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COVID-19: Gov Ikpeazu slashes political appointees’ salaries

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The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, on Wednesday, approved a downward review of monthly emolument of all political appointees in the State

Ikpeazu said the review was upon attainment of general financial stability.

According to him, the decision was informed by the present economic crunch in the country occasioned by the global pandemic.

The statement by the Secretary to Abia State Government, Barr Chris Ezem reads in part, “Going forward, all Political Appointees shall be entitled to their basic monthly salary excluding other allowances.

“All relevant government establishments are to note and implement accordingly.”

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NIGERIA

Ogun workers call off strike as Abiodun earmarks N500m to clear gratuities

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Workers in Ogun State on Friday afternoon called off their warning strike following the agreement reached with the organised labour by the state government to address their demands bordering on minimum wage, payment of gratuity among others.

The warning strike started on Wednesday this week.

The chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC), Ogun state chapter, Emmanuel Bankole, who announced this at the Oke – Mosan Governor’s Office after a prolonged meeting with labour leaders and officials of the state government  called on the workers to return to their duty post immediately

Bankole said the strike was called off following a memorandum of understanding on the agreements reached at the meeting between both parties.

The agreement was signed by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Olatokunbo Talabi;

Chairman, Joint Negotiation Council(JNC), Comrade Olanrewaju Folorunso, chairman of the state chapter of NLC, Emmanuel Bankole and  Chief of Staff to Governor Dapo Abiodun,  Salisu Shuaibu.

Others are Comrade Akeem Lasisi  (Vice Chairman, Trade Union Congress TUC); Head of Service, Alhaja Olapeju Ottun; Commissioner for Finance and Chief Economic Adviser, Mr Dapo Okubadejo;  Comrade Olusegun Adebiyi, Secretary, JNC and two others.

Reading the terms of the MOU, Bankole said: “Consequent upon the declaration of a Trade Dispute by the Organized Labour in the State on some issues affecting the welfare of workers, the State Government led by the Secretary to the State Government held series of meetings with the Organized Labour between Monday, 14th  and Friday, 18th September 2020.

“At the meetings, all the issues requested for ranging from the proposed 2020 Pension Amendment Bill, Leave Bonus Allowance, Outstanding Promotions (years 2018, 2019 and 2020), Implementation of the signed New Minimum Wage, Payment of Gratuity and Payment of Gross Salary were discussed extensively.

“The meeting acknowledged the willingness of the State Government to meet the requests and thereby considered thoroughly the affordability and sustainability on the part of the State Government towards accommodating the resultant increments on the present financial standing of the State.

“After extensive deliberations on each of the request, the meeting unanimously resolved as follows;

“Implementation of the Signed New Minimum Wage: the State Government agreed to commence implementation effective from October 2020;

 

“Payment of Gratuity: The State Government agreed to earmark the sum of N500,000,000.00 for the clearance of Gratuity on a quarterly basis while payment would commence latest by January 2021.

“Outstanding Promotions (years 2018, 2019 and 2020): The Ogun State Government agreed to commence the process of the outstanding 2018, 2019 and 2020 Promotion Exercise with immediate effect.

” The meeting agreed to suspend actions on the proposed Year 2020 Pension Amendment Bill with the plan to constitute a Committee comprising both representatives of Government and Labour to take an in-depth look into the issue;

“Review of other demands: The meeting also agreed that other demands by Organized Labour would be subjects of joint reviews, the first of which will be in March 2021.

“The Labour team will make an immediate public pronouncement to call off the strike action. The labour team appreciates the commitment of the government to sustain the payment of Gross Salary henceforth.

” No reprisal of any kind will be meted on any person(s) for his/her role(s) in the just-concluded resolution of this industrial action.

It is, however, the hope of the State Government that the entire workers in the State will reciprocate the good gestures of the Government with continued dedications, loyalty and efficiency in the discharge of their duties.

“Leave Bonus Allowance: The meeting resolved that the payment of the year 2019 Leave Bonus will be staggered over a period of one year (Grade Level 01 to 06 in October 2020, Grade Level 07 to 13 in December 2020 and Grade Level 14 and above March 2021) while other outstandings (2015 to 2018) would be offset with time/

“Payment of Gross Salary: The State Government agreed to henceforth pay the Gross Salaries to workers in the state.”

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NIGERIA

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION RAISES A STRONG VOICE FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS PROTECTION

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•As Stakeholders call for Urgent Legislative Action  

A major stakeholder in the fight against corruption in Nigeria, the MacArthur Foundation says Nigeria must now move beyond policy to legislation to institutionalize and protect whistleblowers in the country.
Speaking at a Radio Town Hall Meeting in Abuja, the African Director of Macarthur Foundation, Dr Kole Shettima said that the next step for Nigeria is going beyond the whistle blower policy.
His said “The next step is to have a law that will support the whistle blower. Although this has been an issue in the National Assembly for sometimes now.”
Shettima assured that MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with civil society organizations in Nigeria is working hard to ensure more public education on the issue and a law to protect whistleblowers  passed by the legislature.

