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End attacks on workers, protesters, SERAP tells El-Rufai


Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai to “immediately end the growing crackdown on workers and protesters in his state.”

In a statement today signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organisation said: “Governor, Nasir El-Rufai and Kaduna state authorities must end the harassment and intimidation of NLC leaders and withdraw the illegal statement declaring Mr Wabba and other NLC leaders ‘wanted’.

The statement, read in part: “Kaduna authorities must respect the human rights of Nigerian workers, and ensure the safety and security of the leaders of Nigeria Labour Congress.”

“Declaring NLC leaders ‘wanted’ simply for peacefully exercising their human rights is antithetical to the Nigerian Constitution of 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international obligations.”

“Kaduna authorities ought to protect workers from attacks by thugs. Allowing thugs to disrupt peaceful protest by workers is illegal and unconstitutional.”

“The government of President Muhammadu Buhari should investigate why the security forces stood by and watched as thugs disrupted and assaulted protesters-and take action against those who did so.”

“Using thugs to attack peaceful protesters is a crime against humanity. Authorities need to find out who was responsible for the assaults and punish them appropriately.”

“Kaduna State Governor, Nasir El-Rufai should immediately reinstate Kaduna State University lecturers and nurses unlawfully dismissed for allegedly joining the strike in the state.”

“We’ll hold Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Kaduna authorities to account for the blatant violations of human rights.”

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai should explain why he reportedly unlawfully sacked all nurses below grade level 14 in the state on the pretext that the nurses embarked on strike in solidarity with the NLC.”

“We’ll see in court if the lecturers and nurses are not immediately reinstated.”

“We urge the UN human rights special rapporteurs to put pressure on Governor Nasir El-Rufai and Kaduna state to immediately end the brutal crackdown on workers and peaceful protesters.”

Kolawole Oluwadare
SERAP Deputy Director
18/5/2021
Lagos, Nigeria
Emails: info@serap-nigeria.org; news@serap-nigeria.org
Twitter: @SERAPNigeria
Website: www.serap-nigeria.org
For more information or to request an interview, please contact us on: +2348160537202

PRESS RELEASE

International Museum Day 2021: Minister Renews Call For Return of Looted Nigerian Artefacts

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has renewed his call for the repatriation of all looted Nigerian artefacts, while commending those countries that have heeded the call by returning such antiquities.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Tuesday to mark the 2021 International Museum Day, the Minister also appealed to the Nigerians, especially the elite, to join the ongoing campaign to repatriate all looted Nigerian artefacts.

He thanked the individual Nigerians who have established private museums as well as those who support the various public museums with their hard-earned resources, saying the elite in particular can offer support by adopting museums in their neighbourhoods

Alhaji Mohammed said the campaign for the repatriation of looted artefacts, which was launched by the federal government in October 2019, has yielded fruits, with the spate of return of stolen Nigerian antiquities from around the world.

He expressed appreciation to the German government and German museums, both of which are presently in the forefront of repatriating Nigerian antiquities.

Listing the efforts being made by the federal government to recover looted artefacts, the Minister said Nigeria has caused a claim to be instituted before the UNESCO’s mediation body, the Intergovernmental Committee for the Promotion of Return of Cultural Property (ICPRCP), for the return of an Ife bronze object to Nigeria, marking the first time ever that Nigeria will institute a claim before this international panel.

The Ife bronze head, which was stolen from the National Museum in Jos in 1987, was acquired by an art gallery owner in Belgium, who is now demanding money from Nigeria before releasing it.

The Minister recalled that in January 2020, he met the Secretary of State for Culture of the United Kingdom to press Nigeria’s demand for the release of the said Ife bronze head, which is now being kept in the British Museum, expressing the hope that the matter would soon be resolved in favour of Nigeria.

”Also, after a vigorous pursuit, the United States has approved Nigeria’s request, under the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act (CPIA). The import of this approval is that any cultural property that is 250 years or older can never enter the
United States of America from Nigeria, unless with the official imprimatur of Nigeria,” he said, adding that such antiquities will be returned to Nigeria from the US border without the need for expensive litigations or diplomatic shuttles.

