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NDE critical to the seven point agenda, says Labour minister

The Federal Government is committed to addressing the problem of mass unemployment in the country and would spare no effort in ensuring that programmes geared towards job generation and poverty alleviation get the priority it deserves. To attain this objective, the minister for labour and productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu called on the management of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to step up its activities

He made  the remarks when the management of the NDE met him in his office in Abuja  to brief him on the activities and operations of the Directorate. The NDE team was led by the Director-General, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed and included directors and heads of departments.

The director-general told the minister that the NDE was executing programmes in vocational skills development, rural employment agricultural_based schemes, special public works and the small-scale enterprises (SSEs).

He  also highlighted the establishment and operations by the NDE of 18 skills acquisition centres across the country under the millennium development goals (MDG’s) programme. Each of the geo-political zones has three_centres located in Gombe, Katsina, Benue, Edo, Enugu and Ogun States. ‘The NDE is expected to build and run more similar skills centres in 2010’, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed said.

Mallam Abubakar Mohammed  called on the minister to assist the NDE to acquire additional prime_movers to drive the school_on_wheels scheme which is deployed to take skills training to rural areas.

ASUU seeks workers’ control of govt

ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has called on Nigerian workers to strive to take over the governance of the country in order  to improve the living condition of the masses and move the nation forward.

President of ASUU, Professor Ukachukwu Awuzie, at the just concluded 8th delegates conference of Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC, held in Benin City, Edo State, said “For too long  labour has limited its struggle to trying to contain the onslaught of the political elite and the ruling class on the workers and people of this country. The time has come for us to look beyond being just workers, providing the wealth that is brazenly squandered by the ruling class.

We must as a matter of  necessity and urgency, take more active, purposeful and focused steps to create alternative ruling collective destiny in our own hands by actively engaging in politics. It is only when we control the political machinery of the nation that we can effectively and meaningfully aim at solving the raging problems of unemployment of our youths and able bodied men and women, Poor remuneration of Nigerian workers, absence of social amenities in our cities and villages, mayhem in all parts of the country, unending energy crises and the attendant consequences on industries, poor funding of education and health criminality in the country e.t.c”.

Imoke’s driver deserves justice

Governor of Cross river state, Senator Liyel Imoke’s unfortunate car accident which has made him wear of Plaster of Paris after he was flown abroad for treatment, drew the sympathy of his many admirers.

However, everyone including the Cross River state council of the NLC lost sight of a very important issue in the whole incident, indecent working conditions to which the driver who was blamed for the accident was subjected to. According to a report, the driver who has since been placed on suspension for being ‘responsible’ for the accident had been on duty for 17 hours.

Now, the International Labour Convention which Nigeria has ratified recognizes, eight hour work.   Where an employee has to work beyond eight hours, not only is such an employee compensated, he is given adequate time for rest but the driver was denied this.  Nigerian trade unions and their members will troop out on May Day to mark the anniversary of the eight hour work struggle.  How sincere are we?

There was no indication that this driver had enough time to rest.  Neither do we have any evidence that the driver deliberately crashed the governor’s car.   He was alleged to be sleeping on duty.
Did his employers really expect that the driver to be on duty for 17 hours without rest?  I mean should the guy have made  sleep impossible?  I’m not sure if this is possible.

The driver’s suspension is anything but injustice.  From what one knows of the system here, this innocent driver who we are not told who cared for his own injury may as well be on his way out.  He may be sacked.  Labour relations in Nigeria has moved beyond this level.  Cross River NLC should not just see the driver as one that benefits from government house goodies,( if indeed he does )but see his case as one which the unions must take up and get justice.

May Day is all about defending and protecting our rights at work which we must do collectively.

An injury to one is an injury to all.


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