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We won’t return to class with empty stomach – ASUU

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it will not return to class with empty stomach as its members have not been paid for their salaries for a period ranging between four months and nine months.

The Coordinator, ASUU Calabar Zone, Comrade Aniekan Brown, told journalists in Calabar on Monday that “We are still in the trenches. And we will not return to the classes with empty stomach.”

He also said insisted that the Federal Government should adopt its University Transparency and Accountability Solution UTAS as the option against government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The Calabar zone covers seven universities within four states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Ebonyi.

ASUU also argues that the Federal government payment system IPPIS, which is made compulsory to university workers, including ASUU members is against the law of the land that granted autonomy to universities.

Besides, “the IPPIS is not temper-proof as presented, adding to the fact that it has national security risk being that the server is hosted from outside the country by an American company.”

He described the IPPIS as uncongenial with the modus operandi of the university system, given the peculiarities of universities.

“Kindly note that our Union has been rejecting the IPPIS since 2013; government challenged us to produce an alternative to IPPIS. The union took up the challenge, and has produced one. This is called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, UTAS. Presentations have been made to the appreciation of some quarters.

“The union has been ready for the final stage presentation to NITDA. Sadly, the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGoF) is of the position that our members migrate first (during the intervening period) after which if UTAS is approved, we would be re-migrated to UTAS. We argue that it is a case of economic waste,” he explained.

He debunked the figures pandered in some quarters by the government that over 50,000 members of ASUU have voluntarily joined the IPPIS platform in obedience to the Federal Government directive as against about 14,000 yet to comply.

His words: “That is just a divisive and blackmail tactics. We don’t have such number of academic staff members in the country even if you put together both federal and state universities. May be they are counting other unions’ members within the university.”

He further insisted that “the university system is peculiar in its modus-operandi. The mode of employment, retirement age, sabbatical leave, adjunct engagements, part-time engagements, contract engagements, etc. are concepts that are unique to the university, and obviously alien to IPPIS.

“The OAGF has told a lot lies about addressing these peculiarities. Unfortunately, our Union had a number of meetings with the OAGF and, for all that the meetings are worth, they were opportunities to convince ASUU that the IPPIS is capable of addressing the concerns of our union. This did not happen!”

ASUU has complained that the Federal Government has continued to pay deaf ears to the revitalization of Public Universities and as it concerns the proliferation and funding of State Universities.

The union is also saying that Visitors to State Universities should stand up to their responsibilities and that state governments should not establish universities they cannot fund. Visitation Panels to universities have not been done in the last ten (10) years.

He said, “We seek the cooperation and understanding of the good people of Nigeria, and the general public on ASUU’s stance on the afore-stated outstanding issues and the IPPIS.

“ASUU has courted for itself an enviable pedigree of integrity, credibility and accountability. Our members would not return to the classes with empty stomachs.”

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Flaunting wealth in public a serious security risk, DSS official warns

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An official of the Department of State Services (DSS) has warned that the public display of wealth constitutes a great security risk.

Paul Oduh, the deputy director, security enforcement, DSS Kwara command, gave the warning on Friday in Ilorin, capital of the state.

 

He said the deliberate exhibition of affluence and a flamboyant lifestyle attract kidnappers, bandits, and other criminals.

 

The comment comes in the wake of the extravagant display at the much talked about funeral of the mother of Obinna Iyiegbu, the nightlife promoter popularly known as Obi Cubana.

The DSS deputy director said given the security challenges in the country, Nigerians should avoid showing off in public.

 

“People must adopt moderate lifestyles, so as not to fall prey to these criminal elements,” Oduh said.

 

Oduh said a boastful attitude and maintaining a “habitual daily routine” can also make people prone to attacks.

“The country is ravaged by insecurity on daily basis. However, people should not despair, security should be concern of all people and they must be enlightened on it,” he said.

 

“Security can never be 100 percent everywhere in the world. People should be knowledgeable enough on those things they can do to protect themselves.

 

“Security denotes free from danger and protection of lives and property where individuals can pursue their lawful activities.

 

“There is need to accept that threats exist and people are targets of these threats. This is why people should put in place measures to safeguard themselves from such threats.”

 

 

 

 

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PHOTOS: Nigeria dazzles in Tokyo Olympic opening parade

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I don’t need your cheques, Buhari tells contractor

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday charged contractors who have enjoyed government patronage as well as other privileged citizens to use their resources to support less privileged members of society.

 

President Buhari gave the charge when he paid a visit to the Emir of Daura, Dr Umar Faruk Umar.

 

He said passing gifts and ‘cheques’ to people in authority or already comfortable to buy favour is not the right approach.

 

According to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, President Buhari challenged beneficiaries of government patronage to go to their respective communities and engage in corporate social responsibilities.

 

The President said: “I don’t want your cheque. Go and assist our communities” instead of trying to return kickbacks to public officers, including his office.

 

“We don’t want cheques from anyone or organisation as returns or influence of any kind. Let them remember their Corporate Social Responsibilities,” he said.

 

The President noted he would love to visit Daura more frequently but for the high cost of presidential movements and exposing security personnel to the weather, assuring his heart remains with the people.

“We are known for farming and I have my farm here. I could come every two weeks and no one can stop me.

“But the cost to the movement is high. I would rather that it be used to better our schools, clinics and hospitals,” said the President.

The President said the grace of God had kept Nigeria together as a country in spite of differences that led to a 30-month civil war

 

“We want to thank God always for keeping us together as a country. From January 15, 1966, the country was thrown into political crisis. We had a 30 months civil war that resulted in the loss of about a million lives.

 

“We still thank God for keeping us together. We remain grateful to all those who showed interest in our unity and progress. May God continue to bless them,” he added.

 

The President, who recalled fond memories of visiting the Palace as a military Head of State, expressed happiness that the warmth and hospitality of the traditional institution had been sustained over the years.

 

At the meeting, the Emir publicly announced conferment of the title of Talban Daura on Yusuf Buhari, son of President Buhari.

 

He said a date would be announced for the turbaning ceremony of the President’s son, which might likely be before his marriage.

 

The Emir also announced creation of a District in the community of the President, with headquarters in Dimurkol.

He said the turbaning of younger Buhari and creation of the District was to further extend and deepen the long relationship between the Palace and the family.

 

He said the decision was in agreement with the kingmakers in Daura Emirate Council.

 

During the visit, the Palace used the opportunity to clarify the difference between two titles, Talban Hausa, given to Alpha Conde, the President of Guinea and Talban Daura designated for Yusuf, the President’s son.

 

The Palace explained that Daura, as the linchpin of the Hausa society had conferred titles that have bearing on the Hausa Kingdom and those that are specific to the Emirate.

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