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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

Displaced Kubwa Village traders cry out for justice

-over 3,000 traders become economic refugees

-send petitions to Presidential Committee, SERAP and ECOWAS

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Some of the displaced traders used to illustrate the story
Some of the displaced traders used to illustrate the story

Thousands of traders in Kubwa Village Market, Federal Capital Territory, have found themselves in a limbo following the takeover of the market they founded 30 years ago by a developer, said to have been imposed on them by authorities of Bwari Area Council, especially under the leadership of an outgoing Chairman, Mr. Musa Dikko. For decades, these ordinary market women and men traded in grains, household items, flours, vegetables, plastic materials, fish, meat, poultry products, groceries, footwear, second-hand clothing and just about everything under the sun.

Chairman Musa Dikko

Chairman Musa Dikko

In the wake of their displacement however, combined hundreds of millions of naira retail businesses have crashed from their heights. While some of the traders resorted to displaying their wares in open places and can be found by the roadside near the reconstructed market, especially around the NYSC Camp, Arab Road and Kubwa Express doing running battle on a daily basis with men of the Environmental Task Force who seize and destroy their goods, the majority of the market founders have crashed to the rock bottom finding no way to pick up the pieces.

A group of the displaced traders, led by Alhaji Samaila Ibrahim visited Satellite Times office and narrated their tales of woes in the hands of the developer, H & I Construction Nigeria Limited. According to Ismail, his group comprised former shopowners in the Kubwa Village Market who were thrown out without compensation to make way for the demolition and reconstruction of the market now renamed Maitama Ultra-Modern Market Kubwa.

Maitama Ultra-Modern Market Kubwa

“We are different from the petty traders you find occupying the open space outside the market. We were the stall and shade owners who built the market from the scratch before the developers came in and dispossessed us in collusion with top officials of the Bwari Area Council. I say we were dispossessed and displaced because no compensation of any form has been paid to us. It is like government building a road and they demolish your house but chose not to pay compensation,” Alhaji Samaila explained.

Continuing with his bitter narrative Samaila Ibrahim, who at one time was the Chairman of the Kubwa Village Traders Association, added that before the demolition he had several stalls with wares valued at over N15 million. With no market to sell his goods, he has lost everything. He said his children are facing so much difficulty in universities that the only option he has to keep them in school is to put his house on sale.

Another popular trader who also has hit ground zero is Alhaji Abubakar Dangaladima. For years he was the major meat supplier to the market, owning six open shades. Each day, he slaughtered and sold five cows. Smaller butchers come to him for the meat they sell. The renowned butcher who came to Satellite Times office logging a big sack full of receipts showed evidence that for each cow he slaughtered, he paid a slaughter fee of N800 to the FCT administration. He is left with no business after the demolition of the market. He put his loses at N17 million.

There is also a meat sub-market which comprised of almost a hundred traders in the meat value chain. All of those traders were displaced by the demolition, which in turn put the subsistence of their families under threat. Many of them can barely feed anymore.

As contained in a petition sent to several local and regional bodies, including the Presidential Committee on Trade Malpractices, the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) and the Socio-Economic Right and Accountability Project (SERAP), the displaced traders insisted that their human and economic rights have been violated by the actions of the developer and the Bwari Area Council.

“We are now economic refugees in our fatherland. We have been denied our rights to earn a living as citizens of Nigeria. Things have fallen apart in all our families. We are victims of gross injustice,” the petition reads in part.

Included in the long list of displaced traders are “Alhaji Umar Seriki Pawa who lost four open shade some of which he collected rent of about N150,000 annually from tenant traders while utilizing one for his own trading activities. Today, he has nothing to feed his family. Then there is Alhaji Ambusa who is popular for selling clothes and wrappers. He too lost a lot of his wealth worth about N7million. We have Alhaji Ismaila Sa’ad Abubakar who lost about N2 million. Alhaji Alwali was a big trader in tomatoes. Less than a year before the demolition, he had bought two N350,000 thousand each. Faced with hardship as a result of the demolition, he later sold his own house. Today, he and his family are cramped in a small rented apartment.

We also have Alhaji Abubakar Mai-Wanke who was popular for selling foodstuffs, especially beans. He lost two shops and a business valued at over N10 million.”

