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Free Trade Zone

Strike bites harder in Nigerian airport

As the strike at the Murtala Muhammed
Airport 2 (MMA2), Lagos, enters the second day, airline operators have
been forced to make alternative arrangements to fly their passengers.
 
Aviation unions continued their picketing of the terminal on Thursday.
 
The airlines have moved their passenger
boarding and processing to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) operated
by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
 
The striking unions are the National
Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services
Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(ATSSSAN) and the National
Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
 
They are protesting over the alleged sack
of 24 employees who indicated interest to unionise by Bi-Courtney
Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the MMA2.
 
Despite a subsisting court order issued
by Justice I. N Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos restraining them
from the action, the unions continued to shutdown flights and business
activities at the MMA2.
 
Airlines affected by the action included
Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero
Contractors who operate flights from the terminal.
 
However, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, Corporate
Communications Manager, Dana Air, said on Thursday that the arrangement
to move the airline’s passengers to GAT was reached on Wednesday after
they were prevented from entering MMA2.
 
”We have made an alternative arrangement
since yesterday and at the moment, the strike is still ongoing but we
are hoping that everything will be resolved as soon as possible.
 
“First, we are apologising to our guests for any inconveniences caused by this development.
 
” It is so unfortunate that those who
actually have no business with what is happening are the ones suffering
in the battle between these two organisations.
 
“So, we are appealing that they resolve
it as soon as possible because passengers come first. Without the
passengers there is no airline. There is no industry and we need to
start considering them before taking any decision. ”
 
He said the airlines operating in the
MMA2 had incurred losses amounting to millions of naira since the strike
began, adding that they still had to pay FAAN to process their
passengers at the GAT.
 
Also, Mr Adebanji Ola, spokesman for Arik
Air, said the airline, which operates its Port Harcourt flights out of
MMA2 had temporary move it back to its hub at the GAT due to the strike.
 
“We informed our Port Harcourt passengers
since yesterday to go to our counter at GAT for boarding, pending when
the strike will be called off, ” he said.
 
Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary,
ATSSSAN, said that the unions would continue to picket the terminal
until the sacked workers were reinstated and the BASL management
recognises the unions in the sector.
 
Akinjole also confirmed that the Nigerian
Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and security agencies including the
Assistant Inspector General, Lagos Airport Police Command, Mr Aminchi
Baraya, had tried to intervene on the issue.
 
“We will continue to barricade MMA2 until
the management accede to our demands because what we are doing here is
lawful, ” he said.
 
The spokesperson for BASL, Mr Steve
Omolale, however flayed the unions for the continued disruption of
business activities and flights at the terminal despite being aware of
the interim court order.
 

 

Omolale said BASL would not join issues
with the unions since the matter was already before a competent court of
jurisdiction in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18.

Minimum palaver lingers in Nigeria

Nigeria’s organised Labour has insisted that the Tripartite Committee on the new National Minimum Wage has concluded its assignment for onward submission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
 
Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Abuja.
 
Ajaero was reacting to the statement made by Dr Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, that there was no agreement yet by the National Minimum wage Committee on the new Minimum wage figure in the country.
 
Ngige had said negotiations were still ongoing and the capacity to pay by employers remained the guiding principles.
 
Mr Ayuba Wabba, president, Nigeria Labour
Congress (NLC) had also stated that the Tripartite Committee on the New
National Minimum Wage had completed its assignment for onward
submission to President Muhammadu Buhari.
 
According to Ajaero, this is all
politics; the true story is that at resumption of the hearing of the
committee on the first day which was Oct. 4, government did not show any
seriousness.
 
“So, on Friday, Oct. 5, government came
with a proposal of either N20,000 or N21,000 which Labour rejected
outright; they now moved almost to N24,000 and Labour rejected it again,
while the employers were still on N25,000.
 
“But the state governments were either on
N20,000 or so and there was almost a stalemate. So government then went
out for consultation and by the time they came back, they brought about
three scenarios.
 
“The three scenarios they brought forward
were either N38,000, N35,000 or N34,000 but the Organised Private
Sector (OPS) appealed to labour on the need to harmonise,’’ he stated.
 
Ajaero stated that the OPS noted that
they were facing a lot of challenges affecting their businesses and that
since they would be at the receiving end there was need to reach a
consensus.
 
The ULC president further said that based
on the private sector request, the sub-committee which Ngige was
chairing moved a motion that N30,000 be adopted.
 
He added that the meeting agreed that they should go ahead to print clean copy in order for all parties to sign.
 
“So, if actually there is anything remaining it is only to sign the clean copy of N30,000,’’ he said.
 
He also noted that the committee agreed
that on the day the clean copy would be presented to Mr President that
all parties should be present to sign.
 
He also said that it was agreed that nobody should disclose the figure reached by the committee to the public.
 
