The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC), Rivers State chapter has restated its readiness to embark on an indefinite strike action if the ongoing police blockade of the premises of the Obio/Akpor Local Government secretariat and denial of access to perform their duties and earn their salaries at the end of June 2013.
Chairman of the congress, Comrade Chika Onuegbu disclosed this last Friday in a chat with The Tide at the TUC Secretariat in Port Harcourt.
The chairman, who spoke through his Vice chairman, Comrade Clem Onyeso said, despite the moves by some politicians to politicize the union, the TUC would not fold its hands and allow its members die of hunger for over three months without salaries.
He described those accusing the union of receiving financial inducement to embark on strike in the state as greedy politicians who do not have consciences, and want the down fall of their fellow humans in the area.
Comrade Onuegbu explained that the union was not after who became the council chairman or interested in the PDP crisis rocking the state, but the welfare of its members, who now bear the burden of the two PDP faction in the state.
He called for the release of the workers salaries, if not the entire council allocation and noted that 95 per cent of the members were paying their children and wards school fees from the salaries.
Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress has raised an alarm that none of the 12 newly-appointed judges into the National Industrial Court of Nigeria is qualified for the position based on the criteria of the law.
The TUC, in a statement by its President General, Peter Esele, said the judges did not have the minimum 10 years experience required to occupy such position.
It therefore demanded of the Chairman of the National Judicial Council, which recommended the lawyers to President Goodluck Jonathan, for a probe of the circumstances that led to the nomination of the unqualified judges.
The newly appointed judges of the court are: R.B. Haastrup (Chief Registrar of the National Industrial Court), L. Mani (Assistant Chief Registrar, National Industrial Court), W. Abali (Assistant Director, National Law Reform Commission), R.A. Gwandu (Director, Administration Federal Judicial Service Commission), O.Y. Anuwe (Director of Studies, National Judicial Institute), J.D. Peters (Director, National Judicial Institute), O.O. Oyewunmi (Chief Magistrate), E.N.N. Agbakoba (Legal Practitioner), A.K. Ikechukwu, A. Ubaka, P.O. Lifu and E.D.E. Isele.
Esele said in the statement: “to our utter dismay, the 12 new judges are not qualified under Section 2 of the National Industrial Court 2006 which provides for the appointment of legal practitioners of not less than 10 years standing with “considerable knowledge and experience in the law and practice of industrial relations and employment conditions in Nigeria” or a graduate of recognised university of not less than 10 years standing and has ‘considerable knowledge and experience in the law and practice of industrial relations and employment conditions in Nigeria.’
“We have confirmed that none of the newly appointed judges of the National Industrial Court met the requirement of the law and therefore are not qualified to preside over the industrial relations and labour matters. We are therefore compelled, as a major stakeholder in the cases decided by the court to request for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the illegal appointment of the 12 new judges of the National Industrial Court by the President based on the recommendations of the National Judicial Council. More so, that some lawyers who were qualified by law were not shortlisted by the President of the National Industrial Court, Justice Babatunde Adejumo because they are not connected to people in high places.
“We have confidence that the Chairman of the National Judicial Council and the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Honourable Justice Maryam Aloma Mukhtar, who has embarked on patriotic reform of the Judiciary, will not allow judges who are not qualified to preside over cases in the National Industrial Court.”
Obasanjo, Abdulsalami, Sultan, Others Brainstorm On Insecurity
Rising insecurity and agitations for secession by different ethnic groups across Nigeria has attracted the attention of elder statesmen and other national leaders to a meeting in Abuja.
The meeting was organised by Interfaith Initiatives for Peace jointly led by the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, and Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan, and the National Peace Committee chaired by Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd).
Reporters were barred from taking part in the closed-door meeting, expected to proffer solutions to the ongoing security challenges threatening the peace and unity of the country.
