People

Special Report

 

Human Interest Stories

 

  • Minimum Wage : Nigerian Workers Are Selfish-Prof Olagoke

    Prof sabitu olagoke 1The signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Muhammadu Buhari was received with joy by all Nigerians, especially workers and their dependents. Even though workers are not too comfortable with the consensus method of picking leaders of their unions.

    The leaders who emerged via consensus and the 36 state Governors would in the coming weeks,to a great extent, determine how long this joy will last.

    In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke opines that Nigerian workers think of only themselves at the detriment of retirees and other Nigerians. Excerpts :

    Do you think workers in the states of the federation have any cause to rejoice over the signing into law of the N30,000 new national minimum wage by President Buhari ?

    Generally workers are expected to celebrate the so called N30,000 new national minimum wage in the preciseness of unsustainable economy with poor growth rate, that has no impact on the general lives of the people.

    Workers are expected to be holistic, fighting for the cause of the welfare of the people and the structural effects of our democracy, that is yet to be achieved.

    Injustice and inequality, marginalization and equity challenges are supposed to be in place before Nigeria and its states can have peace and development that may be sustainable and beneficial to all.

    I would have expected that the workers’ unions fight the cause of the retirees and the issue of unpaid salary arrears, before vigorously embarking the satiation for the increase in the minimum wage.

    This is because fighting for an holistic cause is expected to be step wise and developmental, which implies that we expect that no state government should be able to stay in power without been confronted every week with the workers’ agitation on these issues; to force them to reason that it was only through the peoples’ mandate in democracy that they had been able to get into the juicy positions of power.

    Pensioners 1Unfortunately, Nigerian workers became selfish, limiting themselves to the cause of those people in service only, at least ensuring that all states comply rationally with the old minimum wage would have made a good level playing ground to fight for the increase.

    State Governors under our democratic dispensation have only succeeded in impoverishing the people, most especially their children-graduates-majority of whom are made to roam the streets aimlessly thereby becoming nuisances.

    While government officials and the executive live in affluence, the people under them continue to groan under the harshness of abject poverty affecting their fundamental human rights to have access to the very good things of life; that can make them realize the benefit of governance dynamics.

    Now, we are having a change of government come My 29, 2019, derisively, the outgoing Governors may show deceptive friendship, by accepting to pay the N30,00 new national minimum wage, to set a trap for the incoming government, so as to make the new government highly unpopular among the people who gave them the mandate.

    Those who will continue in power, maybe ready to damn the consequence, by not agreeing to pay the new wage.

    It is a known fact that only between two to three states have the capacity to pay the new national minimum wage, even in the face of unabated corruption.

    The government may end up contending with industrial disputes.

    Pensioners 2

    This is not to say that Nigeria is not potentially capable to implement the assented payment of the new national minimum wage of N30,000, but the government failed to back it up with good economic policy and formula.

    The cheapest way to do this, does not lie in increasing the Value Added Tax(VAT), because this would negatively affect the prices of commodities for home consumption as well as inviting increase in inflation, with direct consequence on the impoverished masses, who constitute more than 70 per cent of the population.

    For equity sake, in which the welfare of the masses would be taken care of, there is the need for the downward review of the salaries of the political class, the executive and the Legislature in particular, say by half, so that the upward review of the minimum wage, which is more of a daily token and stipend in the hands of the elite, who constitute less than 10 per cent of the population of Nigeria, would succeed.

    If this had been done, the heavy top would have rolled down to augment the meager amount meant for mass distribution.

    Stomach infrastructure is basically primary and should not be toyed with politically, otherwise the provision of basic amenities, if absent, would rubbish the efforts of government in the areas of transportation, mining, power and other sectors that would aid development.

    Stomach infrastructure has direct link with the ability of government to provide employment and empower all Nigerians, most especially the youth, so that they would be less restive.

    Remember, more than 95 per cent of the small scale industries facilitated industrialization in all the developed countries-the United States of America, United Kingdom, Russia, China and South Korea.

    This very good model is sought after by Malaysia and Singapore, which gained independence in 1965.

    Let this government in the next political dispensation follow suit, by developing the nation and be virile enough to become a strong institution, rather than building strong individuals, who have become untouchable in the face of corruption, destroying equitable legacy for our youth as it is today. God save Nigeria.

     

  • Nigerians No Longer Trust Their Leaders-Prof Olagoke

     Prof sabitu olagoke 2Banditry, killings, kidnapping, armed robbery and violence now characterize daily living in different parts of Nigeria.

    The feeble response by government has further aggravated the almost helpless situation.

    The impression Nigerians have, is that the present administration does not have the know how to restore normalcy.

    In this interview, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says Nigerians no longer trust their leaders who neither transparent nor accountable, which has resulted in the clamour for secession. Excerpts :

     

    Banditry, killings, kidnapping, armed robbery and violence are the signposts of living in Nigeria, what do you think is the way out ?