He, however, said that the N30,000 agreed upon was to ensure that the organised private sector businesses did not collapse.
 
He also said that organised labour would soon issue a statement on its position.
 
But the Minister of Labour and
Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said that the Tripartite Committee on
Minimum Wage had yet to agree on any figure on the matter.
 
Ngige, after the Federal Executive
Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, dismissed media
reports that the committee had agreed on N30, 000 as new minimum wage.
 
The FEC meeting was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
 
He said that the Federal Government had
proposed N24,000 per month to the tripartite committee – organised
labour, organised private sector and government – involved in the
negotiation.
 
According to him, the federal government
is careful so that it will not agree on a figure that will weigh down on
State Governments or lead to retrenchment.
 
He said that upon the committee
reconvening on Oct. 4, labour adjusted its figures down to N30, 000 per
month while the organised private sector adjusted its own from N25, 000
to N30,000.
 
“The state governments’ figure last time
was N20,000; the federal government had a figure of N24,000 and that was
where we all stood.
 
“These negotiations took into account
these irreducible offers from the different governments but we could not
arrive at a consensus.
 
“Even though we adjourned that meeting
and said we would put up a report that will reflect this position, we
are still continuing to discuss informally to see if we can arrive at a
common figure.
 
“So, discussions are still ongoing and that is where we are. This becomes very pertinent because I saw all the papers.
 
 “The federal government
also is carrying the states along with it because a lot of the workers
are in the states and it is a very sensitive matter.
 
“We cannot because the issue of minimum
wage is item 34 in the exclusive list, fix an amount which the state
governments will find difficult to pay,’’ he said.
 
Ngige said that under the International Labour Organisation(ILO),
the cardinal principle of wage fixing mechanism was capacity to pay.
 
He said President Muhammadu Buhari had
reiterated that no worker should be retrenched or denied his/her
promotion while recruitments to replace retired or dead civil servants
should continue to be done.
 
 

 

Ghana hosts Africa Music Awards

The International Committee of All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA, and The African Union Commission, AUC, have announced the programme for the biggest music event in Africa, the 5th AFRIMA-Ghana 2018 holding in Accra, Ghana in November.
 
The event will begin from Wednesday, November 21 and end Saturday, November 24 under the theme ‘Africa is Gold’.
 
Ghana was unveiled as the 5th AFRIMA Official Host Country by the AUC on September 5 at the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
 
Subsequently, the Republic of Ghana accepted the Official Host Country rights on Tuesday, September 11 during a media event held at the Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City Accra
and attended by top Ghanaian government officials led by the Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana, Catherine Afeku.
 
Kicking off the back-to-back exhilarating events programme for the 5th AFRIMA on November 21 is the AFRIMA Welcome Soiree, a reception in honour of arriving AFRIMA nominees and delegates, African Union officials, members of the International Committee of AFRIMA, media and other invited guests.
 
This will be followed by the Africa Music Business Summit (AMBS) on November 22 at the Ballroom, Kempinski Hotel, Gold Coast City, Accra, between 8.30 a.m. and 4.30 p.m.
 
To be held under the theme “African Music in a Global Village: Leveraging the Opportunities”, the annual AMBS is a panel discussion platform to interrogate and strategize on the business of music in Africa while charting a synergistic way forward for development and economic empowerment for the music talents.
 
It is a platform for business networking and interaction among music professionals, music executives, government officials and other stakeholders in the music, media and financial
sectors of Africa while discussing the potentials present in the continent’s music industry and ways to harness its socio-economic gains.
 
On the same day, at the AFRIMA Music Village, lovers and fans of African music are in for high octane performances by upcoming and A-list artistes from across the continent in a festival-style music concert which holds at the 100,000-capacity Independence Square, Accra, from 5.00 p.m. till dawn.
 
The event will be broadcast live on dedicated satellite event channels.
 
In a bid to showcase the cultural and historical dynamism of the host city, invited guests will be treated to a tour of landmarks and sights of Accra on Friday, November 23. This will
be followed by the Nominee’s Party from 10.00 p.m.
 
The live broadcast Main Awards Ceremony on Saturday, November 24 will have in attendance high profile guests from across the continent and the Diaspora.
 
Scheduled for the Accra International Conference Centre, AICC, Ghana, by 7.30 p.m., the star-studded awards show will begin with the live-broadcast red carpet at 4.30 p.m. where all the glam, glitz and high fashion of the 5th AFRIMA-Ghana 2018 will be on display.
 
The awards ceremony to be broadcast to 84 countries on 105 partner media channels will also feature a potpourri of performances from some 2018 AFRIMA nominees, past award winners, and special guest artistes.
 
Wrapping up the programme is the 5th AFRIMA After-Party at the Pool Bar, Kempinski Hotel Gold Coast, Accra, Ghana.
 
