Buhari Tasks Incoming Govt On Workers’ Rights
President Muhammadu Buhari has tasked the in-coming administration to respect workers rights as encapsulated in International Labour Organisation (ILO) declarations on labour matters.
Buhari made the call at the commemoration of the 2023 Workers Day, with the theme; “`Workers Rights and Socio-Economic Justice’’, on Monday in Abuja.
Buhari, represented by Mr Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), said Nigeria, as a viable member state of the ILO and a connoisseur of workers’ rights, had ratified all the core conventions of the organisation, guarding and promoting rights at work.
“In June1998, a declaration was optimistically made by the ILO to establish a social minimum at the global level, to respond to the realities of globalisation.
“Hence, the birth of the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work in 1998, and amended in 2022, as an expression by the tripartite body of the ILO-government-employers’ and workers’ organisations.
“This is to uphold basic human values regarded as vital to socio-economic lives by affirming to respect five broad categories of workers’ rights at work, embodying more than nine conventions”, Buhari said.
The President also listed the rights to include: Freedom of Association and the Effective Recognition of the Right to Collective Bargaining, the Elimination of all forms of Forced or Compulsory Labour, and the Effective Abolition of Child Labour.
Others he said were the Elimination of Discrimination in respect of Employment and Occupation, and a Safe and Healthy Working Environment.
According to him, in all these webs of rights and obligations in the world of work, the linkages between worker’s rights and socio–economic justice, have been identified and made a declaration by the ILO.
“Workers’ rights coupled with socio-economic justice make a happy workplace.
“We, therefore, agree that a fair economic structure, targeted at creating opportunities for all to succeed irrespective of sex, race/ethnicity, age, disability, creed, religion among others, is sine qua non for progress and development”, he said.
Also, Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said the Nigerian government recognised the importance of Nigerian workers, and was committed to creating the right environment for them to thrive.
“In the past few years, we have taken a number of measures to support Nigerian workers, which include the review and increase of the National Minimum Wage in 2019, Institutionalising its review automatically every five years in the Act.
“We have provided better working conditions and environment, invested in training and re-training, education and human capacity development for workers.
“However, we also recognie that there is a lot more work to be done to improve the lives of Nigerian workers.
“We acknowledge the fact that many Nigerian workers continue to face significant challenges, including low take home pay, lack of job security, and unsatisfactory working conditions.
“We are committed to addressing these issues and creating a more favourable environment for Nigerian workers to thrive.
“The solution to these challenges will not come overnight, but as work in progress. These have been top priorities on the agenda of the outgoing administration”, Ngige said.
The minister, however urged the incoming government to create a work plan for addressing those issues as governance was a continuous process.
“It is hoped that with your support, the incoming administration will do better in line with the developmental blueprint of our political party.
“As we celebrate Workers Day, let us remember the millions of Nigerian workers who have dedicated their lives to building and sustaining our great nation.
“Let us recognise their contributions and acknowledge the challenges that they face everyday. Let us also remember the sacrifices of those who have lost their lives in the line of duty – who have given their lives so that others can live theirs”, he said.
Ngige added that government would continue to work with the two labour centres to create an environment that would support the aspirations of Nigerian workers.
“We would continue to invest in all aspects of education, from primary, secondary, technical, tertiary and skills development, as well as create opportunities for young people and support small and medium-sized enterprises”, he stated.
He called on labour leaders to consolidate on the mileage already covered by the Federal Government in the last eight years.
He also called on them to eschew acrimony, factionalism, selfishness, and develop spirit of cooperation social dialogue, rather than confrontation, aggression and unnecessary industrial actions with employers.
FG Sensitises Security Personnel On Revised National Gender Policy
In a bid to deepen the gender components of the security system in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, last Monday kicked-off a three-day high level Sensitization/Capacity Building Workshop on the Revised 2021-2026 National Gender Policy.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, Department of State Services, Nigerian Correctional Center Service, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Shehu Shinkafi, who declared the workshop open, recalled that Nigeria developed its first National Policy on Rights of Women in 2000.
This was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006 as a result of review and integration of lessons learnt from the implementation of the Women Policy 2000.
A key lesson then was the need to work from a gender perspective, even though the key purpose remains addressing Women’s rights issues.
He listed women’s rights to include the right to live free from violence and discrimination, the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to be educated, the right to own property, the right to vote and be voted for etc.