     Naturally, in a system of mankind, poverty takes the most  percentage of what can fuel crisis and violence.

    This is why the major challenges to be managed by government, revolve on the provision of basic amenities and  functional infrastructure. As regards this, successive governments have failed.

    For example the Boko Haram issue would have been a thing of the past, if not for the accumulated destitution among  most of the youth in the Northern part of the country.

    ViolenceThe same fundamental enabling environment  for violence and impatience cuts across all states of the federation, with varying degrees of poverty, gaining prominence.

    Secondly, since the inception of democracy, we  have been running governments that have been insensitive to the peoples' plight, contrary to the dictates of  section 16 of  the 1999 amended constitution, which harps on the responsibilities of government to the welfare of Nigerians.

    Apart from this, our political management has assumed an extreme dimension of ethnic and tribal coloration, where nepotism is the basis for getting jobs and contracts.

    When government fails to manage the issue of corruption effectively, the wealth of the land goes into the hands of the privileged few in positions of power.

    Unfortunately, the mitigation measure on ground, rests with our security agencies, which are being weighed down by lack of motivation.

    Violence 1Furthermore, capacity building in the areas of training with modern equipment is equally lacking, which would have enabled them to stem the ugly tide of insecurity.

     The world standard of work ratio of all the security agencies to the population, they are supposed to serve, is extremely low.

    This is why the clamor for state police may hold water, although with reservations.

     

    Are we civilized enough to the level of upholding professional ethics in this respect ?

    Violence 2Certainly, the answer is no, because all tiers of government in Nigeria are still vindictive on the opposition, hence the security agencies may be manipulated for selfish purposes by any government in power. We need to work on this area of civility challenge.

    Dearth of adequate personnel and professional training requirements, need to be addressed with utmost urgency to avoid wasting the  lives of the few that are ready to stop further bloodshed that would have been found to be highly unwarranted.

    Running an inclusive government, rather than the winner takes all syndrome, will not only promote amity and memorandum of understanding, between the President and the governments at the state and local levels, but will also allow for timely intervention to quell riots or any acts of violence.

    Nigeria is  presently enjoying, a graveyard peace.

    The people do not trust their leaders who neither transparent nor accountable, this has caused a lot of disaffection to the point of hiding under restructuring motives to achieve secessionist agenda.

    Most of the regions are waiting for Nnamdi Kanu to achieve his aim, for others to say '' to thy tents Oh Israel''.

     With the foregoing as the situation on ground, Nigerians should naturally expect pockets of killings and anti-societal acts inimical to any reasonable development.

    However, making the country ungovernable for the government in power, is never a solution, but an act of retrogression, that all Nigerians must condemn.

    Nigeria ought to learn from the civilized way the issue of BREXIT is being handled.

    Dialogue is the best option to adopt to further the peaceful co-existence that still keeps the country together.

    The service chiefs and the Professors of conflict resolution, would continue to be indicted for incompetence and lack of patriotism, if the the President could not be rightly advised to do the needful, with all sincerity of purpose.

    What is government doing with the reported $1 Billion it collected for the purchase of arms and equipment for the military ?

     

    What are the security agencies doing with the reported N 350 million worth of arms and ammunition intercepted at the nations' borders ?

    We must know fully well that a cracked wall, would ever harbour reptiles, to the detriment of the people in the house.

     Inter-religious and ethnic  disaffection been promoted by the President Muhammadu Buhari led government must stop, because government needs the support of all Nigerians.

     

  • Book Piracy is on the Increase in Nigeria-NPA

    Book pirates 1The Nigerian Publishers Association(NPA) has raised the alarm over the unabating activities of book pirates in Nigeria.

    The NPA made its position known through its Executive Secretary,Mr. Emmanuel Abimbola.

    ‘’Book piracy is a major problem in Nigeria. Piracy is on the increase, these pirates print abroad and the quality of their work is alarming. We as an association are working with the Nigeria Copyright Commission, to reduce it to the barest minimum. These pirates are not our members, they come from outside. We embark on anti-piracy campaigns to alert the public on the activities of book pirates’’, Mr. Abimbola dislcosed.

  • INEC and the Security Agencies must not Compromise the Electoral Process-Prof. Olagoke

    Nigerians will on Saturday go to their various polling units to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

    Although the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the security agencies have assured Nigerians that the elections would be free, fair, credible, devoid of violence and killings, as was the case in the Presidential and National Assembly elections, the electorate are taking this assurance with a pinch of salt, just as they rest their hopes on God.

    In this interview with Federationews2day, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof, Sabitu Olagoke appeals to INEC and the security agencies not to subvert the electoral process, while asserting that voters should be given the free will to vote for candidates of their choice without regard to any overbearing influence. Excerpts :

     

    What are your words to the electorate as they prepare to vote for candidates of their choice in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections  on Saturday ?

