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Railway Workers Stage Three Days Warning Strike, Protest Over Demand for 350% Salary Increment, Others

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Workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation on Thursday started a three-day warning strike against what they described as low salary payment and poor welfare.

The workers, who protested at the train stations in Lagos, Oyo and Abuja, accused the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, of handling their matter with levity.

In Lagos, the railway workers grounded activities at the Iddo station, Ebute Meta, where they stopped all vehicles and motorcycles from passing through the station.

They carried placards with various inscriptions, including, ‘Railway workers salary is poorest and worst under FMOT’, ‘Enhance salary for NRC, Amaechi learn from Pantami’, ‘Amaechi, don’t kill NRC workers,’ among others.

The workers lamented the non-payment of promotion arrears from 2018 to 2021 and the demolition of workers’ quarters.

The Secretary-General of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers, Segun Esan, said the strike was triggered after the union had a meeting with Amaechi on Saturday, which ended in a deadlock.

He said, “We don’t want to remain out of job; we love our job, but it has become expedient to do this in order to ask for our rights. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t have got to this stage, but our honourable minister of transport has never deemed it fit to meet the workers.

“The only time he met with us was in 2015 or 2016 when he was made the minister and the second time was last Saturday when he called for a meeting but we could not arrive at any reasonable convergence because the minister didn’t handle it the way we expected. He walked out on us, and we could not conclude and that was why we resorted to this three days warning strike.

“We have many problems with the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation like the non-payment of promotion arrears from 2018 to 2021, demolition of quarters and taking an eternity to replace the quarters, while the workers are suffering in their various rented apartments out there.

“The reason for our three days warning strike is to remind the Federal Government and the management of the railway corporation and every concerned Nigerian to look in our direction and understand that we are in serious poverty in Nigerian railway as occasioned by the poor welfare.”

Esan, who noted that the salary of the locomotive drivers was N30,000, urged the Federal Government to insure the lives of railway workers.

In Abuja, activities were grounded at railway stations.

The premises of the Idu Railway Station, regarded as one of the busiest stations in the country, were devoid of regular human traffic.

The gates were all locked.

It was gathered that the situation was the same at the railway station in Kubwa.

The President-General of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers, Innocent Ajiji, said the warning strike was not only about the 350 per cent increment in their salaries, but other welfare packages.

He said, “Our choice of this period is deliberate; we know this is the time our voices will be heard. We want a better working condition and 350 per cent increase in our salaries. Last year, this was included in the budget proposal, but it was struck out for reasons best known to the lawmakers.

“The warning strike is not only about the increase in our salaries. We are demanding that the condition of service should be reviewed. The last time this was done was in 1983. Also, we are demanding that railway workers should be individually insured. After this strike, we will give them time for implementation and not negotiation, after which we will embark on an indefinite strike.”

Also, the President, Senior Staff Association, Nigerian Railway Corporation, Aliyu Mainasara, said workers were dying in silence due to poor salaries.

He said, “Truck drivers are earning far above us. We have been on it for a while now. We have been meeting with the minister for the past six years; he has been giving us assurance with nothing to show for it.

“We are service providers; on a daily basis, we have about 15,000 passengers in all our stations and generate nothing less than N32m daily for the government. We can’t continue to be slaves to the government; that era is gone.”

In Ibadan, Oyo State, scores of intending passengers were turned back from the Obafemi Awolowo Train Station, Moniya, and the Ladoke Akintola Train Station at Omi Adio in Ibadan, following the strike.

Some of the workers, who were seen at the station in Moniya, were armed with placards with various inscriptions denouncing the way they were being treated.

It was learned that the train which was supposed to leave by 8am did not because of the strike.

Taxi drivers, who usually wait for the arrival of the train from Lagos around 11.30am, had also deserted the car park.

The ticketing office, departure and arrival were deserted.

Some of the Okada riders, who usually make brisk business by conveying passengers from Moniya to the village where the train station is located, also lamented that they had been affected by the strike.

Some residents of Ibadan who said they had planned to board the train to Lagos on Friday, said they would have to travel by road because of the development.

 

Nigeria

Gani Adams Berates Police, DSS Operatives For Rejecting Joint Patrol Initiative To Secure Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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He noted that collaborative efforts with South-West security stakeholders would have reduced incessant attacks unleashed on innocent travellers by assailants on the road.

Aare Onakakanfo of Yorubaland, Gani Adams, has slammed the police and Department of State Services for thwarting an initiative aimed at securing the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

He noted that collaborative efforts with South-West security stakeholders would have reduced incessant attacks unleashed on innocent travellers by assailants on the road.

In a statement on Thursday, Adams said, “The reason for the request is to use our strength and network to secure the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway which has remained porous.

“The idea came up after a series of meetings with leaders and members of the South-West Security Stakeholders Group.

