The proposed plan by some banks to downsize their workforce as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic has been suspended.
The Central Bank of Nigeria and the banks in the country, after a meeting agreed to suspend the planned sack of workers in the banking sector even as they plan to recommence operations.
This was contained in a statement on Sunday by the apex bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Isaac Okorafor.
The PUNCH reports that the Presidential Task Force Team on COVID-19 had said last week that banks would be allowed to re-open for commercial operations as the lockdown eases in parts of the country effective Monday, May 4.
Some banks had proposed the idea of downsizing their workforce as they plan to recommence operations, a decision that has met public outcry.
But the apex bank said it convened a meeting with the banks to review the economic impact the proposed action would have on workers and their families, especially at such a difficult time.
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It said, “A special meeting of the Bankers’ Committee was convened on May 2, 2020, to further review the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Nigerian banking industry. The Committee particularly deliberated on the issue of the operating costs of banks in view of the disruptions emanating from the global economic difficulties and decided as follows:
“In order to help minimize and mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families and livelihoods, no bank in Nigeria shall retrench or lay-off any staff of any cadre (including full-time and part-time).
“To give effect to the above measure, the express approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria shall be required in the event that it becomes absolutely necessary to lay-off any such staff.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria solicits the support of all in our collective effort to weather through the economic challenges occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
OPINION: NBC, The Dragon And Media’s Long Walk To Liberty
By Suyi Ayodele
Alfred Thompson “Tom” Denning, Baron Denning, popularly called Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls, was a British jurist who died on March 5, 1999, at the ripe age of 100. During his stints on the Bench and at the Bar, Denning was a defender of the principle of natural justice. In a 1968 matter he adjudicated between the Metropolitan Properties Co (FGC) Ltd vs Lannon, the man who answered the sobriquet ‘the people’s judge’ summarized natural justice thus: “Justice must be rooted in confidence and confidence is destroyed when right-minded people go away thinking: ‘The judge was biased’.” On another occasion, the late jurist said: “The law is to see that truth is observed and that justice is done between man, and man”. Together with another jurist, Lord Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton (Lord Acton), Denning popularized the twin fundamental principles of natural justice to wit: hear both side in a matter (Audi Alteram Partem) and no one should be a judge in his own case (Nemo Judex in Casua Sua).
These two principles are anchored on the need to avoid biases on the part of the judge. These are the principles the NBC flagrantly violated in its decision to slam a N5 million fine on Channels TV. The questions to ask are many. When was the station queried? What was its response? Did NBC actually watch the broadcast as it claimed? If it did, what did it make of Okinbaloye’s several cautions to Datti? How can an umpire such as NBC be working the sums from the answer? While one will agree that the NBC has the authority to regularize the broadcasting industry, can one agree with the fact that the NBC is the investigator, the prosecutor, the judge and the enforcer of the sanction? Could Lord Acton have had the NBC in mind when he postulated that “Authority that does not exist for Liberty is no authority but force”? Why is NBC moving toward becoming a dragon, a monster in the hands of despotic leaders? NBC cannot be the complainant, the investigator, the prosecutor, and the judge. That is against the principle of natural justice. If the Broadcast laws allow the Commission to impose fines, the simple explanation is that the drafters of the law never envisaged a day when a party which is intolerant of the truth like the APC would come to power.
On Friday, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) slammed a N5 million fine on the Channels Television for the March 22, 2023, interview the television house granted Datti Baba-Ahmed, the vice-presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the February 25 election. During the interview, Datti expressed misgivings about the conduct of the election and warned General Muhammadu Buhari not to swear in Tinubu as he did not score 25% of the vote in the FCT, being one of the prerequisites for being declared the winner. An emotional Datti, in the interview, and against the many restraints from the anchor, Seun Okinbaloye, insisted that his LP won the election and described the certificate of return issued to Tinubu by INEC as a “dud cheque”. Among other things, the LP vice presidential candidate said that should General Buhari hand over to Tinubu on May 29 in spite of the infractions, “that would be ending democracy”. He insisted that handing over to Tinubu, who he claimed did not fulfill the “constitutional requirements of the constitution” would amount to unconstitutionality and warned the CJN not to partake in the “unconstitutionality”.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: Iwuanyanwu And The Proverbial Eran Ìbíye
Shortly after the interview was aired, Bayo Onanuga, APC presidential campaign council’s Director of Media and Publicity, wrote a complaint to the NBC, accusing Datti of making comments that attacked the integrity of the presidential elections. Onanuga, in his petition claimed that the LP vice-presidential candidate, as the guest on the programme in question, asking General Buhari not to swear in the president-elect “is a subversive comment since the matter is among the issues submitted in their petition before the tribunal for adjudication. Therefore, until the court rules otherwise, the status quo is the INEC position as declared in the final results”. He cited Sections 3.8.1(b) nad14.0.1 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code 6th edition to back up his complaints. Datti’s statements, the Tinubu media man insisted I “is not only divisive and subversive but also inciting and inflammatory. The comment by Mr. Datti later on the same programme that if ‘President Buhari should hand over to the President-elect by 29th May, that would be the end of democracy’ is another case of unguarded statement and breach of Section 5.3.3(b), which states that – ‘A Broadcaster shall avoid divisive and inflammatory matters in its provocative form in using political material’. Furthermore, Section 22.214.171.124 said that no Broadcaster shall encourage or incite crime, lead to public hate, disorder or repugnant to public feelings’ materials that cause disaffection. We, therefore, urge NBC to invoke the necessary sanctions on Channels Television for the breaches enumerated above”, Onanuga prayed the regulatory body.
