Abia NLC Suspends 3-Day-Old Strike
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in Abia has suspended the strike it commenced on Tuesday to push for the improvement of workers’ welfare.
The National Assistant Secretary-General of the union, Mr Chris Onyeka, announced the suspension on Friday after a meeting between the State Government, NLC and Joint Public Service Negotiating Council (JPSNC) in Umuahia.
Onyeka said: “The Abia Government has shown great responsibility and understanding in addressing the issues raised by NLC.
“Therefore, with this understanding and agreement reached, the NLC will immediately suspend the strike.
“We extend our hands of fellowship to Abia State for better and deeper industrial relationship and harmony.”
Onyeka urged the government to implement the agreement reached by both parties and also create better working conditions for Abia workers to boost productivity and make the state progressive.
He described dialogue as a way of resolving issues and conflict and charged Abia workers to remain committed to the development of the state.
He said it was the responsibility of the union’s leadership to protect the interest of workers in the state.
The NLC chieftain commended the State Government for making efforts to meet the demands made by the union.
Also, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu assured the workers that the State Government would live up to expectation by implementing the decisions reached at the meeting with the leadership of the union.
Ikpeazu, represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chief Chris Ezem, charged Abia workers not to allow anybody to pitch them against the government but to continually give their best in their service to the state.
Ikpeazu said: “Abia Government remains a workers-friendly government that is conscious of its obligations.
“It is to that end that we have taken steps to engage the NLC and all affiliate unions concerned on issues affecting workers.
“I want to assure the workers in Abia and the leadership of various unions that government takes their welfare seriously and to that extent would equally take agreements reached very seriously.
“Following this agreement, we shall ensure that it is not business as usual.
“We shall do everything within our means to ensure these agreements reached are adhered to.”
In an interview with newsmen, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Eze Chikamnayo, commended the leadership of NLC at the state and national levels for suspending the industrial action.
The Tide’s source reports that at the end of the meeting, a three-page Memorandum of Understanding was signed by the representatives of the state government and union.
Issues deliberated upon included payment of salary arrears, implementation of the N30,000 national minimum wage, remittance of check off dues to various unions and the implementation of CONHESS for local government health workers.
Others were payment of monthly pensions, gratuities and outstanding workers’ leave allowances.
The meeting was attended by the governor, represented by the SSG, the Commissioner for Finance, Dr Aham Uko, the Head of Service, Mr Onyii Wamah, and Chikamnayo.
Others from labour were Onyeka, the State Chairman of NLC, Mr Eze Idima, and a representative of JPSNC.
The organised labour had proceeded on an industrial action on Tuesday, following the inability of the state government to resolve issues between it and workers.
JAMB Decries Use Of Fake Results For Admission
The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has decried the high level of forgery of A Level certificates used for the registration.
JAMB Registrar, Professor Is-haq Oloyede, who raised the alarm, recalled that the Board had commenced the 2023 Direct Entry registration on Monday, 20th February but immediately suspended it following the discovery of the plethora of devices and machinations to circumvent and compromise the standard of A ‘level qualifications required from DE candidates.
He disclosed that out of 148 candidates verified by Bayero University Kano (BUK), only 6 were found to be genuine.
“By implication 142 of the results were forged. Oloyede said. Bayero University, Kano (BUK) has also consistently brought to the fore the high rate of forgery of A’Level qualifications for DE.
“It was discovered that in previous years, some candidates used unacceptable and forged A’ level certificates/ qualifications to register for Direct Entry and eventually got admitted. For example out of 148 candidates verified by BUK, only 6 were found to be genuine. By implication 142 of the results were forged.
“The Board, concerned stakeholders and institutions are working assiduously to detect such and the ones already found are being dealt with according to the provisions of the law.
“In order to further checkmate the anomaly and to also prevent recurrence of such irregularity, the Board has decided that the 2023 DE registrations will not only be restricted to JAMB (Professional Test Centres (PTCs) but will also be done under strict supervision,” Oloyode said.
