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.”
Nigeria Sliding Into Bankruptcy, PDP Warns
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday, alerted Nigerians of what it called the gradual sliding into bankruptcy by the country under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus stated this, yesterday, while addressing the 89th Emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the party in Abuja.
Secondus, who welcomed eight governors and two deputy governors to the meeting, expressed displeasure at the worrying state of security in the country, noting that the situation was getting worse on a daily basis.
He said: “Our country is in a very bad shape. The populace is groaning in pains and the government response is heaping of further pains on them. This country is sliding into bankruptcy.
“Amidst the frightening insecurity accompanied by mass killings that has set fears on the people, what you get from government is multiple tariffs, Value Added Tax (VAT) and continued indulgences in lies and propaganda.
“I can report to you that between the last NEC and now, our dear country is still at the cross road due to the now obvious inept leadership of the ruling All Progressives congress (APC).
“The security situation in the country has refused to abate and nothing concrete is being done by the government to ameliorate it and stop the senseless killing of innocent Nigerians.
“Even when the National Assembly after reviewing the situation and asked the President to overhaul the security system for greater efficiency, the government has continued to demonstrate their insensitivity to the plight of the populace. Nigerians have never been as afraid of their lives as they are at moment in this country. It’s as bad as that.”
“In the North-East, the Boko Haram insurgency has returned fully and the President feels shocked that the sect still exists. We are already used to our President not knowing what is going on in the country even though as President, the bulk stops on his table.
“The President may have been deceived by the intelligence reports from his field men who continue to indulge in propaganda of claiming that the sect has been defeated even when the situation is worsening with banditry and kidnapping spreading all over the states.
“Nothing exposes the President’s insensitivity and distance from the reality and from the people like his shock that Boko Haram still exists. But what do we expect when the President’s chief security Adviser (Babagana Monguno) is in loggerhead with the President’s number one aide (Abba Kyari)? Your guess will be as good as mine on why this administration cannot move this nation forward,” he added.
“Great leaders of our party, between our last meeting a month ago and today, a lot of water has passed under the bridge, politically speaking. The Supreme Court of Nigeria has through its ruling, restored victory to the party in Bayelsa State resulting in the swearing in of Senator Douye Diri as Governor of Bayelsa State,” the PDP boss said.
“On the Imo State case which shook the nation to its marrow, the Supreme Court graciously accepted to review itself and this is still ongoing as the nation and indeed the international communities are anxiously waiting for justice,” he added.
“It is also necessary to bring to the attention of NEC the fact that the process for the conduct of our party congresses in 26 states is ongoing and I can assure that the leadership is ensuring that we come out of it rancour free, stronger and more united in these states,” he added.
Tension In B’Haram, ISWAP As Commanders Turn Against Shekau
There is brewing tension among the hierarchy of the Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP), the two major terror groups operating in the North-East, it has been reliably gathered.
A reliable source close to some of the repented Boko Haram commanders, said that there is a major plot to execute the Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shakau, over growing mistrust and struggle for supremacy.
According to the source, who craved anonymity, many of the Boko Haram and ISWAP commanders have been killed as a result of infighting among the insurgents.
It was gathered that fresh crisis hit the terrorists’ camps after the extermination of Muhammad Shuwa, Abu – Mossad Albarnawee and Baa Idirisa on February 9, 2020.
The death of these two top commanders, the source said has deepened the suspicion and distrust in Shekau’s camp.
He disclosed further that most of Shakau’s key commanders and fighters had deserted him and are secretly planning to execute him.
According to the source, “key commanders under the leadership of Mallam Bakura have been constantly planning to kill Shekau because of his high handedness, erratic disposition, mental imbalance and non-adherence to pristine Islamic tenets or the original BHTs’ doctrine and Ideology.
“They further accused him of serial clandestine killings of some terrorists’ commanders that he viewed as threats to his despotic leadership. Also it was revealed that Shekau has uncontrollable mad desire for women including his fellow jihadists’ women and daughters”.
All these the source said have “increasingly alienated him from some of his high profile commanders that are now surreptitiously planning to eliminate him. It is just a matter of time that Shekau will be no more.
