NIN Registration Suffers Setback As NIMC Workers Down Tools Nationwide

A file photo of applicants at one of the NIMC offices in the country.

 

The ongoing National Identity Number (NIN) registration appears to be running into more troubled waters, as Nigerians who have turned up for the exercise have been left unattended at various registration centres.

This is because workers at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) have embarked on strike across the country.

Some of the agency’s offices monitored by Channels Television on Thursday included Lagos, Abuja, Bauchi, and Taraba, among other states.

At the NIMC office located on the premises of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) office in Alausa, Lagos, hundreds of residents were seen as early as 8am.

However, the workers there refused to attend to the applicants, saying they were on strike to demand better welfare packages from the Federal Government.

One of the workers told Channels Television that the recent increase in the number of visitors at their office for registration of NIN had caused a lot of stress for them.

Apart from the demand for allowance, he said the government does not care about their safety as saying they could get infected with COVID-19 as they attend to hundreds of residents daily without protective kits.

In the nation’s capital, Abuja, the staff also complained about inadequate work equipment to protect them from Covid-19 and poor salary structure, among others.

They claimed that some of their members have contracted the disease and were neglected by the management of the agency.

The entrance gate of the NIMC office in Bauchi State is shut at NIN applicants as workers of the agency begin a nationwide strike on January 7, 2021.

 

The workers were also worried about the continuous breach of the Covid-19 protocols, considering the large crowds that show up for registration daily.

They vowed to continue the industrial actions until the issues raised were addressed by the relevant authorities.

The situation was also the same in Bauchi Stated where the staff of NIMC joined their counterparts in other parts of the country to down tools.

According to them, the refusal to work is in compliance with a directive following notice of strike issued by the NIMC Unit of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria, an affiliate of the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

The NIN applicants in Bauchi were locked outside the gate of the NIMC office as staff of the agency withdrew their services.

Some of the workers who were seen on the NIMC premises stated that their demands for improved welfare, promotion, and provision of personal protective equipment, among others have been a long drawn issue.

In Taraba, the workers also complained about the poor condition of service, especially regarding their protection against COVID-19 infection.

Resident Doctors Commence Strike In Taraba  

Logo of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD).

 

The Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Taraba State have embarked on an indefinite strike action to press home their demands.

ARD President, Ahmed Gabriel, who disclosed this to journalists in Taraba on Friday blamed the decision on the alleged inability of the state government honouring its part of the agreement.

He lamented that medical personnel have been exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the total number of resident doctors in the state is not up to 90.

According to him, the doctors are not happy with the inadequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) for the fight against coronavirus, non-implementation of the reversed Hazard Allowance and payment of COVID-19 inducement allowance and non-implementation of the N30,000 minimum wage.

READ ALSO: Residents Kill Six Bandits, As Two Locals Die In Kaduna

Others were insecurity as they lament the kidnap and killing of their colleagues, non-ensuring of pay parity among doctors and medical internship training.

“Base on the W.H.O standard, the ratio of doctor to patient stands at one doctor to 600 patients, but in Nigeria currently the ratio is one doctor to 6400 patients, while in Taraba state it is one doctor to 33,000 patients and this is grossly inadequate,” he said.

“Currently the number of Doctors who are in Taraba State is actually less than ninety. The Taraba State Specialist hospital created 13 years ago has 19 permanent Doctors and Doctors on contract are 18 in number.

“You cannot build a system or run a viable system with this kind of arrangement and no internship training for medical interns, both nurses and medical laboratory unlike what is experienced in sister states.

“At the moment, there is the issue of COVID-19 pandemic and already the second wave is with us. So far, no medical health worker has been paid and the second wave is with us yet our morale is low.”

While recalling that Taraba has not recorded any fatality since the outbreak of the virus, he attributed the feat to what he described as the resilience of the health workers within the state.

He regretted that the state government has not honoured its agreement by paying the COVID-19 inducement allowance for health care workers.

