Okowa Inaugurates Assembly Service Commission, Demands Discipline

Okowa Inaugurates Assembly Service Commission, Demands DisciplineDelta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, has identified indiscipline as one of the greatest challenges facing Nigeria as a country.

The Governor made this assertion in Asaba during the swearing-in ceremony of members of the Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission which has Mrs Josephine Kachikwu as Chairman.

He emphasised that once discipline is entrenched in public offices, some of the challenges of the country would become a thing of the past.

“One of the greatest problems we have as a nation is the issue of discipline; discipline is central to sound administrative processes. Some persons do not take their responsibilities seriously and it is the duty of the political office holders to ensure that people are disciplined and do their job with all due diligence.

“Everybody in public office should demonstrate a high sense of probity, accountability, selflessness and transparent patriotism,” he stated.

The Governor who commended the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) for their cooperation and support despite the recession affecting the country, called on all workers’ unions in the state to “always follow due process in expressing their grievances” adding that “the current industrial harmony in the state should be strengthened at all times”.

“I wish to request all civil servants, in deed, all public officers in the state to always demonstrate commitment, loyalty, integrity, and support in the discharge of their responsibilities because, it is in this way, we can leave a legacy of selfless service on the sands of time.

“My administration is committed to delivering quality service to the people and in doing so, we are committed to the entrenchment of a culture of selfless and total service, including building a regime of transparency and accountability in all spheres.”

The Governor congratulated Mrs Kachikwu for re-emerging as the Chairman of the Commission which also, has Mr Sunday Ebireri, Christian Iteire, Cordelia Anyagwu, Monday Ishiekwene, Richard Ofenor and Oyazino Ebiakpo as members.

Responding on behalf of the appointees, Mrs Kachikwu expressed gratitude to God for the opportunity given her and members of the commission to serve the state and thanked Governor Okowa for deeming them fit to serve.

The committee assured the Governor and Deltans that they would carry out their activities diligently to the benefits of government and the people.

Labour Union Asks Financial Institutions To Save Nigeria’s Economy

Nigeria's GDP Falls 2.24% In 3rd Quarter of 2016The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has appealed to operators of financial institutions across Nigeria to rid the sector of corrupt practices to save the economy that is in recession.

The president of the union, Mr Bobboi Kaigama, made the appeal on Friday at a conference of members of the union from the financial institutions held in Abuja.

According to him, financial corruption in the banking and insurance sector of the economy will further worsen Nigeria’s economic situation if operators refuse to act.

“In a country where we are looking at creating more jobs, we should not lay off the existing ones that are in their job places.

“Just like the judiciary is trying to clean itself, every sector of the economy of this country must clean itself of corruption, including the banking and insurance sector,” Mr Kaigama stressed.

At the meeting were a representative of the Minister of Labour and Employment and that of the Central Bank Governor.

They appealed to employers of labour in the financial sector, to promote policies that would contribute to quick economic recovery.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Clement Ilo, pointed out that the labour union had enjoyed relative peace over the years, saying that it had in no small measure contributed in sustaining industrial peace and harmony in the banking sector.

“I therefore wish to remind all of you of the significance of the understanding reached between the unions and employers which was midwifed by my ministry and the utmost need to sustain and promote the path which would no doubt contribute to economic recovery,” he said.

On his part, the Director of Financial Policy Regulation with the Central Bank of Nigeria, Franckline Ahonkhai, however, stressed the need for the labour union to prevail on their members to enhance productivity.

“As we intensify efforts to grow the country’s economy, labour unions should be in the forefront, rallying their members to enhance labour productivity.

“I urge you therefore to use this platform to articulate additional strategic contributions which you must make towards growing the economy of our dear country,” he highlighted.

Since the National Bureau of Statistics’ second quarter report showed that Nigeria’s economy has slipped into recession in August, there have been several conferences to discuss how to reflate the economy.

The second quarter report of the agency had had showed a consecutive contraction of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product from the 0.3 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, to 2.06 per cent in the second quarter.

Analysts say deliberate policies by the government and financial regulators are urgently needed to reflate the economy.

Labour Gives FG 21 Days To Resolve FMC Owerri Crisis

FMC Owerri, LabourThe Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) have given the Federal Government of Nigeria a 21-day ultimatum to resolve the industrial crisis at the Federal Medical Centre (FMC) in Owerri.

