By Usman Abdullahi Koli
One of the rationales that worsen the challenges societies are going through is absence of activists that speak-out or channeling the pleas of people to the rightful authorities. Northern part of Nigeria had potential elites such as Sir Ahmadu Bello, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, etc that all merged and fought tirelessly along with others from Southern and Eastern regions which led to the independence of the country from British Colonial Masters. The Northern Nigeria for decades lack someone that can confidently come out to speak or stage mass protest on its challenges but in God blessed us with Nastura Ashir Shariff; he is an activist, unionist, voice of the voiceless who always strives for the benefit of all.
Biographically, Nastura Ashir Shariff was born on January 1st 1970, into the family of an Islamic scholar in Sabuwa of Gwale Local Government Area of Kano State. As a tradition in Northern Nigeria a child first attend Islamic school before any other education, Nastura had his rudimentary Islamic education from his father, he had his western education all in Kano State. He started work with the Kano State Ministry of Education in 1988 and was later transferred to Dala Local Government Secretariat in 1989 as a Sport Secretary. Nastura’s political journey started in Social Democratic Party (SDP) as Deputy Administrative Secretary in 1993 and became Personal Assistant to the then Vice Chairman of Dala LGA in 1995, he finally retired and engaged in private businesses.
The agile Nastura is the present leader of Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) which initially started as Arewa Students Forum (ASF), it later mutated into Arewa Youths Development Foundation (AYDF). The ASF and AYDP merged and gave birth to Arewa Citizens Action for Change (ACAC) which strove through writings, speeches and protests against misgovernance and challenges of the entire North. In 2017, the ACAC met with 26 like-minded Northern groups and formed Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) that fights for those whose rights were violated, clamours for qualitative education, struggles for effective health care, reminds politicians of their promises and re-awakens Northerners about the sacrifices made by past leaders.
Indelible dreams of Nastura is to have a North which is free from all sorts of societal ills or any form of conflicts; he along with some similar-minded personalities came up with Initiative for Community Action against Drug Abuse aimed at halting drug abuse and Mentorship Programme that targets Northern students pursing higher education. Factually, Nastura Ashir Shariff is the only immutable man that stages peaceful protests severally against the insecurity and inadequacy of social amenities to people. In an interview with LawCareNigeria, he stated that his career in activism had its root in history where he was exposed to the Late Yusuf Maitama Sule’s school of thought, he further explained that contemporary training in political history, philosophical oratory and diplomatic communication are what inspired many referred him as activist and rights crusader.
The fearless Nastura openly expresses his view on issues affecting citizens or which put them in unbearable hardships, like the spate of students’ kidnappings in north-western States. Months ago, after a peaceful protest in Katsina State, he was arrested and taken to Abuja by the Police where he spent two days in detention; it did not discourage him in the quest for good governance. Nastura uses his hard-earned money in sponsoring of many students that could not afford and whenever they graduate, he asks them to do same to others. In his unwearied vision, he wants authorities to make it mandatory in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions the revision of northern histories, cultures, past elites and how they lived their lives which would make the present and future generations imbibe.
More so, as getting government’s work is becoming impossible to poor and qualified applicants, Nastura strategically and financially support all ranges of youths into businesses while some into acquiring skills in order to stand on their own. Most of those involved in criminalities are unemployed, whenever Nastura is at events, he always draws leaders’ attentions on job creation as it is vital for crimes reduction. In recent years, the whole Northern region is afflicted by activities of bandits, insurgents etc where unspecified number of people are losing their lives on daily basis; if people like Nastura are given chance to lead, certainly all would be well. Nastura prefers to speak-out and risk his life than to remain taciturn.
There is no doubt about it that Northern Nigeria is the epicenter of politics, in view of limitless challenges of the region, the current President gave most political appointments to people from the side but all to no avail as they are passive in curtailing the challenges. It is therefore sacrosanct that individuals like Nastura deserve to be protected because he is contributing toward developments of others than his. Nastura’s vast experience, foresight and like-minded colleagues around him would never let him accept bribe to be quiet without calling him back to track. Nastura Ashir Shariff is happily married and blessed with two boys and two daughters.
Koli, a graduate of Mass Communication, Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi
Refineries Not Created To Reduce Petrol Price, Kyari Tells Senate
Forty eight hours after being summoned by the Senate, the Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO) of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mele Kyari, has now appeared before the joint committee on appropriations.
The Senate had issued a 24-hour ultimatum on Wednesday to the NNPCL boss after an observations that he had in previous occasions, shunned summons by the Senate to appear before its ad-committee probing over 11 trillion naira expenditure on turn around maintenance of refineries in the country between 2010 and 2023.
Responding to questions by the senate committee on appropriations on the potential drop in pump price of petroleum owing to the expected functionality of refineries, Kyari clarified his comment after he was interrogated again. He explained that it might be possible to have a reduction, but it is not the main objective of the refineries.
He buttressed that maintaining the energy security target has fostered the confidence that in 2024, Nigeria will become a net exporter of petroleum products.
