Posts tagged as: mr-

Nigeria: 90% Deaths in Hospitals Caused By Health Workers’ Attitude – Teaching Hospital Chief

Photo: Muthoni Njoki/Capital FM

Over 90 per cent of deaths recorded in Nigerian hospitals are due to poor attitude of health workers.

Thomas Agan, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), University of Calabar Teaching Hospital (UCTH), said this during an interaction with journalists on Tuesday in Calabar.

He said some health workers were not taking the lives of patients seriously, in spite of their professional training and work ethics.

“Over 90 per cent of deaths in our hospitals are due to our attitude,” Mr. Agan, who doubles as the Chairman, Committee of Chief Medical Directors of Federal Tertiary Hospitals in Nigeria, said.

“Until the healthcare givers in our hospitals begin to realise that the health of the patient he/she is handling could be his own, his wife or siblings and all that, things will not go well.

“Until we realise that we would be held accountable to every challenge we create, things will not go down well,” he said.

While decrying the frequent crises in the health sector, the CMD said that the health sector was supposed to be a place of succour, not only to the rich, but to ordinary Nigerians.

He attributed incessant strikes in the health sector to disagreements and professional rivalry among the various unions, adding that at the end, it is the Nigerian people that are suffering and dying.

“It is unfortunate that the health sector has been characterised with strike actions over the years. For me, welfare issues are necessary in life, but incessant welfare requests from the healthcare providers tend to undermine the sector itself.

“I feel really pained that the situation has not been adequately taken care of by both staff and the government. And each time any union declares industrial dispute, you cannot quantify the number of people that usually lost their lives.

“Our oath, for instance, says we should preserve life from conception to death. This means that the life that is entrusted into your hands must be preserved.

“I am happy that the strike by resident doctors has been suspended. I have never believed in using strike to solve problems and I will never subscribe to strike in its entirety,” Mr. Agan said.

Nigeria

IMF Puts Global Cost of Bribery At U.S.$2 Trillion Annually

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has estimated that the annual cost of bribery — just one sub-set of corruption –… Read more »

Nigeria: Road Construction – Stakeholders Brainstorm On Economics of Innovative Solutions

Against the background of the need for adequate road infrastructure which is central to Nigeria’s economic growth and core of good governance and public welfare, stakeholders in the nation’s construction industry, weekend, gathered at the Road Construction Summit 2017, put together by cement giant, Lafarge Africa Plc, in partnership with BusinessDay newspaper to find practical and innovative solutions to construction of roads in the country.

The theme of the one-day summit which held in Lagos was “The Economics of Innovative Solutions to Road Construction in Nigeria”.

In his presentation, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola who was the guest speaker, noted that Lafarge Africa Plc has sent a clear message by its innovative strides arising from research as presented by its engineers at the summit that the company wants to go far in terms of infrastructure development, pointing out that it is time for the federal government to raise its game as regards infrastructure development using innovative solutions such as concrete.

Fashola who disclosed that with respect to construction and related activities, GDP in the sector had been negative since Q2 2015, but turned positive for the first time in Q1 2017, growing by 0.15 per cent and continued to positive growth into Q2 2017 by 0.13 per cent, said the reversal in construction has to do with civil works especially due to federal government’s capital expenditure.

He stated “Clearly what has worked well in other parts of the world can work well in Nigeria. Infrastructure expenditure drives the real economy, stimulates production and industrial activities which employ people and includes them. This is the economics of road construction. If proof of this is required, I will share some more data.

Economic recovery

“During the implementation of the 2016 budget we paid 103 construction companies executing 192 projects which employed 17,749 people directly and 52,000 people indirectly. What this means is that the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan is working. This much the president of the Manufacturers Association attested to when he asserted that this was a plan that had their members input.

“So, the growth and exit from recession means that hope has been restored, and if we persevere and persist, the number of people who recovered lost jobs and those who will find new jobs, will gradually increase. The process to continue this has commenced with the provision of funding under the 2017 budget in the sum of N90 billion.

“Of this, N47.169Billion has been paid to 62 contractors working on 149 projects to continue works on roads and bridges and keep people at work and sustain production in works. Similar payments are being made to supervising consultants and to contractors in Housing and Power Sectors of the Ministry. With this background, I now go to the innovative side of road construction and economics, and what this government is doing. We inherited a tax incentive policy for individuals to benefit from tax remission, to recover investment made in public infrastructure like roads, which other members of the public can utilize.

