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BREAKING: FG, ASUU Meet Today To Resolve Strike

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The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, will today (Thursday) meet with the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities in a bid to end the over six months strike by the university lecturers.

A statement by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations at the ministry, Mr Charles Akpan said Ngige would host a meeting with ASUU in Abuja.

ASUU had embarked on an indefinite industrial action following its opposition to the government’s move to enforce the use of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System for salary payment.

The union had instead, insisted on a different payment platform, the University Transparency Account System.

But indications that the strike action may soon be resolved emerged on Tuesday when ASUU was summoned to a meeting by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan along with Ngige.

The meeting, chaired by Lawan, also had in attendance, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, the Accountant -General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the ASUU leadership led by the President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi.

Addressing journalists after the three-hour closed session, Ngige said ASUU had shown how the UTAS they developed could work, adding that the demonstration would continue.

“We will involve other government agencies who would also come and assess it. Discussions on it are not foreclosed yet.

“UTAS is a homegrown software. It is what we call local content that Mr President is encouraging. It will be considered by the government,” Ngige added.

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JUST IN: APC Drags Lagos-East PDP Senatorial Candidate Babatunde Gbadamosi To Court Over Perjury, Certificate Falsification

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The All Progressives Congress (APC), Lagos State, has dragged the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the December 5 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, Mr. Babatunde Gbadamosi, before the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, for alleged perjury and falsification of certificates.

The suit instituted against Gbadamosi on Monday is seeking his disqualification from the by-election.

The APC filed the suit through its counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, and Mr. Kemi Balogun, SAN.

Apart from Gbadamosi, another respondent in the suit is the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

In the suit, the APC said that it studied the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) certificate which Gbadamosi had submitted to the INEC in comparison with his certificate obtained from the official website of WAEC.

The party, in its writ of summons, claims that it discovered certain discrepancies in the certificates which, according to the APC, indicate that the WAEC certificate Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC might have been falsified.

It claims that some of the discrepancies observed in Gbadamosi’s WAEC certificate include the number of subjects the PDP candidate allegedly sat for ‘is different from the number of subjects he sat for as contained on the website of WAEC.

‘Also, the grades he claims to have received via the certificate is different from that contained on the official website of WAEC,’ the APC declared in its writ of summons.

The WAEC certificate which Gbadamosi submitted to the INEC revealed that the PDP candidate only sat for five subjects: English Language with A3 grade, Literature in English C5; History C5; Commerce C4 and Biology P7.

However, details of Gbadamosi’s result obtained from WAEC’s official website revealed that the PDP candidate for eight subjects in which he had F-9 in Bible Knowledge; F-9 in Economics; F-9 in Mathematics; A-3 English Language; C-5 in Literature in English; C-5 in History; C-4 in Commerce and P-7 Biology.

The APC, also, alleged that the PDP candidate filled Form EC9 that he attended the Lagos State University after obtaining his WAEC certificate in 1985, which it argued, was suspicious because he did not meet requirements for admission in the university.

On these grounds, the APC asked the court to disqualify the PDP and Gbadamosi from contesting in the forthcoming senatorial by-election in Lagos East, which the INEC had rescheduled to hold on December 5

Apart from asking the court to disqualify the PDP candidate from contesting the December 5 senatorial bye-election in Lagos East, the APC prayed that the court, also ‘disqualifies him from contesting future elections in view of the falsified certificate he presented to the INEC.’

Also in its statement of claims, the APC declared that it had painstakingly studied the Forms EC9 and CF001 Gbadamosi filled and submitted to the INEC for the purpose of the December 5 senatorial bye-election

The party alleged that the PDP candidate made several false declarations on oath regarding his working experience, his educational qualifications and certain other aspects.

It also alleges that Gbadamosi did not participate in the one year mandatory National Youth Service (NYSC), which according to the APC, indicated that making ‘false declarations on oath and failure to participate in the mandatory national service are offenses under our several criminal laws.’

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Nigeria’s Exit From Recession Will Be ‘Historically Fast’ —– Finance Minister

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The Nigerian government is working towards reversing the declining trend in the country’s economy, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Development, Zainab Ahmed, has said.

Responding to the latest gross domestic product figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics, which showed Nigeria is now in its second recession in five years, Mrs. Ahmed said the economy would be restored in the path of sustainable inclusive growth in no time using Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan that is being implemented.

On Saturday, the NBS officially announced that the nation has entered into recession as its GDP recorded negative growth of 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020.

Speaking at a two-day annual event organized by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning will be on the theme, ‘Building Partnerships for Resilience, the minister said “The administration is fully aware of the current economic situation and is working round the clock to reverse the trend and restore the economy in the path of sustainable inclusive growth.

“For the three quarters combined for 2020, aggregate GDP decline is now 2.60 percent, this is a clear signal that the Nigerian economy is improving, that there are economic activities that are being better,” she said.

