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Human Rights

Exclusive: Documents reveal naked truth about Glo’s mass sack of married women

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Protest erupted in Enugu March 19 as a group of placard-carrying women stormed the streets to protest the controversial sack in one fell swoop of “over 90” married women by the telecom giant, Globacom.

Elsewhere in Lagos, groups of former Glo employees all married are equally in protest of their mass sack which they attribute to an unwritten corporate policy that targets female employees who become married as well as married women whose services to the organization are in some ways diminishing on account of their marital status.

Glo denies the existence of such an unwritten policy. As the controversy rages on social media, Glo has put out a response denying the allegations.

On the company’s verified Twitter handle, Glo says it has “had let go of employees, both male and female, married and single, due to performance issues”. The mobile telephone company in this response did not give details of the “performance issues”.

Glo went ahead to say it “has not issued any such [sack] letter to anyone.”

However, SATELLITE TIMES has obtained documents, among them a sack spreadsheet, that raise even more questions on the defence put forward by the telecom giant.

The sack spreadsheet shows that out of the 120 married employees that Globacom marked out for consideration under what it summarily termed “performance issues”, only 22 were retained while 98 were sacked.

The company’s preference for women without family is all too suggestive in the number of single ladies retained in the exercise.

Out of 52 single ladies that were considered for sack in the cluster centres across Nigeria, Globacom retained 48 and sacked only 4 single ladies.

The document suggests that a disproportionate number of married women were caught in the exercise.

Among the sacked women are those whom colleagues told SATELLITE TIMES had received letters of commendation in the past for hard work.

A copy of the sack letter obtained by SATELLITE TIMES , with the name blotted out to protect the identity of the former employee, came with the heading “SERVICES NO LONGER REQUIRED”.

A copy of the sack letter obtained by SATELLITE TIMES

The internal memo from Wole Ayanleke and copying the Human Resources Manager, Global Manpower Limited, Mr. Sanjay Chacko, the sack letter reads:

“This serves to inform you that your services are no longer required by Globacom Limited with effect from Friday March 9, 2018.

“Consequently you are hereby advised to report to the Human Resources Manager, Global Manpower Limited (Mr. George Nwanji) the outsourcing company, with immediate effect.

“You are also expected to handover all Company property (including SIM Card, Company ID etc) issued to you during the course of your services with us, to the Shop Manager, (name blotted out).”

Some of the women claimed that while they knew the Human Resources Manager Mr. Sanjay Chacko, they had never heard of nor met Mr. George Nwanji of “the outsourcing company”.

The protesting women also said the sack letters came with mass shock as none of them were given any prior notice before the termination. The termination was sudden without respect to labour laws as indicated in the sack letters themselves which came “with immediate effect”.

The same Friday March 9, 2018 that the sack letters were written and served, affected employees were informed in the sack letters that “before the close of Friday March 9, 2018, your account will be credited with your terminal benefits as advised to us”.

Analysis of the spreadsheet obtained by SATELLITE TIMES shows that a total of 13 clusters were affected by the sack exercise. In Lagos Cluster1 of the eight married, six were sacked and of the 13 singles, none were sacked. In Lagos Cluster2 nine are married, eight sacked while of the four singles, none was sacked.

In Lagos Cluster3 of the 24 that are married, 22 were sacked. And in Lagos Cluster4 10 are married but eight of them sacked. No singles was sacked in that cluster.

In West 1, all the six married were sacked just as all the three married in West 2 were sacked. No singles was sacked in these two clusters.

In Mid-West, eight out of the ten with married status were sacked while none of the six singles were sacked.

In South East 1, of the six married five were sacked while in South East 2 two out of the six married employees were sacked. Of a total of 10 singles in these two clusters, none was sacked.

In North Central 1 all the 15 married workers were sacked while seven out of 11 married in North Central 2 were sacked. None of the four singles in North Central 2 were sacked while two of the four singles in North Central 1 were sacked.

In the North East two are married. None of them was sacked.

A women’s rights activist and Executive Director of Centre for Gender Economics Ms. Uchenna Idoko described Glo’s treatment of its female employees as “economic violence” and “gross gender discrimination”.

In a telephone interview with SATELLITE TIMES, Idoko said

“A lot of people think violence is all about physically beating a woman. These are women that are rising but they are pulling them down. Economic violence is a very strong violence and will eventually cause bodily violence by the time these women start staying at home because some of these women are the ones heading the home.”

