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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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Adeleke bags fellowship award on infrastructure devt

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Gov. Ademola Adeleke of Osun has bagged the fellowship award of a socio-cultural group, Ede Unique Club of Nigeria, in recognition of the various infrastructural development projects embarked upon since his assumption of office.

Spokesperson for the organisation, Prince Wale Ojetimi, said in a statement on Tuesday in Osogbo that the investiture of the fellowship award would hold in Ede on Thursday, as part of the organisation’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

Ojetimi said that the award was a testimonial to Adeleke’s personal achievements and his progeny’s remarkable contributions to the socio-economic and political development of Osun and Nigeria at large.

He said that the governor would also perform the inauguration of the N5.5 million solar-powered facility donated by the club to the State Hospital in Ede.

The spokesperson said that the solar-powered facility was part of the organisation’s corporate social responsibility component of its 40th anniversary.

He said that the event, to be presided over by the Timi of Ede, Oba Munirudeen Lawal, will feature an anniversary lecture to be delivered by a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Prof. Mojeed Alabi.

According to him, among the prominent individuals to receive special recognition awards at the event is a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), Wale Abass.

 Abass recently retired from Nigeria Police Force (NPF) as AIG after 35 years of service to the country.

The club is a non-partisan, socio-cultural organisation of leaders in business, academia, the professions and public service who have excelled in their various chosen fields and are contributing positively to the society, both in Nigeria and the Diaspora.

The organisation, established in 1983, engages in human capital and social development, focusing particularly on development of young people.

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Sallah: No security breaches in Ebonyi — NSCDC

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The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) on Tuesday, said so far there has not been any security breach as Ebonyi residents join other Nigerians to celebrate Eid-el Fitri.

The State Commandant of the corps, Dr Elijah Willie, said in Abakalikii that the celebration in the state has been peaceful.

Willie said he was monitoring operations of his personnel deployed across the state especially at security flashpoints.

“We deployed over 700 personnel across the state to ensure maximum security during the celebration.

“We are maintaining the same security deployment used during the sit-at-home directive of an outlawed group in the south east zone, on May 30.

“We are working in synergy with relevant security agencies  to ensure that there are no security breaches across the state,” he said.

He urged the citizens to continue being law-abiding and provide security agencies with relevant information to combat crime.

“I advise criminals to repent or leave the state as the NSCDC and other security agencies would make life very uncomfortable for them.

“The citizens should see security agencies as their friends because protecting their lives and properties is our business,” he said.

He thanked Gov. Francis Nwifuru for his support to security agencies in the state which, he said had made their work easier and more efficient.

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Enugu residents turn to charcoal stove as kerosene price soars

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Some Enugu residents have jettisoned their kerosene stoves, opting for charcoal stoves instead due to the high cost of kerosene which currently sells for between N1,350 and N1,600 per litre.

A market survey on charcoal on Tuesday in Enugu, revealedthat many people now prefer charcoal for cooking due to its affordable price.

A charcoal seller in Garki Market, Grace Umeh, said that although the price of charcoal had risen from N5, 000 to N8,000 per sack; the patronage had continued to soar.

Umeh said the increase in patronage was because an average family of five could use up to 20 litres of kerosene in a month for their cooking.

“So, the family spends over N20, 000 on kerosene in a month.

“On the other hand, a bag of charcoal will last for two months, no matter the pressure of use, for the same size of family,’’ she said.

Another seller at Mayor Market, ObyOkafor, said that most families were buying the commodity in large quantities due to the high cost of kerosene and other energy sources.

“We have continued to experience good and profitable business for some time now in this charcoal business,” Okafor said.

Mrs Christiana Ozor, a charcoal dealer at Achara Layout, said that due to increase in patronage, she now sells more than two bags a day.

Some buyers said that using the charcoal for cooking had saved them a lot of money.

Mr Gilbert Nnamdi, a father of four, said the new charcoal stove introduced to him by his friend had helped him to reduce the amount he spent on kerosene.

“With only N200 charcoal my wife can cook a pot of soup and a pot of rice for the family no matter the quantity of the food.

“This new charcoal stove does not take time to catch fire and does not bring out smoke while cooking with it,” he said.

Another charcoal user, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that she had been using charcoal since the increase in the price of kerosene.

“I stopped using kerosene when the price increased to N900 and because I am afraid of using cooking gas, I quickly opted for charcoal as a means of energy cooking source,” she said.

Food vendors are not left out in the rush for charcoal because they can no longer afford the prices of kerosene and cooking gas.

A restaurant owner, MsIjeoma Dim, explained that the high costs of kerosene and cooking gas had given charcoal a sudden prominence.

MrOforAnyawu, added that charcoal sellers now made brisk business due to the price increase of other cooking energy sources.

Anyawu called on the government to make all cooking energy sources affordable and available for the masses, especially in the face of economic challenges in the country.

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