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Detained Kano rice workers – Ministry of labor denounces police intervention

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Detained Rice Mill Workers

Nasiru Yusuf

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.

Police rescue over 300 workers detained for 3 months in rice mill

“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.

Abdullahi Ali

Abdullahi Ali: Labor Officer

“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.

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AIG orders investigation of Policeman seen voting in Kano APC Congress

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Aminu Abdullahi

The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone Abubakar Sadiq Bello has ordered the investigation of unprofessional conduct of a policeman caught on camera voting during state congress of All progressive Congress (APC) in Kano.

KANO FOCUS reportsthat in view of the unprofessional conduct of the policeman, the AIG has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.

A statement issued on Monday by Zonal Police Public Relations Officer Abubakar Zayyanu identified the police officer as Bashir Mohammed attached to the government house, Kano, from where he was deployed to work with the state Chairman of APC Abdullahi Abbas as a security aide.

Mr Zayyanu noted that if the inspector is found to have committed an offence by this action, the appropriate disciplinary measure will be taken against him.

He further assured the general public that further development on the matter will be communicated.

The statement reads in part.

“The attention of the Inspector-General of Police Zone one Headquarters, Kano has been drawn to a trending picture on social media, of an inspector of police casting vote at the recently conducted Kano State congress of the APC along with his principal, the state party chairman, Abdullahi Abbas.

“The inspector of police has been identified as Bashir Mohammed of the Special Protection Unit, Base One, Kano. The inspector is attached to the government house, Kano from where he was deployed to work with the said Abdullahi Abbas as a security aide.

“In view of this seemingly unprofessional conduct of the inspector, the AIG has referred the matter to the Zonal X-Squad for investigation.

“If the inspector is found to have committed a disciplinary offence by this action, the appropriate disciplinary measure will be taken against him.

“Finally,  we want assure members of the public that further development on the matter will be communicated please.”

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EFCC Grills Rabiu Kwankwaso

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday grilled former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso over allegations of abuse of office, diversion of public funds and fraudulent allocation of government properties to cronies.

KANO FOCUS reports that Kwankwaso, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, was first invited by the EFCC in September but failed to honour the invitation as reported by Channels TV.

An associate of the politician informed Channels Television that Kwankwanso may have been invited in relation to a petition by some retired employees of the Kano State Government.

The retired employees had told the EFCC that the former governor mismanaged pension remittances to the tune of N10 billion between 2011 and 2015, to fund a housing project for his cronies.

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren did not comment on the interrogation of the former governor when contacted on Saturday.

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Crisis rocks Kano APC as Ganduje, Shekarau hold parallel Congress

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Aminu Abdullahi

Crisis rocked Kano chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC), as Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and faction loyal to former governor of Kano and serving Senator Ibrahim Shekarau held parallel state congress.

KANO FOCUS reports that while Ganduje group held their congress at Sani Abacha stadium, faction loyal to Shekarau had their own at Janguza town, Tofa local government area.

Ganduje’s led group endorsed Abdullahi Abbas as state chairman of APC for a second term in a consensus arrangement, while the faction loyal to Shekarau announced Ahmadu Haruna Zago as newly elected chairman of APC in Kano state.

Reports shows that the security have earlier disrupted Shekarau’s camp congress at Sani Abacha youth centre and sealed the premises before they moved to Janguza where they held the election.

Below are some pictures of the parallel Congress.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje while voting at Sani Abacha stadium

 

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje with APC chieftains

 

Delegates at Sani Abacha stadium

Ballot box

Factional chairman of Kano APC Ahmadu Haruna Zago

Ahmadu Haruna Zago and Abdilkadir Jobe

APC factional congress at Janguza

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