A renowned legal practitioner and public interest litigation expert, Tunji Salawu, Esq has given several grounds to why his clients have resolved to drag the Globacom, operators of Glo telecommunications to court.
He also instituted a N50 billion legal action against the suit at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) via suit number (NICN/ABJ/75/2018.
In the statement of facts establishing the cause of action obtained by newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, 20th March, 2018, the sacked female workers pointed out that, they were employed by the Defendants between 2003 and 2008, and have individually put in between average of 7 to 15 years in the employment of the Defendants.
They wondered why dedicated staff who have impacted positively on the fortunes of the company could be sacked with a wave of the hand on the flimsy reason bothering on their marital status.
It could be recalled that, Public Interest Litigation Initiative (PILI) only last week informed of its decision to take up the matter in order to restore and enforce the fundamental human rights of the affected female staff of the telecommunications company.
In that statement, the Executive Director of PILI, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba said: “It is disheartening to hear that these particular set of female staff who have worked very hard to take the company to the height it has attained today could be treated in a needlessly reckless manner. We at PILI find this unacceptable and have taken a legal action to challenge this glitch.
“It is going to be a legal fight to the finish until and unless very urgent and responsible steps are taken by Globacom to restate them back to their various positions with full benefits in addition to paying damages to them for distorting their career path or progress.
The legal statement said the Claimants plead and rely on their various letters of employment as employees in the management cadres at Gloworld department, the retail arm of Globacom Limited with branches and outlets all over Nigeria.
Sections of the statements read: “The Claimants are all married women in the Gloworld Department, (a customer facing unit) of the Globacom Limited.
“The Claimants were all employed as single females but later had changes of Marital Status in the course of their employment.
“Throughout the length of their services with the Defendants, the Claimants performed the job specification to their best of abilities and were never found wanting by the Defendants and
“In fact, the Claimant had variously been promoted and earned commendations of the Defendants”.
Other facts supplied include: “The Claimants have continued to work diligently until, 8th March, 2018, a day set aside globally as “Women’s Day” when they got a shocking gifts from Defendants in premeditated sack letters, terminating their employments. The Claimants plead and shall rely on the respective letters of termination of employments at the trial.
“The Claimants state that the purported letters of termination of appointment violated the terms and conditions of service of the employees of the defendants. The Claimants plead and shall rely on the conditions of service of the Defendants at the trial. Notice is hereby given to the defendants to produce the conditions of service and staff handbook manual at the trial.
“The Claimants state that the purported termination of their employments was premeditated discriminatory and in bad faith as can be deduced from the cumulative events leadings to the termination”.
According to document, sometime in July, 2017, the Defendants embarked on what was termed staff profiling of all the Gloworld staff, wherein they requested for the following particulars of the staff, among others; full length and portrait picture, passport photograph, date of birth, marital status and length of service at the Globacom Limited despite that all the above information was available to the Human Resources Department of the Defendants, the Claimants nevertheless complied with the request and forwarded their details.
Again, in January, 2018, the Executive Director, (Legal) of the 1st defendant, Mrs Gladis Talabi, Jumoke Aduwo, Human Resources Manager and the regional managers of Gloworld went round all the branches nationwide to “see” all Gloworld staff and conduct “physical verification”, wherein the following personal questions were asked: are you married? How many children do you have? How long have you been in the system? Etc. The staff were further asked to file out for physical examination and have their photographs taker by lined photographers, it added.
The details of other grounds are:
“The Claimants state that the employment processes of the Defendants were conducted in violation of the rights of the applicants to human dignity as often, shortlisted candidates after successful interviews with the Globacom Human Resources personnel’s were further made to face personal interview by the Chairman of the Globacom Dr. Mike Adenuga, where they were advised to look nice, make up well, wear push up bras, chest out, wear miniskirts, a well manicured nails and generally look sexy for the interview with the Chairman.
“After all the rigors of the interview, the successful applicants were given letters of employment through various agencies of the Defendant, such as Contact Centre Services Limited, Vixen Enterprises, Umbrella Limited, Blue Moon Ventures, Dragnet Limited, etc. All affliates of the 1st Defendant.
“Sometime in 2008, the 2nd defendant, Global Manpower Limited (GML) was introduced to the Claimants who were made to sign over their appointments to the agency under duress and without opportunity to read and understand the contract.
“The Claimants state that they were not even avail with a copy of the new contract signed with the 2nd Defendant.
“Again sometime in 2012, the Claimants were made to sign a bond that they would remain in remain in the employment of Globacom Limited for a certain number of Years and any dissengament of staff within the period either voluntarily or by default of the defendant would attract a penalty of 10 Million Naira. The claimant plead and shall rely on the copy of the bond at the trial. The Defendants are hereby given notice to produce the original bond at the trial.
“Furthermore, in 2016, the Claimants, are Gloworld Managers and Stock Controllers were made to bring two guarantors such as bank Managers, Clergymen, High networth individual and level 14 and above Civil Servants. The guarantors were made to provide a blank signed but undated cheques and ittle documents of landed properties in choice locations as well as letters of introduction from banks. The Claimants pleads and shall rely on copies of the said guarantors bond at the trial.
