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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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BREAKING: Many Trapped As Another Building Collapses In Oke-Arin, Lagos Island [VIDEO]

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Occupants of a building in the Oke Arin part of Lagos Island are currently trapped following the collapse of a house at Egerton Square.

The incident,we gathered, happened around 3:45pm on Monday.

Officials of the Lagos State Building Control Agency (LABCA) were demolishing a house beside the building when it caved in.

Kehinde Adebayo, spokesman of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA), told TheCable that a rescue team was on its way to the scene.

“We are currently on our way to the place. As soon as I get more update, I’ll get across to you,” he told TheCable.

The development is coming five days after 20 persons, including school children were killed in the Ita-Faaji area of Lagos Island.

The state government had embarked on demolition of defective structures in the local government two days after the Ita–Faaji incident.

On Friday, a three-storey building under construction in Ibadan, Oyo state collapsed but all the 23 workers were rescued.

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Give Us Power, Prioritize The Electricity Sector; Elumelu Begs President Buhari

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Chairman of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to give priority attention to the electricity sector of the economy.

Speaking at the 2018 Annual General Meeting of the group, in Abuja, weekend, Elumelu said: “Let him help us with power,” arguing that constant power supply would drastically reduce the cost of doing business in the country and make economy more competitive.

With poor electricity supply across the nation, corporate organisations and individuals have had to spent huge sums of money on diesel and petrol to fuel their generators.
Transcorp spent a whopping N1.292 billion as energy cost in the year under review, according to the company’s Annual Report and Financial Statements.

Elumelu noted that the N701 billion Power Payment Assurance Plan, PAP, initiative of the Federal Government under the management of the Nigeria Bulk Electricity Trading, NBET, Plc greatly improved liquidity in the sector but noted that the problem of huge unpaid invoices of Power Generating Companies, GENCOs, persisted in the fiscal year.

This challenge, he said, must be addressed by the Federal Government to significantly impact the receivables of the GENCOS, gas suppliers and transporters in the sector.
The Trasncorp boss also urged President Buhari to make it possible for Nigerian investors to benefit from the nation’s assets.

“Let him encourage domestic investors to benefit from the assets of this nation,’’ Elumelu said. The Federal Government had announced plans to sell some of the national assets, although details of that programme have not been made known.

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Acting CJN Muhammad Reveals When He’ll Step Aside, Says Onnoghen Remains Chief Justice of Nigeria

Peter Okunoren

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The Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, ACJN, Justice Tanko Muhammad, has said that suspended Justice Walter Onnoghen, remains the substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Muhammad said he would step aside once the Code of Conduct Tribunal or the Appeal Court reverses Onnoghen’s matter.

He, however, claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari does not need the permission of the National Judicial Council, NJC, to appoint an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria.

This was part of Justice Muhammad’s response to a query given to him by the NJC.

Justice Muhammad pointed out that the NJC ought to be consulted only when a substantive CJN is being appointed or re-appointed.

He said, “In my respectful view, the National Judicial Council has no role to play in the appointment of an acting Chief Justice of Nigeria in the first instance, that is to say on first appointment.

“The council comes in where the appointment as the acting CJN is to be renewed or extended. I humbly refer to Section 231(4) of the 1999 Constitution.

“It was for the larger interest of the judiciary and the constitutionality that I accepted to be sworn in as acting CJN with the conviction that if the order of January 23, 2019 is eventually set aside, the status quo would be restored.

“But before it is set aside, there should be no vacuum in the office of the CJN and the chairman of the NJC.

“On January 25, 2019, I was summoned to the Aso Villa at the instance of the President. Prior to the summons, I was not aware of the fact that the Code of Conduct Tribunal made any order on January 23, 2019.

“Furthermore, beyond what I read in the newspapers and watched on the television just like any other Nigerian, I was not privileged to see any of the processes filed by the parties before the tribunal. Hence, I could not really appreciate the merit or demerit of divergent positions.

“On the 25th day of January, the President swore me in as the acing CJN and not as the substantive CJN. Justice Walter Onnoghen remains the CJN until he is removed from office in accordance with the provision of the constitution. He is only suspended.”

The Acting CJN said that he was a member of the NJC panel that removed Justice Obisike Orji of the Abia State High Court for accepting to be sworn in as chief judge by the Abia State Government without a recommendation of the NJC but added that his own case was different because he was only appointed as an acting CJN.

Muhammad appealed to the NJC to throw aside the petition written against him by a group, Centre for Justice and Peace Initiative.

The group had written a petition to the NJC, demanding that the council to remove Muhammad as a justice of the Supreme Court.

They said Muhammad compromised by allowing himself to be sworn in by the President without recourse to the NJC.

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