    Firstly, let's talk about the lessons that have been learnt from the outcome of the Presidential and National Assembly elections, which serves as a warning to the politicians in general and those elected into various offices to serve, that performance matters most, most especially in the area of service to humanity, which places emphasis on the electorate and the environment.

    The failure to recognize this fact and meditate on it, was majorly responsible for the fall of some erstwhile political giants and their political parties at the polls. For example, after eight years in office, some state Governors fell by the way side, in their bid to get to the Senate. Those who did not fall, have been seen to be unpopular among the people.

    This answers the questions that disturbs the mind, on their questionable success.Nigeria 4

     

    For the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, two episodes will play out, some will be voted for, by virtue of their credentials of credibility, even when the party is not liked and some will be voted for through party leanings, even when the substance of credibility is lacking in the candidates. Whatever way it occurs, Nigerians must be very careful not to lose their heads out of unnecessary passion.

    So, we must not turn the situation into that of violence, because according to Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar(rtd) Nigerians must embrace peace.

    It should be noted that none of the politicians, the electorate will vote for, including their children would be affected, if the unexpected happens; rather the masses who constitute the majority of the electorate, would kill themselves, without any hope for compensation.

    Nigeria must not play the fool of the tower of Babel, which was built with rigour and vigour, but got destroyed without the completion of the project, due to skirmishes, a fall out of disorganized information system and communication lag.

    The Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) must not be bought over for posterity sake, while the commission must retain its role as a credible umpire.

    The issue of logistics and functionality of the Smart Card Readers(SCR)ought to have been resolved before the day of election, which is March 9, 2019.

    The Ad Hoc staff hired by INEC must not be late in reporting to the various polling units and they must not be compromised.Inec 7

    In the case of the Observers, local and international, on ground for the election, Nigerians should take care not to wash their dirty linens in the open glare of the international community.

    For the security agents who will protect the electorate, INEC staff and Ad Hoc staff, they must display a high level of maturity and professionalism.

    They must be able to disarm trouble makers without the use of firearms. They must be able to provide adequate security at the various polling units, while also ensuring the safety of electoral materials and the offices of INEC.

    Politicians have continually embarrassed their followers and supporters through the buying and selling of votes.

    The implication of this ugly practice, is that our children may now imbibe pilfering as a culture, while also embracing examination malpractice as a way of life. 

    We must not forget that the mirror image of the society, which we are bastardizing through ungodly acts is a fall out of our attitudinal challenges, which is already having a direct effect on the psyche of the youth !

    Is it not paradoxically funny that the political scientists continue to remain as fathers of politics in the Ivory Towers, even though they have failed to produce exceptional politicians for the society.

    This is a direct challenge to the functionality of our educational status.

    Above all, voters must not be harassed, intimidate, threatened or misled into voting against their conscience.

    What should be of paramount importance to Nigerians today, is credible leadership and good governance, which can only emerge through voting according to the dictates of the voters' conscience and the fact that the votes must count.

    My appeal therefore to Nigerians, is to give peace a chance, so that we can turn our various communities into environments of peace, where justice, equity peace and development shall be paramount in the minds of the emerging leaders for the states, whose activities in government shall be people oriented.

     

  • Re-Election of President Buhari Divine, But A Lot Still Has to Be Done-Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam

    Prof sabitu olagoke 2Nigerians woke up on Monday morning to receive the news that the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) Prof. Mahmood Yakubu had declared President Muhammadu Buhari  the candidate of the All Progressives Congress(APC)the winner of Nigeria's  presidential election, a few minutes to 4.00 AM, while they were still in bed.

    However, the timing of the declaration, saved the country of widespread protests, as Nigerians continue to insist that the electoral process was not free, fair and credible, in addition they lamented that the whole process had been compromised long before the elections.
    Already, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) Alhaji Atiku Abubakar  has rejected the results and vowed to challenge the results in the law court, just as he promised to reclaim his mandate.
    In this interview with People, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafuadeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olgaoke  says the re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, even though a lot still has to be done. Excerpts :
     
    What is your reaction to the victory of the incumbent President at the just concluded presidential elections ?
     