On the home front, Alhaji Mohammed said in order to forestall further theft of the country’s antiquities and other heritage properties and to enthrone better management in this field, ”we are placing the law pertaining to this sector before the National Assembly. We know they will give it every support and ensure its expeditious passage.”

Reflecting on the theme for this year’s International Museum Day, which is ‘The Future of Museums: Recover and Imagine’, he said the theme has its background in the changes the world has experienced in the past year because of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

”We hope the expected full recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic will be the harbinger of a reimagining that will enable us to leverage on the areas in which we have comparative advantage – our arts and our culture – in order to re-launch ourselves to the world,” the Minister said.

The International Museum Day is celebrated on May 18 every year to bring knowledge and information about museums to the people and to introduce museums to the communities.

Segun Adeyemi
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
Abuja
18 May 2021

LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
OFFICE OF THE CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY TO THE GOVERNOR
PRESS RELEASE

SANWO-OLU LAUNCHES 500 SAFE, SECURE FIRST-AND-LAST MILES BUSES
•Gov: Buses Are Alternatives in Okada-Restricted Routes
• Injects 100 High, Medium-Capacity Buses for Standard Routes
• FLM Scheme Comes With Life Insurance for Passengers, Drivers
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Tuesday, unveiled a new transport scheme that offers residents a better alternative to commercial motorcycles who got a last chance to behave or be banned. Besides, those who drive against the traffic repeatedly will go to jail for three years.
The Governor launched 500 units of First and Last Mile (FLM) buses, which will be deployed to communities as alternative means of transportation in addressing the security threat constituted by commercial motorcycles, popularly known as Okada.
The FLM vehicles, assembled locally, are mini-passenger buses (between 7- and 11-seater), which will operate on 286 community routes. They will take passengers from closest points to their areas of residence to standard transportation corridors. Payment for FLM services will be through an automated payment system, using Cowry Travel Cards. Cowry Travel Card holders who use them on BRT buses and standard route buses can use their cards on FLM buses.
For ease of operation of the scheme, the State Government delineated the FLM’s corridors into eight zones, comprising Ikeja and Ketu (Zone 1), Oshodi, Mushin, and Surulere (Zone 2), Berger, Yaba and Oyingbo (Zone 3) and Lagos Island, Ajah and Ibeju Lekki (Zone 4).
Others are Iyana-ipaja and Agege (Zone 5), Mile 2, Iyana-Iba and Ajeromi (Zone 6), Ikorodu (Zone 7) and Epe and Badagry (Zone 8).
Besides, the Governor inaugurated brand-new 100 high- and medium-capacity buses into the fleet of Lagos Bus Service Limited (LBSL) to replace vehicles burnt at BRT stations during the wave of violence that marred the EndSARS protests, last October.
Sanwo-Olu said the mini buses would address Okada-related crises that had generated widespread concern on safety among residents. Besides, they will offer services which the high-capacity buses were not designed for.
The first fleet of buses will kick off the operation of the scheme. The fleet would be gradually increased to 5,000 buses in the coming months, the Governor said.
He said: “The launch of the First and Last Mile (FLM) Bus Scheme today is an important milestone in our quest to achieving the intermodal transport system which gives our teeming population the choices they deserve, reducing congestion and journey times, and improving the quality of life. It is also in fulfilment of one of the measures we promised as a solution to the security situation discussed at our recent Security Stakeholders’ Town Hall Meeting.
“As a responsible Government, we are launching this scheme in response to two major issues. One is the alarming statistics of fatal accidents recorded from the operations of Okadas in Lagos between 2016 and 2019, and the use of Okadas for the facilitation of crime across the metropolis. The goal is the full implementation of a safer and more efficient alternative transport solution that takes out the need for Okadas and replaces them with safer buses that will help us curb incidents of Okada-related accidents, crimes and robberies.”
A ride on the FLM buses comes with a premium insurance policy on the lives of passengers and the drivers. The operation and maintenance of the buses have been handed over to private operators for efficiency and turnover. The private operators, the Governor said, will recruit personnel for the management of the scheme.
Sanwo-Olu said the State Government had been working with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) as major stakeholders in the State’s Bus Reform Initiative (BRI) being implemented by Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA).
All the unions’ branches within the FLM zones, the Governor said, will participate actively in the implementation of the scheme.
He said: “I call on NURTW, RTEAN and all other stakeholders in the public transportation value chain to ensure that these new buses are well maintained and protected, so that the goals of the new service can be fully realised, and all those who invested can derive maximum value from their investments.
“Our local councils’ chairmen must play their parts in ensuring the roads are free from encumbrances likely to impede the smooth running of the FLM buses. I charge our security and law enforcement agencies to be alive to the crucial role they have to play in the success of this scheme.”
The Governor reinforced the restriction on commercial motorcycles in 15 local councils and 11 major highways, warning that the State Government would mete out stiff penalties to defaulters still riding Okadas within the restricted areas.
Driving against traffic now attracts a jail term of three years for repeated offenders, Sanwo-Olu said, adding: “First-time offenders are liable to a one-year jail term in addition to their vehicle being forfeited to the Government.”
Commissioner for Transportation Dr. Frederic Oladehinde said the scheme was a component of the State’s transport system meant to offer relief to residents in the hinterland in accessing the standard transport corridors through safe means.
He said: “In line with the Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018, the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Transportation and LAMATA, has put in place various measures aimed at readjusting its transportation strategies to accommodate FLM scheme to provide all inclusive, safe, convenient, affordable, and accessible services in line with global practices.”
Managing Director of LAMATA, Mrs. Abimbola Akinajo, said the FLM buses operations would start immediately in Zones 2,3,4,5, and 7 captured in the first phase of the bus scheme.
For safety, Mrs Akinajo said a monitoring mobile application had been designed for real time data collection as well as vehicle tracking purpose, adding that all drivers to be engaged in the FLM scheme would be certified by the Lagos State Drivers Institute (LASDRI) to ensure that they are fit to operate the buses.
“We will ensure proper maintenance of the buses to guarantee their service longevity. Maintenance of the buses will be outsourced to the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM), which will be responsible for executing all preventive and corrective maintenance needs. Operators will ensure that buses are maintained in line with the best engineering standard,” the LAMATA boss said.

