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Intels’ Workers Protest Over Non-Payment Of Benefits

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The Association of Maritime Workers Union (AMWU) has appealed to Federal Government, Rivers State Government, Nigerian Port Authority, and NIMASA Director General to wade into the non-payment of its members’ benefits by Intels Nigeria Ltd.
The Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Maritime Workers Union, INTELS/AMS Branch, Mr Sunday Atakpo, made the appeal during a protest organised by the group at the Integrated Logistic Services (Intels) in Onne, Eleme Local Government Area, Rivers State.
Atakpo said that 633 out of 700 members of their union working for Integrated Logistic Services in Nigeria were placed on redundancy without payment of their take home benefits, adding that the members who had worked for 23 to 25 years with AMS under INTELS’ appointment were terminated without following the condition of service which gives them right to go home with benefits after service.
“We were told that Intels don’t know AMS but our applications, interview employment, queries, suspensions and terminations are done here by Intels.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government, our state government, Nigeria Port Authority, NIMASA Director General to come to our aid, and urge Intels management to pay us our benefits because a labourer earns wage.
“We are not saying we will not go as they have terminated us, many of us are even ready for voluntary redundancy but what we are saying is that they should pay us our take home benefits just as they paid our counterparts in Intels,” he stated.
Also speaking, the Chairman of Junior Staff of Intels Association of Maritime Services, Mr Tunde Bolaji, said that “the workers are protesting because 90 per cent of us they placed on redundancy without benefits have served for 10 years”.
Bolaji opined that the company’s system of calling back workers after redundancy was contrary to Nigerian labour law.
Reacting, the Management of Intels Nigeria Limited expressed concern over the ongoing industrial action by members of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), which has impacted its services at the Onne Port, Rivers State.
MWUN began an indefinite strike, last Monday, over the redundancy of some 500 workers at the Onne Port.
In a statement it issued, last Monday, Intels said the affected workers are not its employees, but the staff of one of its labour contractors named Associated Maritime Services Limited (AMS).
Part of the statement reads: “The Management of Intels Nigeria Limited (Intels) notes with concern the ongoing industrial action by members of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC) and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) which has impacted our services and wish to state the position of our Company as follows: Due to low operational activities arising from the general low activities in the oil and gas industry attributable mainly to fall in the crude oil price which affected most of our clients, coupled with Covid-19 pandemic, Management of Intels was constrained to embark on a redundancy exercise recently.
“The redundancy exercise affected both our direct employees and some of our labour contractors, such as Associated Maritime Services Limited (AMS), whose contract with Intels had to be partially terminated, and committed to paying entitlements due to AMS under the labour contract.
“In accordance with extant laws and the Conditions of Service applicable to employees of Intels, we engaged both SSASCGOC and MWUN in a negotiation over the modalities for the redundancy exercise as it affects Intel’s employees.
“Following agreement reached with both SSASCGOC and MWUN, the redundancy exercise was successfully implemented in respect of employees of Intels affected by the exercise.
“AMS also embarked on a redundancy exercise and engaged in negotiation with SSASCGOC and MWUN with respect to its employees affected by the redundancy exercise and committed to paying all entitlements due to its staff affected by the redundancy in accordance with the provisions of the Conditions of Service of AMS.
“The ongoing strike action is as a result of an alleged disagreement between AMS, SSASCGOC, and MWUN over the issue of an entitlement referred to as extra gratuity claimed by SSASCGOC and MWUN outside the applicable Conditions of Service of AMS, which is a matter to be addressed entirely among the three parties.
“As can be seen from the above, neither SSASCGOC nor MWUN has any dispute with Intels, and it is therefore surprising to us that SSASCGOC and MWUN would extend their alleged grievance (if any) to our organization, an action which is totally misconceived, as AMS is a separate legal entity from Intels and is not a subsidiary of Intels.
“All allegations reported by MWUN and media of engaging the services of armed security agents who chased away and wounded people are false and without any basis. The Law Enforcement Units deployed at our Company premises have acted and will always act with due regard to the Voluntary Principles of Security on Human Rights.
“We assure the general public and particularly all our clients, that we are taking all necessary legal steps to address this unwarranted and illegal disruption of some of our activities in order to bring the situation under control and minimize any adverse impact on our clients.”