Pronto, the NBC slammed a fine of N5 million on Channels Television for breaking the broadcasting law and ordered the station to pay the fine within two weeks. The letter dated March 27 and titled: “Broadcast of an Inciting Interview, A Sanction”, was signed by Balarabe Ilelah, the NBC’s Director-General. The letter reads in Part: The NBC claimed to have monitored the broadcast of the live interview with Datti and concluded that the broadcast was volatile and capable of inciting public disorder, violating some sections of the broadcasting code. “Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance. You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated,” the NBC Director-General threatened. This is where the problem begins.
FROM THE AUTHOR: OPINION: The Cults Of Lagos
In his reaction to my March 7, 2023, column titled, Tinubu And My Journey To ‘Exile’, the foremost lexicographer, Patrick Obahiagbon, popularly known as Igodomigodo, wrote to assure me of the character of the president-elect. Igodomigodo maintained: “…I don’t also think that Asiwaju holds that very myopic view of those like you, Adedayo and my very good friend, Olagunju who are critical of his politics. That’s not the Asiwaju I know Sir. Please don’t allow the views of some political hallelujah choristers to put you off…Give Asiwaju a chance, and like u rightly said, access him critically as usual in approbation or disapprovingly as d (the) day goes by”. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the president-elect, will be sworn in as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces on Monday, May 29, 2023, God willing. That is some 55 days away. Morning shows the night. Nigerians are definitely in for a long walk with the Tinubu presidency. My major concern is the liberty of the media in the Tinubu presidency. My fear is informed by the utterances of some of the aides of Tinubu, especially the pretentious ones among them. The fear is being given a life of its own while Tinubu is still the president-elect. Like I said before, I have never met the man, Tinubu. But I can sufficiently give a vivid description of his personality. A man is known by what he says, what he does and what people say about him. Elementary sociology teaches that a man can also be identified by the company he keeps. Tinubu has, in large numbers, some elements that are what my people call the typical Elegun Sango.
Sango, now known as the god of thunder, was once a human king of Oyo Kingdom. He was the fourth king of the kingdom after the reign of Ajaka. Reputed to be a fiery-tempered person, Sango has an aide, who holds his reins and is believed to be the caution to the fire-emitting king. That aide is known in history as Elegun Sango. Traditional worshippers of Sango as a deity know that it is not Sango that is temperamental. The one, who is supposed to exercise restraint on him is regarded as the real problem. Again, my people describe the relationship in a proverb thus: Sango is not as temperamental as his rein (Sango o gbona bi elegun re). It is Elegun Sango who points out those who offended the deity to him and he in anger would strike. This is why during Egungun festival, the elders caution the masquerade to be wary of the one holding the reins (Atokun Eegun). This in essence means that a principal may have a pleasant disposition but if he is surrounded by very bad aides, the principal will always be in the public space for the wrong reasons. This is the case with the president-elect.
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Is it not unfortunate that the APC, which in 2015, as the opposition party threatened to form a parallel government should it fail to win the presidential election and the heaven did not fall, is the same party that would not want anyone to complain about its malfeasance? That threat was reported by the media, electronic and print and nobody was fined. What has Datti done and what has the Channels TV broadcast that the APC did not do when it was an opposition party? If the Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, whom the APC and its top echelons described as “clueless” and helped to amplify the “ineffectual buffoon” description The Economist gave the former president, and the man did not hunt them, why is APC the one to complain about an opposition calling a certificate of return a “dud cheque”? The same party, which against all protestations, fielded a Muslim-Muslim ticket, went ahead to rent ‘Bishops’ to legitimize its single-faith ticket and rolled out Oro cults to win Lagos gubernatorial election, is the one complaining about a Peter Obi and Bishop Oyedepo’s alleged telephone conversation! How do you describe hypocrisy? If indeed Obi called Oyedepo and declared the February 25 presidential election as “religious and ethnic war”, did the APC not do worse things during the election? Who started the “religious and ethnic war” in the first instance?