“I am pleased to inform you that we have just concluded an agreement using the tax incentive order to hand over the Apapa area comprising Creek Road, Liverpool Road, Marine Beach to Mile 2, Oshodi, Oworonshoki to the Lagos end of the Toll Gate on the Ibadan Expressway to Dangote Group for construction using concrete.

“As for the agreement with Dangote, we are now awaiting the Design of the 35 km stretch excluding the portion that has been completed, about 7 km, by the previous administration around Mile 2 area. From the design, we will determine the cost and the scope of works which we hope can be executed quickly. As this Government promised, we will solve the Apapa and Port congestion problem.

“I can only tell you that the solution is now on the way. Can any well-meaning and right thinking person argue that these are not innovative; or that they will not help road construction? If you remember, the numbers I have shared earlier about jobs created, and demand for petroleum products and mining products given only by using government funding under the 2016 budget, you will see the possibilities that lie ahead and improving those numbers when private capital comes into road construction under the tax relief order as proposed to be amended to complement government’s spending.”

Speaking earlier, Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun pointed out that importance of good and sustainable roads anywhere in the world cannot be over emphasiesed, adding that strong economic growth of any nation depends on sustainable infrastructure.

Balogun who said roads are the core of infrastructure provision in the country, noted that this was what informed the partnership between Lafarge and BusinessDay to organise the summit, adding that the government alone cannot do it.

In his remarks, Managing Director, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Michel Puchercos, said road network in Nigeria is the largest in West Africa, pointing that road infrastructure in Nigeria as it stands today, cannot meet the demand of the people, hence the need to strategise on the sustainable way to meet the demand.

Puchercos said the burden of road construction is too much for the government alone to shoulder, adding that bearing this in mind, informed his company’s decision to partners BusinessDay to hold the summit. He said his company is willing to partner the government on infrastructure provision, as the company has capability to handle road projects with its concrete solution to road construction.

Nigeria: Govt Urged to Adjust Electricity Tariffs

By Bukola Idowu and Kayode Tokede

Lagos — The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) a pan-African multilateral development finance institution saddled to bridge Africa’s infrastructure investment gap through the provision of debt and equity finance has urged federal government to ensure be an adjustments in electricity tariffs to attract investments into the power sector.

The managing director AFC, Mr. Andrew Alli, speaking at the 2017 annual conference of the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) in Lagos at the weekend cited the importance of power and the need for it to attract more investments into the sector especially as government is unable to fund all its infrastructure deficit an adjustment would attract investors.

Alli who was represented by the Head of Advisory, Mr. Fola Fagbule, said the government needs to invest N100 million a year the government in infrastructure yearly sourcing for funding from both the private or public and to invest.

He however noted that despite the investment opportunities and attractive returns on investments in the country, many constraints have been a hindrance to infrastructure funding in the country. “In spite of the privatization that has happened in electricity, there are issues in every part of the value chain and when you talk of transportation, there are a lot of question marks.

“There are three things we see in AFC that must be in place in order for private sector funding to be sustainable. Something that is not spoken often is that of a set power tariff. This is a very touchy and political issue.

“The reality is that if we do not have an economic cost reflective tariffs that is tariffs that would incline investors who would want to come and build on this infrastructure the desired funding cannot be achieved. There is need for a political will to ensure that appropriate tariffs are set.”

Alli also said the government is getting to its limit of infrastructure financing which requires N3 trillion investment in 30 years or N100 billion every year, it requires establishing adequate environment for the funds to come into the country.

According to him, “Government is getting to its limit on its ability to spend as it is increasingly borrowing. At N64 billion, we are significantly constrained, which is where private sector comes in”

He said that infrastructures are tied to revenue generation, of which adequate tariff, government commitment to ensure 100 per cent compliance none with contractual terms, and proper sanction regime for both any breach of contract terms either by government or the investor.

Also, the Director General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) ,Chidi Izuwah, stated that while Nigeria is open to several financing options, the constrains facing the infrastructure sector make it hard to get the desired funding.

Nigeria

Anti-Graft Agency Uncovers Ex-Minister Diezani’s Properties in Dubai

The Economic Financial Crime Commission has said it has uncovered juicy properties in Dubai allegedly owned by former… Read more »

Nigeria: Lagos Completes ‘Nigeria’s First DNA Laboratory’ – Official

The Lagos State Government on Sunday said it had completed the construction of the first ever high-powered DNA Forensic Laboratory in Nigeria.