Perhaps the worst casualty of the market takeover is a female trader popularly known as Mama Abdulrasak. An indigene of Edo State, she had taken a big loan which she invested in her business. Without shops to sell her wares, every passing day drew her closer to penury. Hounded by debtors, she was severally dragged to police stations and detained. Finally unable to withstand the heat, she fled, leaving behind her children. Her family is disintegrated as her teenage daughter is said to have taken to prostitution while her son, having dropped out of school is roaming the street with drug abusers as friends.

Hide and Seek engagement

In 2016, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported of a meeting between the Bwari Area Council executive, the Kubwa/Maitama Village Market Traders Association and H & I developers, held at the Bwari Legislative Chambers. The meeting was aimed at finding an out-of-court solution to the issue of demolishing the existing markets for new ones and also to avoid damages that could result from the exercise.

The traders and market developers had been embroiled in a legal battle at the Abuja High Court 34 since 2014. Finally, the warring parties reached an out of court settlement, paving way for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

However, Samaila Ibrahim said the process leading to the MoU was shrouded in secrecy.

“We only heard there was an MoU, but we never saw it with our eyes. Many of us who are the key stakeholders were left in the dark. What happened was that the market developers and the Council Chairman, Musa Dikko, decided to employ the divide-and-rule tactics. They offered free shops each worth N10 million to the market executives, technically telling the rest of us to go to blazes,” Ismaila said.

Satellite Times obtained shop allocation letters, each dated 21st December 2017, issued by H & I Construction Nigeria Limited to Buhari Ahmed Sauwa (Chairman of the Market Association); Yusuf Musa Sauwa (Assistant Chairman); Mr. S.P Ndubisi Onuoha (LockUp Shop Chairman) and Ugwu Romanus Ifeanyi (Secretary). The documents, each titled: “Allocation Letter for An Open Shop at Maitama Ultra Modern Market, Kubwa Abuja”, show that each shop has a unit sales price of N4,150,000 but “being complimentary” was given free to the beneficiaries.

Allocation letter

Allocation letter

Ismaila said the shops were sold or re-sold at prices ranging from N8 million to N12 million depending on their strategic locations and/or if upstairs or downstairs, with downstairs shops attracting more value because of the easy access to customers.

“The question we must ask is how many ordinary traders can afford N10 million or N12 million for a shop? Obviously, the new market is not built for traders; rather for rich rent-seeking shylock middlemen. We have been excluded and denied the right to earn a living. This is inequality and sabotage of the economic agenda of the President Buhari government. We need justice” Samaila protested.

The Kubwa Market is said to be the oldest market in FCT with a size of 3.8 hectares. The market was relocated from the Maitama district of Abuja when the original inhabitants of Maitama were relocated to Kubwa.  It has 1,467 shops.

Satellite Times visited the office of H & I Construction on Anthony Enahoro Street, Utako Abuja. A staff member of the company by name Khalifa said he was not authorized to speak. This newspaper later contacted Engineer Rabiu of the same company on his mobile. He declined to make comments.

Similarly, several calls were made to Musa Dikko, the outgoing Chairman of Bwari Area Council. The phone rang out on each occasion as he refused to answer.

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Human Rights

Amnesty confirms 60 killed by Boko Haram in Rann

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The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. On 30 January 2019, hundreds of structures appear heavily burned. Environmental sensors remotely detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January 2019.

At least 60 people were killed following the 28 January devastating Boko Haram attack on Rann, a border town in Borno state, northeast Nigeria, Amnesty International has confirmed.

The organization also analyzed satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town. Many of the destroyed structures only date back to 2017, suggesting they were shelters for internally displaced people who came to Rann seeking protection.

“We have now confirmed that this week’s attack on Rann was the deadliest yet by Boko Haram, killing at least 60 people. Using satellite imagery we have also been able to confirm the mass burning of structures as Boko Haram unleashed a massive assault on Rann, most of which is now destroyed,” said Osai Ojigho, Director of Amnesty International Nigeria.

Satellite imagery which shows hundreds of burned structures in the town

“This attack on civilians who have already been displaced by the bloody conflict may amount to possible war crime, and those responsible must be brought to justice. Disturbingly, witnesses told us that Nigerian soldiers abandoned their posts the day before the attack, demonstrating the authorities’ utter failure to protect civilians.”

