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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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Chrisland School’s Supervisor Accused Of Defiling 2-year-old Pupil Sent To Kirikiri Prisons

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Justice Sybil Nwaka of an Ikeja Sexual Offences and Domestic Violence Court yesterday revoked the bail of Chrisland School Supervisor, Adegboyega Adenekan, standing trial for allegedly defiling a two-year-old pupil (names withheld) of the school.

Justice Nwaka revoked Adenekan’s bail for one day after expressing concerns that he might become a flight risk and not come to court at the next adjourned date fixed for Wednesday.

The judge took the decision after Adenekan was led in defense for over an hour by his counsel, Olatunde Adejuyigbe (SAN).

At the end of his defence, the trial judge declined to let him go back home in line with the bail he has been enjoying but rather sent him to Kirikiri Prisons.

“My intuition is telling me that the defendant may not appear tomorrow for the continuation of his trial. For his own security I am hereby revoking his bail and order that he be remanded in Kirikiri Prisons until the next adjourned date,” the Judge ruled.

The defendant is facing alone count charge of child defilement before the court.

During resumed proceedings, Adenekan told the court that he found the allegations that he defiled a pupil of the school as ‘false and highly embarrassing’.

The defendant told the court that he had built a teaching career spanning over 23 years and that no parent has ever accused him of child defilement.

When the defendant was asked how he met the victim’s mother, the school supervisor said he knew the mother of the survivor as one of the parent of pupils at Chrisland School, Ajah, Victoria Garden City.

He said he became aware of the allegation against him on November 14, 2016.

“It was on a Friday around 8p.m., I received a call from an unknown number and she introduced as a parent in the school. She outrightly told me that I had sexually abused her two-year-old daughter.

“I was shocked at the allegation. She now further went on to tell me that we should keep the matter between the two of us and not tell anyone.

“She ended the call and thereafter sent me a message that read: ‘I want you to still be friendly with my child.’

Adenekan claimed to still have on his phone the text message sent to him by mother of the survivor.

He also claimed to have told his wife about the discussion he had on my phone.

The defendant told the court that he was also threatened by the father of the survivor.

Adenekan said he reported the matter to the Head Teacher as a result of which a meeting was convened, with the survivor’s mother in attendance.

“During the meeting it was concluded that the child should be examined by the school hospital. The mother refused. She later called her husband who gave his consent.”

Adenekan said it was the mother of the survivor that made arrangement for a polygraph test to be conducted on him by Halogen Securities, in Maryland (Lagos), and that he consented because he had nothing to hide.

“I was shocked when the report of the Halogen test came back and it said that I was lying. I strongly believe that the child’s mother and the security company that conducted the test fabricated the results.

“The child was in pre-school 1 when I met her. I only stand at the door of their class and say, ‘hello children.’ The class teacher and the two class assistants are usually there. I have never been alone with the child in question I have never taken her out of the class to my office,” he said.

When asked if he defiled the child, he said, “I have two daughters aged fourteen and sixteen. I would never allow someone do such to my children.

“I have been married for 18 years. My wife is even here. I have no special relationship with the child.

When the school supervisor was asked if he knew the child drew his penis, he said, “I heard she drew a penis but that is between her and her mother.

“I have never exposed my penis to this child neither have I fingered her or put my penis in her vagina.

“I am very sure everything is fabricated,” Adenekan said.

The two-year-old in her testimony had earlier accused the defendant of defiling her.

She had told the court, “Mr. Adenekan put his wee wee (penis) in my bum bum (vagina).

State Prosecutor, B.T. Boye had called about six witnesses who testified before the court while the defence had called two teachers of the school who described the defendant as a role model.

Adenekan was forced to open his defence after the court dismissed his application in which he submitted that he had no case to answer.

The trial judge, Justice Nwaka adjourned the matter till tomorrow for cross-examination of the defendant.

(The Nation)

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You’re A Pastor, Stop Lying; Nigeria Not Safe —- Afenifere Tackles VP Osinbajo

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Pan Yoruba Socio-political group, Afenifere, has carpeted Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, over his claim that the ongoing insecurity in the country particularly kidnapping and banditry were being exaggerated by Nigerians.

The General Assembly of the group on Tuesday at the Akure home of its leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti, who berated Prof. Osinbajo over the comment made on Sunday while addressing some Nigerians in New York, maintained that the growing trends of insecurity in the country is an indication of a failed state, particularly with the recent security alerts issued by the United Kingdom and United States of America to their citizens over security threats in most parts of the country.