SIGNED
GBOYEGA AKOSILE
CHIEF PRESS SECRETARY
MAY 18, 2021
Rt. Hon Dekor Applauds Governor Wike Over Conferment Of Mene Kwalenu 1 Of Ogoni

The member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon Dumnamene Robinson Dekor says the chieftaincy title conferred on the Rivers State Governor, Chief Barr Nyesom Wike is well deserved and timely.

Rt. Hon Dekor noted that beyond the conferment, the significance of the title as the Mene Kwalenu 1 of Ogoni which import is a benevolent king is most appropriate and captured the essence of the honour.

According to the federal lawmaker, a former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, and former Commissioner of works in Gov Wike’s first term in office, the giant strides of the recipient Governor Wike which have succeeded in restoring the pride of Rivers State and the uncommon love he has for the Ogoni people justify the Honour bestowed on him by the good and appreciative people of Ogoni.

While congratulating the Governor on the conferment of the title, Rt. Hon Dekor, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Host Communities reiterated the unwavering support of his constituency and the entire Ogoni people to the Wike administration.
LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT
PRESS RELEASE

WE’LL MAKE LAGOS MAJOR TOURISM DESTINATION IN AFRICA – LASG
•To Present Tourism Master Plan in June
•‘Lagos Film City Will Herald New Dawn of Film Production’

Lagos State Government on Monday reiterated its commitment to make Lagos the major tourism destination in Africa through a Tourism Master Plan that will serve as pathway for the implementation of every tourism activity in the State.

This was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf while presenting the account of stewardship of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s administration in the last two years at a ministerial briefing held at Alausa, Lagos.

