close

News

ASUU appeals ruling, says FG has declared war

The striking Academic Staff Union of Universities will file an appeal against the ruling of the National Industrial Court which directed its members to resume work, according to news sources.

Counsel for ASUU, Femi Falana (SAN), disclosed this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Thursday.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 to press home its demands for improved funding for universities and a review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.

Justice Polycarp Hamman on Wednesday ordered the union’s members back to work.

But Falana disclosed that, “We are filing the appeal tomorrow (Friday) morning. We just got the certified true copy of the judgment on Thursday. The appeal will be filed first thing Friday morning.”

Vice-Chancellors speak

Meanwhile, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities has said the crisis between the Federal Government and ASUU is not an issue that should be taken to court.

While reacting to the court order asking ASUU to go back to class, the CVCNU chairman, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, said, “The matter is not a court issue. A lecturing job is not one you force people to do because it is a knowledge-based job.

“The best is to mutually understand one another. If, as a student, you go to the class now and you are not given knowledge, what will be the outcome? We are pleading that ASUU, FG, and other stakeholders should come together and dialogue and settle it.”

 

‘FG declared war’

The Ebonyi State University’s ASUU Chairman, Ikechukwu Igwenyi, on Thursday, said with the court order, the Federal Government has declared “war” against members of the union.

This was as he pointed out that the “no work, no pay” policy of the government shows the authorities lack an understanding of the nature of the contract between the lecturers and their employees.

“The NIC ordered ASUU to call off the ongoing strike and return to the classroom with empty stomachs and unpaid bills pending the determination of the suit filed against the union by the Federal Government,” he said in Abakaliki, on Thursday.

IPPIS, UTAS failed

The leadership of the House of Representatives has invited the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige; Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr Folashade Yemi-Esan; and the Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, among others over the lingering crisis.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila; and Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, on Thursday, led chairmen of relevant committees to another meeting with Yemi-Esan, Nta and other top officials on the government’s side.

At the meeting, National Information Technology Development Agency told the House leadership that the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System, the University Transparency Accountability Solution proposed by ASUU and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System failed integrity tests.

Re-open campuses – CONUA

However, another group of academic staff in public universities in the country, the Congress of University Academics, has urged vice-chancellors to immediately reopen universities across the country based on the industrial court’s ruling.

This was contained in a statement on Thursday by CONUA’s National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu.

read more

Oil Theft; Group Petitions National Security Adviser, accuse youth president of plans to unleash mayhem in Ekpeyeland …As Soldiers Apprehend pipeline Vandals and illegal bunkerers.

 

A group, the Niger Delta Situation Room has accused the youth president of Igbuduya community, Ifeanyi Madu of planning to unleash mayhem in Ekpeyeland as a cover-up for his illegal oil bunkering activities.

The group in a petition to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and signed by Alvin Dogu, a program officer, disclosed that the youth president has been sponsoring incessent protests in the area, one of which took place on Wednesday, 21st September, along the busy East/West road, ostensibly blackmailing an oil company operating in the area, to suspend the operations of a surveillance team operating in the area.

 

According to the group, “Igbuduya Youth Assembly blocked and shutdown the Okogbe axis of the East West Road, Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State in protest against a NAOC surveillance contractor. The Youths during the protest threatened to blow and shut down all AGIP oil installations in the area if AGIP does not listen to their demands to suspend the operations of pipeline surveillance team engaged by the oil company to safeguard it’s pipelines.

use

The Igbuduya youths under the manipulation of Ifeanyi Madu, had embarked on similar protest last week and gave a one week ultimatum to NAOC to immediately withdraw a pipeline surveillance contractor engaged by the oil company.

The group revealed that the surveillance team has been a torn in the flesh of the illegal oil bunkerers in the area.

The group lamented that the activities of the youth president has impacted negatively on the environment and eco system of the area. According to the petition, ” the activities of the oil bunkerers has devastated the environment in Ekpeyeland. The air is so polluted that the heavy smell of benzene and other cancerous gasses, suffocates the entireland. Rivers have been polluted, denying the people of access to drinking water and destroying aquatic life. Farmlands have been polluted..”

In a related development, soldiers of the Nigerian Army has arrested a gang of pipeline Vandals and illegal oil bunkerers on Wednesday, 21st Sept, 2022. The gang which specializes in bursting oil pipelines and compromising oil well heads, were caught red handed while siphoning crude oil from an oil pipe and also illegally refinning the stolen crude oil.

