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Nigerian Government has no funds to meet university lecturer’s demands – Ngige

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The Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, has stated that the Federal Government does not have the funds to meet its obligations in the agreement signed with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

Ngige said the government was considering a renegotiation of the terms of the agreement with ASUU, in the effort to end the ongoing strike by university lecturers.

The minister made this known while appearing on Politics Today, a current affairs programme on Channels Television monitored from Abuja on Thursday.

When asked if he agreed that the government had failed to fulfil its side of the agreement with ASUU, Ngige said no.

On when the conflict would end, the minister said, “I am hoping that ASUU should do the right thing and contact their members on the renegotiations that we have had in the last two weeks. First, the issue of earned academic allowances, we have agreed, giving a timeline to the NUC to go back to the old template used in working out the 2021 earned academic allowance – 10.8 per cent of personnel cost.“We want them to go back very quickly and use that same formula and get us what we are supposed to pay in 2022. That is agreed by everybody.”

On revitalisation of the universities, Ngige said “the amount is not very clear, what has been paid.” He said the actual amount paid is being determined.

On the release of N1.3tn between 2013 and 2018 to revitalise the universities, with N200bn released in 2013 and only N70bn released in the last seven years, the minister, who noted that government is a continuum, stated that the N1.3tn was promised by the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration. According to him, oil was selling at between $100 and $120 per barrel then, while the revenue of the federation was rich.

“The government now says ‘we don’t have the money to pay it.’ This was the agreement between 2016 and 2017,” he said, adding that the government still does not have the funds to fulfil its side of the bargain.

Ngige said the government is now calling for renegotiation of the agreement with ASUU, “unless you want us to go and take money from TETFUND and deceive you as it was done in that period, and place it for you on the table.”

Meanwhile, the Federal Ministry of Education has constituted another committee to renegotiate the 2009 agreement with ASUU.

Announcing the reconstitution of the renegotiation team, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, in a statement by the Director of Press and Public Relations in the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, emphasised the need to speedily bring to conclusion the outstanding issues in the 2009 agreement.

The statement read in part, “The Federal Government has reconstituted a team to renegotiate the 2009 agreement it had with the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

“Reconstituting the team, Education Minister, Adamu Adamu, said there was a need to speedily bring to conclusion all outstanding issues in the 2009 agreement in order to achieve the desired peace on our campuses.

“The Chairman of the reconstituted 2009 FGN/University-based Unions Agreements Re-negotiation Team is Prof Nimi Briggs, Pro-Chancellor, Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo.

“Members of the team include Lawrence Patrick Ngbale, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Wukari (North-East); Prof Funmi Togunu-Bickersteth, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Birnin Kebbi (South-West); Senator Chris Adighije, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University, Lokoja (South-East); and Prof Olu Obafemi, Pro-Chancellor, Federal University of Technology, Minna (North-Central).

“Others are Prof Zubairu Iliyasu, Pro-Chancellor, Kano State University of Science & Technology (North-West); and Matthew B. Seiyefa, Pro-Chancellor, Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island (South-South).

“The team will be inaugurated by the minister by 12noon, on Monday, March 7, 2022 at the minister’s conference room, headquarters of the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja.

“All advisers and observers in the Federal Government/University-based Unions 2009 Agreements Re-negotiation Team are expected to attend the inauguration.”

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2023: Buhari may meet Osinbajo, Tinubu, Amaechi, others

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President Muhammadu Buhari would this week meet with all the preidential aspirants of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The meeting was called with a view to reducing the number of presidential hopefuls and also ensuring that all of them pledge to accept the outcome of the primary as was done during the APC presidential primary in 2014.

“The President will meet with the aspirants a few days to the primary with a view to ensuring that there is unity and harmony. He will also meet with the governors separately. The date is not fixed yet, but it should be this week if INEC doesn’t extend the deadline for the primary as we are all hoping,” said an APC chieftain who wished to remain anonymous.

“The President has a candidate. How to present the idea to the likes of Tinubu will be the challenge,” he added.

Buhari’s most senior spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, had said last week that the President indeed had a preferred candidate.

He stated, “In a previous interview when the President was asked whether he had a favourite candidate, he answered yes; but he will not mention him because mischief may happen to that person.

“That shows you that the President himself is interested in the process and he has a preferred candidate; but whether he will impose his candidate is what you cannot determine at the moment.”

When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said he was not aware of any meeting the President would be having with the aspirants.

“I am not aware of any meeting as of now,” he said.

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Gunmen behead abducted Anambra lawmaker from Governor Soludo’s constituency, hang head in motor park

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Gunmen who abducted a member of the Anambra State House of Assembly, Okey Okoye, have beheaded him.

After beheading him, his head was reportedly displayed at a motor park in Nnobi, Idemili South Local Government Area of the state.

The incident, which happened on Saturday, created panic in the community, which had been witnessing a series of violent killings since last year.

Sources added that his body was not there and indications were that the killers removed the body.

“The Anambra lawmaker representing Soludo’s constituency, Okechukwu Okoye who was earlier kidnapped, has been beheaded by gunmen; the late lawmaker’s head was mounted at Chisco Park in Amichi community,” a military source said on Saturday.

Gunmen had last Sunday abducted the lawmaker who was representing Aguata II state constituency in Aguata alongside Cyril Chiegboka, his campaign director.

Governor Charles Soludo had said during the week that efforts were ongoing to rescue the Anambra lawmaker from his abductors.

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MC Oluomo allegedly demands N100million to support re-election of Oshodi Rep member

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Chairman of the Lagos State Parks Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya, popularly called MC Oluomo, is allegedly demanding N100 million to support the re-election of the member representing Oshodi Federal Constituency 1 in the House of Representatives, Hon. Bashiru Dawodu.

Dawodu, a medical doctor, rode on the back of MC Oluomo to win the election in 2019 after series of attempts in the past.

Dawodu presenting his Certificate of Return to MC Oluomo

Both, however, fell apart few months after Dawodu was elected due to irreconcilable differences .

MC Oluomo is said to be angry with Dawodu for not honouring agreements he (Dawodu) had with him prior to his victory in 2019.

MC Oluomo, who is seen as de-facto leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Oshodi was said to have vowed to work against Dawodu’s re-election in 2023.

He is believed to be working for the emergence of a former Chairman of Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Afeez Ipesa Balogun to emerge as the APC’s candidate for the House of Representatives election in the constituency.

However, party leaders in the local government including the Chairman of the council, Kehinde Oloyede Almoof had appealed to MC Oluomo to tone down his opposition to Dawodu and support his re-election.

It was gathered that MC Oluomo did not turn down the fence-mending approach because he said he did the same with Oloyede who was his former arch-enemy.

It was further gathered that MC Oluomo demanded N100 million from Dawodu before he gets his support.

The money according to MC Oluomo is to settle his aides and loyalists, who supported Dawodu in 2019 but were abandoned by the Rep member.

According to sources at the various fence-mending meeting, appeals to MC Oluomo to reduce the amount were rebuffed.

Another dimension has, however, been added to the involvement of Oloyede in the matter.

The sources revealed that the council chairman, Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own interest.

Oloyede has been eyeing the Rep seat before his election as the council chairman.

Oloyede’s calculation according to the sources is that should Dawood gets the second term, it would be easy for him (Oloyede) to contest for the seat in 2027.

One of the sources who does not want his name in print because of backlash said : “Oloyede is supporting Dawood because of his own personal interest. He believes supporting Dawood may work for him in 2027.

Continuing, the source noted that Oloyede would rather support Dawodu over any other candidates because others eyeing the seat are first timers, who may want to seek for re-election in 2027.

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