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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.”

BIG STORY

Kings of Finance: GTBank Named Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa. The rankings were announced in a novel global virtual event and will be published in the June issue of the African Business magazine.

In a special report examining the results of the 2020 survey, the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said GTBank’s “clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria.” He added that the bank, which recently won plaudits for building a 110-bed Care Centre in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, “has taken banking and finance to the people.”

GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and enjoys a massive youth following thanks to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. It currently commands the largest social media following amongst all financial institutions in Africa and in 2019, the Bank hosted over 700,000 people at its consumer-focused events, GTBank Food and Drink Festival and The GTBank Fashion Weekend, among them dozens of business leaders and industry experts from around the world.

In 2019, GTBank removed all banking charges for young undergraduates under the age of 25 on its GTCrea8 Account Package. The move was unprecedented in the financial services sector but not unusual for a bank that had pioneered Zero-Naira Account Opening in the country, and in which people over the age of 65 also bank for free. GTBank is also blazing the trail in digital technologies; after leading the USSD banking revolution in Nigeria with its 737 Service, the bank is driving the digitization of consumer lending with Quick Credit, a first-of-its-kind digital lending product that gives individuals and small businesses instant, real-time access to loans anytime, anywhere via their mobile phones.

Brand Africa’s ranking of GTBank as Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand is only one of its many accolades. In 2019, the was recognized as the Best Bank in Africa and Best Bank in Nigeria, by the Euromoney Magazine and the Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria by World Finance Magazine. In the same year, the Bank also dominated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards for the third year in a row, taking home 8 of the 12 honours for banks at the forefront of driving the digitalization of financial services.




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19-Year-Old Yabatech Student Arrested Over Salawa Abeni’s Nude Pictures

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The operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS) have arrested a 19-year-old National Diploma holder of Yaba College of Technology, Lagos as the brain behind the blackmail of Queen Salawa Abeni with nude photographs.

The suspect, Olufowoke Oladunjoye Emmanuel, a resident of Brentfield Avenue, Peace Estate, Magboro, Ogun State, was picked up by the Decoy Team of Rapid Response Squad last week Thursday after three days of monitoring him.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hakeem Odumosu had in the wake of *the* attempt by an unknown individual to blackmail Alhaja Salawa Abeni sometime in April 2020, directed the Commander, Rapid Response Squad, DCP Olatunji Disu to fish out the suspect.

After a technical diagnosis of the complaint, the Decoy Team narrowed down on the suspect a few days later.

Sources close to the team disclosed that the suspect couldn’t be picked because of the prevalence of COVID-19.

The suspect in his statement to the police confessed to having been the mastermind behind the ploy to publish some nude pictures of Waka Queen in exchange for money, adding that he was alone in the scheme.

The suspect, a 2017/2018 Electrical Engineering student of Yabatech, disclosed that he saw the nude pictures in a memory card which he picked up on the floor in Yabatech sometime in November 2019.

He added that after downloading the nude photographs of Salawa Abeni on his phone, he picked up her mobile number from her Instagram page.

“On 1st of April, 2020, I chatted her up and also called her after sending a few of the photos to her online.

My intention was to negotiate with her for a few bucks and for me to destroy the photographs.

I thought everything was going on fine until the following day when I heard the news of the blackmail over the radio. I was with my mother. She was even cursing the blackmailer unknown to her that I was the brain behind it.

I immediately sneaked out, destroyed the memory card, and threw my mobile phone and SIM card into a nearby wetland in Magboro. Since then, I never mentioned it to anyone and called Madam Salawa Abeni about it again”, he disclosed.

Commenting on the arrest, CP Hakeem Odumosu stated that no individual would be allowed to commit a crime in Lagos from any State or escape to other States in Nigeria to evade arrest.

He advised guardians to monitor their wards, emphasizing that the internet is a fertile ground for opportunities but the State Command would not allow criminals to use it as an avenue to exploit law-abiding Lagosians.




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BREAKING: Lagos Police Officer Kills Colleagues In Shooting Spree, Fires 30 Bullets [PHOTOS]

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A yet- to- be named policeman on Sunday morning allegedly opened fire on his colleagues at Onikan, killing some of them.

The yet- to- be named officer went berserk around 5am following a disagreement with other members of his team.

It was gathered that the trigger- happy cop hijacked their operational vehicle after shooting them and drove straight to Akoka in Yaba around 5am where he attempted to access a compound but couldn’t.

According to sources, the building had a metallic door and the policeman said to be attached to the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) allegedly opened sporadic fire on the property to gain access.

Residents said they were frightened and took cover not knowing what was happening since it was around 5am.

According to The Nation, no fewer than 30 bullet holes were counted in an apartment, corridor, and ceiling of the premises.

It was learnt that the shooter, who spotted black outfits and rose in a white escort van with siren, might have become more frustrated after his vehicle stuck in a ditch when he made to escape.

Sources said distress calls were made to the Bariga Police Division and the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) who deployed operatives to the scene and restrained the active shooter.

From short videos obtained by The Nation from residents, the trigger happy cop was screaming incoherent, a development suggestive of a possible mental illness.

He was heard alleging that some persons wanted to corrupt him and that he should be allowed to go home in the name of Jesus.

At the time of this report, police spokesman Bala Elkana told our correspondent that the command was investigating the matter to understand what truly happened, adding that a statement would be released later.





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