“Those who were unable to meet up with deadlines for the submission of the guarantors had their salaries withheld till they were able to meet up.
“The Claimants state that those documents and bonds including the signed but undated cheques are still in possession of the defendants till date.
“The Claimants state that due to the bond entered with the Defendants they have had to stay back from several job opportunities.
“The Claimants state that sequel to the termination of their appointments, the defendants paid one month salary and unpaid leave allowance into the accounts of the Claimants, leaving out pending Domestic Travel Allowances (DTAS), pending relocation allowances and outstanding float retirements purportedly in lieu of the notice of termination.
“The Claimants also state that the payment of one month salary in lieu of notice is contrary to the 60 days notice required under the condition of service.
“The Claimants state further that the defendants failed to remit their pension contribution as well as tax deductions to the relevant tax agencies and pension managers.
“The Claimants reasonably believe that the mass retrenchment was target against them as married women, because about 97% of the staff whose employment were terminated and laid off are married women.
“The Claimants positions were immediately filled by single female and male staff.
“The Claimants while contending that the purported termination of their employments by the defendants was unlawful, also aver that their rights as married women have been seriously trampled upon by the Defendants.
Terrorism: Nnamdi Kanu in Fresh 15-Count Charges
On Monday, the Federal Government (FG) filed a new 15-count terrorism charge against Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, the self-proclaimed leader of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
The Federal Government upped the counts in the initial accusation it filed against Kanu from seven to fifteen in an amended charge filed before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
With the fresh charges, Kanu who has been facing a seven-count charge bordering on treasonable felony will now take a fresh plea to a 15-count amended charge marked FHC/ABJ/ CR/383/2015, signed by the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) M. B. Abubakar.
The IPOB leader was scheduled to appear in court on January 18 (today) to argue his case in two separate applications contesting the competence of the earlier accusation leveled against him as well as the court’s authority.
Count one of the charges alleged that Kanu, sometimes in 2021, being member and leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra did commit an act in furtherance of an act of terrorism against the Federation Republic of Nigeria and the people of Nigeria by making a broadcast received and heard in the country with the intent to intimidate the population, and also threatened that people will die, the whole world will stand still, thereby committing an offense punishable under Section 1(2)(b) of the Terrorism Prevention Act, 2013.
Count 15 of the charge reads, “That you, Nnamdi Kanu, male, adult of Afaranukwu Ibeku, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia state on diverse dates between the month of March and April 2015 imported into Nigeria and kept in Ubulisiuzor in Ihiala LGA of Anambra state, within the jurisdiction of this honorable court a radio transmitter known as Tram 50L concealed in a container of used household items and you thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 47(2)(a) of Criminal Code Act. Cap C45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004”.
It would be recalled that the IPOB leader breached the bail conditions granted him by Justice Binta Nyako, before whom he was standing trial. He was however rearrested and brought back to Nigeria to continue with his trial.
Fuel Subsidy: States Kick As NNPC Continues Deductions, FAAC To Meet On Wednesday
As the Federation Account Allocation Committee meets for the first time in 2022 on Wednesday, there are significant indicators that state and federal governments are once again at odds.
Officials from the state, speaking to our correspondents on Sunday, criticized the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s continuous diversions from FAAC monies to support fuel subsidies, stating that the issue would be discussed at the meeting on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, the NNPC was set to remove N270.83 billion from the January FAAC allocations, which would be divided by state, federal, and local governments.
Asuquo Ekpenyong, Junior, the Cross River State Commissioner for Finance, verified to one of our correspondents that the FAAC meeting will take place between Wednesday and Thursday.
In its December 2021 report to the FAAC, the NNPC announced that it will deduct some monies as a value shortfall sustained by the oil company in January 2022.
During the FAAC meeting in January, the company said it would subtract N270.83 billion from the amount to be split by the three tiers of government.
It said, “The estimated value shortfall of N270,831,143,856.56 is to be recovered from December 2021 proceed due for sharing at the January 2022 FAAC meeting.
“This value shortfall consists of N220,110,853,427.56 for November and N50,720,290,429.00 deferred for recovery in December 2021 FAAC report.”
Deductions unjustifiable – Delta
Speaking ahead of the FAAC meeting, the Delta State Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Fidelis Tilije, in an interview, said that the Finance Commissioners’ Forum had made a series of conclusive resolutions on the deductions by the NNPC to finance fuel subsidy.
According to him, state governments will continue to oppose the deductions, which he described as non-transparent.
Tilije, who chaired the finance commissioners forum’s committee on the Petroleum Industry Act, said, “The issue of removal of fuel subsidy is the Federal Government’s responsibility and not FAAC responsibility.
“Ours is to look at sources of funding and expenditure. We have made a series of conclusive resolutions on the need for subsidy to be removed on one angle and secondly to also check the NNPC because we don’t know who is checking on what kind of subsidy they are paying.
“Because they are the one collecting the subsidy and they are the one spending it. Those issues have been queried, of course, the Federal Government is in charge of the NNPC and the NNPC also behaves like a law. Until the Federal Government can take a decision on the issue of subsidy and there is nothing anybody can do.