    The battle for the prestigious and sensitive position of the President among the 73 presidential candidates has come and gone. But the real battle was between President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President Abubakar Atiku.
    Ideally, President Buhari was not supposed to have any problem, but an easy sail to victory, if his state Governors had  performed up to expectation in their various states, where the ruling APC  was supposed to have very close contact with the people, which would have resulted in a resounding impact on their lives.
    Sadly,contrary was the case and this could be seen  in the outstanding performance of the PDP, in a number of states, including Oyo and Ondo states.
    In these two states  particularly, people have been hurt and irredeemable damage inflicted on them by their expected saviour- the APC government in the states.
    Besides this , employment was toyed with by the APC government at all levels.
    The APC victory was based on the political passion and sentiments of the people for President Buhari, who was daily insulted by the opposition and whose party , the APC, was bedeviled by intrigues and pockets of civilian coup de Grace, if only the APC had lived up to expectation there would not have been any chance for the PDP to rise again to the level of wrestling power from the ruling party.
    Nigeria 6The re-election of President Buhari is purely divine, because according to our yearly predictions from Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, it was revealed that the party and some of its big names would fall by the wayside, despite the efforts they might put up to save their faces, but President Buhari would be re-elected against all odds, the Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and other retired Generals factors notwithstanding.
    The prediction went on further to state that the former Vice President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku would be deceived by some of his home men to play him out, his spending power notwithstanding.
    Besides all these, the campaign messages of the two parties influenced the pattern of voting.
    For example President Buhari said that he would continue to hunt for treasury looters, although Nigerians are not all that impressed with the anti-corruption fight.
    On the other hand the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku declared that he would grant amnesty to treasury looters caught so far and that the NNPC would be sold, which brought back the memory of the privatization saga and the Halliburton scandal.
    Also, Former President Obasanjo's book ''My Watch'' which outlined the corrupt tendencies of the Former Vice President has not helped matters.
     
    Nigerians were therefore left to choose from the two. This ultimately resulted in the present situation, despite the fact that the electoral process was fraught with anomalies, which Prof. Yakubu considered not to be significant enough to declare the election inconclusive or null and void.
     
    What is most important now, is for INEC to perfect the shortcomings in logistics, the malfunction of the Smart Card Readers as well as the very major area of security, which must be strengthened for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections, for it to be peaceful and without any hitch.
    The spirit of sportsmanship must be imbibed by all parties to give peace a chance.
    Equally important is for the emerging government to avoid party dictates that may be offensive to the possible formation of a strong government that would walk the talk.
     
    The winner takes all syndrome must be rejected because the functions and responsibilities of governance are in need of people who are serious, patriotic, disciplined and who have zero tolerance for corruption.
    Such people must be skill based, but unfortunately, no single party has a monopoly of these vital elements. These elements cut across party lines and also transcends political parties.
    This is the only way by which all congratulatory messages to Mr. President elect could be meaningfully justified in the next political dispensation.

  • Sierra Leone to Jail Rapists for Life

    Sierr leonePresident Julius Bio of Sierra Leone  has declared that those found guilty of rape and defilement of minors would  be jailed for life.

    "With immediate effect, sexual penetration of minors is punishable by life imprisonment."

    "Some of our families practice a culture of silence and indifference towards sexual violence, leaving victims even more traumatized. We as a nation must stand up and address this scourge,'' the President stated.
     
    President Bio also announced the establishment of  a new police division  to investigate sexual violence, a special magistrate court that would handle such cases and a public hotline specifically for reporting sexual violence, while calling on all  all government owned hospitals to provide free medical treatment and certificates to all victims of sexual violence.
     

    There has been  national outcry over the increasing rate of sexual violence in the Sierra Leone .

    Sierra Leoneans have called on government to introduce stringent  rape laws following  the rape of a 5-year-old girl by her 28-year-old male relative.

    The attack crippled the girl's spine, leaving her paralyzed for life.

     

     

     

  • DR Congo Presidential Polls : Undermine Democracy Risk Sanctions-US

    Dr congoThe United States stands by the millions of Congolese voters who went to the polls across the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on December 30 to participate in presidential, legislative, and provincial assembly elections. Since independence in 1960, the DRC has never experienced a peaceful, democratic transfer of power. The December 30 election was therefore one of the most important elections in DRC history.

    The United States was deeply concerned by the DRC’s National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) decision to deny accreditation to several international election observers and media representatives. We also noted that confusion on election day over the location of polling stations, the posting of voter lists, the late delivery of some election materials, and CENI's unfortunate decision to cancel elections in Beni and Butembo in eastern DRC disenfranchised voters. Nevertheless, despite these challenges, millions of Congolese citizens turned out peacefully across DRC on election day to cast their ballots and make their voices heard. ‎CENI must now ensure that these voices and votes are respected.

    As the Congolese people, the region, and the world await patiently for the results of these elections, the internet must be restored and the media allowed to report freely. We strongly urge the CENI to ensure that votes are counted in a transparent and open manner, with observers present, and that the results reported by CENI are accurate and correspond to results announced at each of DRC's 75,000 polling stations. We support the African Union Election Observation Mission to DRC’s expectation, expressed on January 2, that the announced results align with votes cast by the Congolese people. As official results are tabulated and reported, we continue to urge DRC government officials, leaders of the DRC security forces, opposition party leaders, civil society representatives, and stakeholders from all sides to respect the law and reject violence.

    There are moments in every nation’s history when individuals and political leaders step forward and do the right thing. This is one of those moments for the DRC. Those who enable a peaceful, democratic transfer of power out of respect for DRC’s constitution and the results of this election will be hailed, while those responsible for undermining democratic institutions and processes, threatening the peace, security, or stability of DRC or benefiting from corruption ‎will be held accountable. Those who undermine the democratic process, threaten the peace, security or stability of the DRC, or benefit from corruption may find themselves not welcome in the United States and cut off from the U.S. financial system.

