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FG may break ASUU strike with another option

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The Federal Government may soon call the bluff of the Academic Staff Union of Universities over the union’s insistence on getting the government to meet all its demands before ending its prolonged strike.

ASUU has asked students idling at home to get themselves busy with some vocational skills, travel and have fun, an indication that it is not ready to end the strike soon.

It also insisted on getting the government to adopt the union’s payment platform endorsed in addition to securing enough funds for the upgrade of the universities, apart improved salaries and welfare package.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the strike would be resolved by next week after the meeting between the Federal Government team and the union leaders.

He said if the matter was not resolved by then, government would explore the provisions in the labour law and other channels.

The union said the strike was over the failure of the Federal Government to keep to the 2019 Memorandum of Action between them as well as the disagreement over the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, which ASUU rejected.

Ngige, who spoke on Politics Today on Channels Television on Friday, said the government had met six of the union’s nine demands and that they would meet again next week with the hope of ending the prolonged strike.

He stated, “Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day they come to the negotiation table. I’m inviting them (ASUU) next week. We are doing side meetings on our part and we are collating everything. I’m collating responses from the Accountant General of the Federation’s Office and everybody who has something to do with this matter.”

He also said, “By next week, we will conclude this matter. There are so many options left. We have the labour laws and I have options left to me in the labour laws. I have other channels.”

The minister said government had agreed to give the University Transparency Academic Solution, the payment platform proposed by ASUU, a trial.

He however said the feedback he got from the National Information Technology Development Agency, the agency mandated to follow-up the trial with ASUU, showed they had just concluded the first phase and that the second phase to assess the functional requirement of UTAS had not been done.

He added, “UTAS has yet to be ready but government will not discourage them. And we have told them there is no need using the same old method of strike to make demands since such had been deployed since 2017.”

On the revitalisation fund, he said government had agreed to release N30bn out of the N40bn demanded by the union as the payment for November 2019 and September 2020, adding that the remaining N10bn would be staggered.

Ngige said, “A committee that looked into the needs assessment of universities held a workshop on how funds could be generated came up with the recommendation that other things could be done to raise funds because revitalisation cannot be done through the budget, especially when the country is running a deficit budget.”

 

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Kogi guber Tribunal: Tension as suspected thugs invade Abuja court, abduct 3 witnesses

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Kogi guber Tribunal: Tension as suspected thugs invade Abuja court, abduct 3 witnesses

On Monday, some alleged thugs stormed the National Judicial Institute in Abuja, where the Tribunal was sitting.

They broke into the courtroom during the current Kogi State Governorship Tribunal to kidnap three witnesses.

According to sources, the thugs pretended to be AA supporters who had come to Court in sympathy, only to incite an altercation and break the windscreen of the bus carrying the witnesses before abducting them and rushing them into a waiting vehicle.

The three abducted witnesses have been named as Idris Khadijat, Safiyat Muhammed, and Abdulmalik Muhammed.

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According to available information, the abductees are currently being mistreated, and their family members have been intimidated for daring to testify against Kogi State Governor Ododo Ahmed. As at the time of making this report, the whereabouts of other witnesses remain unknown.

Reports also suggest that vehicles which conveyed the witnesses to the court proceedings were vandalized by the same thugs.

Confirmation revealed that the attack was carried out due to the strength of AA candidate’s petition as evidences being presented are strong enough for the court to unseat Ododo Ahmed, the governor of the state.

Disturbingly, radio stations in the central senatorial district recently broadcasted a warning to the residents, cautioning them against serving as witnesses for any political party other than APC.

Kogi guber Tribunal: Tension as suspected thugs invade Abuja court, abduct 3 witnesses

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NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

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NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

Justice Ambrose Lewis-Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos has restrained telecommunication operators in Nigeria from deactivating or barring any line or sim which has not been linked to the National Identification Number (NIN) by their subscribers.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa ruled while ruling on a suit filed by a lawyer, Olukoya Ogungbeje, seeking to stop the move that infringed on his fundamental rights.

Ogungbeje, in a suit numbered FHC/L/CS/667/23, joined the Federal Government of Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Networks Nigeria Limited as respondents.

Specifically, the lawyer had asked the court for an injunction pending appeal, restraining all the respondents jointly or severally, whether by themselves or their agents. Outlets, agencies, privies, officials, servants, men, parastatals, units, organs, or anybody or person, however so called, from taking any step or action capable of enforcing the judgment in any way and from further outright barring, deactivating and or restricting any SIM cards or his phone Lines, or of any Nigerian Citizen, slated for February 28, 2024, or any other scheduled date, pending the hearing and determination of his appeal at the Court of Appeal of Nigeria, against the judgment of this Honourable Court delivered on May 8, 2023.

At the court’s last sitting, the judge was informed that none of the respondents had filed their counter to the motion to the suit.

However, after the applicant had moved his application, a lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice pleaded with the court that he needed more time to respond to the motion.

The applicant vehemently opposed the application because all parties were served with all the processes and the hearing notice in the matter but failed to file counters.

Justice Lewis-Allagoa, in his ruling after perusing the court file acceded to the lawyer’s request and restrained the telecom operators in the country from barring, deactivating and or restricting any SIM cards or his phone Lines or of any Nigerian Citizen stated for 28 of February 2024.

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Justice Lewis-Allagoa also ruled that his order subsists till the hearing and determination of the appeal filed by the lawyer.

Ogungbeje had informed the court that his motion on notice is premised under Order 26 Rule 1 of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure) Rules 2019; Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended); Section 6 (6)(B) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.

He listed ten grounds for seeking the application, which include; “That sometimes in April 2022, the Appellant/Applicant herein took out an Originating Summons against the Respondents challenging the action of the Respondents in undermining the judicial powers of the Court and the Nigerian legal system and thus infringing on the applicant’s fundamental rights.

“That this Honourable Court, in a well-considered Judgment delivered on the 8th of May 2023, dismissed the appellant/applicant originating summons.

“The appellant/applicant, dissatisfied with the Judgment, has exercised his constitutional right of appeal by lodging a Notice of Appeal against the Judgment of this Honourable Court on the 26th of July 2023 by the lower Court.

“That the Appellant/applicant’s appeal is against the whole decision contained in the Judgment of this Honourable Court.

“That the Respondents are aware of the appellant/applicant’s appeal to the Court of Appeal of Nigeria as the Respondents have since been duly served with the Appellant/Applicant’s Notice of Appeal.

“That despite the pendency of the appellant/applicant’s appeal, efforts are in top gear by the respondents, specifically on the 28th of February 2024, to ensure further and outright barring, deactivating and restricting of SIM cards and Phone lines of the Applicant and that of Nigerian citizens.

“That the appellant/applicant appeal to the Court of Appeal of Nigeria “has a high degree of success against the Respondents

“There is the need to preserve the rest subject matter of the appeal pending the hearing and determination of the Appellant/Applicant appeal at the Court of Appeal of Nigeria.

“That the appellant/applicant is desirously interested in diligently pursuing the instant appeal that has raised a novel and recondite issue substantially jurisprudential constituting an exceptional circumstance in which this Honourable Court can grant an application of this nature.

“That the Court has the power and jurisdiction to grant application of this nature in the interest of Justice,” he stated.

NIN-SIM linkage: Court bars MTN others from deactivating subscribers’ lines

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NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

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NLC president Joe Ajaero, President Bola Tinubu and TUC president Festus Osifo

NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

On Monday night, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) issued a memo instructing its members and affiliates in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to report to work as usual on February 27 and 28, 2024.

“I write to direct all affiliates and the thirty-six state Councils and FCT of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria to ensure they go to work unfailingly on these dates,” stated TUC President Festus Osifo in the internal memo. “we expect your compliance.”

The NLC, through the protests, aim to express dissatisfaction with the worsening economic situation and the rising cost of living in Nigeria.

The union rejected a last-minute attempt by the Federal Government, led by Secretary to the Government of the Federation George Akume, to prevent the protests. Akume met with the NLC, TUC, and other labor leaders on Monday night.

While the TUC won’t join the NLC protests, Osifo emphasised the urgent need to expedite discussions on enacting the new national minimum wage into law. He addressed a press conference in Abuja on Monday, highlighting the growing hunger and hardship faced by Nigerian workers and citizens.

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Osifo argued that the government and private sector’s prompt passage and faithful implementation of the new minimum wage would enhance workers’ disposable income and purchasing power. He added that the TUC has been investigating the root causes of the country’s economic problems and potential solutions over the past few weeks.

Uncontrolled Naira devaluation and widespread insecurity were identified by Osifo as the primary causes of the economic difficulties. He outlined the TUC’s proposed short, medium, and long-term solutions, which include: fixing the real value of the Naira, deliberate steps to address the allegation that sub-national governments throw billions of dollars monthly into the parallel market and dollarisation of political party primaries and electioneering.

The solutions also included the clampdown on speculative trading in the foreign exchange market, patronising made-in-Nigeria goods, strengthening the economic management team and curbing crude oil theft, among others.

NLC Protest: ‘Go to work unfailingly ‘ — TUC tells members, affiliates in 36 states, FCT

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