The NNPCL boss affirmed that no subsidy is charged to the federation, adding that the NNPC has contributed 4.45 trillion naira as direct revenue into the federation in a combination of taxes, royalties and dividends and paid 406 billion naira as dividend to Federal Government’s account from July 2023.
According to him, Nigeria does not have credible data for PMS consumption in the country because of the absence of the instrument to measure.
The Chairman of the Senate Appropriation Committee, Senator Adeola Olamilekan, had on Wednesday, directed Kyari to appear before the committee in 24 hours.
Olamilekan, who asked Kyari to appear in company of the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), warned that failure to appear undermines the legislature and sabotages the process.
They are required to present the list of all individual companies operating with OML licenses in Nigeria as well as total production output approved on a daily basis.
The lawmaker expressed concerns that some of the revenues required to drive the 2024 budget was attributed to the NNPCL, which according to him, was owned by the Federal Government and responsible to it, and by extension the three arms of government. Channels TV.
Labour Leaders Meet To Work Out Living Wages
Ahead of the expected resumption of negotiation between the Federal Government and the organised labour on the new Minimum Wage, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, is meeting in Abuja to brainstorm so as to arrive at a living wage that is commensurate with the prevailing cost of living.
This came as the NLC has vowed not to be deterred by the recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State, which it said poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining.
These were contained in the welcome address by the NLC President, Mr. Joe Ajaero, at the Opening Session of the NLC 2023 Harmattan School with the theme: “Building Workers’ Skills for Policy Engagement” in Abuja.
Ajaero, represented by the Congress Deputy President, Benjamin Anthony said: “In the face of adversity and brutality encountered while advocating for the rights of workers to earn their legitimate income and benefits, our resolve remains unwavering. We are motivated to continue our efforts towards achieving decent work and improving working conditions in the formal and informal sectors of the economy.
“The recent assault on workers and their leaders in Imo State poses a grave threat to freedom of association and collective bargaining as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended and the ILO Conventions 87 and 98 on Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining, and should unequivocally be condemned by all people of goodwill.
“The only thing that can assuage our pains is for the Imo State Government to address all labour issues and return the so called ‘ghost workers’ to their jobs, pay all outstanding salaries and pensions and call back all victimized workers to their jobs.
“It has become very necessary for governments at all levels to recognize that life and living conditions are exceedingly difficult, especially for working people in both the formal and informal sectors of the economy.”
“The removal of subsidy on petroleum products has further exacerbated the challenges faced by working people, unleashing severe pain and contributing to galloping inflation and increasing inequality and poverty.
“We must reckon that a well-motivated and well-remunerated workforce has a positive impact on productivity and national development,” he added.
He implored participants to approach the training programme with a quest and thirst for knowledge through asking of questions and sharing of experiences with the facilitators and with one another.
He thanked the representative of the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Country Director of the ILO for the English Speaking, West African Countries, the Director General of the Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, the Resident Representative of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, FES, Country Director of the Solidarity Centre, members of the NAC, CWC and NEC of the NLC for finding time to attend the Opening Session of the 2023 School.
Operatives Of NDLEA Uncover Illicit Drugs Concealed In Dolls, Local Soap, Milo Tins
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have uncovered illicit substances bound for Europe, United Arab Emirates and Asia.
Disclosing this in a statement on Sunday, NDLEA spokesman, Femi Babafemi, said the illicit substances intercepted included various quantities of methamphetamine and opioids concealed in hems of new jeans trousers, dolls, buttons, local soap and tins of milo beverage.
Noting that the operation was carried out by operatives of the Directorate of Operations and General Investigation (DOGI) at courier houses in Lagos, he said some of the items seized included tramadol 225mg concealed in hems of new jeans trousers heading to Cyprus; shipment of cannabis sativa hidden in heads of dolls going to Dubai; sachets of tramadol 225mg buried in tins of milo beverage going to UAE; and another set of same drug hidden in local soap also going to UAE.
Others were a consignment of methamphetamine concealed in buttons heading to Hong Kong; and a shipment of another illicit substance coming from Florida, USA.
“Operatives in Lagos on Friday 1st December also arrested a drug kingpin, Okechukwu Ogala, 56, who specialises in exploiting and recruiting young citizens to export meth to Asian countries.
“He was arrested at Blue Moon Hotel in Okota area of Lagos with 60 wraps of methamphetamine weighing 1.009 kilograms.
“In another operation in Lagos, operatives on Friday 1st December recovered 393kgs of cannabis in a shop at Akala, Mushin while a suspect, Justin Enuonye, who deals in Canadian Loud was arrested by the police at Victoria Island and transferred to Lagos Command of NDLEA on Friday 1st December with 154 parcels weighing 92kgs.
“A team of NDLEA operatives also intercepted a vehicle at Oyingbo area of Lagos and recovered 108kgs of cannabis from it, while 675 kilograms of the same substance were recovered from the store of a wanted dealer, Wahab Olota at Adedoja area of Mushin, Lagos,” Babafemi said. Channels TV.
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