The National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN), has thrown its weight behind the Federal Government’s decision not to obey court order in the payment of P & ID’s $9.6billion judgment debt.
This was even as it charged the government to go all out in ensuring that all Nigerians that collaborated with foreign contractors in the alleged shady deals were brought to book.
The union, in a communique it issued after its just concluded 31st Annual National Education Conference, held in Abuja, yesterday, also enjoined African countries to cooperate more with themselves rather than competing with themselves for conditional aids and support with other countries in Asia and Africa.
“Europe once scrambled for Africa which led to colonialism and underdevelopment, African leaders in 2019 should not be willing tools for new domination and global exploitation,” it charged.
The organisation, which noted that, “the P & ID contract scam underscores the need for Nigeria’s government to be conscious of foreign portfolio investment”, advised that “Government investment charity should start from home.”
While insisting that it “support for the Federal Government’s decision not to pay the money”, the union, in the communiqué, signed its President, John Adaji; and General Secretary, and Vice President, Industrial Global Union, Issa Aremu, “called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), to the arrest and prosecute all Nigerians, who collaborated with the P &ID investment scammers.”
In the communique, the union said it “frowned at the idea of All Africa leaders engaging different countries of the world as unequal partners. Africa must indeed engage in globalized world”, adding: “But it’s unacceptable that a continent of 54 countries would be engaging with China, Russia, India, Turkey, Japan among others in unequal summits which often hold outside the Continent of Africa.”
While it “called on all industrial unions to invest in the training and retraining of their female members and young workers to improve their participation in union activities and national development,” the organisation charged “President Buhari to urgently lead the struggle to redeem the respect and dignity of Africa.”
It noted the “promise of independent Africa in 1957 when Ghana lowered the Union Jack is that Africans would relate with the world as equals not as junior partners begging for development. Africa Union vision of 2063 talks of prosperity for all Africans based on self reliance, partnership with the world as contained in 2030 UN sustainable Development Goals 17.
“Europe once scrambled for Africa which led to colonialism and underdevelopment, African leaders in 2019 should not be willing tools for new domination and global exploitation,” it said.
While recalling that “on Tuesday, July 23, President Muhammadu Buhari hosted the National Executive Council (NEC) members of the union at the Presidential Villa in Abuja during which the President unveiled a comprehensive Cotton, Textile and Garment (CTG) policy following extensive consultations with all stakeholders in the textile and garment value chain”, it commended the president for “changing the narrative of textile industry from that of closure to revival and recovery.”
While also acknowledging “that the new CTG policy in addition to the three unprecedented Presidential Executive orders mandating government agencies to patronize Nigeria goods (textile inclusive) through budget spending aims at creating millions of jobs”, the union commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its development financing initiatives on cotton seeds to farmers, restructured Bank of Industry (BOI) loans to the spinning and weaving mills and facilitating the historic signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the textile mills and uniformed services (Army, Navy, Police, Road safety, Civil Defence, Customs, Immigration, National Youth Service Corps etc) for their uniforms to be produced locally.”
Noting that the “President Buhari had envisioned 100million jobs in a decade. Textile and garment sector promises as many as 2.5million direct jobs,” it reaffirmed “that textile Industry remains the key driver of sustainable jobs and development for most national economies of developing nations like ours. Indeed, for Nigeria and Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 2030, especially SDG 9 dealing with industry and innovation, African continent must innovate and industrialize.
“Africa must copy China’s industrialization drive which has within 20 years moved over 250 million people out of poverty through manufacturing and industrialization,” it charged.
It commended the Bank of Industry (BOI) under the leadership of Mr. Olukayode Pitan for sustainable financing to textile operators to aid recovery just as it hailed United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for support for industrial revival.
It observed “that the implementation of the CTG policy is taking place at the time most African countries including Nigeria had signed on to the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (ACFTA)” and “commended President Buhari for the signing of the Agreement.”
The organisation called on the Federal Government to develop a comprehensive strategy to fully optimise the benefits of ACFTA with necessary safeguards in place to prevent and apprehend unfair trading practices such as smuggling and dumping.
Other resolutions as contained in the communiqué included its support for the current closure of Nigerian borders by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) as part of the strategies to combat smuggling while calling on the Nigeria’s Customs to effectively enforce the directive; commended the directive by President Buhari for special fund by the CBN and Industrial Training Fund (ITF) for capacity building and training of workers in the cotton, textile and garment value chain against the background of the new CTG policy and signing of the ACFTA.
“The fund must be channelled through the National Union of Textile Garment and Tailoring Workers of Nigeria,” it said.