The source added that “the latest information from though yet to be confirmed is that Shekau has been eliminated by his detractors who are averse to his inordinate lust for raping women and under aged girls including those married to his fellow jihadists fighters. His penchant for the use of girl-child for suicide bombings has been a great issue of concern in the terrorists’ camp.
“The major point of disagreement between the two camps lies in what a source described as anti-Islamic activities and indiscriminate killing of people whether Moslem or Christians, children or adults, including raping women who are married or unmarried.
“These problems are compounded because of the increasing operational activities of Nigerian troops and the Multinational Joint Task Force in Northern Borno State”.
However, no fewer than eight Boko Haram fighters and their family members, including six women and eight children have surrendered to troops of 152 Task Force Battalion deployed at Banki Town in Bama Council Area of Borno State during clearance operations by troops.
The surrendered terrorists, according to a statement by the Nigerian Army Operations Media Coordinator, Col Aminu Iliyasu, yesterday, include Tija Bo Isa, Ba Amodu Aba Kaka, Modu Zantalami, Malam Zantalami and Bakura Aba Kaka (Boko Haram logistics supplier).
Others were Bulama Modu Zantalami, Abukar Izahi and Bana Katum.
“During preliminary interrogation, the surrendered terrorists regretted their involvement in the dastardly acts of killing and abduction of innocent people as well as attacks on security agencies.
“They equally disclosed that their leadership has been in disarray for the past four months since the renewed offensive actions by the troops against their enclaves leading to high casualties on their foot soldiers amidst serious dislocation of their command structures.
“They further disclosed that many of their erstwhile colleagues are wandering in the forest and willing to give up their unholy adventure but are afraid of being killed by the security agencies. They therefore call on them to take the bold decision and surrender to any Nigerian Army unit closest to them as the safety of their lives are guaranteed”, the statement read in part.
“Troops of 5 Brigade Mobile Strike Team in conjunction with Chief of Army Staff Intervention Battalion II and elements of 145 Battalion (Main) also rescued 126 Boko Haram captives while conducting clearance operations within the Gudumbali general area in Guzamala LGA of Borno State. The rescued victims comprised of 36 adult males, 36 adult females and 54 children.
“In a related development, troops of 707 Special Forces Brigade rescued 17 Boko Haram captives comprising six adult males, six adult females and five children”.
According to the statement, all rescued victims were evacuated and handed over to Internally Displaced Persons Camp officials.
It added further that, “in a separate development on the same day, February 21, 2020, the combined troops of 19 Brigade, 127 and 130 Battalions in conjunction with Army Headquarters Strike Group conducted a massive clearance operation along Mile 4 – Cross Kauwa – Tukul Village – Daban Shata all in Kukawa LGA of Borno State.
“Troops made contact with some marauding Boko Haram criminals along a River Bank at Daban Shata. After a brief encounter, one Boko Haram criminal was neutralized while two others were captured alive by the gallant troops. Additionally, seven AK-47 rifle magazines, two bandoliers, one camel bag, one military waist belt and a sample of receipt were recovered. Preliminary investigation revealed that one of the captured insurgents is the Amir (a high ranking member of Boko Haram) of Daban Shata.
“Relatedly, on the same February 21, 2020, the combined troops of 29 Task Force Brigade, 273 Tank Battalion, 156 Task Force Battalion, Army Super Camp 4 and elements of 7 Division Garrison also conducted a robust clearance operation to Lambuwa, Abbusuri, Bamti, Malumti, Goni-Kanuburi and Sheworam all in Konduga LGA of Borno State. At Lambuwa, troops conducted a snap Cordon and Search Operation and arrested three suspected Boko Haram criminals with one of them bearing the name of Modu Solum (a high profile Boko Haram member and logistics supplier). However, further profiling is ongoing to ascertain the suspects’ real identities”.
Meanwhile, “in a similar vein, on February 23, 2020, troops of 231 Battalion and 331 Artillery Regiment in conjunction with elements of Borno State vigilantes arrested seven notorious Boko Haram/Islamic State’s West Africa Province logistics suppliers at Maina Hari Check Point in Biu LGA of Borno State. The arrested suspects include: Mohammed Abba, Bukar Usman, Chulum Adam, Adam Alhaji Jidda, Ahmed Abba, Jidda Abdullahi and Modu Amadu. The suspects are currently in troops’ custody giving useful information.
