The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, has called on organised labour to challenge political leaders to ensure that state resources meet the needs of workers and other Nigerians.
Oshiomhole made the call in Abuja at a reception in honour of the Director General, International Labour Organisation (ILO), Mr Guy Ryder.
Oshiomhole expressed concern over non-chalant attitude of leaders towards improving the lives of Nigerian workers, and said the organised labour must adopt aggressive engagements to change the status quo.
“We have to do things differently about minimum wage,” he said, noting that whereas prices of goods and services had gone up astronomically in the country, workers wages have remained static.
“So if every other costs are changing, and labour cost is constant…, somebody is being squeezed.
“Rising crises, stagnant wages, a very miserable lifestyle, and you have to fight for that.
“And we now see in Nigeria the difference between signing an agreement and the challenge of translating those laws, and even the contradiction of signing laws first before getting consultants to tell us how to implement these laws.
“Just to tell you that from inside, I am much more convinced that unions should not only exist, but should have the capacity and ruthlessly deploy that capacity to ensure that the resources of states are dissipated in favour of working people and working families,” the former NLC president said.
While commending the ILO for its focus on Youth Employment and Social Justice, Oshiomhole said focus should also be on ageing population and under employment of young persons.
He said Nigeria ought to do something about it’s population growth which was at 3 per cent annually, as against 2 percent national economic growth.
“With population at 3 per cent, poverty must be endemic, it is not rocket science, so we so need to have conversations on various aspects of society, particularly at what we do differently to get the youth busy.”
He urged young people to collaborate to fight poverty by pushing those in government to create the environment for them to think and change the narratives.
Earlier, the ILO DG, Mr Guy Ryder, said Nigeria trade union movements have made great impact in defence of basic fundamental rights in line with the provisions of the organisation.
According to him, the organised labour has also played extraordinary role in building the nation’s democracy, saying the consistency was in line with the fundamental values of the ILO.
The NLC President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, commended the ILO for the privilege given to Nigeria to host the Global Youth Employment Forum.
“It is also important in all jurisdictions that without the issue of standards, certainly workers organizations will have nothing to celebrate.”
Wabba noted that the rights of workers to belong to trade unions and engage in collective bargaining has put workers and employers on the same pedestal.
“The most profound challenge of the world of work lately was insecurity, uncertainties and impact of technology
“Technology has made jobs threatened; decent jobs should be at the centre of all economic policies, because human beings are at the centre of every development.”
Wabba said NLC would continue to seek ILO’s support for capacity building and intervention for Nigeria to be at par with its counterparts, pledging more commitment to the values of social dialogue on minimum wage and other issues affecting Nigerian workers.
Edited by Maharazu Ahmed
Aviation unions will continue to resist planned concession of major airports – ANAP scribe
The Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) on Sunday said that aviation unions would continue to kick against planned concession of some major airports across the country by the Federal Government.
ANAP also raised the alarm over the existence of numerous airstrips in the country, warning that safety and security could not be guaranteed in some of them.
Mr Abdulrazaq Saidu, the General Secretary, ANAP, told newsmen on Sunday in Lagos that the insecurity in the country had made the concession plan unfavourable and dangerous.
The government had appointed Transaction Advisers to mid-wife the process aimed at ensuring that the airports operate optimally and were at par with their contemporaries across the globe.
However, Saidu noted that if government scaled through with the proposal, several direct staff of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would lose their jobs.
He said thousands of indirect workers would also be affected, stressing that concession would negate the policy of the government to create more jobs for qualified Nigerians.
Saidu said : “We are saying capital no to the planned concession of our airports.
“This is simple. We have security challenges in the country and we can’t leave our security in the hands of individuals or private organisations that we don’t trust or know their backgrounds.
“Recently, somebody beat the security agencies to gain access to one of the aircraft parked at the Lagos Airport.
” If the government concessions the major gateways, it will be a haven for drug peddlers, money launderers and importation of unapproved ammunitions. We will be sitting on a keg of gunpowder.”
