The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, yesterday dismissed the seven-day ultimatum given the federal government by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) to reverse the new fuel price or face industrial action as invalid.
Answering a question from State House correspondents after a virtual Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Ngige described the ultimatum as misplaced because it was wrongly directed.
He said the ultimatum was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, in contravention of labour laws which authorise labour bodies to address such an ultimatum to the labour minister.
“The TUC issue, the seven-day ultimatum was misplaced because they were writing the president and issuing ultimatum to him.
“The president is not recognised by ILO. The competent authority for this nature of dispute in Nigeria resides in the man who oversees them, which is whoever is the Minister of Labour and Employment,” he said
Ngige also said FEC yesterday approved a new national policy on occupational safety and health, tagged National Policy on Occupational Safety 2020.
He also explained that the policy was a derivative of the provisions of both the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as well as the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) convention.
He said: “The Federal Executive Council today (yesterday) approved a new policy on occupational safety and health 2020. This policy is designed to make for safety and health of workers at work
“It derives from the the 1999 Constitution as amended, which in Section 17 (3c) prescribes that the Nigerian state shall make laws and by-laws for preservation of the health and well-being of workers in the work places; men and women at work.
“It also derives from the ILO Convention 155, which Nigeria has also domesticated. Again, that talks about making the work place conducive and ensuring the health and well-being of workers.”
Ngige who said the last time the policy was reviewed was 14 years ago, added that this new 2020 policy would be reviewed every three years.
He said such a periodic review had become imperative because the world had gone digital.
“The last policy we have was approved in 2006 ,which makes it exactly 14 years since that was approved by the Federal Executive Council and that is the policy we have been working on. But you know that 14 years is a long span in the life of any law so in the course of operations certain issues have been thrown up.
‘’The world has gone digital, work place mechanism and hazards have been changing and it was therefore necessary that we do a new policy.
“This policy we did now is what you call repeal and replace and it takes care of all that is needed for now, for the health of Nigerian workers,” he said.
The minister explained that the new policy gives specific roles to some agencies of government, including National Environmental Standards and Regulations Enforcement Agency (NESREA), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Standards Organisation of Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Health.
“Everybody has his own role now because it’s a cross-cutting situation as most ministries, departments and agencies of government are involved,” he said.
FG declares ‘no-fly zone’ in Zamfara, bans mining activities in the State
The imposition and enforcement of a ban on all mining activities in Zamfara with immediate effect is until further notice.
President Muhammadu Buhari has banned mining activities in Zamfara State, as it declared a ‘no-fly zone’ in the northern state.
This was disclosed by the National Security Adviser (NSO), retired Maj. Gen. Babagana Monguno, during the State House briefing at the end of the meeting of the National Security Council on Tuesday.
At the meeting, which was presided by President Buhari, he said;
“The President has approved, based on our recommendations, the imposition and enforcement of a ban on all mining activities in Zamfara with immediate effect until further notice.
“He has directed the Minister of Defence and the National Security Adviser to deploy massive military and intelligence assets to restore normalcy to that part of the country.
“He has also approved that Zamfara State should be declared ‘a no fly zone’ with immediate effect.”
— Government of Nigeria (@NigeriaGov) March 2, 2021
President Buhari said, “I join the affected families and the people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe. This news bring overwhelming joy. I am pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident.
I join the affected families and the people of Zamfara State in welcoming and celebrating the release of the abducted students of GGSS Jangebe. This news bring overwhelming joy. I am pleased that their ordeal has come to a happy end without any incident.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) March 2, 2021
“We are working hard to bring an end to these grim and heartbreaking incidents of kidnapping. The Military and the Police will continue to go after kidnappers. They need the support of local communities in terms of human intelligence that can help nip criminal plans in the bud.”
FG will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students – Buhari
The President has warned hostage-taking bandits that his government will not succumb to blackmail.
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments.
The President disclosed this in a social media statement on Friday evening, in reaction to the kidnap of students in Zamfara.
“Our primary objective is to get all the school hostages safe, alive and unharmed,” Buhari said.
Our primary objective is to get all the school hostages safe, alive and unharmed.
— Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari) February 26, 2021
He added that the FG had the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operated; however, the Army was limited by the possibility of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits.
“A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors,” he said.
The President said bandits and terrorists should not entertain the illusion that they were more powerful than the government.
“They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or resolution.
“We will not succumb to blackmail by bandits and criminals who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments,” he added.
What you should know
- It was reported that armed bandits kidnapped 317 female students at the Girls Secondary School, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday.
- The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Abutu Yaro, said, “We are doing our best along with all sister security agencies, members of the vigilantè group and the state government to get to the bottom of this matter.”
Kidnapped Kagara schoolboys and staff have been released
The abducted students and staff of Government Science Secondary School Kagara, in Niger State, have been released.
The kidnapped school students and staff of Government Science Secondary School Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, have been released according to sources.
This was disclosed in an exclusive report by Channels TV on Saturday morning.
According to the report, the release of the abductees was confirmed by a government official.
What you should know
- The students were abducted by the bandits dressed in military uniforms on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
- A total of 27 students, three staff members, and 12 members of their family were abducted after the attack on the Kagara school in the early hours of Wednesday.
- President Muhammadu Buhari said that the Federal Government will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments.