The Federal Government negotiating team on Monday announced its official withdrawal from the re-negotiation with the Academic Staff Union of Univerisities (ASUU).
Disclosing the resolve of the team to withdraw from further talks with ASUU, Deacon Gamaliel Onosode said until the union suspends its current strike, it would not continue because of lack of enabling environment for governing councils to continue the negotiation with their employees.
Onosode said ASUU as well as other inions have written officially to reject the 40 per cent offer from government.
However, Daily Champion gathered that the July salary of the striking university lecturers was withheld in line with the ‘No Work, No Pay’ by government and that the same fate will befall the August salary unless they call off the strike.
While ASUU confirmed that government had wielded the big slick, a government source said it was legal and part of the labour-law, adding that ASUU cannot eat its cake and have it.
Speaking to newsmen in Abuja, chairman of the government re-negotiating team, Deacon Onosode said “based on the authoritive information, my principal, the Federal Government, had taken a final position on the salaries of staff of Federal Universities.
“You will also recall that an invitation was extended to the unions to enable the committee to convey the Federal Government position to them on July 10, 2009. the unions, including ASUU, have officially reacted in writing, rejecting the offer.
“In the desire of Government to resolve outstanding issues with particular reference to the grey areas in the proposed Draft Agreement, Government held a meeting with ASUU. At that meeting of July 29, 2009, the Re-Negotiation committee was advised to reconvene and resolve all such issues. In line with this position, the FGN/ASUU at the meeting of August 3, 2009 constituted a sub-committee to review and resolve all such grey areas.
“At the point of presentation of the Sub-committee Report on August 10, 2009, ASUU detoured and refused the presentation, insisting on my mandate to sign an agreement after the proposed draft document will have been vetted and not at the level of individual Federal University Councils, the true employers of federal university staff.
“The Government Team endeavoured to facilitate the conclusion of these negotiations at the strictly employer-employee level. Unfortunately, that effort has been stalled by the current strike. We, therefore, cannot get to the point where the councils can receive the documents and speedily conclude the negotiations for implementation. Consequently, the Government Team is not in a position to continue further negotiations with the unions until it suspends its strike to provide an enabling environment for them.
“Finally, I join all well-meaning Nigerians in appealing to the Unions to, at least, suspend the on going strike in order to create an enabling environment for the facilitation of the conclusion of the Re-negoliations.
“”However, the Governing Councils of Federal Universities have been advised to recall their staff who are on strike and provide an enabling environment for teaching, research and community services for those who are willing to work,” Onosode said.
It would be recalled that ASUU had on Sunday, after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Makurdi, Benue State, decided to continue the strike until government signs the agreement to its satisfaction.
ASUU had in its statement read in Makurdi accused government team of playing politics with the future of Nigerian youths by flouting the directives given by the Vice President Goodluck Jonathan for both team to resolve the contentious issues within two weeks,.
Sanwo-Olu Approves Grant For 100 Traders
In continuation of his on going political consultation with stakeholders, Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has met with market leaders across the state with an approval of a grant to aid them in their businesses.
He met the traders under the aegis of the Association of Commodity Market Women and Men of Nigeria at the Alausa residence of their President-General, Mrs Folasade Tinubu-Ojo, in Lagos.
The Governor noted that the traders were important stakeholders in the governance of the state, adding that the visit was part of his wide consultation ahead of the general elections.
According to him, the interaction with traders in the informal sector is strategic in reaching out to the grassroots, saying that his administration was committed to the well-being of the traders, while asking for their full support for the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the coming elections.
“Market leaders and their members are important stakeholders in the governance of Lagos. We interact with them from time to time and consult them on issues concerning growth of our markets.
“Today, we have come here to thank them for the support they have continued to give our government and to encourage them to continue to be loyal citizens of the state,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu said the government had hastened ongoing work to complete all the markets currently being constructed.
He announced continuation of credit grants to 100 micro and small businesses in each market across the state, as the intervention had empowered many women and low-income households to meet their needs.