“But unfortunately the Federal Government is also saying that it will need the state governors to guarantee the wellbeing of the people and ensure that there is no labor strike in their various states before they can remove subsidy. Who does that?”
When asked about the stand of states ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, he stated, “We have always been kicking against it (deductions for subsidy) and we will continue to kick against it, what we are saying is that the subsidy they are paying cannot be justified.
“We don’t know the exact figure we are consuming on a daily basis but their own argument is that now the price of crude oil has gone up and if you sell the crude oil at a high price and import petrol, you will have to be buying the petrol at a high price but for me, it is not true.”
It’s injustice against Ekiti – Commissioner
On his part, the Ekiti State Commissioner for Finance, Akin Oyebode, expressed the opposition of the state government to the deduction of money for fuel subsidy from the Federation Account without the consent of states.
Oyebode, who said he could only speak for his state, said such deductions, which exemplified the country’s flawed fiscal federalism, amounted to injustice to some states including Ekiti.
The commissioner said, “I have been on record at the various Federation Accounts Allocation Committee meetings to state my vehement opposition to the continued deduction of subsidy without subjecting it to the consent of the states”.
He suggested two options for the Federal Government to resolve the issue going forward.
Oyebode said, “The issue is very clear, if the Federal Government decides in its wisdom to operate the subsidy on petroleum products without getting the consent of states, then it should bear the cost of the subsidy 100 percent and that cost should be taken from the Federal Government’s share of the Federation Account, not deducted at source from the Federation Account.
“And in the event that we, as a country, agree to continue with the subsidy regime, then the deduction should be made in line with the consumption of petroleum products in each state.
“A situation where Ekiti, for example, that consumes less than one percent of petroleum products gets a deduction of N3bn a month, is a significant loss to Ekiti. We could have used that money to meet all sorts of different demands from our people.
“We believe that this is again another example of the flawed fiscal federalism structure that we operate. Of course, this subsidy request has been tabled at FAAC, all we get at the meetings are reports of deductions taken at the source which I very strongly believe are even unconstitutional because these are not subject to appropriation.
“The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, in its wisdom, just comes and reports that this is how much was taken and they call it some funny names, but we know what it is – deductions for subsidy.”
Oyebode said that a curious aspect of the whole thing was that “there is even no basis for interrogating if in truth the volume of products on which subsidy had been charged had actually even got to the consumers.”
We are not in charge of Subsidy – NNPC
But when contacted, the spokesperson of the NNPC, Garba-Deen Mohammad, told our correspondent that the issue of petrol subsidy was beyond the control of the oil firm.
He stated that with the advent of the Petroleum Industry Act, the matter of subsidy was outside the control of the NNPC but was a matter being handled by the Federal Government.
Garba-Deen said, “Subsidy is not under the control of the NNPC. The subsidy is now a PIA issue and it will be determined by the principles of the Petroleum Industry Act. Not by the NNPC.
“The NNPC is an operator now in the market, just like Shell or Chevron or like any other oil company. So I don’t know anything you are talking about.”
When probed further on whether petrol subsidy would be stopped, replied, “We are speaking the same thing, I say I don’t know. I have no idea, I am just an employee of the NNPC.”
Nigeria’s Debt Stock Hits N39.6tn In 11 Months – Reports
The overall debt stock of Nigeria increased from N32.9 trillion in December 2020 to N39.6 trillion in November 2021.
The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, in her presentation of the 2022 approved budget, disclosed that the government borrowed N6.7tn between January and November 2021, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by our correspondent.
The new borrowing in the period under review consists of N5.1tn domestic debt and N1.6tn. The domestic debt, however, includes borrowing from the Central Bank of Nigeria, according to the presentation document.
In March 2021, the Debt Management Office had disclosed that the country’s total public debt stock was N32.9tn as of December 2020.
An additional N6.7tn loan means the total public debt stock would be about N39.6tn as of November 2021.
The DMO had disclosed that the country’s total public debt increased to N33.1tn at the end of the first quarter of 2021, from N32.9tn in December 2020, showing an increase of about 200bn.
In Q2 2021, the total debt stock rose by N2.4tn to N35.5tn by June 2021.
The increase continued by N2.5tn to hit N38tn by Q3 2021, which was the last figure provided by the DMO.
However, based on the minister’s presentation, there was an increase of N1.6tn from September to November 2021.
The PUNCH had reported that within the 11-month period, debt servicing gulped N4.2tn which represents 76.2 percent of the N5.51tn revenue generated during the period.
The minister defended government borrowing and the country’s debt level, insisting the country had a revenue challenge, and not a debt problem, adding that the debt level was still within sustainable limits.
She had said, “This is to restate, that the debt level of the Federal Government is still within sustainable limits. Borrowings are essentially for capital expenditure and human development as specified in Section 41(1) of the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
“Having witnessed two economic recessions we have had to spend our way out of recession, which contributed significantly to the growth in the public debt. “It is unlikely that our recovery from each of the two recessions would have been as fast without the sustained government expenditure funded partly by debt.”
However, economic experts, including a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, have countered the minister.
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