“Majority of the doctors employed have left the state for greener pasture due to the inability of the state to implement salary scale for Doctors ”

“Majority of the doctors employed are young and there is a high tendency that they will leave and we want the government to look into that quickly.

“Within the state, we have more than 25 health workers that were exposed to COVID-19 pandemic and we demand implementation of the MOU entered into with the government,” he added.

This is coming more three months after the association signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government to meet some of its pressing demands.

ASUU Did Not Reach Agreement With FG To Suspend Strike – Ogunyemi

Why We Suspended Nationwide Strike – ASUU
A file photo of ASUU National President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi.

 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), says the union has not reached any agreement yet with Federal Government to suspend its industrial action.

ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, who disclosed this in a statement issued on Wednesday, said there is nothing in the government’s offer on November 27 to suggest the end of the over eight-month strike.

“Therefore, the ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on 9th December 2020 and there is nothing in the government offer of 27th November 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment,” the statement partly read.

“The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take a final decision on any strike action by the union.

“All the leadership does is to present government offers through its organs, and that we have done faithfully in the current situation.”

The union leadership’s stance on the prolonged strike followed media reports from the Labour Minister, Chris Ngige that ASUU had promised to suspend the strike on December 9.

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

WHY THE STRIKE HAS NOT BEEN SUSPENDED

The leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been inundated with enquiries on why the ongoing strike action has not been suspended. This was sequel to the widely reported claims by some government agents that all the demands of ASUU have been met and that the union agreed to suspend the strike action today, 9th December 2020. Nothing can be farther from the truth!

To put the records straight, the Principal Officers and Trustees who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action. Whatever comes out of an engagement with agents of the government is an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union. Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers. This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.

At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on 27th November 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition. The latest offer by the government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on the inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December 2020); release of details about Visitation Panels (1st December 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, 9th December 2020). Clause 9 on the document reads: “Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the on-going strike” (Italics, for emphasis).

Therefore, the ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with the government to suspend the strike on 9th December 2020 and there is nothing in the government offer of 27th November 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment. The leadership of ASUU has consistently stated at every meeting with high ranking government officials that the union’s representatives have no mandate to take the final decision on any strike action by the union. All the leadership does is to present government offers through its organs, and that we have done faithfully in the current situation.

ASUU recognises and appreciates the concerns of all Nigerians who have been calling for an early resolution of the ongoing crisis. It was a needless crisis in the first place. It happened because the government has consistently failed to faithfully implement the Agreements it freely signed with the union. ASUU members, as stakeholders in the Nigerian University System, are equally worried and embarrassed that those in the position of authority, over the years, displayed seeming indifference to the rot and decay in Nigeria’s public universities. We think it is not too late to do a rethink. We believe if there is the will, there will be a way.

ASUU acknowledges some more recent interventions aimed at resolving the crisis. While the union is willing to cooperate with concerned authorities on the matter, this would not be done to its own detriment. So, the strike would only be suspended when the union’s organs affirm that the welfare and wellbeing of ASUU members, as well as the survival of our public universities, are sufficiently guaranteed.

 

Biodun Ogunyemi

President

For and on behalf of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU)

09th December, 2020

ASUU Strike: Students Demand Immediate Resolution, Issue Ultimatum To FG

University SUG presidents address a press conference in Ibadan, Oyo State on November 12, 2020.

 

Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in the South West and Kwara State have demanded an immediate resolution to the lingering strike that has crippled academic activities at various universities.

They made the demand on Friday at a press conference held at the University of Ibadan in the Oyo State capital.

Abiodun Oloyede, the President of the Students’ Union Government (SUG) at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), spoke on behalf of the students.

He said, “We have waited, we have hoped, but this is the eighth month and there seems to be no breakthrough in sight.

“Several engagements between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities, since the inception of this strike, have always been resulting in a deadlock.”

“It is on that noted that we are making our position and demands to the Federal Government of Nigeria very clear and explicit.

