Eminent Nigerians have been urged to intervene in the face-off between the federal government and Academic Staff Union (ASUU).
The national youth leader of the Action Congress (AC), Mr Timi Frank, who canvassed a quick resolution of the crisis, sought the sack of minister of education Dr. Sam Egwu “for not doing enough to remedy the situation.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Frank said the federal government should give equal attention to education as the Niger Delta; adding that the ongoing strike, which has crippled the nation’s tertiary institutions is a national embarrassment and a threat to the survival of Nigeria’s nascent democracy.
The silence of the political class on the issue is unfortunate and regrettable, as they have failed to add their voices to compel government to sincerely negotiate with ASUU and other striking unions,” he said.
Frank also said it is high time that nation’s elders complemented the efforts of the committee of chancellors of Nigerian universities in resolving the dispute.
He sought the intervention of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and civil society groups in the resolution of the impasse.
Urging the youth not to lose hope in the Nigerian project, Frank reiterated that Egwu should either resign or be removed.
“I therefore, call on all Nigerian youths not to lose faith in the Nigerian project and ensure that henceforth, they will be active agents of change by ensuring, that their votes count in elections so that responsive leaders that will project their interest at all times can be elected, the statement added.
The political row between former Kano State Governor, Alhaj Abubakur Rimi and the immediate past governor, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has been resolved as both leaders have vowed to unseat the ruling All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in the 2011 election.
Efforts to unite the political gladiators began at the August 15 Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Congress, in the state.
Kwankwaso’s camp clinched the leadership position of the party.
This followed a meeting in Kaduna where PDP chieftains met to settle the differences between the two leaders.
The meeting which was presided over by the party’s North-West Vice-chairman, Dr Danladi Saikara, was convened at the instance of the national secretariat, Abuja.
Other PDP members at the meeting included former House of Representatives Speaker Alhaji Salisu Buhari and his successor Alhaji Ghali Umar Na’Abba.
The Kaduna State Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board says it has processed about 4.500 visas for intending pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.
The board’s executive secretary, Alhaji Muktar Abdullahi, said yesterday in Kaduna that the visa issuance would be completed before the first week of October.
It was learnt that no fewer than 8.000 pilgrims are expected to perform this year’s pilgrimage from the state.
Muktar said 14 houses had been secured for the pilgrims at Murtalu in the Holyland, while more convenient residence would be hired to ensure the comfort of the pilgrims.
He added that government had bought two additional buses and would sponsor some pilgrims as well as officials.
The 23 local government areas, according to him will sponsor no fewer than 900 pilgrims in line with Govrnor Namadi Sambo’s welfare policy.
Muktar urged that pilgrims to reciprocate the gesture by obeying laws and exhibiting high sense of patriotism during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
Former Oyo State Governor Lam Adesina has scored president Umaru Yar’Adua low, saying he has failed to roll out polices that can lift Nigerians out of poverty.
He urged Nigerians to use the Ramadan to pray to Allah to touch the president’s heart so he can initiate policies that would raise the citizenry above poverty line.
The Action Congress (AC) chieftain spoke yesterday at a lecture marking the end of Ramadan in his Felele, Ibadan home.
Lamenting that Nigerian leaders have failed to use its resources to better the lot of the people, Adesina recalled that when he first travelled to Saudi Arabia in 1982 for Hajj, he slept in a dilapidated building in Medina but he was dumbfounded seeing that the same city had witnessed an unprecedented improvement in 2000.
Besides, Saudi Arabia had only four aircrafts Nigeria had 16.
But now while Nigeria has none; Saudi Arabia owns 200 aircraft, Adesina added.
His words: “A single government policy can change the fortune of Nigerians. Which good policy has president Yar’ Adua introduced? I am talking as a Muslim. We should pray to Allah to touch his heart to make good policies that will help Nigerians out of poverty.
The former governor said he was saddened by a report by the United States Agency for International Department (USAID) that of the nation’s 140 million people, 138.6 million are living below poverty line.
