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Visa, Mastercard cease operations in Russia

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Card payment giants Visa and Mastercard announced Saturday they will suspend operations in Russia, the latest major US firms to join the business freeze-out of Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

“Noting the unprecedented nature of the current conflict and the uncertain economic environment,” Mastercard said it had “decided to suspend our network services in Russia.”

Visa, for its part, said that “effective immediately” it would “work with its clients and partners within Russia to cease all Visa transactions over the coming days.”

US President Joe Biden “welcomed the decision” during a phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in which the two discussed US, ally and private industry actions to deter Russia from aggression, according to a White House readout.

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Major corporations across a range of industries have halted business in Russia since its invasion began on February 24, including everything from US-based tech firms such as Intel and Airbnb to French luxury giants LVMH, Hermes and Chanel.

Visa and Mastercard had already announced that they were complying with US and international sanctions imposed on Russia in the wake of its attack.

“Our colleagues, our customers and our partners have been affected in ways that most of us could not imagine,” Mastercard said, stating that its cards issued by Russian banks would no longer be supported by the company’s network.

Visa similarly said that cards issued in Russia would no longer work outside the country.

Both companies said cards issued abroad would no longer work in Russia.

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“We are compelled to act following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and the unacceptable events that we have witnessed,” Visa CEO Al Kelly said.

Russia’s major banks, including its largest lender Sberbank and the Russia Central Bank, downplayed the effects that the cards’ suspensions would have on their clients.

“All Visa and Mastercard bank cards issued by Russian banks will continue to operate normally on Russian territory until their expiration date,” the Russia Central Bank said.

Sberbank said in a statement on its official Telegram account that the cards “can be used for operations in the Russian territory — to withdraw cash, make transfers using the card number, and for payment at offline as well as at online Russian stores.”

The cards would continue to work on Russian territory, it said, because all payments in Russia are made through a national system and do not depend on foreign systems.

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However, the central bank warned that Russians traveling abroad should carry alternate means of payment.

Mastercard added that it would continue to provide pay and benefits to its nearly 200 employees in Russia.

Visa’s and Mastercard’s announcements came hours after PayPal also halted its services in Russia.

Ukrainian deputy prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted a letter early Saturday from PayPal CEO Dan Schulman officially announcing the stop.

“Under the current circumstances, we are suspending PayPal services in Russia,” Schulman said in the letter.

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He added that PayPal would continue to support its staff in the region and would focus on “enabling our customers and our global employee community to support” humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

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FAD boss, Temitope Duker, losses dad, Hon. Ayodele Benjamin

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Honourable Ayodele Benjamin, a distinguished chieftain and party leader of the ruling Lagos All Progressive Congress (APC) political party passed away on Wednesday, June 12, 2024, at the age of 78.

Throughout his illustrious life, Hon. Benjamin served his community and country with unwavering dedication and distinction.

His numerous esteemed positions included being elected Councillor in the late 80s, former Vice Chairman, and later Acting Chairman of the Lagos Island Local Government Council, former Chairman of the Lagos Football Association, former Board member of the Lagos State Sports Council, and former State Treasurer of the Social Democratic Party.

Hailing from the esteemed Benjamin family of Olowogbowo in Lagos Island, the late politician left behind a legacy of service and commitment to the betterment of his community. His contributions to public service and sports development will be remembered and cherished by all who knew him.

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Until his death, he was also a community leader, philanthropist, and devoted Christian, who worshipped at the Methodist Church Olowogbowo Lagos, a generational church of the Benjamin family.

His dedication to faith and service touched many lives, creating a lasting impact on those around him.

In a statement released on behalf of the family, Hon. Benjamin’s daughter, Mrs. Temitope Duker, a filmmaker and co-founder of FAD MEDIA GROUP, which owns FAD FM 93.1 in Calabar, FAD FM 101.7 in Abuja, and FAD 360TV, announced that final burial details will be communicated in due course following a family meeting.

Hon. Ayodele Benjamin is survived by his loving wife, daughter, and three grandchildren. The family requests that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

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ICYMI: No agreement yet on minimum wage – NLC

Organised Labour has rejected President Bola Tinubu’s claims that an agreement has been reached on new national minimum wages in his nationwide broadcast to make Democracy Day.

Tinubu had claimed that a consensus had been reached on the long-debated new minimum wage between the Federal Government and organised labour.

Also read: Minimum wage talks collapse again as Labour rejects N60,000

In his national broadcast to mark the 2024 Democracy Day in Abuja on Wednesday, Tinubu revealed that an executive bill will soon be sent to the National Assembly to formalise the new minimum wage agreement.

The President emphasised that his administration chose a democratic approach over dictatorship in addressing the demands of labour unions.

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However, in a statement on Wednesday, the acting President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, said there was no agreement reached by the Tripartite Committee on the National Minimum Wage at the time negotiations ended on Friday, June 7, 2024.

