The Federal Ministry of Labor and Productivity has criticized the Nigerian police for rescuing hundreds of workers detained in a Kano rice mill.
Kano Focus reports that the police had rescued the workers after they had been detained in the Popular Farms rice mill at Challawa, Kano for about three months.
However, labor officer in the Kano office of the ministry, Abdullahi Ali told Kano Focus that the issue was not a police matter and that the company had treated the workers fairly.
“We visited the organization, we were conducted round, we interviewed workers and they confirmed to us that they were held in the company willingly.
“As far as we saw with our own eyes, the workers were treated well by the management.
“They were given feeding allowance, and even allowed to periodically visit their homes.” Mr Ali said.
The labor officer added that if the workers had any complaints they should report to the ministry of labor rather than the Nigerian Police.
“In the first place, an employment issue is not a police case.
“If there is any case of forced, compulsory or slave labor, the ministry of labor’s attention should have been drawn, and every agency has its own role to play.
“As far as industrial issues are concerned, we have sole prerogative. “We are on exclusive legislative list of the federal government so when you have industrial issues you address it appropriately and rightly to the labor office and we can assign a labor officer to go and address it.
“We did not received such complaint; we only heard of it over the radio,” Mr Ali said.
The Kano Command of the Nigeria Police is yet to respond to this statement.
The labour officer also denied accusations by the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees (NUFBTE) that he has connived with the company’s management to sabotage the inauguration of the union’s branch.
Union alleges “Compromise”
Kano state secretary of the NUFBTE, Usman Muhammad told Kano Focus that Mr Aliyu had been “compromised” by the company.
“There was a time we visited the factory along with the labour officer, the national president of the National union of food, beverages, and tobacco employees, his deputy, general secretary, national treasurer and state leadership but the admin manager denied us entry.
“The labour officer’s approach to the matter showed that he has been compromised.
“Instead of taking decisive action, I overheard him pleading to the admin manager to allow us to enter.
“If he has done his work, the factory will not dare to maltreat workers,” Mr Muhammad said.
He said the union will prepare and send a comprehensive report on the incident to the Kano state branch of the Nigeria Labor Congress (NLC) for prompt intervention.
Influential people connive with foreigners
Meanwhile, Kano state chairman of the NLC, Kabiru Ado Minjibir has condemned the action of the company pending the receipt of the report from the NUFBTE.
Mr Minjibir lamented that some Nigerians connive with foreigners to maltreat indigenous workers.
“Some influential people in Kano have contributed in degrading indigenous workers in the sight of expatriates.
“The last time labour leaders visited the said factory to inaugurate union leaders, they met resistance from management of the factory who at the end invited police to arrest the labour leaders.
“But if the matter involved indigenous factories, they don’t get such privileges.
“I don’t know why our leaders support foreigners to enslave our people in their factories.” Mr Minjibir said.
Detained workers not our staff
In its defense, Popular Farm Rice Mill said the labourers are not its employees and it is therefore not responsible for their welfare.
The administrative manager of the company, Kareem Saka told Kano Focus that the labourers are sourced from outside contractors.
“They are not our staff; we contracted loading and offloading contractors who hired those labourers.
“They had an agreement which they are paying them on daily basis. “And out of our own magnanimity we didn’t stop there, we still provided them with allowances, detergents, medical service and so on and so forth.” Mr. Saka said.
He added that the company provided a sleeping place for the workers in its farmland because they live far away from their homes.
Mr Saka however denied any knowledge that the workers were not allowed to go out at all.
“Our agreement is only with the contractors and not with their staff. “They are the ones who discussed with their labourers and agreed on their terms of employment,” he said.
Kano Focus had made several attempts to get the Kano state Ministry of Commerce and Industry to respond to the matter.
However, after several phone calls and text messages to the Ministry’s spokesperson, the commissioner Mahmoud Muhammad is yet to respond.
Ganduje, Dantata reconcile Aliko Dangote, Abdussamad Rabiu
Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and renowned business mogul, Aminu Alhassan Dantata, Kano Emirate and the Kano State Council of Imams have reconciled the two illustrious sons of Kano, Aliko Dangote and Abdussamad Isyaka Rabi’u.
Kano Focus reports that both parties, chairman of Dangote Group of companies and chairman BUA Group of companies, agreed to work together and supply enough sugar to satisfy the demand of the country.
A statement issued by Ganduje’s spokesperson Abba Anwar said the reconciliation meeting took place at Kano Governor’s Lodge, Asokoro, Abuja, Wednesday, which put a stop to all rumours making round that the duo were in dispute over sugar control in the country.
“They all dismissed allegation that Dangote was planning to see to the increase of sugar price, through pressuring BUA to succumb to the increment. They described that allegation as baseless and lacking any iota of truth.
“The meeting was seen as the zenith of other similar efforts to reconcile the two giants by the governor. Alhaji Aminu Alhassan Dantata played the role of a father during the meeting,” the statement added.