    On December 30, millions of Congolese went peacefully to the polls. Now is the time for CENI to affirm that these votes were not cast in vain by ensuring the accurate reporting of election results.

    United States Department of State Washington DC

  • Nigerian Leaders Rely on Misinformation from Paid Agents-Grand Imam Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide

    The National Bureau of Statistics has disclosed that 20.9 million Nigerians are unemployed. Indeed, unemployment is the major discussion among Nigerians.

    However, President Muhammadu Buhari has opined that the figure reeled out by the NBS, is a reflection that his administration is making progress in governance.

    Prof sabitu olagokeNigerians are shell shocked by the President's remarks and the fact that rice farmers have contributed about N1.7 Billion for the President's re-election, even though rice as a foodstuff has gone beyond the reach of the common man.

    In this interview with People, the Founder, Spiritual Head and Grand Imam of Shafaudeen-in-Islam Worldwide, Prof. Sabitu Olagoke says that the misinformation of the Federal Government's paid agents gives it the impressions that it has  fulfilled its promises. Excerpts :

     

    The National Bureau of Statistics(NBS) has stated that 20.9 million Nigerians are jobless, what is your reaction to this figure ?

    The Federal Government is only focusing on the 30 areas it has made progress without taking into consideration the impact level on the people. And because most of our leaders  depend solely on the information of their paid agents, such as the Ministers, Commissioners, Governors and retinue of Personal Assistants, they are rather misled into believing that the yearnings of Nigerians have been met.

    The best way for self assessment on governance is to have direct pulse of the nation by physically going to some of the market places to see the reality of things.

    When the Queen of England visited, during ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo's tenure, she refused to be locked  in the nation's luxuries, but told the President to take her round some of the market places. After going round the Queen told the President, that he should take the issue of poverty alleviation serious, as she stated that she observed  suffering on the faces of the people.Lai mohammed

    This is a nation where  the unemployment rate has jumped from 14.2 per cent in 2016 to 23.4 per cent in 2018 and 20. 9 million Nigerians has been declared  as the figure of unemployed Nigerians in 2018, while the record of those who are underemployed has made the figure to rise to 40 per cent of the total population.

    Let us remember that the spate of killings have made nonsense of more than 1040 schools, with between 400,000 and 500,000 students affected.

    What about the increasing number of  Nigerian Children, who are out of school, in 2010 it was 10.5 million and presently it is 13.9 million.

    The President must believe less in the paid agents and ensure he uses SWOT analysis to restrategise in order that his desire for good governance, that would be beneficial to all , most especially those who gave him the mandate to rule, are met.

    The SWOT analysis on the Nigerian situation reveal our areas of strength and opportunities in the abundance of endowed resources, natural and human to be in abundance.

    Our areas of weaknesses duel more on competence for the desired astute management and classical administration to operationalize  functional Democracy based on justice and equity for peace and development to reign.

    Our areas of threats are on security issues that bothers on conflict management, as well as the fifth column role in government and the state apparatus making  progress too difficult to come by.

    Mr. President, therefore, needs to realize that his immediate challenge is on his ability to identify the true elements in his cabinet and government, that is, he must motivate  the prime movers not to lose them into another party.

    He must build the capacity of the lackadaisical, to be able to contribute meaningfully to government's business of building the nation while the catalytic elements, that is the rebellious ones must be managed with maturity and transformed into useful elements for the party and government.

    Garba sheuNo government with in-house problems and inconsiderate opposition can stand the test of time.

    To avoid driving people to an hopeless state of despair, there is need for Mr. President to restrategize into visionary leadership that would be proactive in taking decisions to fix things, purposeful leadership that would be directional in operation and sacrificial to make things work.

    My candid advice to the others in the All Progressives Congress(APC) is for them to imbibe the essence of togetherness in sharing visions  for government to be able to deliver beneficial services to the people, who are now more well informed in the spirit of globalization.

    Above all, the fear of the potential of the opposition to damage and remove must be the beginning of wisdom, to mend fences within and creditably deliver the expectations of the People of Nigeria.

     

  • Medical Services and Drugs to Be Delivered By Drones in Tanzania

    Medical Stores Department(MSD) in Tanzania is set to commence the  delivery of medical services and drugs to remote parts of the country through drones.

    Thsi disclosure was made byt the MSD Director, Laurean Bwanakunu, in a chat with journlaists.

    “We will soon announce tender for the company that will enter into agreement with MSD to supply the drones''.

     
     Bwanakunu also stated that a pilot project which enables drug-dropping drones to transport life saving blood and medical supplies to Ukerewe Island of Lake Victoria, was already on course.

  • Court Returns Leased Land to Sierra Leone Community

    A community  in Sierra Leone is  hopeful  that a court ruling which ordered an international palm oil company to return a big block of land to its owners  would be a source of empowerment for them to retake control of their land and resources.

