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ASUU Threatens FG Over ‘Unpaid 10-Month Salaries’

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused the Federal Government of breaching a “no victimisation clause” agreed upon during the dialogue that led to the suspension of the strike they had embarked on.

Specifically, the union, through the Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan, Prof Ayo Akinwole, alleged that the Federal Government and the Accountant General of the Federation are victimising its members by refusing to pay them “salaries running between two to 10 months despite suspending the strike”.

The alleged refusal, according to ASUU, could lead to another strike in future.

ASUU stated that while members are back to their duty posts, the harsh economy being experienced due to unpaid salaries and non-refund of deducted check-off dues will affect productivity.

The academic union stated in a statement that the Federal Government refused to remit union deductions it made to the account of the union with a plan to stifle it.

“While government is paying outstanding five months salaries for those on nominal role at an agonisingly slow pace, over one hundred UI academic staff are being owed salaries ranging between two and ten months.

He disclosed that those newly employed in February, 2020, have not received any dime because they maintained their stand to reject enrolment on the IPPIS.

The ASUU boss stated the Buhari Government has continued to show that it cannot obey the rule of law by continuing to deduct housing funds from ASUU members who have not subscribed to the scheme and also refused to refund same to respective accounts.

“On December 23, 2020, ASUU conditionally suspended (with effect from 12:01 am on Thursday, 24th December, 2020) its 9-months old strike which it began on March 23, 2020, owing to the failure of the Nigerian Government to address the outstanding issues as outlined in the collective bargaining agreements of 2009, 2013, 2017 and 2019 freely reached and signed between the government and ASUU.

”The suspension of the strike was based on an agreement reached and a ‘Memorandum of Action ‘ signed in good faith between the government and the ASUU at the stakeholders’ meeting held on the Tuesday, 22nd December, 2020.

“A major common position agreed to (and expected to be respected) by the Government and ASUU was that ‘nobody shall be victimised in any way whatsoever for his/her role in the process leading to the Memorandum of Action.

“The agreement reached on the 22nd December, 2020, imposed some obligations on both the Government and ASUU. On the part of ASUU, the union undertake to go back to the classrooms, laboratories, workshops, workstations etc, to do the best for the students and the country.

”The governments, both federal and state are to sincerely fulfil their own parts of the bargain, a major part which is the no victimisation clause.

”While ASUU as a union, and her members as individuals in various branches have remained faithful to this agreement by returning to classes and performing their respective duties, the Federal Government, true to type has reneged on its part.

“Contrary to FGN affirmation of its commitment to pay all withheld salaries of ASUU members who have not enrolled in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information system (IPPIS), three months after the suspension of strike, thousands of ASUU members across various branches are still being owed salaries”.

While confirming that government is defraying the generally withheld five months salaries at an agonisingly slow rate of one outstanding salary per month, it noted that the salaries of some members running to hundreds have been permanently and consistently withheld by the office of Accountant general of the federation (OAGF).

It maintained that over 80 ASUU-UI members in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine have their medical allowances of over eight months still unpaid.

“This government has again reneged on its agreement with ASUU and can no longer be trusted. Since the suspension of the strike, three months ago, none of the issues in contention has been completely attended to.

“Federal Government till date has withheld over 77% of union dues it ought to remit into the account of ASUU, University of Ibadan branch.

”This, in the view of the union is a direct attack to cripple the Union, a grand plan of the Federal Government.”

Instead of deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by ASUU which has been adjudged effective for payment of salaries, ASUU argued that some of its members are being coerced by agents of government to register on the repressive IPPIS for payment of salaries.

“These harsh conditions will have terrible consequences on public tertiary education in Nigeria and when push eventually comes to shove, as it definitely will, in no distant future the Nigerian public should accordingly blame the Federal Government for its insincerity.

”Blame the federal government of Nigeria if the universities are shut down again”, ASUU added.

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NDLEA Arrests Doctor, Ex-Soldier For Dealing In Drugged Cookies, Cocaine

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The operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested a medical doctor, Jane Chioma Ofoma, in Auchi, Edo, for selling drugged cookies and biscuits.
Its Director, Media and Advocacy, Mr Femi Babafemi, said in a statement yesterday in Abuja, that Chioma sold the drugged cookies and biscuits through an online catering service, Omachi’s kitchen.
Babafemi said the arrest followed intelligence and surveillance where narcotic officers of the Edo Command of the agency on Saturday June 19, stormed her operational base at 1 Winners Way, Auchi.
This, he said, led to her arrest and at least 94 pieces of cookies produced with cannabis sativa were recovered from the suspect.
According to him, Chioma, 26, who is a graduate of medicine from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, recently completed her housemanship at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital.
“She has confessed to baking the cookies with skunk in her statement while under interrogation,” he said.
In the same vein, Babafemi said a 30-year-old Emmanuel Ehiramhen, of No. 10 Egan Street Ekpoma, has been arrested by officers of the Edo Command of the agency for dealing in crack cocaine.
Meanwhile, NDLEA operatives in Kwara have arrested a 52-year-old ex-Soldier, Ibrahim Musa, with 12.167 kilograms of Arizona (cannabis sativa), 4 grams of Cocaine and 25 grams of flunitrazepam.
Babafemi said the suspect was apprehended on Thursday June 17, at Oke-Odo, Tanke area of Ilorin, when he arrived from Lagos to supply his customers.
He said Musa worked in the maintenance department at Abati Army Barracks, Lagos from where he was deployed to 117 Battalion in Chibok, Borno, before he deserted the Army.
He added that the suspect had arrived Ilorin with his wife, Basirat Musa, in his Honda Accord car with registration number JJ 707 BL Lagos with the seized exhibit.
He was, however, arrested at the point of delivery by operatives of the Kwara Command of the agency.
“Under interrogation, Ibrahim revealed that while at Chibok he got the connection of a supplier of Arizona (Cannabis) and other drugs in Lagos who he immediately contacted when he deserted the Army in October 2020.
“He said he decided to go into the illicit drug business to enable him fend for his two wives and three children.
“The suspect revealed that the latest journey was his second trip to Ilorin to deliver the drugs and decided to travel with one of his wives who was not aware of his mission to Ilorin,” he said.
Babafemi quoted the Chairman, NDLEA, retired Brig. Gen. Buba Marwa as commending the Edo and Kwara Commands of the agency for their vigilance and commitment to the goal of ridding Nigeria of the menace of illicit drug trafficking and abuse.
He charged the Commanders, officers and men of the two Commands and their counterparts across the country not to relent in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He assured them of his commitment towards making their welfare a priority.