Present at the meeting were the Minister for Commerce, Trade and Investment, Mr Niyi Adebayo, representative of the Kano Emirate, Alhaji Aminu Babba Dan Agundi, Chairman of the Council of Kano Imams, Sheikh Muhammad Nasir Adam, the Chief Imam of Sheikh Ahmadu Tijjani Friday Mosque, Kofar Mata, Kano and the Chairman of NEPZA, Adamu Panda.
All the two business moguls agreed to work together as brothers for the growth and development of the nation at large. Assuring that, henceforth, there would be no differences, that could cause any disharmony between them.
COEASU FCE (T) Bichi commences one week warning strike over poor leadership in the college
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) Federal College of Education (Tech) Bichi has commenced a one week warning strike.
Kano Focus reports that the chairman of the union Muhammad Salisu Yunusa announced this on Tuesday while briefing journalists at Press Centre.
The COEASU chairman has accused the management of the college under Muhammad Bashir Fagge with non remittance of twenty five million Naira deduction made on behalf of the staff multi purpose cooperative society.
According to him as at August 2017, the college management had incurred a debt stock amounting to about eighty million Naira, being the cumulative sum of deductions from staff salaries that were not remitted to the college’s staff cooperative society.
Mr Yunusa alleged that teaching and learning is being conducted under unbearable condition due to dilapidated infrastructure.
He also alleged that the management of the college has failed to pay legitimate staff allowances including 10 months peculiar academic allowance, Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) supervision allowance; teaching practice allowance and series of outstanding payment of the centre for continuing education.
” Academic infrastructures are dilapidating due to lack of maintenance; laboratories, workshops and studios are not functioning optimally due to lack of equipments and consumables.
“Insecurity and lawlessness is alarming due to complacency of the current management of the college; while staff morale is at low level, due to non payment of staff allowances and other statutory entitlements among other pressing issues,” Mr Yunusa alleged.
According to him the college is yet to issue college graduands their Teachers’ Registration Council (TRCN) certificate and National Certificate in Education (NCE) certificates for 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 sessions.
“The failure to issue TRCN certificates to our former students may be viewed by the general public as a corporate fraud, considering the fact that they had paid for the processing of the certificates in advance as part of their NCE III school fees while in college.
“The non-payment of security personnel for about seven months has further threatened the security of lives and properties of the institutions. This situation has culminated in serious theft in the students hostels,” the chairman alleged.
Mr Yunusa called on the appropriate authorities to to prevail on the management of the college to immediately remit this money back to college’s cooperative as soon as possible as failure to to do this will further worsen the welfare condition of some staff, some of whom have invested a larger chunk of their life saving in cooperative society.
“We will never soccumb to the intimidation of ‘No work, no pay’ by the college management until our demands are met,” he said.
We’ve never added a penny on the price of our products during Ramadan – Dangote
By Mukhtar Yahya Usman
The chairman of Dangote Group Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has categorically urged people not to panic over price hike in his products during this Ramadan.
Kano Focus recalled that every Ramadan, sugar is one of the most used substance to prepare varieties of drinks and other edibles, even though it often goes higher than usual that a common man cannot afford to buy.
This problem according to many Muslim faith, is associated with the business people in commodity markets – who purchase such most used substances during the fasting period.
However, Mr Dangote said that he has massively filled markets with sugar across the country to avoid shortage during this Ramadan, which according to him to will not heighten the price of the sugar.
Dangote who spoke through his Manager, Garba Ibrahim El- Suleiman in Kano, says the Company presently has bathed all the markets across the country with products, “because our President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote respects and values month of Ramadan to the level that he has never added a penny on the price of his products during the time.” He added.
“Our dealers also are very good people and we’re rest assured that none of them would be able to take up the price of any product.” Garba said.
Speaking with Salisu Sambajo, one of the Dangote Company’s major Dealers in Nigeria, says there has never been a time when the Dangote increases prices of his products in any parts of the country during Ramadan.
“The price of every bag of sugar we sell is N18,500 only, therefore whenever you find out that a kobo is added to that, it is from the retailers. These people buy goods from us, they pay for transport, tax and many – so when they some amount on it, it is not Dangote that added it…we cannot force them not to.” Sambajo said.
Also, Sabo Dankoli, another dealer of Dangote products explained that they have never experienced a hike in price from Dangote unless in 2020, when there was lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, “and that also was not from Dangote, it’s because the commodities have gone out of store and people started to add money.” He said.
Commending the Dangote Group efforts to ensure that there is no price increase during the fasting period, Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti- Corruption Commission (PCACC), Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado has thanked Aliko Dangote for taking measures to ensure that his products have not gone out of store or too expensive to consumers during Ramadan.
‘’I was informed that the company has flooded the market with commodities that can last till after the Ramadan period and not only in Kano but across the northern states, ‘’Muhuyi Rimingado said.
‘’That was why we appreciated the company with a letter of Commendation last week. I hope the company will sustain the initiative even after the holy month of Ramadan.’’
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