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ASUU strike to continue till further notice – Union

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Thursday said the ongoing strike would not be called off until the Federal Government fully implemented all the offers it made to the union after their last meeting.

The public university lecturers said they were tired of Federal Government’s antics of making unfulfilled promises, insisting that the strike would be called off after they got tangible evidence and concrete actions that the offers made to them by the Federal Government had been implemented.

The National President, ASUU,  Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi,  in an interview in Lagos on Thursday, said the team of the union that met  with the government on Tuesday did not reach any agreement with the Federal Government.

Asked when the strike would then be called off, Ogunyemi said, “Our members said they want to see evidence of satisfactory implementation of all they have proposed before the strike can be called off.”

On Tuesday, ASUU met with the Federal Government officials including the Minister of Education, Adamu  Adamu, as well as his Labour and Employment counterpart, Chris Ngige.

After their discussions, Ngige explained what the Federal Government was offering to the union.

He said the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation and the Ministry of Finance had confirmed with evidence that N15.4bn had been released to public universities.

But ASUU president recalled that last year, the government promised to release funds for the revitalisation of public universities, which was one of the demands of the union, but failed to do so.

Ogunyemi stated, “As for the proposal, it can be disaggregated. There are items there that require implementation. If they are setting up a committee on state universities, and they actually do, it is not something we need to agree on.  It is about action.

“If they have implemented it, it is off the list. If the government says it will pay a shortfall of salaries on a certain date, and the date comes and they release the money, it is also implementation. There is no agreement on the matter.

“On the revitalisation fund, we presented to the government that five tranches of N220bn each were outstanding. The government has not said it will release one, even if it is spread over a period of one year.  There is no agreement on that. What they are offering is not even up to one tranche.

“Last year, they promised to release the fund but they did not till November when the strike began. Long story short, our members are saying they do not want promises again, what they want is action, implementation or disbursement of funds. The government must act in a way to convince the union that agreement has not been set aside; to show that government has not set aside the agreement, they should release one tranche.”

He explained that in order to forestall a situation ASUU and the government would restart negotiations on arrears of earned academic allowances, both sides agreed that “it would be mainstreamed into the 2019 budget.”

According to him, such an agreement was reached last year, but he said the government failed to honour it.

Ogunyemi stated, “We are going to have  a discussion on when to commence renegotiation because there are still grey areas. If the government can substantially address these issues, we will be more confident to face our members on the way forward. For now, the feeler we are getting is that our members do not actually want to accept this government proposal from us.

“They said they would pay the shortfall of salary arrears of what was removed from workers’ salaries.  There are 20 universities identified. The money will be available by January 18. It is around the corner and we will see if it will come.”

…says FG’s  offers  far below its expectations

Also, ASUU, in its   Strike  Bulletin 8 issued   by its President, a copy of which was obtained by one of our correspondents in Ibadan, said the Federal Government’s proposal was far below its expectations.

In its latest  bulletin, the union president said the offer from the Federal Government towards meeting the demands of ASUU as contained in the 2017 Memorandum of Action was still fluid and far from expectations.

Wait for further directive, union tells  lecturers

Ogunyemi asked members to await further developments on the strike.

According to him, the proposal from government towards resolving the demands of ASUU as contained in the 2017 MoA is still fluid and far from expectations.

The bulletin read in part,  “Though some progress has been made with respect to discussion with government agents (The Minister of Labour and Employment as well as the Minister of Education), at the moment, the proposal from government towards resolving the demand of ASUU as contained in 2017 MoA and Strike Bulletin 1 is still fluid and far from expectations. Hence, it is the view of the National Strike Coordinating Committee that members should await further developments which are rapidly unfolding.”

When contacted,  the spokesman for the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr Ben Gong, told one of our correspondents in a telephone interview that, “What the ASUU president said, which I am privy to, is that, they have received government offers, they will communicate with their various branches across the universities and that the collective decision of those branches will inform the next step they will take. That they directed their various branches to hold their meetings today (Thursday).”

The ASUU leadership is expected to return to Ngige with the outcome of its meeting with the National Executive Committee over the offers made by government to the union.

The meeting between the minister and the ASUU leadership may hold today (Friday).

ASUU had on November 4 last year declared the strike to demand improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.

Other demands of the union include the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013) and Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017).

It  also asked for the release of the forensic audit report on earned academic allowances; payment of all outstanding earned academic allowances and mainstreaming of same into salaries beginning with the 2018 budget.

The union went on strike in 2018 to compel the Federal Government to make funds available for the revitalisation of public universities, based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017.

Ogunyemi said the union would not participate in the 2019 elections but stated that members were free to take part.

The union had on January 4 met with the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu and some officers of the commission. After the meeting, it resolved that it would not participate in the 2019 polls, but said that its members could take part as individuals.

He said, “In accordance with the ASUU’s long standing position, ASUU as a union will not participate in the conduct of 2019 general elections, although members may voluntarily participate in the conduct of the elections

“However, members are prohibited from participating in the election processes using any material that bears ASUU or relates to the union.” – Punch.

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Elumelu receives Doctorate Degree, says ‘We must join hands to lift our young ones from poverty to prosperity’

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l-r: Former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon; Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano(BUK), and Amanyanabo of Tom Brass, King Alfred Diete-Spiff; Founder, The Tony Elumelu Foundation and Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu; and Chancellor, Chairman, Governing Council, BUK, Professor Ibrahim Gambari; and Vice Chancellor, BUK, Professor Muhammad Bello, during the conferment of Honorary Doctor of Business on Elumelu by BUK in recognition of his foremost contribution to the Africa’s economic development through the promotion of entrepreneurship and philanthropy……in Kano on Saturday

Tony O. Elumelu, Founder, Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, UBA Group and Heirs Holdings, charged everyone to join hands to lift Nigeria’s youth from poverty to prosperity.

He made this statement while receiving an Honorary Doctor of Business (Hon D.B) degree by one of Nigeria’s foremost universities, Bayero University, Kano.

According to the Vice Chancellor, Bayero University, Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello, Elumelu’s conferment was in honour of his immense contribution to human capital development across Africa and especially in Northern Nigeria. Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, Africa’s leading philanthropy empowering entrepreneurship which he founded in 2010, he has empowered 7520 entrepreneurs across Africa; almost 1000 of the entrepreneurs are from Northern Nigeria. In addition to the current beneficiaries, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently partnered with Tony Elumelu Foundation to empower an additional 1,000 African entrepreneurs from the seven countries in Africa’s Sahel and Lake Chad regions, including the Northern Nigerian region. By the end of 2019, total beneficiaries of the Tony Elumelu Foundation will be 8,520.

In his acceptance speech, Elumelu emphasized the importance of collaboration between the public and private sector to create more jobs on the continent. According to him, “Our young people need jobs that governments and big corporates alone cannot provide. By promoting entrepreneurship, creating favourable policies and building infrastructure to help these entrepreneurs, we enable them to create jobs, and become employers of labour”.

Elumelu commended the declaration made by the President of Nigeria, H.E President Muhammadu Buhari on Nigeria’s Democracy Day to lift 100million lives out of poverty. He stated that job creation and entrepreneurship will help to achieve this goal.

Elumelu said: “There are a variety of ways to lift 100 million citizens from poverty, but two stand out. We can increase the number of jobs in the economy or we can create more opportunities for our young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into small businesses that employ labour.”

He added: “By promoting entrepreneurship, creating favourable policies and building infrastructure to help these entrepreneurs, we enable them to create jobs, and become employers of labour”.

Elumelu has been an active advocate for entrepreneurship as the key to catalysing the economic development of Africa. He has achieved this through empowering African entrepreneurs in the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s flagship Entrepreneurship Programme. In 2010, Elumelu and his family committed $100million to identify, train, mentor and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs in 10 years Half-way through the commitment, he has empowered 7,520 African entrepreneurs across 54 African countries who have received $5,000 non-refundable seed capital, access to mentors and an intensive 12-week business training; a commitment which the President in his address said enviably complements some of the government-led initiatives aimed at enhancing the capital base of small businesses.

