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Outrage over killing of Jonathan’s former aide Ahmed Gulak in…

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*Northern youth group threatens revenge, Uzodinma

*Buhari, ex-president Akeredolu mourn

Val Okara (Owerri), Tom Garba (Yola), Success Nwogu (Lagos), ‘Tosin Ajuwon (Akure)

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed outrage and disgust over what he called “the heinous murder” of Adamawa State-born politician Ahmed Gulak in Imo State yesterday by yet to be identified gunmen.

Gulak, a former Political Adviser to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, was reportedly assassinated at about 7.30 am at Umueze village, Obiangwu in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area on his way to the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo airport to catch a flight out of the state.

The late politician was with three others before they were reportedly attacked in a Toyota Camry car marked Texas BFT 2150.

The state Commissioner of Police, Abutu Yaro, who confirmed the incident, said that he was on his way to the airport.

The CP said “it is true, but the information are sketchy. I was on the way to the airport. Please call the CP in charge of Airport. He will give more details. You know that Imo command is different from Airport command.”

Meanwhile, the Police in a statement by its spokesman SP. Bala Elkana said that armed bandits intercepted and attacked a Toyota Camry cab carrying Ahmed Gulak and two others who were on their way to Sam Mbakwe Airport to catch a flight.

According to him, Gulak left his room at Protea Hotel without informing the Police and its sister agencies in view of the fragile security situation in the South East and Imo in particular.

Mr. Elkana further disclosed that the victim left without any security escorts and while the cab driver took irregular route to the airport, six armed bandits who rode in a Toyota Sienna intercepted, identified and shot at him at around Umueze Obiangwu close to the Airport.

He said that Yaro has directed a discreet investigation into the matter as Tactical and Special forces have been deployed to cordon off the area and arrest perpetrators.

The late Gulak conducted the controversial All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election in Imo State that brought Senator Hope Uzodimma as the 2019 party governorship flag bearer.

President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, on Sunday said, “I am repulsed by such premeditated and gruesome murder of Gulak by evil people who are determined to undermine the peace, unity and territorial integrity of our country.

“Let me warn, however, that nobody or group of people who engages in such despicable act should expect to go free.

“We will deploy all resources at our disposal to ensure that such callous and criminal elements are brought to justice,” the President was quoted as saying.

Buhari expressed deep condolences to the family of the deceased, the people and government of Adamawa, as well as Gulak’s friends and associates across the country.

Meanwhile, a youth group, the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), has threatened to declare Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma a persona non grata in the entire northern soil if he does not immediately bring the killer(s) of the ex-aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Gulak, to justice.

The group in a statement by its National Vice President, Comrade Bishop K. Douglas, said, “It’s so pathetic and saddened the continuous killing and lawlessness going on in the South Eastern part of Nigeria.

The government of Imo State must give an account of those who killed Gulak.

The continuous killing of Northerners and destruction of security facilities in Imo State will no longer be tolerated.”

The group urged the Federal Government to rise up to its constitutional responsibility of protecting lives and property and act appropriately so as to avoid the current situation from escalating to a civil war.

It explained that the government should take note that it would not allow the killer(s) of Ahmed Gulak to go unpunished, stressing that the Imo State Governor, who is the chief security officer, must bring those involved in the assassination to justice.

According to the statement, “Let us state categorically that National Youth Council of Nigeria (North-East Zone) will do everything within their powers to force the government of Imo State to bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice.

The Imo State Governor and other South East Governors should take note that we shall not accept the continued killing of innocent citizens and Northern elites in their region as we shall take revenge henceforth.”

It gave the Governor of Imo one week to carry out the investigation or they shall declare him persona non grata across the entire Northern soil and Nigeria at large.

Former President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on Sunday, expressed shock over the death of his former Political Adviser, Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, who was killed by unknown assailants in Owerri, Imo State.

He described Gulak’s death as a painful loss, and noted that the deceased was a loyal public servant and a dedicated patriot.

