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A Content Analysis of PMB’s Broadcast, By Issa Aremu




A Content Analysis of PMB’s Broadcast, By Issa Aremu

 Notwithstanding the commendable global efforts, the statistics is far from flattering. On the contrary, in his Monday second broadcast on the pandemic, President Muhamadu Buhari disclosed a jump of Nigeria’s 323 confirmed cases in twenty States from 131 confirmed cases in 12 States on 30th March 2020.

We had two fatalities then. National fatalities had climbed to ten with Lagos State as epic center accounting for 54%. Both the FCT and Lagos according to Lagos represent over 71% of the confirmed cases in Nigeria.

With these statistics, it’s self evident that the President had little options than another extension of restriction of movement in Lagos and Ogun States as well as the FCT for another 14 days effective from Monday, 13th of April, 2020. Professor Oyewole Tomori is a globally acknowledged activist Nigerian professor of virology. Since the outbreak of COVID 19, the former vice chancellor of Redeemer’s University had urged for full discourses about the cases the cases, recoveries and deaths as announced by the Presidential Task Force (PTF).


If we dare to care to know the names and surnames, gender and fate as well as the unrealized aspirations of the “statistical cases”, we can just imagine the human tragedies at hands. I agree with the President that this pandemic is far from being “a joke. It is a matter of “life and death”. It is not a conspiracy from Afghanistan either. COVID-19 has infected almost 2 million people and killed at least 119,000 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Undoubtedly there have been remarkable concerted efforts to “flatten the curve” (i.e “reducing the number of new COVID-19 cases from one day to the next”). “Flattening” actually helps prevent healthcare systems from becoming overwhelmed”. It’s time for global solidarity. The televised “friendly fires” between the Tetros Ghebreyesus, the Ethiopian microbiologist head of the World Health Organization (WHO) and China-phobia American President Donald was certainly unhelpful. Trump true to character accused WHO of being “China-centric”. He even threatened “to cut funding”, (not the ever rising infection rates) in USA! But this global discomforting exchange only increases the noise level of the urgent need to get the vaccine and above all contain the coronavirus pandemic.

More than any other time, part of the job description of any state and non-state leader is to lead (and must be seen to lead!) both “from the front” and “from the back” to damn the menace. I once again commend the visibility of the members of the Presidential Task Force (PTF). The periodic painstaking briefings are take always (at least for those who are lucky to have electricity). Many are still “socially distanced” from electricity in 2020 Nigeria!

The robust Q and A sessions are simply good and better when they are done in mother tongues. The civil societies, trade unions, women and youth associations in partnership with governments must also be visible in confronting the Virus, to safe lives and guarantee livelihood for their members lockdown at homes. As the Vice President of the Industriall Global Union with 50 million industrial workers, I bear witness that trade Unions and union leaders around the world are responding to the rapidly evolving situation, defending workers’ rights and promoting social solidarity.

The Secretary General of South Africa Clothing, Textile Workers Union (SACTWU), Andre Kriel puts it better. Speaking to television news in South Africa recently, the general secretary said:“We can’t run to government for everything. We must look at our own resources. It is our duty to rise to the call of the nation and combat Covid-19. “So we said, let’s look at the institutions that exist in our industry and smooth some of the administrative problems.” SACTWU got a historic Covid-19 lockdown agreement for both the clothing and textile industry almost 100,000 workers. Precisely on the 23 March, the National Bargaining Council for the Clothing Manufacturing Industry of South Africa, ratified South Africa’s first ‘COVID-19 Lockdown National Collective Agreement’. This unique collective agreement guarantees employees in the industry full payment for the duration of a 6-week lock-down period.

It provides for consideration of extensions of this 6-week period (subject to further collective bargaining), in the event that the lockdown is extended beyond a 6-week period. South Africa had indeed extended the lockdown until the end of April. On 26 March 2020, 3 days the SACTWU collective agreement was concluded under the auspices of the clothing industry bargaining council, the Minister of Employment & Labour, Minister ThulasNxesi, declared the collective agreement to be national law, published in the government gazette and extended to all companies and employees in domestic clothing manufacturing industry. SACWTU pact should be adopted by the Africa Union for member-states to guide labour relations in the continent as long as COVID 19 lasts. Nigeria, (more than South Africa) parades many labour market institutions that include NLC and TUC , almost 80 industrial affiliate unions, National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). NSITF specifically aims actually provide for an open and fair system of guaranteed and adequate compensation for all employees or their dependents for any death, injury, disease or disability arising out of or in the course of employment. Others are Salaries and Wages Commission, National Directorate of Employment (NDE), National Pension Commission ( PENCOM), Labour Institute and scores of Pension Funds Administrators ( PFAs). These institutions must buy in through direct immediate engagement in the struggle against the pandemic.