“In another development, on February 17, 2020, vigilant troops of 271 Tank Battalion of Operation Lafiya Dole deployed at Jada Check Point in Jada LGA of Adamawa State intercepted 2 Boko Haram Logistics Suppliers namely; Sani Audu and Bana Abba in a Toyota Starlet car conveying large quantities of anti-biotics, sex enhancing and other illicit drugs and a Dane gun (concealed in the vehicle apartment) meant to be supplied to the criminal terrorists”.
Meanwhile, relentless and brutal attacks by the Nigerian military against the Boko Haram insurgents and their ally in the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWAP) have forced the terrorists to change their pattern of an indiscriminate onslaught on Nigerians and to focus on Christians and churches, Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said.
The minister, who addressed a press conference in Abuja, yesterday, insisted that the unceasing pounding of the terrorists and their allies by the military had forced them to lose territories they once occupied, collected taxes and installing and deposing emirs.
Mohammed said: “Recall that Boko Haram insurgents didn’t use to discriminate between Christians and Muslims when they carried out their attacks in the past. Churches and mosques, Christians and Muslims were attacked without discrimination.
Street Trading: Task Force Sacks 30 Over Extortion, Misconduct
The Rivers State Task Force on Street Trading, Illegal Markets and Motor Parks said no fewer than 30 of its operatives have been sacked over extortion and misconduct since the force was inaugurated, last year.
The Special Adviser to the Rivers State Governor and Coordinator of the Task Force, Hon Bright Amaewhule disclosed this, yesterday morning, when he appeared on a live radio programme in Port Harcourt monitored by The Tide.
Amaewhule, who was reacting to the death of a 75-year old bureau de change operator at the Rumuola axis of Port Harcourt, reiterated that his men were not responsible for the demise of the octogenarian.
He explained that he cannot be everywhere at the same time, but that the reports and complaints from members of the public have helped in the operations of the task force, just as he decried the attitude of some persons who have deliberately refused to obey extant laws of the state.
“We have measures in place to check activities of our men. I can tell you that so far, we have been able to flush out over 30 persons. I can tell you on good authority that those who have been found guilty of one offense or the other, even those who don’t operate with the vest and we confirm that you are a task force member we also discipline you.
“Many of them (task force operatives) have gone and with what is happening now, we are going to take other standard measures. Rivers people should not be afraid. We are not there to witch-hunt anybody, we are not there to just attack people unnecessarily,” he stated.
The governor’s aide, however, expressed worry that seven months after the inauguration of the task force, people still operate illegal markets and motor parks as well as the activities of street traders, but assured that nobody doing genuine business would be harassed by his men.
He further said, “This task force came on board in September, 2019, and upon setting up, we swung into action, and people have been commending our good works. What has been happening of recent is the people continued resistance to obey the law setting up the task force.
“You can’t believe that seven months into the existence of this task force, people are still operating illegal motor parks, still carry out illegal street trading, illegal markets and mechanics despite the efforts we are putting.
“But because of our determination to do what the law has asked us to do, people give us bad name. For us, all that is happening is because people don’t want to obey the law or do the right thing. Although I am the coordinator, but I cannot be everywhere at the same time.
“But the information I get from the public and passers-by helps me on how to also operate. I appreciate the fact that some people have been calling to say, ‘look, caution your people’ and I have noted that. We have been disciplining some of our members where we confirm that they were extorting money from people. We have sacked most of them.
“We have also sacked those who are not necessarily collecting money but who have been unnecessarily hard and very offensive to members of the public. We caution them, sometime, we suspend them for a period of a month, and when they return, they change.
“The important thing is that if you do the right thing, go to Rumuola, people are passing Rumuola freely. Why are we not going after those who are doing legitimate businesses? It is only those who are doing illegal business, as the law says that those who are operating illegally should be dislodged from those junctions or those areas, and that is what we are doing.
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