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ASUU may suspend strike as FG backs down on IPPIS

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) that may soon call off its over eight-month industrial action after the Federal Government has agreed to exempt its members from the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

Government has scheduled another meeting with the organised labour on Sunday to review the working agreement on issues relating to the Downstream Sector of the Petroleum industry and electricity tariff.

The meeting with labour will take place at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

At Friday’s meeting with ASUU, the federal government’s side shifted ground on a number of issues, including the insistence that all the academic staff of federal universities must be paid through IPPIS.

With the resolution of the dispute on IPPIS, which appeared to be a major stumbling block to the conclusion of negotiations by both parties, the coast is now clear for ASUU to suspend its industrial action.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige however said that ASUU is expected to go and relay the latest proposals to its organs and revert to government so that the universities can reopen next week.

While reading out the communiqué at the end of the grilling seven-hour negotiations at the conference hall of the Federal Ministry of Education, Ngige said government had agreed to ASUU’s demand to pay their members salary arrears from February to June using the old salary payment platform, GIFIMS.

In a reconciliatory move, the government also accepted to wave the threat of “no work, no pay” and approve payment of salary arrears to the striking lecturers.

Ngige said, “The meeting agreed that the Federal Ministry of Education and that of Labour and Employment will look into the issue of “No work, No pay” as stipulated in Section 43 of the Trade Union Disputes Act, Cap 18 laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 with a view to getting approval for the withheld salaries to be paid.

“It was also agreed that the mode of payment of those that had not been captured on the IPPIS platform between the months of February and June, 2020 be adopted for the purpose of payment during this transition period.”

In addition, the minister said that the meeting agreed that a suitable template to address all the anomalies identified in the previous processes should be handled by the Accountant General of the Federation, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission and Vice Chancellors of universities.

The government also offered to increase the Earned Allowances to university staff from N30 billion to N35 billion or N40 billion and revitalisation Fund from N20 billion to N25 billion.

It said that Vice Chancellors are to submit details of Earned Academic Allowances and Earned Allowances to the NUC before November 30.

On the reconstitution of the federal government’s negotiating team for the 2009 agreement, Ngige said both were satisfied with the progress so far made, adding that letters have been issued to members of the renegotiation team.

He added that the meeting agreed the inauguration of the university visitation panels will be carried out as soon as the institutions reopened, while awaiting gazetting.

On his part, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said that the union has received the new proposals by the federal government and that it would go and consult with its organs before taking a position.

“I don’t really have much to say as the minister had said it all. Government has given us offers and we have promised to go back to our organs to brief them and then come back to government. We acknowledge that progress has been made,” he said.

Ogunyemi said that ASUU would need till Friday next week to meet with its organs before reverting to government. The meeting was therefore adjourned till next week Friday.

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Ijaw group warns against tampering with 13 percent derivation formula

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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.”

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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.”

The Nation

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Treat bandits as terrorists – Speakers tell President Buhari

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Chairman of the conference and Speaker, Bauchi House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abubakar Suleiman

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.

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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.

Daily Post

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Everything is the opposite yet Nigeria not a complete disaster – Soyinka

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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.”

Punch

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