Adesina hoped that the 2011 elections will bring the desired change.
At the lecture were politician and prominent businessmen and women.
The Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has urged Yar’Adua to resolve the strike before nation’s 49th Independence Day celebration on October 1.
Speaking in Lagos yesterday the state chairman of the CLO, Mr. Eneruvie Enakoko, urged the president to ensure that the agreement between the federal government and ASUU was signed before October 1.
He said it would be bad for Nigeria to mark the event while its universities are shut.
Enakoko said honouring the agreement with ASUU will boost the people’s confidence in the policies of the Yar’Adua Administration.
He said education must be taken more seriously, “If Nigeria is to meet the Millennium Development Goals or realise the vision 2020 programmes of the federal government”.
ASUU embarked on a nation-wide strike on June 24 in protest against the government refusal to endorse an agreement which they reached in 2006.
The agreement stipulates the allocation of 26 per cent annual budget to education among other issues.
The Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) joined the strike, demanding a new salary structure too.
Despite the denial of the Attorney-General and the Minister of Justice, Mr Michael Aondoaka (SAN), of an alleged move to remove the chairman of the Ekiti State Election Petitions Tribunal, Justice Hamma Barka, more criticisms of the “plot” are on.
The Ekiti Democratic Coalition Alliance (EDCA), which described Aondoaka’s denial as “feeble and unconvincing”, vowed that the people of Ekiti State would not condone any attempt to deny them justice after the last re-run election.
A socio-political pressure group, the Positive Force (PF), warned that any attempt to interfere with the work of the tribunal “will lead to anarchy and chaos.”
In a statement yesterday by EDCA National Co-ordinator, Mr. Morakinyo Ogele, the group wondered why some “powerful interest groups” are uncomfortable with the proceedings at the tribunal to the extent of plotting the sack of the chairman.
EDCA said the tribunal had been fair to all in its conduct.
It warned against any attempt to circumvent the rule of law and arm-twist the judges in the performance of their constitutional duties, stressing that it has no reason to doubt the authenticity of the report, which was first carried by an online news agency.
It urged all parities in the rerun dispute to present their facts before the tribunal and not resort to any unconstitutional act that could impede the wheel of justice.
FG Sensitises Security Personnel On Revised National Gender Policy
In a bid to deepen the gender components of the security system in Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, last Monday kicked-off a three-day high level Sensitization/Capacity Building Workshop on the Revised 2021-2026 National Gender Policy.
Participants at the workshop were drawn from Nigerian Army, Navy, Airforce, Department of State Services, Nigerian Correctional Center Service, Immigration, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps.
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Shehu Shinkafi, who declared the workshop open, recalled that Nigeria developed its first National Policy on Rights of Women in 2000.
This was replaced with the National Gender Policy in 2006 as a result of review and integration of lessons learnt from the implementation of the Women Policy 2000.
A key lesson then was the need to work from a gender perspective, even though the key purpose remains addressing Women’s rights issues.
He listed women’s rights to include the right to live free from violence and discrimination, the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; the right to be educated, the right to own property, the right to vote and be voted for etc.
“But as we all know, many women and girls still face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. This gave rise to the review of the 2006 National Gender Policy”, he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the strategic objectives of the revised National Gender Policy are: to bridge gender/social inclusion gaps and achieve parity in all spheres of life; protect women’s human rights and mitigate sexual and gender- based violence, through appropriate buffers and related services; and explore and fully harness women’s human capital assets, as a growth driver for national development through women’s economic empowerment.
Others are to advance women’s participation and representation in leadership and governance; support women and girls’ education, lifelong health, survival and sustainable development; fnsure that gender equity concerns are integrated into social protection and complex humanitarian actions, legislation and policies and ensure that socially excluded groups (such as persons with disabilities, the elderly and the poor etc.) are mainstreamed into development projects and programmes of government.
