•‘All Lagos’ Retirees Get Their Pension Benefits Every Month’
On the occasion of International Workers’ Day commemoration, Lagos workers, on Saturday, reaped a bumper harvest of welfare packages – thanks to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
The Governor approved 10 hectares of land in Idera, Ibeju Lekki, and Badagry for workers housing schemes .
Sanwo-Olu handed over the title documents to chairmen of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) at an elaborate event organised to commemorate Workers’ Day.
The event, with the theme: “COVID-19 Pandemic, Social and Economic Crises: Challenges for Jobs, Social Protection and Peoples’ Welfare”, was held at Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan in the heart of Lagos.
The two housing schemes will be built by the labour unions with funds from Federal Mortgage Bank. The Ministry of Housing will supervise the project.
Also, the labour unions will now have a befitting secretariat to aid their operations, the Governor said. The secretariat, Sanwo-Olu promised, will be ready before next year’s May Day.
There was applause as Sanwo-Olu announced the package. He was hailed as “the best worker friendly Governor”.
Sanwo-Olu said a productive workforce remained the backbone of a prosperous society, pointing out that Lagos workers are important stakeholders in the growth of the State’s economy and they deserve more than just an increment in the minimum wage.
Sanwo-Olu was the first Governor to fully implement new salary structure that raised minimum wage from N18,000 to N30,000. The Governor approved N35,000 minimum wage, which is above the national benchmark.
Sanwo-Olu said his administration, in the last 12 months, had initiated welfare programmes specifically targeted at improving workers’ welfare and helping them to stabilise their livelihoods, following the economic disruption occasioned by spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the State.
He said: “Today, I am handing over 10 hectares of land to organised labour unions in Lagos State to het mortgage scheme and build a housing estate for workers.
The title documents to lands have been approved and I am happy to hand them over to the leaders of the labour unions at this occasion. This intervention is part of our interventions to reduce burden on our workers whose means of livelihood have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the past year, we took a major step in promoting workers’ welfare by revising the 2020 Budget to accommodate the social and economic impact of COVID-19, and to prioritise spending and investment that fulfilled the two primary goals of keeping our people alive and helping them sustain their livelihoods.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, we asked most of our civil servants to stay at home and work from there. I am proud to say that we did not lay off workers, despite the economic recession that accompanied the pandemic and the downward review of the State’s 2020 Budget.
We strengthened our social safety net to prevent a widespread loss of jobs, which would have led to a reversal of the progress we have made in the reduction of poverty.”
The Governor specially recognised the sacrifice and selflessness of frontline workers in the COVID-19 response, extending his appreciation to medical personnel and sweepers disposing medical waste.
Henceforth, Sanwo-Olu said the labour unions shall have a representative on the Board of the Pension Commission, pledging that the State Government would extend the courtesy to other labour-centric statutory bodies. He asked the organised labour to immediately forward the name of their representative for the pension board.
He said the State Government had demonstrated sincerity in implementing most of the demands of workers, pointing out that Lagos paid the statutory uniform allowances for medical workers. He pledged commitment to fulfilling demands of the unions that were yet to be redeemed.
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that his administration had cleared the backlog of pensioners’ benefits and did not owe any retiree their monthly allowance.
He said: “We are in the process of increasing the fleet of our buses and we are going to consider supporting labour unions in Lagos with buses for Labour City Transport to assist in movement of workers. We have reviewed the composition of appointees in the Pension Commission; we will make amendment to ensure the labour representative in included.
“We have increased allowance we pay to pensioners and we have consistently ensured that pensioners get their pension the same time State workers get their monthly salaries. There is no pensioner we are owing today; we will continue to ensure that retirees who have served the State are not left behind in our welfare programmes.”
The Governor also donated official vehicles to the NLC and TUC chairmen to assist them in running the unions.
State chairman of NLC, Comrade Funmi Sessi, extolled the Governor’s leadership qualities demonstrated in combating COVID-19, praising Sanwo-Olu for the payment of full salaries of workers who could not go to work during the first and second waves of COVID-19.
The labour leader stressed that Lagos Government had demonstrated exemplary leadership in granting judiciary full autonomy, adding that Sanwo-Olu had created labour-friendly environment for workers in the State, which resulted from the appointment of Special Adviser on Labour Matters.
Lagos TUC chairman, Comrade Gbenga Ekundayo, said the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic had led to an upsurge in the violation of the rights of workers in the private sector.
He urged the Governor to strengthen social security support and initiate actions that would adequately protect workers in the informal sector and private firms.
He said: “Employers of labour and their human resources advisers have deployed different orthodox and unorthodox measures to mitigate their financial exposures in this period of COVID-19, some of which are not known to Nigerian Labour and Employment Laws.
“Workers in the informal sector who are not organised are more vulnerable and their situation made worse due to the non-existing social security system. Government must urgently look for a way to strengthen social security support so that workers can be adequately protected at all times.”
Highlights of the event included a march by many unions. Sanwo-Olu took the salute
Court Sacks APC Governorship Candidate In Bayelsa
The Federal High Court, Abuja, has disqualified the All Progressives Congress (APC) Governorship candidate, Chief Timipre Sylva, from contesting the November 11 Guber election in Bayelsa state.
The suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/821/2023 was filed on June 13, 2023, by Deme Kolomo, a member of the APC.