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Minister Blames Judiciary For Prisons’ Congestion

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The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has blamed the congestion in Nigeria’s correctional facilities on the country’s Judiciary, explaining that the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCOS) was not allowed by law to reject inmates sentenced to correctional centres or to release them.
Aregbesola, represented by Special Adviser on Nigerian Correctional Service, Suleiman Tala, stated this while delivering a paper at a policy advocacy conference entitled, “Decongestion of Correctional Centres: Status Quo”, organised as part of the 60th-anniversary celebration of the Order of The Knights of St Mulumba, Nigeria, Lagos Metropolitan Council, which was held in Lagos, adding that the primary responsibility of NCOS is to hold offenders pending the adjudication of their cases before a law court.
“It is important for the public to be aware that the NCOS and the Ministry of Interior are trying their best to tackle the issue from different angles as the length of time the inmates stay at the custodian centre is not determined by NCOS but by the justice system. I may not be able to reiterate exactly what the challenges are with the judiciary, however, as it affects the NCOS we are doing all we can not to compromise the traditional responsibility of the NCOS,” he stated.
Representing the Inspector General of Police, Baba Usman, Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Hakeem Odumosu, accepted that the police contribute to the congestion but gave his reasons.
“Inconsistence of the appearance of police officers to give evidence at trials has been identified as one of the alleged causes of prolonging trial but the IGP has mandated officers must attend court cases as at when due. The police are being hampered by a high level of distrust between the citizens and their police institution,” he stated.
Also at the conference, Lagos State Catholic Archbishop, Alfred Adewale Martins, who was represented by Rev. Paschal Uwaezeapu, stated that decongestion of the prisons would continue to be a matter as long as the government has refused to fix the country.
“The prison would continue to be congested if we don’t fix the society. As long as our society is a place where everybody takes for himself without considering the neighbour then our prison would continue to be congested. If we need to fix the prison we need to fix the family. These prisoners come from a family. We need to fix the education system also. We need to promote justice, without all these, the prison will soon overflow,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Lagos Metropolitan Grand Knight, KSM William Adebisi, urged the government to declare a state of emergency on the congestion of prisons.
“The government needs to take the matter seriously as it affects the health of the inmates, economy of the company and behavioural change of the inmates,” he stated.

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FG Seeks $3bn With Eurobond Offer

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The Federal Government has announced plans for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) to raise $3billion.
The Debt Management Office (DMO) said, yesterday, that Virtual meetings with investors have been scheduled for today, and September 20, 2021.
It said, “In order to avail local investors the opportunity to invest in the Eurobonds, meetings will also be held with local investors.
“This is the first time local investors will be included in the Roadshows, and this is one of the reasons why a Nigerian Bookrunner (Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd) was appointed as one of the Transaction Advisers.
“Through the Eurobond issuance, Nigeria is expected to raise up to $3billion but no more than $6.2billion.”
According to the DMO, the issuance for which all statutory approvals have been received, would be to implement the New External Borrowing in the 2021 Appropriation Act and that “Proceeds are for the financing of various projects in the Act.”
The agency gave further insight, saying, “In addition to providing funding to part-finance the deficit in the 2021 Appropriation Act, the issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria benefits the country in many other strategic ways; amongst which are: 1. It is an inflow of foreign exchange, leading to an increase in External Reserves.
“External Reserves help support the Naira Exchange Rate, and Nigeria’s sovereign rating.
“When Nigeria raises funds externally, through Eurobonds, it frees up space in the domestic market for private sector and sub-national borrowers. In effect, it helps the sovereign not to crowd out other borrowers in the domestic market.
“The issuance of Eurobonds by Nigeria has opened up opportunities for Nigeria’s corporate sector notably banks, to issue Eurobonds to raise capital in the ICM.
“By so doing, their capital base has been strengthened to provide banking services whilst also meeting regulatory requirements. Nigeria has a sovereign yield curve in the ICM, extending up to 30 years.
“The local listing of Nigeria’s Eurobonds on the Nigerian Exchange Ltd. and the FMDQ Securities Exchange Ltd., have increased the range of products on these two (2) exchanges and their respective market capitalization.
“Overall, Eurobond issuances by Nigeria and the investor meetings that precede the pricing have provided a strong global platform for Nigeria to tell its own story and opportunities available in Nigeria for investors.”
The Transaction Advisers appointed by Nigeria for the issuance were: International Bookrunners – JP Morgan, Citigroup Global Markets Limited; Joint Lead Managers -Standard Chartered Bank and Goldman Sachs; Nigerian Bookrunner – Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Services Ltd; Financial Adviser – FSDH Merchant Bank Ltd; while White & Case LLP, was appointed International Legal Adviser; and Banwo&Ighodalo would serve as Nigerian Legal Adviser.
The last time Nigeria accessed the ICM was November 2018.

