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Organized Labour issues threats of industrial action to KGSG if new demands are not met

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Labour in action

Labour in action

Organized Labour issues threats of industrial action to KGSG if new demands are not met

The organized labour in Kogi State has issued threats to embark on industrial action if it’s new demands forwarded to the Kogi State Government are not met.
The organized Labour comprising the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Joint Negotiation Council (JNC), made their position known in a statement jointly issued yesterday in Lokoja.
The statement that was jointly signed by State Chairman of NLC , Onuh Edoka, TUC Chairman, Ojo Ranti and JNC Chairman, Aaron Akeji, and was made available to Confluence Update, the organized Labour demanded the immediate reversal to statusquo of paying workers salary through their existing Bank accounts that they have been using to draw their salaries.
The statement described the new policy of government as an infringement on the fundamental human rights of workers to own personal accounts with any bank of their choice.
It therefore kicked against the decision of the state government to open ‘unsolicited salaries’ accounts’ with Access Bank and Zenith Bank on behalf of civil servants without their consent.
Confluence Update findings indicated that government had opened accounts for genuine workers who were cleared after the screening exercise before commencing payment of salaries.
They noted that Labour was not convinced with the reasons given by governor Yahaya Bello over government’s decision on the issue, adding that the development would further compound the hardships already facing workers in the state.
“Besides, most workers already have business commitments with their current banks predating this administration, implying that the policy will definitely set them against their banks with unpleasant consequences that they may suffer”, the statement added
“Workers are advised  to be careful in rushing to perfect the un-solicited Accounts opened for them with the Access and Zenith Banks Plc, as withdrawals within the state will take a longer time than necessary and subject them to untold hardship, while withdrawals outside the state will make the state government declare them as workers in diaspora as being captured in the current screening exercise”, the statement said.
It’s second demand had to do with correction to the anomalies in the current appointments made at the Local Government levels
The statement frowned at the utter disregard for established Civil service rules regarding the appointments
“Labour also took an exception to the indefinite suspension of top Government civil servants in the State without recourse to established rules.
“Whereas Labour is not out to protect any officer that is found wanting in his mandate, we take exception to a blanket suspension imposed on the affected officers without finding them guilty of any known offense.”
It demanded the immediate recall and reinstatement of all the suspended officers especially as one of them had been reinstated as acting permanent secretary in Government House.
On its third demand it condemned the transfer of primary school teachers salary and Local Government pension to local Government councils contrary to the extant law that empowered the fore-mentioned statutory boards to handle the responsibility.
“We therefore demand the return to statusquo in the interest of industrial peace and harmony. Since the so called autonomy is a pronouncement without an action in reality.
The statement also demanded the implementation of the collective agreement of honour between organized labour and Government on 1st February, 2016 that made labour to suspend it’s six weeks strike in solidarity with the new Government then.
Labour expressed sadness with the disdain of Government towards that collective bargaining agreement.
“In the light of the four demands the Sec-In-Session resolved that the State Government should as a matter of urgency intervene positively or else it would declare an industrial action.
“These demands that are devoid of sentiments and bias are aimed at correcting the ills in the civil service and enhancing the welfare of workers in the State.”

But governor Yahaya Bello had earlier clarified on reasons why the government chose Access and Zenith Bank to workers’ salaries on the issue of its first dand.

He indicated that, “Due to the prevailing economic situation, cash reserves of commercial banks domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria are currently competing for so many pressing needs simultaneously, making it increasingly difficult for the commercial banks to finance loan facilities, especially long-term ones.

“Access and Zenith Banks were however able to step up to the plate when Kogi State approached them. They made the first tranche of the state’s bailout funds available, but on one small condition. That the funds remain domiciled in their banks. If you ask me, and without giving it too much thought, it does make perfect business sense.

“These banks offer essentially homogeneous services, especially in this case where we are talking about salary accounts. It would have been odd were Access and Zenith to be so liberal as to allow other banks benefit from an exclusive market they have basically created. So, rather than make these funds available to the state government to pay workers through other banks, why not internalise the entire process and start reaping accruable benefits from the get go?

