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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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NEWS

I’ll recover my stolen mandate, says Atiku

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Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), says he is confident in getting his “stolen mandate” from the court.

He spoke on Wednesday during a courtesy call on the southern and middle belt leaders at the Abuja residence of Edwin Clark, a leader of the group.

Atiku, who lost to President Muhammadu Buhari, candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), had rejected the result of the presidential poll and is currently challenging the validity of the election at the tribunal.

“This is a mandate that has been stolen from Nigerians. We believe justice would be done at the end of the day,” he said.

“As I had announced earlier, I have rejected the result of the election. As announced earlier, we have filed our petition before the tribunal or the courts because we believe this is a mandate that has been stolen from the Nigerian people. And I believe that the courts will do justice in this case.

“We still have confidence in our courts and we believe justice will be done. But the most important thing here is that between ourselves, we have been able to galvanize the people of this country to think alike and in unity.

“Of course, we have also come to realize and accept that the basis of our unity, our coexistence lies fundamentally on restructuring this country so that every part of this country can have a sense of belonging and also have opportunity to exploit their human and materiel resources for the development of the citizens while remaining in the same country.”

Thanking the leaders, Atiku said he believes this is a struggle that is achievable, and Nigeria has nothing to fear about restructuring.

In his remarks, Clark commended Atiku for heading to court, and assured him that the elders were behind him.

“We are happy that you are in court, you have already filed your papers, it’s not a question of saying am going to court. We are behind you. And by the grace of God, we will achieve what we are struggling for,” he said.

The group of elders comprising Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Afenifere, and Middle Belt Forum (MBF) had adopted Atiku two weeks to the election.

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NNPC confident of meeting 2019 oil production target – Baru

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has expressed confidence that it would meet the target of 2.3 million barrels of oil per day (MBOPD) benchmark used in the 2019 Midterm Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

This was according to the Group managing Director (GMD) of NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, who stated this while appearing before the Senate committee on Finance on Tuesday.

Baru, who was represented by NNPC’s Group General Manager, Corporate Planning and Strategy, Mr Bala Wunti, disclosed that the corporation has installed oil production capacity of over 2.5 Mbopd to support the yardstick used in 2019 MTEF.

Baru identified the major obstacle to achieving the planned production volume as the security situation in the Niger Delta region, which according to him, has seen considerable improvement.

The NNPC GMD noted that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s strong focus on “collaboration and effective community engagement for sustainable partnership” has significantly helped to douse the security challenge in the region.

Baru said the improved security situation in the Niger Delta has led to a corresponding improvement in crude oil production under the current administration. The GMD expressed optimism that the security situation will only further improve, adding that the “NNPC remains confident that Nigeria can achieve the 2019 budget production target of 2.3 Mbopd.”

Responding to questions on the impact of OPEC quota on the country’s oil production level, the GMD invited the Committee to note that the National production of 2.3 Mbopd is the national liquid hydrocarbon production which is not only crude oil but also includes condensate. The OPEC quota is an allocation for only for crude oil and not condensate. He explained that Nigeria’s condensate production oscillates between 0.4Mbpd 0.6Mbld out of the 2.3 Mbopd.

The GMD further disclosed that the NNPC mandates on the 2019 MTEF are premised on the 3 thematic assumptions of Production volume, Crude oil price and Unit Cost of Crude Oil Production. “The Corporation is glad to report that NNPC in collaboration with other relevant agencies have emplaced measures to ensure the attainment of these assumptions used in developing the 2019 MTEF,” he said.

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NEWS

Stop the rumour! Dangote not part of ‘Kano Elders Committee’ on election postponement

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The social media had been awashed with information purporting the creation of a “Committee of Elders of Kano” to address the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Kano elections, which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared as inconclusive

Investigations conducted by First-Weekly Magazine revealed that the news is fake as some of the alleged committee members such as Alhaji Aliko Dangote is currently out of the country on a business trip.

Moreover, we reliably gathered that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is apolitical and he has never been involved in politics in any form.

It was reported in the story that Alhaji Aliko Dangote was to be received by other eminent Kano elders on Tuesday, March 12, 2019  at the Kano International Airport and thereafter proceed to the Emir’s palace to discuss current political situation in Kano State.

Sources revealed that the Nigerian Industrialist, though an indigene of Kano State is primarily committed to developing African economies through his business footprints across 17 African countries and positively touching the lives of people across the continent and beyond.

“It is necessary to properly inform members of the public on this sensitive issue to counter the fake news and set the records straight.

“As a citizen of the country, Alhaji Aliko Dangote is interested in the development and progress of Nigeria and Kano State, but that does not mean that he would dabble into politics.

“He loves his fatherland and his homeland, but he is not the type that would dabble into a terrain that he is not familiar with as he is committed to establishing businesses and enterprises that would promote the economy of the country and provide employment for the teeming Nigerians, some of whom are gainfully employed in his companies and organizations,” said a source.

The source then urged members of the public to disregard the news and treat it as fake, saying that there was no way Alhaji Aliko Dangote, who is out of the country on a business trip, would be having meetings with some people in the country at the same time.

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