, but the meeting could not hold.
The date scheduled coincided with the day members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria had embarked on a protest for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky.
Though, leaders of the union waited for the senate president for a rescheduled meeting in Abuja for many days, no information was given to them on that.
El-zakzaky: FG explains repatriation from India
The Federal Government on Friday explained circumstances that to to the “repatriation” of the leader of the proscribed Islamic Movement in Nigeria, Sheik Ibrahim El-zakzaky from India.
Mrs Grace Gekpe, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in a statement on Friday in Abuja said the acts of misconduct exhibited by El-zakzaky in India necessitated his repatriation.
“First of all, it was El-zakzaky himself that chose the Medanta Hospital in India for his treatment; the Federal Government gave him the option to chose any hospital in the world and he chose Medanta.
“The public may note that El-zakzaky’s actions in India demonstrated malicious intents that were capable of embarrassing the governments of Nigeria and India.
“With total disrespect and complete loss of decorum for international procedures while in India, he initiated contacts with a team of lawyers led by Ali Zia Kabir Chaudary and Gunjan Singh in that country.
“He also contacted some Non-Governmental Organisations such as the Islamic Human Rights Commission and other Shiite groups. His aim was to seek asylum and eventually relocate to another country.
“It is important to note that if an Indian court had granted El-zakzaky asylum, it would have violated the Nigerian court order that granted him permission to travel for medical treatment,” Gekpe said.
According to her, El-zakzaky used the opportunity of being in India to attempt to internationalise his cause by mobilising the right groups.
She added that the most unfortunate and embarrassing was his quest to be relocated to a five-star hotel to receive visitors instead of being admitted in the hospital as a sick person he claimed to be.
Gekpe explained further that in spite of his misconduct, El-zakzaky’s spouse went further to antagonise the Indian and Nigerian security agents and accused them of killing her children.
“These acts were aimed at winning international sympathy as well as disparaging the Nigerian Government.
“Having subordinated the quest for medical treatment to other ulterior motives, it became obvious that El-zakzaky was focused on realising some sinister motives thus the decision to return him to Nigeria,” Gekpe stressed.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the Nigerian Government and its relevant agencies took step to comply with the court that granted El-zakzaky leave to travel to India via Dubai for medical treatment.
According to reports, on reaching Dubai El-zakzaky began to display ulterior motive against laid down procedures requesting for his passport to be handed over to him, but state officials would not budge to his pressure.
Authorities said the situation became worse in India when he refused to subject himself to preliminary medical checks.
Edited by Sadiya Hamza