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FG vows to deal with NLC, TUC over “unlawful” picketing

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The federal government has warned labour unions that unlawful picketing will attract the total weight of the law.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige said that the government would not condone further hooliganism in the disguise of trade unionism.

He said the federal government would no longer fold its hands while what ought to be a peaceful agitation by unions crossed the boundary of lawfulness as stated in Section 43 of the Trade Unions Act. Cap.T14, LFN, 2004.

“The Federal Government has watched as the offices of the Minister, Minister of State and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Investment were locked for days by agitating workers unions.

“Thus preventing other workers and officers of government from carrying out their lawful duties.

“Similarly, the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre has been under lock and key since November 15, preventing the newly appointed Director-General of the agency, Adesoji Eniade, from assuming office.

“We, therefore, wish to strongly warn that the president and Commander-in-Chief is the Chief Executive of the Federation in line with Section 5 (1) of the Constitution and is solely conferred with the powers of appointment into public offices such as Permanent Secretaries, Directors-Generals, however, designated.

“This is contained in Section 171(d) of the 1999 constitution. He does not share such power with any other person.

“It is, therefore, ultra vires for public servants, in the name of unionism, to attempt to dictate to the president its constitutional powers on appointments.

“Hence, the gale of irrational and unlawful picketing by the unions in the Ministry of Trade and Investment and that of the Citizenship and Leadership Training Centre run counter to sections 87 and 89 of the ILO principles and the Trade Disputes Act, 2004,” he stated.

He added that for avoiding any doubt, disruptive picketing that barricades entrances to workplaces, premises, locking up offices, and prevents workers who wish to continue working are a direct threat to public order, hence illegal.

He noted that the fact that the federal government allowed the unions time to come to terms with the illegality they embarked upon and doing the right thing, “does not constitute a license for further illegality.”

“We, therefore, state here that the principle of non-interference in Article 3, C87 of the ILO Convention is that the employer interferes not in the affairs of the union.

“Reciprocally, employees/workers are not to interfere in their employers’ business; on how they run their business, which in this case is government. They, therefore, have no say in whom is appointed or deployed at any given time.

“Workers in the Citizen and Leadership Centre have therefore been given the next 24 hours to open the offices they locked up, especially that of the newly appointed Director-General of the agency, who is the new bonafide head of the centre, having been appointed by the President on October 3.

“We seize the opportunity to call on the leadership of both the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to educate their members on their rights and privileges and call them to order,” he said.

(NAN)

National

Official appeals for integration of para-soccer in national competitions

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The president of the Para-Soccer Federation of Nigeria (PFN), Misbahu Didi, has urged the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development to include para soccer in national competitions.

Mr Didi made the call on Friday at the closing ceremony of the maiden edition of the International Disabled Day Para-Soccer Championship which was held at the Old Parade Ground, Area 10, Abuja.

“My appeal to the ministry is to help us return para soccer to the National Sports Festival (NSF) and also include it in the NYG.

“We have football in the festival we also want to have para soccer to feature in the NSF and NYG.

“We also need sponsorships which have been the key to the success of every sporting organisation. Without support or sponsorship, it will be difficult for us to organise any events as a federation.

“I am also calling on the ministry to continue to support the Para-soccer Federation with subvention so we can continue to engage our athletes for better performance in the future,” he said.

He noted that the championship was organised to mark and celebrate the International Day of Persons Living with Disabilities.

“I thank the National Commission for supporting us and also encouraging us to organise this event.

“We are going to organise many national competitions next year in partnership with the National Commission for Person with Disabilities,” he stated.

He sought government’s intervention in other areas especially in the education of the athletes after sports.

He also urged the commission to assist the athletes to get support from corporate bodies, national and international groups.

“The Executive Secretary of the National Commission for Persons Living with Disabilities has promised to give us 100 health insurance covers for the athletes,” he disclosed.

The Para-soccer Federation of Nigeria, in collaboration with the commission, organised the first edition of the championship.

Tagged “ABUJA 2021,” the celebration aimed to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilise support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of people with disabilities.

It also sought to increase awareness of the gains to be derived from the integration of people with disabilities in every aspect of society’s political, social, economic and cultural life.

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NMA backs mandatory vaccination of Nigerians

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The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), South-West caucus, has expressed support for the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The mandate requires that all workers in the federal civil service be inoculated.

Bolaji Salako, scribe of the NMA caucus, stated that the current available COVID-19 vaccines were safe, effective and would ensure the protection and wellbeing of all those inoculated.

Mr Salako said that herd immunity could be reached when enough people have been vaccinated against the virus.

He said that vaccination made it possible for people to protect not only themselves but also their loved ones.

Mr Salako also expressed worry over the disregard for COVID-19 safety measures in public places.

“Preventive measures which include washing of hands and use of face masks have been abandoned by many people and this can contribute to the spread of the new Omicron variant,” he lamented.

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ECA proposes $7.1trillion ‘New Deal’ for Africa

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A ‘New Deal’ worth $7.1 trillion is the only pathway to reviving Africa’s economy that has taken a downward spiral since the outbreak of COVID-19, says the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

ECA Executive Secretary Antonio Pedro made this disclosure at the ongoing African Economic Conference (AEC) to chart a new path for Africa’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

He likened the proposed deal to a similar deal by the U.S. between 1933 and 1939 during the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt.

He pointed out that the American deal then was worth $41.7 billion, an amount which he said now equalled $653 billion.

Mr Pedro said that the new deal for Africa would form part of the external funds required by Africa to, among other things, address the rising risk of African debt defaults amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On the external front, Africa needs a new deal to recover from the ravages of the pandemic. Roosevelt’s New Deal cost $41.7 billion at the time it was instituted.

“Given Africa’s current population of 1.37 billion, a New Deal would have to deliver $7.1 trillion in financing to equate the U.S. New Deal on a per capita basis.

“The resources required to finance a New Deal are enormous and cannot be funded exclusively through public resources. Private funding will be critical.

“Yet we are all aware the cost of private financing is high. At the same time, private direct capital investments are motivated more by economic rates of return than by social welfare considerations.

“Blending public financing with private resources can redirect more private investments and financing to social and other orphaned sectors through risk-sharing and risk mitigation,” he said.

He said that the ECA had partnered to launch the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF) at the margins of COP26 to lower the cost of portfolio investments in emerging markets and crowd in a new class of investors into the continent.

He said that the LSF seeks to use on-lent SDRs to leverage private financing by making it possible for holders of African sovereign bonds to access short term financing using such instruments as collateral. 

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