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Labour Faults Federal Government’s Meeting, Insists On Indefinite Strike



The National Deputy President of the Trade Union Congress, Tommy Etim, said nothing would stop the strike, noting that Nigerian workers were disenchanted with the Federal Government.

He stated that the unions had given the government sufficient time to address their demands, stressing that the workers would not allow themselves to be deceived any longer.

Etim on Wednesday said that any fresh meeting was pointless and asked Nigerians to brace for the long-drawn walkout.

‘’The government had been given more than enough time to meet our demands but they did nothing. The strike has been fixed, nothing will stop it, and if they (FG) like, they can go to court as usual. The only thing that can stop the strike is if they meet all our demands,’’ he stated.

Asked what Nigerians should expect during the industrial action, the labour leader added, ‘’It will not just be a total shutdown of the nation, it is going to be the mother of all strikes. Do you know that they are even planning to sack 17,000 workers in this period when Nigerians are suffering great hardships?’’

Also, a top official of the NLC while speaking on the proposed strike, said, “The issues are straightforward, NLC’s joint communiqué was very clear. NLC has declared an indefinite nationwide strike which is to begin on October 3, 2023, and nothing will make us not to start unless the government does everything we have said they should do.’’

Asked if the unions would shelve their plan if invited to a meeting by FG, the union leader noted, ‘’No meeting or promise that would make us stop; the only thing that would make us stop is the fulfilment of all those demands, nothing else.”

Fuel scarcity, blackout

Meanwhile, Nigerians may have to brace for fuel scarcity and nationwide blackout from Tuesday as the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas workers and the National Union of Electricity Employees have vowed to join the indefinite strike declared by the NLC and TUC.

Also, the health workers said that they would not be available to attend to patients at the hospitals while the judiciary staff disclosed that the courts would be shut down nationwide.

Senior officials of NUPENG and NUEE told our correspondent on Wednesday that the unions would ground petrol and electricity supply once the strike begins.

NUPENG’s National President, Williams Akporeha, said the union would implement every instruction issued by the NLC, adding that it was non-negotiable for NUPENG to join the strike.

On Tuesday, the NLC and TUC announced an indefinite strike with effect from October 3, to protest the alleged failure of the Federal Government to provide post-subsidy palliatives for workers and implement policies that could alleviate the sufferings of the masses after the removal of the fuel subsidy.

After the 21-day ultimatum given by the NLC lapsed last week, the National President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, had lamented that none of the demands put before the government had been addressed.

Responding to a question on whether NUPENG would join the proposed strike, Akporeha said, “We are an affiliate of NLC and we will follow their directives to the letter.”

The NLC has over 40 affiliate unions, while the TUC has about 30 and the affiliates often participate in industrial actions called by the parent associations.

Also confirming the resolve of NUEE to comply with the strike directive, the acting General Secretary of the union, Dominic Igwebuike, said the association would ground power supply if the government fails to avert the proposed walkout.

“NUEE is an affiliate of NLC and we are complying with the directive of the congress by joining the strike from Tuesday. Workers in various electricity companies are our members.

“So, we are ready to join the strike and our circular communicated that to our members. So, electricity workers are right now getting set to join the strike and this will lead to a massive shutdown of the power sector,” he stated.

Igwebuike had earlier said though the power sector employees were regarded as essential workers, they would still join the proposed strike.

He noted, “People in the power sector are also Nigerians. There is no different market for people working in the essential services sectors. We all go to the same markets, pay school fees, buy fuel and face the same challenges. So we are Nigerians too.”

He explained that the September 5 and 6 walkout did not ground all the power stations because it was a warning strike, but stressed that the major strike beginning from October 3 would culminate in a complete shutdown of the country’s electricity grid.

Igwebuike urged the Federal Government to listen to the demands of the labour unions in order to avert the impending hardship that the proposed industrial action would bring upon Nigerians.

Speaking in the same tone, the healthcare workers under the aegis of the Joint Health Sector Unions and the National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives said they will join the planned nationwide strike.

