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ASUU Will Not Suspend Strike, FG Hasn’t Shown Any Commitment —- Union’s President

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on Sunday dashed the hope of millions of Nigerians stating that it had no plans to suspend the eight-week-old strike insisting the Federal government had not shown any commitment to addressing its demands.

Addressing newsmen at ASUU, University of Lagos secretariat, the National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, disclosed that since the start of the strike on November 4, the union met six times with government agents and there was no clear commitment from government to resolve the issues in contention.

Flanked by the ASUU Lagos zone Coordinator, Prof Olusiji Sowande, and other branch chairmen, Prof Ogunyemi asked the Federal government replace the Chairman of the Renegotiation Committee on the FG/ASUU 2009 agreement, Dr. Wale Babalakin, based on its experience during over one year of negotiation.

Ogunyemi disclosed that government appeared to have adopted the “keep-them-talking” strategy while deceiving the public that progress was being made thus a partial agreement had been reached between the government and the union.

“Our expectation from a very responsive and sincere government is that by now, all outstanding issues would have been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. Unfortunately, government is yet to show sincerity in addressing the problem.

“As at today, there are no concrete commitments on the part of government to warrant considering the suspension of this strike action, which we did all that was possible to avoid.

“Government should demonstrate serious commitment to implementing the spirit and letters of the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement, as well as the resulting 2013 MoU, for the rapid transformation of Nigeria’s public universities for improved efficiency, infrastructural development and global competitiveness.”

The ASUU president said the purported release of N20billion due for release in September/October 2017, which was widely publicised by government, had not been confirmed to and had not been received in any public universities while it had also not made any commitment to payment of the outstanding five tranches of the balance of N1.1trillion Needs Assessment intervention fund for revitalisation of public universities.

According to him, government, through its forensic audit report had acknowledged that members were being owed arrears of Earned Academic Allowance (EAA) from 2009 to 2016 including two extra years and hoped government would have factored that into the 2019 budget to avoid clamour for payment of arrears in future.

He regretted that government declared that steps had been taken to address the injustice, payment of EAA to its loyal members in University of Ilorin while that was yet to be effected, stressing that government appeared to paying lip service to the issue.

The ASUU boss revealed that arrears of shortfalls in salaries had not been addressed and there was no agreed date for the payment of the verified claims to the affected universities.

On the demand for government to sack the chairman of the renegotiation committee, Prof Ogunyemi said there were unresolved issues about him as the leader of the government team and head of the renegotiation.

“We have strong reasons to believe that the continuation of Dr. Babalakin as the head of the renegotiation with ASUU would not yield good fruit. He is ideologically fixated on tuition fees and does not agree that education is a public good. ASUU strongly objects to this.

“Our experience with Dr. Babalakin for over 14 months tells us that Dr. Babalakin cannot relate objectively to any of the issues in our demands at the negotiation table. We, therefore, once more call on government to replace Dr. Babalakin as the chairman of the renegotiation committee of the 2009 FG/ASUU agreement,” Ogunyemi stated.

He used the opportunity to debunk insinuations that ASUU strike was meant to scuttle the 2019 general elections adding “our strike has nothing to do with election. We are not planning to abort any election.”

On claims by some government officials that the ongoing strike had political colouration, the ASUU president said the allegation was laughable and that the union was not perturbed by the insinuations saying that it was when government did not have solutions to its demands that it came up with the claim of sponsorship. “In 2013, ASUU was accused by the then government; so we are not surprise or moved by the allegation.”

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Dino Melaye Regains Freedom, Drags New IGP To Court

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The senator representing Kogi West district in the National Assembly, Dino Melaye has regained freedom after over two weeks in detention.

Melaye’s freedom was sequel to the bail granted him by a high court in Abuja on health grounds.

In his ruling, Justice Yusuf Halilu said Melaye should be allowed to attend to his health as he could not be arraigned on a stretcher or on his hospital bed.

Halilu ordered the senator to present three sureties who reside and have property in Abuja, emphasising that one of the sureties must be the clerk of the national assembly who would provide a letter attesting that Melaye will always be available for trial.

