Railway workers are poised for a showdown with the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation and by extension the Federal Government over poor condition of service, their inability to take over the driving of the new Lagos-Ibadan trains from the Chinese contractors, among other issues.
Indeed, they have given the Federal Government a 21-day ultimatum to address all their grievances or face an industrial action.
The two in-house unions, Nigeria Union of Railway workers and Senior Staff Association, gave the ultimatum in a joint statement obtained by Newstrends on Saturday.
They said the decision was taken after a meeting of the unions’ leaders with representatives of the NRC management at Ebute Meta, Lagos, headquarters of the corporation. They declared the meeting held on Tuesday November 2, 2021 as deadlocked.
The workers in the statement signed by Segun Esan and Jibrin Kadiri, the Secretary General of the NUR, and Secretary of the SSA respectively, expressed their opposition of the Chinese continued hold on the driving of the Lagos-Ibadan Trains Service.
“The unions have demanded from the management to collect the driving of the LITS from the Chinese who, in total aberration to the norms and ethos governing train driving in Nigeria, still hold on to driving the LITS trains beyond the warranty/guaranty period,” they stated.
The unions asked the NRC management “to ensure that the Chinese are barred from driving the LITS with immediate effect and a new regime of warranty/guaranty of the LITS service be demanded.”
They also decried the manner in which their welfare package was being handled in the last six years by the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi and vowed to adopt a forceful approach, going forward.
They stated, “The unions, without mincing words, expressed utmost displeasure and regrets over the manner the Hon. Minister of Transportation has been so unconcerned with the demand of the workers for enhanced salary.
“The unions recalled that the agitation for enhanced salary has been on for the past six years and the Hon. minister has tactically evaded all entreaties of the leadership of the two in-house unions to meet him on the plight of the workers as occasioned by the poor salary regime that is obtainable in the corporation and which remains the poorest salary regime ever under the federal ministry of transport.
“The unions have declared that tactics and strategies would be changed towards achieving all-important salary enhancement for the workers of the corporation as peaceful and constructive methodologies explored by the Unions have failed.”
The statement also said, “As of today and now, the Corporation has no standard condition of service and this we have pointed out to the management with the matching demand that the reworked standard condition of service which was placed before the Board should be reviewed and approved for applicability without any further delay. The management has promised to escalate it to the Board with a memo soon.”
The unions also commented on the last terrorist attack on the Abuja-Kaduna standard train, with a demand for a compulsory insurance policy for all train crew members and passengers.
“We have requested individual insurance for all the train crew, passengers and the entire workers of the corporation who may be exposed to such deadly hazards in the course of their duties. This demand is made without any prejudice to the existing group life assurance scheme (GLAS) for the workers the status of which is still lurked in obscurity to the unions,” the statement added.
ASUU strike: Parents reply Keyamo, give conditions to beg lecturers
The National Parents Teachers Association of Nigeria (NAPTAN) has said it will only beg the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its prolonged strike if government considers the reports of the various committees set up to look into the matter and come out with its decisions.
The parents said it expected the Federal Government to come out publicly with its offers in order to know how they could intervene in the matter.
NAPTAN spoke through its National President, Alhaji Haruna Danjuma, in an interview with Vanguard on Sunday.
The association was reacting to an interview where the Minister of State for Labour, Mr Festus Keyamo(SAN) asked Nigerians, especially parents, to beg members of ASUU to return to their duty posts.
Keyamo also said the government would not go borrowing to meet the demands of the union.
“Let the Federal Government consider all the reports of the various committees it set up to negotiate with ASUU.
“There was a committee led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, among numerous committees.
“There has never been a time when parents are involved in the negotiation. We don’t want a situation where somebody will pitch us against ASUU or any group.
“The negotiation should involve parents, NANS, ASUU and government team.
“What the government should do is consider the reports of those committees and look at areas they can afford or work on and present same to ASUU. If whatever they can afford is unacceptable to the unions, then parents and others can come in to intervene,” Danjuma said.
National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview, also said it was a subtle blackmail for anybody to insinuate that the union was pushing the government to borrow.
He advised the government to get its priorities right address the impasse.
He said, “We are not asking the government to go borrowing. But since the minister is a Nigerian, he should know what our demands are. Our demands include that they implement the Memorandum of Action signed in 202 with us.
“The document says government will release the first tranche of the Revitalisation Fund, pay Earned Academic Allowance, stop proliferation of universities and renegotiate the 2009 agreement, among others.
“They have set up a committee to renegotiate the 2009 Agreement and they are yet to come up with anything from the report of the committee they set up. I wonder why some people behave as if they are living in another world entirely. Is it because they are occupying public offices that they seem to exist in another planet?”
