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Strike: ASUU May Not Honour FG’s Call Again -President …VowsTo Sustain Ongoing Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) says it may not honour further calls by Federal Government for a meeting on the way forward over the current strike by its members. ASUU The union’s National President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said this on the sideline of a news conference on the update of the union’s struggle to salvage the country’s public universities from deterioration yesterday in Lagos.
Our correspondent reports that the members of the union, under the aegis of ASUU, had on November 4, embarked on what it had described as a ‘total, comprehensive and indefinite strike’.
Members of the union were protesting the non implementation of agreements entered into with the Federal Government in 2009 and 2017, as well as funding and improved welfare for members, among other issues.
According to Ogunyemi, to ensure that the agreements were implemented,union had held series of consultative meetings with the government and written series of letters with little or nothing to the effect. He noted that it was against this backdrop that union resumed strike on November 4
“Since the commencement of this strike, we have had six meetings with agents of the Federal Government, with no clear commitment from government to resolving the issues we presented.
“Government appears to have adopted ‘keep them talking’ strategy while deceiving the public that progress was being made and that partial agreements had been reached between union and government.
“We want to say that government has continually and falsely raised the hopes of the Nigerian public on the state of duscussion with our union and we may not be interested in holding further dialogue with them until we see signs of commitment and sincerity in addressing the issues before them.
“Our expectation from a very responsive and sincere position is that by now, all outstanding issues would gave been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties. “Unfortunately, government is yet to show commitment and sincerity in addressing these problems,” he said. .
According to the don, on the renegotiation of Federal Government/ASUU agreeement, there are still unresolved issues about the leadership of the government team. .
“We have strong reasons to believe that the continuation of Dr Wale Babalakin as the head of the renegotiation with ASUU will not yield good fruit,” he said.
Ogunyemi said union had taken up its current project as a life time, adding that this was why dating back to the 1980s, union had remained consistent on what was of concern to it.
“If we miss education, we miss development as we will end up being enslaved the second time. “What is happening in this country now is that people are privatising everything, including education and before we know it, what happened to our primary and secondary education will happen.
“And these are some of the things we are supposed to be tracking and engaged in this society, if we want to make the change that we need. “Our conviction is the reason behind the prolonged strike and our members have the conviction that until we get education right, Nigeria will never get it right.
“Insurgency will increase, banditry, poverty, kidnapping, misery and other societal ills will continue. “Let me also state clearly too that our strike has nothing to do with politics or election, as is being speculated in some sectors of the society.
“We have never thought of aborting any election.
We do not want to create problem for this country but let government do the right thing,” he said. Ogunyemi said that the situation might have to rise to the point where Nigerians would have to tell government what to do with the country’s education system.
He said the union appreciated the understanding of the Nigerian students, their parents, among whom were many ASUU members and other people of goodwill since the resumption of the avoidable strike. “ASUU does not take your sacrifice for granted.
With your continued support and sacrifice, we can make the Nigerian ruling class come to accept the centrality of university education in improving the human condition.
“Qualitative and public-funded education is not an option; it is inevitable if Nigeria ever wishes to banish poverty, ignirance, sqaulor, insecurity, disease and curruption.
Meanwhile, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday in Lagos vowed to continue the ongoing six weeks strike that has grounded the public universities.
Speaking at a press briefing held at the University of Lagos, UNILAG, its national President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi lamented that the Federal Government was not serious with the negotiations it had between the Union and the Federal Government representatives. Unilag
He urged the Federal government to demonstrate serious commitment to implementing the spirit and letters of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement as well as the resulting 2013 MOU and 2017 Memorandum of understanding. Buhari urges ASUU to end strike He said:
“The Federal Government should demonstrate serious commitment to implement the spirit and letters of the 2009 Federal Governmental /ASUU agreement. “It should also consider the implementation of the 2013 and 2017 Memorandum of Understanding, MoU it had with us.”
According to him, implementing these agreements would go a long way to reposition university education and bring a rapid transformation. “All we are asking for is the improved infrastructural development of Nigeria’s public universities to be globally competitive,” he explained.
You will recall that the Union representatives last week walked out of their meeting with the Federal Government representatives, making it the sixth meetings without a compromise between the duo since the commencement of the strike November 4, 2018.

