The Nigeria Employers Consultative Association (NECA), has called on Organised Labour to shelve the proposed Oct. 16 national strike over the Consequential Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage and exhaust all mechanisms of social dialogue.
NECA Director General, Mr Timothy Olawale, made the call while leading its members on a courtesy call on the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige and the Minister of State, Festus Keyamo (SAN).
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN), reports that on Oct. 7, labour leaders issued a communiqué, warning that economic activities would be shut down on Oct. 16, if the Federal Government failed to reconvene a meeting of the committee on consequential adjustments.
Olawale further advised Labour to allow the National Industrial Court to adjudicate, if the tripartite dialogue failed.
“If dialogue or negotiation fails irretrievably, though it is an unlikely event but let’s even assume we get to that point, downing tools is not the next course of action.
“In the worst scenario, because you think the Ministry is a party to the disagreement and it can’t subject you to mediation (because you can’t be judge in your own case) and you don’t have faith in Industrial Arbitration Panel because it is still supervised by the Ministry.
“As a matter of fact, it is the Minister that will refer it to IAP, approach the National Industrial Court then to adjudicate on the matter.
“Whatever the outcome is, all parties have to abide by it. It is a veritable way out instead of embarking on industrial action.
“We have to get to a stage in our development where we have to test our process.
“Where we don’t just have laws on the pages of newspapers but rather, allow it to be a process to guide our actions and the way we do things.
“I hope this matter is resolved and does not lead to industrial action on Oct. 17,” he said.
Addressing the delegation, the Minister traced the present impasse over the Consequential Adjustment of the National Minimum Wage for Grade Levels 7 to 17 to a wrong interpretation of the increase by the Organised Labour as meaning a total national wage review.
“Consequential Adjustment of the Minimum Wage is the main issue. It is not synonymous with total wage review.
“It is an adjustment you do consequentially; moving the last man at the last rung of ladder to N30,000 and by so doing, impinging on other salary Grade Levels, therefore, must consequentially move them up too.
“But the consequential movement up doesn’t mean you do a percentage of the former minimum wage to the present minimum wage, which is 67 per cent.
“The issue is that they mistakenly lumped the two things together – the issue of consequential movement upstairs and the issue of total wage review,” Ngige said.
The minister further revealed that the Federal Government’s personnel cost had risen astronomically from N1.88 trillion to N3.08 trillion between 2016 to date.
He added that it was in anticipation of adverse consequences of these that President Muhammadu Buhari recently set up, a five-man Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages to “evaluate all the earnings in the public service”.
This, Ngige said, was to make sure that quantum of work vis-a-vis quantum of money were synchronised in such a way that productivity would also come into play.
“We have instances of people who have the same degree, some have First Class Honours, Second Class Honours (Upper Division) but you have another person who has a Third Class.
“The one with Third Class finds himself in public establishment where he is earning X-amount and another person with Second Class Upper is in the core civil service and earns X/3, which is one third of X. it doesn’t make sense.
“So, that is the essence of that particular Presidential Committee and we have been given the mandate to finish our work by Dec. 9, 2019.”
While commending NECA for the patriotic role it played during the negotiations for the Minimum Wage, Ngige solicited its assistance towards its faithful implementation in the private sector.
The minister noted that the sector had over the years been on self-adjustment towards the N30,000 base earning for workers through its Collective Bargaining Agreement policy.
It, however, charged NECA to intensify efforts in re-invigorating professional unions of employers, who have been passive, so as to in turn enable workers unions in such establishments be active enough to benefit the values of unionism.
He added that labour inspectors from the Inspectorate Division of the Ministry, would as from year 2020 be actively engaged in inspection of factories and industries to ensure compliance to the National Minimum Wage, occupational safety as well as enforce expatriate quota and stop capital flight.
He further promised that the National Labour Advisory Council, whose inauguration had suffered setback as a result of budgetary constraints, would be held before the end of the year.(NAN)
Edited by Abiemwense Moru/Felix Ajide
Military kills several ISWAP terrorists, bandits, rescues kidnapped victims
The Defence Headquarters says the military has killed several Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and bandits and also arrested their collaborators in the Northwest and Northeast zones during an operation.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche, said this while giving the weekly updates on military operations across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Enenche said that between Sept. 2 and Sept. 9, troops had conducted several clearance operations and constant Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance missions as well as intensive air strikes.
He said that during the period under review, the military rescued seven kidnapped victims, recovered rustled cattle, smashed illegal arms syndicates and illegal armed miners.
According to him, the recently repentant 601 Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists who graduated from Operation SAFE CORRIDOR are being received by their respective state governments and are in the process of being finally reintegrated to their home communities.
He therefore, called for cooperation from stakeholders to ensure that they did not slip back to terrorist activities.
“The Armed Forces of Nigeria, in conjunction with all stakeholders of the Operation; including traditional, religious and community leaders as well as families of graduated clients, worked out the modalities to ensure this positive outcome,” he said.
He said that for the period under review, the country witnessed downward trend in the activities of armed bandits and criminal elements in the North West zone.
He said that in one of the operations conducted on Sept. 3, the gallant troops neutralised two armed bandits at Samawa village in Bungudu Local Government Area of Zamfara.
“Also, within the period troops of Operation THUNDER STRIKE acting on credible intelligence successfully ambushed armed bandits at Jeka Da Rabi along Kaduna-Abuja Expressway in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“During the ambush, troops neutralised four armed bandits and recovered one locally fabricated rifle along with five rounds of 9mm ammunition,” he said.
“Also, on Sept. 7, troops of Forward Operating Base KEKUWUJE arrested two bandits’ couriers with the sum of one million five hundred and sixty five thousand, five hundred and fifty Naira (N1,565,550.00) in Maru Local Government Area of Zamfara.
“ Additionally, within this period, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE neutralised several armed bandits and disrupted their camps in the Kuduru and Kwaimbana Forest areas of Kaduna state,” he said.
He said that this was achieved through separate air strikes carried out on the heels of credible intelligence reports indicating that the two locations were being used as staging areas by the bandits.
According to him, the attacks on the two forests hideout were executed after aerial reconnaissance missions observed significant number of armed bandits around some compounds in a small settlement within the forest.
He said that the operations had restored to normalcy the hitherto crippled agricultural, social and economic lives of the people of this zone by bandit’s activities.
He said that in continuation of its efforts in the fight against terrorism in the North East zone, the Armed Forces of Nigeria would not relent in its kinetic and non-kinetic operations.
“On Sept. 3, troops successfully repelled terrorists’ attacks on own troops and villages around Baga in Kukawa Local Government Area as well as Gajigana and Gajiram Towns in Nganzai Local Government Area of Borno .
“During the encounters, troops neutralised a terrorist and recovered one PKT rifle and two AK-47 rifles.
“Also on same day, troops arrested two elements at Kamuya village in Biu Local Government Area of Borno State and another named Usman Almajiri at Damaturu town in Yobe ,” he said.
He said that on Sept. 6, troops acting on credible intelligence conducted raid operations at Hamdaga Makaranta Town in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno .
“Additionally, five of their fighters were killed during the raid; several others were neutralised by mop-up air strikes while escaping with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
“Interestingly, seven kidnapped victims comprising two women and five children were rescued by troops during the operations,” he said.
According to him, in another development, on same day, troops of 134 Special Forces Battalion repelled BHTs/ISWAP ambush along Magumeri and Gubio Towns in Borno.
“During the encounter, troops killed one terrorist and recovered one gun truck, two AK 47 rifles, one Dushka AA Gun, one PKT gun and one MG.
“Additionally, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE in conjunction with police and vigilantes, on Sept 7, raided the residence of suspected armed robbers and kidnappers at Garba Chede in Bali Local Government Area of Taraba.
“During the raid, one armed robber was neutralised while one G3 rifle was recovered,” he said.
He assured the public of commitment of the military to achieve sustainable peace in the country.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ismail Abdulaziz
NAF trains 145 student pilots, procures 15 platforms to facilitate training –Air Chief
The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar on Thursday said that the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) 401 Flying School has trained 145 student pilots from 2015 to date.
Abubakar stated this at the graduation of the student pilots course 46 at the school, NAF base in Kaduna .
He said that the students of SP46 had successfully conducted their flying training on both the Diamond 40 and Super Mushak aircraft types, which was a positive deviation from what was obtainable in the past.
“At the inception of this administration in 2015, this flying school had only 3 Diamond 40 platforms for the conduct of flying training.
“That was grossly inadequate number, and the unsuitability of the platform for aerobatics and other unusual manoeuvres significantly diminished the ability of the Nigerian air force to conduct military flying training.
He explained that the today, there were 15 platforms with a wide range of capabilities, enabling quality training.
“This has enabled 401 Flying Training School to train a total of 145 Student Pilots from the end of 2015 to date.
“Additionally, 24 Instructor Pilots and 15 UAV pilots have also been trained within the same period.
“These numbers represent the attainment of a remarkable feat that had previously eluded the Nigerian air force,” he said
Abubakar explained that the addition of 114 fully trained pilots, who had done well, led to a vibrant application of air power in combating security challenges facing the country.
According to him, the multiplier effect has been a boost especially in the Counter Terrorism and Counter Insurgency efforts in the North East as well as the fight against armed banditry in the North West and North Central regions of our country.
“I therefore use this opportunity to reiterate our total loyalty and commitment to the restoration of peace and stability to all parts of Nigeria,” he said.
The air chief lauded President Muhammadu Buhari for his continuous support and belief in the ability of the Nigerian Air Force.
“Indeed, the timely provision of the much needed air assets as well as the resources to buy spares, aviation fuel and other consumables by the federal government is the most important factor that has translated into the commendable achievements recorded at this flying school,” Abubakar said
Earlier, Commandant of the School, Air Commodore Ahmad Idris, said the graduation was another milestone, the graduation of Student Pilot Course 46 on both Daimon A-40 and Super Mushk aircraft.
“We graduated 29 student pilots of Regular Course 67 who commenced their training as Flight cadets of the Nigerian Defence Academy on 7th January, 2019.
“The 401 flying training school is the starting point for Nigerian air force pilots and has a long history of moulding and transforming ordinary young cadets/officers into full-fledged professional aviators.
“The training began with the ground academic phase which lasted for a period of 16 weeks, followed by the various stages of the flying phase.
“The flying phases include, General Handling, Circuit, Instrument Flying and Navigation on the SMK, Spins and Aerobatics were also accomplished,” he said.
Air Commodore Idris said that the whole situation would be better appreciated when one realised that the unit had to contend with other demanding tasks to accomplish this feat.
“Alongside the training of student pilots, the unit is also actively involved in airlift/VIP flights and ISR missions in support of Operation THUNDER STRIKE and Opere HADARIN DAJI against armed bandits in parts of North-West and North-Central regions,” the commandant said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Bayo Sekoni
Military sustains onslaught against insurgents-DHQ
The Defence Headquarters says the Armed Forces of Nigeria, working together with other security agencies have continued to sustain the onslaught against insurgents in its operations in the country.
The Coordinator, Defence Media Operations, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche said this at the updates briefing on military operations in August across the country on Thursday in Abuja.
Enenche said that in August, troops of Operation LAFIYA DOLE in the northeast zone conducted several operations and recorded attendance successes with scores of the terrorists’ leaders and fighters neutralized and their structures destroyed.
He said that the operation ranged from aggressive clearance operations to comprehensive precision air strikes and air interdictions, including artillery and aerial bombardments on terrorists’ enclaves.
“These cumulatively led to the neutralization of 17 members of the elements and several of them escaped with various degrees of gunshot wounds.
“With superior firepower, the gallant troops repelled terrorists’ attacks on their own troops’ locations,” he said.
He said that the troops thwarted attempts to interrupt the resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons to their communities in Borno, which was flagged-off by the governor of the state.
Enenche said that troops also recovered a large cache of arms and ammunition as well as equipment during the operations while four abducted persons were also rescued.
“However, in one of the encounters, three of our own troops paid the supreme prize. In the meantime, other injured troops are recuperating at one of our medical facilities. Nonetheless, calm has been restored to the affected communities.
“This included the ISWAP naval commander Abu Imraana, Mallam Abba and Mallam Ibrahim,” he said.
According to him, this is in addition to several others neutralized in the devastating air bombardments directed at structures used by terrorists as hideouts and administrative headquarters as well as training camps.
He said that several elements’ camps used as logistics bases and harbors for their fighters and leaders were also destroyed.
“It is therefore clear that troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria working together with other security agencies remain committed and dedicated in their endeavor to end the fight against the menace in the North-East zone,” he said.
According to him, in the North-Central zone, troops have also continued to sustain intensive clearance operations which have yielded remarkable successes.
“Within the period under review, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, THUNDER–STRIKE, WHIRL PUNCH AND WHIRL STROKE conducted several ambushes, raids and clearance patrols at various locations in the zone which resulted in appreciable successes within the period under review.
“These ongoing kinetic efforts are being supported by non-kinetic operations in the form of Civil Military Cooperation activities, Reconciliation and Conciliation efforts in the form of stakeholders’ meetings amongst the various ethnic groups in the zone, amongst others.
He said that troops of Operation SAFE HAVEN arrested 17 armed robbery and drug smuggling suspects during raid operations at various locations within Plateau including Unguwar Mata, New Market General Area, Makera, Damakasuwa and Rukkaya communities, amongst others.
According to him, these successful operations were conducted following credible intelligence on the activities of the criminals within the general area.
“Similarly, troops of Operation WHIRL STROKE neutralized a notorious bandit Mr Atsor AKA ‘smallie’ during a dawn raid at a hideout being used by armed militia linked to wanted Benue militia leader Terwase Akwaza aka Gana around Abaji in Katsina Ala LGA of Benue.
“During the operation conducted on Aug. 18, troops recovered one AK 47 rifle and 17 rounds of 7.62mm special ammunition during the operation.
Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)https://nnn.ng/military-sustains-onslaught-against-insurgents-dhq/
NECA urges FG on power sector, economy
The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA) has urged the Federal Government to strategically address the challenges in the power sector.
The Director-General, Dr Timothy Olawale, made the appeal in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
Olawale said that resolving the issues in the power sector would be a major step toward reviving the economy and returning it to the path of steady growth.
“While NECA commends government for the renewed vigour in solving the electricity crisis, we urge that it should continue to live up to its obligations as stipulated in the terms of the privatisation.
“We also urge the distribution companies to expedite action in distributing pre-paid metres to all consumers, ” he said.
The NECA boss said that while it was desirable that cost reflective tariff was instituted, it was imperative that the infrastructural challenge in the sector was addressed.
He said that a major challenge for organised businesses and consumers generally was the incidence of estimated billing, which had pitted the Distribution Companies (DisCos) against consumers.
“Electricity consumers, generally, will not challenge the payment of a cost reflective tariff, if electricity is provided.
“It is paramount that pre-paid meters are installed for all consumers to increase the confidence of Nigerians, rather than the current controversial estimated billing, ” he said.
Olawale called for a staggered approach to cost and service reflective tariffs.
According to him, it will allow DisCos enter into agreements with customer clusters for cost reflective tariffs, pegged at an improved quality of service level.
“These customer clusters will act as test cases for the full implementation of cost reflective tariff.
“Adequate consideration should also be given to the end-users and players in the electricity supply chain with a view to adequately balance the various interests, ” he said.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)https://nnn.ng/neca-urges-fg-on-power-sector-economy/