He also stated that the 2021-2026 National Gender Policy focuses on the protection of the girl–child: addressing violence against women and girls; addressing issues of conflict, especially as it affects women and girls; and peace building; rights of women with disabilities and implementation strategies, including the institutional framework, funding and human resource for gender mainstreaming among others.
CAN Condemns Resurgence Of Killings In Plateau
Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has condemned the recent resurgence of killings in some parts of Plateau State.
CAN President, Archbishop Daniel Okoh, in a statement, described the killings as barbaric, and disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner.
He said: “It’s with deep concern that I address the nation on the recent resurgence of mindless killings of innocent citizens in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau State.
“The killings which started in Mangu villages on Monday, 15th May 2023, by so-called unknown gunmen have claimed many lives and properties with many persons still missing.
“The villages affected include Fungzai, Hale, Kubwat, Bwoi and many other communities of Kombun District of Mangu Local Government Area and some communities in Riyom Local Government Area.
“According to reports, about 130 people were killed, about 1000 buildings were burnt, and about 22 villages were affected. We condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest term possible.
“It is disheartening to see innocent citizens being killed and their properties destroyed in such a gruesome manner”.
He appreciated the efforts of the security forces to maintain peace, calling on the government and law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators of the heinous acts to justice and ensure the protection of lives and properties of all citizens.
The CAN President implored all parties involved to embrace peace and dialogue as means of resolving their differences, stressing that violence only begets more violence, hence he advocated the breaking of the cycle so the state and Nigeria can witness peace and prosperity.
He added: “It’s also important to emphasise that the CAN unequivocally opposes any form of violence or reprisal as we strive to advance the well-being of all individuals, regardless of their religious or ethnic background”.
He appealed to all Nigerians in Mangu and Riyom Local Government Areas of Plateau state and indeed, all over the country, to remain calm and law-abiding in the face of the challenges.
“We must not allow ourselves to be provoked into taking actions that will further escalate the situation”.
Oyebanji Presents N915m Gratuity Cheques To 289 Pensioners
Ekiti State Governor, Biodun Oyebanji last Monday, reiterated his administration’s commitment to programmes and policies that will enhance the quality of life of Ekiti residents, especially the pensioners.
The governor stated this during the presentation of cheques worth N915 million naira as gratuities to 289 State, local government and primary school retirees in the state at the Governor’s Office, Ado-Ekiti.
Speaking at the event, which was hailed as unprecedented in the state, Oyebanji said the payment of the gratuity was in fulfilment of his campaign promise of shared prosperity, adding that his administration would continue to ensure that pensioners enjoy a worthy life after their meritorious service to the state.
Oyebanji, who said he was not unaware of challenges confronting the retires as a result of a regrettable delay in accessing their gratuity benefits as and when due, assured the senior citizens that his government is irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuities.
He informed the gathering that since the inception of his administration in October 2022, over N1.2 billion had been paid as a gratuity to both the State and Local government retirees while payment of monthly pensions had been regular.
He said, “As elders and critical stakeholders who occupy strategic positions in the scheme of things, our government is living no stone unturned to ensure that you all live a quality and happy life at retirement. I am aware of the many odds and challenges confronting retirees as a result of the regrettable delay in accessing your gratuity as and when due.
“I am therefore committed to ensuring that the welfare of our retirees continues to be of topmost priority. We are also irrevocably committed to ending the regime of endless wait in the payment of gratuity by our senior citizens. This is a priority for us and we will continue to explore innovative ways to support you in your retirement.
“Since we came on board, we have always paid pensions along with salaries of public servants. This, I assure you, will continue. Today, the sum of N700 million has been paid out to 192 retired civil servants as gratuity and the sum of N215 million to 79 Local Government retirees”.
Oyebanji used the opportunity to express his appreciation and to commend the management of the Pension Transitional Arrangement Department (PTAD) at both state and local government levels for the hard work and transparency they have deployed in processing this payment with particular reference to their policy based on first-to-retire, first-to-be-paid, urging to sustain it religiously.
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