While stating that the development calls for concern, the group stressed that it does not reflect truthfulness on the part of the Vice-President as “Yorubaland is Still Under Siege” as well the continued “traumatization of our people by Fulani herdsmen/kidnappers/militia all across the Six states in the zone as well as Kwara and Kogi States.”

Recall that the Vice President had during a town hall meeting in New York on Sunday evening while responding to questions and comments as regards “high rate of killings and kidnappings” in the country stated that, “With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country, again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fuelled by politics.

At the meeting, Osinbajo added that, “There are cases of kidnapping, no question at all about that, but some of the more dramatic stories that you hear are simply not true.”

According to the National Publicity Secretary of the group, Yinka Odumakin who signed the communiqué after the meeting, Afenifere, “frowned at this unfortunate comments by the Vice President who shames the Yoruba people with his very cheap politicking with the lives of Nigerians.”

The communiqué read in parts, “All the reports provided clear indications of failure of state as the security forces have largely incapable or unwilling to safeguard the lives of our people against these Criminals as we are not aware of any of them that has been arrested or is under trial at the moment just as all the Federal Government has done so far is to make excuses for the Boko Haram and Miyetti Allah groups that have been accused of so many crimes against the people of Nigeria.

“It is against this backdrop that the meeting was scandalized by the opportunistic and provocative utterances of Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo in NewYork on Sunday dismissing the danger we are faced with in Yorubaland as well as by other zones in Nigeria as being “politically motivated.”

“As if he is unaware that we are in a digital world, which explains why America and Britain have issued travel directives to their citizens not travel to more than 2/3 of Nigeria, the VP without much thought for his integrity stated “With respect to general kidnapping which we have seen in parts of the country ,again, this is not entirely new. In fact, some of the kidnapping stories you read or listen to are simply not true anywhere, some are fueled by politics.”

Afenifere added that even the presidency cannot shy away from the pervading insecurity in country particularly as it affects the president’s hometown, Daura as well as dignitaries across the country.

“Is the report of the kidnap of a District Head from President Buhari’s town from May 1 till date politically motivated? And was the President speaking of another country when he handed kidnappers on rampage to God?

“Was former Health Minister, Prof Isaac Adewole playing politics when it was announced that his son was kidnapped ?

“What politics was afoot when the Ondo State Governor recently announced that his convoy was waylaid by kidnappers?

“If he cannot answer these questions, he should kneel before his God and ask for forgiveness for violating “Thou shall not lie” commandment .We further admonish him not to allow whatever ambition and political interest he serves to push him to make such infuriating comments as the No 2 man in the country again.

“As a people who cannot continue to bear what is going on, and we believe it is so with so many communities in Nigeria, meeting made the following demands:

The group however called on President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw from his position as the Patron of Miyetti Allah if he his sincere of tackling the issue of herdsmen attacks in the country.

“We restate our earlier call on Mr. President to separate the office of the President of Nigeria which he occupies from being also the grand patron of Miyetti Allah which we suspect makes it very difficult for security agents to go after members of this group whenever they commit or are accused of crimes.

“There must be immediate enforcement of law and order as an urgent measure to flush out these criminal elements from our society .

“There must be immediate steps taken to rework Nigeria to take it back to the practice of FEDERALISM so that every federating unit can have their police to secure their environment.

“In order to cut the production line of criminals and bandits we must have the practice of Federalism in many key spheres especially the economy so that all units must have the rights to tap whatever is under their soil so that new corridors of prosperity are created to eradicate the massive unemployment in the county so we can cease to be the headquarters of poverty.”

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Wole Soyinka Breaks Silence On Plane Seat Incident

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There has been an overwhelming debate as to what transpired between Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, and a ‘young man’ that asked for his seat before a flight.

Media Mogul, Mo Abudu, shared a mail from Professor Wole Soyinka on her Instagram page, where the Nobel Laureate gave a short explanation on the incident he described as “very minor”.

Mo Abudu, explained that the content of the mail was shared after she got the approval of Wole Soyinka. It reads:

“Hallo Mo,

Someone sent me Patrick Tonye’s comment on the plane incident, and I saw your brief comment. It was a very minor thing and I’d forgotten all about it.

However, after reading the boy’s response, I became curious.

First, I never exchanged a word with him throughout beyond inviting him to take his allotted seat. Never spoke a word to him after that. Certainly never exchanged contact.

“So of course, I wonder if it’s the very individual who’s posted this or a total fake. The phenomenon of stolen identities takes very strange dimensions and has become a source of worry.

“I wonder if this is one such. Anyway of your finding out. I don’t operate in social media as you probably recall.

(Vanguard)

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