All staff-based unions in Abia State University, Uturu (ABSU) have embarked on indefinite strike action over non-payment of the Consolidated University Academic Staff Salaries (CONUASS) agreed between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) last year, by the state government.
Besides the salary impasse, the unions are also bitter that their members were owed allowances amounting to N1 billion since 1998. They siad staff of the institution were still paid pre-2007 salary structures, which have twice been reviewed upwards.
Leaders of the union told newsmen in Umuahia that their colleagues in other state-owned universities in the South East have embarked on similar strike as directed by the National Executive Council (NEC) of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). This, they said is sequel to the refusal of the South East governors to implement the 2009 FGN/Staff Unions’ agreements as they were in a collective struggle to save education in the region from total collapse.
Chairman of ABSU ASUU, Dr. George Chima, who spoke on behalf of the coalition of unions, said all other zones, except the South East implemented the 2009 Federal Government/ASUU agreement, adding the reasons being tendered by the governors were not tenable.
The other unions are Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT).
He lamented that the South East, which set the pace in the establishment of state universities, was retrogressing, pointing out that refusal by the state governors to pay the new salary would make the state universities in the zone inferior to others in the country, noting that university education was all about quality.
“It is, however, regrettable and disappointing that while other state-owned universities in the South-South, South West, North East, North West and North Central geo-political zones in the country have implemented the agreements, state universities in the South East (Igbo State) including our own God’s own university, (ABSU) have refused to implement it,” Chima said.
“The implication of the government-induced closure of these South East State universities, as they are now, are too numerous to recount. The quality staff in these affected South-East universities will have no choice than to migrate to other areas for greener pastures.
“At a time when the South-East is battling to redeem her image deeply enmeshed in rampant cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and other anti-social vices, allowing the students of these universities to remain out of academic activities imply encouraging an upsurge of these anti-social vices since the idle mind is the devil’s workshop,” Dr Chima explained.
He said the South East universities would permanently lose its quota of graduates for the National Youth Service Corps, admission into the Law School, Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The unions appealed to the public, particularly Ndigbo, to prevail on the South East Governors to rescind their decision not to implement the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements in their state universities.
Present at the briefing were Comrades Frank Nwosu (SSANU), Chima Nwokocha (NAAT) and Elder Sylvester Ohaike (NASU).
Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to mobilize students of state universities to the streets against some state governors in protest of on-going strike action by lecturers in state universities.
Public Relations Officer (PRO) of NANS, Zone B, Comrade Chinedu Osuagwu, blamed the South East governors for non-implementation of new the salary structure for the staff of the universitieswhich prompted lecturers to go on strike.
Corpse Of Woman Found In Ebonyi Hotel Room
The police in Ebonyi State say they have discovered the body of a yet to be identified middle-aged woman in a hotel room in Abakaliki, the state capital. The spokesperson of the police in the state, Loveth Odah, stated this yesterday.
She said the body has deep cuts on the chest and neck and has been deposited in a mortuary. According to the spokesman, it was discovered at Crown Garden Hotel located along the ever-busy Afikpo road in the capital city.
Mrs Odah, who said that the victim was found in the pool of her own blood, said the suspect had been identified as one Uchenna Awoke.
She said the hotel manager, Emmanuel Eze, the supervisor, and other workers had been taken to the police station for questioning and accused the hotel management of negligence.
“The manager of the hotel, the supervisor and other staff of the hotel were taken to the station for questioning and I must confess to you that the whole thing is negligence on the part of the hotel management. How can a guest be murdered in a hotel room and days after, the management is not aware of the incident.”
“We will investigate the matter properly and I assure you, the perpetrator of the act must be arrested and prosecuted. All we are asking is for the members of the public to avail the police of useful information that will lead to the arrest of the suspect.”
Senate Passes S’East Dev Commission Bill
The Senate yesterday passed the South East Development Commission (Establishment) Bill 2018.
The proposed commission aims at enhancing the infrastructural development of the South East zone, which is grappling with huge ecological challenges.