The Federal Government must urgently revive the tripartite National Labour Advisory Council ( NLAC) made up of workers, employers and government and constitute a Labour Market situation room with the singular task to safe lives and ensure livelihood through occupational health and safety for essential workforce and continuous protected work with pay.

Nigerian workers and indeed all Nigerians need protected rights not necessarily charity or palliatives under the lock down. Nigerians are citizens t deserving of rights not refugees in frenzy for palliatives. Unions and employers must also facilitate unconditional transfers of legitimate pay to workers and their dependents as long as this lock down lasts. International Labour Organization (ILO) has predicted some 24 millions job losses and sustained employment contraction. In addition, ILO says full or partial lockdown measures occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic are affecting almost 2.7 billion workers, representing around 81 per cent of the world’s workforce. Certainly the world of work cannot be the same again.

President Muhammadu Buhari puts it better “As a result of this pandemic, the world as we know it has changed. The way we interact with each other, conduct our businesses and trade, travel, educate our children and earn our livelihoods will be different”. Good that the President directed the Ministers of Industry, Trade and Investment, Communication and Digital Economy, Science and Technology, Transportation, Aviation, Interior, Health, Works and Housing, Labour and Employment and Education “to jointly develop a comprehensive policy for a “Nigerian economy functioning with COVID-19”. However the composition is top- down. This policy initiative should be made more inclusive of organized labour, organized businesses, women and youth organizations.

The initiative should also draw on the enormous intellectual resources at the National Institute for policy and Strategic Studies at Kuru, Jos, National Defence College and Institute for Security Studies on management of epidemics and crisis management. Again Nigeria should find useful “key policy responses” proposed by the ILO that focus on two immediate goals: health protection measures and economic support on both the demand and supply sides.

Comrade Issa Aremu is a member of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru Jos and Labour Party ( LP) former Governorship Candidate, Kwara State.

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Customs Corner

As Normalcy Returns To ANLCA, Newly Elected Management Team Visit Ag CGC In Abuja



Authors: Muhammad Bashir.

The Acting Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, on Wednesday, 20th September 2023, says the Service will maintain its position of consulting relevant stakeholders to enable its administration to succeed.

The CGC made this known when he received members of the Customs Consultative Committee led by the Chairman of the Council, Aare Hakeem Olanrewaju, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja, along with newly elected excos of the Association of Nigeria License Customs Agents.

He urged the newly elected leaders of the Association to consider their peculiar privilege in sustaining peace amongst them, which, according to him, will encourage the Service to take them as vital partners.

“I want to use this opportunity to rekindle the good understanding and peace between yourselves so that we will be able to synergize in eradicating threats against revenue collection and national security.” He added.

He said that “the ball is now in the coat of the executive, new management committee and, of course, the board members. I urge you to swing into action and start work because there is much to do to bring sanity and professionalism to the industry.”

He said that the Nigeria Customs Service now shares the challenge of consolidating the recent victory with the association – which will clear the way for innovations in the automation of procedures and benefit authorised economic operators.

The Acting Comptroller-General told the new leaders of ANLCA that the Nigeria Customs Service is willing to collaborate with them to ensure the successful facilitation of trade, adding, “We are going to hold a meeting to Customs Agents to ensure that we bring the required sanity into our operations.”

On his part, Mr. Hakeem Olanrewaju, the Chairman of the Customs Consultative Committee who led the delegation, said they were at the Corporate Headquarter of the Customs to present the newly elected National Executive Council of ANLCA to the Ag. CGC.

Mr Olanrewaju, who congratulated the Ag. CGC, on his appointment by President Bola Ahmad Tinubu, also assured the CGC that the Association had been put back on the rail after having a long time of experiencing hot fracas, adding that “with the intervention of the Ag. Comptroller General of Customs, the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents has embraced a collaborative peace.”

He also recalled how the Nigeria Customs Service, under the stewardship of Ag. CGC Bashir Adewale Adeniyi approved the establishment of a Customs Consultative Committee to broker peace in the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents.

Speaking at the venue, the newly elected president of the association, Emenike Kingsley Nwokeoji, appreciated the Ag CGC for taking the bull by the horns to engineer the peace deal between the faction of the association, affirming that his team have already swung into action to move the association forward.

The president, who described the Ag. CGC as the sole competent officer to lead the Service rightly, adding that “your appointment is timely and most deserving that our dear country needs the most for economic and development growth.”

He, however, extolled the Ag. CGC’s style of leadership as one that accommodates and understands issues at stake and promptly proffers solutions to them, adding that “in that regard, we wish to inform you that we count on you; we know your antecedent, and we hope you will count on us too, to achieve your objectives.”

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Customs Corner

Nigeria Customs Backs UN-Habitat’s Effort to Combat Smuggling



Author: Muhammad Bashir, Abuja.

The Acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, has said that the Service, under his watch, will implement every necessary action against saboteurs of Nigeria’s economy to cripple their ‘illegitimate’ business of smuggling.

The CGC restated this on Tuesday, 19 September 2023, when he received Ambassadors of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, UN—Habitat, led by Dr. Raymond Edoh, at the Customs Headquarters, Abuja.

The Ag. CGC said, “On behalf of the entire Management Team of the Nigeria Customs Service, I wish to inform you that we will partner with you in this campaign, and we will grant you all forms of support you may need to carry out this campaign — and I want to assign one of our amiable DCGs, Abba Kura, to work with you closely.”

He appreciated how they travelled from afar to intimate the Nigeria Customs Service of their campaign against smuggling, which, according to him, the Nigeria Customs Service has already started yielding positive results in suppressing the menace of smuggling.

The CGC also welcomed Dr Raymond’s offer to engage officers and men of the Service in capacity—building to enhance their understanding of digital literacy skills, adding that the Service has already started embracing technology to advance its work by introducing related courses to officers.

The CGC appreciated the collaborative effort between the Nigeria Customs Service and UN—Habitat and believes that the collaboration signifies a commitment to tackling smuggling and enhancing trade facilitation in the nation, setting the stage for a more prosperous future.

The CGC said, “What we’re trying to do is to raise a modern Customs Service through partnering with stakeholders to achieve our goals because we value partnership, and I am happy that you extended your hands of collaboration to work with us.”

He also appreciated their pledge to train officers and men of the Service in digital literacy skills, assuring that the Service will continue to prioritize proficiency in the fight against smuggling through technological approach.

He underscored the importance of digital skills, promising that the relevant Service department will enhance trade facilitation.

On his part, the Director of UN—Habitat, Dr. Raymond Edoh, appreciated President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for reposing the responsibility of heading the Nigeria Customs Service on the Acting Comptroller-General, describing him as “a competent Customs officer who knows the terrain and masters the job.”

According to him, they decided to visit the Ag. CGC at the Customs Headquarters to express their interest in partnering with the Service.

He appreciated the Service for being a “gatekeeper of the country” that protects citizens against border threats, stressing that his organization will collaborate with NCS to mitigate the smuggling of illicit goods and train officers and men of Customs on digital literacy skills and certification.

UN-Habitat is the United Nations entity responsible for developing urban policies and translating them into action to create sustainable cities and promote viable urban development and adequate shelter for all.

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Customs Corner

Shuaibu Takes over Ogun 1 Command as Makinde proceeds to Customs Headquarters



Author: Vivian Daniel.

Following the recent redeployment of Area Controllers and Heads of Units by the Ag. Comptroller-General of Customs Bashir Adewale Adeniyi MFR, the Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Ahmadu Bello Shuaibu was posted to Ogun 1 Area Command to take over the mantle of leadership from Comptroller Bamidele Makinde.

According to a statement issued by Superintendent of Customs Hameed Bukoye Oloyede,
Public Relations Officer, Ogun 1 Area Command on 18th September 2023; until his relocation, Comptroller Bello Shuaibu was the Ag. Area Controller of Ogun II Command.

During his handover speech at the Command’s Headquarters in Idiroko Ogun State, Comptroller Bamidele Makinde congratulated the new Area Controller while admonishing Officers for their unwavering support of the new leadership of Deputy Comptroller Ahmadu Shuaibu and wished him a successful tenure in Office.

“May I call on Officers to redouble their efforts and give the incoming administration maximum support and cooperation to sustain the performance tempo of the Command. In a similar vein, I wish to solicit the unflinching support of our critical stakeholders for the new Customs Area Controller”.

Comptroller Makinde further disclosed that during his 17 months in office, the Command had generated a total sum of N225,009,835.50 as revenue for the nation and seizures with a Duty Paid Value (DPV) of N6,604,107,655.92. He attributed the achievements recorded during his administration to the hard work of his gallant Officers and Men, the Command’s dynamic synergy with the critical stakeholders and the general assistance of the Nigeria Customs Service Headquarters.

The Deputy Comptroller, Ahmadu Shuaibu, while addressing newsmen at the occasion, appreciated everyone for their envisaged maximum support and open-mindedness.

He congratulated his predecessor, whom he described as “an articulate and result-oriented leader”, on his successful tour of duty with laudable achievements. He pledged to sustain the successes recorded by the Command under his watch.

He specifically expressed his gratitude to the Ag. CGC for finding him worthy of the new position and pledges to discharge his duties diligently and facilitate legitimate trade within the Command’s Area of Responsibility while upholding the goals and objectives of the Nigeria Customs Service.

“I am a team player. I seek the total cooperation of all stakeholders to succeed. We must work together, and Nigeria must move forward,” he stated.

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