There are indications that the Federal Government may have agreed to implement the demands of the non-teaching staff unions in the universities that necessitated the issuance of the 14-days ultimatum so as to avert the planned shutdown of the nation’s ivory towers.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), comprising the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities and Educational Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government last week to either address their grievances or they will embark on total and indefinite strike.
The ultimatum was supposed to expire on August 19.
Among the contentious areas included the Earned Allowances which the non-teaching staff unions claimed that they were short-changed in the sharing formula.
They said that out of the N23billion released to the four unions in the university, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) allegedly took over about eighty per cent of the money, leaving only twenty per cent for the three unions.
They also lamented the inability of the government to obey court judgment, especially the judgment of the Industrial Court in 2016 that directed the government to reinstate sacked workers of staff schools which has not been complied with and the re-negotiation of the 2009 agreement.
In what may be described as a proactive measure, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Mr. Sonny Ochono, last week, summoned the leaders of the two unions under the umbrella of JAC at the ministry’s headquarters, Abuja, to discuss the problems in a bid to find a lasting solution.
It was gathered that the Federal Government through the permanent secretary alongside the directors in the ministry, promised to implement the three contentious issues.
In an interview with newsmen, yesterday, Chairman of JAC and President of SSANU, Comrade Samson Ugwoke said that the government has promised to address the issues by reversing the status quo in the sharing of the Earned Allowances, bring back the sacked workers of the University Staff Schools who are still alive and also begin renegotiation of the 2009 agreement with the unions.
But a member of the JAC and General Secretary of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi said that despite the decisions reached at the meeting, it was difficult to trust government when it comes to keeping agreements.
However, Ugwoke said, “We had a meeting convened by the permanent secretary, Ministry of Education, over our 14-day ultimatum for government to implement all our demands or else by 19th of August, we proceed on one week total and comprehensive warning strike.
“In response to that, they invited us to a meeting yesterday at the Minister’s Conference Room, Ministry of Education. NASU and SSANU were well represented, the executive of JAC was there and we had a discussion with them. The permanent secretary tried to give us the update on major three items, vis-a-vis the Earned Allowances, the University Staff Schools matter and the renegotiation.
“On the renegotiation, he observed that we are correct that since this year 2019, we have never met. He said that the ministry has written, discussed with the chairman to commence re-negotiation with us and ensure that the renegotiation is within six months. A copy of the letter will be given to us to that effect we said okay.
“But we informed him that we have not been contacted by the Secretariat of the renegotiation committee, he said he was going to repeat a call and a letter to the chairman to commence renegotiation immediately and end within six months.
“As for the University Staff Schools, yes, he repeated the stand of the government on the court judgment of 5th December, 2016, which he said, that government was not ready to appeal and that government was ready to implement.
“To this end, he said that from the advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and others, that government can go ahead and recall them.
Lawyer Petitions UK, DSS To Probe Buhari’s Cambridge Documents
The Department of State Services and the London Metropolitan Police Service have received petitions to investigate the documents said to have been obtained from Cambridge University and tendered by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential election petition tribunal.
Copies of the separate petitions dated August 14, 2019, were signed by a Nigerian lawyer, Kalu Kalu Agu.
It would be recalled that the president’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, had told the tribunal that he obtained the President’s ‘assessment’ documents from Cambridge University.
He was quoted as saying he personally signed for and collected the documents on behalf of the President.
The UK-based examination body oversaw the conduct of final year secondary school examination in Nigeria and placement into foreign universities in the 1960s.
In the two petitions forwarded by Agu, the lawyer questioned the authenticity of the ‘certifying statement’ said to have been obtained from the Cambridge Assessment International Education.
He asked the UK police and the DSS to launch an investigation into the circumstances leading to the procurement.
NNPC Awards Crude Sale Contract To 15 Firms
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) says 15 companies have emerged winners of the Direct Sales and Direct Purchase (DSDP) of crude oil contract for 2019/2020.
The corporation disclosed this in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Ndu Ughamadu, in Abuja, yesterday.
He said that the announcement was in line with the corporation’s commitment to transparency and accountability in its activities as committed by the new Group Managing Director, Malam Mele Kyari.
“Following the completion of the 2019/2020 DSDP tender exercise, 15 consortia/companies, made up of reputable and experienced international companies and Nigerian downstream companies, emerged successful to undertake the 2019/2020 DSDP arrangement.
“The contract is for one year, effective October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2020,” he said.
The companies that won the contracts include BP Oil International Limited and AYM Shafa Limited; Vitol SA and Calson-Hyson; Totsa Total Oil Trading SA and Total Nigeria Plc; Gunvor International B.V. and AY Maikifi Oil & Gas Company Limited; and Trafigura PTE Limited and A. A. Rano Nigeria Limited.
Others are Cepsa S.A.U./Oando Plc; Mocoh SA/Mocoh Nigeria Limited; Litasco SA/Brittania-U Nigeria Limited/Freepoint Commodities; MRS Oil & Gas Company Limited; Sahara Energy Resources Limited; Bono Energy Limited/Eterna Plc/Arkleen Oil & Gas Limited/Amazon Energy; Matrix Energy Limited/Petratlantic Energy Limited/UTM Offshore Limited/Levene Energy Development Limited; Mercuria Energy Trading SA/Barbedos Oil & Gas Services Limited/Rainoil Limited/Petrogas Energy; Asian Oil & Gas PTE Limited/Eyrie Energy Limited/Masters Energy Oil & Gas Limited/Casiva Limited; Duke Oil Company Incorporation.
He further noted that the tender process comprised technical and commercial bid submission respectively, evaluation and short-listing, then commercial negotiations with pre-qualified companies and engagement of the successful consortia/companies by NNPC.
“Under the DSDP arrangement, the aforementioned fifteen consortia/companies shall, over the contract period, offtake crude oil and in return, deliver corresponding petroleum products of equivalent value to NNPC, subject to the terms of the agreement,” he added.
It would be recalled that Kyari, while taking over the mantle of leadership of the corporation on July 8, had promised to open NNPC books to public scrutiny, as a publicly owned company.
He said this would ensure transparency and accountability in the operations of the corporation.
Jonathan Seeks Global Synergy On Peacekeeping
The former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has called for global collaboration in peace-building, stressing that world leaders need to work together to be able to surmount the huge security and economic challenges faced by various nations.
The former President, who observed that peace was a product of a conscious and diligent effort, also charged those in positions of authority to strive to bequeath a more peaceful world to future generations.
Jonathan stated this, last Friday, in Seoul, capital of South Korea, in his speech at the International Leadership Peace Conference with many world leaders, including government officials, former presidents, lawmakers and entrepreneurs in attendance.
He said: “We can never overemphasize the need for global collaboration in peace-building. The stability that the world needs today for peace and security requires all voices of reason to join the effort to bring order to the chaos that stare us in the face. We need to work together as leaders to provide meaning and moral direction in every sphere of the society to realize our aspirations for a just world.
“The peace and tranquillity we observe in some countries today came through the diligent efforts of the citizens. Our generation must strive to make the world a peaceful place.”
Jonathan, who emerged as the chair of the International Summit Council for Peace (ISCP), a recently inaugurated forum of African former Heads of State, stressed that peace and stability engenders development because they create necessary conditions that cultivate, nurture and protect investments.
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