The ultimatum is contained in a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole.

The unions asked the government to summon the Chief Medical Director of FMC Oweri, Mrs Angela Uwakwem, to answer the cases she has with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

They claimed that her return to the hospital at a time she was being prosecuted by the EFCC was a violation of the civil service rule.

Reacting to the allegation, the Mrs Uwakwem stated that her accusers cannot be the judges in their own case.

The Federal Government had earlier announced her reinstatement as the substantive Medical Director of FMC Owerri, after about 10 months of stepping aside.

The directive for the recall was contained in a statement issued by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

The government insisted that it has not found Uwakwem guilty of the allegations levelled against her.

The development consequently triggered series of protest by health workers and labour unions at the health institution in Imo State, southeast Nigeria.

The workers vowed not to return to work until their demand was met.

NLC Strike: Senate To Interface With FG, Labour Unions

Petroleum Industry BillThe Senate has directed its Committee on Labour to immediately interface with the Federal Government and Labour Unions to find immediate solutions to the impasse between both sides.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) began a nationwide strike on Wednesday to protest the Federal government’s new fuel price regime.

The Senate is, however, backing the Federal government’s introduction of the new fuel price regime.

Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekwerenmadu, said the Senate had resolved to engage with the Federal Government to find out sustainable ways of improving the welfare of Nigerians.

The Deputy Senate President, who presided over plenary on Wednesday disclosed that the Senate reached the decision to meet with organized labour during a closed door meeting.

Sen. Ekweremadu said the Senate is interested in ensuring that Nigerians do not suffer hardship resulting from the strike.

Delta Police Restate Commitment To Curbing Crime

Delta PoliceThe Delta State Police Command has restated its commitment towards curbing crime in the state, as it paraded several suspects involved in various criminal activities.

The State Commissioner of Police, Alkali Baba Usman, made the promise while briefing the press in his office in Asaba.

He said that the Command has been able to arrest and parade armed robbery, kidnap and oil bunkering suspects as well as rescuing kidnap victims.

A major breakthrough by the Police command was the rescue of the National President of Urhobo Progress Union (Youth Wing), Mr Anthony Ovie.

The Delta Police Commissioner also cautioned citizens on the need to maintain peace as labour unions prepare for a nationwide strike scheduled to start on Wednesday, May 18.

He had invited the leadership of the Delta State chapter of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the forthcoming industrial action.

The Delta NLC Vice Chairman, Jonathan Jemineyiyae, assured the Police of peaceful conduct of its members but noted that the commencement of the strike was still dependent on ongoing consultations with the national body.

FG, Labour Meeting Over Petrol Price Rescheduled For Tuesday

labour-union-Federal-government-meetingTalks between the Federal Government and labour unions as part of efforts to avert the planned strike by Nigeria Labour Congress to resist an increase in the price of petrol are continuing on Tuesday.

The meeting was rescheduled after both parties could not reach an agreement in an earlier meeting on Monday.

According to Channels TV correspondent, the dialogue, which held in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), had in attendance the SGF, representatives of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the Trade Union Congress (TUC), PENGASSAN, as well as the Governor of Edo State.

The SGF is leading a delegation of ministers and other representatives of the federal government in the meeting with the union leaders.

While appealing to the workers’ union leaders to put the nation’s interest ahead of theirs as they went into the meeting, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal, said that the decision to deregulate the petroleum was the only option for the government to tackle the nation’s financial predicament.

However, the President of the NLC said that the meeting would present them the opportunity to table issues in the minds of the workers to the government.

Organised labour has set Wednesday, May 18 to go on an indefinite strike if the federal government fails to meet its demand of reverting the pump price of petrol to 86.50 kobo per litre.

On Sunday, the National Vice President of the NLC, Mr Amechi Asugwuni, warned that Nigerian workers would down tools if the government failed to revert to the old price.

Before the increase in the price of petrol on May 11, the union had earlier proposed a new minimum wage of 56,000 Naira, insisting that the increment was long overdue.

PENGASSAN, NUPENG, the Pilots and Engineers unions had supported the decision of the government to increase petrol pump price, something that many have seen as an obstacle in the way of the Nigeria Labour Congress’ resistance to the increase.