During the conferment, the Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, Bayero University, Professor Umar Pate commended Elumelu’s commitment to lifting young Africans out of poverty. In his citation he spoke of Elumelu as “an illustrious son of Africa that has excelled at home and abroad, an economist that has empowered countless people through job creation and philanthropy, and a symbol of the African spirit of hope.”

Elumelu ended his speech by speaking on the importance of gender inclusion and a focus on quality healthcare and education to develop the over 60% of Africa’s population – the youth. “For Africa to avert a demographic catastrophe, and achieve sustainable growth, we must support gender inclusion, education, healthcare and entrepreneurship,” he said. “National prosperity can only come from widespread economic empowerment. This empowerment will come from inclusion, education, healthcare, and entrepreneurship.”

Other awardees were Senator Bello Hayatu-Gwarzo, LLD, Dr. Folake Solanke, the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria, LLD and Prof. Abdulkadir Dangambo. Guests at the ceremony included HRH Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Emir of Kano; H.E. General Yakubu Gowon, Former Head of State; Chief Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, Chancellor Bayero University Kano; H.E. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje OFR, Governor of Kano State; and the visiting Vice Chancellors from over 25 Nigerian universities.

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Presidency must shift to Southwest in 2023 – Senate President

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Senate President Ahmed Lawan says power shift to the South-west in 2023 is the best honour that can be bestowed on the late Chief MKO Abiola.

Lawan stated this in Yola, Adamawa State, in an interview with journalists.

He, therefore, advised President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC, to take a step further by handing over the 2023 presidential ticket to the South-west.

“The president and indeed our party must beware of divisive elements who are now proponents of retaining power in the north beyond 2023,” Lawan said.

He added, “I have said it before and I believe that 2023 presidential ticket of the APC must go to the South-west. Since I made this comment last time, some members of my party have been hatching a plot to suspend me from the party but I am not moved and I will still hold my ground that power must go to the west.

“June 12 Democracy Day is a milestone in Nigeria’s history and anyone who embraces democracy in Nigeria should be proud of what Buhari has done and it takes so much courage to do.

“So many Nigerian leaders have shied away from talking or acting about it because of the controversy arising from the date and fear of being scandalized but this is what Nigerians want, respect, rule of law and honour for those who fought and bled for democracy and that is what Nigerians should remember as significant for this date.

“It was not marked to spite or contradict anyone but to celebrate the common value we share in the belief in democracy as the best form of government that would serve this country and its people. And Buhari must be praised for this day,” he told Sahara Reporters.

On whether the day is widely acceptable, he said, “I don’t think Nigerians rejected it in any way, on the contrary, it has been welcomed with huge applause across party and regional divides.”

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Bauchi govt to launch agricultural policy document

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Governor Mohammed

Bauchi State Government is set to launch an Agricultural Policy Document to ensure smooth agricultural production in the state.

The State Governor, Senator Bala Abdulkadir Mohammed disclosed this on Saturday at the official launching of the 2019 farming season and sales of Fertilizer held at Zaki Local Government Area of the state.

Governor Mohammed who announced the sales of the fertilizer at a cost of Five thousand, five hundred naira per bag, noted that funds has been released to Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources to provide six thousand metric tons of the fertilizer.

He said in order to meet the fertilizer demand of farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and BASAC was been directed to ensure the availability of the commodities across the 20 local government areas.

The Governor said the sales of the fertilizer was part of the determination of his administration towards the provision of agricultural inputs to farmers in line with his campaign promises.

According to him, agricultural sector has remained a vibrant sector which has the potentials of providing raw materials to industries and empowerment opportunities to unemployed youth.
Governor Mohammed applauded the peaceful coexistence among farmers and herdsmen in the state and assured of his support to them.

In a key note address, the Permanent Secretary, State Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources Dr Bala Lukshi said significant improvement in agricultural productivity and efficiency would no doubt address unemployment and assist towards poverty reduction in the state.

The Permanent Secretary while disclosing some of the agricultural intervention programmes introduced by the Ministry, observed that agriculture remained the mainstay of economy and major employer of labor.

Dr Bala Lukshi therefore appealed for the immediate government action on the outbreaks of qualia birds, army worms and stem borer in the crop sector in order to address the challenges affecting the sector.

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