Adeniji Kazeem, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, who disclosed this in a statement said skeletal work had already commenced in the lab known as the Lagos State DNA Forensics Centre (LSDFC), and that it would be formally commissioned in coming weeks.

The State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had last year approved the construction of the DNA forensic lab as part of the criminal justice sector reforms designed to solve crime through technology and fulfil an unmet need for DNA profiling in the country.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos to announce activities lined up by the state government to commemorate the 2017 United Nations International Day of Peace, Mr. Kazeem said DNA laboratory “just opened this month.”

The state’s Attorney General, who was represented at the briefing by Funlola Odunlami, the State’s Solicitor General and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, said the lab, among other initiatives of the state government, was part of efforts geared toward enhancing peace in the State.

“We are yet to commission it but it has been opened and it is a DNA crime forensic lab and at the same time, it is going to deal with other DNA matters like paternity issue,” said Mr. Kazeem.

He recalled that since 2007, the state government through the Citizens’ Mediation Centre (CMC), an agency under the Ministry of Justice, commenced collaborations with the United Nations Information Office to mark the International Day of Peace as an annual event to propagate the ethos of peaceful co-existence among residents in the State, thereby educating and sensitizing the public on the need for peaceful co-existence and respect for human dignity to engender socio-economic growth.

Mr. Kazeem said the laboratory is one of the mechanisms put in place by the government to promote investment and economic activities in the state.

Speaking on activities to mark the 2017 edition of the day tagged “Together For Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity For All,” Mr. Kazeem said on September 18, there would be a Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic on Ikorodu Road precisely from Funsho Williams Avenue through Ojuelegba to Yaba, while on September 19, a second Walk for Peace/Legal Clinic will hold at Jubilee Under-bridge in Ajah through Ibeju Lekki Expressway and back to the bridge.

On the same day, Mr. Kazeem said the CMC would hold a Legal Clinic at both venues where free legal services and mediation services will be rendered to residents of the state, while on September 21, the 18th Stakeholders’ Conference and Book Launch would hold at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium in Alausa to mark the day.

Every year, September 21 is observed as the International Day of Peace as declared by the General Assembly of United Nations as a day devoted to strengthening ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

Nigeria

State Has Endless Flow of Talents, Cannot Fail – Osinbajo

The Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has described Nigeria as a country with an endless flow of talents, which he was… Read more »

Nigeria: Senate Asks Nigerian Govt. to Revoke N3.2 Billion Benue Road Contract

The Senate Committee on Works has asked the Nigerian government to revoke the N3.2 billion contract for the reconstruction of Wannue-Yadev road in Benue, citing alleged incompetence by the handler.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the 19-kilometre road contract, awarded in 2013, had a completion period of 24 months.

But chairman of the Senate committee, Kabiru Gaya, told journalists in Gboko on Saturday that the committee was “greatly disappointed” that not much had been done four years after the contract was awarded.

“We have gone round several portions of the road; we have asked questions and made observations. Our conclusion is that the contractor lacks the capacity to handle the job.

“We have resolved to ask the Federal to terminate the job and engage a competent firm. Huge monies have been paid to the contractor with nothing to show for it. We cannot continue like that,” he said.

Mr. Gaya said the contractor had failed to live up to expectations, “in spite of several letters asking him to sit up”.

“At some spots on the road, asphalt was being laid without leveling the affected areas; the contractor also scrapped large portions of the road last year and disappeared, making them impassable. We feel that this is being insensitive.

“The point we are trying to make is simple. Since the Federal Ministry of Works has written three times threatening to revoke the contract, the job should be terminated. We shall investigate it and hand over the report to EFCC.

“It is not right to allow contractors to collect tax payers money and waste it,” he said.

George Akume (APC,Benue North-West), who also spoke to newsmen, expressed dismay over the state of federal roads in Benue.

Mr. Akume claimed that cement dealers, who ply the Gboko/Makurdi road with heavy loads, were responsible for most of the massive damage and should be made to assist in the reconstruction.