 

Ayade Bags Most-Labour Friendly Governor Award

Ben Ayade-LabourThe organised labour in Cross River State has conferred an award on the State Governor, Ben Ayade, declaring him the ‘Most-Labour Friendly Governor’ in Nigeria.

The awards night and dinner took place at the Cultural Center Complex in Calabar, the Cross River State’s capital in southern Nigeria.

Being the first to receive such title among his contemporaries, Governor Ayade was honoured in the presence of his deputy and some other political appointees during a May Day celebration.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Cross River State, John Ushie, said that the Governor was chosen for the award for a number of reasons.

Some of these reason, according to the NLC Chairman, include the prompt payment of workers’ salaries and the courage to embark on economy changing projects.

In his remark, the Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Eyo-Nsa Itam, also praised the Governor and urged him to continually keep faith with the workers.

According to Itam, in a period where most of their colleagues were owed salaries in months, Cross River State government had already paid its workers for the month of May.

Expressing his delight, Governor Ayade applauded the labour unions in the state for the honour and promised to do more for workers, despite the downturn in Nigeria’s economy.

New Minimum Wage In Edo And State’s Strength To Pay, An Economist’s Perspective

Bismarck Rewane-on Edo Economy and new Minimum WageWhile the labour unions in Nigeria are pushing for a review of the minimum wage, the Edo State government on Workers’ Day made a rare move by increasing the minimum wage from 18,000 Naira to 25,000 Naira (about $125) per month.

After the State Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, announced the increment, some Nigerians expressed scepticism on the State, government’s ability to fulfil such promise.

Encourage Investment

Giving his opinion on the historical wage increment by the Governor, a one time labour leader, an economist, Mr Bismarck Rewane, said the state had the capacity to fulfil such promise.

“Edo State has a much more efficient fiscal system and that is because Edo State has actually encouraged investments rather than just being bureaucratic,” he stressed.

The State has been able to attract investments from top companies in Nigeria – Guinness, Dangote Group and other transit organisations.

Edo State is a transit hub for east-west traffic and south-north traffic.

“Edo State has history, culture and industry.

“It has an economic management team that is led by somebody from the private sector,” Mr Rewane pointed out.

While announcing the new wage increment, the Governor said the state had been able to eliminate ghost workers from its payroll.

adams oshiomole
The Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, says the government has eliminated ghost workers

The economist said their view of things was much more proactive and much more strategic than what is seen in other states.

“They do not have a bloated civil service and more than anything else, the governor is a product of union movement in Nigeria and he has been able to see things from a different perspective,” Mr Rewane further pointed out.

Governor Oshiomhole had made the announcement at a period that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress are pushing for new minimum wage of 56,000 Naira.

Defending the labour unions’ proposal on Monday, the Acting Secretary General of the NLC, Mr Onyeka Chris, said Nigerian states had the capacity to pay the new minimum wage.

He suggested a more prudent and responsible way of spending as the way to go.

The labour unions’ proposal is coming at a time that some Nigerian states are grappling with the payment of salaries, with some states still owing salaries after the Federal Government had provided a bailout.

Most states rely solely on allocations from the Federal Government and paying less attention to Internally Generated Revenue. This allocations from the government at the centre has dropped, a situation occasioned by the drop in the price of crude in the past one year.

With the current situation, the Nigerian government is looking to further diversify the economy, with more focus on Agriculture and solid minerals that have been left untapped for years.

The mining of minerals in Nigeria accounts for only 0.3 per cent of its GDP, due to the influence of its vast oil resources.

The domestic mining industry is underdeveloped, leading to Nigeria having to import minerals that it could produce domestically, such as salt or iron ore.

Some other minerals that exist in Nigeria are, Coal, Lignite, Coke, Gold, Columbite, Wolframite, Tantalite, Bitumen, Iron Ore and Uranium,

While the labour unions are determined to push for the new wage, the Nigerian government, through President Muhammadu Buhari’s various travels, is looking for more foreign investments in the ‘fallow sectors’ to boost revenue and possibly afford the new wage which labour said was long overdue.

Workers’ Day: Different Moods Witnessed In Southern Nigeria

Workers DayIt was a colourful display by civil servants resident in Lagos State as they held their Workers Day rallies at the National Stadium in Surulere.

Leaders of labour unions including the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) spoke to workers on the need to uphold the values that guide their conduct as professionals in their disciplines.