The former President in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Ikechuku Eze, which was made available to journalists, by Communications Officer, Goodluck Jonathan Foundation, Wealth Dickson Ominabo, prayed God to comfort the family of the deceased and grant his soul eternal rest.

Jonathan said, “I received with shock the death of Alhaji Ahmed Gulak, who died on Sunday, 30th May 2021, in Owerri, Imo State.

“Gulak was a loyal public servant and a dedicated patriot, who gave his all in service to his country. His death is a painful loss to me and many others who worked and interacted with him.

“He will be remembered for his modest contributions to the growth of our nation’s democracy, especially his memorable days both as a skillful speaker of Adamawa State House of Assembly and political adviser in our administration.”

He added, “My deepest condolences to his family, the government and the people of Adamawa State, who are bound to feel the loss of this eminent and patriotic Nigerian.

“May God grant his family, friends and supporters solace, even as I appeal for calm while law enforcement bodies carry out their investigations.”

Also reacting, the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu condemned the gruesome killing of Ahmed Gulak, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Akeredolu in a statement on Sunday described the murder of Gulak as senseless and wicked adding that those behind the killing are enemies of the country.

Gulak was murdered at the weekend by suspected gunmen during his visit to Imo state while the police claimed that bandits were responsible for the killing.

According to Governor Akeredolu, the news of the death of Gulak, in Owerri, Imo State is very shocking and disturbing.

He added that killing was unacceptable and asked the police to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly act.

“This is one murder too many. It is senseless and wicked. The perpetrators of this heinous act are enemies of this country.

“This contrivance is meant to mislead, confuse and destroy.

It bears the unmistakable, despicable imprints of fifth columnists bent on setting the country on the path of conflagration. These criminals must not be allowed to succeed.

“We want to use this medium to express our solidarity with our brother Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma.

We admonish him and other Governors in the South Eastern States to brace up, and confront the current security challenge to put an end to the bloodbath in the land.

The enemies of the people always employ the weapon of fear to create disaffection in the polity.

“This cowardly act is calculated to instigate Nigerians against each other, particularly Northerners, against the Igbo living outside the South East.

“We must confront the enemies of the people with a view to neutralizing them. This is definitely not the time for political correctness.

Banditry should not be allowed to subvert the legitimacy of the current Government at all levels.

“We call on all security agencies to collaborate with a view to unveiling the criminal elements sponsoring and undertaking terrorist acts. they must be punished, severely.”



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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months

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KQ resumes Mumbai flights after 4 months


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A Kenya Airways aircraft at JKIA. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Kenya Airways will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.
  • The airline in a notice to its customers yesterday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

Kenya Airways #ticker:KQ will on Thursday resume flights to Mumbai, ending a four-month hiatus that was occasioned by increased cases of Covid-19 in the Asian state.

The airline in a notice to its customers Monday said it will resume its operations on the route on September 16, 2021 with the first flight departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7am to arrive in Mumbai at 3:45 pm.

The airline will then resume full operations on the route on September 20, flying three times per week on the Indian route, which is one of the most lucrative destinations on its network.

Passengers on the route will part with Sh46,000 ($419) for one-way air ticket on economy class seats from Nairobi to Mumbai- prices that are relatively the same compared to what it was charging before the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Welcome back onboard! Fly from Nairobi to Mumbai starting Thursday 16th September with normal schedules resuming from Monday 20th September 2021,” said the airline in a notice to its customers yesterday.

KQ Suspended passenger flights to and from Mumbai on April 30 until further notice, following a government directive on travel between India and Kenya due to a Covid-19 crisis in that country.

The airline said on Friday that passengers who had booked tickets after May 1, the date of the last flight from Mumbai to Nairobi, will have to change their plans.

Affected passengers, KQ said, could also take vouchers for the value of their fare for future travel within 12 months.

India has seen soaring infection rates in the recent days, since the discovery of a new virus variant. Last month, India put on lockdown one of the states following a spike in cases of Covid-19.

Other countries that have banned flights to India include France, the UK Bangladesh, Oman and Hong Kong that have banned travel to and from India or asked their nationals coming from the Asian country to isolate themselves in government-approved hotels.