One of the sacked married women (who pleaded anonymity saying she needed the consent of her husband to speak to a journalist) told SATELLITE TIMES that Globacom mandates its female employees to sign a “bond” which content is never made known to the workers. The woman added that any employee so inquisitive to know the content of this “bond” is usually told “not to bother about it.”

Speaking on the mass sack of women in the telecoms company, the Country Director, Amnesty International Nigeria, Osai Ojigbo told SATELLITE TIMES that the contractual aspect of employment is hinged on the dignity of person.

“If you are being forced to sign a bond or contract without getting a copy, it goes back to how people are using their position and power to abuse people that are vulnerable.” Ojigbo said.

The Country Director said that without having, at this point in time, much information concerning the terms of contract or the work conditions of the sacked women, she could not say much about their labour rights. However, she pointed out that since the majority of the employees laid off were women and married women, there was a clear sign of discrimination on the basis of gender and marital status.

Ojigbo cited the Rights of Women in Africa popularly known as the Maputo Protocol saying it protects the legal and human rights of the women affected by Glo’s mass sack.

“Nigeria has signed up to so many treaties including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the African Charter of Human and Peoples Rights. The Nigerian Constitution is very clear too. Chapter 4 highlights the various rights – right to life; right to liberty. It also talks about freedom from discrimination on the basis of sex, status, ethnicity or other various aspects. In terms of upholding human rights in Nigeria; that responsibility falls with the government of Nigeria. And since Glo is a company which is supposed to abide by the law, federal or state, it would be useful for the State to launch an investigation into this particular act,” the Amnesty Country Director said.

The women’s rights activist, Uchenna Idoko challenged Globacom to publish the performance data of its female workforce to show how many of the married women were sacked based on redundancy. She decried the reluctance of women victims to speak out even when the laws are on their side.

“Many of them are just afraid to talk. Talking as an anonymous does not solve the problem. They should write a letter to the Office of the Vice President, copy the Women Affairs Minister and the National Communication Commission and begin to hit around it. Violence Response Centre should respond to this” Idoko advised.

Idoko advised the women to write a letter to the office of the Vice-President, and to copy the Women Affairs and the Nigerian Communications Commission just as she questioned the silence of mainstream media in the face of what she described as “an act of gross gender discrimination”.

Ojigbo similarly advised the sack women to continue to gather the information regarding what has happened to them in other to build a strong case towards enforcing their fundamental human rights.

SATELLITE TIMES sent enquiries to Globacom’s corporate email address asking for official response to the allegation of gross gender profiling. This newspaper did not receive any response.

Yesterday however, Globacom in a press briefing in Lagos said the firm disengaged some staff due to performance issues.

Andrew Okeleke, head of Public Relations, said letters circulating online about the firm sacking married women were fake. He said the company did not issue such letter.

In reaction to Glo’s defence, one of the sacked married women told SATELLITE TIMES that some people backed by a powerful corporate force are producing and circulating online fake documents just to create confusion and to discredit our genuine agitation. The woman insisted that the documents they presented to this newspaper were genuine, reiterating the readiness of her group to provide even more documents in the days ahead.

Human Rights

EXCLUSIVE: Pregnant woman recounts ordeal in military detention

-I was handcuffed and leg-chained and kept in a toilet for 9 days

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A photo of pregnant woman, Norah Moses Gyang (referred to as Noroh Dung in earlier reports), used to illustrate the story
A photo of pregnant woman, Norah Moses Gyang (referred to as Noroh Dung in earlier reports), used to illustrate the story [Photo credit: Henry Njulo]

Norah Moses Gyang (referred to as Noroh Dung in previous reports) in an exclusive interview with SATELLITE TIMES newspaper narrates her ordeal in military captivity following her arrest and detention on October 3 in Du district of Jos, the Plateau State capital.

SATELLITE TIMES had reported how Norah, a heavily pregnant 20-year-old woman, was abducted in an early-morning military operation that indiscriminately netted 37 citizens – 28 men and 9 women.