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Insecurity: Put Nigeria First, FG Tells Media

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The Federal Government has tasked the media to put Nigeria first in the reportage of the country’s activities, particularly the fight against insecurity.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call in Abuja during the ceremony of the renaming of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Headquarters Building after the former Managing Director and Board Chairman of NAN, late Wada Maida.
Mohammed said it may seem obvious and trite, but for any professional, including a journalist in Nigeria to be able to carry out his or her responsibility at all, the nation must first exist, in peace.
“In other words, if the country goes down, all professionals and everybody go down. It is that stark, and this is why I want to use this platform to appeal to our media to put Nigeria first”, Mohammed said.
Speaking further, the minister said if one picked up most newspapers, watched most television stations or listened to most radio stations in the country, one will be right to think Nigeria is a country at war.
While acknowledging that there were challenges in the country, especially in the area of security, Mohammed, however, said the Buhari administration had not only acknowledged the challenges, it is earnestly tackling the challenges.
“A good example is the decisive manner in which our gallant troops are tackling the banditry in the North-West or the way they are combating the terrorists in the North-East. Our security agencies have also successfully tackled the separatists in the South-East and South-West and the militants in the South-South. Unfortunately, these efforts have only been perfunctorily reflected in the reportage of the security challenges that we face. This is not only unfair, especially to those who are sacrificing their lives to keep us safe, it is unpatriotic.
“To illustrate the damage this non-acknowledgement of the efforts of the security agencies pose to the country, let me tell you what transpired when I recently hosted some members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation (NIDO) UK Chapter, who visited me in my office here in Abuja. They said some of their colleagues who would have come to Nigeria for their programme tagged,‘A Week in and For Nigeria’ during the month of July, did not come out of fear of the security situation in Nigeria. However, those who made the trip said they travelled to their hometowns across the country and returned to Abuja safely. If Nigerians in the diaspora can be afraid to come to their country, imagine how foreigners, including investors and tourists, will feel about coming to the country.
“Whatever image problem Nigeria is suffering from today is mostly due to the unflattering portrayal of the country by the country’s media.
“Even when some media organisations report fake news, they never have the decency to retract such stories and apologise. They simply move on as if nothing has happened.
“We are not saying the media should not report on the security challenges we face. All we are saying is: Be fair and report accurately the efforts being made by the state and federal governments to tackle the challenges. Even if you don’t want to encourage the men and women in uniform fighting to keep us safe, please don’t discourage them with negative reporting. The security challenges we face today will be successfully tackled and Nigeria will not cease to exist, despite the antics of naysayers”, Mohammed added.
Mohammed congratulated the family, friends and associates of the late Maida for the great and much-deserved honour done to him.
He commended the management and staff of the NAN for coming up with the idea to immortalise the late Maida.
“The Federal Government’s decision to approve the proposal was not difficult, upon realising the role played by Alhaji Wada in making NAN the respectable agency that it is today. A man who was everything from Zonal Editor to Foreign Correspondent to Editor-in-Chief to Managing Director to Board Chairman, a man who built this glistening NAN headquarters edifice deserves to be immortalised by the organisation he served so well in his lifetime”, Mohammed stated.
Mohammed prayed that God will continue to comfort and strengthen the family of Maida, even as he prayed that the soul of the departed continues to rest in peace.

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