She said the series of activities of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture under the present administration are deliberately structured towards positioning Lagos State as a major tourism destination in Africa, where the private sector can confidently invest their resources to advance the State’s tourism and entertainment sector.

The Commissioner disclosed that the Tourism Master Plan, a document to revolutionise the tourism sector in the State, would be presented next month, adding that the document would change the narrative in Lagos State’s tourism sector and ensure uniformity of government programmes, plans and policies in the development of tourism.

She said: “We have maintained a better relationship with our stakeholders, developed policies that would guide tourism activities and also implemented programmes and projects as they relate to the fulfillment of the fifth pillar of the THEMES agenda of the administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu, which is Entertainment and Tourism.

“We have equally identified the business side of entertainment and tourism. Beyond using tourism and entertainment as a vehicle for fun, relaxation and social integration, entertainment and tourism remain a major source of income generation for different countries and cities of the world and we will also leverage this aspect to boost the State’s IGR (Internal Generated Revenue.)

“We believe in creating an enduring atmosphere for tourism activities to thrive, being a majorly private-sector driven sector. It is our belief that when businesses operate under the right atmosphere, the economic activities of the State would increase and the resources at the disposal of government would also be impacted greatly.”

The Commissioner who disclosed the discovery of new tourism sites in Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and Alimosho areas of the State, said the new tourism sites would be developed and harnessed to international standards to attract international tourists to further boost tourism in Lagos State.

Akinbile-Yusuf who spoke passionately about the Babajide Sanwo-Olu administration’s commitment to the growth, development and expansion of the creative industry, also assured Movie practitioners, content owners and producers in the creative and entertainment industry of a modern and conducive atmosphere for producing their movies and creative contents in the State.

She said that with the proposed Lagos Film City designed to be located at Ejirin in Epe Local Government Area of the State, filmmakers are assured of better filming experience in their movie productions.

The Commissioner who affirmed that better days that will herald seamless movie production experience awaits content creators, movie makers and producers in the State, also urged practitioners in the film and movie industry to leverage on the Film City initiative to carve a solid niche for themselves and take possible advantage of the proposed facility to improve their content and production by the time it becomes a reality.

She also called on filmmakers, movie producers and content creators among other stakeholders in the creative sector to take advantage of the N1billion intervention funds approved for film production purposes and also explore the windows of opportunities and free trainings provided by the present administration for creative practitioners.

Also speaking, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu, said Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture held the Y2020 edition of the Annual Arts and Crafts Skills Acquisition Workshop where hundreds of beneficiaries in craft and artwork making were trained free.

He said the four-day event, tagged “Unlocking the Potential of the Innate Creativity for Sustainable Development”, was designed to equip participants for employability opportunities, adding that the intention of government is to empower over 2.5 million youths through Arts and Crafts, which is in addition to the provision of start-up credit facilities for them through the Ministry of Wealth Creation and Employment.
Press Statement
RIWAMA Boss, Bro Obuah Felicitates With Gov Wike On Chieftaincy Conferment
The Sole Administrator, Rivers State Waste Management Agency, RIWAMA, Bro Felix Obuah has justified the chieftaincy title of Mene Kwalenu 1 of Ogoni conferred on Gov Wike over the weekend.
Congratulating His Excellency for the Honour, Bro Obuah who is also the immediate past Rivers State Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, observed that indeed, royalty does not lie in pomp, but in great virtues which Gov Wike possesses in admirable quantum.
Bro Obuah said most of his virtues are manifest not only in the unequaled achievements of his administration but moreso, in the way and manner he has demonstrated that he is equal to the difficult task of governance.
The RIWAMA boss expressed joy that Gov Wike’s efforts and penchant to give due representation to all the ethnic groups in the state are not lost on the people who have continued to show understanding and appreciation to the Governor through prayers, massive support, honours and conferment of chieftaincy titles.
He congratulated Gov Wike for the feats and for the honour by the united Ogoni people and prayed for divine empowerment for him to continue to do more for Rivers State and humanity.

Jerry Needam
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to
Bro. Felix Obuah, Sole Administrator,
Rivers State Waste Management Agency, (RIWAMA).

PRESS STATEMENT
SPN Support 5-Day Warning Strike by Kaduna Workers
We Demand Reversal of all Sacks and Anti-labour Policies
For a 24 –hour Warning General Strike and Nationwide Mass Protest over Minimum Wage, Pay Cuts and Planned Hike in Fuel Price and Electricity Tariff
The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) fully supports the decision of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to embark on a 5-day warning strike starting from Monday May 17 to protest against the illegal and callous sack of over 4000 public sector workers and other anti-worker actions by Governor Nasir el Rufai of Kaduna state.
We also welcome the plan of important industrial unions in the sectors like oil and gas, aviation, electricity and railway to join the strike. It is such joint solidarity action that is required if labour will achieve its determination to put an end to the gross violations of workers and trade union rights by El Rufai government.
El Rufai is an inveterate anti-poor governor with a sinister record of monumental attacks on workers and the poor. Most of the workers affected are drawn from primary health care and primary schools which are patronized by the poor masses. This underscores the depth of his anti-poor character. Since 2017 over 50,000 thousand workers have been sacked while another over 11000 civil servants have been penciled down for disengagement and conversion to casual workers. Also about 20,000 workers have not been paid April salary by Kaduna state government.
We call on the NLC not to relent until the anti-poor government is defeated. This is important, in addition to winning respite for Kaduna workers, to ensure it does not become a model for other equally anti-poor state governments.
We urge the labour leaders to ensure the strike is not a stay-at-home action. Beyond enforcing compliance by workers, there must be a series of mass activities like mass demonstrations, rallies and symposia including mass leafleting in order to win the public mass support for the strike and thereby undercut and counter the plan of el-Rufai to incite other strata of the oppressed masses against workers with lies.
However, the national leadership of the NLC should realize that their characteristic half-hearted disposition to the plights of workers in the spirit of the so-called strategic partnership with government and capitalist ruling elite contributed to the making of a monster that El-Rufai has become. In most cases, workers and state leaderships of Labour are left to their devices when solidarity action is badly needed. Eleven state governments have not paid the current minimum wage, and four states are only partially paying it, while there are still a backlog of unpaid salaries and pensions from the last minimum wage regime. Yet, labour leaders, beyond issuing lame statements, have not mobilized workers to force the affected governments on their knees.
Now working people are threatened with pay cuts. If the Federal Government is able to actually “reduce” workers’ salaries in “several” FG agencies this will give a green light to other employers, both public and private, to attempt to do the same. This is why the struggle in Kaduna is important and, why a radical change is required of Labour nationally. There must be an end to Labour occasionally issuing warnings and threats of action but then retreating as happened last September.
This is why it is urgent that the NLC and TUC call, as a first step, a 24-hour warning general strike and nationwide mass protest over non-implementation of the minimum wage and against wage cuts for ordinary workers. The demands of the strike should also include an end to casualization especially private companies and rejection of any planned hike in fuel price and electricity tariff. If these demands are not accepted then mass mobilisations and further general strike actions must be organized so that living standards do not fall and in fact are raised. Given the past role of many Labour leaders it is essential that Labour’s rank and file are mobilised to build a force from below that can ensure that action takes place, is successful and can be the basis for transforming Labour into a militant force committed to taking the country out of its current crisis.
By and large, we hold that the attacks on pays and conditions of workers by the bourgeois government at all levels irrespective of political parties under the guise of declined revenue while the anti-poor politicians and their private sector contractors continue to loot and live in opulent lifestyle are logical consequence of their anti-poor capitalist program and philosophy. Therefore we call on labour leaders, trade union activists and workers to link the struggle against anti-poor policies to the need for building a mass working peoples party on a socialist program that could wrest power from the thieving capitalist elite at all levels and begin to plan the use of the country’s resources in the interests of the vast majority of Nigerians instead of those of the ruling class.

SIGNED
Abiodun Bamigboye Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson National Secretary

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