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ASUU Strike: RSUST Ready For Dialogue

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The management of
Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), Port
Harcourt, at the weekend gave indications of its willingness to engage the
striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the institution in
meaningful dialogue as a means of resolving their disagreements.

Speaking at the weekend in Port Harcourt,  the institution’s Deputy Registrar/Public
Relations Officer, Mr Desmond Wosu was reported to have said that the
management of the university was now prepared to dialogue with ASUU and other
unions to restore peace and normalcy to the institution.

However,The Tide investigations last week revealed that
uneasy calm and uncertainty once again enveloped the RSUST, Port Harcourt,
following the strike action declared by
ASUU in protest against the re-appointment of Prof Barineme Fakae as the
acting Vice Chancellor of the university.

It would be recalled that the university’s ASUU had given
the state Governor and visitor to the university, Rt Hon Chibuike Rotimi
Amaechi a one-week ultimatum to reverse the re-appointment of Prof Fakae or
face industrial action.

It was crystal clear last week when The Tide visited the
university that ASUU had  made good its
threat to embark on strike at the expiration of the ultimatum, penultimate
Wednesday, as there was no indication that all was well with the state-owned
university.

Indeed, an atmosphere of uncertainty, confusion and
apprehension hovered over the campus, as distraught students idled away.

While some gathered in groups particularly around the
Faculty of Engineering block, speaking in hush tones, others milled around
hopelessly.

There was nothing to suggest that teaching and learning or
other meaningful activities were going on at the university.

Several persons, suspected to be non-academic staff, were
also seen gathering around the Amphitheatre block, including stern-looking
security men, who were patrolling the area.

Opposite the block, two SOS vans were also strategically
positioned, facing the road.

The entrance of the Senior Staff Club was firmly locked, as
some security men were seen taking position within the premises of the club.

The club, which used to be a beehive of activities was
deserted, as senior lecturers of the university and other guests who used to
cool-off there after the day’s work, were nowhere to be seen.

Three lecturers who were seen directly opposite the club,
were , however, visibly agitated.

They lamented that an incident had taken place at the venue
where members of ASUU were holding a meeting last Wednesday, to apparently
review strategies of the strike.

They alleged that an unidentified young man in black attires
had invaded the venue of the meeting, and disrupted it in full glare of
securitymen who had positioned themselves inside the hall to monitor
proceedings as the ASUU meeting progressed.

Suspecting foul play, some ASUU members were said to have
whisked away the Chairman of the union, Dr Felix Igwe for fear of his life. The
Tide, however, could not confirm immediately reports and insinuations  that Dr Igwe was brutalised and was being
hospitalised as a result.

However, the Deputy Registrar (Public Relations) of the
university, Mr Desmond Wosu told The Tide in an exclusive interview in his
office that ASUU had not notified the management of its intention to proceed on
strike.

While attributing the lull currently experienced in the
university to dangerous and unfounded rumours making the rounds concerning the
strike, he said the re-appointment of Prof Fakae, whom he said, had performed
creditably in office, was not enough to degenerate to industrial action.

Wosu also noted that Governor Amaechi did not make a mistake
by re-appointing Prof Fakae, saying, the re-appointment was the best thing that
had happened to the university.

According to him, Prof Fakae’s reappointment was done in
good faith, following his track record of achievements for the university since
2007 when he assumed office.

He listed the achievements to include the eradication of
cultism in the university, the introduction of e-learning system, which he
said, had placed the university on high pedestal, the full accreditation of the
university’s programmes by the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the
improved ranking of the university from 76th to 19th position.

He also indicated that the Fakae-led administration had  ensured that admission into the university
was based on the  carrying capacity
prescribed by NUC, to the extent that classrooms and lecture rooms were no
longer over-populated while lecturers no longer complained of having too many
scripts to mark, coupled with the fact that the university’s science
laboratories and workshops were now well-equipped.

The university’s image maker further noted that Prof Fakae’s
re-appointment would put the university in a better stead, as his
administration would ensure continuous, rapid transformation of the university.