Incidentally, while the protest was going on, David Madu, a younger brother to the Igbuduya Youth President, Ifeanyi Madu, was among the arrested oil thieved arrested by the army, at a separate location. Sources in the area disclosed that the youth president and his brother are notorious illegal oil bunkerers.

Reacting to the petition by the Niger Delta Situation Room, which was copied to the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO), the south south zonal chairman of the CLO, Karl Chinedu Uchegbu, regreted that the exulted position of youth president and community leaders are steadily being infiltrated by criminal elements in the communities.

The CLO boss, warned that the nexus between oil Theft and community leadership structure portends a serious danger to peace and security in the communities.

He called on the security agencies to beam their searchlight on the area and to fish out those who are hiding under the cover of youth organisations to engage in criminal acts

It would be recalled that recently, the activities of oil bunkerers and cult groups led to the death of two persons and properties destroyed on Okogbe Community in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers state.

read more

Okogbe Crisis: Hold Cultists, Bunkerers Responsible -Group

A rights group, the Niger Delta Situation Room, has disclosed that the recent mayhem the engulfed Okogbe community in Ahoada West LGA in Rivers State, was the handiwork of cultists and bunkerers operating in the area.

The group in statement signed by Alvin Dogu, the program officer, monitoring and intelligence, revealed that the crisis in Okogbe community the resulted in the death of 2 persons and the burning of 3 houses, was as a result of a clash between rival cult groups and illegal oil bunkerers over sharing of money.

The group revealed that contrary to the false narrative promoted by the cultists and their backers, that the mayhem was caused by the operations of a surveillance team contracted by an oil company operating in the area, the fact was that the illegal bunkerers and their cult partners, orchestrated the violence that engulfed Okogbe community.

According to the statement;

‘Our attention has been drawn to a story making the news rounds purporting that 2 person’s were killed and some houses burnt at Okogbe community, in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers state, as a fall out of the activities of a pipeline surveillance team, contracted by Agip, an oil company operating in the area.

Our investigation as a formost environmental rights group, dedicated to the protection and preservation of the environment of the Niger Delta region and the human rights and security of it’s people, reveals that quite to the contrary, the morning ncident that led to the clash at Okogbe and the attendant loss of life and destruction of properties had nothing to do whatsover with the operation of any surveillance team or Agip oil company.

Reports from our field monitors revealed that the killings and the destructions was as a result of a clash by two rival cult groups in the area over supremacy and control of the illegal oil bunkering business.

Local people interviewed in the course if our investigation disclosed that the cult groups and the illegal oil bunkeres have always had a tenuous business relationship, which often flares up violently over the issue of payoffs and protection money demanded by the cult groups from the bunkerers and which cult group will receive the lion share of the payoffs.

So the crisis that resulted in the violence the led to the unfortunate deaths and destruction of properties was as a result of disagreement among the cult groups over sharing of the illicit money extorted from the bunkerers.

It is stretching the imagination to far to try to locate a nexus between the operations of a legally contracted surveillance team, whose major goal is to eliminate the criminal and illegal bunkering activities in line with the Federal Government policy to eliminate oil theft, and the activities of criminal elements, who have sworn to tarnish the Image and operations of the surveillance operatives and Agip oil company.

Our investigations revealed that not long ago, a formost and respected human rights group,the Civil Liberties Organisation had raised alarm over its descivery that a coalition of oil bunkerers, cult groups and some misguided youth leaders, had perfectted arrangements to plunge Ahoada East and West LGAs into chaos, as a way of demonizing the persistent onslaught and the crippling effect of the war on oil theft in the area.

Our conclusion therefore is that the recent sad incident at Okogbe, is a part of the plot by oil bunkerers and their cult partners to destabilize the area and blame it on the pipeline surveillance contractors and the oil companies operating in the area.

We further wish to urge the public to disregard the infantile claim that the violence that erupted in Okogbe community as reported in some news organs, is as a result of the operations of any surveillance contractor, but rather a failed attempt by the pepertrators to hoodwink the public.

We urge the law enforcement agencies to beam their searchlight on the activities of the oil bunkerers, their cult partners and some misguided youth leaders in the area, who facilitating the illicit theft in crude oil”

read more

FG Suspends Proposed Five Per Cent Tax On Phone Calls, Data

The Federal Government has suspended the introduction of five percent excise duty in the digital economy sector, a tax which was earlier proposed by the Minister of Finance.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami disclosed this in abuja during the inauguration of a committee that will review the policy.