She said the negative growth of 3.62 percent in the third quarter of 2020 is much better than the -6.01 percent earlier forecasted by the NBS.

“Let me remind you that before the impact of COVID-19 the Nigerian economy was experiencing sustained growth which has been improving quarter by quarter for 3 years until the 2nd quarter of 2020 when the impact of the covid 19 was felt.

“Despite the recession, Nigeria has outperformed many economies in terms of economic growth.

“Though the economy has entered into a recession in the third quarter, a trend of the growth suggests that this will be a short-lived recession and indeed by the fourth quarter or at worst by the first quarter of 2021, the country will exit recession.

“The NBS had earlier forecasted that Nigeria will close with a negative growth of -4.4 percent but the third quarter performance shows that this trend will not be so.

She said the country’s expectation of a quick exit from recession will be historically fast because of the various interventions that have been proactively introduced by the government to forestall a far worse decline of the economy and alleviate the negative consequence of the pandemic.

“To achieve this government has developed an economic sustainability plan to cushion the effect of covid-19 pandemic and is already vigorously implementing these policies that aimed at stabilizing the economy,” she said.

She said the federal government through the principle in the ESP was taking action to stimulate the economy by preventing business collapse through ensuring liquidity, maintaining and creating jobs through support to labor-intensive sectors, and direct labour interventions.

The minister also said the government will activate the economy by undertaking growth-enhancing and job-creating infrastructure investments in roads, rails, bridges, solar powers as well as communication technologies.

“Promoting, manufacturing and local production at all levels and advocating the use of made in Nigeria goods and services as well as creating job opportunities

“Achieving self-sufficiency in critical sectors of our economy and curbing unnecessary demand for foreign exchange which put pressure on the exchange rate.

“Extending protection to the very poor and vulnerable including women, persons living with disabilities through proper spending” she stated.

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Fidelity Bank CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo Emerges Banker of the Year

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Fidelity Bank CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo was on Sunday adjudged Banker of the Year at the Business Hallmark People of the Year Awards 2020.

The award, presented during an elaborate ceremony in Lagos, was conferred on Mr. Okonkwo in utmost recognition of his leadership and vision has not only overseen strong financial performance for the bank in recent times but also guiding the financial institution to greater heights in a highly competitive industry.

According to the organizers, Hallmark Newspapers Limited, the award was aimed specifically at recognizing individuals and corporate organizations that made a meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions that are needed to foster healthy growth of the Nigerian economy.

Under Okonkwo’s watch, Fidelity Bank has grown from being one of several players in the Nigerian banking space to one that has presently registered in the consciousness of many as one of the most dynamic and fast-growing businesses of its type in the land.

Receiving the award on behalf of Okonkwo, the bank’s Executive Director, Corporate Bank, Obaro Odeghe described the award as a very clear testament of his contributions, not just to the bank but the entire banking sector.

While expressing his gratitude to Business Hallmark Newspaper Group for the award, Okonkwo said that the award was not taken for granted. “We are not taking this award for granted, it is a very clear testament to our contributions, not just to the bank but the entire banking sector, he said.

Okonkwo has led Fidelity Bank to consistently post double-digit growth figures, year-on-year profitability, and wealth creation across the bank’s operations over the last six years.

Recall that the bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) under Okonkwo grew by 236 percent from N9.06 billion to N30.4 billion and Return on Equity (RoE) increased from 5.5 percent to 13. 3 percent.

Customer deposits grew 68 percent from N806.3 billion to N1.352.3 billion and a savings deposit growth of 275 percent from N83.3 billion to N312.1 billion. Also, under his watch, the bank has recorded unprecedented growth in its digital platforms such that the Tier 2 bank is well on its way of becoming a Tier one bank.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Chairman of the awards, Former Senate President, Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, noted that the year 2020 has been challenging because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. According to him, Nigeria needs to adopt a socio-political framework where everybody feels included.

Speaking further, he said, “Today we have gathered here to honour people who in their respective social classes have tried to make a meaningful impact in supporting the growth of critical institutions that are needed to foster the healthy growth of our country, whether, in the private or public capacities, these individuals have shone like bright stars, spreading light.

“Given the challenges that we face as a country today, we have such achievers that we are celebrating today, and we are glad to be here to honour them.

Other distinguished awardees include Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice, Alhaji Abubarkar Malami, – Public Servant of the Year award; Member, Federal House of Representatives, Dr Ottah Francis Agbo-Lawmaker of the Year award and former Director, Corporate Communication of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Isaac Okoroafor-Professional Excellence in Corporate Communication.

Other awardees are Director-General, NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekwe, Former President/ CEO Transnational Corporation of Nigeria, Konga, Heritage Bank and Keystone Bank Limited, among others.

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