Health workers

The acting National Vice Chairman of JOHESU, Dr Obinna Ogbonna, disclosed this to our correspondent on Wednesday.

Ogbonna said the health workers in the affiliates of the TUC and NLC would not report for work during the strike period.

JOHESU is the umbrella body of health workers’ unions and associations, including the Medical and Health Workers’ Union of Nigeria, the Nigerian Union of Allied Health Professionals, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Associated Institution, the Senior Staff Association of Universities, Teaching Hospitals and Associated Institutions, and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations.

Ogbonna stated, “We will join the strike fully and strongly because there was a circular released in the month of July 2023, by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

‘’It has to do with the upward review of Consolidated Health Salary Structure and Consolidated Medical Salary Structure and it stated that it will be implemented from June 2023, and the reason why it was so was because of the biting economic situation, but up till this moment, it has not been implemented.

“The palliatives that are meant to be done for us in the health sector have not been done. So, why are we not going to join the strike?”

Ogbonna noted that health services would be paralysed in government-owned facilities.

“We will only render skeletal services, especially to those in the Intensive Care Units,” he said.

Corroborating him, the National President of the NUAHP, Kamal Ibrahim, said the members of his union will also participate in the nationwide strike.

“We will be joining the strike and it is for the good of the people,” he added.

As members of the NLC, the Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria said its members will join the strike action.

The treasurer of the union, Musa Alonge, argued that the issues the NLC was canvassing affected its members.

He said, “We are an affiliate of the NLC and we cannot deny that. What they are agitating for affects us. We are going where the NLC goes on this matter.”

Meanwhile, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Olajide Oshundun, in a statement signed on Wednesday evening addressed reports that the President, Bola Tinubu, would roll out wage awards and palliatives for workers on Independence Day. He said, “For the benefit of doubt, it is important to stress that the Director of Information at the Ministry of Labour does not speak for the President nor is he involved in writing his speech to warrant him making any categorical statement on its content.

“If and when the minister schedules a meeting with Labour, the public will be adequately notified through verified channels.”

In a related development, the leadership of the Labour Party has thrown its weight behind the planned industrial action, saying the Presidency has been insensitive to the plight of Nigerian workers.

Among other things, the NLC and the TUC were asking for wage awards, implementation of palliatives, tax exemptions and allowances to public sector workers and a review of the minimum wage.

Reacting to the proposed strike in a statement titled, ‘Workers strike: Labour Party identifies with Nigerian workers’ on Wednesday, National Publicity Secretary of LP, Obiora Ifoh, said the workers have shown enough patience and understanding.

Ifoh also added that the leadership of the party was in support of any legitimate means to press for better welfare for Nigerian workers.

The party, therefore, said it fully supported the resolution of the NLC and TUC to embark on an industrial action.

He said, “We have followed with keen interest, in the last four months, various meetings between Organised Labour and various government bodies including president of the Senate, the Presidency and the ministers of labour as well as all the efforts made by the Labour leadership to get the government to understand the magnitude of sufferings its policies have thrown Nigerian workers into since the enthronement of this administration.

“We are not in any way surprised at the government’s apparent indifference, insensitivity, intransigence, and recalcitrant posture towards the genuine demands of the Labour bodies because their usurpation of power was not sanctioned by both the workers and generality of Nigerians.

“Nigerians went to the polls with clear conviction of the government they wanted but this was denied them through institutional conspiracy. Today, Nigerian workers are being punished for taking a stand during the February 25 presidential election.

‘’Labour Party is also aware of the sordid conditions which workers, the majority of them being our members, are subjected to, where many go to the office on a Monday and are forced by the prevailing economic challenges to sleep in their offices all through to Friday before returning home.

“We are also using this medium to inform all our members and supporters to stock their homes with their necessary needs ahead of a long-drawn mass action until victory is ascertained. No retreat, no surrender.”

Speaking on the planned strike in an interview on Arise TV on Wednesday, the National President of the TUC, Festus Osifo, asked the President Bola Tinubu-led Federal Government to account for the amount it claimed to have saved from the removal of subsidy on Premium Motor Spirit popularly known as petrol. Osifo said this during an interview on Arise Television.

