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Strike: We’re Yet To Resolve Dispute With FG, ASUU Clarifies

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it has not reached any concrete agreement with the Federal Government on how to end its over seven months’ strike.
This is just as the union faulted the Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige, for saying in an interview at the weekend that six out of the nine demands by the union had been met by the government.
Speaking in a chat, yesterday, the National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, while taking the demands one by one, asked Nigerians to see which one had been met by the government.
“As far as we are concerned, nothing has been delivered to our members, and our members don’t want empty promises. Let us take the issues one after the other.
“The withheld salaries of our members, which is between four to eight months, have not been paid, if paid, accounts of our members would have been credited. Same for Earned Academic Allowances, yet to be paid.
“Visitation panels have not been constituted for the universities, if that is done, Nigerians would have heard the names of panel members as announced by the government.
“The proliferation of universities by state governments has not been addressed. The renegotiation of the 2009 Agreement has not started; the 2019 Memorandum of Action is not yet implemented.
“So, on which of these issues has the target beneficiaries seen any concrete action being taken? We are getting to understand the way people in government work.
“When they are still discussing with you, they will go to town and tell people what has not been done. Their intention is to paint ASUU as the aggressor.
“Which of the issues can anybody say the ball is in ASUU’s court? Are we the ones to pay our withheld salaries and allowances? Are we the ones to set up visitation panels?
“That is how they went about creating a fake Twitter account for the union and begin to circulate fake news,” he said.
Ogunyemi added that the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS) being developed by ASUU to replace government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) was at an advanced stage, but expressed fears that some people wanted to truncate it.
On the threat by the minister that the government could invoke labour laws, if nothing was agreed to by the two parties soon, Ogunyemi said his union would never feel threatened in any way.
“We are ready for discussions if they invite us. The onus of universities reopening soon lies with the government. We go to meetings we are invited to.
“They promised that we would meet some days ago and they said they would write to inform us, we waited in vain for their invite. Nothing came,” he stated.
It would be recalled that the union has been on strike since March 24, this year over sundry issues.
Also, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Lagos zone, yesterday, tackled the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, over the claim that the Federal Government cannot afford the conservative N110billion for the revitalisation of universities.
The union, in a statement issued by Lagos Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Olusiji Sowande, urged parents, students, and the general public not to be persuaded by the statement made by Ngige.
ASUU, which had been on strike for seven months, faulted the Federal Government for paying bailout funds to the private sector and failed to pay the revitalisation fund for the universities.
The union’s zonal coordinator while reacting to the recent comment made by Ngige on a live TV programme, said, “The statement is laced with the hidden fact that the MoL & E and his team have no intention of ending the ongoing strike this year.
“The Nigerian public should be appalled that government team, after having a series of meetings with our union, is just collating pertinent data required to engage our union.”
On the claim that the Federal Government cannot afford the revatilisation fund, the union lamented that “only recently, government approved N5billion bailout fund to operators in the aviation sector to ameliorate the harsh realities of Covid-19 on their business operations.”
It also raised the concern that over the years, the Nigerian government has spent over N1.5trillion to bail out power generation and distribution companies to keep their business afloat despite privatisation of the power sector.
“If the government could bailout private businesses for ‘Business Good’ then Nigerian public universities deserve to be bailed out for ‘Public Good’,” he added.

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I’ll Provide Solid Representation, If Elected -Banigo

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Rivers State Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, has assured the people of Abua/Odual Local Government Area that she would provide undivided representation if voted into the Senate in 2023.
Banigo gave this assurance when leaders and critical stakeholders of the Peoples Democratic Party had a meeting with her, at the Government House in Port Harcourt to map out campaign strategies, yesterday.
The deputy governor said, she was excited that the meeting was held for the stakeholders to understand themselves, to ensure the party wins at the elections in 2023, adding that by the grace of God the local government area would be better than what it is now, if she emerges as the Rivers West senator.
In a related development, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, who is the Rivers West Senatorial District Candidate of the PDP in the upcoming polls, has also met with leaders of the PDP in Ahoada East Local Government Area, where she urged them to reach out to their constituents and encourage the collection of PVCs.
“We must realize that with this new Electoral Act, the votes will surly count, as this 2023 election is not going to be like the previous elections, there will be a difference, people should not be afraid to pick up their cards and vote, they should not be lackadaisical about it, they should keep their cards safe and on the day of election they should come up and cast their vote, because this time every vote will count”.
She said the campaigns would be unit based and urged them to reach out to those in their units.
“Make sure you have unit executives in each of the wards, so we can have a door to door campaign”, Banigo said.
In his remarks at the meetings, the Vice Chairman of the Rivers West Senatorial District of the PDP, Dr. Nname Robinson Ewor, said there is a need for members of the PDP to go out and establish their presence in all units’ wards and constituencies, stressing that the nature of this upcoming election would be different from previous elections.