But the most unfortunate personality in the NBC fine is the writer of the petition, Onanuga, who many regard as a foremost journalist. This is a case of the fowl eating the entrails of another fowl. How would any journalist have believed that a day would come in the history of the noble profession when an Onanuga would be at the vanguard of gagging the media? That is class betrayal of the crudest form! The same Bayo Onanuga who used the defunct The News to hunt the expired dictator, Sani Abacha to his grave? How time changes people. Or is it that Onanuga has been the proverbial two-faced Janus all this while? This is how a fellow journalist described Onanuga’s conduct in this matter: “Bayo Onanuga is just behaving like a young man that was promised recruitment into the Police Force and he goes about arresting people”. I cannot agree less. Imagine an Onanuga as the Minister of Information in Tinubu’s cabinet! Is the media not in for a long walk in a dark alley?
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This is why I think the media, especially the electronic platforms, should seek redress in the court of law. This arbitrariness of the NBC and his cahoots should not be allowed to pass unchallenged. The print media survived because some people paid the price. The electronic media should follow that path. NBC cannot continue to be the judge in its own matters. Before the dragons get to power, the furrow it is building in our collective backyard should be sealed up to suffocate it. Once the media loses its liberty, humanity will ultimately lose its freedom. Foremost journalist and lawyer, Richard Akinnola, who doubles as Onanuga’s bosom friend, did an open letter to the former ‘human rights activist’ over the matter. Akinnola warned Onanuga that “we would fight this your planned “insurrection” against the independent media the way we, including you, fought Abacha’s dictatorship against the media”. Can I be the number one recruit in the Army for the liberation of our media space? Nzogbu nzogbu, Enyinba Enyi!
Suyi Ayodele is a senior journalist, South-South/South-East Editor, Nigerian Tribune and a columnist in the same newspaper.
EFCC Arraigns Ex-ABU VC, Bursar For Money Laundering
A former vice chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Professor Ibrahim Garba, and Ibrahim Shehu Usman, a former bursar of the same university have been arraigned on a nine-count charge bothering on fraud.
They were arraigned before Justice R.M Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting Kaduna, Kaduna State, for money laundering to the tune of over N1billion by the Kaduna Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
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According to the post by the official handle of the EFCC, @officialEFCC, “They are alleged to have diverted the monies from different accounts of the institution meant for the renovation of the popular Kongo Conference Hotel, Zaria.”
Edo University Graduates 54 Nursing Students
The Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria on Friday inducted 54 nurses who are graduates from the Department of Nursing Science, Edo State University, Uzairue, Edo State.
Administering the oath taking/induction, Director of Special Duties, Nursing and Midwifery Council of Nigeria, Mr. Yahaya Summi, congratulated the students for their successful completion of their degree program of the university and also passing the professional examinations saying it is a great achievement and the council is proud of them.
He also expressed appreciations to the school management and lecturers of the nursing department for their commitment, support and contributions both academically, morally and financially towards victorious accomplishment of their education in the university.
He said essence of the occasion was to celebrate their transition from being nursing students to graduate and registered nurses, adding that the gathering is to formerly received them into the noble profession of nursing through oath taking and induction.
He further stated that the occasion was to also to remind them of their fundamental responsibility as nurses, saying that it is only after the induction that their names would be entered into the council’s register and thereafter would be addressed with the title registered nurses.
Mr. Summi said that a lot is being expected from them as prospective nurses, adding that nursing is a profession that is tremendously demanding compassion and helpfulness, meaning that nurses are required to be compassionate, kind and attentive in dealing with old patients and clients.
”The BSc program as you are all aware is high standard of education programs designed to produce nurses who are adequately equip with the requisite knowledge, clinical skills and professional intelligence to render safe and efficient health care to the populace.
“As a prospective graduate nurses, you have attained high standard of education in clinical skills that will enable you to render safe and efficient health care services as you go into the labour market; you will be fully accountable for your own decisions, actions and attitudes, you must be able to perform nursing skills verities of health care settings’.
The director however encouraged them to learn and work with other nurses who are already in health practice by accepting corrections, improve and make adjustments positively when necessary and avoid unnecessary mistakes.
He appealed to them to be credible ambassadors, adhered to the ethics of the profession by display honesty and humility in the course of their practice at all times.
He lamented that Nigeria is currently faced with challenge of migration of health professionals, adding that WHO encouraged migration of health professionals.
On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor said the oath taking/induction is the 2nd edition for graduates of nursing students in the institution.
Aluyor said the institution had groomed and equip them to effectively take up the challenges in the nursing profession.
“Edo University Uzairue prides itself as a modern university that develops leaders, as nursing graduates from the university, we as management are confident of the fact that the knowledge you have received will act as catalyst needed to succeed in life.
“As graduate nurses, yours is a call to service. Your mandate to all patients include medication, treatment administration, patient education and case management.
“You will be required to offer these services as they are crucial to saving lives.
“It is my charge to you that as you go out to render this services, do so with every sense of pride and the defense of your Alma mata,” he said.
The VC disclosed that the university is proud to have modern simulation equipment such as the simman 3G Manikin and different low fidelity and high fidelity Manikins deployed in the training of nursing students.
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