Nigeria

‘IPOB Members Will Be Prosecuted for Murder, Arson’

The new Police Commissioner in Abia state, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that suspected members of Indigenous People of… Read more »

Nigeria: Power – TCN Boost Supply in Lagos With New Mobile Transformer

By Chineme Okafor in Abuja

To enable it transmit more electricity to distribution load centers in Ejigbo, Jakande Estate, Igando, Ijegun, Ijedodo, Oke-Afa, Idimu, Ikotun, Bolorunpelu, Shasha, Agodo, Egbe, Abaranje, Murtala Mohammed International Airport areas of Lagos, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) on Friday disclosed that it had commissioned a brand new 1x40MVA 132/33KV mobile transformer which would raise the capacity of its Ejigbo transmission substation to 200 Mega Volt Amp (MVA) from 160MVA.

A statement from the General Manager, Public Affairs of the TCN, Ndidi Mbah, in Abuja, explained that the inauguration was performed by the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, who was represented by the Minister of State-2, Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, on the sideline of the recent 19th monthly power sector stakeholders meeting in Lagos.

The new mobile transformer, according to Mbah, had also been energised, and is one of the three transformers earmarked for the Ejigbo substation.

The statement quoted the Interim Managing Director (IMD) of TCN, Mr. Usman Gur Mohammed, to have said that installation works on the two other transformers had reached advanced stages, and that the installation of the 2x100MVA 132/33kV transformers were being done by the Project Monitoring Unit of TCN. The new transformers, the statement added, would replace the old 2x30MVA transformers in the station and on completion add 140MVA transformer capacity to the station, to bring the overall load capacity of the Ejigbo substation to 340MVA.

Meanwhile, following the outbreak of fire at a 1x150MVA 330/132/33kV power transformer in its Jos transmission substation, the TCN has also been forced to divert about 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity it usually supply to Bauchi from the Jos transmission substation to its Gombe substation from where it would now supply Bauchi.

Mbah, disclosed in a related statement that the transformer which caught fire on Tuesday was completely destroyed, necessitating the diversion of electricity supply from there to Gombe, and then to Bauchi.

She however explained that the burnt transmission system did not affect supply to Jos metropolis and its environ, adding that it would be replaced soon while an investigation into its cause would be initiated.

“The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) wishes to inform the general public that at about 16:45 hours, Tuesday 12th September 2017, a 1x150MVA 330/132/33kV power transformer in its Jos transmission substation, caught fire and the inferno completely destroyed the power transformer. The fire was eventually put out at about 10pm.

“The fire incident started on the secondary side of the transformer’s blue phase bushing, when a conductor snapped and caused oil to gush out of the bushing. This oil caused the fire to intensify engulfing the power transformer. TCN engineers in conjunction with the state fire service worked very hard to put out the fire, which unfortunately burnt down the power transformer,” Mbah, said in the statement.

According to her: “TCN engineers were able to successfully isolate the burning 150MVA, 330/132/33kV power transformer from other energised parts of the substation to prevent further escalation. As a result of the quick intervention, the second 1x150MVA, 330/132kV power transformer in the same transmission substation was saved.

“As at 11pm the same day, TCN engineers successfully restored the 330kV Gombe transmission line and the second 150MVA, 330/132/33kV power transformer supplying distribution load centers in Jos simultaneously.

“To ensure there is no impact on the power supply to Jos, TCN has successfully diverted the 30MW normally supplied from Jos substation, Gombe substation now supplies 30MW to Bauchi. The incidence did not cause disruption of power supply to Jos and environs,” she added.

Management, Mbah noted, “is intensifying effort to replace the burnt transformer. Equally investigation is being carried out to determine the immediate and remote cause of the incidence in order to forestall future occurrence. TCN regrets inconveniences caused electricity customers especially those in Jos and environs.”

Uganda: President Museveni Condemns Ruthless Eviction of Mubende Gold Miners

He denies knowledge of eviction plan by his army!

President Yoweri Museveni has condemned the mode of operation that was used to evict the small scale and artisanal gold miners in Kitumbi and Bukuya sub counties in Mubende district.

Mr Museveni expressed this last week ( Friday 8/09/2017) while meeting the leaders of Mubende at the State Logde in Nakayima, Mubende. The meeting comprised of the area Members of Parliament, Residential District Commissioners, District Internal Security Officer, Regional Police Commander, District Police Commander LC111s and LCVs.

When asked his whereabouts at the time of evictions by his army men, President Museveni defended self, saying his intervention was overtaken by events.

