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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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Nyako denies Kanu fresh bail, says application abuse of court process

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Justice Binta Nyako of an Abuja federal high court on Tuesday dismissed an application for bail filed by Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

Thejudge, in her ruling, described the application as an abuse of court process having been previously denied.

Kanu was re-arraigned on an amended 15-count charge bordering on treasonable felony.

However, on April 8, the judge struck out eight of the 15-count charge.

While counts 6,7,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 were struck out, the defendant is to stand trial on counts 1,2,3,4,5,8 and 15.

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Breaking: President Swears in Nigeria’s New Chief Justice

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sworn in the new Chief Justice of Nigeria Olukayode Ariwoola.
The President performed the swearing ceremony today in Abuja.

The brief ceremony took place at the Presidential Villa.

NPO Eeports that Ariwoola will be serving in acting capacity pending the appointment of a substantive Chief Justice of Nigeria.

Justice Ariwoola was born on 22 August 1958).
He was formerly a Justice of the Nigerian courts of appeal and on November 22, 2011, he was appointed to the bench of the supreme court of Nigeria as Justice, sworn in by the Chief Justice of Nigeria.
He was appointed and awaiting Nigerian Senate’s approval as Chief Justice of Nigeria on the 27th June 2022 following the resignation of Justice Tanko Muhammad.

His appointment comes amidst clamour for better condition of service at the apex court.

NPO

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Fireworks mistaken for gunfire cause stampede at New York parade

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A stampede occurred at a Pride Parade in the city of New York, United States, on Sunday, with hundreds of people attempting to flee after mistaking the sound of fireworks for gunfire, police said.

“There were no shots fired in Washington Square Park. After an investigation, it was determined that the sound was fireworks set off at the location,” the NY Police Department said in a tweet shortly after the incident.

Police told newsmen “there were no serious injuries” from the stampede.

Terrified people ran or walked briskly along a street adjacent to the square after the scare, videos on social media showed.

Tens of thousands of people attended Sunday’s LGBTQIA+ Pride parade, which wound its way through the streets of lower Manhattan under the blazing sun.

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The atmosphere was largely festive, although the shadow of Friday’s US Supreme Court decision to abolish a constitutional right to abortion — leaving states to legislate on the matter themselves — loomed over proceedings.

New York’s Pride parade is the second-largest in the United States, after San Francisco, and Sunday’s gathering was the first time it had taken place since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Organisers also said the US Supreme Court decision on abortion was “devastating.”

“This dangerous decision puts millions in harm’s way, gives government control over our individual freedom to choose, and sets a disturbing precedent that puts many other constitutional rights and freedoms in jeopardy,” the organisers said.

Many rights groups fear that the verdict on abortion could be the beginning of a broader push by the Supreme Court, currently dominated by a conservative majority, to curtail other freedoms won in recent decades, such as rights to contraception or same-sex marriage.

AFP/Punch

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