As negotiation between the Federal Government and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), lingers, the union has reiterated that it would not call off the seven-month-old strike until all the issues in contention are adequately addressed to avoid a future industrial action in an event that all the issues on the negotiation table are not met.
This is as the union accused the Federal Government of using the seizure of salaries as a hunger weapon against its members for refusal to migrate to the contentious Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS).
Addressing newsmen shortly after its meeting at the Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, yesterday, Zonal Coordinator, ASUU, Port Harcourt Zone, Prof Uzo Onyebiama, called on parents and students to join ASUU in the struggle to redeem the university system and the future of Nigerian youths, insisting that the demands of ASUU were not about the welfare of its members but for the revamping of university education in the country.
Onyebiama, who was flanked by ASUU Chairperson, NDU, Dr. Kingdom Tonbara; ASUU Chairperson in UNIPORT, Austen Sado; ASUU Chairperson, Federal University, Otouke, Emmanuel Akpan; and ASUU Chairperson, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Endurance Joseph; said the IPPIS would remove the autonomy of universities and vest it in the hands of the Accountant General of the Federation.
He said: “IPPIS has become an obnoxious instrument for stripping the Governing Councils of universities of their powers and their responsibilities and removing the hard won autonomies of universities. The issue of autonomy is critical to the survival of our universities as institutions for intellectual freedom and development of our dear country.
“The purported directive of Mr President and the subsequent circulars to the Vice Chancellors on enrollment on IPPIS using the seizure of salaries as a hunger weapon and the compulsorily change of effective date of annual salary increment of salaries of academic staff from October 1 to January 1 are by these provisions illegal as such null and void.
“IPPIS ensures that the Governing Councils of universities are no longer free to discharge their functions and exercise their responsibilities and can no longer ensure that disbursement of universities funds comply with the approved budgetary ratio for personnel cost, overhead cost, etc.
“In the light of these threats inherent in the enrollment of academic staff in IPPIS, our union cannot afford to quietly lie low, we as a union of intellectuals have a sacred responsibility to alert Nigerians about this calamity called IPPIS, which has been hoisted on the universities.
“We hereby call on parents including academic staff and students to take up the gauntlet and join this struggle to redeem our universities and the future of Nigerian youths. We will remain in this struggle until the issues in contention are adequately addressed.”
Similarly, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), yesterday, slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over what it described as irresponsive posture by the President to the lingering strike, future of education and youth in the nation.
This was also as it accuses the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education and Accountant General of the Federation of frustrating the ASUU and Federal Government’s agreement to bring about an end to the seven- month-old strike.
The Kano Zonal Coordinator of the union, Mahmud M. Lawan, made this known while addressing newsmen on the lingering strike in the country.
According to him, “the Kano Zone of ASUU is compelled to unfortunately call a spade a spade on the current prolonged impasse between the Federal Government and the union.
“It is noteworthy for the patriotic people of Nigeria to know that the union has noticed that the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment which is supposed to serve in conciliatory capacity has instead, become a government propaganda machine throughout the engagement and has woefully failed in its mandate to mediate dispassionately.
“Worse in performance in this matter is the office of Minister of Education, who has failed to mediate adequately between the union and the office of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Tribunal Verdicts, Affirmation Of People’s Trust In Us – Fubara
Rivers State Governor, Sir Siminalayi Fubara, has described the judgment of the Governorship Election Tribunal that upheld his election victory as a confirmation of the trust expressed in him by Rivers people.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Senior Special Assistant on Media to the Governor, Boniface Onyedi, in Government House, Port Harcourt.
At a brief thanksgiving service held at the Chapel of Everlasting Grace, Government House, Port Harcourt on Monday night, which was attended by some members of the State Executive Council and political leaders, Fubara restated his commitment not to betray the expectations of Rivers people on his administration.
He explained that the place of God in his administration would not be compromised, which is why they had gathered to thank Him for His unceasing direction and guidance.
He added that his emergence as governor was made possible at the polls by God, insisting that His favour has now been affirmed by the tribunal.
Fubara particularly thanked the immediate past Governor of Rivers State and Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chief Nyesom Wike, for his immense support to his governorship bid, following through the stages of the legal contest.
He also thanked the Rivers people for rallying behind him to allow the will of God to prevail for the State.
The governor, who solicited for more support, enjoined Rivers people to be patient with his administration, promising to deliver good governance that will make their lives better.
In his exhortation, the Chaplain of the Chapel of Everlasting Grace, Government House, Port Harcourt, Rev. Barasin Ogan, said it is good to give God thanks, which is what the governor has done.
Ogan declared that the hand of God is upon Fubara and will strengthen him to work in mercy, delivering justice without bias and showing mercy without ceasing.
Senate Warns Tinubu Against Extra-Budgetary Spending
The Senate Committee on Gas has urged President Bola Tinubu to present a 2023 Supplementary Budget to the National Assembly to commence his Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) project.
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Jarigbe Jarigbe made this known in a statement in Abuja, yesterday, barely 48 hours after Tinubu announced measures to mitigate the effect of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians.
The chairman, who lauded Tinubu for the CNG initiative, however, warned that it would be illegal to spend taxpayers’ money or money without approval by the National Assembly and other projects in the gas value chain, which is cheaper than the use of fossil fuel.
The federal lawmakers also advised against extra-budgetary expenditure through ‘Ways and Means,’ saying the legislature is ready to support and bring succour to Nigerian people.
“The noble initiative will ameliorate the hardship of the citizens. Also, the President needs to come up with a supplementary budget to enable the government to fund the gas value chain, including the provision for CNG infrastructure and CNG vehicles, and the workshops and training would need to be funded,” the senator said.
“The President should not embark on extra-budgetary expenditure because it will be inconsistent with the provisions of the law”, he cautioned.
Jarigbe noted that the National Assembly, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio, was poised to support the great programmes of Tinubu’s administration, adding that a 2023 supplementary budget would be most appropriate, instead of the ‘Ways and Means’ approach of the previous administration, which is currently a major issue of contention in the Central Bank of Nigeria.
NDIC Begins Payment Of N16bn To 20 Defunct Banks’ Shareholders
The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) has announced the declaration of N16.18 billion in liquidation dividends to depositors, creditors, and shareholders of 20 banks in liquidation.
The announcement comes after impressive recoveries from debtors and realisation of assets of banks in liquidation.
The corporation’s Director, Communication and Public Affairs, Bashir Nuhu, made this known in a statement on Monday.
The NDIC said it had commenced verification and payment of stakeholders covered by the declarations within 30 days, starting from September 28.
The statement reads partly, “It is instructive to note that the ongoing payment is sequel to earlier payment of various sums which cumulatively amounted to N45.45bn as liquidation dividends in respect of the 20 banks as at July 2023.”
The closed banks covered by the exercise include Liberty Bank, City Express Bank, Assurance Bank, Century Bank, Allied Bank, Financial Merchant Bank, Icon Merchant Bank, Progress Bank, Merchant Bank of Africa (MBA), and Premier Commercial Bank.
Others are North South Bank, Prime Merchant Bank, Commercial Trust Bank, Cooperative and Commerce Bank, Rims Merchant Bank, Pan African Bank, Fortune Bank, All States Trust Bank, Nigeria Merchant Bank, and Amicable Bank in-liquidation.
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