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Strike To End Soon As We’ve Reached Agreement With ASUU, Others, Says FG

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The Federal Government has expressed optimism that the decisions reached in its three-part meeting with university-based unions would yield fruits next week.

The Head, of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Mr. Olajide Oshundun, in a statement on Friday, said some agreements had been reached between the government and the unions.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, the Non-Academic Staff Union, and the Association of Academic Technologists are currently on strike.

The unions embarked on strike actions while demanding improved welfare packages, better working conditions, and implementation of various labor agreements signed with the Federal Government between 2009 and 2015.

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

Ngige said the meeting was moved out of the labor ministry because the government involved some interested parties in a bid to resolve the dispute with the unions.

The parties were the Chief of Staff to the President and Chairman of the three-part meeting, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the Chairman of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council, the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria and co-chair of NIREC, Rev. Sampson Ayokunle.

The negotiation team also had the Ministers of Labour, Finance, Education, ASUU leaders, and other stakeholders.

The Minister of Labour said, “We discussed. Everybody was happy. We reached some agreements, and we hope that by next week those agreements will start maturing.

“The four unions will also go and brief their members so that they can call off the strike.”

The minister said the issues in the 2009 agreement, such as the renegotiation of the condition of service and the wage review could be concluded next week.

In his remarks, Gambari lamented that the perennial problems in the universities had culminated in the mutilation of the nation’s educational calendar.

He urged ASUU to return to the classrooms while negotiations were ongoing, to avoid violence by students who had begun blocking roads and airports in protest of the prolonged strike.

He gave the assurance that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, was determined to put an end to the negative developments in the nation’s tertiary institutions.

“We need predictable and quality education so that the human capital required to move our country forward will be developed consistently,” Gambari said.

Ayokunle, on his part, also appealed to the unions to return to work in the interest of the children and the nation.

The ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, urged the government to give quality attention to education, saying all the problems in the sector could be amicably resolved if the government does the needful soon.

Meanwhile, students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, under the aegis of the Great Ife Concerned Students in collaboration with the Fund Education Coalition protested against the protracted ASUU strike. They blocked major roads in Osun State, leading to gridlock.

The leader of the protesters, Omowumi Abraham, said, “With our education, we are becoming a threat to those in government. They should fund education. In 2020, we were at home because of the ASUU strike and coronavirus. There was a surge in the crime rate. They should not toy with our future. They should immediately reopen schools.”

In a similar vein, students of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba-Akoko, on Friday, also took to the streets protesting against the strike.

Speaking during the protest, President of the Students’ Union Government, Kolade Ogunsanmi, said “We, Nigerian students, Adekunle Ajasin University students, are on the street of Akungba to express our displeasure to the Federal Government and in no distant time, the government should answer ASUU so that our universities can reopen.”

The Vice President of the Students’ Union, Kemisola Salami said, “Our education is being truncated; we are tired of sitting at home with no job; we are using this medium to plead with Federal Government to meet with ASUU and end the strike.”

In Imo State, university undergraduates also staged a protest on Friday against the lingering ASUU strike.

The Senate President of the National Association of Imo State Students, Alfred Jacinta, said, “We are giving them seven days to resolve their issues, else we will block all the major roads until our demands are met.

“We are not asking for too much. We are only asking that we should be allowed to complete our academic programs. It is a time for us to say enough is enough and take our destinies in our hands.”

Meanwhile, the Oluwo of Iwo, Oba Abdulrosheed Akanbi, has appealed to the Federal Government and the striking ASUU members to resolve their differences to protect the future of Nigerian students.

Oba Akanbi made the call in a statement by his Press Secretary, Alli Ibraheem, on Friday.

The monarch said, “The security fragility of the nation calls for rigid handling of the educational sector. Failure to do so will unavoidably magnify the tense security challenge in the nation. I extend my appeal to the ASUU to prioritize students’ interest and be soft in their demand from the Federal Government.”

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Ekweremadu Narrates How David, “Kidney Donor” Refused To Return To Nigeria

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The former deputy senate president, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, has explained that David Ukpo Nwamini, the would-be kidney donor of his daughter, Sonia refused to return to Nigeria after it was discovered that his kidney was not compatible with his daughter’s.