“I had wanted to come and talk to these artisanal miners but there was a misunderstanding when Members of Parliament requested me to first talk to the miners and at the same time the army officers that had been put on standby went ahead with the operation, evicted the artisanal miners and they were also denied the chance of taking their property which was not right and un necessary,” Mr Museveni said.

Here he promised to ensure that miners are compensated, although he admitted that it may be difficult and may take time but allowed miners to return to work.

This same message, the President re-echoed during the radio talk show on Point FM in Mubende on Friday.

Mr. Museveni added that; “Earlier on during the Presidential campaigns, I informed the artisanal miners that they can continue with mining activities if they do not stand in the way of large scale investors that are helping us find the real gold deposits but later on, I was informed by the members of parliament that the artisanal miners operating in this area have invaded the land offered to the investor and are antoginising his work, contrary to the contract,” he said.

He further explained that he has no problem with artisanal miners that were operating in this area; “we only needed to re-organise the mining sector by having the local artisans doing proper mining activities.”

Mr. Museveni added that; “Uganda is endowed with very many minerals that we need to handle with care, we cannot allow the illegal mining activities to be carried out which might lead to extinction of these treasures yet with few people benefiting. We all need to benefit from the minerals as a country.”

Meeting with ASMs

Mubende artisanal miners that had come to attend the meeting with the President’s advisor on Land. Photo by Josephine Nabbaale

The President told Hon. Semeo Nsubuga, MP Kasanda South to organize the miners for a meeting with the President to streamline how the miners will work.

Speaking to Oil in Uganda; The secretary Singo Artisan Miners’ Association Mr Emmanuel Kibirige confirmed that they were contacted by Hon. Nsubuga to prepare to meet the President.

“We are ready to meet the President; we want him to understand how organized we are and how ready we are to work with investors so that all of us benefit from the Mining sector,” Mr Kibirige said.

Kibirige indicated that they have always been organized in associations and have always shown the willingness to work with the investor-AUC mining which currently holds the exploration license for this area-207.8Sqkm and a mining lease of 66sq.km which has been running for the last 23years.

The President has shown willingness to support the ASMs, with a planned visit to the mines slated for 21st October to mend fences. There is thus assurance that the miners may return to work but in a more formal way, more organized manner.

The evictions

Last month there was a Presidential directive to evict over 50,000 miners from Mubende gold mining area on grounds that the people in the mines are not registered, government doesn’t know the amount of gold getting out from this area, the people operating in this area are not Ugandans and increased environmental degradation which is a threat to the nearby communities.

Many of who were evicted had no relocation plans hence were left helpless and homeless. During the evictions, property worth billions of shillings were destroyed.

However the former Permanent Secretary under Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development Dr.Stephen. Isabalija in the letter dated 02/9/2017 entitled ‘statement on illegal mining activities in Uganda’ explained that government was putting in place intervention for all the local artisans to be registered in all mining areas of Kitumbi and Bukuya sub counties so that they can be organized into groups that shall ultimately be regulated. This process he said would take three months.

ActionAid Uganda is equally working out a plan to support the miners to sue the Government for losses that ensued during the evictions an d the impromptu evictions without respecting the grace period that had been granted to the miners.

Josephine Nabaale and Flavia Nalubega

Oil.Uganda@actionaid.org

Nigeria: Controversy Deepens After Mass Sack At First Bank

Photo: Premium Times

First Bank of Nigeria

By Bassey Udo

Controversy is trailing the recent mass sack of workers by First Bank of Nigeria, FBN, as the bank and its affiliate contracting firm in charge of recruitment, Whyte Cleon Limited, have given various reasons to justify the action.

The affected workers, reported to be more than 1,000, cutting across branches of the bank throughout the country have dismissed the reasons given, while criticising the process as defying due process and acceptable labour practice globally.

Initially, the First Bank spokesperson, Babatunde Lasaki, who confirmed the sack to The Next Edition, said the exercise was based on the outcome of an annual staff appraisal which sets a baseline to assess staff performance.

He said in line with the usual practice, those who met some key performance indicators and a scorecard spelt out at the beginning of the year about the job description relating to their offices were either retained or promoted for increment, while poor performers risked being sacked.

However, following the debate that has trailed the sack, First Bank management appears to have distanced itself from it, as it later said the sacked workers were not part of its workforce.

