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Weekly Cover

While it took organised Labour and the federal government exactly six months to agree on the consequential adjustment for federal public workers on October 18, 2019 after a highly belligerent negotiation process; in many states where the governors are effectively in absolute command and control of every process, the consummation of the new minimum wage has remained unimplemented and in limbo due to several roadblocks mounted by the governors.
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Editorial

Executive Order 10, Milestone in the History of Democracy in Nigeria...

If you want to practice democracy, you have to go wholly and in all ramifications. Every democracy world over started from somewhere. Nigeria too started from somewhere and we must get to where other advanced democracies are today. But it's going to be step-by-step.

Are African Nations Teaching the West How To Fight Covid-19?

African governments, unlike their Western counterparts, aren’t relying on common sense. Judging from the numbers, and interpreting them with the scientific information that’s understood so far, Africa has made the better bet. Although cases on the continent are increasing, many African countries are not seeing the exponential daily growth in confirmed cases, nor in mortality, that has been happening in the United States and Western Europe. There are exceptions, especially above the Sahel: Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco alone account for a third of the continent’s seventy-two thousand cases, and fifty-one per cent of its 2,475 deaths.
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Workers World

CDWR Throws Weight Behind Striking Doctors, Demands Reinstatement of Those Sacked

The doctors are also complaining of wage disparity between federal and Lagos doctors as well as unpaid two months salaries for doctors working in the covid-19 isolation centres and arbitrary disengagement of doctors without recourse to their terms of employment.

ILO Global Summit: World Leaders Pledge to Tackle Vulnerabilities Exposed by Covid-19, Agree to Build Better World of Work

The Summit discussed strategies for addressing the massive world-of-work vulnerabilities exposed by the pandemic and in particular, the needs of those working without social protection and in the informal economy; the promotion of full and productive employment and sustainable enterprises; ways of ensuring that poverty reduction, equality and combating climate change are core elements in the recovery process; and how the international community can recommit to delivering on the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

We Will Be There for Kano 126, Says ILAW Nigeria

ILAW, in a statement signed by Comrade Benson Upah, and made available to National Record on Sunday, made the declaration following the recent scandal in which Indian-owned Popular Farm, a rice mill company in Kano, was alleged to have held 126 workers against their will under very deplorable conditions and on starvation rations for three months. Many of the workers reportedly suffer from varying degrees of injury as a result. Apart from the violation of international standards, Comrade Upah said, the action of the company violates Section 35 (1) and of the Nigerian constitution and is actionable in criminal and tort laws.

Petrol Price Increase An Extortion of Downtrodden Masses By Ruling Class – NASU

NASU, in a statement by Prince Peters A. Adeyemi (JP), its General Secretary, and made available to National Record on Wednesday, said the price increment is not only unjust but insensitive in the face of the ongoing covid-19 pandemic which ought to naturally command the empathy of government towards the poor and vulnerable.

Healthcare As Human Right: OTUWA Kicks Off Survey Across West Africa

The exercise, tagged “OTUWA Health Survey,” which is being carried out in collaboration with the American Solidarity Center, is designed to gather information that will help OTUWA to support healthcare workers in the most appropriate way. It is also a prelude to a sub-regional campaign being planned by OTUWA on the theme of “Healthcare Is A Human Right.”

Columnists

Social Security: The Nigerian Experience

Social security means measures, processes and systems aimed at providing, maintaining and ensuring a humane and dignified standard of living not only for those working but for general citizenry who for one reason or the other are incapacitated and unable to earn a living.

Should Retirees Be Paid Entire Savings Upon Retirement?

In consideration of a better old age for workers, the Act established a CPS as a panacea to old age poverty and destitution, especially for those who had been on paid employment in their active age. The CPS guarantees pension, which is an amount of money paid regularly and periodically to a member of the scheme who is no longer capable of working as a result of either ill-health or old age.

Issues in the Payment of Retirement Benefits Under CPS

I know retirees who have been on retirement for 8 to 9 years. The balance in their RSAs today is slightly higher than it was after they collected the initial lump sum. What that means is that for 8 and 9 years, the pensions they have been collecting have been coming from the return on investment. It is therefore not possible for the pension of these retirees to terminate after fifteen years when there is fund in the RSA to continue to pay monthly pension. Since the commencement of the CPS in 2004, retirees under programmed withdrawal have had their monthly pension enhanced twice. The quantum is a discussion for another day.

Applicability of Nigeria’s Contributory Pension Scheme

The CPS is mandatory for all employees in the public service. However, certain public officers are exempted from it. These officers are judges of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. These judicial officers are through the provisions of Section 291 of the the 1999 (as amended) entitled to pension for life at a rate equivalent to their last annual salary and their allowances in addition to any other retirement benefits to which they may be entitled. Others exempted include members of the armed forces, the intelligence and secrete services of the federation; any employee who is entitled to retirement benefits under any pension scheme existing before the 25th day of June 2004 but as at that date had 3 or less years to retire.

Pension as One of the Pillars of Social Security

Prior to the coming into force of the Pension Reform Act 2004, pension schemes in Nigeria were categorised into public and private sectors. The public sector had the Pay As You Go (PAYG) Defined Benefits Scheme, which was bedevilled with many problems. Against the backdrop of an estimated N2 trillion deficit, budgeted appropriations for pension benefits had over the years fallen far short of promised benefits. This was further compounded by late release and sometimes, non-release of funds. Pension arrears owed to military, police, customs, immigration and prisons including civilian pension departments alone were estimated at N56 billion as at the end of June 2004. The pension crisis in the more than 300 federal government parastatals was alarming as most of these schemes remained under-funded.

News

FG borrows N6.16tn from N8.499tn Pension Fund

The total pension assets under the Contributory Pension Scheme rose to N8.49tn as of the end of November 2018 financial period,...