    In the course of the case the court discovered that the land in Port Loko district, northern Sierra Leone, was leased to a Singapore-based palm oil company, Siva Group, in 2011, but  for three years it failed to fulfill its rent obligations to  landowners.

    In its judgment the court ordered the return of the 41,500 hectares (103,000 acres)to the community and a imposed  $250,000 fine.

     Lawyers for the case disclosed that this was the first time in the  history of Sierra Leone that a community would  win back land leased to a foreign company.

  • Helpless Nigerians Still in The Claws of Slave Labour

    Work

    Helpless Nigerians have raised the alarm over the continuous implementation of the policy of casualization by both the public and private sectors.

    They lament that the companies  are  both local and foreign  owned, while stressing that the high unemployment rate was the source of inspiration of these companies.

    The companies hide under the guise of outsourcing the recruitment of casual workers to promote slave labour.

    Recently aggrieved casual workers of a biscuit and poultry products factory located in Ibadan, Nigeria protested at their respective places of work to bring to the notice of the public their harrowing  experiences.

    One of the  workers at the biscuit factory speaking incognito, painted a pitiable picture.

    ''In this factory we work on three shifts of eight hours, there is no break. And the pay is so meagre. The management treats workers like slaves, we are not allowed to take our phones into the factory, we are not allowed to eat, if a worker has an accident while working such a workers would be queried. For the eight hours work, a worker must not sleep. As at now, three workers, who had accidents while working in September are still coming to work with their injuries. And our salaries are between N14,000, N16,000 and N17,000 per month. For me my salary is below N12,000'', the mpoverished worker lamented.

     

    Another worker at the poultry products factory disclosed that for several years ,casual workers have been shortchanged in the name of outsourcing the recruitment of casual workers.

     

    A man at the factory, who simply gave his name as Emmanuel  disclosed that the contract of the  company in charge of the casual workers had been terminated, while stressing that the workers wages had been increased by N300.00.

     

    In his reaction to the development , the Natonal coordnator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC)Comrade Andrew Emelieze casualization was also the trend in government owned establishments.

    ''It is unfortunate that Nigerians workers have been maltreated all these years, this has been the case all the while, it did not start today. The issue of casualization does not only affect the private sector, but also the public sector.''

    '' The postion of AWC is that workers should continuously protest their pilght and other workers should also protest in solldarity to end slave labour and slave wages. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Prodcutivity should initiate policies to save  Nigerian workers from casualization.''

    At the University of Ibadan, non academic staff lament that management staff of the institution, compel junior workers to work after the official closing hours of 4.00pm for personal purposes without extra wages.

    In his reaction, the branch Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NSAU)Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo maintained that it was unethical for any staff of the university to subject to such an inhuman treatment.

    ''I think it is unethical for any staff to compel his surbordinate to work etra hours with compesation. The  extant rule permits that when you do extra work, you must receive  over-time pay. If at all it is happening it is barbaric. And those involved should desist from such act  forthwith. It could lead to crisis. Anyone affected should report to the union leaders in the university'', Comrade Arojo stated.

  • House Ownership : Nigerian Workers Face Bleak Future

    Nigerian workers are increasingly giving up hopes of owning their own homes, as issues of unpaid salary arrears, unfavourable working environment and conditions trail the present administration up till the last lap of its four year tenure.

     Mot workers have for long contended with the exploitative tendencies of house owners, who increase rents randomly.

    This in in addition  to the soaring costs of  land and  building materials.

    For the National Vice President Western zone of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities(SSANU)Comrade Alfred Jimoh, workers have taken their destinies in their own hands, when it  comes to the fundamental issue of housing.

    ''The future of workers are in their own hands, as far as owning houses is concerned. I have not seen any meaningful assistance from the management of the University of Ibadan and the Federal Government in particular. The only effort I know, is a revolving housing  loan, but I don't know how effective it is. Workers are making efforts to own their houses with the assistance of cooperative societies and their unions. SSANU acquired some plots of land and distributed same to its members. Also, cooperative societies in the University of Ibadan assist their  members with loans and deduct this from their salaries, As far as Government and our employers are concerned nobody cares'', Comrade Jimoh lamented.

    In the views of Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo, the Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NASU), University of Ibadan branch, the beauty of working is to retire into one' own home, with the assistance of government.

    ''Our members should be able to afford to build their own houses. Let government provide the loans  and direct workers to pay instalmentally, not that when we retire, shelter becomes a problem'', Comrade Arojo stated.

    However, the All Workers Convergence(AWC) frowns at the National Housing Fund(NHF), just as it describes fund as a method government introduced to evade its responsibilities.

    This position  of the AWC was made  known by its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze in a chat with Federationews2day.

    ''The National Housing Fund is an imposition by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in a bid to run away from its responsibilities to provide either affordable housing scheme for Nigerian workers or giving out housing loans  to the workers. The NHF is used  to scoop cash from the already impoverished workers because the  deductions are mandatory and almost non-refundable until probably after retirement''.

    ''The interests on the deductions collected from the workers is equally ridiculous. More painful is the fact that the process of obtaining the housing loans are very cumbersome and workers are usually frustrated, making them resign to fate and allow the deductions to continue  without attempting to take the loans''.

    'For workers, generally, we feel cheated and because we don't have options, and because we  are not well protected by our industrial unions, we at most time resign to fate. In fact the NHF has never given account of the contributions  and balance of workers on a monthly basis. 

    ''And if no worker  in the scheme has collected loans within the last 10 and 15 years, and the NHF is not giving reasons why this is so, it means the National Housing Fund is a fraud'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.

  • Three Journalists injured as explosion Rock Rally in Zimbabwe

    Three Journalists were injured when  an explosion disrupted last Saturday's  ZANU-PF  political rally at the Bulawayo White Stadium in Zimbabwe.

    The political rally had in attendance President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was there to campaign, ahead of the July 30 general elections in the country.

    The three Journalists who were injured work for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation(ZBC), they are Cameraman Coster Thole, Technician Chipo Five, and Producer Forget Tsododo.

    Although President Mnangagwa escaped unhurt, the source of the blast has not yet been uncovered, while security agencies step up investigations

     

  • Nigerian Workers Worry over Fruitless Strike Actions

    The recently suspended nationwide strike action embarked upon by health workers in Nigeria has exposed how the Federal Government has destroyed the essence of trade unionism in the country.

    Some days before the strike was called off, the management of the University College Hospital(UCH) Ibadan, had issued a circular directing all workers in the hospital to resume within 48 hours or risk dismissal. This, it was gathered, was with the knowledge of some union leaders in the hospital.

    Indeed, workers in Nigeria have for long called to question the sincerity of their union leaders, in representing their interests, transparently.

    Not long ago, Non Academic Staff in Nigerian universities suspended their industrial action.

    According to the Chairman of the University of Ibadan, branch of the Non Academic Staff of Union, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo, although the government threatened to invoke the ''No work No Pay rule'', the workers were paid for the duration they were on strike.

    ''Government was threatening not to pay us, but after the whole threats, the matter was resolved amicably. And government decided to pay our members for all the period that they downed tools. Even though our major demands have not been met, we hope that the government will change its style of leadership and do the needful'', Comrade Arojo disclosed.

    Interestingly, a circular issued by the Head of Hospital Administration, Dr. J.O Amedu, for the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, announced that all salaries would not be paid to those who embarked on strike. The circular referred to the provision of section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act CAP 18, Law of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and  International Labour Organization's principles concerning employers' rights during strike in essential services, to justify its action.

    However, the National Coordinator of the All Workers Convergence(AWC)Comrade Andrew Emelieze opines that workers have the right to go on strike.

    ''To the issue of the pronouncement that workers' salaries, who went on strike would not be paid for the period that the strike lasted, this is an aberration, more of an abnormality, especially when the labour act allows for legitimate strikes been a tool for negotiation. Workers have the right to get paid. Even in line with the International Labour Organization's position, strikes are legitimate, it is a legal tool to make demands and encourage productivity''.

    ''Hence, as such workers pay within that period is guaranteed. More so, government was the cause of the strike and should be held accountable for all the shortcomings concerning the lock out, whereby government refused to meet the demands of the workers, thereby making it impossible for them to be at work. On this note, government must pay their salaries or else government should be ready for another dispute'', Comrade Emelieze concluded.

    Interestingly, workers of the UCH, Ibadan are yet to be paid for April and May, according to the  Chairman Joint Health Sector Union(JOHESU) of the hospital, Comrade Olusegun  Sotiloye.

    ''The circular issued by the UCH management was not enough to scare us, right now we are yet to receive the April and May salaries, while we wait patiently for the intervention of the Senate President, as he promised. Workers should remain calm, while we wait for the dividends of the strike'',.Comrade Sotiloye stated.

    Sadly, health workers in Oyo state insist that thy are at a lose, over why the strike was suspended. 

    ''We have a number of demands that are yet to be met by the Oyo state Government, and yet we are back to work'', they lamented.

    They also argue that their union leaders have been compromised by the state  government, that was why there has not been an headway in the agitation for their demands to be met.

    ''The routine is becoming monotonous, our leaders will call us out on strike and after sometime, such strikes are suspended, without meeting our demands. If Nigerians are saying our leaders have been compromised, they are correct'', the workers speaking incognito revealed.

    However, an attempt to get the response of the JOHESU Chairperson, Comrade R.A. Afonja met a brick wall at the unions secretariat at Yemetu, in Ibadan, as the Chairperson's response was '' is it by force to speak, please excuse us''.