While it observed “that for textile industry to be competitive,” it said “the existing workforce must be trained and retrained to acquire new skills for the challenges of competition within the context of the 4th industrial revolution.”
The union also commended the Federal Government, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and all the stakeholders for working together to ensure a new National Minimum Wage of N30,000.00 for Nigeria workers and the consequential adjustments as it affects public sector workers.”
It hailed the Kaduna State Government and other state governments that have implemented the new minimum wage, and called on other state governors and other employers of labour in both the public and private sectors to quickly implement the new minimum wage.
It observed “that economic recovery would elude Nigerian economy until the country put an end to persistent crisis of compensation of the working class through enhanced purchasing power which is only possible through prompt and adequate payment of minimum and living wage for the employed workforce.”
It also noted “that the key to sustainable development is labour productivity in both public and private sectors which is only possible with motivated paid workers at work and after work through adequate pensions.”
It further noted that increased wages and regular payments of the salaries would increase purchasing power of the citizens and enhance the patronage of locally produced goods including textiles.
While it commended the leadership of the textile union for commitment to welfare of workers, it said: “The union and textile employers had since signed and implemented new minimum wage of over N37,000 through the instrumentality of collective bargaining between the union and the textile employers association.”
It observed that as Nigeria’s industrial relations undergoes the challenges of avoidable disputes, strikes and lockouts, other unions and employers might find useful the model example of peaceful contestation and cooperation between workers and employers in the textile Industry on all aspects of industrial relations.
But the NUTGTWN called on workers to reciprocate the gesture by government and employers through improved productivity.
It alerted “on danger of drug abuse and called on parents and guardians to be more vigilant and monitor activities of their children and wards.”
It urged SMEDAN to continue its efforts in areas of capacity building, training and exposure of self-employed workers to access to credit and exposure to proper business management.
It also affirmed its support for the reconciliation effort by the leadership of congress to ensure NUPENG and NUEE return to the NLC, saying, “As capital and capitalists are building unity, only United labour can confront global capitalism.”
It reaffirmed its “Commitment to the strategic goals of IndustriALL Global Union; Build Union Power, Defend Workers’ Rights, Confront Global Capital and ensure Sustainable Industrial Policy.”
It further reaffirmed its “commitment to implementing the resolutions of the IndustriALL Africa Regional Conference held in Tanzania from October7 to 11, 2019 on Youth, Women, Industrialisation and general resolutions.”
While it commended, “Affiliates of IndustriALL Global Union from South Africa for agreeing to host the Third World Congress of IndustriALL Global Union scheduled to hold in Cape Town next year, the NUTGTWN called on “All affiliates of IndustriALL in Sub Saharan Africa to support South African affiliates to make South Africa 2020 as successful as second historic colourful Congress which took place in Brazil from October 4-7, 2016.”
GoG: Nigerian, Ghanaian Navies Meet On Joint Operations
Against the backdrop of renewed piracy and hostage-taking incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, Nigeria’s Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Gambo and his Ghanaian counterpart, Rear Admiral Issah Adam Yakubu, have commenced a security engagement aimed at joint security initiatives to tackle the situation.
Speaking during the meeting held at Naval headquarters, Abuja, Vice Admiral Gambo said, “The Gulf of Guinea is currently bedevilled by the activities of criminal elements who take advantage of limited capability of the navies in the region to adequately secure the area.
“The threat posed by the activities of these criminal elements constitute a major challenge not only to the littoral states but equally undermines regional development and global trade.
“Notably, the trans-boundary and trans-national nature of maritime crime makes the security of the maritime domain a task beyond the capacity of any country acting alone.
“It is against this backdrop that this bilateral engagement was convened at the instance of the Heads of Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Republic of Ghana towards addressing the maritime security challenges within the region”.
Vice Admiral Gambo expressed belief that “the engagement would foster greater collaboration and burden sharing that is hinged on cooperative maritime security framework as envisioned in the 2013 Yaoundé Protocol to arrive at strategies that would help address the maritime insecurity for enhanced economic prosperity in the region”.
Declaring the technical session open, the CNS said, “In deliberations, please consider amongst others: maritime area of interest covering Zone E and integration of the capabilities of the countries in Zone E, emplacing a robust intelligence sharing mechanism and collaboration with international partners”.
On relations between both countries, Gambo said, “This good relation is equally manifest in the several interactions between the Nigerian Navy and Ghana Navy. I must not fail to mention the remarkable contributions of the Ghana Navy-CNS to manpower development during his tour of duty at the prestigious AFCSC, Jaji as a member of the Directing Staff. I have no doubt that this engagement would further strengthen the existing cordial bilateral relations between Nigeria and Ghana navies.
