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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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Some public servants earn more salary than the president – RMAFC boss

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Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC)

Mohammed Shehu, chairman, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), says some political appointees earn more salary than President Muhammadu Buhari.

Shehu disclosed this during an interview on Channels Television on Thursday.

The RMAFC boss, who spoke on the commission’s plan to review judicial and political holders’ salaries, said some officials of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) collect salaries higher than the president.

He said the country needs to review allocations as some agencies remit less revenue. 

“The severance package of the president is just N10.5 million. This is after the president leaves office. You can imagine after spending four or eight years, that would be the only take-home. The salary of Mr President is not up to N1.3 million a month,” he said.

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“There are people in the private sector and others in other public sectors that earn twice, three times or four times. No public servant should earn a salary bigger than Mr President. But we do have public servants that earn salaries bigger than Mr President, such as in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), etc.

“My argument has always been that no public servant should earn allowances, severances, or salaries larger than the president of the federal republic of Nigeria, and I stand by it.”

Speaking further on how salaries would be reviewed, especially on current realities, Shehu said salary review would go through processes.

He, however, added that salaries may be reviewed upward after going through due processes.

“When you do a review, the takeoff point is not immediate. And this is a process that has to go to the president and then to the national assembly, and then it becomes a law,” he added.

“I can not tell you whether we can afford it or not, but what I can tell you is there are unremitted revenues out there, probably estimated from N6 trillion to N7 trillion that should be remitted to the federation account.

The Cable

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Buckingham Palace aide resigns over racist comments

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A Buckingham Palace aide has resigned and tendered an apology over racist comments reportedly made to a black British guest at a reception hosted by the Queen Consort.

Ngozi Fulani, the founder of a charity supporting victims of domestic abuse, alleged that she was repeatedly asked by a royal aide at a Palace function where she was “really from” in Africa.

The palace said it was taking the incident “extremely seriously”.

An eyewitness to the conversation, Mandu Reid, confirmed the account and told the BBC the questions put to Ms Fulani were “offensive, racist and unwelcoming”.

Reid said she had a “sense of incredulity” about the exchange with a member of the Royal Household, in which Ms Fulani was “interrogated” about where she was from – even though she had explained she was born and lived in the UK.

Ms Fulani is the founder of the London-based charity Sistah Space, which supports black women who have faced domestic and sexual abuse.

Along with 300 guests, she had been invited to a high-profile reception at the Palace on Tuesday, where the Queen Consort, Camilla, had warned of a “global pandemic of violence against women”.

But after the event, Ms Fulani described her conversation on Twitter, where she was challenged by a royal aide to explain where she was from.

She recounted how she said: “We’re based in Hackney,” and the aide replied: “No, what part of Africa are you from?”

She said, “I don’t know, they didn’t leave any records”, and the Palace member responded, “Well you must know where you’re from, I spent time in France. Where are you from? Here, UK.”

“No, but what nationality are you?”

“I am born here and am British.”

“No, but where do you really come from, where do your people come from?”

She said that members of the Royal Household were circulating at the reception and making “chit chat” – but she said it became a “really unpleasant interaction”, when despite Ms Fulani’s replies there was an insistent questioning about her background.

Ms Reid said they were “stunned into silence” afterwards and says that Ms Fulani should receive an apology and those working for the palace should receive training.

Both Ms Reid and Sistah Space have decided not to name the royal aide believed to be involved.

Palace reacts

In response, Buckingham Palace said, “We take this incident extremely seriously and have investigated immediately to establish the full details.

“In this instance, unacceptable and deeply regrettable comments have been made.

“We have reached out to Ngozi Fulani on this matter, and are inviting her to discuss all elements of her experience in person if she wishes.

“In the meantime, the individual concerned would like to express her profound apologies for the hurt caused and has stepped aside from her honorary role with immediate effect.

“All members of the household are being reminded of the diversity and inclusivity policies which they are required to uphold at all times.”

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Adeleke denies sacking workers, monarchs

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Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke

Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, has denied making executive orders to sack traditional rulers and workers in the state.

He said he only set up a review panel and nobody has been sacked.

His Chief Press Secretary, Olawale Rasheed, who in spoke Rave FM in Osogbo, said executive order one to five shows the intentions of the administration to review, nullify, and set aside while the instrumentality to effect the orders was order six which is the composition of the panel.

He said: “There was never sack of any worker or traditional ruler. We only set up a review panel. It is impossible to sack and put a review panel in place.

“The review panel is to look at the numbers of the people that were employed, due processes of the employment, and qualification among other things.

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“Before our taking over, there were issues of backdating of employment, even till last year. So, order 1-5 will be operationalised by order 6 which are the panels.

“Those that were employed from July 17 till our takeover are still at work presently, they have not been sacked. The staff audit will review the employment.”

However, a statement by Rasheed said the governor has approved the dissolution of all non-statutory boards in the state with immediate effect.

“As a follow-up to the pronouncement of Governor Adeleke, on Sunday, November 27, 2022, all non-statutory boards, commissions and parastatals, including those of tertiary institutions (with exception of UNIOSUN) are hereby dissolved in the state, forthwith.

“Consequently, all accounting officers of such boards, parastatals and commissions are to take charge with immediate effect.”

Sun

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