Nigerian Government Failed Victims of Sokoto Massacre – NLC

“We strongly reiterate our earlier calls for the silencing, once and for all, of the machines of death in every part of Nigeria. The social trauma, economic displacement and demographic dislocation occasioned by the tributaries of blood flowing through the plains of North East and North West Nigeria foretell foreboding consequences. The spill over from the major theatres of violence in Sokoto, Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna States is also affecting many other states in Nigeria especially states that are in the North Central."

Protest Over Killings By Bandits: Police Arrest, Detain BOT Chairman Of...

“He was arrested Tuesday afternoon and moved to Abuja shortly after the peaceful protests in Katsina against killings of helpless citizens by bandits."
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Civil Society/Human Rights

Hussaini Abdu Appointed Into the Agenda 2050 Technical Working Group

According to the post, the “working group is mandated to develop a long-term Development Plan tagged ‘Nigeria Agenda 2050’ and a medium-term National Development Plan (2021-2025) which are both meant to replace the current Nigeria Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020). The Nigeria Vision 20:2020 will lapse in December, 2020.”

Police Release Detained CNG Leader

“We uphold our position that arbitrary arrest and disproportionate deployment of armed forces to frighten the citizens from demanding accountability on electoral mandates in form of peaceful protest, personal liberty and freedom of expression, as guaranteed under relevant national and international laws, are unacceptable, undemocratic and totally unwelcome in our nation's democracy.

9th NASS@1: CISLAC Calls for Increased Priority in Legislative Activities

We are worried over continuous delay in introduction of appropriate legislative framework to improve coordination and result-oriented approach in the anti-corruption fight through full domestication and activation of pending Global and Regional Anti-Corruption Instruments to improve coordination and ensure a result-oriented approach in the anti-corruption fight; review of Petroleum Industry and Governance Bill (PIGB) to promote transparency, accountability, and governance, as well as curtail monumental financial losses in our nation’s oil and gas sector; back disclosure of beneficial owners of licenses in the oil sector and the publicizing of oil and mining contracts, as recommended by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and the Open Government Partnership Commitments.

COVID-19: ACIS-M Joins Global Call for Nobel Peace Prize to Henry Reeve Brigade

More than 1,500 Cuban health professionals, doctors, specialists and nurses were requested by 23 countries in Europe, Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Latin America and the Caribbean to help them in this global crisis and are now working in those countries.

COVID-19: CITAD sends SOS to Intellectuals, Captains of Business, Leaders of Thought as Infection Spirals in Kano

“Since last week when the governor announced a one-week order to lockdown the state, there has not been any direct communication between him and the citizens of the state and today at the expiration of the one-week stay at home order, no one is sure as to what to expect as of tomorrow. This morning, there was confusion at the only testing centre in the state and testing had to be suspended, no one is clear about what led to the confusion and the decision to suspend testing."

Opinion

Akele: Tribute To A Courageous Working Class Fighter

The likes of Comrade Akele are rarely mentioned by the bourgeois press during democracy celebrations, particularly June 12, but aside being a working class hero, he was also a hero of anti-military struggles, a hero of pro-democracy struggles and a hero of the struggle for independent students' unionism being the first secretary of the interim leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students in its formative stages in 1980 before the first full Exco was elected in the 1980/81 session under the presidency of Tanimu Yakubu of Bayero University, Kano.

NLC and the Crisis of Leadership in Affiliate Unions

Though some damage may have already been done by the festering virus of bad leadership; but if not timely tackled and halted, it is bound to escalate and destroy the labour movement.

Rising Cases of Rape in Nigeria and the Need for Urgent Action

The media has been awash with rape incidents, and even as I write, it remains the most trending, perhaps only second behind covid-19 news. It is a crime that many women dreaded and hardly recover from. A sense that one must always be on guard, vigilant and alert, a feeling that causes a woman to be edgy with anxiety if someone especially a stranger is walking too closely behind her; a psychological disposition that exerts a toll on her health. The fear and distress are all a daily part on the life of many women globally.

Covid-19: New National Minimum Wage and Implementation Challenges in States

With no palliatives and no minimum wage for workers in most of the states of the federation and citizens were confined to their homes as a result of the government-imposed lockdowns and restrictions, many workers especially those who are self-employed and those working in the informal sector ran out of money to buy basic necessities for themselves and their families.

Insecurity: APC Has Failed Nigerians

The continued attacks, looting, kidnapping, raping and killing of the people in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto states have cast fear in the minds of many people in the states and forced a significant number of residents to abandon their communities. Even before the lockdown, many of the villages in the states have become no-go areas. Some villages have been deserted for long and many people are being forced into IDP camps in their own states which is posing great humanitarian crisis in the region. The most baffling part of the attacks is how the bandits are finding their ways to these villages despite the restrictions of people’s movements including inter-states travels. One might be tempted to ask: “is the lockdown only for the peaceful citizens?”

Business & Finance

Dangote Cement Sustains 54,000 Jobs in 4 African Countries

Briefing shareholders at the 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos last week, Dangote told the shareholders that the year 2019 was a strong year given the tough business environment across most of its operating geographies. He disclosed that the Group recorded volumes of 23.7 million metric tonnes and revenues of ₦891.7 billion.

Attack on AfDB, Assault on AU, Says Comrade Aremu

“Importantly, AU should reaffirm the objective of the Bank, which is to finance Africa’s development. The American ridicule and disparage of the Bank is unacceptably brazen and provocative. According to the World Bank President, David Malpass, who is an American nominee of Trump administration, AfDB “lends too quickly”, thus aggravating the countries' debt problems, the allegation the Bank had dismissed as “Untrue and unfounded,”.

Sports & Entertainment

Agriculture

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