ASUU: Updates on strike and school reopening
As results of the various congresses of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) trickle in, there are indications that the branches have accepted the Federal Government new offers.
But it is not yet uhuru as the congresses have given the Federal Government conditions to be met before the eight-month industrial action will be suspended by the union.
Two days after the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, announced that the Federal Government’s negotiating team was still awaiting completion of Integrity Test on the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ (ASUU’s) University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS), the Federal Government made an offer to the university lecturers. The latest offer seems to have moved the eight-month negotiation to a higher gear.
The Federal Government, at its recent meeting with ASUU, shifted grounds noticeably when it offered a total sum of N65 billion to the public university system to address some of its demands; revitalisation of universities and arrears of payment for earned allowances to lecturers. The government also said that salary arrears to striking lecturers would be reviewed for payment on an older platform, different from the government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and the UTAS. This has also reduced some of the troubling points in the industrial dispute. The new offer has been taken back to ASUU by the union’s president for consideration, a marked change from the stasis of the past months. The ball is now back in the court of ASUU.
It is part of the public record in Nigeria that a team was appointed by the Administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to look into the accounts of the rested Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF), which was established by the military Government led by General Sani Abacha to accelerate the delivery of public goods and improve the general wellbeing of Nigerians. It was chaired by Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd).
The investigation team, which was called Interim Management Team, was composed of the these personalities, Dr. Haroun Adamu (Chairman), Alhaji Abdu Abdurrahim, Barrister Achana Gaius Yaro, Arc Edward Eguavoen, Mr. T. Andrew Adegboro and Engr Baba Goni Machina. They did a thorough job of the assignment.
The purpose of the probe or investigation of PTF, many Nigerians believed, rightly or wrongly, was to find even the tiniest hint of possible breach of public trust by its erthwhile Chairman, Muhammadu Buhari. That possible sign of a possible wrong doing could have been used to dent his good name in the eyes of Nigerians who strongly believed that he was honest, prudent and genuinely committed to deploying national resources entrusted to him for the benefit of all Nigerians.
ACADEMIC Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branches are divided over whether to accept the Federal Government’s offer and call off their eight-month-old strike.
The union will harmonise the positions of zones and branches at a meeting in Abuja today.
With some branches insisting that the government must meet all the demands before the strike is called off, the union may put the decision to a vote.
The Ahmadu Bello University branch agreed with the government on the N40 billion Earned Academic Allowance (EAA).
The branch, however, called for payment of the allowance before the strike will be called off.
Lecturers at the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Delta State, said negotiations with the Federal Government must be concluded before the strike is called off.
Ezekiel Agbalagba, chairman of ASUU at the university, said the congress on Wednesday accepted the EAA, but rejected the N25 billion for the revitalisation of the varsities.
According to him, the latest concession by the Federal Government is “an offer”, adding: “Let it land in our purse first.”
Insecurity: Reps Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency
WORRIED by the worsening security situation in the country, the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity to effectively curb the ugly development.
The Speaker, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this while reading the resolutions approved after a fourhour executive session held on the floor of the Green Chamber, during which lawmakers condemned attacks on security agents and formations across the country.
To this end, the House resolved to invite the National Security Adviser (NSA), Babagana Mongunu; the service chiefs and other heads of various paramilitary agencies to appear before it and brief the members on the security situation in the country.
The House also mandated all its security committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in the Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
Gbajabiamila, who read the resolution, said: “The House reiterates its commitment to the security and corporate existence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and would, therefore, accelerate its engagement with stakeholders on a special security summit to be organised by the House of Representatives.
“The House should urgently invite the NSA, service chiefs, and paramilitary chiefs, Controller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service and the Managing Director of NIGCOMSAT to brief the House on the security situation in the country.
“Considering the security situation, the President should immediately declare a state of emergency on insecurity so as to fast track all measures to ensure the restoration of peace in the country.
“Call on the judiciary to accelerate the prosecution of those awaiting trial due to banditry, terrorism and other criminal activities.
“Provide emergency relief to all communities that have been adversely affected by recent attacks across the country.
“The President should as a matter of urgency, ensure financial autonomy to Local Government Councils to guarantee their functionality to serve the local populace.
“The Federal Government should ensure the protection of National Infrastructure assets, particularly the Shiroro and Kainji Dams in Niger State.
“The House mandated all its Security Committees to immediately commence comprehensive audit of all military and paramilitary assets and arms in our Armed Services and revert back to the House within four weeks.
“That the number of personnel in the Police and Military falls far short of the required number to effectively secure the country and calls for immediate recruitment to this effect,” the resolution read.
Buhari Is Helping Fulanis Take Over, There Is No Govt in Nigeria – Governor Ortom
Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of working for Fulanis. He said the country has no government following incessant killings by bandits and Fulani herdsmen in his state.
He lamented that over 70 people have been murdered in two weeks in Makurdi Local Government Area. Ortom spoke to protesters on Tuesday at the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Abagena village. Suspected herdsmen, Monday night, killed citizens and wounded many others. “What is happening now, to me, is very clear; Mr President is just working for these Fulanis to take over the whole country.”
He said Buhari’s body language is what is being played out and that the action and inaction of Mr President “shows that he is only the President of Fulani people”. Ortom decried that attackers regularly send indigenes away from their homes, yet go to kill them where they take refuge.
Ortom called them “Fulani herdsmen”, stressing that “They are not bandits. They are Fulanis. We saw and heard them speak the language.” The Benue helmsman stated that the federal authorities have been dragging foot on the matter.
“If the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons have been killed just in Makurdi Local Government Area alone.”
Noting that the situation is not acceptable, Ortom said similar killings were going on in Guma and Gwer-West. Ortom recalled he alerted Nigerians when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola, the Adamawa State capital.
He said they declared that except the prohibition of open grazing law was reviewed, “Benue will not know peace.” The governor wondered why the federal government was yet to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted the meeting. “It means we don’t have a government”, he declared.
“Mr President must do the needful and I want to suggest that immediately, let there be a security summit. I am aware that the situation is prevalent in other parts of the country.”
On Monday, the police command in Benue State also confirmed the kidnap of three students of the Federal University of Agriculture in Makurdi.
Freeze Pantami’s Accounts – Rinu Oduala Urges CBN
An #EndSARS campaigner, Rinu Oduala, has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze the bank accounts of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, over his past controversial comments supporting the activities of terrorist groups including Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
Pantami had since renounced his radical pro-terrorists comments, saying he now knows better but Nigerians have been unsparing and relentless in the call for the resignation or sacking of the minister.
Oduala, who tweeted via @SavvyRinu on Thursday, urged the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele to freeze Pantami’s accounts just as the apex bank swiftly froze the accounts of at least 20 #EndSARS promoters last year over terrorism-related allegations.
“Godwin Emefiele, when are you going to freeze the bank accounts of Isa Pantami?”
The PUNCH had reported that the apex bank through an ex parte order froze the accounts of Oduala and 19 other persons who played a role in the October 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings.
The CBN had said the accounts were frozen because of the nature of the investigation which was terrorism-related but after about three months, a Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the apex bank to unfreeze the accounts of the 20 #EndSARS protesters.
Oduala, a leading voice during the #EndSARS protests last year, had pulled out of the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry probing alleged killing of protesters by soldiers at the Lekki toll gate. She had faulted the decision of the retired Justice Doris Okuwobi-led panel to reopen the toll gate when justice hasn’t been served to the victims of the October 20, 2020 Lekki shootings.