India has so far detected 33,264,175 corona virus cases with the number of deaths hitting 442,874 as at September 13.

A large number of patients from Kenya also travel to India every year for specialised medical treatment, especially cancer care, helping to drive medical tourism in the densely populated country that boasts affordable and easily accessible healthcare.



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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs

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Lower import volumes push mitumba prices to new highs


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Man pulls a cart loaded with second-hand clothes at Gikomba Market in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.
  • Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.
  • Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

The average price of a tonne of second-hand clothing items imported into the country crossed the Sh100,000 mark for the first time last year on reduced volumes in the wake of safety protocols and guidelines to curb spread of coronavirus.

Traders paid Sh100,527 on average per tonne of the used clothes, popularly called mitumba, compared to Sh96,286 the previous year.

Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) banned importation of the clothes from late March through mid-August in a bid to contain the spread of the life-threatening coronavirus infections.

Findings of the Economic Survey 2021 suggests dealers shipped in 121,778 tonnes of mitumba in 2020, a 34.02 percent fall compared with 2019 and the lowest volumes since 2015.

Last year’s drop was the first dip since 2011 when 76,533 tonnes were shipped in compared with 80,423 tonnes the previous year, the official data collated by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows.

The import bill for the merchandise amounted to Sh12.24 billion, a drop of 31.11 percent, or Sh5.53 billion, year-on-year.

TIn imposing the temporary ban on used clothes, Kebs had applied a standard which prohibits buying second-hand clothes from countries experiencing epidemics to ensure disease-causing microorganisms are not imported into Kenya.

Higher quality and relatively lower prices for mitumba has continued to drive demand for used clothes at expense of locally-made products amid higher margins enjoyed by traders largely operating in informal markets.

The lucrative second-hand clothing market has seen traders from China —a key source market for the merchandise —open shops in Gikomba, Kenya’s largest informal market for mitumba, in recent years to cash in rising demand.

Earnings from exports of articles of apparel and clothing accessories fell 5.32 percent to Sh32.92 billion last year compared with 2019, data indicates.



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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud

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Court backs Atwoli union in horticulture membership feud


Cotu boss Francis Atwoli

Cotu boss Francis Atwoli. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.
  • Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

A trade union that is led by the long-serving Central Organisation of Trade Unions (Cotu) boss Francis Atwoli has survived an attempt to stop it from representing over 60,000 workers in the horticulture industry.

Newly registered Kenya Export, Floriculture, Horticulture, and Allied Workers Union (Kefhau) had filed as a case in the Employment and Labour seeking to bar the Atwoli-led Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU) from representing workers in the industry.

Mr Atwoli is the secretary-general of KPAWU. The rival union claimed KPAWU had encroached on its area of workers’ representation.

Justice James Rika, however, dismissed the claim and ruled that the dispute should have been taken through conciliation, and was therefore presented in court prematurely.

He also stated that Kefhau must go beyond its registration and recruit sufficient members from the employers, to be granted recognition and organisational rights.

“Registration on its own, does not afford the claimant (Kefhau) recognition. Until there is proof that Kefhau has satisfied Section 54 of the Labour Relations Act, the status quo must be maintained,” said the judge.

“Kefhau must recruit at least 50 percent plus one, of the unionisable employees in the floriculture and horticulture industry, members of the Agricultural Employers Association to be considered for recognition,” he stated.

He noted that there is a Recognition Agreement and CBA, binding Mr Atwoli’s union and Agricultural Employers Association, affecting 73 Flower Growers Group of employers, and over 60,000 employees.

“It is objectionable for Kefhau to be allowed organisational rights, and the legitimacy to receive trade union dues and agency fees, from over 60,000 employees, just on the strength of registration as a trade union,” said the judge.

Kefhau wanted the court to declare that it is the sole trade union, which is allowed by its constitution to carry out activities in the export floriculture and vegetable industry, and an order restraining Mr Atwoli’s from representing workers in that area.



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