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.
Any Nigerian Can Initiate Arrest, Says FPRO Adejobi
The Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, has said that every Nigerian citizen is mandated by law to initiate an arrest if they notice a crime being committed anywhere.
Adejobi made the revelation while speaking as a panelist during the panel session at the 2023 National Security Conference of the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) with the theme “Proliferation of Lethal Weapon As Security Threat: Arm-Full, Harm-full to New Dispensation’ held on Thursday in Lagos.
The FPRO, who represented the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, leveraged on Section 12 of the Criminal Code, to buttress his point, saying it empowers individual Nigerians to initiate arrest, and hand over to the Police, adding that initiating the arrest does not include beating up a suspect, mobbing or lynching.
He added however, that the difference between the regular citizens and security agencies is one does not bear arms while the other does, while reiterating that whoever wishes to own or possess weapons must have them licensed by the appropriate government agency or will be seen to have run foul of the law, and made to face and bear the full weight of the law.
“The law empowers the military personnel, and other law enforcement agencies to bear arms, but it’s however, frightening to see many individuals in possession of arms without being licensed by the relevant authority,” he said.
Arase Hails Tinubu on Approval of Recruitment of 30,000 New Personnel
The Chairman, Police Service Commission, Mr. Solomon Arase, has hailed President Bola Tinubu for approving the recruitment of 30,000 new personnel into the Nigeria Police Force. He said the gesture will help not only in sustaining peace and security,but also check the proliferation of small arms and lethal weapons, which has been the bane of safety in the nation.
Mr. Arase, who was represented by AIG Ade Shinaba, made the remarks while speaking as the special guest of honour at the 2023 National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP) National Security Conference at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, said the president has set the pace in setting security on the right path and the enlargement of the force will go a long way in checking the proliferation of Lethal weapons and small arms in the country.
We’ll Continue to Ensure Protection of Critical Assets, NSCDC Boss Tells Katsina Gov
The Commandant General (CG) of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Dr Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has said that the Corps will continue to ensure security of lives and protection of critical national assets and Infrastructure in Katsina state.
The National Public Relations Officer of the Corps, CSC Babawale Afolabi, in a statement made available to the National Association of Online Security News Publishers (NAOSNP), said the Commandant General gave the assurance when he played host to the Executive Governor of Katsina State, Dikko Umar Radda, at the Corps’ National Headquarters, Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that effective security is sacrosanct to the Corps and strategies are constantly being deployed to ensure that criminality is reduced drastically.
He assured the Governor and the good people of Katsina state of the Corps’ commitment to curbing insecurity by employing both kinetic and non-kinetic approaches to achieving results.
“I understand that Katsina State had experienced some bandit attacks in the last couple of years.
“Its vulnerability which is partly due to its big size and geographical location as a state bordering other states in the North and the Niger Republic is of great concern.
“But be rest assured that with the on-going recruitment in the Corps, more men would be deployed to Katsina to strengthen security in the state,” the CG hinted.
He reiterates that insecurity in the country took an asymmetric form almost two decades ago and it must not be allowed to spread further.
The Corps helmsman called on State Governors who are the chief security officers of their various states to adopt more robust and inclusive approaches in stepping up security.
According to Dr Audi, state governments have greater roles to play in providing maximum support that will help in curbing attacks and criminalities in states.
“Sometimes, these bandits come out from their hiding, hit a target and run back to hiding; leaving a devastating effect on both lives and property.
“We have our Special Forces and with scientific collaborations with other security agencies, the attacks will come to an end very soon.
“No single agency can tackle insecurity, hence, the need for a more inclusive operational strategy to end the menace,” CG said.
The CG commended the Governor for the proactive steps taken in the right direction to secure his people and assured of the Corps’ readiness to collaborate effectively with Katsina State Government in the fight against banditry, vandalism and economic sabotage in the state.
Responding, the Katsina State Governor stated that his visit was to further solidify the existing cordial relationship between the Corps and Katsina State Government.
“You have have been very supportive in addressing the issues of insecurity disturbing our people.
“Katsina is one of the states suffering from bandit attacks and other forms of criminalities.
“I have therefore come to solicit for more cooperation and to see how we can collaborate in bringing peace to our state,” he said.
The Governor lamented the inadequate number of personnel across security services which has impeded the expected success in the fight against insecurity.
He explained that the state has trained and engaged the service of about one thousand five hundred (1,500) indigenes to assist the conventional security agencies in the state.
“I believe with the engagement of the locals in the form of civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), combined with the conventional security, we will go a long way in combating insecurity and reduce it to the barest minimum,” the Governor said.