THE Academic Staff Union of Universities says it is ready to call off its industrial action and resume work.
President of the association, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, who gave this indication, however, said it was waiting for the Federal Government to give the go-ahead by adopting ASUU’s created salary payment platform, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution.
He said the new platform would be used by the government to pay lecturers their outstanding salaries.
UTAS is the payment platform created by ASUU in place of government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System.
A new report by The Punch quoted Ogunyemi as saying, “Our members are ready to resume work as early as government is ready to play its part. I’m sure you are not suggesting that our members should resume on empty stomach or the strike should be suspended without any concrete action on the side of the government. We don’t like to stay away from our work because we like our students, they are also our children.
“As far as we are concerned, we don’t have issue with going back to work, but we want more sincerity on the side of government.
“We have not seen enough reasons to believe that they don’t mean what they are telling us but as soon as we see any sign to that effect, we will tell Nigerians.”
Although he said UTAS had been approved in principle after making presentation about it to the Ministry of Education with other stakeholders, an integrity test on the payment platform to be conducted by an agency of government was required.
Ogunyemi said, “The integrity test will be handled by NITDA, it is government that will facilitate it because NITDA is a government, agency and unless you get clearance from the government that test cannot be conducted.”
Speaking on whether the government had accepted UTAS, the ASUU leader said, “We are still talking, we have given them the position of our members, we are thinking we should be able to hold a meeting this week if they have not changed plans. The meeting for Monday was postponed.
“In principle, they have accepted UTAS and told us to go for the test, and on our part, we have started the process. We had presented UTAS at three levels, starting with the Ministry of Education, Senate President and members of his team, officials of Ministry of Finance and Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, where all other stakeholders were present, including NITDA.
“All stakeholders have witnessed the presentation and the next stage of integrity test is what we are moving into. If government facilitates it, it is not something that should drag for too long at all. We don’t foresee any problem with UTAS; it also depends on how early the government makes it possible for the integrity test to be conducted.”
Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula
A Niger-Delta group, Ijaw People Assembly (IPA) has condemned the proposal by 59 members of the House of Representatives seeking an amendment of Section 162(2) of the 1999 Constitution.
It said the real motive was targeted at deleting the Principle of Derivation which stipulated 13% of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account from natural resources, describing the move “as an inglorious attempt and a misadventure.”
The group’s scribe, Dortimi Tawari, who spoke in a statement, yesterday, said the plan was an “invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy.”
Tawari warned the proposal was “another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation and other Niger-Delta nationalities.”
Part of the statement read: “The Ijaw nation being a host nation to oil and gas resources and assets, the IPA views this proposal as another form of internal colonization, an attempt to strangulate and subjugate the Ijaw nation in particular and the other Niger Delta nationalities.
“Need it be mentioned that it is an invitation to chaos and eventual collapse of the Nigerian economy. The ljaw People Assembly vehemently oppose a system that will drag the ljaw Nation and the other nationalities in the Niger Delta into undeserved subjugation and retrogression.”
Tawari reiterated the call for a restructured Nigeria that “guarantees resource ownership, control, management and freedom to appropriate a declared percentage of derived revenue to the central government or an arrangement of sovereign nations as the extreme option.”
He said a restructured Nigeria “will promote a productive economy and end the current monthly sharing (rentier) economy under some spurious formular which has encouraged laziness and unviability of states from which the said 59 members all hail from.”
Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari
The Conference of Speakers in Nigeria has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to declare bandits terrorists and enemies of the state.
The Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman, made the pronouncement at the end of the third quarter general meeting of the Conference of Speakers in Katsina on Saturday.
He said the call was one of the outcomes of their 5-point communique reached at the end of their deliberations.
According to the Speakers’ Chairman, they have come to realise that the mode of operations employed by the bandits is not in anyway different from that of terrorists and as such should be treated as one.
Other resolutions reached in the course of the deliberations included working out a legislative framework to complement federal government efforts in the fight against insecurity in the country.
Also, the conference resolved to come up with appropriate laws that will address the fundamental issues responsible for the insecurity experienced in the country.
The communique also harped on the need to create employment opportunities for the teeming youths as a means to curb the insecurity situation bedeviling the country.
Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka
Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has said Nigerians are still managing to eke out a living despite the bleak realities confronting the country.
Soyinka spoke during an interview with the Cable News Network monitored by our correspondent.
Commenting on the ironic title for his first novel in 48 years, Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth, he said things happened around one as one grew up, witnessing the degrading of dream and environment in one’s society and on the continent.
He explained that for him, the issue had been an arduous journey, adding, “It has reached such a stage, I found intuitively, that only prose fiction can handle things that have been bubbling up inside me.”
He said the title came after some people some years ago conducted a poll which placed Nigeria among the top four happiest nations in the world.
The playwright noted, “That thing has been with me, in my head. I asked, ‘Who are these people? What do they know? What have they seen? What have they experienced in Nigeria that they make such an attribution?’ That title really has been waiting to answer that claim in many ways. When you look at the surroundings, everything is the opposite and yet, Nigeria is not a complete disaster.
“People still manage to eke out a living not only a living but to some extent a dignified and satisfied living. I think it’s not surface appearance of contentment or making the best of a really bad job, insisting that no matter what life must go on… It’s that which needed to be, quote and unquote, celebrated in addition to the bleak actualities.”
The elder statesman further said he took the decision to change his former relationship if Donald Trump was elected president of the United States despite “being literally an enemy of decency and humanity’’ and his blatantly discontent for non-white humanity.
He stated, “I never really totally turned my back on the United States. I mean how could one? We have many Nigerians there, to start with. When I stroll through the streets of the United States, I sometimes think the United States is an extension of Nigeria, that it’s part of our diaspora.” That’s not an easy decision but it was inevitable.”
Commenting on the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature awarded to Tanzanian novelist, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Soyinka said his immediate statement after the announcement was “let the African tribe expand wherever situated.”
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