It also seeks to act as a catalyst for the development of the commercial potential of the zone.
The proposed legislation requires the concurrence of the House of Representatives to become a bill of the National Assembly, and the President’s assent to become a law.
Senators Stella Oduah (PDP-Anambra) and Samuel Anyanwu (PDP-Imo) jointly sponsored the bill read in the Senate on June 22, 2016.
Its passage in the Red Chamber followed the presentation of the report of the Committee on Establishment and Public Service by its former Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Paulker (PDP-Bayelsa), on the floor of the Senate.
The bill, after Paulker’s presentation, was considered clause by clause by the committee of the whole, and amendments made by the lawmakers were read for the third time and eventually passed.
In his remarks, presiding Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, commended his colleagues for a job well done.
In his words, “Every morning we pray that God should give us the grace to do only those things that will promote the peace and unity of this country.
“I believe that we have shown today that we are committed to the unity of this country, and it is this unity that will give us faith in this country.
“This faith will in turn help us to pursue peace and progress,” he said.
Briefing newsmen after plenary, members the South East caucus of the Senate, led by Sen. Enhinnaya Abaribe (PDP-Abia), thanked their colleagues and members of the committee for their efforts.
Abaribe, who spoke on behalf of the caucus, urged the President to sign the bill into law “as soon as we tidy it up and bring to him, in the interest of the unity and progress of Nigeria”.
“This will put to rest the long-drawn agitation in the South East, and the difficulties in the rehabilitation and reconciliation efforts that started at the end of the civil war.
“All things we see always will end up at the negotiating table, which is what we have done,” he said.
The lawmaker said he hoped the House of Representatives would give concurrence to the bill as it went in the Senate.
When established, the South East Development Commission would be the third zonal interventionist body in the country.
2019: Oyedepo Predicts Peace In Nigeria
Bishop David Oyedepo, the Founder and Presideng Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, on Saturday predicted that nothing would disturb the peace of Nigeria and its story would change for the better in the year 2019.
Oyedepo made the declaration at the just concluded annual prophetic gathering of the Winners’ family, christened the “Dominion”, in a satellite telecast of the church.
In the telecast monitored in Abuja, the cleric also declared that 2019 would be a year of “I have Dominion”.
“Nothing will tamper with the peace of Nigeria; the story will change for the better in the name of Jesus.
“Nigeria shall not see bloodshed, the Prince of Peace will continue to dominate in Nigeria, in Africa and Nigeria is declared blessed.
“Anywhere you step, accident is forbidden; death will not come near you and our nation.
“Anything that is of grace in my life, I freely release upon you today.
“God has opened the year 2019 to us, celebrate Him because its our year of “I have Dominion,” he said.
The Bishop added that the year 2019 would be a year of humbling testimonies for Nigeria and pace-setting testimonies.
He further declared that 2019 would be a colourful year for the nation.
According to the cleric, as long as Jesus has the final say on the issues of Nigeria, it will experience greatness.
Oyedepo said that there would be no more cause of alarm in any area of the nation and its citizens.
He advised Christians in Nigeria to delight themselves in the spirit of servant-hood, adding that the spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood.
“The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of servant-hood. As you keep rising on the ladder of leadership, you must retain our spirit of servant-hood, constantly working to add value to others and be kingdom minded,” he said.
According to him, dedication is at the root of dominion, saying: “Sow yourself as a seed by being totally dedicated to God and His Kingdom’’.
He told his congregation that sacrificial giving guarantees the meeting of all their needs.
“When you engage in taking care of the well-being of others, God is also committed to your well-being,” he explained. The cleric admonished Christians would engage in meeting the needs of the needy, every barrier on their path of destiny would be crushed.
“Nobody tampers with your life, your career, your family and goes away with it because you are promoted to God’s kingdom.
“God will stand for your defence in the day of trouble. Every sacrificial giver has a defence around him in the day of trouble always have that in mind,” he said.
He reminded his congregation that the Church is not a building; the Church is a people and the Redeemed of the Lord.
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