Justice Donatus Okorowo ruled that Sylva, having been sworn in twice and ruled for five years as governor of the state, would breach the 1999 constitution as amended if allowed to contest again.
The judge also declared that Sylva was not qualified to run in the November poll because if he wins and is sworn in, he would spend more than eight years in office as governor
Citing the case of Marwa vs Nyako at the Supreme Court, Okorowo noted that the drafters of the country’s constitution stated that nobody should be voted for as governor more than two times and that the parties to the suit agreed that Sylva was voted into office two times.
He further stated that the Supreme Court ruled in the case of Marwa vs Nyako that nobody can expand the constitution or its scope, stressing that if Sylva was allowed to contest the next election, a person could compete as many times as he wanted.
Senate stops El-Rufai, 2 Others Confirms Wike, Keyamo, Oyetola, Others As Ministers
The Senate has put the confirmation of former Governor of Kaduna State, Nasir El-Rufai on hold and confirmed 45 ministerial nominees presented to it for screening and confirmation by President Bola Tinubu.
Two others affected are Stella Okotete (Delta State), and Abubakar Danladi (Taraba State). The Senate said the trio were still undergoing security clearance.
The Senate had spent a week in screening all the ministerial nominees presented to it by the president.
Those confirmed are:
Abubakar Kyari (Borno)
Abubakar Momoh (Edo)
Nyesom Wike – Rivers
Engr Joseph Utserv (Benue)
Senator John Owan Enoh (Cross River)
Hon Bello Mohammad (Sokoto)
Mohammed Badaru Abubakar (Jigawa)
Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar (Bauchi)
Uju Kennedy Ohaneye (Anambra)
Hon. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (Ondo)
Nkieruka Onyejeocha (Abia)
Dr Betta Edu (Cross River State)
imaan Sulieman Ibrahim (Nasarawa)
David Umahi (Ebonyi)
Adebayo Olawale Edun (Ogun)
Arch. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa (Katsina)
Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji (Enugu)
Mr Dele Alake (Ekiti)
Waheed Adebayo Adelabu (Oyo)
Mohammed Idris (Niger)
Prof Ali Pate (Bauchi)
Dr Doris Anite Uzoka (Imo)
Lateef Fabemi SAN (Kwara)
Rt Hon Ekperikpe Ekpo (Akwa Ibom)
Hannatu Musawa (Katsina)
Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe)
Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (Niger)
Hieneken Lokpobiri (Bayelsa)
Alkali Ahmed Saidu (Gombe)
Dr Tanko Sununu (Kebbi)
Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi)
Bello Matawalle (Zamfara)
Adegboyega Oyetola (Osun)
Simon Bako Lalong (Plateau)
Abdullahi Tijani Muhammad Gwarzo (Kano)
Bosun Tijani (Ogun)
Dr Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure (Kano)
Dr Iziaq Salako (Ogun)
Dr Tunji Alausa (Lagos)
Lola Ade-John (Lagos)
Prof Tahir Mamman SAN (Adamawa)
Zephaniah Jisalo (FCT)
Uba Maigari Ahmadu (Taraba)
Prince Shuaibu Abubakar Audu (Kogi)
Festus Keyamo SAN (Delta)
INFLATION: Strike Action Imminent in Nigeria Office of ICRC Over Poor Staff Remuneration.
There are indications that workers of International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) will down tools for the first time since coming to Nigeria over the recent increase in the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which has brought inflation and economic hardship to medium income earners in Nigeria and neighboring countries. The Authority Newspapers Reports.
This is as Nigeria’s current cost of living is on the increase and the failure of the management of ICRC Nigeria to address the situation.
Findings showed that the trouble started earlier this year, when the organization announced a global funding gap that led to the downsizing of its operations.
Investigation revealed that the situation resulted in a significant reduction of staff and the scaling back of ICRC’s operations.
In March, the Nigeria management made a controversial decision to suddenly remove the Cost of Living Allowance, intended to help the staff cope with the country’s soaring inflation.
“Shockingly, the allowance was canceled for Nigerian staff but was retained for expatriate employees” a source in the intervention agency hinted.
The source who does not want her name mentioned said the situation ignited outraged by the Nigerian staff, which voiced their concerns, eventually leading to the restoration of the allowance. But the divide between expatriate and Nigerian salaries remained a significant point of contention.
According to the source, “Recently, following the unification of the exchange rate and removal of fuel subsidies, Nigerian staff raised a compelling argument. They pointed out that the value of their salaries’ had eroded significantly (up to -76%), while expatriate counterparts enjoyed a substantial increase (+76%) when converted to the local currency.
“To break this down further, the ICRC mission in Nigeria receives the funds for its operations in CHF (Swiss Francs). Expat staff in Nigeria are paid in CHF but the Nigerian staff are paid in NGN. CHF used to convert to Naira at 1CHF to 509NGN as of June 1, 2023. As of Tuesday 25 July 2023, 1CHF exchanged for 913NGN.
“What this means for ICRC’s expatriate staff in Nigeria who get their salaries in CHF is that the value of their salaries in NGN has almost doubled.
“The value of the salaries of the Nigerian staff has been halved because their salaries are pegged at the numerical value of the NGN, independent of the exchange rate. This also means that as of today, when the salaries for Nigerian staff are converted to Naira, the ICRC is making a significant savings on their salaries.
“How are staff of a global humanitarian organisation expected to selflessly carry out their duties if they can barely pay their bills?”
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