When PREMIUM TIMES contacted Mr. Lasaki on Tuesday through a mail for further clarification about the sack, his automatic email responder machine directed the reporter to his colleague, who said those affected were not “regular staff” of First Bank, but casual workers who were hired to provide support services to the bank.

The official who requested not to be named, as she was not authorised to speak on the issue, did not give further details.

She, however, re-directed the reporter to an official of Whyte Cleon Limited, the bank’s human resource recruitment affiliate, which carried out the sack of the workers.

Recent media reports said those sacked were mostly front desk tellers, account and clearing support staff, customer service officers and marketing associates who had put in between five and 10 years in the service of the bank.

PREMIUM TIMES could not immediately verify these reports.

But, the workers, who insist they considered themselves bona fide staff of First Bank, by virtue of the official staff identity cards they carry and the conditions of service issued to them when they resumed work, insist the manner of their disengagement did not follow due process.

Apart from denying that the termination of their appointments was based on the outcome of a performance appraisal exercise, the workers said information about their sack was not communicated to them formally, but through short message service, SMS sent to their telephones on August 7, 2017, an act they alleged did not meet international labour practice standards.

The bank insists that apart from the text messages, all the affected workers were later issued formal letters of termination of appointment.

Besides, the workers said, contrary to what the bank would want the public to believe about the reason for their sack, the real reason they were sacked was that First Bank wanted to avoid being encumbered up with the provision of a labour law requiring employers to compulsorily convert their casual workers to permanent staff, with full benefits after their 10th year in active service.

Some of those affected who reached out to PREMIUM TIMES to give further clarification on the circumstances of their unexpected exit from First Bank said the majority of those given the boot were non-core staff recruited between 2008 and 2015, most of whom have put in more than nine years in the service of the bank.

“It is a blunt lie. There was no scorecard or indicator to measure the performance of non-core staff. We worked to support the core staff. They are only using that as a gimmick to deceive the public.

“They are trying to wipe out the entire staff recruited as far back as 2008, who have spent between eight and nine years in the bank. They do not want them to attain 10 years of service so that the bank would not be forced to convert them from non-core staff to core staff, in line with established labour laws,” one of the workers who gave his name as Jimoh Durojaye, said on Wednesday.

Another, Chukwuka Odinaka, said they did not fail any appraisal test, as claimed by the bank, as they were not even given any such opportunity to defend themselves.

He alleged that all positions vacated by the sacked worked have since been filled with fresh graduates recruited by the bank.

“We were employed by Insourcing Limited, formerly a subsidiary of the First Bank Group. We were later handed over to Whyte Cleon. It is not true that our disengagement followed due process, as Business Managers and Heads of Branch Services who oversee the branch operations were not aware of the development. They only came to work on Monday morning and saw they had been given new staff,” Mr. Odinaka said.

Also, Alani Moshood, who said the bulk of the workers laid off were recruited between 2008 and 2009, also said the affected workers are considering approaching the National Industrial Court to seek justice, adding that they were yet to be paid any severance package since their exit on August 11, 2017 in line with statutory exit labour procedures.

Meanwhile, Whyte Cleon Limited in response to PREMIUM TIMES enquiries on Wednesday dismissed the allegations that the workers were sacked through text messages as false and an attempt to discredit it.

“Reports in the media alleging Whyte Cleon Limited ordered the mass dismissal of some members of staff in the employ of First Bank Plc through only short message service (SMS) is false. The claims that Whyte Cleon Limited has been silently laying off its staff through only SMS is a deliberate attempt to discredit Whyte Cleon Limited,” the company said in a statement to PREMIUM TIMES, sent by its representative, Seun Togan.

“We wish to reiterate categorically that the decision to withdraw the services of our employees was communicated to them both verbally and formally in compliance with the conditions of service of engagements. In global human resource outsourcing practice, employees can be withdrawn from an organization, deployed to other organisations and/or may be replaced with other employees as the case may be.

“Whyte Cleon Limited followed due process in honouring the terms of appointment of their outsourced employees and subsequently withdrawing them. Whyte Cleon Limited had exit interviews with all the affected outsourced employees before notification of their recall. It is noteworthy that the affected employees were paid their entitlements and ancillary benefits,” Mr. Togan said.

He did not respond to another email seeking further explanation on the number of workers affected by the sack and their relationship or status with First Bank.

