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FG Prevails on NLC to Register CONUA, NAMDA

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The Federal Government, Tuesday, appealed to the Nigeria Labour Congress to rescind its opposition to the registration of two new academic unions in the Nigerian public university system.

The PUNCH reports that the new unions- the Congress for Nigerian University Academics and the Nigeria Association of Medical and Dental Academics -received letters of recognition recently during a ceremony at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Abuja.

However, in a letter to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, the President of NLC, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, demanded for the withdrawal of the letters issued to the unions, on the grounds that their registration contravened the laws guiding trade unionism.

In his reply, dated October 12, 2022, Ngige appealed to NLC to allow the new unions to exist in the spirit of Freedom of Association.

He insisted that the Trade Dispute Act 2004 gives him the sole power to register new trade unions, either by registering a new union or regrouping existing ones.

The minister reiterated that the new unions were offshoots or by-products of regrouping and their applications were considered by two committees of his ministry, with the Registrar of Trade Unions participating when the first recommendation for approval was given in 2019, and again in 2022.

He explained that CONUA and NAMDA were regrouped from the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), for efficiency and effectiveness in the system and more importantly, to protect these groups of university teachers whose worldview differs from the restive parent union.

Ngige said, “Comrade President, do not unnecessarily oppose the registration of these new academic unions because with ASUU, they are all like seeds on the academic soil of Nigeria and which will grow into big trees we don’t know, but the one which her trees are not bearing good fruits, we already know. So, as an uncle of the unions, oppose none in the spirit of Freedom of Association.

“It should be noted that Section 3 (2) of the Trade Dispute Act, CAP T14 gives the Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, the sole power to register new trade unions, either by registering new trade union or regrouping existing ones. This matter was a subject of litigation in the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in most recent case which the President of the NLC failed to mention in his narration of court cases – the case of the Nigerian Union of Pensions (NUP) and the regrouped Federal Parastatals & Private Sector Pensioners Association of Nigeria (FEPPAN) from NUP where the Law on Regrouping of Trade Unions was extensively explored and ruled upon unlike the cases cited by the President of the NLC to misinform the general public and unfortunately lead astray his affiliate Trade Union – ASUU. “

He recalled that the NICN in a suit no. NICN/ABJ/219/2019, buttressed its earlier ruling on the matter and which had stated inter alia that the power to register trade unions resides with the Minister of Labour and Employment.

He noted that the last segment of Section 3(2) does not refer to the regrouping of existing trade unions, hence, the differentiation within the section between registering a new trade union and regrouping existing ones.

Ngige said, “We note your reference to Section 5 of the same Act, which deals with the “Procedure on receipt of application for registration” of a Trade Union. Section 5(4) in Particular states that the Registrar shall not register a trade union if it appears to him that any existing trade union is sufficiently representative of the interests of the class of workers concerned – CONUA members were ostracised and de-unionised by ASUU. Do we as the Competent Authority on Labour matters including trade union services pay homage to ASUU and acquiesce to leaving a large segment of lecturers and academia un-unionised, without protection, without a voice, and without a right at work. Are these workers not covered by the same ILO Conventions nos. 87 & 97?”

Regarding NAMDA, he said they are medical doctors lecturing in the universities who are bound by their professional ethics and Hippocratic oath to “first do no harm” to all and as such, were against the incessant prolonged and illegal strikes by ASUU, which had disrupted medical training and caused consequential damages to the educational system and by implication, the quantity and quality of future medical doctors and dentists in Nigeria.

“They have been teaching and some have graduated their students since the 8-month-old strike by ASUU which commenced on Feb 14 2022. Universities of Maiduguri, Bauchi and Sokoto medical teachers are indeed patriots. Moreover, their peculiar needs are quite different from the rest of ASUU members and they are often left out on welfare and career progression in the universities-the core functions of a registered trade union.”

Ngige told the NLC President to desist from using his position to deceive the general public by misguiding them with mal-citations of Labour Authorities.

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Ban on Sales, Consumption of Sachet Alcoholic Drinks Still in Force, Says NAFDAC

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Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, has reaffirmed that the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country is still in force.

Adeyeye announced this on Wednesday during a press briefing in Lagos.

She said: “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion.

“The outcome of the meeting is that the ministers should write a memo to the Speaker (of Reps) and the House (of Reps), and the Representative of the Speaker, Prof Jake Dan-Azumi then said we should continue the discussion after the recess of the House members in July. So, the discussion continues.”

The Deputy Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, disclosed last Friday that the House and NAFDAC resolved to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages.

Agbese said the resolution to temporarily lift the ban was reached after a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials.

He said the lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain.

On February 1, 2024, NAFDAC commenced the enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

The NAFDAC DG said the decision was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.

However, the move to enforce the ban has generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions, who said the ban would cost 500,000 workers their jobs, and ruin N800bn investments.

Meanwhile, medical experts warned that lifting the ban on alcoholic beverages will lead to acute health complications, increased road traffic accidents, increased risk of abuse of alcohol, liver problems, heart-related problems, and cancers, among others.

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Court Denies Suspended DCP Abba Kyari Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Federal High Court has denied suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, bail.

In his ruling, the judge held that Kyari’s bail is at the discretion of the court in line with section 161 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ruled that Kyari had not shown any evidence to warrant the court granting him bail.

On May 22, the judge had granted the former boss of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, temporary two-week bail to bury his mother.

However, the two weeks were extended by a week upon an application filed by Mr. Kyari for an extension of the bail.

On June 1, Kyari perfected the bail conditions and was released the same day.

At today’s proceedings, Justice Emeka Nwite refused to extend his earlier order but granted accelerated hearing in the case.

Kyari was detained following his arrest on February 14, 2022, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged involvement with an international drug cartel.

He, along with four members of the Police Intelligence Response Team—Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu—was arraigned on March 7, 2022.

Two suspected drug traffickers, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, were also charged.

While Kyari and the IRT members pleaded not guilty, Umeibe and Ezenwanne pleaded guilty and were convicted.

DailyPost

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Fubara Nominates, Swears-in 23 Caretaker Committee Chairmen

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is swearing in new caretaker chairmen for the 23 local government areas of the state.

The swearing-in took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, amid tight security.

The first batch of 11 CTC chairmen took their oath of office first.

It comes a day after he forwarded the list to the state House of Assembly led by factional Speaker, Victor Jumbo.

Channels Television reported that the lawmakers had invited the nominees for screening as early as 8 am on Wednesday.

See the names of the caretaker chairmen nominated by Fubara below:

Abua/Odua LGA – Madigai Dickson

Ahoada East LGA – Happy Benneth

Ahoada West LGA – Mr. Daddy John Green

Akuku Toru LGa – Otonye Briggs

Andoni LGA – Reginald Ekaan

Asari Toru LGA – Orolosoma Amachree

Bonny LGA – Alabota Anengi Barasua

Degema LGA – Anthony Soberekon

Eleme LGA – Brain Gokpa

Emouha LGA – David Omereji

Etche LGA – John Otamiri

Gokana LGA – Kenneth Kpeden

Ikwerre LGA – Darlington Orji

Khana LGA – Marvin Yobana

Obia/Akpor LGA – Chijioke Ihunwo

Ogu/Bolo LGA – Evans Bipi

Okrika LGA – Princess Ogan

Omuma LGA – Promise Reginald

Opobo/Nkoro LGA – Enyiada Cookey-Gam

Oyigbo LGA – – Gogo Philip

Port Harcourt LGA – Ichemati Ezebunwo

Tai LGA – Matthew Dike

Channels Television

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