Pantami said he personally rejected the policy and advised president Muhammadu Buhari against it in view of the effects it would have on the digital economy.

 

 

According to him, the introduction of excise duty in the telecommunication and information and communications technology industry would jeopardise the successes already recorded within the industry.

Pantami also noted that currently the ICT sector is over-burdened with multiple taxations both at the federal and state level.

He further disclosed that there are more than 41 taxes that telecommunication and ICT companies are paying and that it would be unfair to subject them to payment of excise duty.

Meanwhile, a presidential committee on the review of the excise duty in digital economy has been inaugurated by the federal government.

The committee has the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isah Pantami as chairman and the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed as a member.

Other members are the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service, Muhammad Nami and representatives of the telecommunication industries.

read more

Nigeria’s Situation Is Critical But Not Hopeless – Peter Obi

Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, is of the opinion that Nigeria might be in a very critical position at the moment, however, all hope is far from lost.

At an event on Sunday put together by the Columbia Africa Business Club and the Black Law Students Association at Columbia University,  Mr Obi said while all seems bleak for the nation, there are great chances of turning her fate around.

“I will say that while Nigeria’s situation is critical; it is not yet hopeless. That might be a cliché, but that is the reality,” the former Anambra State governor asserted.

He reiterated that in the mission to rescue Nigeria, there is no tribe, religion, or class. “Indeed, there can be no conscientious objector,” Obi declared.

 

 

The LP Flagbearer said he is immensely proud of the Nigerian diaspora community, noting that their contributions has played a huge role to the nation’s growth.

“Just over a month ago, on July 25, we celebrated the nearly 20 million Nigerians in the diaspora who contribute to the growth and development of our incredible country. We celebrated you.”

Speaking ahead of 2023, Obi said his administration will pursue the global best practices and standards within available resource.

Tackling the issue of education, he disclosed that certainly, the medium and long term, 14% budgetary funding for education is within the realm of possibility.

“We will strive to be globally competitive by increasing funding and ensuring that the (TETFund) resources are redirected to the funding of the Universities and other higher institutions robustly with a view to ending the perennial shrikes by University Staff and workers.

“Within available national resources and (TetFund), there should be funds to reasonably tackle the problems of our tertiary institutions and prevent ASUU strikes. Unfortunately, due to State Capture, TetFund has been grossly mismanaged.

“We intend to change extant and enabling policies to make access to such funds seamless, transparent and dedicated for prescribed purposes.

“We are challenged by high youth unemployment, which stands at 33.3%; 54% for the youth; and 20 million out-of-school-children. We must give this country back to the Nigerian youths. Half of our 200 million people are below the age of 30.

“The median age of this country stands at 17.9, showing that Nigeria has the incredible potentials to develop, if she harnesses the demographic dividends intelligently,” Mr Obi stated.

According to him, “harnessing our national youth strength must start with curbing the high youth unemployment and creating funding access to enable our youths become entrepreneurs and drivers of our Small and Medium Scale enterprises(SMEs).

“We must fund education more robustly, by tweaking the UBEC and TETFund.”

As regards the economy, the ex-Anambra governor explained that economics is driven by the laws of efficiency and as such, the nation must return to the path of production that results in production and wealth creation, and eventually results in massive employment and poverty alleviation.

“As a nation, we must look beyond oil. Whatever oil we have will be refined domestically. We will look to solar and other clean energy, especially gas.

“We have over 84 million hectares of arable land. Barely 40% of this arable land is cultivated today. Nigeria’s arable land is her new oil and gold. We will put our land to work for us. We will grow excess grains and use that for clean energy.

“Flutterwave, on its own, was recently valued at US$3 billion. We will create an enabling environment for our startups to thrive. Beyond creating access to easy funding, we will enforce the legal framework protecting foreign investors and their indigenous partners.

“This is the only way to improve our business environment and tamper capital flight.

“We will stop borrowing for consumption. All loans must be invested in regenerative projects.

“Inflation is a factor of spending on goods and services outstripping production. Since we have not resolved the minimum wage issue, we will not use wage and price controls to fight inflation. Rather, we will pursue a contractionary monetary policy. We will mop up excess liquidity by reducing the money supply within an economy.