Buhari can take sick leave, allow someone else rule Nigeria – Kadara Ahmed
Chief Executive Officer of RadioNow, Kadaria Ahmed, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to proceed on sick leave and allow somebody to run the affairs of the country, following the deteriorating security challenges.
Ahmed last week described a recent BBC documentary on Zamfara banditry as “irresponsible reporting”.
She said the BBC documentary fell below the best practices of journalism, and was against public interest.
She said the BBC Africa Eye might be charged with aiding terrorism because it “glamorizes” terrorism by “providing” a platform for the terrorists to express their extreme views, and an insensitivity to their victims.
The Federal Government through the Minister of Information, Lai Muhammed, also threatened to sanction BBC and Trust TV for “glorifying terrorism” in their banditry documentaries.
Speaking with Arise TV, Ahmed said her concerns over the documentary was not intended to excuse the government on its responsibility of safeguarding the lives and property.
She said, “I think Nigerians ought to tell their politicians that it is time to have a bipartisan approach to insecurity, because it is something that is going to consume us. Even now as it is consuming us, we are not asking who is PDP or who is APC. And this continuous politicisation of insecurity, for me, portends a serious danger to Nigeria.
“The grandstanding doesn’t make sense to me, because we are dealing with an existential threat, something that could actually wreck us all. I am not too sure we could get to elections, which is what people are holding onto, and saying, ‘if we get there maybe the new people coming in…’ but what happens between now and elections is a long period.
“So, our politicians need to become a little more aware, and even if it is behind the scenes. I am not even sure if we need to be seeing them on TV working things out, no. Please go behind the scenes, sit down, and reach a bipartisan agreement about how you’re going to deal with the crises that Nigeria is facing. We have never had it so bad. And if we are not careful, under their watch, we are losing this country. APC, PDP, all of them, so go behind the scenes.”
She also said that if President Buhari is sick and incapable of running the country, he should step aside and allow somebody else to take over.
“Even if it is a question of persuading the president. I don’t know, he has not been well, maybe he can go on sick leave for an extended period and allow somebody else to have a go. Because by his own admission, he said something like ‘no country on its own can defeat terrorism.’
“What I am hearing is, ‘I am not too sure there is anything more I can do.’ That is what I hear when I hear that. So, maybe it is time to look at other options,” she said.
Nigeria may collapse soon, nowhere is safe, Northern CAN warns
Nigeria is on the verge of collapse with attacks by criminals in different parts of the country, including Abuja, the seat of power, the Christiansl Association of Nigeria in the North has said.
The group asked President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to take urgent and proactive steps to save the situation.
They reaffirmed their stand against the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket in a multi-religious and cultural society like Nigeria.
They said they were against the same faith ticket as adopted by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
The Secretary of CAN, in the 19 northern states and the Federal Capital Territory, Elder Sunday Oibe, stated these at a press conference on Sunday.
The group congratulated the newly elected National President of CAN, Rev. Dr Daniel Oko, and his vice, Rev. Dr Stephen Baba Panyam.
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He said, “We encourage them to stand firm like Joshua in the Bible in this difficult times to be the real voice for the church in Nigeria.
We pledge our unalloyed support in all areas to help them succeed.”
“We reaffirm our stand against the idea of a Muslim- Muslim ticket in a multi- religious and multi cultural society like Nigeria, particularly considering the fact that the country has never been this divided along religion and ethnic lines before.”
He also said, “Northern CAN wants to use this medium to call on politicians and political parties to be wary of those who might sneak to meet them secretly like Nichodeamus in the name of Christian leaders from the north, with the sole aim of wetting their political apatite and desperation for monetary gains.
“Northern CAN, as a reputable religious organisation, will never engage in any secret dealing with any politician as a matter of policy.”
“However, our doors are open to any Nigerian who desire to share with us, ideas on moving the country forward.
“Northern CAN, like many individuals and groups, is deeply concerned about the helpless security situation in the country. Nigeria is under siege by terrorists who are unleashing mayhem on the citizens and crippling economic and social activities across the country, particularly in states like Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Niger, Benue, Plateau, Taraba, Kebbi, Sokoto and even Abuja, the seat of power.”
Elder Oibe said “the continuous brazen and commando-like style, with which these terrorists operate unchallenged, even to the extent of issuing a threat to kidnap the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is worrisome.
“Northern CAN, hereby, calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly to stop living in denial.
“Nigeria is on the verge of collapse, therefore, urgent and proactive steps must be taken to save the situation. No where is safe!
“Once again, we call on President Buhari to rise to the occasion, by living up to his constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property of citizens and defending the sovereignty of Nigeria.”
“We urge all well meaning Nigerians to unite and pray fervently for the country and for the defeat of the enemies of the Nigerian state,” he said.
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