He also drew the government’s attention to the operating mode of some airstrips in the country, without the presence of FAAN Aviation Security (AVSEC).
” External aggression can come from such airstrips,” Saidu said.
The union scribe, however, expressed his support to government’s plans to birth a new national carrier for Nigeria after the liquidation of the former, the Nigeria Airways Limited, in 2004.
He urged the government to make the operations of the airline transparent to stakeholders in the industry to ensure its sustenance.
He warned that the composition of a new national carrier in the mode of Nigeria Airways would fail, noting that it must be driven by core investors and individuals in order to succeed.
Edited by Peter Dada
USAID boss applauds Bwari community’s conflict resolution strategy
Mr Mark Green, Chief Administrator, USAID, has applauded the strategy put in place by Igu Community of Bwari Area Council in the FCT, toward resolving conflicts between farmers and herders.
Green gave the applause when he led his team on a social visit to the District Head of the community on Sunday.
While commending the leadership of the community for ensuring peace and stability in the area, Green said that the move was worth emulating which was, indeed, the reason for his visit.
“We have heard stories of the hospitality of this community. Our mission, basically, is to learn from you how you are able to resolve small disputes successfully.
“Because of your leadership, people here live in harmony. I want to learn from your success as this will help us take the lessons to other people in other places,” Green said.
He explained that after he was inaugurated district head five years ago, he constituted a committee which comprised of members from both parties, who initiated strategies to resolve the issues at hand.
“The cattle herders settled here with us a long time ago and have become part of us.
“What I did was to involve the chiefs under me, the Ardo of the Fulani, the chairman and spokesman to the Miyetti Allah association into the committee.
“This committee tends to solve every issue between farmers and herders amicably.
” For instance, when a farmer makes a complaint that his crops have been tempered with, the committee visits the farm to see the level of damage done.
“If there is a suspect or the farmer has seen the owner of the cattle, he is summoned and, after dialogue, asked to pay some compensation to the victim.
“We have earlier warned against anyone taking the law into his hands, so anyone found wanting is always brought to book,” he said.
Solomon added that the Police was sometimes brought in, depending on the nature of the case.
He also added that the committee usually seek advice and prayers from the religious leaders in the community whenever there were such issues, so that peace could be sustained in the area.
He advised other communities in the country and beyond, who were faced with similar challenges, to put the fear of God in their hearts and do away with religious sentiments.
The district head also urged them to set up committees to encourage dialogue toward settling knotty issues amicably.
FG to deliver 1m houses per year – Minister
The Federal Government on Saturday promised to address housing deficit by delivering one million houses per year to close the 17 million shortfall by the year 2033.
The Minister of State, Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu disclosed this in Abuja on Saturday during an inspection of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) mass housing project in Zuba, Federal Capital Territory.
Aliyu said the government has decided to improve on current construction of 100,000 houses per years in order to meet the basic needs of the people.
“The production now is low; we are constructing 100,000 houses per year and we hope to improve it by constructing one million houses per year in order to close the gap of 17 million to 20 million housing deficits by the year 2033.
“That is the target of government, we are committed to doing that and to ensure that the programmes, policies are accomplished
“We will provide enabling environment to attract investors into the sector to help solve the problem of housing deficit in the country and to achieve the government goal by 2033,’’ he said.
Aliyu also assured that the problems associated with acquisition of lands would be addressed.
Speaking on the Zuba project, the minister said it was designed specifically to address the huge housing deficit for the medium and low income earners.
He said the project which was to be completed by August was delayed because of the rainy season.
The minister assured that the government would deliver the project as soon as possible.
“We will ensure that the project is completed soon, because it is one of our primary focuses.
“That is why it is our first point of call after inauguration,’’ he said.
Mr Umar Gonto, Acting Managing Director, FHA reiterated government commitment to ensuring that the common Nigerians have access to affordable housing
He said that the project was among many others spread across the country by the federal government,.
Gonto said that the houses were designed for low-income earners both in the public and private sector and the self employed, once they meet up with the criteria.