“But as we all know, many women and girls still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. This gave rise to the review of the 2006 National Gender Policy”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the strategic objectives of the revised National Gender Policy are: to bridge gender/social inclusion gaps and achieve parity in all spheres of life; protect women’s human rights and mitigate sexual and gender- based violence, through appropriate buffers and related services; and explore and fully harness women’s human capital assets, as a growth driver for national development through women’s economic empowerment.
Others are to advance women’s participation and representation in leadership and governance; support women and girls’ education, lifelong health, survival and sustainable development; fnsure that gender equity concerns are integrated into social protection and complex humanitarian actions, legislation and policies and ensure that socially excluded groups (such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and the poor etc.) are mainstreamed into development projects and programmes of government.
He also stated that the 2021-2026 National Gender Policy focuses on the protection of the girl–child: addressing violence against women and girls; addressing issues of conflict, especially as it affects women and girls; and peace building; rights of women with disabilities and implementation strategies, including the institutional framework, funding and human resource for gender mainstreaming among others.
CAN Condemns Resurgence Of Killings In Plateau
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the recent resurgence of killings in some parts of Plateau State.
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, in a statement, described the killings as barbaric, and disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner.
He said: “It’s with deep concern that I address the nation on the recent resurgence of mindless killings of innocent citizens in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
“The killings which started in Mangu villages on Monday, 15th May 2023, by so-called unknown gunmen have claimed many lives and properties with many persons still missing.
“The villages affected include Fungzai, Hale, Kubwat, Bwoi and many other communities of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area and some communities in Riyom Local Government Area.
“According to reports, about 130 people were killed, about 1000 buildings were burnt, and about 22 villages were affected. We condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest term possible.
“It is disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner”.
He appreciated the efforts of the security forces to maintain peace, calling on the government and law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the heinous acts to justice and ensure the protection of lives and properties of all citizens.
The CAN President implored all parties involved to embrace peace and dialogue as means of resolving their differences, stressing that violence only begets more violence, hence he advocated the breaking of the cycle so the state and Nigeria can witness peace and prosperity.
He added: “It’s also important to emphasise that the CAN unequivocally opposes any form of violence or reprisal as we strive to advance the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their religious or ethnic background”.
He appealed to all Nigerians in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau state and indeed, all over the country, to remain calm and law-abiding in the face of the challenges.
“We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into taking actions that will further escalate the situation”.
Oyebanji Presents N915m Gratuity Cheques To 289 Pensioners
Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji last Monday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to programmes and policies that will enhance the quality of life of Ekiti residents, especially the pensioners.
The governor stated this during the presentation of cheques worth N915 million naira as gratuities to 289 State, local government and primary school retirees in the state at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti.
Speaking at the event, which was hailed as unprecedented in the state, Oyebanji said the payment of the gratuity was in fulfilment of his campaign promise of shared prosperity, adding that his administration would continue to ensure that pensioners enjoy a worthy life after their meritorious service to the state.
Oyebanji, who said he was not unaware of challenges confronting the retires as a result of a regrettable delay in accessing their gratuity benefits as and when due, assured the senior citizens that his government is irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuities.
He informed the gathering that since the inception of his administration in October 2022, over N1.2 billion had been paid as a gratuity to both the State and Local government retirees while payment of monthly pensions had been regular.
He said, “As elders and critical stakeholders who occupy strategic positions in the scheme of things, our government is living no stone unturned to ensure that you all live a quality and happy life at retirement. I am aware of the many odds and challenges confronting retirees as a result of the regrettable delay in accessing your gratuity as and when due.
“I am therefore committed to ensuring that the welfare of our retirees continues to be of topmost priority. We are also irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuity by our senior citizens. This is a priority for us and we will continue to explore innovative ways to support you in your retirement.
“Since we came on board, we have always paid pensions along with salaries of public servants. This, I assure you, will continue. Today, the sum of N700 million has been paid out to 192 retired civil servants as gratuity and the sum of N215 million to 79 Local Government retirees”.
Oyebanji used the opportunity to express his appreciation and to commend the management of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) at both state and local government levels for the hard work and transparency they have deployed in processing this payment with particular reference to their policy based on first-to-retire, first-to-be-paid, urging to sustain it religiously.
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