After fulfilling his bail conditions, Melaye filed a suit against the inspector-general of police (IGP), seeking that the police should not arrest him.

More to follow…

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JUST IN: IGP Adamu Disbands F-SARS, IRT, STS, Others

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The Acting Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, has disbanded the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad as constituted by his predecessor, Ibrahim Idris.

Adamu took the decision on Monday when he met with Command Commissioners of Police and other senior officers of the Force.

He has now reverted to the old order where State Commands have SARS operating under them, with the Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Operations) to oversee its overall operations.

For the Force Headquarters unit of the SARS, the DIG in charge of Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department will supervise.

Adamu also disbanded all quasi-investigation and operations outfits, including the Special Investigation Panel, Special Tactical Squad, IG Monitoring Unit, and IGP Intelligence Response Team.

He announced the setting-up of a Special Election Investigation Team tasked with the exclusive function of investigating and prosecuting electoral offenders.

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Buhari Reacts To Obasanjo’s Attack, Says Ex-President Needs A Good Doctor For Good Treatment [Full Text]

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President Muhammadu Buhari, Sunday night lambasted former President Olusegun Obasanjo for attacking and his government.

Obasanjo has compared the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration to that of the Abacha era.

Reacting, presidential spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a statement said: “The sixteen-page letter the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari and released this afternoon is the last push by desperate politicians who can’t handle the President politically and have resorted to subterfuge.

Our first message to the former President is that he needs a good doctor for good treatment and to say to him, “Get well soon.”

As repeatedly said of him, since Chief Obasanjo left office in 1979, he never let every succeeding leader of the country function freely, and this included the one he personally handpicked against all known rules drawn up by the party that put him in the office of the President. But Chief Obasanjo is jealous because President Buhari has more esteem than him and the sooner he learns to respect him the better.

It is a notorious fact that in dealing with any leader that he failed to control, he resorted to these puerile attacks. As the grand patron, more correctly the grandfather of corruption as described by the National Assembly, Chief Obasanjo released today’s letter purely for the reason of rescuing his thriving corruption establishment.

The elections starting in February will be free and fair as promised the nation and the international community by President Buhari.

What Chief Obasanjo and his co-travelers in the PDP should expect is that from the outcome, we will teach them a political lesson that they will never forget. This margin will be much bigger than we had in 2015.

Claims that President Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have embarked on the president’s “self- succession project, by recruiting collation officers who are already awarding results based on their projects to actualise the perpetuation agenda, in which the people will not matter and the votes will not count” is not only utterly false, but a copious note from the book on the failed third term agenda of President Obasanjo.

The man, President Buhari who has taken Nigeria’s reputation to a higher level internationally and is working hard to improve on the records of elections he found in place cannot descend to the level that Obasanjo has himself sunk.

As for his attacks of the administration’s records in fighting corruption, what the former President said is no more than evidence that President Buhari’s war against corruption is succeeding. They thought it is all a joke.

A leader who took USD 16 billion “upfront” to supply electric power yet failed to add a single megawatt to the national grid and to date, there is no trace of the money is jittery that he will be called to account. He is a coward.

Chief Obasanjo, manifesting a confused state of mind blames President Buhari for the fall of Libya into a failed state and the unholy alliance between the Boko Haram terrorists and the ISIS, while at the same time calling it an African problem, saying “the struggle must be for all West African, Central African, North African and most East African States,” which really does not amount to saying anything new.

Nigerians looked up to him as a role model and a ray of hope to ethical and clean leadership until President Yar’Adua called him out to explain what happened to the sixteen billion dollars of taxpayer’s money. It is clear that with him sitting on top of the heap of corruption, he is no different from the crowd he leads.

This language of his 16-page letter, likening President Buhari to General Sani Abacha, a man he dreaded and the one who jailed him under military laws is most unfitting from a former President of Nigeria.

The claim that President Buhari has put in place rigging machinery is both outlandish and outrageous. We are unable to get the words to describe a 90-year old liar, except to say that by the publication of this tissue of lies against the President, he Obasanjo, not the President will fall from everyone’s esteem.”

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