“The Board has provided additional guidelines to all DE registration outlets (JAMB-owned centres), Officers of the Board and candidates on the 2023 Direct Entry registration exercise:
“At the point of registration, all candidates must fill in Registration/Matriculation Number of the previous school attended where the qualification was obtained; Subject(s) of qualification; Awarding Institution; Institution actually attended”, he said.
‘Nigerians Have Lost Confidence, Trust In INEC’
As post-election crisis gathers momentum, the European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) to Nigeria’s 2023 general elections has declared that Nigerians have lost confidence and trust in the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) owing to lack of transparency and operational failures.
The EU EOM Chief Observer, Barry Andrews, made the assertion at a Media Briefing to present the Mission’s second preliminary reports, in Abuja, Monday.
Andrews noted that although Nigerians had great appetite for democracy and keen to engage in various civic activities, their expectations were dashed.
According to him, the apathy recorded at the governorship and states House of Assembly elections conducted last Saturday was a clear consequence of failures by political elites and “unfortunately, INEC.”
Andrews said: “Obstruction and organised violence limited the free expression of the will of the voters, despite efforts by civil society to promote democratic standards.
“Throughout the Mission, we saw that Nigerians have a great appetite for democracy and are keen to engage in various civic activities. However, in many parts of the country, their expectations were not met.
“Many were disappointed and we witnessed voter apathy that is in part, a clear consequence of failures by political elites, and unfortunately, also by INEC.
“Positively, INEC introduced some corrective measures ahead of Saturday’s polls, allowing a timely delivery of sensitive materials and improved use of election technologies, yet, the institution continued to lack transparency.”
The Mission also observed that voting started early with INEC ad-hoc officials present and ready to serve voters, but the exercise was unfortunately, disrupted by “multiple incidents of thuggery and intimidation of voters, polling officials, observers, and journalists”.
The Mission noted that Lagos, Kano, and other States in the Southern, Northern and Central parts of the country were mostly affected, adding that the election was equally characterised by casualties, fatalities, as well as vote-buying, which according to the observers, further detracted from an appropriate conduct of elections.
“EU EOM observers also saw misuse of administrative resources, including through various financial and in-kind inducements to voters, giving an undue advantage to the party in power.
“Furthermore, the protracted deadlines for candidacy disputes created uncertainty for voters and electoral contestants alike, while clear underrepresentation of women as candidates demonstrated a stark lack of internal party policies to support constitutionally prescribed inclusion
‘Youths To Benefit From Climate Change Innovation Hub’
The Clerk to the National Assembly (CNA), Sani Tambuwal, has expressed optimism that the recently established National Climate Change Innovation Hub would help in harnessing the potential among Nigerian youths towards addressing climate issues.
The CNA stated this during the commemoration of the 2023 Commonwealth Day with the theme ‘Forging A Sustainable And Peaceful Common Future’ held at the instance of National Assembly management, in Abuja, Monday.
Represented by the Deputy Clerk, National Assembly (DCNA), Barrister Kamoru Ogunlana, Tambuwal observed that the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and other climate issues in the world if not properly managed, would posed great danger to world peace and a sustainable future.
He assured that Federal Government had put measures in place to address some issues on climate change through the establishment of youth climate change hub to harness their ideas and include them in decision-making process as well as develop long-term vision for zero gas emissions.
In her presentation, Mrs. Rabi Audu stressed the need for concerted efforts from all stakeholders towards forging a sustainable and peaceful environment.
Audu also urged the youths to engage in activities and programmes that would promoter innovations and inclusivity for all.
According to her, governments and parliaments have to increase opportunities for schools across the Commonwealth countries, adopt higher education partnerships and development programmes that would lead to economic growth, social inclusion and environmental conservation.
While noting that the establishment of more programmes like the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) would aid the attainment of these, Audu further stressed the need for Commonwealth member countries to establish technical and vocational education that would help in gainfully equipping the youths with skills to further tackle high rate of youth unemployment.
Some of the students who participated in the programme tasked parliaments across Commonwealth member States on the need to hold their governments to account particularly on the areas of public spending, international crisis, investment sustainability and promotion of the benefits of inclusive and diverse representation in truly open societies.
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