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FG To ASUU: We Can’t Meet Your Demands Now

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal Government said that it will be unable to meet the demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities for now.

The Federal Government, therefore, appealed to the lecturers, who have embarked on the strike, to exercise restraint in their demands.

The position of the Federal Government was stated on Monday night by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, at a press conference in Abuja.

Adamu said ASUU’s problems with the government began during the Umaru Yar’Adua administration in 2009.

He said the Federal Government would have fulfilled its obligations to ASUU if international oil prices had not crashed after 2009.

He said previous administrations made promises to the union when the economy was buoyant, adding that the Federal Government provided an agreement in 2009 for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years.

Adamu said: “The issues necessitating this strike date back to 2009 when the then government of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua signed an agreement with ASUU on the funding of federal universities.

“The agreement provided for funding of universities to the tune of N1.3 trillion over a period of six years.

“It is instructive to know that Nigeria was experiencing oil boom at that time.

“It was therefore expected that the government would meet the terms of the agreement.

“However, international oil prices crashed in subsequent years, thereby throwing the country into an economic hardship.

“At the inception of this administration, the country’s economic fortunes worsened, nose-diving into a recession, with dire consequences on all sectors of the economy, including education.

“We exited recession not too long ago and we are just beginning to recover from the consequences of low oil prices, which are happily beginning to pick up.

“If this trend continues, definitely the education sector will also improve.

“Against this background, I want to appeal to all parents, students and in particular ASUU women and men to continue to exercise restraint in terms of their response to the plight of the education sector.

“We must also be mindful that there are other sectors with similar competing needs.”

Members of ASUU on Monday began what has been termed total and indefinite strike action.

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Manchester United sack Jose Mourinho

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Manchester United have announced the sack of manager, Jose Mourinho.

The Portuguese was dismissed on Tuesday after a series of poor results.

Manchester United announced this on Twitter, saying, “Manchester United has announced that Jose Mourinho has left the Club.

“We would like to thank him for his work during his time at Manchester United and wish him success in the future.”

Details later…

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BIG STORY

Youth Corper Docked Over Alleged £12.5m Internet Fraud, Remanded In Prison Custody

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The Enugu Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned Ogbonna Victor Chibuzor, a serving member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), before Justice A.M. Liman of the Federal High Court, Enugu, on a five-count charge bordering on intent to defraud, and possession of fraudulent documents contrary to Section 6 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

Ogbonna’s arrest was sequel to series of raids carried out by operatives over the past one week in which several suspected fraudsters in their early 20s, alleged to be engaging in online fraud, were arrested having been found to be living a flamboyant lifestyle not commensurate to the means of livelihood.

Analysis carried out on the computer of the suspected fraudster revealed certain incriminating documents intended to be used in swindling gullible Nigerians and foreigners alike.

Further investigations disclosed that Ogbonna uses his e-mail address activitygeneral@hotmail.com to send unsolicited emails to his victims using fake or stolen identity to legitimise his nefarious activities.

One of the documents was addressed to one Alan Christopher of BG Group Plc, Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6, Berkshire, United Kingdom, with a rider “Your attention is needed” and a second paragraph talking about a £12,500,000 (Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling) unclaimed contract fund.

Another document found with the accused was a purported “Contract Award Certificate” to one Michael Morgan of 101 Brooklyn, New York, United State of America, on “Directing and Fixing of Oil Spillage” in the Niger Delta signed by the Chairman, Contract Tender Board and Chairman, Legal Department of Chevron Nigeria.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges preferred against him occasioning his counsel E.O. Isiwu to move a motion for bail, which was opposed by prosecuting counsel, Innocent Mbachie.

The presiding judge, however, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N500,000 and one surety in like sum. The surety, he ruled, “must have a landed property in Enugu which must be verified by the Commissioner of Lands”. Ogbonna is to be remanded in prison custody until he fulfils his bail conditions.

The case has been adjourned to January 30, 2019.

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BIG STORY

Presidency Writes UK Govt, Calls For Corruption Probe Against Ekweremadu, Uzodinma, Others

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigerian Presidency has said it has written the National Crime Commission of the United Kingdom, UK, to assist in the investigation of five senators with properties in the UK and the British Virgin Islands.

The Senators are Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, and Imo state governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hope Uzodinma.

Others are Senators Stella Odua, Peter Nwaoboshi and Albert Bassey Akpan.

Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigative Panel on the Recovery of Public Property SPIP, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, disclosed this yesterday at a news conference in Abuja to highlight some of the activities of the body in 2018.

He said: “The UK has passed a law that will also help us in Nigeria fight corruption and that is the ‘Unexplained Wealth Regulation’ which entails that if you have a property in the UK that is above $50, 000, you have to explain your source of wealth, and property here does not just mean a building but even jewelries.

“So, we have written the National Crime Authority in the UK asking them to investigate some Nigerian senators who have property in the UK and the Virgin Islands,” he said.

Obono-Obla added that if they are found culpable, they would be prosecuted in accordance with extant laws and made to forfeit such properties.

Obono-Obla, who is also the Special Assistant to the President on Public Prosecution, added that five oil companies are also under investigation for tax evasion and refusal to pay royalties to the Nigerian government.

He said: “the companies have not remitted over $1 billion to the government.

“A lot of oil companies are contributing to the economic challenges facing the country, denying Nigeria of royalties and also evading taxes, money that would have been channeled to the development of the country.

“Working with the Federal Inland Revenue Service FIRS, we discovered that Addax Petroleum has failed to pay tax for five years and so they are owing about N700 million. Then, thanks to a petition we received from Femi Falana SAN, Mobil which purchased an oil bloc in 2001 for $2.5 billion dollars is yet to pay about $1.9 billion of that money to the government. We have commenced our investigations too”, he stated.

He said the panel was also looking at a petition involving a top official of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation NNPC as well as against the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN under Govs. Chukwuma Soludo and Sanusi Lamido Sanusi with regards to debt cancellations to banks.

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