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RSNC GM Tasks Medical Practitioners On Emerging Pandemics

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The General Manager of the Rivers State Newspaper Corporation, Publishers of The Tide Newspaper, Chief Ernest Chinwo, has called on medical practitioners in the country to assist the government find workable solution to the array of emerging pandemics, including COVID-19, Lassa fever and monkeypox currently ravaging the country.
Chinwo said this in his office during a courtesy call by organisers of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit 2022.
Represented by the Acting Chairman of Editorial Board and Supervising Editor, Mr Nelson Chukwudi, the general manager also stressed the need for the health professionals to come up with private sector-driven health insurance scheme for the country.
He said that it also behoves on them to pool resources together with a view to building mega hospitals in the country to stem the tide of medical tourism abroad while at the same time curbing brain drain.
The general manager also tasked them to check the incidence of quackery in the medical profession.
Chinwo commended them for the proposed summit, assuring of the cooperation and support of the corporation, especially in providing adequate coverage to their activities.
He said the corporation, since inception has been on the forefront in publicising health issues, stressing that it was against this background that a page was dedicated in The Tide newspaper for health, and called for medical experts to contribute to the robustness of content on the page.
He further noted that beside newspaper publishing, the corporation also does all kinds of commercial printing jobs, and solicited patronage from the health professionals.
Earlier, Secretary General of the Rivers State Joint Health Summit, Dr. Joseph Olawuyi, said the summit with the theme “Repositioning HealthCare services in Rivers state” earlier proposed for the 22 to 26 of August 2022 was moved to October 2022 to ensure mass participation by both government and non-governmental organisations.
Olawuyi said the summit which is being put together by private medical practitioners in partnership with government aims at refocusing the health sector for quality service in the state.
He said a lot of people both within and outside the country have started registering for the summit.
According to him the event will also be used to train health practitioner’s on biomedical engineering as well as encourage the utilization of abundant medical equipment by practitioners.
He urged for a health bank in the country to create access to soft loans by health practitioners.
Olawuyi said the event which will be declared open by Governor Ezenwo Nyesom Wike will be attended by people from all walks of life including members of the armed forces amongst others.

By: John Bibor & Oreoluwa Adigun

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FG Spends N18.69bn Daily On Subsidy, Minister Confirms

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The Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has disclosed that Nigeria spends N18.69billion daily on petroleum subsidies.
She stated this, yesterday, when she appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating oil subsidies.
The minister claimed Nigeria consumes 64million litres per day, and that the figure could have been influenced by smuggling.
Ahmed said the executive is also concerned about the increment in daily consumption.
She noted that some of the products are being smuggled outside the country, adding that during COVID-19 locked down, daily consumption dropped significantly.
She stated that the president alone cannot take the decision on removing subsidy, insisting that there must be a multi-stakeholder approach, including all political parties, who must sit to make the decision.
The minister disclosed that the landing cost of petroleum is N448 per litre and that the NNPC takes care of the rest through under recovery.
She further said the Federal Executive Council has also expressed worry about the figure presented by the NNPC, adding that as the Minister of Finance, she has no access to the bank statement of the NNPC.
The Chairman of the Committee, Ibrahim Aliyu, questioned the figure provided by the minister.
Aliyu said even during the COVID19 locked down, Nigeria was still consuming high volume, which according to him was not logical.
He claimed the daily petroleum consumption was about 32million litres.
But the minister responded that she is not sure whether daily consumption has doubled and not also sure if the total number of vehicles in the country has doubled in the past 10 years.

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Over 20 Countries Arrive Abuja For 2022 INAC

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The 2022 International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC), themed “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”, was, yesterday, declared open in Abuja, by the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe.
The 15th edition of the Expo holding at the Abuja Sheraton Hotels & Towers has in attendance no fewer than 25 countries and eight states in Nigeria.
Some of the countries already on ground include Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Venezuela, Syria, India, Philippines, China, Iran, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, Malaysia, Benin Republic, Sudan, Lebanon, South Korea and Tanzania.
States in Nigeria that have arrived Abuja for the annual international event are Lagos, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, FTC, Kaduna and Katsina.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Runsewe said the aim of the expo is to better project Nigerian crafts to various countries of the world given that our stories are better told by us. It is also to promote cultural exchange programmes and improve inter-country collaborations in music, arts, drama, etc.
The expo, as usual, is expected to amongst other items, feature skill acquisition trainings for young people, free medical examination and care, display of countries art documentaries, exhibitions of countries’ arts, crafts and culture.
Runsewe said: “This is another opportunity we have to showcase Nigerian crafts to the world and to let the world know that Nigeria is a safe place to be. We want Nigerians to know that the creative industry is capable of tackling Nigerian insecurity problems by engaging the youths in our crafts for revenue generation.”
The 2022 expo holds from August 18 to 20, 2022.

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