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BIG STORY

Air Peace To Recall Some Pilots As FG Intervenes

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The federal government says Air Peace will recall some of the pilots it sacked.

Air Peace had announced the sack of the pilots earlier in August as part of the company’s efforts to cushion the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.

After the action, the National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) had given the airline a two-week ultimatum to recall the sacked workers or face industrial action.

But James Odaudu, director, public affairs, ministry of aviation, said at a meeting on Tuesday, the management of Air Peace agreed to recall some of the pilots who lost their jobs.

According to Odadu, Allen Onyema, chairman of Air Peace, agreed to recall the maximum number of pilots that his company could accommodate in the light of the current situation as a result of the pandemic.

“In the verbal agreement reached after a dialogue that was held in a very friendly environment, Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema, acceded to the Minister’s appeal for the recall of the maximum number of pilots that the airline can accommodate without going under,” Odadu said in a statement.

“In their presentation, NAAPE, led by its chairman, Galadima Abednego, said that some missteps could have been made in the course of the standoff between the airline and the union and appealed to the Minister to intervene in order to resolve the impasse.

“He said that as a union it was a painful thing to see a large number of their members thrown into the labour market, and further appealed to employers of labour to see the union members as partners, and not adversaries.

“On his own, the Chairman of Air Peace, Chief Allen Onyema expressed his sadness and disappointment over what he called the ingratitude of some of the airline’s pilots after everything is done to make them comfortable on their jobs.

“He recalled how Air Peace had trained over 80 pilots and an equal number of aircraft engineers, giving its staff the best remuneration package within the sector only for them to disappoint at a time their understanding was needed.

“He, however, commended Senator Hadi Sirika for providing the required leadership to the industry and promised his full cooperation in ensuring the growth of the aviation sector in Nigeria.

“The Aviation Minister in his remarks called for the understanding of everyone, especially the Labour unions, of the prevailing situation in the aviation industry, saying it was not the time for unnecessary upheavals.

“He commended Chief Onyema for his enormous contributions in developing the industry but appealed to him to recall the maximum number of the sacked pilots that the airline can comfortably accommodate in the prevailing circumstances to which airline operator agreed.”

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Many Missing As Truck Plunges Into Lagos River

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Many people have been declared missing after a truck fell off the Berger bridge into the Epe river in Lagos State on Friday night.

As at the time of filing this report, the number of persons in the truck was unknown.

However, the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) confirmed the incident on Saturday.

Head, Public Affairs of LASEMA, Nosa Okunbor, said search and rescue operations are ongoing.

More to come.

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BIG STORY

‘Jail Me But Set Him Free’ — Foreign Activist Writes Buhari Over 13-Year-Old Sentenced For Blasphemy In Kano

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Piotr Cywinski

Piotr Cywinski, director of Auschwitz Memorial in Poland, says he is ready to be imprisoned in Nigeria so that Umar Farouq, a 13-year-old boy sentenced for blasphemy, can regain freedom.

A Sharia court in Kano had convicted Farouq for “using disparaging language on Allah” during a disagreement with his friend.

In a letter dated September 25 and addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, Cywinski sought pardon for Farouq.

He said if Buhari is unable to facilitate the teenager’s release, he and 119 volunteers would serve a month in a Nigerian prison on Farouq’s behalf.

“I permit myself to write to you personally about a young boy named Omar Farouq, who was convicted recently in a Sharia court in Kano State in north-west Nigeria after being accused of blasphemy used during an argument with a friend,” he said.

“I wish to request the pardon of this 13-year-old boy. Regardless of what he said, he cannot be treated as fully aware and responsible, given his age.

“If it turns out that the words of this child absolutely require 120 months of imprisonment, and even you are not able to change that, I suggest that in place of the child, 120 adult volunteers from all over the world, gathered by us myself personally among them should each serve a month in a Nigerian prison.

“In total, the price for the child’s transgression will be the same, and we will all avoid the worst.

“If you agree to grant clemency, or to the above proposal in lieu of punishment, I will make an attempt to provide financial help for the boy’s proper education. This way, instead of a destroyed young man, Nigeria will gain an aware and educated young citizen.

“You will undoubtedly agree with the statement that human rights begin with the rights of the child. I kindly ask you to consider my proposal favorably.”

Cywinski’s request came days after the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) appealed to the Kano state government to reverse the jail sentence.

Auschwitz Memorial preserves the remains of the German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, where children were imprisoned and murdered.

Adolf Hitler, the late leader of Nazi Germany, reportedly oversaw the killing of 6 million Jews.

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BIG STORY

Don’t Join Nationwide Strike, FG Warns Civil Servants

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Folasade Yemi-Esan, head of the civil service of the federation, has warned workers under the federal government not to join the planned strike by labour unions across the country, scheduled to begin on Monday.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had enjoined workers to embark on an indefinite strike, pending when the federal government reverses the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

In a statement on Friday, Yemi-Esan said the federal government is in talks with the labour unions towards ensuring that all agitations by the workers are resolved.

She, however, added that the workers cannot embark on the industrial action because there is a court injunction restraining them from doing so.

“Sequel to the call by the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, 28th September 2020, the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the Labour Unions with a view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial action,” she said.

“Furthermore, it is important to note that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court (Suit No. NICN/ABJ/253/2020) on 24th September 2020, restraining the Nigeria Labour Congress and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria from embarking on any form of industrial action pending the hearing and determination of a Motion on Notice.

“Accordingly, all officers on Grade Level 12 and above and those on essential services are hereby strongly advised to be at work to perform their official duties.”

In two separate rulings, the National Industrial Court had restrained the labour unions from embarking on the strike.

Meanwhile, other unions such as the National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees (NUBIFIE), the Joint Action Front (JAF), Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), aviation unions, among others, have declared their interest to join in the strike.

 

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