Aviation Union Ends Strike As Firm Recalls Sacked Staff
After hours of protest at the entrance gates of the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 (MMA2) Terminal in Lagos State, aviation workers on Tuesday terminated their strike and vacated the gates for resumption of flight operations.
The aviation workers under the aegis of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) had on Tuesday morning blocked the MMA2 terminal gates, disrupting airport operations as airlines suspend flights.
The union protested the “unprovoked termination” of the appointment of 34 aviation workers by the operators of the airport terminal, the B-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
The union listed those affected by the disengagement to include ATSSSAN Branch Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Women Leader who were said to demand “the payment of terminal benefits to staff members who exited the service of the company lawfully in line with the signed Conditions of Service”.
However, hours after the protest, ATSSSAN General Secretary, Francis Akinjolie said BASL has recalled the disengaged workers.
“The strike that was embarked upon today against the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited has been called off pursuant the acceptance by the company to recall the laid off members of our union and an undertaking to pay their salaries,” Akinjolie said in a statement late Tuesday.
According to him, the agreement was reached at a meeting empaneled by the Ministry of Labour and Employment; Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA); Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN); Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and airport security agencies.
Federal Government Agrees With Supreme Court Naira Ban Extension
The Federal Government has resolved to obey the ruling of the Supreme Court suspending the February 10 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN on the exchange of old Naira notes.
The Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, confirmed the development in an interview with Arise News on Thursday evening.
However, he said that the decision of the government to obey the Supreme Court order on the naira deadline was upon the administration’s inclination to the rule of law.
Also, The Anambra State police Command Police has warned against any act of violence and protest in the state following the unavailability of the new bank notes in the state.
This is even as customers had accused the banks in the state of hording the new bank notes, partnering with point-of-sale (POS ) operators and selling the naira to them at exorbitant price.
Sources alleged that banks sell the new naira notes at N2000 for N 10000 while POS operators sell the new notes at a price of N5000 customers who wanted a cash withdrawal of N10 000 only while no fees were said to be charged when withdrawing by ATM where the new naira notes were unavailable, a thing that the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele had warned against.
In a statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO ), DSP Ikenga Tochukwu titled ‘Scarcity of New Naira notes: Anambra State Police Command Uncovers Plan of Protest’ and made available to journalists in Anambra , Thursday, February 8, 2023 through the Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, the command warned against any form of protests in the state, saying it has uncovered plans by some groups to conduct protests in some parts of the state in connection with the new naira notes.
The police warned ‘mischief makers to desist from it’ saying the6 ‘police had ensured the optimal deployment of human and operational resources towards guaranteeing safety and security in the state’.
“Anambra State Police Command today 8/2/2023 has uncovered plans by some groups of persons to take advantage of the new Naira notes scarcity to unleash violence in some parts of the State. The Command has described the scarcity as not peculiar to Anambra State alone and noted that the Federal Government is doing everything possible to address the situation.
“The Command hereby warns these groups/persons to shelve their planned violence or have the full weight of the law to contend with. The Police, in conjunction with other security agencies, have embarked on confidence-building patrols and ensure the optimal deployment of human and operational resources towards guaranteeing safety and security in the State.
“The Command, therefore, enjoined Anambrains and residents alike not to panic and urge the law-abiding residents/visitors of the state to go about their lawful duties without any fear of harassment or intimidation. In the event to request security services call us on 07039194332 or PRO 08039334002 for a prompt response. The ‘npf rescue me app’ is also available for free download on both Android and Apple IOS, for Android and iPhone users respectively”.
Nigeria’s Telecoms Subscribers Hit 214 Million
The number of active telecommunication subscribers hit 214.35 million in October, according to new industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission.
This is the highest number of recorded telecoms subscribers in the nation since the total number of subscribers peaked at 207.58 million in October 2020, months before the SIM-NIN linkage.
On what has driven subscriber growth in 2022, telcos disclosed that more subscribers were getting new SIMs in a bid to circumvent restrictions on SIMs that had not been linked with their National Identification Numbers.
In MTN’s third quarter release, its Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said, “As a result, the average daily gross connection was 48.1 per cent above the pre-directive level, partly driven by the cohort of subscribers who were initially restricted and opted to register new SIMs.
“Combined with increased usage from the existing base, these have supported an acceleration in the service revenue growth recovery and mitigated the impact of churn on the base.”
The consistent growth witnessed in the number of telecoms subscribers in 2022 aligns with GSMA’s growth prediction for the industry.
According to the global industry’s association, Nigeria has a sizeable number of its population under the age of 18, indicating that its subscriber growth would remain strong for the foreseeable future as more young consumers crossed into adulthood and subscribed to mobile services.
GSMA expects 18 million new Nigerians to become unique telecoms subscribers by 2025. Mobile connectivity is at the core of connectivity in Nigeria, with the majority of online services accessed through mobile channels in the nation.
GSMA believes that mobile connectivity is set to play a crucial role in defining the new normal in the nation. It said, “In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated around 8 per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, a contribution that amounted to almost $140bn of economic value added.
“The mobile ecosystem also supported more than 3.2 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $16bn raised through taxes on the sector. By 2025, mobile’s contribution will grow by $65bn (to almost $155bn), as the countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.”
Despite this growth, about 31.6 million Nigerians live in areas without telecoms coverage, according to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. The ministry stated that the absence of such coverage had enabled criminal activities and insecurity in these unserved areas.
MTN, Airtel Bar 9.7 Million Subscribers
Two telecommunication companies have reported that 9.7 million of their subscribers are still barred from making outgoing calls despite submitting their National Identification Numbers for verification.
The telcos, MTN and Airtel, disclosed in their recent earnings report that 16.2 million subscribers who had their lines barred have submitted their NINs for verification but only 6.5 million had been verified as of September 30, 2022.
In April, over 72.77 million GSM lines were barred from making calls on their SIMs, following a directive from the Federal Government as regards subscribers that had not linked their SIMs and NINs.
It said the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (Retd.), “has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.
“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from April 4, 2022.”
According to MTN and Airtel 19 million and 13.6 million subscribers respectively were affected by the ban. The telcos further stated that the implementation of the policy has affected their revenue.
Airtel said, “In April 2022, the voice services for 13.6 million customers were barred due to non-submission of NIN information.
“As of September 2022, 5.7 million customers (42 per cent) have subsequently submitted their NINs and 2.7 million customers (20 per cent) have been fully verified and unbarred. Revenue growth for the first half of the year was impacted by the effect of barring outgoing voice calls in Nigeria for those customers who had not submitted their NINs.