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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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Abba Kyari’s Arrest, Extradition: FBI Agents Meet Nigeria’s Police IGP

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Officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have met with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba to demand the arrest and extradition of Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari to the United States, SaharaReporters learnt.

 

According to a top source, four FBI agents met with the IGP on Thursday asking that Nigeria’s celebrated cop, Kyari be taken to the United States for interrogation over his role in the activities of suspected serial internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, more commonly known as Hushpuppi.

 

The source stated that the agents have returned on Friday (today) to ensure their demands are met, citing the urgency of the case.

 

He said, “FBI agents met with the IGP yesterday (Thursday) to demand Abba Kyari’s arrest and extradition to the United States citing the urgency of the case. Four FBI agents returned to the IG’s office this morning, they are there asking the IGP to release Kyari for interrogation.”

 

Meanwhile, as of Thursday night, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Alkali Baba, had ordered an internal review of the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation against Kyari.

 

This was contained in a statement issued by the force’s spokesperson, Frank Mba, on its Facebook page on Thursday night.

 

The force also stated that it is committed to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

It assured Nigerians to further communicate developments on the case to members of the public.

 

The statement read, “Sequel to the receipt of allegations and indictment processes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against one of the personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, DCP Abba Kyari, the Inspector General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba psc (+), NPM, fdc has ordered an internal review of the allegations.

 

“The Nigeria Police Force reaffirms its commitment to the pursuit of justice and the strengthening of its professional relationship with the FBI and other international partners.

 

“Further developments on this case will be communicated to members of the public accordingly.”

 

Otis Wright of the United States District Court for the Central District of California ordered the Federal Bureau of Investigation to track down Kyari and produce him in the United States for his role in a multi-million dollar fraud.

 

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and he pleaded guilty to fraud in the U.S. this week.

 

The FBI said Abbas and Kyari have been friends and were both involved in a conspiracy to launder money.

 

American prosecutors first sought a court warrant to arrest Kyari on February 12, 2021.

 

Another warrant was requested on April 29, 2021.

 

Judge Wright’s permission for the FBI to arrest Mr Kyari and hold him in U.S. custody was unsealed on July 26.

 

Hushpuppi had narrated how he bribed Kyari to have one of his rivals arrested and jailed in Nigeria following a dispute over a $1.1 million dupe of a Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had asked Kyari to arrest and jail a fellow fraudster Kelly Chibuzor Vincent after both were locked in a dispute presumably over how to share the $1.1 million loot received from the Qatari businessperson.

 

Abbas had pleaded guilty to a multi-million fraud earlier this month and faces up to 20 years in jail.

 

He will be sentenced in the coming weeks and will forfeit some of his assets and his rights to appeal while also paying restitution to victims of his years-long fraud.

 

Kyari in a statement on Facebook has, however, dismissed the allegations of bribe.

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Buhari Meet British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, Discuss Insecurity In Nigeria

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Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari and the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday, appraised the war against different forms of terrorism in Nigeria, and agreed that the judicial process be allowed to run its course.

 

 

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, made this known in a statement on Thursday evening.

 

Adesina said the two leaders held a bilateral talks at the sidelines of the Global Education Summit in London where they agreed that it was important that the judicial process runs without interference, no matter who was involved.

 

According to Buhari’s spokesman, the president briefed the Prime Minister on Nigeria’s power needs and efforts being made, as well as initiatives geared at achieving food security in Nigeria.

 

President Buhari also reviewed the security situation in the different regions of the country, as PM Johnson pledged Britain’s preparedness to help Nigeria curb the deteriorating security situations.

 

PM Johnson said, “We are available to help.”

 

The two leaders equally discussed how to increase trade between the two countries, develop solar and wind power, leadership of the Commonwealth going forward and other matters of mutual interest.

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Tokyo2020: Okagbare, Nwokocha Qualify For 100m Semi Final

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For the very first time in nine years, two Nigerian athletes will be running in the semifinals of the women’s 100m after Blessing Okagbare and Nzubechi Grace Nwokocha qualified from their respective heats Friday in Tokyo, Japan, Newspremises reports.

 

Nwokocha had to run a new personal best of 11.00 seconds to secure her qualification to the semifinals in her debut at the Games.

 

The 20 year old has also moved into fifth in the Nigeria all-time list behind Okagbare (10.79), Glory Alozie (10.90) Mary Onyali (10.97) and Damola Osayomi (10.99).

 

The home-based athlete who ran 11.09 seconds to secure her qualification for the Olympics in March at the MOC Grand Prix in Lagos will however need to make further history by breaking the 11 seconds barrier as the fifth Nigerian woman to do so to stand a chance of joining Onyali and Okagbare as debutants who ran all the way to the final of the event.

 

She has been drawn to run from lane nine in the third semifinal heat with the fastest woman alive, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, Daryl Neita of Great Britain, Teahna Daniels of the USA and fellow African, Muriel Ahoure of Ivory Coast.

 

While Nwokocha qualified for her first semifinal, Okagbare will be running in her third since she made her debut in the event at the 2012 Olympics in London. The 32 year old ran 11.05 seconds to win her first round heat.

 

She has been drawn in the first semifinal heat alongside two heavyweights of the event, defending champion Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica who ran 10.82 seconds to win her first round heat and Great Britain’s Dina Asher-Smith, the 200m world champion two years ago in Doha, Qatar who ran 11.07 seconds to come second in her first round heat.

 

The 2008 Beijing Olympics Long Jump silver medallist will be in action at exactly 11.15 am Nigerian time on Saturday.

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