In July 2023, the government noted that it saved more than N1 trillion following the removal of fuel subsidy.

Tinubu said the revenue saved would be used for the benefit of Nigerians.

“In a little over two months, we have saved over a trillion naira that would have been squandered on the unproductive fuel subsidy which only benefitted smugglers and fraudsters. That money will now be used more directly and more beneficially for you and your families,” Tinubu said.

Osifo explained that since the government announced that N1trn had been saved, there was no reason for the government to continue to obtain loans.

“The President and commander in chief on its own came and said the country has saved N1 trillion. The Federal Government went everywhere to announce that if the subsidy is removed, it’s going to save substantial money.

“And so, we don’t expect them to go everywhere and start borrowing money. They told us they are going to save money. So where is the money that you have saved and how have they deployed this money?,’’ he queried.


Credit: The Punch


Governor Sanwo-Olu Hails Morayo Afolabi-Brown’s Appointment As MD Of TVCe



Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has congratulated popular television presenter, Dr. Morayo Afolabi-Brown, on her appointment as the Managing Director of TVCe, the Entertainment Channel of TVC Communications.

He said the new role given to Afolabi-Brown, the host of the TVC’s breakfast programme, ‘Your View’ is well deserved.

Governor Sanwo-Olu in a statement issued on Thursday by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Gboyega Akosile, said Afolabi-Brown’s appointment as Managing Director of TVCe is inspirational to young media practitioners that they can get to the top position of their career with hardwork, commitment and discipline.

He said: “The appointment of Dr. Morayo Afolabi-Brown as the Managing Director of TVCe, the Entertainment Channel of TVC Communications, is deserving having distinguished herself at TVC Communications and the media industry for almost two decades.

“Morayo Afolabi-Brown is one of the most influential women presenters not only in Nigeria but Africa. She has been recognised as one of the top 25 most influential women in Journalism Africa (WIJA) 2020 where she ranked 18th on the list.

“I believe strongly that Morayo Afolabi-Brown’s new appointment is an inspiration to young media practitioners, particularly members of staff of TVC Communications, that they can get to the top of their career in the company if they put in a little more than is expected from them by their employers.

“Morayo Afolabi-Brown’s new role attests to her exceptional track record of achievements in TVC Communications as a former Deputy Director of Programmes TVC News, where she created content on three independent channels for broadcast. She has also made a lot of impact as a host in addressing basic issues in society through the TVC’s breakfast show ‘Your View,’ programme.





30 NOVEMBER 2023

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NDLEA Chairman Marwa Warns New Cadets Against Fraternising With Drug Traffickers



The chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Buba Marwa, has asked new cadets not to “fraternise” with illicit drug offenders.

Marwa spoke on Thursday during the passing out ceremony of 2,500 cadets of senior officers basic course 16 at NDLEA academy, Jos, Plateau state.

The NDLEA boss said the agency will not tolerate “internal sabotage” in the war against substance abuse and illicit drug trafficking in the country.

Marwa, who was represented by Victoria Egbase, director, planning, research and statistics of NDLEA, said the agency cannot “decelerate” its efforts on the war against illicit drugs.

“We are currently on the verge of expanding our presence to all 774 local government areas in the country,” Marwa was quoted as saying in a statement by Femi Babafemi, NDLEA spokesperson.

“What that should tell our new officers is that there is work to do, and you cannot afford to be complacent or compromise the high standards we have set.

“On that note, let me also inform you that you must not fraternise with offenders of drug trafficking laws.

“Doing so is dangerous to your safety; it is catastrophic to your career; it sabotages organisational goals; and it is inimical to society’s wellbeing.

“Remembering this nugget of advice and abiding by it will ensure you a colourful and gratifying career.

“I must prepare your minds for the task ahead of you. The duties are such that there is no room for compromising the ethics of your profession or subverting the goals of the organisation.

“In our renewed campaign against illicit drugs, we are at a stage of ramped-up interdiction against cannabis, opioids, and other psychoactive substances.

“We cannot afford to decelerate our effort and we will not tolerate sabotage from within.”