The leaders also called on federal and state authorities to improve welfare packages while resolving persisting social economic challenges.

Akwa Ibom Deviates

The 2016 Workers day celebration in Akwa Ibom State took a different dimension from the traditional approach as workers in the state chose to mark the day with a Christian inter-denominational thanksgiving service.

Over the years, workers day has been associated with complaints and demands from the leadership of organised labour but what happened in Akwa Ibom State on May Day 2016 was a deviation from this age long convention as the state chairmen of the Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress led the workers in a thanksgiving service preceding the conventional Workers Day celebration.

The workers offered prayers of thanksgiving in appreciation for God’s divine protection. They sang and danced.

The second part of the event featured good will messages from stakeholders and government agencies.

The NLC Chairman, Comrade Etim Ukpong and the TUC Chairman, Comrade Akamba Awa highlighted some pending issues which require government’s attention.

Governor Udom Emmanuel acknowledged the role of Labour in the socio-economic development of the state and country and gave the assurance that his administration would continue to give priority attention to workers’ welfare.

Some of the workers who spoke to Channels Television said that although the state government is not owing them salaries, they want the review of the national minimum wage from N18,000 to N56,000 as demanded by the NLC.

The event which was held at Uyo Township Stadium recorded a high turn out by workers.

 Low Turnout in Oyo State

The turnout at the Lekan Salami Stadium, Ibadan, venue of the Workers Day rally in Oyo State was at an all-time low as most of those present were artisans while civil servants appeared to have boycotted.

The Oyo State branch of the Nigeria Labour Congress said that this year’s Workers Day celebrations is a time of great sober reflection as workers are suffering untold hardship as a result of unpaid salaries and the extreme inflation of prices of daily commodities in the market.

The NLC Chairman in Oyo State, Waheed Olojede, in his address commended the efforts of government at fighting insecurity in the country and implored both the federal and state governments to urgently devise better means of settling the huge labour bills pending across the country or face mass action.

In his goodwill address to workers, the Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, who was represented by the Head of Service, Soji Eniade, expressed appreciation for the understanding shown so far by labour leaders.

He charged them to help government boost its revenue as government cannot function without the civil service.

Full Text: May Day Speech By President Muhammadu Buhari

SPEECH BY HIS EXCELLENCY, PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI PRESIDENT AND COMMANDER – IN – CHIEF, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA, ON THE OCCASION OF THE 2016 NATIONAL MAY DAY CELEBRATION HELD AT THE EAGLE SQUARE, ABUJA ON SUNDAY, MAY 1, 2016

Great Nigerian Workers!

Great Nigerian Workers!

I bring you greetings.

It is with great pleasure that I honour the invitation by the two Federations of Trade Unions, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to attend the 2016 National May Day celebrations. As you all know, this is my first outing in this forum which has a long and historical tradition that are noble and progressive. The efforts of all the heroes past who had fought for the workers of all nations to have a ‘voice’ in determining the course and direction of both national and international issues affecting the state of their being, are commemorated today, the first day of May all over the world. Labour remains unarguably an important element in any policy, programme and project propagated for national development.

This year’s celebration is significant in a number of ways. First, it marks the first May Day celebration under the All Progressive Congress (APC) Administration which brought an end to the sixteen (16) years of national squander, bad governance, unbridled corruption and economic woes by the previous administration. Second, it is coming at a time when the whole world is experiencing some form of economic crisis or the other.

For us whose main foreign exchange comes from oil, the global decline in the price of oil has further exacerbated our economic crisis. The resultant effects of this are noticeable in government dwindling resources, reduction in operational capacities of most companies especially in the Oil and Gas Sector, threats of workforce reduction by multinationals and the escalations of volatility amongst others. These developments no doubts, have socio-economic implications for the economy as well as the working class. I therefore appreciate the theme you have chosen for this year’s National May Day celebration – The Working Class and the Quest for Socio – Economic Revival. A quest it is, and the realization of the revival is not farfetched. It only requires reasonable time to remedy the maladministration and put forth a change so desired by all of us.

I make no excuses as this Government of the APC is determined to tackle headlong all socio – economic ills that have troubled our nation and we shall evolve solutions to emerging threats to our well being and the realization of sustainable development as well as growth anchored on equity and social justice.