Inadequate security

Alleged withdrawal of troops, triggered a massive exodus of civilians to Cameroon, as fear spread that Boko Haram would take advantage and attack the town. At around 9am on 28 January, a group of Boko Haram fighters arrived on motorcycles. They set houses ablaze and killed those left behind. They also chased after those who attempted to escape and killed some people outside the town.  Eleven bodies were found within Rann town, and 49 bodies were found outside.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. A closer look at one burned area on 30 January 2019 shows the severity of the damage. Many of the structures are new since 2017 suggesting they are shelters for IDPs living in the town.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. A closer look at one burned area on 30 January 2019 shows the severity of the damage. Many of the structures are new since 2017 suggesting they are shelters for IDPs living in the town.

Amnesty International was informed that about 50 people have not been accounted for. Those who took part in the burial explained what they saw.

According to an eyewitness: “Ten of us [Civilian Joint Task Force] came from Cameroon to Rann for the burial. When we arrived, we found and buried 11 corpses within the town, but the soldiers told us that they buried several others yesterday [30 January] who had decayed. Outside the town, we recovered and buried 49 dead bodies all with gunshot wounds.”

Aid agencies have reported that some 30,000 civilians have fled for the border with Cameroon in recent days, joining a further 9,000 who fled Boko Haram’s previous attack on Rann on 14 January.

Satellite evidence of mass burning

Amnesty International analyzed satellite images from 30 January 2019 showing hundreds of structures burned in the east, south and southeast of Rann. Environmental sensors detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January.

The false-colour image above highlights the near-infrared band. Healthy vegetation appears red while unhealthy, or burned, areas appear black or brown. On 30 January 2019, hundreds of structures appear heavily burned. Environmental sensors remotely detected fires in the area on 28 and 29 January 2019.

In the 14 January attack, Boko Haram burned well over 100 structures in other areas of Rann. These two recent attacks have left most of the town heavily damaged or destroyed.

Amnesty International is calling on Nigerian authorities to investigate the alleged withdrawal of security forces of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) from Rann, which may have left tens of thousands of civilians exposed to this latest deadly attack.

“Boko Haram has consistently and deliberately targeted civilians in Rann, which makes the Nigerian authorities failure to protect people all the more unacceptable,” said Osai Ojigho.

“The authorities on both sides of the border must provide the supplies and safety that these people require. The Cameroonian authorities must also desist from forcing people to return until conditions are safe and they choose to do so voluntarily.”

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Human Rights

Woman slashes 11-year-old housemaid with kitchen knife

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Woman slashes 11-year-old housemaid with kitchen knife

A young girl only identified as Victoria is currently traumatized and in agonizing pain after she was severely inflicted with knife-injuries by her madam (identified as mummy Pemisire), for allegedly stealing milk.

The attention of this reporter was drawn to this case when a Twitter user, Adex Adebukola Crowngold (@AdexAdebukola) shared a gruesome photo of the child with the caption;

“My attention has just been called to this. The madam did this to her housemaid because she was accused of stealing milk.

“She’s in the hospital and the woman arrested. But justice must prevail. Location is at Ibadan.”

Eyewitness account

Speaking to SATELLITE TIMES newspaper, an eyewitness who begged to remain unnamed, gave an account as it happened on Friday, January 11, in Sanyo area, Ibadan.

“The girl ran out of their apartment with blood stains all over her and madam was still chasing her. The little girl said she tore her body with a knife.”

The 11-year-old victim was eventually rescued by concerned neighbours in Sanyo area, and taken to a nurse for first aid treatment before the Police came to get her the next morning.

When asked about the girl’s current condition and who was responsible for her hospital bill, the eyewitness said “I should think she is fine. I don’t know who is handling her bills. The Police took her to Montana hospital, Challenge area in Ibadan.”

Her madam, Pemisire, was however arrested same night of the incident by the Police and taken to a station in Sanyo, Ibadan.

“The madam should still be in the Police custody. That is if they haven’t released her yet, you know Nigerian Police. She hasn’t returned home since that night,” the witness added.

Efforts to reach the Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ajisebutu Adekunle via telephone were initially unsuccessful but he later responded with a text saying “the case is currently under investigation. The CP, Abiodun Odude, has directed that the case should be transferred to the state CIID Iyaganku immediately for discreet investigation and prosecution.”

 

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