‘Members of the university community should give peace a
chance. ASUU should adopt dialogue so that we can move the university forward.
Enough is enough. Let us not drive our students to the streets again. It does
not augur well for us , it does not augur well for parents. It is not good for
our children. Let us support the management to move the university forward”, he
pleaded.

He also defended the VC’s administrative style, and sued for
peace, tolerance and dialogue.

However, a member of the Senior Staff Association of
Nigerian Universities (SSANU) who was visibly disturbed by the current state of
affairs at the university, while speaking to The Tide under condition of
anonymity, advised the Vice Chancellor to step aside in the interest of peace,
and not allow the university to be consumed by selfish interest.

 

Donatus Ebi

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City Crime

10 Offenders Convicted Under Anti-Piracy Law  – NIMASA DG

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The Director-General, Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Bashir Jamoh says 10 offenders have been convicted following the signing of the anti-piracy bill into law by the Federal Government.
Jamoh who commended  President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the anti-piracy bill into law, described the 10 convictions as the first category under the law.
The DG disclosed this at the official flag-off of the Integrated National Security and Waterways Protection Infrastructure in Nigeria also known as the Deep Blue Project at the ENL Terminal, Apapa Port, Lagos.
Jamoh described the Deep Blue Project as a mission accomplished in the nation’s maritime industry.
He said the project was aimed at ensuring safer waterways so that businesses can thrive and ultimately boost national economy.
The NIMASA boss said the agency was working closely with international community to curtail criminality in the nation’s exclusive economic zone.
He noted that pirate attacks had reduced since mid-February this year, urging the shipping firms to review the war risk insurance to Nigeria.

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City Crime

June 12: Bakare Recommends Ways To Reconfigure Nigeria

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The founder of Citadel Global Community Church (formerly Latter Rain Assembly), Tunde Bakare, last Saturday said Nigeria must lay hold of the tripartite strategies of reconciliation, reconstitution, and reconstruction in order to reverse the trend of state failure.
Mr Bakare made the disclosure at a Democracy Day virtual dialogue titled “Rethinking the Nigerian State,” put together by a group of Nigerians resident in Canada in commemoration of the country’s 22nd year of return to democracy.
Nigeria’s frameworks, Mr Bakare said, came under severe onslaught by reason of exposure to the twin forces of a corrupt political class and impulsive military, culminating in the Unification Decree of May 1966, abolishing Nigeria’s federal structure.
“The Nigerian state tottered through six decades of instability, survived a civil war, and embarked on a series of failed democratic experiments and military interregna”.
“Upon the return to civil rule on May 29, 1999, the frameworks of state, including the democratic culture, the federal structure, and the institutions of public service delivery, had degenerated,” he said.
Mr Bakare recommended the 1963 Republican Constitution as a model for the nation to pursue the ideals of egalitarianism, unity, truth, and justice with an emphasis on its recognition of devolution of power.
“The 1999 Constitution, crafted in an attempt to reconstitute these frameworks, was marred by numerous aberrations, including a false premise of “We the people,” an array of ambiguities, and a cocktail of inconsistencies.”
Mr Bakare noted that President Muhammadu Buhari’s gesture of honouring M.K.O Abiola and Gani Fawehinmi in 2018 is an affirmation of an effort at redressing “a sore aspect of our past.”
The online conference had Akin Fadeyi, convener of the Corruption not in My Country Project, and Joseph Osuji , a professor at the Mount Royal University, Calgary, Canada, among its participants.

