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ASUU Strike Continues Till Further Notice — Union

Peter Okunoren

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities 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 exclusive interview with one of our correspondents 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.”

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.

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.”

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BIG STORY

BREAKING: Court Adjourns El-Zakzaky’s Trial Indefinitely

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The Kaduna State High Court has adjourned the trial of the leader of Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, indefinitely.

El-Zakzaky’s trial was due to continue on Monday.

However, the court explained that the adjournment followed the appointment of the trial judge, Justice Gideon Kurada, as a member of the Election Petition Tribunal in Yobe State.

The IMN leader is currently facing trial over allegations of culpable homicide, unlawful assembly and disruption of public peace, among other charges.

He had been denied bail by the presiding judge, Justice Kurada, during the last sitting on January 22, 2018.

In the application for bail filed by El-Zakzaky’s lawyer, Femi Falana, on his behalf at the last sitting, the legal practitioner prayed the court to give a mandatory order for his client and his wife to be flown abroad.

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Pastor In Police Net For Aborting Teenager’s Pregnancy [PHOTO]

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A 38 years old pastor with one of the Pentecostal churches in Benin, Pastor Ekene Samuel, has been arrested by the police in Edo state for allegedly getting Miracle Nwabueze, (17) to the hospital for abortion after getting her pregnant.

The pastor was among the 102 suspected criminals paraded by the Edo state police commissioner, DanMallam Muhammed, for their alleged involvement in various crimes in the state.

The Pastor was assisted by one of his church member, Mrs. Happy Johnson, who was paraded alongside the Pastor.

The commissioner said the command received a complaint from one Henry Aikhuamen that one Miracle Nwabueze, 17 years old was missing.

“Operatives of Special Anti-Robbery Squad through a Hi-Tech intelligence located Miss Miracle Nwabueze on a sick bed at Graceville Medical Centre, Ewa Road, Benin.

“On enquiry, the doctor informed the police that one Deaconess Happy Johnson brought her for treatment. She was arrested and confessed that one Pastor Ekene Samuel asked her to assist him bring Miracle Nwabueze to the hospital for abortion.

“The victim confessed that she was impregnated by Pastor Ekene Samuel, who charmed and had sex with her five times in December, 2018. Pastor Ekene Samuel was arrested and charms were recovered from him in his house,” he said.

Speaking with journalists, the Pastor said he had extra marital affair with a lady, but quit the relationship August last year due to her behaviour.

“But January this year, she said she was pregnant and I sent one of my member to take her to the hospital when she complained of pains not knowing that she was already talking drugs to terminate the pregnancy”.

He said, “When they got to the hospital, they discovered that she had ruptured appendicitis but the doctor referred us to another hospital where the operation was done successfully and they charged N380,000 and I am still paying the bill now”.

According to him, few days after the operation, his wife went to give her some items and she was arrested by the police because someone had complained about the matter

“When she was arrested, I went to the station and I was arrested because she knows nothing about it. After my arrest, the police went to my church and packed items given to me by those I prayed for as the charm I am using in church.

“I don’t go to Babalawos or native doctors; these items were returned by the people I prayed for and they got deliverance through prayers. Nobody is above mistake and temptation can come at anytime,” he added.

On her part, Mrs Happy Johnson, told journalists that she was not aware that the lady was pregnant and that she was carrying out abortion.

She said she was preparing for church when the pastor called her to take the girl to the hospital saying she was not well.

“When we got to the hospital, they said they should carry out an ultrasound; when I asked her what the problem was, she said it is appendicitis. They then referred us to another hospital for the operation.

She added, “I signed for her when they want to do the operation but I did not know it was about abortion”.

She explained, “I was arrested with the pastor’s wife when she came to give clothes to the lady at the hospital. I was arrested for signing the paper and carrying her to the hospital. I only got to know at the police station that it was an abortion.”

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Alleged Serial Killer, Tiny, 4 Others Arrested In Lagos

Peter Okunoren

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Policemen of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested an alleged serial killer, Ibrahim Abdullahi a.k.a Tiny and four others shortly after midnight at his Ijegun-Egba area hideout.

The Lagos Police PRO, DSP Bala Elkana, in a statement said the suspect whose name sends shivers down the spine of residents of Satellite-Town, Lagos, was arrested during an operation led by the Divisional Police Officer of Satellite-Town Division, CSP Chike Oti, to rid the community of the violent activities of criminals.

It would be recalled that the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Zubairu Muazu, had earlier in the week changed Area Commanders, DPOs and Tactical Unit Commanders in the state, to clamp down on members of unlawful societies and raid identified criminal enclaves.

”Based on this directive and credible intelligence received about Ibrahim Abdullahi aka Tiny, who had been on the run since he was linked to the murder of three residents of the community, Satelite division, swung into action.

”They said Tiny was arrested alongside one of his accomplices, Obinna Kelvin Okey, 23.

”During a preliminary interrogation, they confessed to belonging to a cult group called the Aro-Bagger aka Vickings.

”Other cultists arrested during the operation include: Ismaila Adebayo; 21, Bode Akodo; 21 and Abdulwahab; 25, all of Eiye Confraternity.

”CP Zubairu Muazu directed the Homicide Section of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, to take over the case involving the said Ibrahim Abdullahi which has to do with an ongoing investigation on the three murder incidents linked to him.

”The other suspects were transferred to the Command’s Anti Cultism Squad for further investigation,” he said.

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