Adeyanju stated that rather, two figures such as N250,000 from Organised Labour and N62,000 from the government and Organised Private Sector, were arrived at and ought to have been submitted to the President.

The labour leader asserted that anything to the contrary was not only doctored but won’t be accepted by Labour.

The statement reads, “We reiterate that it will be extremely difficult for Nigerian workers to accept any national minimum wage figure that approximates to a starvation Wage. We cannot be working and yet remain in abject poverty.

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“The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) attentively listened to the Democracy Day Presidential address delivered by His Excellency, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, especially concerning the ongoing National Minimum Wage negotiations. While the President may have accurately recounted parts of our democratic journey’s history, it is evident that he has been misinformed regarding the outcome of the wage negotiation process.

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“To quote Mr. President; “As we continue to reform the economy, I shall always listen to the people and will never turn my back on you. In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict. No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“We appreciate the President’s commitment to those fine democratic ideals which allowed the work of the Tripartite National Minimum Wage Negotiation Committee to proceed unhindered despite some hiccups. However, we had expected Mr. President to have used this understanding as one of those who were in the vanguard of the struggle with us around the nation to rescue Nigeria from the hands of the military to harmonize the two figures submitted to him by the Tripartite Committee in favour of workers and masses. It would have been a fitting Democracy Day gift.

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“The NLC would have expected that the advisers of the President would have told him that we neither reached any agreement with the federal government and the employers on the base figure for a National Minimum Wage nor on its other components.

“We are therefore surprised at the submission of Mr. President over a supposed agreement. We believe that he may have been misled into believing that there was an agreement with the NLC and TUC. There was none and it is important that we let the President, Nigerians and other national stakeholders understand this immediately to avoid a mix-up in the ongoing conversation around the national minimum wage. We have also not seen a copy of the document submitted to him and will not accept any doctored document.

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“President’s advisers obviously did not tell him the truth that the leaders of the trade unions were intimidated and harassed. It is therefore important that Mr. President understands that we were threatened severally by his operatives perhaps without his consent. Series of media Propaganda calculated to intimidate and harass us were, and, are still being waged against the trade unions by senior officials of this government.

“Fully armed soldiers surrounded us while we were in a negotiation with the Government and despite denials, recent statements by senior officials of the Government reaffirmed our fears contrary to the assurances by the Government. However, we remain assured that the President’s democratic credentials will come to the fore in favour of Nigerian workers and masses.”

This response comes after President Tinubu’s address, which indicated a resolution had been achieved on the wage discussions, thereby causing confusion and discontent among the ranks of Organised Labour.

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The President speaking on his plan to fix the economy so that everyone has access to economic opportunity, fair pay and compensation for his endeavour and labour, said, “In this spirit, we have negotiated in good faith and with open arms with organized labour on a new national minimum wage. We shall soon send an executive bill to the National Assembly to enshrine what has been agreed upon as part of our law for the next five years or less.

“In the face of labour’s call for a national strike, we did not seek to oppress or crack down on the workers as a dictatorial government would have done. We chose the path of cooperation over conflict.

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“No one was arrested or threatened. Instead, the labour leadership was invited to break bread and negotiate toward a good-faith resolution.

“Reasoned discussion and principled compromise are hallmarks of democracy. These themes shall continue to animate my policies and interaction with the constituent parts of our political economy.”

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Crime

Inspector sentenced to death for killing phone dealer

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The Delta State High Court sitting at Asaba on Tuesday sentenced Inspector Ubi Ebri of the Nigeria Police Force to death on a murder charge.

The court presided over by Justice C. D. Diai convicted and sentenced the Inspector to death for killing a phone dealer, Mr Onyeka Ibeh, in Asaba.

 

Also read: Delta police arrest inspector for shooting boy during stop and search

 

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Ibeh, a popular phone dealer in Asaba, along with his wife was driving from Ugbolu to Asaba on April 5, 2023, when they were flagged down by the police team for a search.

The deceased was said to have stopped but after waiting for a while to be searched, and they were not being attended to, decided to move away

Infuriated by the action of the deceased, the police inspector immediately opened fire into the vehicle and the bullet hit the late Ibeh on the head and he died on the spot.

The wife of the deceased who sat in the front seat was unhurt.

The killing of the phone dealer led to protests by youths along the streets of Asaba and to police headquarters to demand justice.

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However, the prosecution, led by a director in the Ministry of Justice, Mr E.H. Edema, accused the policeman of killing Ibeh.

Edema alleged that the defendant was part of a police patrol team that mounted a stop and search exercise on April 5, 2023, along the Ugbolu Asaba Road in the state capital.

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Edema who told Journalists after the judgement said, “Today’s judgement is a landmark judgement because justice has been served in this case to the deceased and society at large.”

Also, the elder brother of the deceased, Mr Ifeanyi Ibeh, who witnessed the judgement, also commended the court for delivering justice to his family.

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