The Enugu-born federal lawmaker gave the details in a suit filed along with his wife, Beatrice, against the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) over the controversy surrounding the real age of Nwamini.

Ike Ekweremadu and his wife were recently arrested for allegedly bringing a minor to the UK to harvest his organ. They were subsequently remanded in custody till July 7.

However, Ekweremadu had written to the UK high commission to support the visa application of a “kidney donor” for his daughter Sonia.

Although the UK police said the donor was 15, he was listed as 21 years old on his international passport and the Bank Verification Number (BVN) portal.

In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/984/2022 and filed on June 27 by Adegboyega Awomolo, counsel to the senator and his wife, before Inyang Ekwo, justice of a federal high court in Abuja, the Ekweremadus prayed the court for an order directing the NIMC to supply them with the certified true copy (CTC) of Ukpo’s biodata, The Cable reported.

They also sought an order directing the NIS comptroller-general to supply the applicants with Ukpo’s documents and application form presented for the issuance of his international passport.

The suit is also seeking an order directing Stanbic IBTC Bank and UBA to supply the applicants with the certified true copy of the “mandate card and account opening package of Ukpo’s bank accounts”.

Awomolo, who gave 20 grounds why the prayers should be granted, said Ukpo offered to donate one of his kidneys to the daughter of the applicants if his kidney was compatible.

He said Ukpo informed the applicants that he was 21 years old, after which Ekweremadu supported his visa application to the United Kingdom with a letter to the British high commission in Nigeria, explaining the purpose of the visit.

“After conducting various medical tests, the Royal Free Hospital in London decided that the said David Nwamini Ukpo was not a suitable donor because his kidney is not compatible with that of Sonia Ekweremadu,” he said.

According to Awomolo, Ukpo was then asked to return to Nigeria but rather than do so, he approached the authorities in the UK, claiming he was 15 years old.

“The applicants require documents from the respondents to assist in the fair criminal investigation and as facts in their defense to establish their innocence of the allegation in the charge and to prove that David Nwamini Ukpo is not a minor and indeed consented to the medical examination in the United Kingdom,” he said.

Ekwo fixed July 1 for a hearing of the matter.

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JUST IN: Court Dismisses Kanu’s Application For Revocation Of Bail

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The Abuja division of the Federal High Court has dismissed an application by Nnamdi Kanu, the detained leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), seeking an order discharging the earlier order revoking his bail.

Justice Binta Nyako in her ruling on Tuesday ruled that Kanu has not provided sufficient reasons to warrant the court to set aside its order.

She accordingly dismissed the application for being an abuse of the court process.

In the dismissed application which was filed by his lead counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, Kanu also prayed for an order setting aside the order made on March 28, 2019, directing for his arrest and continuation of his trial in absentia.

Justice Nyako had, on March 28, 2019, revoked the bail Kanu, ordered his arrest, and directed that his trial should continue in his absence.

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CJN Resignation: Public Confidence In Judiciary System At All-Time Low – Olumide Akpata

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Olumide Akpata, president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has reacted to the resignation of Ibrahim Tanko Muhammad as CJN, saying public confidence in the judiciary is currently at “an all-time low”.

In the statement, Akpata thanked the retired CJN for his service to the nation and prayed for his quick recovery.

“In the course of previous publications and communications, I have consistently appreciated the outgone chief justice of Nigeria for the cordial working relationship between the bar and the bench under our respective administrations. I must do so again today as he bows out,” the statement read.

“It is however impossible, to consider his lordship’s retirement in isolation of the recent unprecedented developments at the supreme court where 14 justices of the court censured the outgone chief justice of Nigeria over his lordship’s handling of their welfare and related issues.

“Beyond this, there is near-universal agreement that public confidence in the judiciary and indeed the legal profession is at an all-time low.”

The NBA chairman added that “there is now more than ever the need for urgent reforms in the judiciary and to rebuild the almost dissipated confidence that Nigerians have in the judiciary and the wider legal profession in Nigeria”.

“These should form the immediate first tasks for honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, who is expected to now take over as the acting chief justice of Nigeria,” he said.

“The NBA welcomes the appointment of honorable Mr. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola and pledges its readiness to work together with his lordship and the judiciary in cleansing the Augean Stable and addressing the ills that have continued to plague not just the Judiciary but the entire legal profession.”

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