“We the great students of the Federation, hereby request an end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities; the struggle of ASUU should never be undermined as we truly know that the revitalisation and improvement in the quality of infrastructure at regulation of payment of salary are dearly needed,” Oloyede added.

FUNAAB SUG President, Abiodun Oloyede, addressing a press conference in Ibadan, Oyo State on November 12, 2020.

 

According to him, the students have issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government or get ready to face a national agitation by the student bodies.

The students noted with concern that the government has not found a way out of the industrial action which started on March 23.

They called for a compromise between the government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to put an end to the suffering of young Nigerians in the university.

The group also stressed the need for the government to recognise education as a major factor for sustainable growth and development, thereby making better funding of universities a priority.

“Please, we urgently call for a compromise to be reached by both parties; the future of students is at stake, some have lost faith in education in this country and it is a great slap on the face of the nation.

“Not every parent or guardian can afford to send their children to private universities,” said Oloyede.

The press conference had in attendance presidents of the student unions of various universities in the South West, as well as Kwara State.

It was convened following the series of meetings between the government and ASUU which ended inconclusively, a development that has left students out of the classroom for several months.

Shelved Strike: Its Normal For People To Say ‘You Sold Out’ – NLC

 

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, has reacted to comments by some aggrieved Nigerians who feel the group was bought over by the government in regards to the planned nationwide strike.

Speaking on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Wednesday, the NLC President noted that “its normal for people that actually buy people, to say ‘you sold out’”.

But according to him, the real issues are clear and agreements were reached between both Labour and the government that if the demands are not met within the next two weeks, the strike will commence.

“Trade unions or labour organisations such as the NLC is membership based, which means we have a very clear objective to protect and defend the interest of our members,” he said.

“You know, its normal for people that actually buy people, to say ‘you sold out’, but I think the issues are very clear and I think that by the time we share those details with our CWC, they commended the effort that was made.

“The purpose of every action of a trade union including the NLC, is to try to see how those issues will be resolved”.

Read Also: Labour Suspends Planned Strike, FG To Put Electricity Tariff Hike On Hold

The decision to suspend the strike which as initially scheduled for Monday, followed an agreement reached between both parties.

Organized labour, however, stressed that the strike was suspended not called off and it could be recalled if the government doesn’t hold up its end of the deal made at this meeting in the next two weeks.

‘We Will Follow Through’: Kyari Hails FG’s Deal With Labour

A file photo of NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari

 

The Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday praised the Federal Government’s agreement with Organised Labour to suspend the latter’s industrial action.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on a nationwide strike today (Monday) over the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

READ ALSO: Labour Suspends Planned Strike, FG To Put Electricity Tariff Hike On Hold

But after a meeting that started late Sunday and ended in the early hours of Monday, both parties struck a deal to suspend the strike for two weeks.

“We reached accord to suspend the planned strike action, great responsibility for both Govt and Labour, all serving the common good, beneficial challenge for NNPC, we will follow through diligently,” Kyari tweeted on Monday.

 

Fuel prices increased earlier this month as the deregulation of the country’s petroleum downstream sector continued to take shape.

Earlier on Monday, Kyari noted that the labour union’s understood the “inevitability” of deregulation and are working with the government to develop local refining sufficiency.

“NLC and TUC demonstrated absolute faith in our country and showed understanding on inevitability of PMS deregulation and jointly charted way forward to secure local refining sufficiency through greater stakeholder inclusiveness and transparency,” he said. “We will follow through diligently.”

 

Strike: Give Us More Time To Negotiate, Gbajabiamila Pleads With NLC

 

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, on Sunday implored the Nigerian Labour Congress, and the Trade Union Congress to give room for enough time for negotiations with the executive arm of government over the proposed industrial action initially scheduled to commence on Monday.

The Speaker made the appeal while meeting with the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and the President of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, in his office on Sunday.

