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Armed forces will never be part of plot to truncate democracy – DHQ

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The Defence Headquarters has dismissed as malicious propaganda, the report peddled by some unscrupulous elements of plot by some military officers to disrupt the forthcoming general elections.

The Acting Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Tukur Gusau, said this in a statement on Saturday in Abuja.

The defence spokesman added that the Armed Forces of Nigeria was dismayed that even politically exposed persons had denigrated themselves into joining the agents of destabilisation.

He said that the unscrupulous elements claimed that some military officers met with a Presidential candidate with the aim of disrupting the general elections and setting the country on fire.

According to him, the purveyors of the wicked and very malicious propaganda also indicated that a so-called Thursday meeting is plotting a Coup d’etat to establish unconstitutional order.

The Defence spokesman said those who made the false claims were agents of destabilisation and violence seeking to heighten tension in the polity and would be made to face the wrath of the law.

“It needs to be stated that the Armed Forces of Nigeria is a professional military that is loyal to the constitution of the Federal Republic and will never be part of any evil plot against our democracy.

“Besides, the Military remains apolitical and neutral in the current political process and will not engage in the alleged shenanigans.

“The Armed Forces of Nigeria will never be part of any ignoble plot to truncate our hard-earned democracy,” he said.

Gusau said the military high command would ensure that those who fabricated and spread the unfounded report were invited by appropriate law enforcement agencies to substantiate their claims.

“The general public is advised to disregard such information and go about their normal activities,” he added.

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MAN Oron Rector advocates creation of more privately owned maritime training institutions

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The Rector, Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) in Oron Akwa Ibom State, Commodore Duja Effedua has said that the academy is not in competition with any private academy, even as he called for more indigenous investors in Maritime Training Institutions (MTIs).

Duja at a stakeholders meeting in Lagos on Tuesday revealed that MAN is also mentoring some private MTIs including a university who are currently using the academy’s facility for training.

“I have always encouraged indigenous entrepreneurs to establish maritime institutions, it is capacity building for the nation.

“The Academy is owned by the government, but it is not in competition with other Maritime Training Institutions in Nigeria.

“I have always taken up initiative to mentor them, for instance, more than five maritime training institutions, including a university are currently using our facility and we are training them,” Duja confirmed.

The MAN Rector revealed that the academy is looking forward to investment partnership with the Greek Shipping sector for development and expansion in the academy.

“We are looking at the Greek maritime industry as one of the best in the world, initially we had some deals with some UK firms, but I am not too pleased with the conditions and what they are offering. But I think Greece would offer us something better,” he said

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ASUU issues two-month ultimatum to FG over withheld salaries, others

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities has given the Federal Government a two-month ultimatum to implement all its demands or else it will use all legitimate means, including invoking ‘no pay, no work’ to enforce compliance.

Speaking on Tuesday during a press conference held by the Lagos State Zone of ASUU at the University of Lagos, Zonal Coordinator, Adelaja Odukoya, said Nigeria was on the verge of collapse.

Over the years, ASUU has frequently resorted to prolonged strike actions to pressure the FG into implementing its numerous demands aimed at benefiting the university system and its teaching staff.

Unfortunately, despite the government’s promises to the union on numerous occasions, these pledges often remain unfulfilled.

Some of the unfulfilled promises the government made to ASUU were the renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 agreement, the non-release of withheld salaries and arrears of Earned Academic Allowances, inadequate funding of universities, proliferation of universities, and deceitful Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System.

He said, “At our last NEC meeting on May 11 to 12, held at the Obafemi Awolowo University, we decided to give the government just two months to implement all our demands or else our union will raise powerfully in defence of the Nigerian public universities. Nigeria is on the verge of collapse, and all of its parts are being pulled along with it by the type of leaders who control its political and administrative spheres.

“It should not go without saying that our great and patriotic union will not give up even a single square inch of territory to grasshoppers that want to destroy our country, whose sole objective is the cavalier accumulation of illegal wealth.”

Odukoya narrated that ASUU would not fold its hands and watch politicians who prioritised themselves over and above the development of Nigeria destroy the public universities.

He maintained that if things continued as it is, ASUU as a patriotic union, would also rise powerfully in defence of the over-burdened and inhumanly over-taxed Nigerian people.

Odukoya revealed that the inadequate funding of Nigerian universities was intentional to keep the country perpetually backwards.

He said, “As you can see, the university’s inadequate funding is intentional. It is in tandem with the neoliberal agenda of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund which is to keep us perpetually backward and underdeveloped.

“No surprise our universities are in a programmatic way being transformed into superfluous entrepreneurial establishments that process bread and pure water, rather than to citadels of innovation and creativity of advanced technology.

“The intention is to make the country a consumer of technology rather than a veritable player in the knowledge and technology industry. ASUU rejects this in all entirety and calls on all well-meaning Nigerians to join in our crusade to force better funding for education and universities as an agent of liberation for our people.”

Odukoya explained that the renegotiated 2009 Agreement remained in its drafted form, owing to the government’s refusal to either sign the document or request a review if it had issues with certain areas.

“The Agreement, as you might be aware from past documents, covers not just conditions of service (salaries and allowances), but funding of universities, university Autonomy and Academic Freedom, and other matters.

“The refusal of the government to conclude the renegotiation indicates a lack of understanding of the profound nature of the document such that the government is now pretending that giving a salary award has now rested the matter.

“The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) Convention No. 98 addresses the principle of collective bargaining within which our union continues to engage the government on this topic. The ILO’s C095 Protection of Wages Convention, 1949 provides for “mutual agreement in alteration of wages payable in virtue of a written or unwritten contract of employment by an employer to an employed person” (Article 1) The provisions of ILO’s C095 (Article 2 1 & 2) assert.”

Also speaking, former chairman, ASUU-UNILAG, Dele Ashiru, added, “In two months, if all of these outstanding issues are not implemented, the NEC will convey to take further actions. We are here to draw government attention and alert the Nigerian people to the lacklustre nature of government response to the unresolved issues between the government and our union.

“We put the people of Nigeria on notice that should there be a crisis in the university system, Bola Tinubu should be squarely held responsible. One year is ample time to begin the process of rectifying the shortcomings of the APC-led Buhari administration.”

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Student loan for all public institutions – NELFUND

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The management of the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) has described reports that the student loan programme is exclusive to federal institutions as false and misleading.

NELFUND clarified in a Tuesday statement titled, “Clarification: State Institutions Included in Student Loan Programme” that the narrative pushed across social media is incorrect.

PUNCH Online reports that this new position corroborated what the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Fund, Akintinde Sawyerr, said on Monday at a Pre-Application Sensitisation Press Conference in Abuja.

He noted that the first batch will be for students in federal schools and the next for state schools.

“The loan application process has been streamlined to ensure easy access for all eligible students in federal tertiary institutions,” he had said.

However, in the new statement, signed by the Media and Public Relations Lead for Nigerian Education Loan Fund, Nasir Ayitogo, NELFUND confirmed clearly that state schools’ students would also benefit.

“State institutions are unequivocally by law included in our student loan programme. The programme is designed to roll out in phases to ensure effective and efficient management of the process.

“The first phase for a start will focus on students attending federal institutions.

“The second phase, which will be launched shortly after the initial rollout, will extend the programme to students at state institutions.

“NELFUND is fully committed to providing financial support to all eligible students, regardless of whether they attend Federal or State tertiary public institutions,” the statement read.

The mission of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda is to ensure that all desirous students have access to the financial resources necessary to pursue their educational goals and aspirations, NELFUND posited.

PUNCH Online reports that NELFUND is a pivotal financial institution established under the Student Loans Act, 2024.

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