ASUU strike continues as FG, union meet again Friday – Newstrends
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ASUU strike continues as FG, union meet again Friday

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Hope of reopening universities soon appears dimmed as the discussion between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities over a number of contentious issues has been moved to Friday.

The meeting, initially slated for Wednesday, according to the Ministry of Labour and Employment in a statement on Wednesday night, has been moved to Friday.

The strike was declared since March this year and meetings had been held on a number of vexed issues and no concrete agreement reached yet

ASUU had opposed the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System used in settling workers’ salaries by the FG and instead, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution which is currently undergoing test-run by the National Information Technology Development Agency.

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and the Non-Academic Staff Union equally proposed the University General and Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System in place of the IPPIS.

This followed the complaints against the IPPIS which allegedly caused salary delays and shortchanged the university workers.

Spokesman for Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said in a text message on Wednesday that the meeting with the ASUU leaders would hold at the minister’s conference hall.

The government said it had agreed to pay N30bn earned academic allowance, N20bn for the revitalization of the education sector and the arrears of salaries to the university teachers, adding that the only outstanding issue was the disagreement over the payment platform.

But ASUU insisted that the government had not met its demands and hinted that the resolution of the eight-month strike was not in sight.

This is coming as ASUU has said it will not call off the strike even if the federal government withdraws the IPPIS as a means of paying them.

The Benin Zone of the union expressed doubt over the capability and commitment of Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, to midwife any peaceful resolution of the issues that led to the strike.

The Coordinator, ASUU Owerri zone, Mr Uzo Onyibinama, stated the union’s position on the IPPIS in a press briefing held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State.

He said Federal Government was feeding the public with lies about the strike, stating that the main reason for the strike was the government’s inability to keep previous agreements and not about IPPIS as being propagated by the government.

He said the union would not call off the strike until all its demands were met by the federal government.

Onyibinama said, “For the avoidance of doubt, the issues in contention remain revitalisation fund for public universities, arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), visitation to universities, proliferation of state universities and issues of governance in them, and conclusion of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU agreement. The later issue of IPPIS was a new introduction and a diversion as no university in the world runs such a system.

“Instead of apologising to the Nigerians and hiding their heads in shame on the serial failures of Governments particularly the present Government which came on the mantra of ‘change’, the duo of Ministers Chris Ngige and Emeka Nwajiuba have been feeding Nigerians with lies and half-truth.

“Ministers Ngige and Nwajiuba have on many occasions on various media organisations said that agreement have been reached on virtually all the issues that necessitated the seven months old strike

“They should please tell Nigerians, who are their masters, those agreements that have been reached and implemented. As far as our Union is concerned, no agreement has been reached on any of the demands.”

He also said, “So, instead of constantly running to the press, Ngige and Nwajiuba should sit down and painstakingly do the work that they are paid to do. It is on record that the date given by the Minister Ngige to reach our union with government improved position has elapsed without any communication.

“The proposed new timelines for implementation of some proposals such as the appointment of a new team for renegotiation of the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement, gazetting of visitation panels among others have elapsed without any implementation. This shows the insincerity on the part of the Government.

“On the IPPIS, our union has been consistent in rejecting the platform as it compromises the autonomy of the university system and a threat to national security considering that the software is hosted in Washington, the USA with a sub-platform at Gombe State.”

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Privacy: Google cancels plan to remove cookies from Chrome browser globally

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Privacy: Google cancels plan to remove cookies from Chrome browser globally

Google is planning to keep third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, it said on Monday, after years of pledging to phase out the tiny packets of code meant to track users on the internet.

The major reversal follows concerns from advertisers – the company’s biggest source of income – saying the loss of cookies in the world’s most popular browser will limit their ability to collect information for personalizing ads, making them dependent on Google’s user databases.

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority had also scrutinized Google’s plan over concerns it would impede competition in digital advertising.

“Instead of deprecating third-party cookies, we would introduce a new experience in Chrome that lets people make an informed choice that applies across their web browsing, and they’d be able to adjust that choice at any time,” Anthony Chavez, vice president of the Google-backed Privacy Sandbox initiative, said in a blog post.

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Since 2019, the Alphabet (GOOGL.O), opens new tab unit has been working on the Privacy Sandbox initiative aimed at enhancing online privacy while supporting digital businesses, with a key goal being the phase-out of third-party cookies.

Cookies are packets of information that allow websites and advertisers to identify individual web surfers and track their browsing habits, but they can also be used for unwanted surveillance.

In the European Union, the use of cookies is governed by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which stipulates that publishers secure explicit consent from users to store their cookies. Major browsers also give the option to delete cookies on command.

Chavez said Google was working with regulators such as the UK’s CMA and Information Commissioner’s Office as well as publishers and privacy groups on the new approach, while continuing to invest in the Privacy Sandbox program.

Privacy: Google cancels plan to remove cookies from Chrome browser globally

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JUST IN: Reps amend finance bill, raises 2024 budget to N35.055tn

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JUST IN: Reps amend finance bill, raises 2024 budget to N35.055tn

The House of Representatives on Tuesday, July 23, amended the 2024 appropriation bill to increase the 2024 budget from N28. 777 trillion to N35.055 trillion.

This followed the consideration of the report of the House Committee on Appropriation which considered the request from the President for about N6.2 trillion as supplementary budget.

Chairman of the House Committee on Appropriation, who presented the report of the committee for consideration, said both the House and the Senate agreed on the increase.

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The House considered the report of the Committee on Appropriations on a Bill for an Act to Amend the Appropriations Act, 2024.

The bill authorises the issuance of N35,055,536,770,218 (thirty-five trillion, fifty-five billion, five hundred and thirty-six million, seven hundred and seventy thousand, two hundred and eighteen Naira) from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

Out of this amount, N1.742 trillion is allocated for Statutory Transfers, N8.270 trillion for Debt Service, N11.268 trillion for Recurrent (Non-Debt) Expenditure, and N13.773 trillion for the Development Fund for Capital Expenditure for the year ending December 31, 2024.

JUST IN: Reps amend finance bill, raises 2024 budget to N35.055tn

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Reps member from Kogi defects from ADC to APC

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Idris Salman

Reps member from Kogi defects from ADC to APC

Idris Salman, a House of Representatives member from Kabba-Bunu/Ijumu Federal Constituency, dumped parties on Tuesday, joining the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the African Democratic Congress (ADC).

Salman, who won his seat in the 2023 National Assembly election under the ADC banner, made the move after consulting with his constituents.

“I took this decision after wide-range consultation with members of my constituency,” the lawmaker said.

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The announcement was made during a plenary session on Tuesday, where the letter of defection was read by the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas.

Amid cheers from APC lawmakers, the Minority Whip of the House, Ali Isah, urged the Speaker to declare Salman’s seat vacant, urging him to seek the nomination of his new party if he wishes to return to the legislative chamber.

The call was ignored as the House Leader, Julius Ihonvbere, took him to shake hands with some APC lawmakers present at the plenary.

Reps member from Kogi defects from ADC to APC

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