He expressed concerns over the consequences of a shutdown of the nation’s socio-economic activities on Nigerians, while disclosing his intentions to interface with the executive for a possible amicable resolution of the demands of the Labour unions.

The labour unions had threatened to embark on industrial action from Monday if their demands for the reversal of the increase in electricity tariff and Premium Motor Split (PMS) were not met.

But the Speaker said it is incumbent upon the House as elected representatives to see how they can intervene and perhaps a third voice, would be able to broker some kind of amicable solution to the ongoing impasse while citing instances where the House had successfully intervened.

He later met with the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation Boss Mustapha, to deliberate on the outcome of his meeting with the labour leaders.

 

Monday Mass Protest: Gbajabiamila Meets With NLC

 

 

The labour leaders later on, went into a meeting with the Federal Government which commenced at 7:00 pm and continued till late into the night.

The outcome of the meeting will determine whether or not the strike will hold.

Do Not Join Labour Strike, FG Warns Civil Servants

The Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan.

 

The Federal Government has warned civil servants against participating in the planned nationwide strike called by the organised Labour.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC), and its affiliate unions had called on workers to embark on an indefinite industrial action on Monday over the price of petrol and electricity tariff.

But in a statement issued on Saturday, the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr Folasade Yemi-Esan, asked civil servants to be at work, saying the government is engaging with the union officials over the issue.

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

“Permanent Secretaries and Chief Executive Officers are, therefore, enjoined to bring the contents of this circular to the attention of all concerned officers and ensure strict compliance,” the statement partly read.

Yemi-Esan argued that there is a court injunction granted by the National Industrial Court with suit number, NICN/ABJ/253/2020 issued on September 24 on the matter.

READ ALSO: NLC Insists On Monday Protest Despite Court Order

The court order, she noted, had restrained the NLC and TUC from embarking on any form of industrialisation action pending the hearing and determination of a motion on notice.

“Sequel to the Labour Unions for workers to embark on industrial action from Monday, Sept. 28, the office of the HOCSF wishes to inform all public servants that the Federal Government team is currently engaging with the labour unions with the view to resolving all contentious issues and avert the planned industrial actions,” she said.

The HOCSF’s directive comes 24 hours after Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court in Abuja issued a fresh restraining order against the unions, following an ex parte application by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

The fresh order came a day after the same judge made a similar restraining ex parte order in favour of a group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.

The judge ordered that both the NLC and the TUC joined as the defendants in the suit should be served with the fresh court order within seven days from Friday.

NLC Insists On Monday Protest Despite Court Order

 

The Nigeria Labour Congress on Friday insisted that it will go on with its planned mass action scheduled for Monday, September 28.

In a communique by its General Secretary, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, the NLC asked its members across the nation to come out in large numbers to protest the increase in fuel and electricity prices.

The order was given despite a fresh court order obtained by the Federal Government, barring the NLC and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

In the statement by Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, NLC asked all National Leadership of affiliates in Abuja to mobilise at least 2000 of their members to Unity Fountain, Abuja for the mass rally which takes off at 7am.

Also, affiliates are expected to mobilise the same number of members to the NLC Sub-Secretariat, 29, Olajuwon Street, Yaba, Lagos, which is the take-off point for the Lagos action at 7am also.

The NLC Secretary also noted that all Presidents and General Secretaries are expected to lead and identify with their members at the take-off point.

Reverse fuel, electricity price, or?

Earlier in September, Organised Labour threatened to embark on a nationwide strike if the Federal Government refuses to reverse the recent increases in fuel and electricity tariff.

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) President, Ayuba Wabba while making the announcement in Abuja said the NLC’s central working committee (CWC) has resolved to issue a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to reverse the increase.

READ ALSO: Fuel, Electricity Hike: Protesters Urge Lawmakers To Intervene

He said workers and Nigerians are disappointed that the government decided to increase both the price of fuel and electricity tariff at a time “other countries across the world are giving palliatives to their citizens to cushion the effect of COVID-19.”