“The truth is that for long, market forces have not determined the exchange rate of the Naira. The two-tier foreign exchange regime is a fluke. It has to end. Let the exchange rate be determined by the forces of demand and supply. It is that simple.

“Beneficiaries of China’s goodwill and investments in Africa are many. So too are the countries defaulting on their Chinese loans.

“The trend is deeply alarming. Salutary, as it may seem, we must approach such engagement with our national interest uppermost in our minds,” Obi expostulated.

He stressed that the nation must fight greed and impunity that breeds corruption, adding that his administration’s total commitment to rule of law, due process, transparency and accountability in government business will be instrumental to achieving limited to zero corruption.

read more

Certificate Forgery: I Sued Lagos Assembly, Not Tinubu, Says Keyamo

Spokesperson for the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Council for the 2023 elections, Festus Keyamo, has said that he didn’t sue then-Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu, over alleged certificate forgery.

“I never sued Tinubu. No. I sued the House of Assembly seeking an interpretation of the law,” Keyamo said in a statement sent to Channels Television on Tuesday.

The Minister of State, Labour and Employment was reacting to a statement by the the Spokesperson for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Daniel Bwala, who insisted that Keyamo sued Tinubu during his first-term as Lagos governor.

Bwala, who spoke on Channels Television’s Political Paradigm, cited a law report, Keyamo V. House Of Assembly, Lagos State (2002)18 NWLR (Pt. 799)605.

However, Keyamo said, “Once the Supreme Court pronounces on an issue, it becomes binding on even the lawyer who loses and he is bound to obey and defend the judgment of the court. So assuming (which is not conceded) that I made any kind of accusation in the matter, once the Supreme Court ruled, that was the end of the matter and from that moment, it behoves me to stop pushing a matter already laid to rest by the highest court of the land and defend the decision.

“Nigerians would be hearing from the horse’s mouth as to what actually transpired during the battle that raged then and how the matter was eventually laid to rest,” he said, adding that he is “the greatest defender of Asiwaju on the issue today”.

Keyamo noted that “these battles we waged were not borne out of bitterness and hate” but to “unravel the truth and the real constitutional powers of the House”.

“So, once the issue was laid to rest, we move on. Anyone who thinks I would still harbour any kind of resentment more than 20 years later should examine his/her head,” he said.

read more

ASUU: FG announces 23.5% salary increment for lecturers

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, on Tuesday said the government could only afford 23.5 percent salary increase for lecturers, while a 35% increment will be enjoyed by professors.

The minister also noted that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) warned against signing agreements which the government will not be able to meet.

Adamu disclosed this while speaking during the meeting with vice-chancellors and other stakeholders in the university system.

He said,”The Federal Government can only afford a 23.5% salary increase for all category of the workforce in Federal Universities, except for the professorial cadre which will enjoy a 35% upward review.

 

“Henceforth, allowances that pertain to ad-hoc duties of the academic and non-academic staff shall be paid as at when due by the Governing Councils of Universities to which such services are rendered and to the staff who perform
them.

“That a sum of 150 billion Naira shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget as
funds for the revitalization of Federal Universities, to be disbursed to the
Institutions in the First Quarter of the year, and that a sum of 50 billion Naira shall be provided for in the 2023 Budget for the payment of outstanding areas of earned academic allowances, to be paid
in the First Quarter of the year”.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, the pro-chancellor of the National Open University of Nigeria, Professor Peter Okebukola, noted that the government was ready to go all out to ensure that the university lecturers return back to school.

read more

God’s given me capacity to crush my enemies, says Wike

The Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike has said God has given him the capacity to crush his enemies.

Wike, who described enemies as small boys, said he would not leave his political opponents for God.

The governor, who stressed that he would deal with his opponents himself said, “I have the capacity to flog these small boys.”

Governor Wike made this assertion on Monday at the inauguration of the Okezuo Abia Flyover along the Aba -Enugu Expressway in Osisioma Ngwa Local Government Area, and the rehabilitated Aba- Owerri Road in Aba South Local Government Area of Abia State.

Wike, who was hosted by his Abia State counterpart, Okezie Ikpeazu, said “God has given me what it takes to crush these people, for me to crush my enemies.

Recall that Wike has been embroiled in a battle of wits with the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, Iyorchia Ayu.