Sanwo-Olu continued that his administration’s programmes were aimed at improving the lives of residents, regardless of their incomes and status.
“We are in the season of politics and we consider it necessary to meet with our people in the market and solicit for your support in the forthcoming general elections, especially for our presidential candidate, governorship candidate and other positions our party is vying.
“This is an important step, you are part of the crop of people that diligently wait at the polling booths to cast votes for our party. We cannot take you for granted, despite having new people in the electoral register.
“We need to engage and talk to you about our plans. In this case, we are seeking your support for all our candidates in general,” he said.
Kogi Oil Community Demands 13% Derivatives
Indigenes of Ibaji Community in Kogi State recently named oil producing area by the Federal Government, have called for a share of their host community fund and 13 per cent derivative.
Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, on Wednesday, the President, Ibaji Unity Forum (IUF), Stephen Ochola, said Ibaji has become an oil-producing area after over 70 years of exploration yet, has been denied of its accruables.
Stephen Decried poor roads among other infrastructural decay as well as the devastating effects of the recent flooding that it said destroyed about 200 houses and killed 33 persons.
He expressed regret that the proceeds of the oil will be shared with Kogi and neighbouring Anambra State.
Ochola noted that Ibaji needs to benefit significantly from the host community development fund as both states have been proclaimed as oil-producing states.
“Both states are to partake in the 13 per cent derivation fund. Also, the states are to share the proceeds on a 50-50 basis from the oil wells namely Anambra River 1, 2 and 3, which are clearly on Kogi soil,” he noted.
Ochola said the Ibaji Local Government Area of Kogi State has been neglected for so long as its over 129,000 population lack social amenities.
“The 2022 flood and its effects have downgraded that of 2012 to a child’s play. According to reports, over 33 persons have lost their lives and 200 houses were destroyed leading to the displacement of our people to relocate to Idah, Igalamela, Enugu, Anambra and Edo states.”
He also said the flood water though unfit for bathing and drinking, remained the only available water for the people, according to a test result from the Federal Capital Territory Waterboard.
“Our people are in serious poverty due to the flood and its post effect. Even those who died of natural causes have no place to be buried because of the flood,” noting that Ibaji was the most devastated of the nine affected LGAs in Kogi State.
Group Seeks Media Support To Combat Human Trafficking
A Civil Society Group, “Action Against Trafficking in Persons Cluster”, has called for media synergy to combat trafficking in persons.
The group’s Programmes Director, Timothy Ejeh, made the call when he led a delegation to an advocacy engagement with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Council Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche in Abuja, recently.
Ejeh said the initiative was anchored by the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) of the Archdiocese of Abuja, with the aim of implementing the Strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement (SCALE) component 4 projects titled “Galvanising Action for Effective countering of Trafficking in Persons Regime in Nigeria” .
According to him, its major aim is to seek increased funding for the focal agency – NAPTIP, reactivation of victims of Trafficking Trust Fund and improved prosecution of traffickers.
He explained that the initiative comprised of six CSOs, the JDPC, Earth Spring Intl, Children Against Child Abuse (CACA), Health/Justice Development and Peace Initiative (H/JDPI), Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria (FOMWAN) and CEDARSEED Foundation.
The Programmes Director said the meeting would help to get the union’s buy-in into the SCALE Project currently being implemented
“We have discovered that the focus of the local government agency that is saddled with the responsibility of tackling trafficking of persons have some gaps in doing their jobs.
“We feel that we can come and support them to be able to deliver on their mandate because there is a whole lot they have been saddled with which is NAPTIP.
“We have discovered that they are severally underfunded and when you do not have funding, you do not have manpower and won’t be able to achieve any results.
“One of our advocacy acts is to push for reforms to see how NAPTIP can be properly funded to be able to carry out the mandate given to them by the government.
“We have also discovered that there is this weak political drive towards the prosecution of traffickers,” he said.
Ejeh added that a whole lot of traffickers were out there and nobody was pushing to ensure arrest and confiscating the process of trafficking.
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