PREMIUM TIMES learnt that Whyte Cleon inherited the workers from Insourcing Limited in February 2016 following a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN directive to all financial institutions in the country in December 2015 to discontinue involvement in non-financial transactions.

Nigeria: Nigeria Finally Retakes Ownership of Ajaokuta Steel, Itakpe Mining Companies – Fayemi

Nigeria has recovered ownership of Ajaokuta Steel Company, ASC, and National Iron Ore Mining Company Limited, NIOMCO, Itakpe, following the resolution of a protracted legal dispute.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at the maiden meeting of the National Council on Mining and Mineral Resources Development.

He said Nigeria and Global Infrastructure Nigeria Limited, GINL, have signed a ‘Modified Concession Agreement’ resolving their protracted dispute on the two companies located in Kogi State.

He said Vice President Yemi Osinbajo executed the agreement on behalf of the Federal Government.

“With this development, both NIOMCO and Ajaokuta Steel Company Limited have now reverted to the Federal Government Nigeria, and we can now proceed to engage a new core investor with the financial and technical capacity to run the steel complex.

“The operation of ASC will provide the needed inputs to support the infrastructure requirements of the country and lead to import substitution, and save the country about $3.3 billion annually spent on the importation of steel products,” Mr. Fayemi said.

The Ajaokuta Steel Company is Nigeria’s biggest steel plant. It was planned as an integrated steel complex to provide raw materials input and output to other industries such as the Katsina, Osogbo and Aladja, steel rolling mills.

Contractual encumbrances had left the steel company uncompleted and non-functional for decades, PREMIUM TIMES learned.

Negotiations for amicable resolution of the ownership crisis of the foremost steel company has dragged on since 2008, leaving the country’s steel and industrial sectors largely paralysed.

A National Bureau of Statistics report on Nigeria’s Foreign trade released Wednesday had showed that the total value of solid minerals trade in the second quarter of 2017 stood at N194.6 billion representing 3.42 per cent of total trade.

“With respect to imports, solid minerals imports valued at N191.5 billion were imported representing 11.52% of total imports in Q2 2017.

“Solid mineral imports increased by 1,527.44 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017 but was 1,947.52 per cent higher than the solid mineral imports in the second quarter of 2016” the report indicated.

It also showed that Solid Minerals exports in Q2 2017 valued at N3.06 billion represented 0.1 per cent of total exports in the second quarter of 2017.

“Solid minerals exports value in the second quarter, decreased by 27.58 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017 but was 122.01 per cent higher than the Solid Minerals exports in second quarter of 2016” the report revealed.

Mr. Fayemi further said “the ministry is similarly working in concert with industry stakeholders to expand the domestic processing of our other ores, which will lead to the creation of jobs and reduce the pressure on our Naira.”

Nigeria: Measles – Nigeria Has Highest Number of Children in the World Not Immunised – Unicef

By Nike Adebowale

The incidence of measles among children under the age of five increased more than two-fold in the northern part of Nigeria between 2014 and 2016, a survey has revealed.

This was revealed just as UNICEF said the country has the highest number of children in the world not immunised with the first dose of measles vaccine.

The Executive Director of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said a surveillance data shows that measles incidence among children under five years increased in the northern part of Nigeria from 190 million in 2014 to 527 million in 2016.

He disclosed this on Thursday in Abuja at a one-day media orientation forum for the 2017/17 Measles Vaccination Campaign.

Speaking at the event, a UNICEF official, Margaret Adaba, said Nigeria has over 3.3 million of such children, followed by India with 2.9 million.

She said that Nigeria needs to work on creating more awareness on measles vaccination.

Mr. Shuaib acknowledged the country’s challenge with measles and said the federal government plans to mitigate this through a nationwide measles vaccination campaign.

He noted that Nigeria still accounts significantly for the global measles burden, despite the successes achieved in the reduction of measles-related morbidity and mortality.

Mr. Shuaib said that the Measles Vaccination Campaign aims to reach 33 million eligible children in Nigeria.

He said that though the agency was able to reach 85 per cent of children in 2015, this year’s campaign must cover at least 95 per cent of children eligible for the vaccine.

Noting that the federal government has released about N3.5 billion in support of the campaign, Mr. Shuaib urged state governments to release their counterpart funds.

The nationwide Measles Vaccination Campaign will commence in the last quarter of 2017 and will focus on children between the ages of nine and 59 months.

Nigeria

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