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No Agreement With FG, Strike Not Ending Soon – ASUU, SSANU, NASU

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Joint Action Committee of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities have said the Federal Government did not reach a strong agreement with them that could lead to calling off the industrial actions.

ASUU started its strike on February 14, 2022, and JAC commenced its own on April 14, 2022.

The unions embarked on industrial actions while demanding improved welfare packages, better working conditions, and the implementation of various labor agreements signed with the Federal Government between 2009 and 2020.

The national leaders of ASUU and JAC of SSANU and NASU, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke and Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, respectively told our correspondent that the Federal Government and all stakeholders in the education sector and religious leaders had a meeting with the four unions but no strong agreements were reached.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, was quoted in a report at the weekend as saying, “We had a cordial and fruitful discussion; we looked at the issues dispassionately and reached some agreements, to the satisfaction of everybody in attendance.”

But Osodeke said Ngige’s claim after the meeting that the unions would call off the ongoing strike this week was a political statement.

He said, “We are not aware that we are calling off the strike. We met but there was nothing concrete between us and the government. Like we said before, we do not want promises, we want actions, if they show action and implement all the issues, we will go to our members, but knowing their antecedents, we know they will not do anything.

“They promised us since December 2020 and it is going to a year and a half, they have not done anything. We are waiting for them.

“As far as we are concerned, only when they sign our agreements, accept UTAS, release EAA and revitalization funds will we call the strikes off.”

Ibrahim added that the major progress he could point at during the meeting was the ordering of the National Information Technology Development Agency, by the presidency who was represented by the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, to subject the three payment solutions; Integrated Payroll and Personnel information system, University Transparency and Accountability Solution and University Peculiar Payroll Payment System, to integrity test and submit in three weeks.

“We are not talking about calling off strike now,” he said.

NYSC, varsities to review timetable after strike

Meanwhile, the National Youth Service Corps, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board, and universities will meet later to harmonize the timetable and rollout calendar for the mobilization of graduates for the mandatory National Youth Service and 2022 admissions following the disruption in the academic calendar as a result of the ongoing industrial actions.

The Secretary-General of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, Prof Yakubu Ochefu, disclosed this in an interview.

He said the heads of JAMB, NYSC, and universities would meet to ensure synchronization of timetables once the strike is called off.

Ochefu said, “If we recall, in 2020, when we had a similar situation, all the parties adjusted their rollout calendars.

“NYSC, JAMB, and the Universities will work together to synchronize their timetables.

“Their leaders will surely meet to review the timelines immediately after the strike is called off.”

Also, the Michael Imoudu National Institute for Labour Studies, Ilorin, Kwara State, has said that it has started mediating the dispute between ASUU and the Federal Government.

The Director-General of MINILS, Issa Aremu, revealed this in Ilorin while responding to questions on strike.

“ASUU issues with the Federal Government are labor issues which are technical; the ministers could not resolve them because they lack skills to meditate on the industrial dispute. “There are two issues; dispute of rights and dispute of interest. While ASUU is on a course on the dispute of rights, it is wrong for it to go on strike on the dispute of interest which includes the system of salary payment,” he said.

Aremu, who described the shutting down of universities as worrisome, said, “We are meeting with stakeholders in the education sector, including ASUU, government, students, and parents to ensure that schools are opened. Nigeria cannot meet the development agenda if it continues with the incessant strike by workers.”

He advised workers to always exhaust social dialogue to resolve issues, warning that they should not use strike as a weapon to fight for their rights.

Also, the National Universities Commission has blamed the delay in the take-off of projects on the delay in disbursement of funds by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the industrial actions by university-based unions, and the revised budget system in 2022.

The NUC Coordinator, Special Projects, Dr. Joshua Atah, disclosed this while giving an update on the work plan of the Federal Government’s Sustainable Procurement Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement project.

Attah, in the NUC’s bulletin made available to The PUNCH on Sunday in Abuja, was quoted as saying that the commission is engaging with stakeholders to ensure the smooth running of the project.

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‘Obidients’ Threatening To Burn Down Afrika Shrine – Femi Kuti

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Afrobeat singer Femi Kuti has alleged that some people threatened to burn down the New Afrika Shrine in Ikeja over reports that he called supporters of Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi ‘zombies’.

The 60-year-old said this in a video posted on Instagram on Friday night, where he insisted he never called Mr Obi’s supporters ‘zombies’.

On Friday, reports that he described the LP candidate’s supporters as zombies emerged.

The singer immediately debunked the report, describing it as misleading.

In a performance at the Afrika Shrine on Thursday night, Mr Kuti said that at 60, he could not be obedient.

Supporters of the LP candidate refer to themselves as ‘Obidients’.