In his address, Chief of Naval Staff of Ghana, Rear Admiral Issah Yakubu, noted that he and his delegation were in Nigeria at the behest of President Nana Akufo Ado to engage the Nigerian Navy and come out with collective strategies to tackle insecurity which is in the ascendancy in recent times in the Gulf of Guinea.
“We hope our navies will buy into this engagement to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea. We know our big brother Nigeria has bigger capacity to chart the way forward”.
He disclosed that, “Since year 2020, the situation has bot been good in the Gulf of Guinea”, noting that “Last May, two Ghanian vessels were attacked and 10 persons were abducted with investigations still ongoing”.
Consequently, the Ghanian Navy Chief said, “We are proposing an ECOWAS naval task force and joint maritime security architecture to checkmate these threats, adding that this was done in the past successfully during ECOMOG operations without problems with inter-operability and doctrinal issues.
Furthermore, he proposed the setting up of a ‘transit corridors’ where ships from fellow West African countries can go to anchor for assistance and joint naval assets will conduct regular patrols especially for protection of commercial fishing vessels.
Wike Orders Destruction Of Criminal Hideouts In Rivers
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has ordered the destruction of all criminal hideouts in Ahoada, Elele, Eleme and Onne to prevent attempt to undermine security of the state.
The governor said criminals were already coming to terms with the reality that Rivers State was too hot for them to invade at will and detonate their foolish attacks on targeted security posts and personnel.
Wike, who made this assertion in a state broadcast, last Friday, disclosed that the state government has identified the hideouts, safe houses and secret places that provide both cover and comfort for the hoodlums to plan, execute and return to after operations.
“This was the reason we ordered the destruction of all the shanties and makeshift structures located along Elele to Ahoada expanse of the East–West Road to deny the criminals the opportunity to continue to undermine our security from these hideouts.
“We have equally decided to destroy all the shanties, illegal shops and mechanic sheds along the Eleme to Onne stretch of the East-West Road having discovered these places also as hideouts and operational bases for criminals and criminal activities in the state.
“Consequently, I hereby direct owners of such shanties and illegal structures along the Eleme – Onne axis of the East-West Road to vacate the area within two weeks from June 11, 2021, as the state government will go ahead to destroy these structures without any further notice.”
Wike said the government was not unmindful of the economic effect these measures would have or may have had on residents carrying out businesses in the affected areas.
He, however, stressed that government was merely discharging its constitutional responsibility to advance the collective security of all with no ethnic targets in mind or attachment to political sentiments.
He explained that the existing curfew in Rivers State will not last one day beyond necessary, and pleaded with all residents to endure the temporary inconveniences in the interest of the state and collective wellbeing of all.
“We will continue to take the war on criminality and insecurity to the den of the criminals and we will neither yield nor lower the tempo of our assault until they are comprehensively neutralized. As a matter of fact, they want us to prematurely terminate the state wide night time curfew in order for them to have the leeway to operate again and roll back the gains of the last few weeks.”
Wike said he has received reports about the excesses of the State Task Force on Illegal Trading and Parks, especially the alleged shooting of motorists, extortions and abuse of the human rights of citizens.
He assured that government would not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law on any member of the task force who crosses the boundaries of the law and rational behaviour.
The governor, who appealed to motorists and residents to be responsible road users by complying with the clear regulations against illegal trading, indiscriminate parking and irresponsible driving, noted that the situation where some motorists would have the effrontery to compete for traffic space with or even attempt to block his official vehicular convoy leaves much to be desired.
He has meanwhile, directed the management of the Rivers State Waste Management Authority to clear the state of filthiness within one week or be disbanded without any further notice.
Army Begins Shooting Exercises In Rivers
The Nigerian Army, 6 Division, has announced that it would commence its annual range classification exercise from yesterday to Sunday, June 27.
The division’s spokesman, Lt.-Col. Charles Ekeocha, said in a statement in Port Harcourt, that the exercise aimed at ascertaining the professional competence of troops on the use of firearms.
He said troops from the division and its affiliated formations and units would conduct the exercise at the Army Shooting Range in Igwuruta and Elele Barracks, both in Ikwerre Local Government Area of the state.
“The shooting exercise is a routine activity in the Nigerian Army which involves the firing of various calibre live ammunitions.
“Members of the public, especially residents of Igwuruta and Elele, as well as its environs, are advised to keep away from the general shooting area,” he stated.
The Army spokesman also advised the public not to panic over the movement of troops, military hardware and sound of gunshots.
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