“This explanation is very necessary as I have come across many wild allegations and insinuations that accounts being opened are for unethical purposes. Given the foregoing, any insinuations and speculations about shady, under hand dealings with regards to the disbursement of these bailout funds are completely unfounded.

“I admit that this situation where erroneous notions are already making the rounds should have been prempted. However, I believe it is not too late to correct the wrong impression some of us have held on this issue”, he said.

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

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Buhari returns to Nigeria after weeks of medical trip to the UK

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buharihas returned to Abuja after weeks on medical trip in London.
This was according to a statement from the presidency on Thursday.
The president had been heavily criticized for his perchance for medical expedition inspite huge budgetary allocation to the Presdential Villa clinic.
His critics also blamed him for embarking on such trip even when resident doctors in his country were on industrial action.
The presidential aircraft that brought Buhari and some of his aides touched down at the Presidential Wing of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport Abuja at about 4.45 p.m.
Dignitaries at the airport to welcome the president included the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Muhammed Bello, and the National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno.
Others were the service chiefs, acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali, the Director-General, National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ahmed Rufa’i, the Director General of the State Securitt Services, Yusuf Bichi and other presidential aides.
President Buhari, after a brief welcoming ceremony at the airport, boarded a presidentrtial helicopter that conveyed him to the Presidential Villa.

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

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Participants urge Kogi to key into Open Government Partnership

By Friday Idachaba

Participants at a one-day stakeholders strategic meeting on Open Governance Partnership have called on Kogi government to urgently key into the global concept to promote transparency, accountability and good governance.

The participants made the call in a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting organised by Conscience For Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) in partnership with African Centre For Leadership Strategies And Development (Centre LSD) on Tuesday in Lokoja.

The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the Communiqué was signed by Mr Idris Miliki, Executive Director of Kogi-based CHRCR and made available to newsmen in Lokoja.

The Communiqué said that in view of the importance of the global OGP concept with potentials to check corruption and enhance good governance, 16 states in Nigeria had presently signed up.

It however revealed that Kogi State was yet to key into the global concept and urged the state to, as a matter of urgency, sign up for the state to derive inherent benefits of the partnership.

Objective of the meeting in line with the OGP concept, according to the Communiqué, is to encourage accountability, transparency and reduce corruption in Kogi State.

It is also to build on the existing Networks on Anti-Corruption, Transparency and Accountability (NATA), to mobilize Media institutions and professionals in reporting activities on OGP in Kogi State.

The participants however, urged multi-lateral financial institutions particular the World Bank to begin to hold State Governments accountable by verifying the situations of implementations on ground before rating them on financed projects.

The Communiqué reiterated that there should be no rivalry but rather, a broad based relationship and partnerships between the state government and the Civil Society Organizations as both work for and in the interest of the citizens.

The Communiqué said there was need for the current House of Assembly members to live up to their constitutional responsibilities by performing their oversight functions on all institutions of the state, “particularly the local government councils.”

It also called on Media Professionals to take more interest in OGP issues and partner more with the Civil Society Organisations in particular and other relevant institutions to drive the OGP Concept.

“The Civil Society Organizations needs to do more in raising awareness and sensitization of the general public on the OGP and with the Government to get the OGP.

“There is need for the development partners to continue to work with the Civil Society Organizations in the state to promote the OGP process”, the Communiqué added. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of Sokoto Catholic diocese, has come under attack again from the Presidency for describing Nigeria as a killing field under the Buhari administration.
Kukah in his Easter homily on Sunday, said both the government and the citizens have become helpless as criminals continue to cause havoc in parts of the country.
The battle over insecurity in Nigeria has continued unabated especially in the northern parts of the country where bandits and insurgents have turned to a killing field.
Kukah said the security situation has frustrated many citizens making them to believe the government has gone AWOL (absent without official leave).

“Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart” the bishop said.
“Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession, as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits.
“The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.”

However in a statement issued in Abuja Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman said Kukah’s “bashing” of President Muhammadu Buhari is “ungodly.”
“All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth. But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness,” he said.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter message. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. 

“Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”
Shehu also faulted the bishop for saying Buhari is not concerned about those displaced because of the security crisis, citing the creation of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development as part of the president’s efforts in that regard.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily,” the presidential spokesman said.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”

With additional reports from Cable

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