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Conditions of Service: Union shuts down aviation agencies’ offices at Lagos airport

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the union is protesting the delay in the release of the Conditions of Service of all aviation agencies by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.



By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos, Dec. 14, 2018 (NNN) The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on Friday shut down the offices of aviation agencies at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, over the delay in the release of their Conditions of Service.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) reports that the union is protesting the delay in the release of the Conditions of Service of all aviation agencies by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.

The union members were seen at about 6.30 a.m. on Friday carrying different placards and chanting solidarity songs.

They barricaded the offices of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).

Also shut down were the headquarters of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the Lagos airport.

However, the action did not affect flight operations at the nation’s busiest airport as airlines and passengers went about their respective businesses without harassment by the union.

The National President, NUATE, Mr Ben Nnabue, told NNN that for quite a long time the workers and the management of the aviation agencies had signed the conditions of service but it had yet to be implemented.

“We have the Conditions of Service which is the agreement between the managements and the aviation union.

“The Conditions of Service stipulates that it should be reviewed every three years and since 2015 this Conditions of Service has expired and the renewal is not coming.

“However, we have actually agreed with the new Conditions of Service with our management and we have forwarded it to the Salaries and Wages Commission but for the past five years it has not been implemented.

“So consequently, the spirit and morale of the workers as a result of the non- implementation of the Conditions of Service are very low and we felt that we have gotten to a stage where we can no longer keep quiet.

“The union cannot just keep quiet because at a point, the aviation workers had felt that we had compromised and we have to provide leadership,’’ he said.

Nnabue said after this protest, the union would embark on a total strike if the Salaries and Wages Commission failed to accede to their demands.

According to him, this is just a minor protest we are embarking on and if after today nothing happens, then we have to plan for a total strike for the whole of the industry.

The NUATE boss said the strike would not affect the operations of airlines as their management boards were already implementing the Conditions of Service.

He said: “The protest will not affect the airlines and ground handlers because we are already handling the Conditions of Service with their managements.

“Many of them have given us good Conditions of Service while others are at the point of signing it. At least 50 per cent of it has been implemented.’’ (NNN)
Edited by Tayo Ikujuni/Adeleye Ajayi


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COVID-19: Kwara Govt gives conditions for worship centres to reopen Friday



Kwara Government says worship centres may reopen from Friday,  June 5 if religious centres  satisfy certain criteria already agreed with various religious umbrella bodies in the state.

Mr Kayode Alabi, the Deputy Governor and Chairman of the Technical Committee on COVID-19, stated this while briefing newsmen in Ilorin on Wednesday.

He,  however, warned that the concession for churches and mosques to reopen does not mean that the state had flattened the curve of transmission of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said  the decision came hours after the Kwara State Technical Committee on COVID-19 held a marathon meeting with the leadership of the Muslim and Christian communities, including the Jama’atu Nasrul Islam (JNI) and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

“We are definitely not out of the woods as cases continue to rise, especially because of violation of travel restrictions

“The meeting centred around whether or not to reopen the worship centres across the state, as suggested by the Federal Government.

” However, in line with the presidential advisory and the positions of our religious umbrella bodies in the state, worship centres may reopen from June 5,  provided they satisfy the following conditions:

“Worship centres shall be organised by the respective head of the congregation in such a way that one attendant is at least one metre away from the next

” Each worship centre shall make provisions for hand washing or hand sanitiser and infrared thermometer

” Wearing of face masks shall be mandatory for all worshippers

“There shall be no hand shaking or hugging among worshippers

” Children remain restricted from worship centres and people above 65 or persons with underlying health conditions are urged to stay away from worship centres

“Muslims should perform ablution from their own houses. Ablution spots are not allowed for now to avoid the spread of the virus.

” Muslim women are to stay away from mosques, as suggested by the leadership of the Muslim community in the state.

“Each worship centre is to dedicate a few minutes before service or prayers to educate attendants about COVID-19 and its dangers,” the deputy governor said.

He said the government’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) shall conduct random visit to worship centres to take samples and do temperature checks.

The deputy governor said that government shall hold affected religious leaders responsible for non compliance with all COVID-19-related safety measures in their worship centres.

He added that all the conditions was agreed to  by the religious umbrella bodies.

He said further that the leadership of religious communities agreed that any worship centre that violated these provisions would be shutdown and its leadership strictly held accountable.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)



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Feature: Deported Salvadoran recalls dangerous conditions, inadequate care at U.S. detention center during pandemic




Salvadoran migrant “Carlos” had been locked in a U.S. detention center for more than two months, and he described it as having poor healthcare that only worsened due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Carlos was deported back to El Salvador last month, and the 31-year-old, who spoke to Xinhua under conditions of anonymity due to security issues, said he lost 20 kilos during his stay in the detention center. Carlos suffers from hypertension and experienced digestive issues while in detention, which he says U.S. authorities essentially ignored.