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GBV: Rapists To Be Castrated In Kaduna — Human Service Commissioner Rabi Salisu



The Kaduna State Government has reiterated its resolve against all forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV), particularly for those who engage in any form of rape, the State Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, Hajia Rabi Salisu, has said.

This is just as she said that male rapists will be subjected to surgical castration as punishment while a female rapist will undergo bilateral salpingectomy.

The Commissioner stated this during a press conference as part of activities at a Gender-Based Violence Stakeholders Meeting/Press Conference organised by the ministry in collaboration with Centre for Integrated Health Programs (CIHP).

According to the Commissioner, the punitive measures were contained under the Kaduna State Government Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law (VAPPL), 2018, adding that the law followed a lengthy process of advocacy, lobbying and awareness raised by civil society organizations in the state in collaboration with relevant government agencies.

Also speaking, Dr. Austin Azihaiwe, the State Technical Lead for CIHP, in an interview shortly after the briefing, said the day marked 16-day activism against GBV which was also referred to as ‘Orange the World Campaign’ which began in 1991.

“The essence of these activities is to bring all stakeholders together and harness their resources and capacity to ensure that the fight against GBV is made more impactful in our communities.

“Beyond the presence of the key stakeholders, other community members are here and the aim is to educate stakeholders on how to report GBV cases and enlighten ourselves on the essential services available for GBV survivors.”

Similarly, Mr Hosea Bako, CIHP’s Gender Integration and Mainstreaming Lead for Kaduna State, also mentioned that CIHP, as part of its activities, engages in facilitation and referral of GBV cases.

“Part of our mandate is to provide preventive services through facilities like the Sexual Assault Referral Centers and Community Based Organisations particularly, Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) which is important to prevent HIV,” Bako said.

Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Human Services and Social Development, however, said the reported cases of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) have been notably on the increase in Kaduna State since the passage of the VAPPL in December 2018, which she said could probably be attributed to increased awareness about VAWG and also the availability of the law.

She also disclosed that the state has witnessed a rise in cases of gender-based violence according to the National Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Data Situation Room and dashboard for prevention and response to Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in Nigeria, adding that a total of 832 cases have been reported in 2023 so far.

She said the 16-day of activism which started from the November 25 to December 10, which is known to be International Days for the Elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls, a period she said provided a time to stir up action to end violence against women and girls around the world.

“25th November is designated as the Orange World Day to End Violence against Women Campaign. The color orange symbolizes a brighter future, free of violence, It also serves as a means of demonstrating solidarity in eliminating all forms of violence and it is therefore used as the color of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women,” she stated.

The commissioner further disclosed that every year, the UNiTE Campaign focuses on a specific theme, adding that this year’s theme was “UNITE! Invest to prevent violence against Women and Girls”.

She said the campaign urged the citizens to show how much they cared about ending violence against women and girls by sharing the actions undertaken to create a world free from violence towards women and girls, while some level of progress has been made in this campaign to end violence against women and girls through the VAPPL, some challenges still exist.

The Commissioner identified some of the factors encumbering the implementation of the law in the state to include; Slow uptake of the law characterised by prosecutors not applying the law to reported GBV cases, VAWG cases are reported but not charged using the VAPP Law as other laws – Penal Code and the Administration of Criminal Justice Law take precedence over the VAPP due to stiffer penalties in those laws than the VAPP.

”Others included; Undue pressure on survivors and/or families to accept out of court settlements by community is also a major hindrance, in addition and poor awareness amongst citizens and service providers, delays in prosecuting cases by the Police and the courts also pose a barrier to access to justice by survivors and victims of VAWG.

“It is therefore imperative to strengthen the justice system, intensify GBV case findings, provide crucial clinical and non-clinical services to survivors of GBV while improving access to these crucial services, addressing the challenge of poor coordination, absence of a harmonized platform for reporting, and lack of capacity to manage Gender-Based Violence data will contribute largely to ending gender based violence,” she added.

According to her, it was important to address the difference in reporting tools and the upload of data on the National GBV dashboard as this will bridge the gaps in the campaign.

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