Though the Army in a text message sent to this newspaper by Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relation, denied claims of arrest of any pregnant woman, Norah’s narration gives an insight to the siege by the Nigerian Army in search of a missing General. Excerpts:

The siege

A photo of pregnant woman, Norah Moses Gyang (referred to as Noroh Dung in earlier reports), used to illustrate the story .
Photo credit: Henry Njulo

“The soldiers invaded my neighbourhood in the early hours of the morning of 3rd October 2018. It was around 5.30 am but the morning was still very dark light night. I was heavily pregnant and due for delivery soon but the soldiers dragged me out of bed and took me away together with my mother-in-law. We were all in doors; no one had stepped out of their rooms. In fact, some people were still sleeping when the soldiers came. We heard several rounds of gunshots. We had no idea who the invaders were and why they were shooting. I immediately went into a panic attack. Before we could fully realise what was going on, soldiers had taken over the vicinity.

READ ALSO: Missing General: Heavily pregnant woman held captive by Nigerian Army in Jos

They went from house to house kicking in the doors. They were screaming and ransacking and smashing everything in the house as they went from room to room. I had no idea what they were looking for. I must have passed out with fright because when I became conscious of what was going on again, everything around me was spinning. Then I could hear people screaming as the soldiers began to hit them, demanding to know the whereabouts of the missing General (retired Major General Idris Alkali). The beating continued and eventually we were all dragged to the Rukuba Army Barrack.

Fed once a day

The soldiers fed us once a day. At times we would not even see food to eat. We were not allowed to say a word, not to the soldiers and not to our fellow detainees. So, you couldn’t even open your mouth to say you are hungry or that you needed water to drink. We were dumped in a toilet, five of us cramped in one toilet.

We were about 58 people and I was the only pregnant person; though we were five women. The rest were men and they were kept where the soldiers use to rear goats. Every body was chained in groups to the next person. We were leg-chained and even handcuffed; we could not move from one place to another. Even if you’re going to urinate, there was an armed soldier to escort you. Even if you want to use the toilet, if you get the permission, you must drag along the person chained to you. But that was nothing compared to the beating and physical punishment people received on the first day of our arrest. But after that first day, none of us was again assaulted.

But the scars of those beatings are still very visible, especially on the men. Yes, people were really hurt that first day. If you see some of the men today, their skins from their toes to their backs are peeling off because of the punishments and the horrible condition of the floor of the goat house.

Baby still unborn

We were the first set of detainees to be kept in that place in Rukuba Barrack. I spent nine days in detention. The saddest thing is that nobody has told me what my offence was. I am still living with the trauma. It is difficult to shake it off. The most difficult aspect was that I was not allowed to speak or cry out in my agony throughout my detention. When I was released, words were not coming out easily from my mouth. It was like learning how to talk all over again.

Norah Moses Gyang flanked by family members after an interview with SATELLITE TIMES.
Photo credit: Henry Njulo

I am still suffering even after I had regained freedom. Because the whole thing has also affected my unborn baby apparently. I was due for delivery last month (September) but as I speak to you now, the baby has refused to come out. This is the most shattering experience I have had since I was born.”

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Human Rights

Missing General: Detained PUNCH journalist saw heavily pregnant woman in Army dungeon in Jos

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Friday Olokor
A photo of Punch Journalist, Friday Olokor who narrated his ordeal in the hands of Nigerian Army in Jos [Photo Credit: Sahara Reporters]

While agitations trail the detainment of a heavily pregnant 20-year-old woman, Noroh Dung, new revelations about her arrest and possible identity has been made following the arrest of Friday Olokor, a Plateau State Correspondent of THE PUNCH newspaper in Jos.

Noroh was on midnight of October 2 arrested on suspicions of probable links to the disappearance of a retired Army General by name Idris Alkali who according to Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, Commander, Special Task Force in charge of security on the Plateau, was a victim of fracas at Dura, when irate youths blocked roads and attacked travelers following the invasion of the community on September 2.

The 3rd Division Nigerian Army has remained in denial about the identity of Noroh, refuting claims that she was in their custody. “No such name in our custody,” Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations said in response to a text sent to him by SATELLITE TIMES newspaper.

The arrest of Olokor has further revealed how the Nigerian Army in their search and rescue operation indiscriminately arrested and detained 37 people comprising of 28 men and 9 women.

According to Olokor the raid happened on October 6 in Rayfield area of Jos when about 30 masked men swooped in and started shooting indiscriminately at sight and arrested every human being they sighted.

“My initial feeling during the shooting was that they were either the Fulani herdsmen (who had been a thorn in the flesh of the Berom ethnic nationality), fake soldiers on military uniform or Boko Haram. Many of them were masked,” he said as he narrated his encounter.