He said that he was placed in a cell with other migrants from the end of January to the beginning of April, and authorities failed to observe measures meant to limit the spread of the virus. He also claims he was not tested before being deported.

“There was no type of protection or handling … They did not administer any type of test,” Carlos told Xinhua.

Analysts and advocates have warned of the risk of continued deportations to Latin America during the pandemic without examining deportees. In Guatemala, Mexico, and other countries, infections have been reported among deportees, a situation that, according to experts, could affect countries with fragile health systems.

Carlos said that during his detention, he witnessed a diabetic Cuban detainee faint while guards looked on indifferently. On another occasion, a Salvadoran detainee collapsed with abdominal pain and was only taken to the infirmary several hours later.

He explained that he fled El Salvador fearing for his life after gang members threatened to kill him when he could no longer pay them extortion fees. Like many Central Americans, Carlos crossed the Rio Grande into the United States to request asylum, but officials arrested him as soon as he stepped onto American soil.

He was transferred to the Rio Grande Detention Center in the city of Laredo, Texas, where he says his stay was traumatic due to his health conditions and the lack of medical attention.

“I left El Salvador looking to save my life in the United States, but I almost lost it due to authorities in the United States,” he said.

He said that immigration authorities deported him on April 7 along with around 70 other Salvadorans, who were put on a plane after their temperatures were taken and they were given masks.

Carlos shared his experience over the phone from a quarantine center, where he has remained since his repatriation. In the face of the pandemic, the Salvadoran government decided in March to isolate people entering the country in quarantine centers to prevent the spread of the virus.

There have already been 1,145 cases of the novel coronavirus among detainees at U.S. immigration centers, according to figures released on Tuesday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The director of the Salvadoran Migrant Institute (Insami), Cesar Rios, told Xinhua that deportations from the United States represent a great risk due to the possibility of migrants being infected while in detention centers.

“It should not be surprising that deported migrants return infected … We must ask the United States to stop deportations now, because it is as if they are sending us another level of vulnerability that will be incorporated into communities,” said Rios.

“In addition to being in these detention centers, there really is no adequate or trained care for them. As we say, it’s just up to good luck, and the strongest will survive,” said Insami doctor Jizi Moza.

Thus far, the Salvadoran government has not reported any spread of the virus among deportees to the country, which has registered more than 1,500 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.


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Lufthansa says “unable” to approve state rescue package over EU conditions




Deutsche Lufthansa AG’s Supervisory Board said Wednesday that it was unable to approve the German government’s nine-billion-euro (9.9 billion U.S. dollars) stabilization package in light of the conditions offered by the European Union. The board also said it had to postpone a general meeting with shareholders for the time being.

Lufthansa announced on Monday that the German government’s Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF) had approved the nine-billion-euro rescue package to help the troubled airline weather the coronavirus crisis.

The package needs the final approval of the company’s Management Board and Supervisory Board, and the capital measures are subject to the approval of an extraordinary general meeting with shareholders, the company said on Monday.

Furthermore, the package is subject to the approval of the European Commission and must meet all competition-related conditions, the company also said.

Following its meeting on Wednesday, the Supervisory Board said that the conditions set by the European Commission would lead to a weakening of the hub function at Lufthansa’s home airports in Frankfurt and Munich.

The resulting economic impact on the company and on the planned repayment of the stabilization measures, as well as possible alternative scenarios, must be analyzed intensively, Lufthansa said.

However, it also noted that the Supervisory Board continues to regard the WSF stabilization measures as “the only viable alternative for maintaining solvency.”

The group’s revenues fell by 18 percent to 6.4 billion euros in the first quarter of this year, with revenues down 47 percent in March alone, largely due to the coronavirus-related travel restrictions. (1 euro = 1.1 U.S. dollars)


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EU recovery fund must set tough conditions, promote joint targets: Finnish PM




Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said Tuesday that the would-be EU recovery fund must set tough conditions to recipient countries.

“It must promote the joint targets EU countries have committed themselves to,” Marin said in an interview with the Finnish news agency STT.

She listed green growth, digitalization, competitive edge and rejuvenation of industries as some of the conditions of the recovery fund for EU countries that suffer from the COVID-19 crisis.

Regarding whether the assistance could be in the form of loans or direct support, Marin repeated the Finnish stand that “each country must take responsibility of its loans,” but added that when the economic environment has been so significantly changed due to the COVID-19 crisis, “there must be preparedness to talk about new kinds of solutions.”

She however said she had endorsed the loan approach in a recent phone call with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.