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13 Vehicles Burnt In Tanker Explosion On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says six tankers, five trucks and two cars were destroyed in a tanker explosion at Ogere on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway yesterday.
Earlier, FRSC Sector Commander in Ogun, Mr Ahmed Umar, confirmed the incident to The Tide source, saying that it occurred at about 6.20 a.m.
Umar had said the explosion occurred in front of Romona trailer park on the expressway.
Giving update, he said, “the fire is serious, six tankers, five trucks and two cars are burnt in the explosion.’’
Umar said that one person had so far been rescued and taken to a private hospital in Ogere.
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE), has advised motorists plying the road to use alternative routes.
TRACE spokesman, Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi explained that the tanker which was laden with fuel suddenly burst into flames affecting other vehicles.
“Vehicles moving inbound Lagos should go through Saapade-Ode/Remo-Iperu-Sagamu to relink Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
“In addition, vehicles moving inbound Ibadan should also go through Sagamu-Iperu-Ode/Remo-Saapade to relink Lagos-Ibadan Expressway,’’ Akinbiyi said.
The incident was the fifth of such tragedies involving fuel tankers in the Lagos and Ogun State axis since the beginning of the year.
A similar fuel tanker-related fire was recorded on Jan. 7 on the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.
On March 21, a fuel tanker was the cause of fire on Otedola Bridge, also on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway in which many vehicles were burnt.
On March 25, a diesel-laden tanker went up in flames at the Ikotun area of Lagos, leading to the incineration of other vehicles and shops.
On June 17, fire from the kitchen of a Chinese restaurant at the Ogun State Property Investments Corporation (OPIC) Plaza in Lagos trailed a leaking gas truck which was on motion in the area.
This resulted in a fire snowball which engulfed many other vehicles and property.
Twenty-five cars were destroyed in the OPIC Plaza inferno, while 13 persons, mostly workers in the restaurant, sustained burn injuries.

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S’ East Leaders Denounce Secessionist Groups …Seek Protection Of Igbos

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Leaders of the South East geo-political zone have urged leaders of other geo-political zones in the country to protect Igbos living in their regions, even as they condemned in totality the activities of violent secessionist groups in the zone and elsewhere. 
The lgbo leaders comprising the governors of the five states, members of the National Assembly, Ministers, Speakers of the State Houses of Assembly, the Clergy and Traditional Rulers, made their feelings known on Saturday, in a communique issued when they rose from a closed-door meeting at the Government House, Enugu. 
Explaining that they made the request in view of what they described as “threats by some groups against our people”, the South East leaders promised to protect everyone, including Igbos and people from other regions, residing in the zone.
On the impression that South East leaders are silent over agitations for secession by some youths of the region, they stated that “is not correct”, stressing that “South East Governors, Ohaneze President, National Assembly members, notable leaders had come out publicly many times in the past to speak against such agitations”.
Proclaiming firmly that “we do not support them, they do not speak for South East”,  the communiqué read by the Governor of Ebonyi State and Chairman of South East Governors’ Forum, Engr. David Umahi, made it clear that the leaders of the zone reiterated their “commitment to one united Nigeria under a platform of justice, equality of rights, fairness, love and respect for one another”.
The communiqué revealed that South East leaders, in order not to mismanage the unfortunate situation, “have set up a committee to engage such youths to stop and allow elders speak to address such fears”. 
It added that South East leaders also condemned the killing of security agents, burning of strategic infrastructure and killing of civilians in South East and in other regions, and requested the security agencies to discharge their duties within the rules of engagement and the law
They, however, explained that the meeting was held “for articulation of our positions and further meet with the Presidential team”, sequel to the earlier meeting with the Presidential delegation, led by the Minister of Defence, Retired Maj. Gen. Bashir Magashi, on June 11, 2021.
The communiqué disclosed that the meeting consequently “set up committees under Ohaneze Ndigbo to articulate and address our positions on all burning issues to further meet among ourselves and thereafter meet with the Presidential team”.
On the safety of the Igbo indigenes in other parts of the country and the newly established regional security outfit, the communiqué added that the “meeting directed our Governors and Ohaneze Ndigbo to liaise with indigenes from the northern part of Nigeria and indigenes of other regions to assure the nation, Nigeria, and their people of their safety in South East.
“The meeting endorsed our South East joint security outfit – Ebubeagu and asked them to work with security agencies and to respect the rights and privileges of all those living in the South East and our visitors”.

By: Canice Amadi, Enugu

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