“NLC central committee will also mobilise its members, civic society allies, and other social partners to resist this policy because it has driven many into poverty,” Wabba added.

Ahead of the threat by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to resort to industrial action, the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) held an emergency meeting of all the governors.

Following the meeting, the NGF cautioned NLC against the planned strike, arguing that any plan to down tools will worsen the currently deteriorating economic situation of the country brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FG Secures Another Court Order Barring Industrial Action On Monday

A flag of a Nigerian labour union.

 

The Federal Government on Friday obtained a fresh order barring the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress from embarking on their planned strike scheduled to commence on Monday.

Justice Ibrahim Galadima of the National Industrial Court sitting in Abuja again issued the restraining order following an ex-parte application by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

READ ALSO: Labour Leaders Meet With FG, Insist On Reversal Of Fuel, Electricity Hike

This is coming barely 24 hours after the same judge made a similar restraining ex-parte order in favour of a civil society group, Peace and Unity Ambassadors Association, on Thursday.

The Acting Director of the Department of Civil Litigation of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mrs. Maimuna Shiru, and Mr Tijjani Gazali, led the Federal Government’s team who moved the ex-parte application that was later granted by Justice Galadima.

The NLC and TUC had jointly declared a nationwide strike billed to start on Monday to press for the reversal of the recent hike in petrol pump price and electricity tariff.

 

JOHESU Suspends Warning Strike

A file photo of JOHESU President, Biobelemoye Josiah
A file photo of JOHESU President, Biobelemoye Josiah

 

The Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) has suspended its seven-day warning strike across the country.

In a statement issued by its National President, Biobékentóye Josiah, the health workers comprising five unions under JOHESU and the Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) were expected to resume work on September 21.

“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions JOHESU) would come to end midnight of today, September 20, 2020.

“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, September 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country,” the statement partly read.

Josiah  also accused the Federal Government of resorting to intimidation and blackmail its members “using all forms of faceless organisation” rather than negotiating with the union.

The health workers had embarked on the warning strike on September 14 following the failure of the government to meet their demands.

Part of their demands included an upward review of COVID-19 special inducement and hazard allowances; the payment of all withheld salaries; and adjustment of Consolidated Medical Salary Structure since 2014, among others.

FG Meets With NLC, TUC Over Hike In Electricity, Fuel Tariff

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday met with the organised Labour over the hike in electricity and fuel tariffs.

The meeting called by the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigerian Labour Congress in attendance held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

Channels Television learned that the meeting which is at the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari is to discuss solutions to the recurring labour issues with a view to finding an end to incessant industrial actions.

In attendance at the meeting is the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the Minister of Works, Babatunde Fashola and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

This comes as the labour unions are threatening to down tool over the pump price of petrol and electricity tariff.

They are also complaining of non-implementation of the N30,000 new minimum wage, alleged corruption in government agencies, loss of jobs across the industries, high cost of living and, businesses not booming in the light of the effects of COVID-19.

The labour unions and their civil society allies are meant to commence an indefinite industrial action and national protest from Wednesday, September 23.

READ ALSO: Mali Crisis: Osinbajo Attends ECOWAS Summit in Ghana

On his part, the Minister of State for Petroleum said all is not well with the economy, calling for cooperation to fix the economy

While making a presentation on the topic, “Understanding the importance of fuel subsidy on the Nigerian Economy and the gains of deregulation,” Sylva noted that subsidy payment is a major source of corruption.

According to the minister, oil prices are low, adding that there is also a cut in production to about 1.412 million barrels per day.

Sylva who stressed that the nation’s major source of income which is oil, reduced by over 50 per cent, maintained that Nigeria was losing about N1billion daily to subsidy between 2016-2019.

Prior to this time, the country was losing about 3.7 billion naira daily.

Speaking further, he explained that despite the deregulation, fuel price in the country is the cheapest in the West African region.

He added that subsidy cost the government N2trillion in 2011 and N1.3trillion in 2013.