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We can’t afford N110bn ASUU demand for varsities – FG

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  • Again ASUU-FG meeting ends in deadlock

Contrary to the impression given by the government that an end to the prolonged strike by university lecturers was at sight, a meeting held to resolve all lingering issues on Wednesday ended in a deadlock.

Specifically, the meeting attended by representatives of the Federal Government and those of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, was over the poor funding of Universities and the controversy surrounding the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System payment platform.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, told journalists after the meeting that the government could not meet the N110bn demand of ASUU for university revitalisation because of the damaging effects of COVID-19 on the economy.

 

According to him, the Federal Government has offered the union N20bn for revitalisation and N30bn for Earned Academic Allowances, making a total of N50bn as a show of its commitment towards ending the strike.

He said, “There are three issues. revitalization fund where government offered ASUU N20bn as a sign of good faith based on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) they entered into in 2013 as a result of the renegotiation they had with government in 2009. This present government is still committed to it. That is why we are giving them offers of some fund.”

He also said, “This government is not against revitalization but this government says that because of dire economic situation and  COVID-19, we cannot really pay the N110bn which they are demanding for revitalization.

“We offered N20bn as revitalization fund. On Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), the government offered N30bn to all the unions in the universities, making it N50bn all together.

“ASUU is saying that the N30bn should be for lecturers alone, irrespective of the fact that there are three other unions. So there is a little problem there. We don’t have any money to offer apart from this N30bn.

“Again, another cardinal issue is the University Transperancy and Accountability Solution (UTAS) versus IPPIS. Today ASUU submitted their document on UTAS for onward submission to National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA). As you know last week, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy had approved that NITDA gets their system (UTAS) and subject it to integrity test. This test should be conducted without fear or favour and as early as possible. So today they have submitted the document for onward transmission to NITDA.”

Ngige explained that the transition period and how to disburse the Earned Academic Allowances and other entitlements remained unresolved as ASUU wanted an exemption from the IPPIS whereas the government team led by the Accountant General of the Federation insisted on the IPPIS, being the only government approved payment platform.

He said, “So that is where we are for now. So we are all going back to our principals and they will receive via me the irreducible minimum of what federal government has to offer.”

The two teams agreed to reconvene on Friday November 6.

 

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Tinubu returns to Nigeria

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The National leader of the All progressives Congress, APC, Bola Ahmed Tinubu has returned to Nigeria after a brief vacation abroad.
Contrary to widespread reports that the former Lagos governor is ‘ill’ and being secretly treated abroad, Tinubu popularly known as ‘Jagaban’ looked hale, hearty and full of life as he returned to the country on Tuesday.
On landing at the airport, he was welcomed amidst celebration from his supporters

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Synagogue confirms TB Joshua burial programme

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The Synagogue Church of All Nations has confirmed the burial programme of its late General Overseer, Prophet TB Joshua.

The PUNCH had reported on Monday that the late cleric would be buried on July 9, 2021, on the premises of his church in Lagos State.

The church statement on Monday read partly, “We know you are aware that our father in the Lord, Prophet TB Joshua, has been taken home to be with the Lord. We want to assure you that nothing will stop the work of God at SCOAN from moving on. Prophet TB Joshua may be absent in the body but he is present in the spirit.

“We are currently preparing for a week-long service from Monday 5th to Sunday 11th July 2021 in honour of Prophet TB Joshua’s life and legacy.

“He will be laid to rest at The Synagogue, Church Of All Nations in Lagos, Nigeria.

“All services will be broadcast live on Emmanuel TV. The services which will be open to the public will be communicated to you at the appropriate time.”

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Soyinka: Nigeria on the edge, Buhari must take urgent action

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  • Faults President on locating grazing routes

Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, says Nigeria is on the “edge”, and asked President Muhammadu Buhari to move beyond mere talk, and take urgent action to set the country on the right path.
He said the President should stop exuding false confidence and speak like a leader ready to take action concerning the country’s challenges.
Last week, Buhari spoke, in two recorded interviews and a national broadcast, on challenges facing the country, stating that his administration was committed to ensuring growth and improved security.
Soyinka on Arise Television programme on Monday said the problems of the country could be addressed with the right actions by the leaders.
He said, “First of all, he should start talking to people like a leader — and a leader who is awake to the realities of the situation. Then, let us see actions being taken.
“I’m tired of hearing things like ‘you will see differences in a few weeks’ time’. We are tired of that. He’s got to put his cards on the table and take people into confidence.
“He’s got to stop exuding a false confidence, because that kind of confidence is totally false. It is not based on realities, and we’ve got to see an acceleration of actions to retrieve this nation from the very edge.
“It is no longer a problem of the people,; it is a problem of leadership, because the people have shown themselves ready to act, to save their own community.”
Soyinka also said the national assembly and the 36 state governors were not doing enough, considering their constitutional responsibilities.
He said, “Members of NASS are not doing enough. If you study the constitution very carefully, you will realise that they have certain powers which they haven’t touched
“There are certain areas they can compel this government to act the way it should, and that applies especially to governors — the governors themselves are too timid.”
He warned Nigerians to stop spreading fake news, stressing that it is a way of distorting constructive narratives that could help the people.
Soyinka said, “I appeal to people to stop putting words in my mouth. If you think you can pressure me to speak by stealing my identity and putting words in my mouth on social media, you are wasting your time. Not only that, you are acting in a distorting way.
“At this sensitive time, I must warn Nigerians to stop playing around with such serious issues, otherwise they are going to lose the kind of support they have from people like me.”

Soyinka also faulted Buhari on his plan to locate old grazing routes across the country, saying hs comments were “disturbing” and indicated that his administration has not gone beyond narrow-mindedness.
He said: “There is at least 50 per cent of a nation, at least their representatives, saying that within the constitution, within this democratic dispensation, we’re saying on behalf of our people: ‘we do not want open grazing anymore.’
“And then, somebody sits in Aso Rock and says to them: ‘I’m instructing my Attorney-General to dig up some kind of colonial law, which arbitrated between farmers and herders, so I’m instructing him to dig up that old, mangy documents so that I can recover, on behalf of a certain private business, the old routes; which means that he’s not listening to what the people are saying and what the governors who represented them are saying.
“He’s saying: ‘I’m going to restore those routes’ by referring to some colonial arrangement. When I listen to a thing like that, I really despair.
“It was a very instructive interview, not that there was anything new in it, but I was just hoping that this government had transcended that kind of partisan thinking. It was very instructive.
“That was a leader, who incidentally, I must congratulate him on one thing: he seemed to have recovered his verve – he was energetic, he was articulate; he seemed to think about what he was saying. It was a different kind of Buhari but also a rather disturbing kind of Buhari.
“This was the language of a leader who felt he was on a roll, while the nation is on a roller-coaster, and that’s even putting it mildly because the nation is on a nose-dive.”

 

 

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