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Checking Insecurity Menace And Poverty

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Nigeria is one country in the present world order that can be likened to the Biblical “land that devours its inhabitants.” Every day, inhabitants of the country are killed in their numbers, yet, nothing is done to either bring the murderers to book or prevent a recurrence.
It is no longer news that no day passes by in Nigeria without killing of human persons. What is news is that despite the plenitude of the deaths, the government in power is clueless about how it can be prevented.
Amazingly, murderers have assumed larger than life status and can perpetrate evil so brazenly without encumbrance from security agents.
Kidnappers and abductors now negotiate with the Federal Government on the   ransom to be paid. Security has been compromised such that the middlemen between the Federal Government and abductors also get a handsome chunk from the arrangement.
On several occasions the Federal Government had paid ransom to abductors and kidnappers. The capitulation by FG to pay ransom to abductors and kidnappers has increased the number of criminals in the country. If nothing is done to check the menace, the country will be overrun by criminals.
One illegal business that thrives greatly under the present circumstances is kidnapping. Criminals are paying scant attention to armed robbery because of the nation’s cashless policy. 
Regrettably, now security agents flee to safety whenever they hear gunshots of perceived criminals. Many policemen no longer wear their uniforms because of the fear of harm. When security agents go into hiding what will civilians do? In Rivers State, most communities have taken steps to secure lives and property in their own way as result of the inability of the Nigeria Police to maintain law and order.
Nearly all communities in Ikwerre, Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni, Ahoada and Etche local government areas of the state have their own security arrangements. 
The formation of Security Planning Advisory Committees of the various communities in the aforesaid local government areas underscores the failure of the Federal Government to secure the lives and property of its citizens.
On very many occasions OSPAC had rescued policemen and police stations from the hands of attackers.
Boko Haram, herders, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), unknown gunmen and a plethora of other unidentifiable killer groups scattered across the country have become the undoing of the country. 
Kidnappers, abductors and body-part sellers are all over the country, have gained high level of notoriety and turned same as bargaining chips with the government in power.
Unfortunately, a large chunk of the country’s resources is spent on security yet it is the most ailing sector of the economy. While a whopping 14 per- cent of the country’s budget amounting to trillions of naira, goes to security, there is nothing to show for it.
Again, state governors take billions of Naira monthly as security vote while insecurity has continued to kick us in the face. This is largely because the so called security vote is unaccounted for, so the state chief executive can afford to use same to solve their personal needs.
Yet still government’s inability to protect the security of lives and property of its citizens has become more worrisome especially because the most fundamental function of government is the maintenance of law and order. The biblical question,” if the foundation be broken what will the righteous do”, becomes more succinct and apt in the present circumstances.
Experts believe that the open admission by President Muhammadu Buhari that government has lost control of the security situation is indicative of the hopelessness that has become the lot of Nigerians.
Only recently a report originating from the United States of America indicated that Nigeria had reached a point of no return.
The aloofness of the Federal Government and the component states in the face of festering security situation leaves much to be desired. The preponderance of separatist agitations in the wake of insecurity and lack of cohesion may further worsen the state of the nation.
As it stands now, this nation has failed as all indices of a failed state are manifest. According the research carried out by US-based Council for Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Harvard Kennedy School’s programme on interstate conflict, Nigeria is on the final stage of collapse.
The finding of the research enables the Federal Government to seek solution to the twin problem of insecurity and poverty.
Today it is no longer news that many families in the country cannot have three square meals, yet Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural resources.
The truth of the matter is that the leadership of the country has failed both at federal and state levels. The claim by the Federal Government that it is fighting corruption in the face of primitive accumulation of wealth by state governors and political office holders nationwide is only a figment of imagination. 
The large scale external borrowing is a serious indictment of the Federal Government’s ineptitude and blatant testimonial of lack of vision. Today some families cannot have two meals a day.
On the one hand, the Federal Government’s ban on importation of certain commodities is either sabotaged or has not been able to make the expected impact as one still finds balance of payment deficit.
The export promotion of the Federal Government has been abysmal as oil continues to be the main foreign exchange earner in the country, in spite of dwindling fortunes of the sector. There is no deliberate plan by the Federal Government to diversify the economy.
Poverty will continue to be a menace so long as the entire country continues to depend on crude oil revenue. Insecurity and poverty are good bedfellows; where there is one, there is the other.
Consequently, the better way to fight insecurity is to fight those things that make room for criminal disposition.

By: Chidi Enyie

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