READ ALSO: Missing General: Heavily pregnant woman held captive by Nigerian Army in Jos

“Passers-by were not spared; women and persons who were living in nearby houses were picked. Even my identification that I’m a journalist with PUNCH Newspapers didn’t help matters as they did not even want to see my Identity Card. We were 37 victims of invasion, 28 men and 9 women” he added.

As he further narrated his ordeal, he said 28 of the men arrested were taken to the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army in Rukuba Barracks, where they were kept in an uncompleted building.

There in the dungeon, they were greeted by 30 persons who were also detainees including an unidentified pregnant woman who is suspected to be Noroh Dung, the 20-year-old who was arrested during the search and rescue operation at Dura district in Jos.

Noro Dung

A photo of Noroh Dung used to illustrate the story

Olokor’s narrative gives authority to SATELLITE TIMES report on the missing 20-year-old Noroh Dung whose arrest has been vehemently denied by the Nigerian Army.

Prior to the arrest of Olokor and the 36 others on October 6, the Nigerian Army had earlier arrested 30 suspects in Du district of Jos South LGA, in connection with the disappearance of Mr. Alkali.

While the army has remained in denial of Noroh’s arrest and detainment, it is suspected that more pregnant women could be sharing the same fate at the 3rd Division of the Nigerian Army in Rukuba Barracks.

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Human Rights

Missing General: Heavily pregnant woman held captive by Nigerian Army in Jos

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Noro Dung

The fate of Noroh Dung, a heavily pregnant 20-year-old woman is still unknown as she was allegedly whisked away by operatives of the Nigerian army during a search and rescue operation in Latiya-Dura Dwei, Du district of Plateau state.

The reason why Noroh was arrested between midnight of October 2 and 3 still remains a mystery as the Army has remained silent.

According to a family member, Kaneng Rwang-pam, who spoke to SATELLITE TIMES, Noroh was arrested on suspicions of probable links to the disappearance of an Army General by name Idris Alkali, a move she said was baseless.

Prior to Noroh’s arrest, the community was on September 2 attacked by suspected Fulani herdsmen, leaving 13 persons killed.

Following aftermath of the attack on the community, Mr. Alkali was reported missing by mainstream newspapers and broadcast houses, which spurred the Nigerian Army into a frantic search for the missing General.

Mr. Alkali had been reported missing since September 3, a day after Dura was attacked by the suspected assailants. According to Maj. Gen. Augustine Agundu, Commander, Special Task Force in charge of security on the Plateau, Mr. Alkali was a victim of fracas at Dura, when irate youths blocked roads and attacked travelers following the invasion of the community.

Acting on intelligence report, the Army embarked on an eight-day search that involved evacuating water from a pond. On Saturday, September 29, about 7 pm, they eventually found the car of Mr. Alkali with registration number MUN-670-AA Kwara State.

Worried about the mental and physical health of Noroh, who’s EDD (Expected Date of Delivery) was the last week of September, Kaneng, a group of journalists and members of civil society responded to the information received by a close member of Noroh’s family.

The family is also mourning the death of another family member, Pam Luka Bot who according to Kaneng was a victim of the recent search and rescue mission.

Kaneng and the group on October 4 mobilized themselves to Latiya-Dura Dwei to ascertain the true state of things but were denied access by the military at Dwei. The entire community was on lock down, Kaneng said.

“We were turned back by the military at Dwei. No one was granted access to Latiya. It appeared the entire community is on lock down with no sign of life.

“The nearest check point which is the BUKEN Academy checkpoint maintained by the STF (Special Task Force) & the Gbong Gwom Jos, looked abandoned,” she said as she narrated their experience.

She also added that as they tried to explain their mission, the soldiers on ground at the community became aggressive and advised that they left for their own safety.

Kaneng who sounded audibly worried in a telephone call to SATELLITE TIMES expressed concerns over the unlawful detainment and violation of Noroh’s civil liberty and human rights.

“This also contravenes the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on the treatment of women in conflict situations which clearly stipulates protection of women as one of the 5 pillars,” she said.

Speaking to SATELLITE TIMES newspaper, Major Umar Adams of the Operation Safe Haven Jos said he was not in the right position to speak on the issue and directed our reporter to get an official response from Col. Kayode Ogunsanya, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations.

According to Mr. Adams, the 3rd Division Nigerian Army is in charge of the search and rescue operation, adding that his team (Operation Safe Haven) was acting as collaborators.

When this paper contacted Mr. Ogunsanya for an official response, he did not pick his calls but later responded to a text sent to him saying “No such name in our custody.”

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