Mr Ibrahim Shuaibu, the Project Manager who took the minister round the site said the 764 housing units is at 75 per cent completion stage.
The Nigeria News Agency reports the housing project is located near the Zuba model market, the Zuba spare parts market and the FCT College of Education.
Edited by Rotimi Ijikanmi
FG launches ”Not for Sale” campaign to address menace of human smugglers – Buhari
By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Aug. 24, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari says the nation’s anti-trafficking agency has rolled out the “Not for Sale” campaign to protect against the deceptions of human smugglers across the country.
Nigeria News Agency reports that the United Nations has declared Aug. 23 as International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
President Buhari maintained that the ”Not for Sale” was also aimed at helping those who ”might be vulnerable to false promises see through the ruse and say no.”
The Nigerian leader, who described modern slavery not simply a campaign of hatred, but a means of making cheap money, advocated for the review of anti-slavery laws to make economically unprofitable.
He said: ”One distinction from then and now is important: the costs. From records, adjusted for today’s prices, the cost of a human-being-as-property was valued on average at $40,000.
”Today, it is just $90, sometimes even lower. We must remember that slavery is not simply a campaign of hatred; it is the pursuit of profit.
”One way to extinguish it in its current forms, therefore, is to make it economically unfeasible.
”This means making sure that any anti-slavery laws have bite, come with strong penalties and are enforced.”
According to him, it is also vital to have a robust tip-off and reporting system.
”Where this once meant detecting ships, today the signs are less conspicuous. The public must be shown how to see what is hidden in plain sight, particularly signs of suspicious behaviour.
”This might seem broad. But vagueness should not give rise to reluctance to report anything that could be smuggling or forced servitude.
”If something doesn’t look right, report it, for you could be securing another human’s freedom,” he added.
The president noted that the appearance of modern slavery might have changed, but the institution had not.
He explained that, in Africa, its modern forms include debt bondage, the enslavement of war captives, commercial sexual exploitation and forced domestic servitude.
”Holding people held against their will, controlling their movements and forcing them to work for the sole profit of others — wherever they are — is slavery today and always.
”Slavery, once again, has become entwined in the global economy — and it is largely unseen. For instance, most of us might know in principle that the mining of cobalt crucial to our smartphones might have used forced labour,” he said.
President Buhari said though there are no radical solutions to modern slavery, however, stressed the need for political will on the parts of world leaders to address the menace.
”But on this, we can learn from the past, the shadows in which modern slavery proliferates today.
”It is not enough to mark this 400th anniversary. We must use it as a platform to eliminate slavery in all its present-day forms.
”We should reflect in memory to find a better future, one that should ensure freedom for all.”
Edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari congratulates Jibril Aminu at 80
By Ismaila Chafe
Abuja, Aug. 24, 2019 President Muhammadu Buhari has joined the academia, other statesmen and political leaders in celebrating Prof. Jibril Aminu, who turns 80 on Aug. 25, 2019.
President Buhari, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Saturday, lauded Aminu’s pedigree of excellence, stewardship and dedication to the growth of the nation and humanity.
The President felicitated with the medical doctor, consultant and scholar for scoring many firsts in his chosen career, and promoting a culture of multi-disciplinary impact through commitment and focus.
He also commended him for serving the nation variously as a minister, diplomat, administrator and senator.
President Buhari affirmed that ”Aminu’s exceptionality stems from his forthrightness, strong sense of fairness, love for learning and unwavering support for issues that affect the livelihood of the ordinary people.”
While highlighting the Professor’s many counsels to leaders and interventions as a lawmaker from 2003 to 2011, the president applauded his versatility and contributions to national development.
He acknowledged that Aminu had served the country as a Minister of Education and Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, believing that the scholar played a significant role in representing and projecting Nigeria at the global stage, which generations would remember.
President Buhari rejoiced with family members, friends, academic and political associates of the physician, praying that the almighty God would grant him longer life and good health.
(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)