Development must be sustainable for it to benefit society in general. It is therefore the responsibility of those in the citadels of power to align themselves with the working class who make development possible by generating and sustaining the momentum of positive change. That is why the present Administration has sought and will continue to seek the hands of Labour so that together we can attain the enviable heights of progress in our beloved country.

It is for this very reason that I aspired to become President which the Nigerian people have now made a reality. This Administration shall effect positive Change in the lives of average Nigerians, to ensure that the downtrodden are elevated and most importantly to fight the intense pain of corruption which has enriched the very few to the detriment of the majority of Nigerians who groan under the overwhelming weight of poverty and all the superstructural and infrastructural maladies resulting from corruption.

In this fight against corruption, I need you all to be very willing partners. Fighting corruption in the Public Service in particular, requires the workers to play major roles by cooperating with the Government.

I have listened to the speeches made by both the Presidents of the TUC and NLC. By the speeches, you have without any equivocation affirmed  your faith in the greatness of Nigeria as a nation. The challenges facing Nigeria have been highlighted and I assure you that they shall be accorded due consideration. It is worthy to note that solution to some of those issues and requests are already being considered and would be made public in the near future. The times may be tough, but we Nigerians are by nature resilient and strong and it is that nature that propels us to overcome adversities and still thrive as a nation.

Let us use this National May Day to celebrate the workers and Nigeria as a Nation. There will always be challenges in the life of a man and what defines greatness is the way and manner such challenges are tackled and overcome. I assure you, great Nigerian workers that this Administration is able and willing to constructively handle the challenges.

In so doing, I request your cooperation and understanding, as partners in progress. The need to ensure a conducive atmosphere devoid of incessant industrial actions becomes paramount to ensure no loss of man – days and accordingly promote high productivity which is perquisite for sustainable development based on increased investments, creation of jobs as well as protection of jobs. I further assure you that working together, this Administration protect workers rights and shall promote incentives for great productivity and hence greater prosperity.

Thank you and I wish you all happy May Day celebrations.

God Bless.

 

Unpaid Salaries: Labour To Partner Agencies To Probe Governors

Labour-SalariesOrganised labour unions have threatened to initiate the probe of state governors owing workers salaries despite collecting bailout funds from the Federal Government.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) made the threat to partner with anti-graft agencies to investigate the governors at a conference in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

They accused the ruling class of amassing wealth at the expense of the Nigerian worker.

The labour union has insisted on pushing for a new minimum wage of 56,000 Naira, even though some states are unable to pay the current national minimum wage of 18,000 Naira.

The demand was made public a week before the celebration of the International Workers’ Day which is also known as Labour Day in some places. It is commonly referred to as May Day in Nigeria.

May Day is an annual celebration of labourers and the working classes. It is promoted by the international labour movement, socialists, communists and anarchists.

Nigerians Celebrate Workers’ Day

Workers' DayNigerian workers are joining their counterparts from all over the world to celebrate the International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day in some places, but commonly referred to as May Day in Nigeria.

The celebration is holding amidst request by labour unions in Nigeria for an increase in the wages of workers.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) had on April 27 proposed 56,000 Naira (about $281) as a new minimum wage to the Nigerian Government.

The unions made the proposal at a press conference held in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

The President of the NLC, Mr Ayuba Wabba, told reporters that the unions made the formal demand on the proposed national minimum wage to the Federal Government on Tuesday.

The current national minimum wage is 18, 000 Naira.

“I can say now authoritatively that as of yesterday (Tuesday) we made a formal proposal to the Federal Government of 56,000 Naira to be the new minimum wage.

“The demand has been submitted officially to the government and we hope that the tripartite system to look at the review will actually be put set up to look at it.

“Our argument is that, yes, it is true that the economy is not doing well, but the law stated that wages for workers must be reviewed after every five years.

“So, the issue must be looked into by the Federal Government and workers should not be seen as sleeping on their rights,” he said.

May Day is a celebration of labourers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labour movement, socialists, communists and anarchists and occurs every year on.

The date was chosen for International Workers’ Day by the second international, a pan-national organisation of socialist and communist political parties, to commemorate the Hay Market Affair, which occurred in Chicago May 4, 1886.

The 1904 International Socialist Conference in Amsterdam, the sixth conference of the second international, called on “all social democratic party organisations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May 1 for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace.