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2017 Workers’ Day and Begging Questions!

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TODAY is not only declared as public holiday by the Federal Government of Nigeria to mark the workers day, it is a moment for deep reflection on the state of employees in both private and public sectors of the nation’s economy.

With the economic recession currently inflicting the fabrics of the nation, workers appear to be worst hit as most state governments are owing their employees a backlog of salary arrears. Even when states had the opportunity to access Paris fund, it was unfortunate that we still heard the report of some governors diverting the fund.

While the governors enjoyed unhindered access to security votes and other entitlements, workers were made to suffer with impunity. The current realities in the country is that an average worker can no afford three descent daily meal.

As the nation marks the workers day, three intertwined issues needs serious consideration by labour unions and the government at various levels. One, the perennial question of what should be the minimum wage deserves more attention in labour discourse across the nation as we mark this year’s workers day.

To have a realistic minimum wage policy as essential for industrial harmony in the country, factors such as purchasing power of currency and inflationary trend need careful consideration in our policy decisions on national wages and salaries. Anything to the contrary will make the struggle for salary increase to remain a permanent feature of Nigeria’s national life.

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The second issue of serious concern is contributory pension scheme. Since 2004 when the Pension Reform Act was enacted, the objectives of the Scheme are yet to be fully realised. Up till the present moment, the Contributory Pension Scheme is yet to be introduced by some states while few States that had introduced the Scheme are not doing it right. Worse still, pension fund was sometimes ago been reported to have been embezzled by the administrators.

Similarly, an average state employee doesn’t understand the letter and spirit of the Pension Reform Act 2004. Poor knowledge and understanding of how contributory pension scheme works in a way contributes to the negative attitude of workers to the ideals, principles and strategic objectives of the Scheme.
Again, the introduction of either zero subvention or disproportionate subvention for employees by state governments not only a cause of nightmare for the workers but it has resulted into continuous groaning among the state workforce in some states of the federation. Obviously, zero subvention policy introduced for tertiary institutions’ workers by some states as a strategic measure to assist them achieve self sustainability, in my view, it’s nothing but a ruse.

More so, when the affected institutions lack the relevant investments, capacity and facilities to drive the self sustainability policy. As it is, the policy of self sustainability without seed fund for facility expansion and investment is nothing but a sort of subterfuge.

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With zero subvention or disproportionate subvention to tertiary institutions by some state governments, employees’ productivity and efficiency will continue to diminish.

Indeed, government by not paying salaries as and when due loses the moral right to complain of ineptitude of deprived workers.

Of equal importance is lack of will by government to implement Employee’s Compensation Act 2010. The Act seeks special compensation for death of workers in the course of service delivery or for any forms of injury sustained. Despite the clauses in the Employee’s Compensation Act 2010 which entitles employees to compensation for even occupational disease and mental stress in the discharge of official duties, the compensation are often waived contrary to the extant law.

Based on the forgoing, the leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) need to address the non challant attitude of government at various levels towards the implementation of Employee’s Compensation Act 2010 which intends to find succour for any workers that suffer injury or disability in the course of service delivery.

Wishing the Nigeria’s workers all the best as the nation celebrates them today.

 
By Rahaman Onike, Oyo.

He is public administrator, policy analyst and author.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: Buhari to address the Nation at 7pm on Thursday

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President Muhammadu Buhari will make will make a national broadcast Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 7pm.

This was stated in a Press Statement by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adriana

According to him, “Following detailed briefing by security chiefs on the current situation in the country, President Muhammadu Buhari

”Television, radio and other electronic media outlets are enjoined to hook up to the network services of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Radio Nigeria respectively for the broadcast”.

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National Issues

#ENDSARS: ‘Military offensive on protesters is an abomination, Akande -Sadipe talks tough

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Akande-Sadipe

The Chairperson, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Tolulope Akande-Sadipe has called on President Muhammed Buhari to address the killing of unarmed protesters across the nation, while condemning the killing of protesters by Armed Security operatives in the country.

Tolulope Akande Sadipe in a statement made available to journalists on Wednesday said, “I weep for my beloved country, Nigeria. This is the Darkest Moment in our Nation. The Current Action is Unacceptable”.

She wondered why men of the Nigerian Army turned on the people they were meant to Protect, firing live bullets at citizens holding the Nigerian Flag and chanting the National Anthem, describing such as an “Abomination”.

“I, as a member of the House of Representatives cannot keep quiet in the midst of this abominable action. I was duly elected to be the voice of my people and my people are weeping”, she said.

She opined that the protests were about a generation trying to end the systematic rot that pervades the society, which had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nation.

The APC chieftain  continued, “We need to be honest with one another on this matter. We need to face the truth on ground. The youths were out there because they are tired and fed up of victimization, daily oppression, injustice, unemployment, untapped talents, lack of opportunity, poor healthcare, poor education and lack of infrastructure and power across the Nation. The Youths are protesting for a better future for themselves and their children. The #EndSARS PROTEST stands for the systematic ROT in our Nation.

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“This was about the realities on ground. This was about the ROT since independence. This was about genuine service to the people who elected us to represent them. This was not about the President, this was not about the current administration, this was not about North and South, this was not about Religion. This was not about party affiliation. This was about a Generation trying to end the systematic ROT that pervades our society”.

Speaking against the backdrop that there are some external forces pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, the lawmaker representing Oluyole Federal Constituency  said the Federal Government should genuinely address issues.

“Those alluding, that there is a 5th Columnist within or external, there is a solution. If there is a 5th columnist or external negative force, pushing for the destruction of Nigeria, if we do the right thing, by genuinely addressing the issues that have led to the distrust between leadership and our youths, by addressing the rot that has pervaded our Nation. The 5th columnist in our midst or external negative force, would fail. But with this action, what have we said to the Youth and to the world.

“This is the time to make the wrongs right and it is not by bringing out the Army to shoot its own citizens, that we achieve this. We can still put a stop to this inferno. We must realize that no position is permanent and it is the country we make that we shall all live in”, she added.

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Concluding, she empathized with all the families of fallen Youth Patriots, praying that their death would not be in vain.

 

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Nigeria Excluded From 2022 US Visa Lottery

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Nigeria has been barred from the US visa lottery application for 2022, a document obtained from the US Government website showed. 

In a 19-page document published on the website, Nigeria is the only African country barred from the visa lottery.

“For DV-2022, persons born in the following countries are not eligible to apply, because more than, 50,000 natives of these countries immigrated to the United States in the previous five years: Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China (including Hong Kong SAR), Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea, United Kingdom (except Northern Ireland) and its dependent territories, and Vietnam,” the document read. “Persons born in Macau SAR and Taiwan are eligible.”

Although natives of other African countries are allowed to apply, the document explained that “persons born in the areas administered prior to June 1967 by Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt are chargeable, respectively, to Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt,” it said.

“Persons born in the Gaza Strip are chargeable to Egypt; persons born in the West Bank are chargeable to Jordan; persons born in the Golan Heights are chargeable to Syria.”

In the document captioned “Instructions for the 2022 diversity immigrant visa program (dv-2022),” applicants must meet certain guidelines to be eligible for the visa lottery.

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“The Department of State determines selectees through a randomized computer drawing,” the statement added.

“The Department of State distributes diversity visas among six geographic regions, and no single country may receive more than seven per cent of the available DVs in any one year.”

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