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Ariolu, Others Welcome Ex-Deputy Guber Candidate To PDP

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Chairman of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council, Barrister George Ariolu, has led other party faithful, including Chairman of PDP, Ward 6, Kingsley Nna; Chairman of PDP, Ward 9, Collins Wobo Chukwu; and Obio/Akpor PDP Secretary, Kingman Ogbonna; to receive a bigwig and stakeholder of the All Progressives Congress (APC) from Rumuogba in Ward 6, Chief Williams Igwe, into the PDP.
Receiving the former Deputy Governorship Candidate of the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) at the Obio/Akpor PDP Secretariat, Rumueme, Ariolu expressed delight over his decampment from the APC to the PDP, describing it as an indication that the party was waxing stronger.
Ariolu, who was greeted with euphoria by the LGA PDP Chairman, Chidi Amadi, who also welcomed the former deputy governorship candidate at the secretariat, promised to work closely with Igwe to build the party ahead of the forthcoming election.
He pointed out that the foundation of the PDP was built on togetherness, stating that collectively, the party would achieve more.
Ariolu thanked Igwe for wholeheartedly accepting to come back to the party.
According to him, Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, has separated governance from politics following his relentless battle to promote the interest of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of the PDP in Obio/Akpor, Chidi Amadi, said the reception of Igwewas a fulfilment of an age-long dream, and a welcome development for members of the party, expressing joy over the event.
He further commended Ariolu for his strong support and leadership towards the sustenance and growth of the party.
In his remark, Chief Williams Igwe affirmed his loyalty and commitment to the PDP in its quest to oust the APC and fix the broken state of the country’s socio-economic and political fabrics.
He described the reception as a homecoming for himself and his supporters who would be formally received at a formal event which would be organised by the state party chairman, adding that PDP remains a major political party which will unite the nation.
He added that his decision to defect to the party was well-thought-out, and called on others to join hands with the Rivers State Government to rebuild the socio-economic fortunes of the state.
According to him, he believed that it was time for him to cross over to join hands with the Rivers State governor in moving the state forward.
The former Deputy Governorship Candidate was also received by PDP Chieftain, Barrister Temple Ejekwu; Obio/Akpor PDP Woman Leader,Gloria Wonodi; Barrister Kelvin Akani; and members of Obio/Akpor PDP Executive.

By: Nelson Chukwudi

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NNPC Posts N674bn Profit

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Ltd) has declared a profit after tax of N674billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
The profit represented a growth of 134.84per cent when compared with N287billion profit in 2020 which was recorded under the old Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The Group Chief Executive Officer (GCEO), NNPC Ltd, Malam Mele Kyari, said this at a news conference, yesterday, in Abuja.
“NNPC progressed to a new performance level, from N287billion profit in 2020 to a N674billion profit after tax in 2021 climbing higher by 134.8per cent year on year profit growth,’’ he said.
Kyari also said that it recorded an increase in total assets from N15.86trillion in 2020 to N16.27trillion in 2021.
Speaking on the group’s financial position, Kyari said the corporation’s total liabilities decreased by 8.3per cent to N13.46trillion during the review period from N14.68trillion in 2020.
The GCEO said its shareholders funds position rose N2.81trillion representing 144per cent year-on-year.
“The performance would have been greater if the operations in the year under review were free from incessant vandalism, crude oil and products theft, among others.
“Details of the performance of NNPC and the respective subsidiaries as well as that of National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) will be published on our website www.nnpcgroup.com for stakeholder’s perusal.
“We look forward to achieving greater performance to support our growth aspirations and to create more value for our stakeholders as we drive full commercial operations under NNPC Ltd.,’’ he said.
He recalled that in September 2021, President Muhammadu Buhari approved the publication of the 2020 NNPC Group Audited Financial Statement, in which NNPC declared a profit after tax of N287billion for the first time in 44 years.
Kyari said that in spite of the challenging operating environment, it strongly believed that the corporation had the potential to sustainably deliver better value to it esteemed shareholders.
He said it sought to become a dynamic global energy company of choice to its customers, partners and over 200million shareholders comprising of all Nigerians.
Kyari noted that the corporation in 2019 rolled out deliberate policies and initiatives aimed at reducing costs and eliminating losses while adopting technology to entrench transparency, accountability and performance excellence (TAPE) across its various functions.
He said the NNPC had recorded significant improvement over the past three years, turning up the curve from losses to profits.

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