Stakeholders have attributed the growing persecution of whistle blowers to the Federal Government’s lack of political will to create strong institutions and legislation for a whistle blower policy.

Participants during a radio town hall meeting against corruption with the theme “Whistleblowers and The Challenge of Absence of Legal Protection: Cases of Dismissal of Whistleblowers”, held Friday by the Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development (PRIMORG) in Abuja.

The town hall meeting is coming at a time of growing cases of victimization of some Nigerians who exposed corruption in their places of work.

A case in point was one Fidelia Onoghaife who was sacked by the Netherlands Embassy in Abuja for exposing the OPL 245 fraud.

Ameh Joseph,  another victim of whistle blowing who spoke from Delta State on phone during the meeting shared his touching ordeal at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State after exposing corrupt activities.

“I speak in great dismay of the ordeal of corruption in our great country. I saw corruption that has been institutionalized with impunity and carried out in routine, a multibillion naira one conferring monstrous financial, unmerited favours to the numerous participants.

“Although I was faced with the alternative of being part of the corruption against this country, I was treated as an enemy and outcast for 10 years.

“The plot to dismiss me as the obstacle to the success of their evil activities was now actualized by the termination of my service May 13, 2020, to permanently silent my voice.”

Ameh Joseph added that his “challenges are the fears impacted on my children when I was trailed by a tinted car, the cost of maintaining two homes and most traumatizing is the kids missing fatherly supervision, love and care from me”.

Reacting earlier on the lack of legislation for whistle blowing, a Senior Team Manager, Open Society Justice Initiative, Prof Chidi Odinkalu said the public service is configured in such a way that whistle blowing is discouraged, stressing that the system made it known towto blowers that they have no hiding place.

“The underlying attitude and configuration about public service space is quite fundamentally opposed to transparency, whistle blowing to any effort to ensure accountability. Our accountability system in the court is not configured to accommodate that either so how do we create an incentive system that accommodates whistle blowers to get some protection,” Odinkalu queried.

According to Godwin Onyeacholem, Senior Program Officer, African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (Africmil), the whistle blower policy remains a policy with no legal backing yet within the policy there is provision for protection.

His said “The problem we have is that of enforcement, government is not complying with provision of protection, there is a provision for protection of the whistle blowers within their own policy which was made in December 2016, but they don’t comply with that.

“There is no way you can encourage whistle blowers if you don’t protect them. There is no guarantee for zero reprisal. If you want to blow the whistle, make up your mind that there would be a retaliation or retribution.”

Onyeacholem faulted the government on the persecution of the whistleblowers. “Government all over are making legislation to ensure that organizations are putting whistleblowers procedures all over but we don’t see that happening here.

“It’s not about the whistleblower, it’s about the willingness within the state itself to ensure that this happens,” Onyeacholem stated.

At the end of the meeting, stakeholders recommended “that Nigeria needs to create its own mechanism of protection by establishing whistle blower fund which could be administered by concession of interested action; Civil society organization must continue campaign for legislation of whistle blower policy; In the absence of the enactment of comprehensive whistle blower law, the executive and legislative arm of the government should be held responsible using the media; and there should be mechanism to support the victims of whistle blowing and victims should be compensated.

Other participants during the town hall meeting were Suraju Olanrewaju, Chairman, Human and Environmental Development Agenda (Heda Resources Centre); and Tunde Salman, Convener, Good Governance Team.

PRIMORG’s Radio Town Hall Meeting Against corruption series is supported by MacArthur Foundation.

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Soldier shoots man for not wearing a face mask

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A soldier allegedly shot a 27-year-old man in South Africa during an argument over why he was not wearing a face mask in line with Covid-19 regulations.

Police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo, who confirmed the report on Friday, said the incident happened at a shopping complex in Mogwadi, Limpopo, on Thursday, September 17.

“Members of the national defense force were reportedly on duty monitoring Covid-19 compliance in the area when they approached a group of people who were not wearing face masks,” Mojapelo said on Friday.

“When asked why they were not wearing masks, an argument allegedly ensued and one of the soldiers shot the victim. The injured 27-year-old man was rushed to the hospital.

“The soldier, aged 29, was arrested and charged with attempted murder,” said Mojapelo. The soldier is due to appear in the Morebeng magistrate’s court on Friday.

 

Soldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face maskSoldier shoots man for not wearing a face mask

 

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