“The letter dated September 22, 2021, was addressed to security advisers, Commissioners of Police, Directors of State Security Services, and other agencies in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo.”

Adams said being the Aare, many people had requested his mediation, reminding the government that its security operatives alone cannot secure lives and property.

He added, “It’s time to tell the world of our efforts in securing the region. The road has become volatile for travellers, there is a need for urgent intervention.

“The SSSG, with about 10 security groups, have the strength to support the police in making sure that the spate of insecurity is curbed.”

The organisation comprises Oodua People’s Congress, Agbekoya, Vigilante Group of Nigeria, Agbekoya Peace Movement.

Others are Vigilante Yahun, Professional Hunters of Nigeria, Agbekoya Farmers Society, Hunters Association of Nigeria, Isokan Oodua and COMSAIC.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

Boko Haram Mounts Checkpoints On Borno Highways, Now Collects ‘Taxes’ From Travellers

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Defaulters were forced by the insurgents to pay while the mobile phones of those who didn’t have money were seized.

Travellers in some communities in Borno State are now being forced by militants of the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) faction of the Boko Haram, to pay what they call, taxes.

Military sources told the media that the terrorists mounted roadblocks in the Gubio Local Government Area on Wednesday, issuing tax receipts to travellers.

The media had in several reports in 2021 reported how the insurgents had been taxing residents of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe State.

Sources said failure of the residents to comply with the directive attracts the death penalty.

The media also reported how ISWAP established two Wilaya’s (Caliphates) at Lake Chad and Sambisa forest to sustain its war against countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

According to sources, the terrorist group lifted the ban imposed on fishing and farming activities in the Lake Chad area, three years after chasing people out of for allegedly spying for Nigerian troops.

It, nevertheless, imposed new taxes and levies in the areas controlled by ISWAP-Boko Haram, to regulate trades and agricultural activities.

Several fishermen, farmers and merchants had returned to the Lake-Chad area to engage in socio-economic activities, under the arrangement of the new ISWAP-Boko Haram leadership.

Since the death of JAS leader, Abubakar Shekau, ISWAP has been consolidating its grip in locations around Lake Chad.

Just recently, it appointed Wali Sani Shuwaram, a 45-year-old as the new Leader (Wali) of ISWAP in Lake Chad.

The sect’s membership has swollen with the defection of hundreds of Boko Haram fighters under Shekau.

The Nigerian Army has repeatedly claimed that insurgency had been largely defeated and the military frequently underplays any losses.

The terror group has caused over 100,000 deaths and displaced millions of individuals mainly in Adamawa, Borno, and Yobe states.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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Nigeria

Pictures Of Northern Governors Posing With Associate Of Bandits’ Leader, Turji Raise Suspicion

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Kamarawa was arrested in September 2021 but the video of his questioning by the police only appeared online a few weeks ago.

Some photographs taken in the recent past showing two governors and an associate of notorious bandits’ kingpin, Bello Turji, standing together have raised dusts.

In the picture with the suspect, Musa Kamarawa, who has confessed to working with Turji, are the governors of Zamfara and Sokoto, Bello Matawalle and Aminu Tambuwal, and the deputy governor of Sokoto, Mannir Dan Iyya.

Zamfara and Sokoto are two of the North-west states under attacks by bandits in which hundreds of people have been killed and thousands displaced.

The media last week Friday reported that Kamarawa, nephew to former Governor Attahiru Bafarawa, was arrested by the police and detained in Abuja over links to bandits and their leaders.

Kamarawa was arrested in September 2021 but the video of his questioning by the police only appeared online a few weeks ago.

Under interrogation, Kamarawa said he had known Turji for long.

“Turji is my bosom friend, we are always in touch and we seek each other’s advice on our operations most of the time,” the suspect said.

He said the notorious bandits’ kingpin had over 100 armed guards around him and named those supplying Turji with shoes, military camouflage uniforms, drugs and other materials.

Kamarawa, who is from Isa local government area of Sokoto State, has extensive knowledge of communities and forests in Sokoto East and Zamfara North, especially villages bordering Shinkafi (in Zamfara) and Isa (in Sokoto).

Kamarawa was among those first contacted by Mr Matawalle after he was declared governor in 2019, to facilitate a peace accord with bandits, Premium Times reports.

A source at the Zamfara Government House, who is also a Special Adviser to the governor, said Kamarawa was referred to by the governor when the peace accord was being initiated.

“Though Bello Turji didn’t accept the peace accord, there were a lot of bandits who turned in their guns and ammunition through Musa (Kamarawa).

“We didn’t know he had interest in them and was working for them because he was always advising us to expand our peace talks. You can attest to the fact that several weapons and bandits were here (Gusau) and we witnessed peace for some time,” said the official who requested not to be named because he did not have permission to speak to journalists.

Culled from the Sahara Reporters

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