    The coming days and weeks, would only serve to outline how the some officials of the present administration and union leaders in the country have systematically destroyed trade unionism and hope for an improved and efficient workforce. 

     

  • Govt is Deceiving Nigerian Workers on New Minimum Wage-AWC

     

    The All Workers Coverngence(AWC) has declared that the Federal Government does not have any intention to increase workers' salaries.

    The AWC made this declaration through its National Coordinator, Comrade Andrew Emelieze, in a chat with People.

    ''It is a delibrate attempt to dash the hopes of the Nigerian workers, who have been underpaid in the past years. And so it is as if, it is also a delibrate attempt to deceive the Nigerian workers, having continually promised since last year, ever since the committee was set up and the promise that the new minimmage will see the light of the day in Septmber, for government to now say it is no longer possible, confirms the fact that government is deceiving the workers and it is the most irresponsible thing to do''.

    ''In the light of this, the AWC, is calling for immediate radical action from the Trade Union Congress(TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC),  the two unions should  as a matter of urgency, confront this pronouncement with a nationwide strike action, as this remains the only therapy that can help workers in the struggle for a new antional minimum wage '', Comrade Emelieze stated.

    The Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Nigige, has a few days ago, disclosed that by September, the committee on new antional minimum wage would be submitting its report, and as a result the implementation would be moved forward.

    Training and Retraining of Workers : Oyo Govt Has not Done Enough for us-Chairman JNC

    Secretariat

    Similarly, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress(TUC), who also doubles as the Chairman Joint Negotiation Council(JNC) in the state, Comrade Emmanuel Ogundiran, has disclosed that the state government has not done enough in the area of training and retraining of the state's workforce in the last seven years.

    ''Training and retraining that could have improved our productivity  has been embargoed. This is not good for the workers. However, the state government is trying its best in the payment of salaries, we are only been owed for May, as at now, the government has the will to pay. But in the area of facelift to our work environment, government started well, the Governor's office is a sight to behold, but same cannot be said of our offices'', Comrade Ogundiran noted.

  • Earned Allowances : Govt Has Taken Care of ASUU and Left us in the Cold-University Workers

    Senior staff of Nigerian universities have expressed reservations over the release of N1.3 billion out of N8 billion the Federal Government agreed to pay as earned allowances to only the academic staff of the University of Ilorin and the University of Nigeria Nsukka(UNN).

     

    The position of the university workers was made known by the Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities(SSANU)Western zone, Comrade Alfred Jimoh.

    ''The information of the release of the allowances to the academic staff of the University of Ilorin and University of Nigeria Nsukka, has got to us. The truth of the matter, is that we have not heared anything about the release of non academic staff allowances. N1.3 billion was released to ASUU, out of N8 billion. The Federal Government has taken care of ASUU and left us in the cold. Government ought to be sensitive enough to take care of us and not the ancillary staff'', Comrade Jimoh concluded.

    In the same vein, Chairman of the Non Academic Staff Union(NASU)University of Ibadan branch, Comrade Oluwasegun Arojo has expressed hopes that government would soon release the allowances of the non academic staff.

    ''We are hopeful that anytime soon, our portion will be released, how soon the money will be released, nobody can tell. We are patiently waiting for government to do the needful'', Comrade Arojo stated.

     

  • Redeployment of Senior and Junior Staff of Nigerian Universities to Education Ministry Imminent

    A systematic dismembering of the  manpower structure in Nigerian universities has began in earnest.

    The plot engineered by some politically exposed Academics, according to investigations is designed to ease out all senior and junior staff in the universities, for the benefit of the academic staff.

    If the plot sails through, the affected staff will then become the financial responsibilities of the Federal Ministry of Education.

    Carefully contrived by a number of academic staff presently enjoying political patronage from high ranking political office holders, the plot will ensure that only lecturers are on the payroll of the universities.

    Well informed sources, insist that senior and junior staff are to be redeployed  to the Federal Ministry of Education, while a few of them would be seconded   to the universities.

    This according to the sources would pave the way for a special salary scale for the  academic staff, while salaries of the others would be determined by the government.

    However, educationists warn that such a plot could destabilize the university system, just as they insisted that those behind the plot were only promoting their selfish interests.

    They berated the President for engaging the services of professionals, who had already led government astray.

  • Rwandan Govt. Begins ICT Education in Schools

    The Rwandan Government has  introduced Information and Communication Technology(ICT) education in schools in the country.

    The policy ''smart class rooms" seeks  to incorporate ICT into various aspects of the country's education system and reform teaching and learning systems.

    According to the Director General of Rwandan Education Board(REB),  Dr Irénée Ndayambaje, who made this known , recently, in  a training session for teachers on the use of ICT in schools in Kigali, the policy is also intended to  integrate technology in all education processes such as preparation, delivery of lessons, assessments, research among others.

    He stressed that the  target is to have  1,500 schools equipped with smart classrooms. Presently, only 645 schools are equipped in the country.

     

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