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Aviation workers shut airports over new Law



Aviation unions Monday paralysed activities at the nation’s airports following simultaneous protests over an alleged move to proscribe trade union activities as contained in the newly passed Civil Aviation Act.

Thousands of passengers were stranded in airports across the country as many of them said they missed important appointments.

Five aviation unions had last Thursday threatened to shut down the industry after discovering what they called “obnoxious clauses” in the new Act assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari penultimate week.

They vowed to protest at all airports nationwide and picket the aviation agencies in Abuja and Lagos to demand for the removal of the clauses.

The unions also gave the federal government and the National Assembly 14 days to expunge the clauses or face a total shutdown of the industry.

The protesting unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).

The bone of contention, our correspondent learnt, is the provisions of Section 67, subsections 1, 2 and 3 in the new Act, which classify aviation workers as rendering essential services.

In designating aviation as essential services, Section 67 said, “All services, which facilitate and maintain the smooth, orderly and safe take-off,  flight and handling of aircraft and the disembarkation and evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively in all aerodromes in Nigeria are hereby designated as essential services pursuant to the provisions of section 11  (I) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Subsection Two added that “The  minister may by regulations  prohibit all or  such  class  or  classes of workers, officers and other employees of persons, whether  corporate or natural,  engaged in  the provision  of the services  specified in subsection  (1) of this  section  from  taking  part in a  strike  or  other industrial action.”

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The unions however vowed to reject the provisions and said the implementation of the new CAA is dead on arrival.

In Kano, the commercial nerve centre of the North, it was a double-edged sword as an inter-agency spat between the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) resulted in the shutdown of the air navigational system by the air traffic controllers, thereby preventing flights from taking off or landing at the Malam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA).

It was gathered that FAAN on Friday disconnected power supply to all NAMA staff accommodations due to non-payment of electricity bills, which provoked them (NAMA staff) to down tools, thereby affecting landing and take-off of flights.

An airport official said AZMAN and Max Air flights scheduled for Abuja and Lagos in the early morning were not allowed to leave on schedule, and that passengers after boarding the flights were later told to disembark as the Air Traffic Controllers shut down their operations.

However, Daily Trust reports that some hours later, the flights resumed after the disputes between the two bodies were resolved with the agreement that activities will continue with immediate effect.

It was gathered that members of the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) had earlier threatened to shut down air navigation facilities in the Kano zone over the disconnection of electricity supply by FAAN.

They, however, made good their threat, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded for hours even as the airport also contended with the protest by the unions.


In Lagos, Daily Trust observed that members of the union started their protest from Arik Air/FAAN headquarters, marching towards the MMA2 before heading to their office at FAAN’s Maintenance Yard.

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There was heavy gridlock along the airport road during the period of the protest.

The unions had shut all entry points to the FAAN and NAMA regional headquarters, preventing workers from accessing their offices.

All cars belonging to workers at FAAN, NAMA and other agencies were parked outside during the protest while the gates were only opened by 12 noon after the day’s protest.

The union members carried placards with various inscriptions, saying no to an attempt by the federal government to criminalise trade union activities.

General Secretary of the ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole told our correspondent that classifying aviation as rendering essential services was an attempt to gag the unions and vow to resist it in totality.

He stated that the unions have resolved to shut down the industry in the next 14 days if the provisions were not expunged.

He said findings by the unions from the National Assembly indicated that the provisions were not in the original bill passed by the legislature and call for an investigation to ascertain how the clauses found their way into the bill.


Also, the National Treasurer of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Safoya Araga reiterated that the workers would not fold their arms and allow their freedom of association to be tampered with.

In Abuja, aviation workers at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport also joined their counterparts in the protest against the new CAA.

The protest saw the union members marching through the major roads at the airport, insisting that the classification of aviation workers as essential service providers in the new Act is anti-labour and must be rescinded by President Muhammadu Buhari.

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The workers who took their protest from the international wing of the airport up to the gate carried different placards saying “Buhari don’t assent to anti-union aviation bill/act”,  our voices must be heard, protest is our right’, ‘when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty”.

The Chairman of NUATE in Abuja, Comrade Dauda Nambol said the protest was premised on the illegal clauses inserted into the Aviation Bill.

He explained that classifying them as essential workers means that they would be exempted from all the instruments of their actions, they would not be allowed to carry out strikes, picketing or lock-outs, saying these are the instrument of their struggles as enshrined in the International Labour Organization (ILO) convention.

“We are comrades and this is our right as workers. If we feel dissatisfied over any issue we have the right to protest and we will not allow anybody to take away that right.”

Nambol warned that after the peaceful protest, they have given the government two weeks to retract the clause, saying failure to do so, they would use all the available instruments to ensure they achieve their struggle. (Daily Trust)

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Abuja British School shuts down over bullying, assault of female student



Abuja British School shuts down over bullying, assault of female student
• Lead British International School
The management of Lead British International School, Abuja, has shut down the institution over the bullying incident that went viral on social media.