Wike said he would not hesitate to deal with enemies by flogging “the small boys.”

“No relationship can be bought with money. When I read some newspapers, they say some people are making attempts to break ranks. I said do you understand the modus operandi of what we are doing? If they understand the modus operandi, they will not waste their time.

“If you like, go and meet Ikpeazu, if you like go and meet Seyi, if you like go and meet Ortom, if you like go and meet Ugwuanyi. You don’t even understand what we are doing…you are making mistakes,” Wike said.

He further said, “Look, nobody should bother about any abuse on me. I’m too much for it. I don’t even know when I’m abused. If they like, let them put everything on social media and abuse me. At the end, we will know who is relevant or not at the appropriate time.

“Politics is not to go on the pages of newspapers. Politics is not to go and buy slots on television and speak.

“It is who will deliver at the appropriate time. That is what is key. If you like to abuse me from now until tomorrow, it’s your business.

“What is important is when the time comes we will know. When the jungle matures, we will know those who can stand the crisis. We will know those who have capacity to say this is where our state will go,” he said.

read more

2023: We don’t ‘ve any perfect candidate before us — Odinkalu

The former Chairman, National Human Right Commission, Professor Chidi Odinkalu, has said Nigerians cannot afford to make the same mistake in the forthcoming elections.

Speaking on Channels Television yesterday, Odinkalu described President Muhammadu Buhari led administration as a calamity.

 

According to  Odinkalu: “2023 is not a contest between good and evil, if democratic politics is between good and evil, it will be very easy. The reality is, it is between flawed human beings, imperfect choices and that is what makes it very exciting and difficult. Sadly, that is what we are confronted with in 2023. We don’t have any perfect or ideal candidates who are before us and one of them will be the president May29, next year.

Asked if Nigeria can afford mistakes this time around, Odinkalu said: “I don’t think we can, I hate to say this, but President Muhammadu Buhari has been a huge calamity. he has been a tragic calamity. The reality is that he actually fulfilled his promise. He promised the country change and he delivered the change. The change he delivered has taken the country back, if not two generations backward, four generations back.

 

“When Buhari took over power in 2015, Nigeria had about 12million out of school children, according to UNESCO today, Nigeria has about 22.3million out of school children today.

“Essentially he’s grown out of school children year on year by about 1.5million during a seven year tenure; pause, and think about what that means in the next 15 to 20 years from now. We are dealing with radicalisation and insurgency across board. Think what 22 million gives you, radicalisation! And pause for a second time, contemplate the consequences …”

read more

UPDATED: ASUU Extends Six-Month-Old Strike Indefinitely

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Monday extended its six-month-old strike indefinitely until the Federal Government meets its demands.

A member of the union, who pleaded anonymity, confirmed the development  following a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the striking varsity teachers at the University of Abuja.

He said the union extended the industrial action after reviewing progress reports on ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government in the last four weeks when ASUU rolled over the strike.

Last week, the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu said the Federal Government had addressed most of the union’s demands including the release of N50b for the payment of earned allowances for academic and non-academic and non-academic staff of universities.

ASUU embarked on the strike on February 14th, 2022. It had then declared a four-week warning strike. But after a month, the lecturers extended it by eight weeks, saying the government needs more time to look at its demands.

Following the Federal Government and lecturers’ inability to reach a resolution, the union on May 9 further extended the strike by 12 weeks.

The university teachers are seeking improved welfare, the revitalisation of public universities, and academic autonomy among others. Several meetings between government representatives and ASUU have ended in deadlock. One such was held about two weeks ago with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee at the National University Commission (NUC) in Abuja.

But a senior member of ASUU told Channels Television that the Briggs Renegotiation Committee did not come up with a new deal. The anonymous source said the committee had pleaded with the union to suspend the strike and promised that their concerns will be included in next year’s budget.

Since the industrial dispute, several groups and individuals have waded into the matter. The latest is human rights lawyer Femi Falana who asked the Federal Government to sign the renegotiated agreement with the striking workers.

“Instead of engaging in the diversionary tactics of blackmailing ASUU the Federal Government should ensure that the strike is called off by signing the Renegotiated Agreement with ASUU without any further delay,” Falana said in a statement he issued on Sunday.

“While calling on both sides to resume the negotiations in the interest of the country the Federal Government should be prevailed upon to end the prolonged industrial action.”

read more
1 2 3 40
Page 1 of 40