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“Lecturers can’t work on empty stomach” ASUU declares indefinite strike

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On Monday, there were serious indications that students of public universities in the country would stay at home further as the Academic Staff Union of Universities dismissed the Federal Government’s directive that all educational institutions in the country should resume on Monday next week, Themoneymetrics reports.

The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in a telephone interview with The PUNCH,  said the Federal Government was not sincere about negotiations with the union, adding that lecturers would not resume on an empty stomach.

Ogunyemi specifically took a swipe at the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, for violating a directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that lecturers’ salaries should be paid.

He hinted that Nigerians should be ready for a long-drawn strike in universities with the way government was handling negotiations.

Also, the Non-Academic Staff  Union on Monday said the Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System was not transparent, saying many of its members were being cheated.

Both  NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities began a 14-day warning strike on Monday over the adoption of the IPPIS  in universities and non-payment of minimum wage to their members.

The Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, had, at a media briefing in Abuja on Friday,  said government had approved the reopening of educational institutions beginning from Monday, October 12.

Recall that all educational institutions in the country were shut in March following the outbreak of COVID-19.

But before March, the Federal Government and ASUU had been at loggerheads over the IPPIS,  which the later said   should not be adopted in universities because it would violate their autonomy.

Buhari, during the presentation of the 2020 budget in October last year, ordered ministries, departments and agencies to migrate to the IPPIS as part of efforts to check fraud.

On March 23, ASUU began an indefinite strike to force the Federal Government to implement its agreements with lecturers and protest against the IPPIS .

Responding to a question on when the strike would end, Ogunyemi stated, “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach. You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met. It is a very clear decision that anybody will  make in  this circumstance.”

He said that on August 18, ASUU wrote the Federal Government, stating that it was ready to demonstrate its University Transparency Accountability Solution, which it designed as alternative to the IPPIS. According to him, the union did not receive government’s reply until September 30.

Explaining contents of the letters, he stated, “They said they were considering our requests for a meeting. Mainly, we raised two points in the letter we wrote to them, that we are ready to demonstrate our platform which is the alternative to the IPPIS.  We had earlier presented it to the Ministry of Education, although we told the Ministry of Labour that they should facilitate presentation to other stakeholders, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. It is from there we are being dribbled.”

Withholding our salaries not good for negotiations – Union

Berating the AGF, ASUU president stated,  “The AGF has withheld salaries of our members. The salaries withheld range from three months to eight months and I don’t think that is good negotiations. If you think you can use hunger as a weapon of war against Nigerian academics,  it means the government is not sincere about building an enviable university system in Nigeria.

“All these games of arm- twisting, intimidation and manipulation will not take them far and that is why we want Nigerians to prevail on the AGF to stop this attack on our members.  He is using hunger as a weapon of war and he should get ready to be tried for genocide.

Govt wants to  frustrate our payment platform – Lecturers

“We have reasons to believe they are trying to frustrate the new platform we have developed and we are not going to take that kindly because we used the contributions of our members to develop that platform. We didn’t take a kobo from government because we thought we should demonstrate patriotism.”

He recalled that at a meeting between the union and the government held on March 17,  issues such as visitation panel to universities, earned academic allowances and revitalisation of the institutions were discussed.

“I want to assure Nigerians that while the AGF may claim that he is achieving his objectives by humiliating some lecturers,  we have a vast majority of our lecturers who are resolute and they are ready and steady in the ongoing struggle and at the appropriate time the showdown will come and Nigerians will see the truth about what is behind the IPPIS,” Ogunyemi stated.

Efforts to   get reactions of the  Director of Information in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Henshaw Ogubike, did not succeed as   he had  not responded to questions sent  to his phone as of the time of sending this report.   He had earlier requested that the questions should be sent to his phone.

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FG will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students – Buhari

The President has warned hostage-taking bandits that his government will not succumb to blackmail.

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President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the Federal Government will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments.

The President disclosed this in a social media statement on Friday evening, in reaction to the kidnap of students in Zamfara.

“Our primary objective is to get all the school hostages safe, alive and unharmed,” Buhari said.

He added that the FG had the capacity to deploy massive force against the bandits in the villages where they operated; however, the Army was limited by the possibility of heavy casualties of innocent villagers and hostages who might be used as human shields by the bandits.

A hostage crisis is a complex situation that requires maximum patience in order to protect the victims from physical harm or even brutal death at the hands of their captors,” he said.

The President said bandits and terrorists should not entertain the illusion that they were more powerful than the government.

“They shouldn’t mistake our restraint for the humanitarian goals of protecting innocent lives as a weakness or a sign of fear or resolution.


“We will not succumb to blackmail by bandits and criminals who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments,” he added.

What you should know 

  • It was reported that armed bandits kidnapped 317 female students at the Girls Secondary School, Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State on Friday.
  • The Commissioner of Police in Zamfara, Abutu Yaro, said, “We are doing our best along with all sister security agencies, members of the vigilantè group and the state government to get to the bottom of this matter.”

 

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Kidnapped Kagara schoolboys and staff have been released

The abducted students and staff of Government Science Secondary School Kagara, in Niger State, have been released.

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The kidnapped school students and staff of Government Science Secondary School Kagara, in Rafi Local Government Area of Niger State, have been released according to sources.

This was disclosed in an exclusive report by Channels TV on Saturday morning.

According to the report, the release of the abductees was confirmed by a government official.

What you should know

  • The students were abducted by the bandits dressed in military uniforms on Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
  • A total of 27 students, three staff members, and 12 members of their family were abducted after the attack on the Kagara school in the early hours of Wednesday.
  • President Muhammadu Buhari said that the Federal Government will not succumb to blackmail by bandits who target innocent school students in the expectation of huge ransom payments.
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Imo State Governor says no life was lost during recent military operations in Orlu

The Imo State Governor has stated that no life was lost in the cause of the recent military operations in Orlu.

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The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has said that no life has been lost in the cause of the recent military operations in Orlu.

This is as the governor, justified the recent invasion of Orlu town by the military, saying that the situation had gone beyond the local arrangement with the police being overwhelmed as sporadic shooting and killings persisted.

This disclosure was made by the Governor, while addressing reporters after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, February 24, 2021.

He said that he had no choice but to alert the President on the need to send the military to help stop the mayhem and avoid a total breakdown of law and order in Orlu.

The Governor while addressing the press said, ‘’It was on my invitation that the military came and I did that because I know that the situation was beyond the local arrangement. We needed help and help were given to us. Those that came, through their intelligence, identified where those people were and I can tell you, all the people arrested, all the rifles recovered are intact. The people are under interrogation. Not even one soldier or one of those militants died in the process.’

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Imo State Government called for the intervention of the military over the criminal activities being perpetrated by suspected members of the Eastern Security Network.
  • They are accused of using weapons stolen from police stations during the #EndSARS crisis to destroy Orlu, kill policemen and 4 Moslems doing their business in Orlu, all under the pretext that they are looking for herdsmen.

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