An X user, @mooyeeeeeee, posted two videos where the victim she identified as Maryam Hassan was repeatedly slapped by another female student. Brithe

The video generated thousands of comments by netizens who called on the school authorities to investigate the matter.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the school authorities announced a 3-day closure to enable them probe deeply into the matter.

A top member of staff said the decision to shut down the school temporarily was in the interest of all parties involved.

Earlier reports said tempers flared at the meeting when a parent walked up to the student who bullied her colleague and gave her a slap.

The student, who has been severely criticised,  was seen walking into the premises accompanied by elderly males.

A lady identified as one of the parents walked up to the student, asking her, “She is proud of what she did. You are proud of what you did! You are proud right? Someone’s child; innocent child, you beat her, did you give birth to her? I am asking you, did you give birth to her?”


The student was trying to walk away so as to avoid confrontation, but the angry parent shoved her, saying, “I’m asking you: did you give birth to her?” The student muttered some incoherent words and the angry parent responded with a slap, before other elderly person around moved in to douse tension.

The Lead British International School had earlier said it has launched investigation into the matter.

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In a statement issued earlier on Monday, it said the counselling unit of the school is helping the victimised student overcome the emotional and psychological impact.

The statement read, “We are committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all our students. Hence, upon learning of the incident, we initiated the process of reaching out to the victim and family with a view to providing support, including access to counselling services to help them cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the incident.

“Additionally, we will be working with the perpetrators and their families, offering counselling and disciplinary measures to address their behaviour which has no place in society.

“We have also immediately initiated an investigation, appointing a dedicated team to conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter. The team has been gathering information, including reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses, to understand the full scope of the incident and identify the immediate and remote causes.”

The federal government has also confirmed shutting down of the Lead British International School, Abuja for three days over the case of a student of the school, Namtira Bwala who was physically bullied and assaulted by her classmate, Maryam Hassan.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, who visited the school on Tuesday,  announced the shutting down of the school following the outrage that trailed the viral video of how and where the female, Maryam brutally slapped and bullied Namtira.

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Yahaya Bello: NBA disowns protest by lawyers



Yahaya Bello: NBA disowns protest by 'fake' lawyers
• The protesting 'lawyers'
• Says protesters not lawyers

The Nigerian Bar Associaiton (NBA) on Tuesday, disclaimed a protest by lawyers over what they called the illegal approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in handling its allegations against former Governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello

The no fewer than 500 persons who claimed to be legal practitioners from across the country on Monday, stormed the Supreme Court complex.

The lawyers, under the umbrella of judicial watchdogs, faulted the siege on the ex-Gov’s residence, in a bid to arrest him, in spite of  a valid court order to the contrary, which had not been vacated.

Meanwhile, in a short notice to newsmen on Tuesday, the NBA through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Habeeb Lawal, says the group of protesters are not lawyers.

The notice reads: “The above report refers.

“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is aware that some news outlets have reported this news.

“Please be informed that while the NBA respects the rights of citizens to assemble and protest, we insist that this particular group of persons are not lawyers.

“For completeness, their supposed leader or convener Sylvanus K. Alewu is not a name known to us,” he said. (NAN)

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7 repentant bandits surrender weapons in Plateau



7 repentant bandits surrender weapons in Plateau
• Surrendered weapons

Special Adviser to the Plateau Governor on Security and Coordinator of Operation Rainbow, Brigadier General Gakji Shipi (rtd), has announced that the non-kinetic approach to addressing security challenges in the state is showing positive results.

General Shipi (rtd) revealed that seven notorious bandits have surrendered and given up their weapons, including AK-47 rifles, to security agencies.

During a briefing with journalists on Monday, General Shipi (rtd) praised the joint efforts of security agencies, vigilantes, and hunters in Wase local government area for their recent actions in combatting banditry and other security threats.

He highlighted that the collaboration among these groups had led to the surrender of the weapons by the bandits. General Shipi (rtd) explained that although the bandits were initially hesitant to surrender out of fear of reprisal, they eventually decided to abandon violence and willingly return their weapons.

He stressed that the increasing incidents of armed banditry had prompted security agencies to broaden their focus beyond known hotspots to other regions.

The special adviser credited this achievement to the united efforts of Wase local government authorities, local vigilante groups, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), the Department of State Services (DSS), and the police.

General Shipi (rtd) stated, ““For quite some time now, we have been taking a look at the security situation bedevilling the state and apart from the kinetic approach, we have decided to adopt the non-kinetic means to solve the problem.

“We have also decided to shift attention to other areas, especially Wase local government area, which had had fair share of armed banditry and the endeavours have started recording success.


“Some of the criminals and bandits have returned their weapons to us and you know we are still negotiating, but for fear of being prosecuted, some of them have surrendered their weapons to us without coming out, but with the confidence measures we are building more will return their weapons as well as surrender to the authorities”.

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While General Shipi (rtd) did not disclose the exact number of bandits who had surrendered, he confirmed the return of seven AK-47 rifles, suggesting that seven individuals have turned away from banditry.

“We are still in the negotiation phase, and we are hopeful that more bandits will follow suit in renouncing violence and returning their weapons”, he noted.

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