By Modupe Gbadeyanka
All is now set for the burial of the former General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Abdul Kareem Motajo.
The late labour leader died on April 20, 2020, in Cuba but the global lockdown led to the delay in the shipment of his remains back to Nigeria.
With the ease in the restriction of movements, his corpse will arrive in Nigeria this week ahead of the Thursday, February 11, 2021, burial fixed by his family.
In a statement issued by the deceased’s son, Mr Adebowale Motajo, it was stated that the late unionist will be given a befitting burial.
Born February 11, 1955, Comrade Motajo was trained at the University de la Havana, Cuba and he has maintained strong ties with the country and cementing the relationship with Nigeria.
He worked as a full-time secretary of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and during the regime of former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, he became the General Secretary of NUATE and left the post in 2015 when he retired at 60.
After his retirement, he served as a member of the Presidential Council of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). His sole efforts led to winning almost a dozen affiliates of both the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) to WFTU.
Comrade Motajo was also instrumental in the establishment of the Nigerian-Cuba Friendship Business and Cultural Association.
Meanwhile, tributes have continued to pour in for the deceased.
The WFTU described him as, “a soldier in the first line of the class struggles, always ready to work, with audacity into practical work, and always fought in the first line of the WFTU for the benefits of the workers and people of Nigeria from his position as acting General Secretary of NUATE.
“Through his union struggles, he always fought for the interests of his members’ union but also for the sector of air transport workers in national and regional level.”
“Comrade Motajo stand heads and shoulders above most comrades of his generation, was his readiness to organise and fight on the field. He was someone you could go into battle with, without the slightest fear that he would not hold his ground.”
In another tribute, the former President of Lufthansa German Nigeria Staff Union, Mr Rafiu Afolabi Laguda, said, “Nigeria has lost a negotiator and labour leader who believed in mutual understanding, constructive dialogue and a promoter of negotiation without bitterness.
“Comrade Motajo fought for the eradication of casualization of labour in the aviation industry. He fought for the rights of the vulnerable, upheld equity and justice, respect for law and order. He promoted industrial peace through conflict resolution.”
Similarly, the National Coordinator, Oodua Liberation Movement (OLM), described him as a quintessential fellow with unquantifiable attributes. Comrade Motajo was resourceful. He excelled in theory and practice. The most quality and asset of a cadre is to be well-grounded in theory and practice.
Equally, Ferney-Voltaire extolled the value of the late Comrade Motajo, he was described as a soldier’s soldier on the left for his boldness. This was not about his being clearly the closest socialist in the country to the Cuban people. It was his readiness to throw body, heart and soul with audacity into practical work, even when this could cost him his life.
ECOWAS Court Restrains Nigeria From Imposing Sanctions On Twitter
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Court of Justice in Abuja has restrained the federal government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting or prosecuting Twitter.
It also restricted the government from carrying out such actions against any other social media service provider, as well as media houses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit challenging the government’s suspension of Twitter operations in Nigeria.
The court gave the restraining order following the suit filed by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and 176 concerned Nigerians.
In the suit, the applicants argued that the suspension of Twitter by the Nigerian government was illegal
The federal government on June 4 said it has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria as its operation threatened national security.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued by his office in Abuja.
The statement cited the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
According to the statement, the Minister said the federal government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.
The suspension came a few days after Twitter deleted a tweet from President Muhammadu Buhari’s official account.
The tweet had referenced the Nigerian civil war as the President threatened to treat Nigerians “misbehaving” in “the language they understand”.
It sparked reactions from many Nigerians who interpreted the statement as a threat to commit human rights violations.
On Tuesday, the federal government set up a team to engage with Twitter over the recent suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.
The approval was announced in a statement in Abuja today by Mr Mohammed, who will chair the team.
The committee comprises the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Minister of Works and Housing, Minister of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.
Buhari Constitutes Team to Engage Twitter Over Ban
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A team has been put together by President Muhammadu Buhari to engage Twitter, popular social media platform, over the suspension of its operations in Nigeria.
Twitter was banned in Nigeria by the federal government in early June after it deleted a tweet of President Buhari for violating one of its rules.
The President had posted a series of tweets and in one of them, he threatened to treat those fomenting trouble in the South-East in a language they understand.
He had earlier said those agitating to leave the country were too young to know about the losses the region suffered in the Nigerian Civil War that last 30 months between. Millions of Igbos were said to have died during the war.
A few days before Mr Buhari’s tweet, the heroes of the war were honoured on May 30 across the region and there was a stay-at-home order given by the Indigenous People of Briafra (IPOB), which was strictly adhered to.
So, when the President posted about dealing with people from the region in a language they understand, it was taken to be a genocide threat, which Twitter frowns at.
The federal government, which was angered by the action of the microblogging website, retaliated by suspending operations of the company in Nigeria, making it impossible for residents of the country to have access to the platform.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, who announced the ban, has been going around to explain the reason for the action.
He had said the indefinite suspension was because the platform to undermine the “corporate existence” of Nigeria. He later said Twitter has approached the government for talks.
On Tuesday, his media aide, Mr Segun Adeyemi, disclosed in a statement that Mr Buhari has “approved the composition” of a team to have discussions with Twitter over the issue.
He said the team is to be led by Mr Mohammed with the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Pantami; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola; the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; as well as other relevant government agencies as members.
Second Niger Bridge to be Ready 2022—FG Assures
By Adedapo Adesanya
The federal government has reaffirmed its determination to complete the construction of the Second Niger Bridge next year.
The Minister of Works and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, gave this assurance at a forum of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday, June 20, to mark the sixth year anniversary of the present administration.
According to Mr Fashola, the bridge, which will serve as a major link between South-East and South-West Nigeria, will be delivered between the second and third quarter of 2022.
Records show that construction of the bridge commenced on September 1, 2018, with construction cost put at N336 billion when the contract deal was signed.
The minister, however, made no mention if the construction cost of the facility had changed since the commencement of work.
He said that the project would facilitate the influx of investments to the South East when completed, noting that the construction work had gone beyond the water level, explaining that most bridge works were done underwater.
“So, what you see currently is the final work. The sub-structure which entailed building cement structures underwater often costs a lot of money.
“We should finish the bridge next year between the second quarter and third quarter,” he affirmed, saying that construction time was lost because of COVID-19.
The bridge is 1.6 kilometres long and furnished with other ancillary infrastructure, including a 10.3 kilometres highway and an inter-change expected to be completed next year.
The bridge spans from Asaba in Delta State to Ozubulu, Ogbaru, and other communities in Anambra State.
The existing Niger Bridge linking Onitsha and Asaba was completed in December 1965. It was built by the French construction giant, Dumez.
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