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ASUU set to end strike as union, FG finally reach agreement

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The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities ended an eight-hour meeting on Friday night with an indication that the union could call off its about nine-month strike next week.

Unlike the previous meetings usually ending in stalemate, both parties said after the meeting they had fruitful discussions at the Friday’s parley.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, addressing journalists shortly after the meeting held in Abuja, said that government had met all the demands of the union.

He said that ASUU would take the outcome of the meeting back to their members for ratification and revert to government with a resolution to call off the strike latest by Friday next week.

President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said that their talks were fruitful and that the union would in their usual practice take the outcome to the members before reverting to government on their resolution.

Ngige said at the beginning of the meeting that ASUU had submitted a written response to the government’s offer.

The government was said to have made further adjustments in its offer to ASUU ostensibly to avert another stalemate.

A week ago, the offer involved the amounts to be paid as Earned Allowances, revitalization fund and a pledge to offset their salary arrears.

The minister said, “What we said in the meeting and what we agreed was that in the interim (while) UTAS is being tested by NITDA and the Office of National Security Adviser for cybersecurity, the transition period, ASUU members that are not yet on the IPPIS will be paid through the platform with which they were paid the President’s compassionate COVID-19 payment done to them between the months of February and June.”

He also spoke on the new offer made to ASUU, saying prior to Friday’s meeting, government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to the union.

“The offer made is clear. You can understand it this way. Prior to the meeting of yesterday, government brought an aggregate offer of N50 billion to ASUU; N20 billion for revitalisation to show good faith that government is still with them on the issue of funding for revitalisation and pending the affirmation of the new sources of funding public education. There is a committee on that and the committee is working on sourcing new education funds; it is a NEEDS committee.

“So pending that NEEDS committee effecting a new funding source and strategy, government offered them N20 billion for revitalisation apart from the funds that are coming from TETFUNDS that is also used for revitalisation. They refused the N20 billion and said that they want N110 billion and that N110 billion is 50 per cent of a tranche of N220 billion. Government said they don’t have that kind of money and then increased that N20 billion by N5 billion to become N25 billion and if it becomes N25 billion, the Earned Allowances will be raised to N40 billion immediate payment making for a total of N65 billion for revitalisation and Earned Allowances in the universities.

“Government then said alternatively, ASUU could opt for the revitalisation to move up to N30 billion, while the Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities will drop from N40 billion to N35 billion, that is the second basket offered them, either of the two. Either you choose N25 billion revitalisation plus N40 billion Earned Allowances or revitalisation of N30 billion and N35 billion Earned Allowances.”

 

 

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FG establishing oxygen plants in 36 states – NEC

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The National Economic Council (NEC) says the Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states of the federation.

Ebonyi State Governor David Umahi made this known to State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Friday presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Umahi said that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, who chaired the NEC Ad hoc committee interfacing with the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 to ease the lockdown of the economy, presented a report to the council.

“The Federal Ministry of Health is establishing oxygen plants across the 36 states in the country, but currently six states have been provided with oxygen cylinders so far.

“The Federal Government has paid for 40 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines coming in batches and therefore a considerable amount of the vaccines will come into the country between now and January 2022. Nigeria is now classified among the 50 countries in the green zones.”

Umahi said that NEC also received states’ performance report on COVID-19 from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

He said that the council was also updated on the global situation of COVID-19.

He said, “Over 237 million confirmed cases and over 4.8 million deaths due to COVID-19. There are now over 6.3 billion vaccine doses administered.  Nigeria is still in the first wave of vaccination and vaccination tools will improve as the country receives additional vaccines. COVID-19 cases have declined by 7.5 per cent over the last week.”

Umahi said that states were urged to continue to push testing activities in order to detect new cases before the situation worsened.

According to him, an update on travel restrictions on certain countries expected to be announced soon by the Federal Government.

The governor said that the council also received an update on the situation regarding Cholera outbreak.

“Current Cholera situation in the country; suspected number of cases   is 88,704. Number of states is 31 and the FCT. Number of deaths is 3,208.

“Multi-sectoral emergency operation centres activated at level 2 continues to coordinate the national response,” he said.

He listed the challenges to include difficulty in accessing some communities due to insecurity, open defecation and lack of potable drinking water.

Umahi said other challenges were lack of basic health primary healthcare infrastructure, inadequate health facility and cholera commodities for case management.

Umahi said that NEC commended the insightful presentations and congratulated the outgoing Director-General of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, on his new appointment at the WHO and also welcomed the incoming Director-General, Dr Ifedayo Morayo Adetifa.

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Bakare meets with Buhari, opposes clamour for power rotation

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Founder of Citadel Global Community Church, Tunde Bakare, says the region to produce the president of Nigeria should not be an issue.

He stated this in Abuja on Friday during an interaction with reporters at the presidential villa after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that Nigerians are only bothered about a leader that would ensure the prosperity of the country.

The pastor said the “immaturity” of the citizens is responsible for “making us say power must either be in the North or be in the South, instead of looking for the best.

“Listen to me, if where the President comes from will make the place he has come from to be better, the northern part of Nigeria should be richest and the most progressive and the most developed because out of 61 years, the North has produced either the President or heads of state for 40 to 41 years and yet, see the retrogression in the North.

“If it’s from the South, why should a person like President Obasanjo freeze and seize the account of Lagos State in his own tenure? If it’s from South-South or South-East, why couldn’t President Jonathan use all his powers to develop South-South/South-East?

“If there are agreements between politicians on rotation, a bargain is a bargain. That is between them. But as far as this country is concerned, what we need at this stage is a man who can drive us to the Eldorado.”

The pastor commended the national assembly for empowering the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to determine the mode of transmitting election results.

“Perhaps one of the best things the present national assembly has done, especially the senate, because, with that, Nigerians can vote and then results can be transmitted so easily,” he said.

“Not only that, part of the state of the nation address that I did on October 10, I emphasised how Nigeria youth, especially undergraduates, are disenfranchised in our country.”

 

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FG declares Tuesday Oct 19 Eid-il-Maulud holiday

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The Federal Government has declared Tuesday October 19 a public holiday to mark the Islamic festival of Eid-il-Maulud in “commemoration of the birth of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).”

Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, in a statement signed by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Dr Shuaib Belgore.

Aregbesola congratulated the Muslim faithful both at home and in the diaspora for witnessing this year’s occasion.

He urged all Nigerians to imbibe the spirit of love, patience and perseverance which he said “are the virtues of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), adding that doing so would guarantee peace and security in the country.”

The statement added, “Ogbeni Aregbesola enjoined Nigerians, particularly Muslims, to refrain from violence, lawlessness and other acts of criminality. As the indisputable leader of our race, we must show responsible leadership in Africa.

“While calling for a stop to all divisive tendencies across the country, the minister urges all Nigerians and the youth in particular, to embrace the virtues of hard work and peaceful disposition to fellow humans, irrespective of faith, ideology, social class and ethnicity and cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari’s led-Administration in its effort to build a progressive and enviable nation that all citizens would be proud of.”

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