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ASUU: Updates on strike and school reopening

Benjamin Ukpabi

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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Police Officer arrested with gang member during robbery operation

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Elekahia Police Division on sunday arrested a police sergeant Ibrahim Odege, and one other person involved in armed robbery at Elekahia Housing Estate.

State Police Command Public Relations Officer, Nmadi Omoni, disclosed this in a press statement. He said the two suspects were robbing people and falsefully taking their valuables from them.

Omoni said that the police early arrival to the scene led to the arrest of the two armed robbers, the police division identified one of the suspect Sergeant Ibrahim Odege attached to the Operations Department of the Rivers Police Command and one Sampson Inomoghe from Nembe in Bayelsa State, but resides at Rumuokwrushi in Obio/Akpor LGA.

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He said that the suspects took responsibilities for most of the robberies carried out in that axis. Omoni added that the state commissioner of police, Joseph G. Mukan, strongly condemned the act and ordered the immediate transfer of of the suspects and exhibits to the state Criminal Investigation Department for Investigation.

He appealed to the residents of the area to remain calm and be vigilant, also to work with the police to keep their area safe.

 

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Mercedes Benz With ‘Learner’ Sign Set Ablaze After Crushing 6 Children to Death in Edo

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Mercedes Benz With ‘Learner’ Sign Set Ablaze After Crushing 6 Children to Death in Edo State. The incident happened in Arue-Uromi, Esan-North East Local Government Area of the state.

According to Eye witnesses, the six children crushed by the Mercedes  were siblings, four girls and two boys, the driver (a learner) was trying to dodge a pothole and swerved to the spot where the kids were playing football.

This incident provoked the residents of the community,  they immediately blocked the road and set the Mercedes Benz ablaze.

This incident was confirmed by the Edo State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) Henry Benamaisia.

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I Didn’t Bribe Malami With $5m -Akpabio

Wisdom Nwachukwu

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Senator Godswill Akpabio(Minister of Niger Delta Affairs), has denied the news making the rounds that he offered a bribe of $5 million to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to earn his appointment as a sole administrator for the  Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Akpabio said this on Sunday through his media aide Anietie Ekong. he insisted that he would take legal action against frontliners of the news to clear his name and that of AGF.

Ekong said “the attention of the minister of Niger Delta Affairs has been drawn to a piece of fake news, which claimed that Senator Akpabio paid $5 million bribe to Malami and others to secure the appointment of a Sole Administrator for NDDC.

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“We wish to state categorically that this is a piece of malicious concoction manufactured from the pit of hell by mischief-makers. It is a figment of the imagination of the author of the fake news. Akpabio denies the story in its entirety. The authors of the fake news should be ready to back up their claim or face the full wrath of the law.

“The story is a desperate attempt by some unscrupulous bloggers to impugn the integrity of Akpabio and Malami as the claim is not only spurious but utterly ridiculous.

“The fact is that in a suit number ABJ/CS/617/2020 filed by a Civil Society Organization, Forum for Accountability and Good Governance, at a Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Ahmed Mohammed had granted an order restraining the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC from performing the functions of the board and accessing the commission’s offices and files.”

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