The prime minister said the “new instruments must be transparent and clearly defined,” noting that Finnish parliament will ultimately decide the country’s participation and the kind of instruments acceptable to Finland.

Last week, France and Germany suggested a 500-billion-euro fund for helping EU countries to curb the negative impact of COVID-19 crisis, based on grants and common borrowing. The so-called “frugal four” — Denmark, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden — which focused on loans, instead of grants, later criticized the idea.


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Zambia records sharpest fall in private business conditions due to COVID-19




Disruptions caused by COVID-19 to Zambia’s economic activities has had a telling effect on local trade as the country records its sharpest fall ever in private sector business conditions, results of a survey showed.

The latest Stanbic Bank HIS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) says unprecedented contractions were seen in the rate of employment, output and new orders while negative sentiment regarding the future was observed for the first time.

According to the index, demand for inputs also shrank at a steep pace which contributed to falls in input costs while output prices declined marginally.

The headline PMI figure sank to 37.3 in April from 44.7 in March, the lowest it has ever been since the survey began in March 2015.

Victor Chileshe, Stanbic Bank Head of Global Markets warned that the local business environment was expected to continue being negatively impacted by coronavirus in the months to come.

“The month of April recorded the largest ever rate of deterioration in business conditions because of COVID,” he said in a release.

The deterioration was widely attributed to company shutdown as a result of COVID-19 with falling demand also mentioned by the participants.

“These factors contributed to record declines in both output and new orders. Almost half of all respondents indicated that their business activity had decreased over the month,” Chileshe said.


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Financial conditions worsen dramatically for newly-unemployed Americans amid COVID-19 outbreak: Fed report




Financial conditions worsened dramatically for people who experienced job loss or reduced hours in March as COVID-19 swept across the United States, according to a report released Thursday by the Federal Reserve Board.

In April, fewer adults reported that they were at least doing okay financially six months earlier, said the latest Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households.

A smaller supplemental survey showed that 43 percent of adults were “doing okay” financially, and 29 percent were “living comfortably,” down from 75 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the fall of 2019.

“The survey data show that early in the public health crisis, a larger fraction of Americans were facing financial hardship than in the fall of 2019,” said Federal Reserve Board Governor Michelle W. Bowman.

The declines in self-reported financial well-being were concentrated on those who lost a job or had their work hours cut, the report showed.

Among adults not experiencing a job loss or reduction in hours, 76 percent were at least okay financially in April.

Among those who experienced a job loss or hours reduction, however, 51 percent indicated that they were doing at least okay financially in April, whereas 48 percent were “finding it difficult to get by” or “just getting by.”

Some 19 percent of all adults reported either losing a job or experiencing a reduction in work hours in March, the report showed, while noting that some people took on new or additional employment in the month.

Nine in 10 people who were furloughed or lost a job said that their employer indicated that they would return to their job at some point, according to the report.

However, in general, people were not told specifically when to expect to return to work.

The report also showed that consistent with the employment declines in March, many people have experienced income declines. Twenty-three percent of all adults, and 70 percent of those who lost a job or had their hours reduced, said their income in March was lower than in February.

The survey was released one day after U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the COVID-19 crisis raises “long-term concerns,” and warned that a prolonged recession and weak recovery could lead to an extended period of low productivity growth and stagnant incomes.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported a staggering 20.5-million job loss in April, which erased a decade of job gains since the global financial crisis and pushed the unemployment rate to a record 14.7 percent.

Powell said the COVID-19-induced job crisis has disproportionately weighed on lower-income households and families.

Teasing data from the survey, he said among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than 40,000 dollars a year lost a job in March.

“This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words, as lives are upended amid great uncertainty about the future,” Powell said, adding that he expects unemployment to peak next month.


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Portuguese leaders encourage industries to reopen under strict conditions amid pandemic




Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Prime Minister Antonio Costa on Wednesday encouraged all industries to restart under strict conditions amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lusa News Agency reported.

After their joint visit to automotive assembly plant Autoeuropa, the two leaders expressed their confidence in the resumption of production of the car producer.

After a six-week break, Autoeuropa, the largest national exporter last year, resumed its car production last week with two shifts.

Rebelo de Sousa expressed thanks to the Portuguese-German joint venture for its excellence and contribution to Portugal.

“We hope that the example of Autoeuropa will be an example that can be used across Europe as well. Here is the example of collaboration between Germany and Portugal. European level must be an example of the collaboration of all who form the European Union,” the president was quoted by Lusa as saying.

The president extended his thanks to all those in industry, agriculture, commerce and services who “know how to overcome difficult times and build a better Portugal“, and to all those who at this time “are working across the country, without fear, without anguish, without anxiety.”

Costa announced that the Presidency of the Council of Ministers will soon buy a car in each of the four units that produce vehicles from scratch in Portugal, displaying a sign of confidence in the industry.

