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Senate contemplates to legalise informal sector employment

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By Rebecca Bamidele

The Senate on Wednesday considered and passed for second reading a bill seeking to regulate and formalise informal sector employment in Nigeria.

The bill also seeks to empower the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) to issue licences and monitor privately owned employment agencies whose responsibility will be to enroll employees, such as domestic workers, apprentices and interns in their data bank, safeguard and enhance their social security and oversee their social recruitment by employers who engaged in legitimate occupation on such terms and conditions as may be agreed by the parties.

Leading the debate on the bill, its sponsor, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa (APC-Niger East), said the primary goal of the bill is to regulate the sector to promote strategic objectives.

These objectives, he said, included “the promotion of rights at work, employment, social protection and social dialogue.

“On the contrary, many jobs in the informal labour market in Nigeria still experience work deficit. Employees in the informal sector are often seen as having no right and are not treated fairly by their employers. All of these, this bill seeks to correct.

“This bill empowers the National Directorate of Employment(NDE) to issue license and monitor the activities if Employment Agencies throughout the country.”

According to Senator Musa, “the informal sector is usually regarded as the residual labour market where labour is highly heterogeneous and sources of income are not largely wage dependant; working time is discretionary and some jobs are not paid at all.

“The wide range of information available is that the operations in the sector are usually in small scale; that production technique is labour intensive and that ownership is usually private.

“In most cases, the workers in this sector are family members, apprentices and few paid employees.

“Labour practices within the informal sector of Nigerian economy show evidence of violation if employees’ right and non implementation of labour regulations.

“Although the informal sector provides a safety net for skilled, semi-skilled or unskilled labour who could not find job in the formal market, however, the informal sector in Nigeria has practices that are not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) best practices as ratified in its conventions

“Notwithstanding that Nigeria is a signatory to these conventions, there are still a lot of deficits in the implementation of these conventions.

“One of such areas of concern relates to decent work deficits. Decent work is work with fair and equal treatment, decent renumeration, and fair conditions of employment, safety and social protection, opportunities for training and development, and collective bargaining.”

Commenting on the bill, Senator Aliyu Magatakarda Wamakko (APC-Sokoto North) described it as “timely and desirable in today’s modern Nigeria ”

On his part, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC – Niger North) decried the unfair treatment of employees in the informal sector by their employers, saying that the situation called for concern and urgent steps to remedy it.

Abdullahi, however, called for a balance protectiion of both the employees and employers in the informal sector, as according to him, the employers also suffer indecent treatment from their employees.

He called for integration of data obtained from registration of such employees by the employment agencies with the National Data Base to avoid engaging unscrupulous foreigners for such employments.

After the Bill passed for second reading, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred it to the Senate commitee on Labour and Productivity for further legislative process.

 

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France supports ECOWAS’ decision on Mali, Niger, B/Faso – Envoy

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The French Chargé d’affaires in Nigeria, Jean-Francois Hasperue, says his country supports the decision of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government in February lifting sanctions on Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso.

The French envoy stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.

It will be recalled that ECOWAS had slammed sanctions on three of the Sahelian countries in 2023 following the takeover of power by the military in their countries.

ECOWAS leaders, however, rescinded the decision in February, barely a month after the three countries declared their intention to quit the sub-regional bloc and form the Alliance of Sahel States, a parallel group.

Hasperue stated that France is in support of ECOWAS in whatever it is doing to resolve the Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso imbroglio, to retain them in the sub-regional organization.

“So, when ECOWAS decided to make a diplomatic gesture towards these countries in February, we supported the decision.

“As a matter of principle, France and the European Union support political decisions by sub-regional organisations like ECOWAS.

“We did the same for the East African Community, for example, when the community was mandated to try and help in the situation in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.

“So, regions decide their political orientation and the international community supports.

“That’s how we address issues and crises in Africa – in partnership.

“We’ve been supporting ECOWAS and all its member states in whatever they try to do to alleviate the situation, to help resolve the issues,” he said.

The French envoy explained that the decision of ECOWAS heads of state to apply sanctions on the three Sahelian countries in August 2023 was not influenced by France.

“I mean, they, ECOWAS, just looked at the situation in the Sahara region and decided that it was too much.

“The military coups d’etat were becoming too much, so they decided to try to end that, but France didn’t influence and had nothing to do with the decisions.

“I mean they (ECOWAS members) are sovereign states that make unanimous decisions for the organisation.

“They considered that the sub-region was threatened due to the series of coups d’etat.