Expressing her excitement at the coming events, Catherine Afeku said: “On behalf of His Excellency, the President of Ghana and the people of the Republic of Ghana, the Ministry
of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Ghana welcomes African artistes, African media and event delegates to the 5th All Africa Music Awards, AFRIMA-Ghana 2018.
 
“We take pride in ourselves in hosting this continental awards between November 21 and 24 which is consistent with our national development agenda to the growth of culture and the creative arts. We project a boost to the tourism economy of Ghana and the creation of opportunities for artists and investors in the culture and creative arts industry of Ghana.
 
“We expect more of such opportunities to be created in the national economy as we host AFRIMA events in the coming years.
 
“This will become one of the vehicles to deepen the collaboration between the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Africa Union to drive the Government’s transformation
agenda. We look forward to welcoming you with the warm Ghanaian hospitality, Akwaaba!”
 
In partnership with the African Union Commission, AFRIMA seeks to reward Africa’s music talents living on the continent or in the diaspora.
 
It stimulates conversations among Africans and between Africa and the rest of the globe about the great potentials and values of the African musical and artistic heritage for the purpose of creating jobs, reducing poverty.
 
It calls the attention of world leaders to Africa and promoting the positive image of Africa to the world for global competitiveness.

Air passengers stranded in Lagos

Hundreds of passengers are reportedly stranded at the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2(MMA2) in Lagos following a shutdown by the unions on Wednesday.
 
The passengers were taken unaware of aviation unions’ plans to shut-down the airport over the sack of workers by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, a company that provides
services at the airport.
 
The unions involved in the shutdown are Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
 
They disregarded
a Federal High Court  order granted Tuesday restraining them from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).
 
The court granted the order in the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
 
The unions had given notice that they
would disrupt operations at MMA2 from today over the disengagement of
some workers of BASL who they said were disengaged for their alleged
attempt to join them, but who the company said had
attained retirement age or were found not to be diligent in their
duties.
 
BASL  has said: “We will
like to bring it to the attention of the entire public that the Federal
High Court in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18 has granted an
order restraining the unions
from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the
terminal.
 
“Pursuit to this order, members if the
unions found in the premises of MMA2 would be liable to trespass. We
reserve our right under the law of Nigeria to deal with such person as a
trespasser”.
 
BASL also assured customers and passengers of MMA2 that they will continue having seamless access to the facility.
 
 “BASL is fully aware of the
plan by some unions in the aviation sector to disrupt the operations of
MMA2 over our decision to disengage some employees. Disengaging the
ex-employees had nothing
to do with unionism, as we were not aware of this.
 

 

“In as much as we know that the unions
have the right to protest without disturbing public peace and safety, we
too reserve the right to ensure that our operations and services are
not interrupted in any way whatsoever.”

Land Palaver in South Africa: Zulu King, group partner for agriculture

South Africa’s Zulu king and Afrikaans nationalist group, AfriForum, are forming a partnership to develop the agriculture on vast swathes of land the monarch controls through a trust, AfriForum’s CEO said.
 
The move came as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) took steps to change the constitution to expropriate land without compensation.
 
Meanwhile ANC is also seeking to provide security of tenure to people living on royal tribal lands policies opposed by AfriForum and the king.
 
“We are finalising a memorandum of understanding to make the agreement formal,” AfriForum Chief Executive Kallie Kriel said.
 
“King Goodwill Zwelithini controls 2.8 million hectares, a fragmented sub-tropical area the size of Belgium, under an entity called the Ingonyama Trust.
 
“We have numerous members that have successful farms in the vicinity of the trust.
 
“The idea is to get a formula where there can be cooperation between our members and people living on the trust land to stimulate agricultural development,” Kriel said.
 
Report says much of the farming in those areas is focused on sugar, cattle, game and high-value fruit such as avocados.
 
AfriForum is generally seen as a right-wing, nationalist group that has lobbied for support for “white rights” in the U.S.
 
The eNCA news channel’s website quoted
the king as saying: “I’m asking AfriForum to come and help us. They are
willing to work with me and my father’s people to uplift agriculture in
our land.”
 
The monarch, who wields influence over
millions of rural voters, reiterated his warnings to the ANC not to
include his territory in its land reform drive.
 
“Anyone who wants to be elected by us must come and kneel here and commit that I will never touch your land,” he emphasised.
 
The king said over the weekend that he
wanted President Cyril Ramaphosa to sign an agreement backing a pledge
earlier this year not to expropriate trust land or change property
relationships there.
 
Other traditional leaders have also told
the ANC not to undermine their authority on the 13 per cent of South
African territory they rule.
 
Much of it straddles rich deposits of platinum and other minerals.
 
Such leaders see themselves as the
custodians of culture and traditions, however, critics say some have
enriched themselves through their control of access to resources.
 
The ANC’s main target is white-owned
property, while most private South African land remains in white hands,
making it a potent symbol of wider economic disparities.