“Returning the sign of confidence that the car industry has shown in the country, we would also like to give a sign of confidence in what is the future of the car industry in Portugal,” the prime minister was quoted as saying.

Costa also highlighted the importance of the automobile industry for the national economy, saying that, among suppliers and producers, it represents “an important part of the national GDP.”

Meanwhile, the two leaders called for more coordinated efforts in the EU to restore the economy at the European level.

Rebelo de Sousa reiterated that the EU must respond with solidarity and affirming the values that were at the basis of the European project in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Lusa reported.

Costa echoed, saying “The EU’s response cannot be tailored to each country, it must be the same response for all countries.”


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EU believes members can reopen borders for tourist season if conditions met



The European Commission believes EU countries can reopen borders with other member states for the tourist season if they have COVID-19 infections under control and well-prepared healthcare systems, according to a draft document made available to dpa.

“Handled correctly, safely, and in a coordinated manner, the months to come could offer Europeans the chance to get some needed rest, relaxation, and fresh air,” the guidelines, due to be presented later on Wednesday, read.

However, removing restrictions on movement brings a risk of a second spike in infections, the commission warns.

The European Union’s (EU’s) external borders will stay sealed until June 15, if its 27 member states stick to the commission’s advice from last week.

But within the bloc, capitals like Paris and Berlin are conferring on reopening shared frontiers.

While the decision to soften border controls is in the hands of each country in the EU, the bloc’s executive believes the peak tourism season of June to August could be partially clawed back.

Pandemic lockdown measures have virtually wiped out the tourism sector, worth directly and indirectly about 10 per cent of EU economic output, for the past two months.

As the situation improves in many European countries, blanket restrictions between areas with similar risk profiles should be replaced by a tailored approach, according to the proposal.

Under the recommendations, areas allowing increased movement must have sufficient hospital space as well capacity for testing, surveillance and monitoring.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

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APC gives conditions to participate in Palliatives Distribution Committee in Ebonyi



The All Progressives Congress (APC) Ebonyi chapter has listed conditions that must be fulfilled by the state government for the party to participate in the COVID-19 Ebonyi Palliatives Distribution Joint Committee.

Mr Eze Nwachukwu, the state Chairman of APC, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Tuesday.

The Ebonyi Government recently inaugurated COVID-19 Palliatives Distribution Joint Committee, comprising the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC, existing political parties and the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).

The committee was inaugurated to oversee the distribution of the relief materials released by the Federal and State Governments to ease the hardship occasioned by the lockdown over COVID-19 pandemic.

Nwachukwu said the party received the invitation through a radio announcement in the state’s owned Ebonyi Broadcasting Corporation (EBBC) on Friday, April 24.

He said the party honoured the invitation after it consulted with stakeholders and attended the meeting presided by Mr Francis Nwifuru, Speaker, Ebonyi House of Assembly and Chairman COVID-19 Welfare and Fund Raising Sub-Committee.

“I heard a radio announcement in EBBC inviting me to a meeting at the House of Assembly on COVID-19 palliatives and after consultations with my members, it became imperative that we attend.

“I attended the meeting where-in they briefed us on the plans and arrangements for the palliative distribution.

“It was at the meeting that I got information that they are repackaging the rice meant for distribution to the people to bear Gov. Dave Umahi’s picture.

“I briefed my party members on this development and it was resolved that we should write to them officially, informing them that both the president’s and governor’s pictures must be on the branded rice if there must be pictures at all.

“We also suggested in our letter that in the alternative that the rice should be left as they were when they were delivered to the state by the Federal Government or let the inscription read, ‘COVID-19 Palliatives’ courtesy, bonyi Government,’’ Nwachukwu said.

According to him, we are resolute in our position that we, as a party will not be part of the committee, should Ebonyi Government go ahead to brand the rice with only the governor’s picture.

“We, however, agreed that political parties involved should raise one person each per polling unit which we have done but we are yet to submit until they reply our letter.

“So, we’ll wait for a reply of the letter which we delivered through speed post on Friday, which we have evidence of delivery.

“So, I’m waiting for them to give us a reply; if they do, then we’ll look at the content of the reply and if it’s something that we will continue, we continue but if it’s not, we’ll tell the whole world that we are not part of the exercise and our reasons for doing so,” Nwachukwu said.

NAN reports that the speaker recently announced that all arrangements had been concluded to commence distribution of the palliative items comprising food and condiments to Ebonyi residents.

According to the speaker, the palliative items were donations from both the Federal and State Governments which would be distributed to all residents across the 1,785 polling units in Ebonyi, irrespective of social and economic backgrounds.

Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Adeleye Ajayi (NAN)








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