The threat
Despite clearing the air, the singer said he woke up to a barrage of insults and abuses by people whom he described as Mr Obi’s supporters.

He said, “I woke up today to insults abusing me, my family and my children, threatening that they will burn the shrine because they said I said Peter Obi’s supporters are zombies.”

Clearing the air, Mr Kuti said that he was too angry, too sad, and depressed to be obedient.

“How can anybody come up with that term? I cannot be ‘Obedient’ in this country with END SARS killings, my grandmother was killed, my father’s house burnt, and I’m supposed to be obedient.

“Did I call Peter Obi supporters zombies? Did I say that? No. What does ‘obedient’ mean? I wouldn’t say I like that terminology for myself and will never use it.

“Nothing can make me obedient. I’m too angry, too sad, too depressed to be. Stop threatening to burn the shrine, stop threatening my children, stop that rubbish,” he said.

He went on to express his reservations about Mr Obi’s candidacy.

He said, “Obi went to greet Obasanjo. That makes me sceptical. Obi went to meet Babangida. Who? Me? My family believes these people are a part of the problem in this country.

“Well, some people will say no. That is your business; you have the right to think like that if that is what you believe is good for you. But you, too, cannot tell me how to think.

“I have my reservations. I do. You cannot tell me not to have reservations.”

What transpired
An online publication reported his speech at the Afrika Shrine with the headline, ‘Femi Kuti says Obidients are zombies’.

In its report, the publication likened the Grammy nominee’s speech to his Father’s 1976 acclaimed song, ‘Zombie’.

The publication quoted the ‘Sorry Sorry’ crooner said, “You know what obedience means? Stand up, sit down, sit there — zombie.”

In his response, Mr Kuti said that the publication took his words out of context.

“You are such liars. What benefit is it to the people when you take my words out of context like this?”

He further added that he also gave his reasons for not trusting anyone else too in the present Nigerian political arena.

What actually happened
From the clip posted by People’s Gazette on YouTube, it appeared that Mr Kuti had paused a performance to talk about the 2023 presidential election.

He said, “At 60, why am I obedient? All my life, I don’t even remember a good time.

“I fear for my children; you say I should be obedient. Sit down. Be peaceful. That’s the meaning of obedience. ‘Obedient’, that was the Vice President of Atiku?

“Are you all ok in this country? Be obedient to who? Dem don suffer my life, make I come still dey stand up, obedient.”

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Akwa Ibom Monarch To Die By Hanging For Murder

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Akwa Ibom State High Court presided by Justice Edem Akpan, has sentenced 82-year-old Village Head of Efen Ibom in Ika Local Government Area of the State, Chief Essien Matthew Odiong, to death by hanging for murder.

The monarch, married to 12 wives and has 60 children, was standing trial on four counts of conspiracy, directing unlawful trial by ordeal, stealing of the motorcycle, and murder of the owner, one Udoma Udo Ubom.

Delivering judgment on Friday, Justice Akpan said the court found the accused guilty of the murder of the deceased by injecting some chemical substance on him, leading to his death on 26th April 2017.

According to the judgment, the late Ubom was accused by his brothers of being a wizard and was reported to the Village Head, who brought him before the Council, where the deceased was administered an oath to swear and prove his innocence.

The court held, “Having sensed the consequences of his criminal activity, the monarch escaped from the Village since 2017 and returned in 2019 when he was arrested by the Police.”

Justice Akpan stated, “The accused had voluntarily admitted that he sat at Efen Clan Council with five other village heads and members of the Clan Council to try the deceased on the allegation of witchcraft, and the law has relieved the prosecution of the burden to prove the offense of conspiracy.”

The court further held, “The admission of the process of trial and the decision of Efen Clan Council to administer oath on the deceased, has logically brought to the conclusion that a plastic bath on the head of the late Udoma Akpan Udo Ubom and injecting some chemical substance through a syringe into his buttocks by the village head, caused the death of the deceased.”

Justice Edem Akpan sentenced the Village Head to death by hanging for murder, seven years imprisonment with hard labor for directing unlawful trial by ordeal, and three years imprisonment for conspiracy with others now at large.

However, before the sentence was announced, the convicted Village Head, popularly known as ‘Kill and Bury’ pleaded for leniency, asking the Court to temper justice with mercy.

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”It’s Totally False And Malicious”, 2Face Debunks Rumour He Got A Banker Pregnant

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Nigerian singer, 2face Idibia has debunked reports he got a banker pregnant.

His manager, Efe Omorogbe released a statement debunking the rumor this afternoon, August 13.

Recall that few days ago, 2face came on social media to apologize to his wife, Annie Idibia, for being a “Shitty husband”.

Shortly after he shared his apology post, some social media users claimed he apologized publicly because he got a banker pregnant.

The singer has now debunked the report.

Read the statement below…

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