“What these military junta were doing was a threat to the security and stability of the sub-region in terms of fighting terrorism, which they were not able to fight efficiently.

There was also the belief that there could be a spread of the terrorist groups’ activities to other countries in the region.

“And, as I said earlier, whatever ECOWAS decides, as friends, we will support the decision.

“That’s the orientation we have taken together,” he said. 

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Africa loses $15bn annually due to climate change — Adesina 

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president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina,  says Africa loses between seven billion dollars and 15 billion dollars annually due to climate change.

The President of the bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said this during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), which was monitored by the newsmen.

According to him, this is in spite contributing only three per cent of global emissions.

Adesina said that Africa was at the forefront of climate change’s impacts, which had devastating effects on agriculture and economies.

“In response, the AfDBank has inaugurated ambitious initiatives to build resilience and adapt to a changing climate.

“The AfDB has committed to doubling its climate finance to 25 billion dollars by 2030, focusing on the African Adaptation Acceleration Programme.

“This programme aims to deploy 25 billion dollars for climate adaptation, making it the largest globally.

“Additionally, the AfDB has created a climate action window with an initial investment of 429 million dollars, expected to grow to 13 billion dollars,’’ he said.

Adesina said this window supports vulnerable countries with crop insurance, land restoration, and climate information services.

He said Innovative financial mechanisms played a crucial role in supporting these climate adaptation initiatives.

Adesina said the bank had begun using partial credit guarantees, which enabled countries like Benin, Senegal, and Cote d’Ivoire to raise significant capital at lower interest rates.

“For example, Benin raised 400 million dollars from Chinese investors using a 195 million dollar partial credit guarantee.

“The AfDB also facilitated Egypt’s Panda Bond issuance, allowing the country to secure 500 million dollars from Chinese markets.

“These financial innovations reduce the cost of borrowing for African countries and encourage long-term investments in climate resilience.

“In spite of the challenges posed by climate change, Africa is leading the charge in innovative solutions and sustainable development,’’ he said.

The AfDB boss, therefore, said that the global financial architecture was not serving Africa’s interests very well, thus requiring change.

On Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), he said the bank was championing the course on the need for Africa to take those SDRs and use them better.

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Court orders Kano Govt  to pay Emir Bayero N10m over rights violation

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A Federal High Court on Friday, ordered the Kano State government to pay N10 million in damages to the 15th Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado-Bayero, for breaching his fundamental human rights.
Ado-Bayero, through his counsel M L Yusufari SAN, filed a motion exparte dated May 27, seeking the court to restrain the state government  from arresting, intimidating or infringing on his rights.
The other respondents are the Attorney General of the Federation, Attorney General Kano, Nigeria Police, Inspector General of Police, Commissioner of Police Kano, State Security Service, NSCDC, Nigeria Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Airforce.
Delivering judgment, Justice Simon Amobeda, described the order given by Gov. Abba Kabir-Yusuf, directing the police to arrest the 15 emir , without any lawful justification is a threatening the fundamental rights of the applicant.
This, the judge held is guaranteed under Section 35(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as altered).
“The act of the governor has forced the applicant into house arrest, preventing him from going freely about his lawful business, constitutes a flagrant violation of his fundamental right to freedom of movement as guaranteed under Section 41(1) of the 1999 Constitution,” he held.
He restrained the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents either by themselves, their agents,servants, privies, or any other person from arresting, detaining, threatening, intimidating and  harassing the applicant or further interfering with the applicant’s fundamental rights.

“The prayer for the cost of filing and prosecuting this suit is refused, the amount having not been specifically pleaded and strictly proved” Amobeda said
Earlier, the second Counsel to the applicant, Mr Michael Jonathan, SAN, said that the court had jurisdiction to entertain and hear the case as it is a fundamental rights suit.
Jonathan urged the court to dismiss the respondent preliminary objection for been unmeritorious and abuse to the court.
Counsel to the Kano State Attorney-General,  Mahmoud Abubakar-Magaji, SAN, urged the court to dismiss and strike out the entire process particularly the originating summons of the applicant motion on Kano Emirate Council (Repeal) Law 2024 and fundamental right.
He argued that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain the case and urged the court to set aside the exparte order it earlier granted retraining the respondents from arresting, intimidating or harassing the applicant.
The State House of Assembly on May 23, dissolved all the four newly created Emirate council’s in the state.
Gov. Kabir-Yusuf, on May 23, dethroned Ado-Bayero, and reappointed Sanusi II, as the Emir of Kano, four years after he was dethroned by former Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.
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