It was also an exploratory meeting on pressing issues of national unity, security, peace, integration, economic revitalisation and development, women and youth welfare and general progress.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Head of State, General Abdulsalam Abubakar (rtd); Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar; Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; Tor Tiv, Prof Ortese Iorzua James Ayatse, Emeritus Cardinal John Onaiyekan; President General (Ohanaeze Ndigbo), Prof George Obiozor; and Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo; were all in attendance.
Others sighted at the meeting are President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; CAN General Secretary, Joseph Daramola; JAMB Registrar, Prof Ishaq Oloyede; Etsu Nupe, Yahya Abubakar; former Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbe, among several political and traditional rulers at the meeting.
Elder statesmen, Chief Edwin Clark, also attended the event at the Congress Hall of Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, but could not participate in the meeting because he could not climb the staircase to the meeting room.
Fighting Corruption Difficult In Democratic Setting, Buhari Laments
President Muhammadu Buhari says fighting corruption in democratic setting is a difficult task to accomplish.
The president disclosed this during an interview with Arise Television which was televised, yesterday.
According to him, the war against corruption has not been easy for him since he became a democratically elected president six years ago.
He, however, stressed that his administration had succeeded in easing out corrupt public officials without making noise about it.
Buhari recalled that much was achieved in the fight against corruption when he was military Head of State in the early 80s “when a lot of people were sent to prisons before I was also booted out”.
The president frowned at the way and manner local government system was being managed, saying the local government administration was almost non-existent in the country.
He cited situation where state governors continued to starve the local governments of funds saying “in a situation where N300million is allocated to local government and they are given N100million is not fair”.
On activities of bandits and kidnappers particularly in the North-West and North-Central zones, Buhari said he had given the police and Armed Forces the instructions to be ruthless with bandits and vandals terrorising innocent citizens across the country.
He stated that he had told the security agencies to treat bandits and other criminals in the “the language they understand.
“Problem in the north-west; you have people over there stealing each other’s cattle and burning each other’s villages.
“Like I said, we are going to treat them in the language they understand.
“We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be difference.
”Because we told them if we keep people away from their farm, we are going to starve. And the government can’t control the public.
“If you allow hunger, the government is going to be in trouble and we don’t want to be in trouble.
“We are already in enough trouble. So, we warn them sooner than later you’ll see the difference,’’ he said.
On farmers/herders clashes, the president said the problem had persisted because old cattle routes and grazing areas had been violated by development, adding that those who had taken over such traditional arrangements would be dispossessed.
On the fight against insurgency, Buhari dismissed the assertion that majority of Boko Haram members were foreigners.
According to him, the majority of the Boko Haram members are Nigerians, saying this was further corroborated by Borno State Governor, Prof Babagana Zulum.
The president stated that his administration had done a lot to fight the terrorists and insurgents but the problem in the “North-East is very difficult.”
Igboho Declares June 12 Day Of Protest, Warns Buhari
Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has declared June 12 as day of protest for Yoruba nation agitators.
The self-acclaimed Yoruba activist said the agitators will hold ‘peaceful rallies’ across the South-West region on Saturday, June 12.
Igboho, who spoke through his spokesman, Olayomi Koiki, in a live video programme aired, last Wednesday night, called on South-West governors to cooperate with the peaceful protesters during the exercise.
He warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration not to attack the agitators.
He said, “Let us warn the Federal Government that if there is bloodshed this weekend, the international community is watching, if the military kills any Nigerian this weekend, it is going to be very hot.
“The Yoruba nation rally will go ahead in every part of Yoruba land and the rest of the country where it will hold.
“Red alarm will begin on Friday. People should stock up food Items from Friday night.
“We are not backing down this weekend; we are ready to take back what belongs to us.”
He also enjoined agitators to ‘fast’ on Friday.
This is coming after NANS under the leadership of its National President, Comrade Sunday Asefon, had declared June 12 as National Day of peaceful protest to call on the government to act decisively towards addressing insecurity.
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