NGO Trains Benue Govt Actors on Conflict Management
From Chris Gaga, Makurdi
As a step forward on its peace project, Search for Common Ground, an International non- Governmental Organization has organized a three day Conflict Transformation and Human Rights Training Workshop for government actors and other key stakeholders in Benue State.
The International Organization has being working on a conflict resolution project tagged, “Transforming the Farmer-Herder Conflicts and Promoting Freedom of Religion and Beliefs in Nigeria’s Middle Belt” for almost a year.
In a welcome address on Tuesday, the Country Director of Search for Common Ground, Sher Nawaz, represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Olutoyin Falade said the workshop will enhance better synergy with government agencies on the aim of resolving the farmer-herder conflicts in the state.
“At Search, we are entering a phase of work that will have more engagement with the Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies in order to give efficient and effective service delivery and adequate responses to threats on peace and security of our state and nation,” she noted.
Olutoyin explained that the “project since its inception has impacted lives and communities with positive changes in relationships, synergy amongst community members as well as community and government institutions for improved peace and security of all; the media platforms are working tirelessly to change the negative narratives in public domain; perceptions of individuals and group have been influenced positively”.
The Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs Ngunan Adingi who was represented by A Director in the Ministry, Mr Ben Ebe, described the workshop as apt and promised that the Ministry will continue to partner Search for Common Ground especially in the area of publicity.
In their goodwill messages, representatives of the Benue State Planning Commission, Mrs Iember Dagih, that of the Adviser to the governor on SDGs and NEPAD, Mrs Beatrice Shomkegh expressed hope that continued partnership with the NGO will make things better for the state even as they pledged to sustain their support to ensure that the peace project embarked upon succeeds in the state.
The representative of the Nigeria Immigration Service(NIS) in the State, A. O Ella, and that of the Nigeria Civil Defence, Peter Akpam assured of cooperation of security agents to the peace initiatives of the NGO in the State.
Stakeholders at the workshop frowned at the use of illicit substances by youths, proliferation of fire arms , negative effects of climate, and political dominance over land acquisition among other issues as contributing majorly in fueling conflicts in Benue State.
The stakeholders also challenged government agencies especially security agencies to always put the country first above their institutional biases that tends to pitch them against the collective goal of maintaining a peaceful society.
The State Coordinator of Search in Benue and Nasarawa States, Mr Joshua Chorbe told the stakeholders that the overall goal of the project was to contribute in preventing violence and destruction of lives and properties in the States.
NLC Calls Nationwide Strike over Cash Swap Policy
By Ateed Yusuf, Abuja
President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Joe Ajaero has directed public sector workers in the country to embark on strike beginning from Wednesday next week.
He also directed that affiliate unions constituting the Nigeria Labour Congress should also be on standby for picketing exercises across all branches of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationwide.
The directive followed an earlier ultimatum issued by the Central Working Committee members of the NLC last week criticising the cash swap policy of the Federal Government.
Ajaero said the decision to picket CBN branches became necessary, as the Federal Government and the CBN have not shown any commitment to address the situation.
He lamented that despite the Supreme Court order allowing the old N500 and N1000 notes to circulate with the new notes till December 31 this year, the situation appears to be getting worse as workers cannot access cash to pay fares to work, nor can they buy food for their families.
Briefing reporters yesterday at the headquarters of NLC, the apex Labour union also criticised the pricing irregularities in the petroleum sector, which was also a cause for concern.
“Last week, we gave an ultimatum for the review of the cash crunch bedeviling the country, but we have discovered to our dismay that as at this moment not much effort has been made to ameliorate the situation, the government is still foot dragging on these issues we raised.
“Based on this, we met again this morning to review our position and resolved that by Wednesday next week, all CBN branches will be picketed.
“Workers are directed to stay at home too because people cannot eat, workers can no longer go to the office, we have been pushed to the wall, we have decided to take our destiny in our hands, we have mobilised our workers for this exercise,” Ajaero stated.
Appoint Governing Boards in Aviation Parastatals, NLC Urges FG
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) yesterday urged the Federal Government to appoint governing boards in all aviation parastatals to ensure effective service delivery.
The newly-elected NLC President, Joe Ajaero, made the call at a meeting with Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) in Lagos.
He said that the establishment of governing board in the parastatals would help ease the challenges facing the sector.
“One of the ways in solving the challenges facing the aviation sector in Nigeria is the establishment of governing boards across the aviation parastatals.
“Every parastatal needs a governing board to help in taking key decisions that will impact aviation; so, since there ain’t any board across, it is impacting negatively on the sector.
“An interim board isn’t the same thing as having a board because it has been over eight years. So, I don’t understand why a permanent board hasn’t been established.
“This step is critical for the improvement of key factors in the aviation which will translate to rapid improvement in the sector,” he said.
Ajaero reiterated the importance of the country having its own national carrier to boost its image.
He noted that the process of establishing a national carrier should follow due process to ensure its smooth operation.
Ajaero also said that the concession of airports across the country would not be visible without the establishment of governing boards.
“The nation must have a national carrier as this will help the image of the country; but in carrying out the process to establish the carrier, all due process must be followed.
“We can’t keep having foreign airlines operate in our airports. To ensure that we have our own carrier, we must follow the right process to ensure its smooth take off and operation.
“Also, it is important to note that concession of airport must be done with governing boards in aviation parastatals as they are crucial in taking key decisions; anything done other than this is I llegal,” he said.
The NLC president further said that unions in the aviation sector were not illegal, noting that the unions were established to protect the interest and welfare of staff.
He advised aviation unions to merge into one, saying that the emergence of several unions in the sector prevented a united front.
He assured the public that the NLC would perform its duties diligently.
“We assure Nigerians that we will ensure that we serve them to their best interest.
“It isn’t going to be easy because there will be several challenges but we will adopt the best strategy to ensure that we perform our duties well,” Ajaero said.
The General Secretary, ANAP, Saidu Rasaq, commended the NLC on its visit and urged the congress to help facilitate the condition of service for airport workers
NLC, TUC urges Kogi Govt to Subsidise Housing Loan for Workers
From Joseph Amedu, Lokoja
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), Kogi Chapters, have urged Gov. Yahaya Bello led administration to subsidise housing loan for workers in the state.
The state’s NLC and TUC Chairmen, Onuh Edoka and Tijani Ahmed, made the call in separate interviews with with Our Correspondent in Lokoja, Tuesday.
Our Correspondent reports that the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) in collaboration with NLC/TUC/NECA had on Jan.26, inaugurated 100 housing units estate for civil servants in the state.
“If you look round and going by the history of Kogi since its creation, successive administrations have provided housing estate for state workers.
“But for seven years running now, this administration has not been able to provide housing for state’s workers.
“So, the organised labour unions want the state government to cash in on this opportunity to acquire the FMBN housing scheme and give it to workers.
“The government should acquire the housing estate and allocate it to the interested civil servants in the state,” he said.
According to him, the FMBN is meant to provide housing for Nigerian workers, and it is the workers’ contribution that had made the bank to be what it is today.
“So, we don’t expect anything less than 100 per cent of the occupants of this FMBN/NKC/TUC/NECA housing estate to be workers; that is our position,” he said.
The unions also advised that if the state government could not build housing estate for workers as proposed, it should subsidise the price of the FMBN Housing estate for the workers.
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