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Strike: Abiodun appeals to ASUU, FG to resolve impasse

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…Inaugurates Governing-Councils in Ogun tertiary institutions

As the feud between the Federal Government and the  academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continues, the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun, has appealed to both parties to find ways of resolving the crisis for the interest of students and the nation as a whole.

Abiodun, who made the appeal on Thursday, at the inauguration of the Governing-Councils of the state-owned tertiary institutions, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, decried the prolonged crisis, which according to him has done more harm to the education sector of the country.

“Let me add my voice for a quick resolution to the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). We can all see the effects in the unresolved crisis not only in our education system, but all sectors of our economy. These students are out of school and we all know that an idle mind is an available workshop for the devil.

“This is no more a matter of who is right or who is wrong, it is a matter of what is good for the youths of our nation. I, therefore, appeal to both sides to find a meeting point and resolve this crisis for the good of our youths and our nation in general,” he pleaded.

He, however, urged the newly inaugurated council members of the tertiary institutions in Ogun to synergize with the management of their various institutions.

Abiodun further charged them to look into how to surpass what the administration inherited by placing the schools in vantage position to compete with similar institutions around the world.

“I want you to look at how do we ensure that Tai Solarin University of Education is no just the  first university of education in Nigeria, but continue to be the best in Nigeria and one the top universities in the world.

“We must not be satisfied with the 24th ranking of the Olabisi Onabanjo University out of 157 in Nigeria as at 2022, but how to restore the glory of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Ojere, Abeokuta in the area of Mass Communication and related courses. We must ensure that the management of these institutions in the area of infrastructure, curriculum planning and other areas are in tandem with the development needs of our state,” the governor emphasised.

He further tasked the council members on the need to offer quality advice to the state government, entrench improved and newer courses of efficiency and effectiveness in running the affairs of their respective institutions.

The Governor also asked them to use their connections and expertise to drive development through a robust Public Private Partnership initiative.

On steps taken to reposition the educational sector in the state, Abiodun said 24,000 pieces of furniture had been distributed to all public primary and secondary schools, while the running cost to public primary and secondary schools had been increased to 120 percent.

He added that his administration has approved the Ogun State Education Intervention Fund (OGSEIF) to the tune of N200m, as a Special Intervention Fund for the dducation sector, while 5,000 interns from the Ogun Teach Intervention Programme had been employed to fill vacancies in primary, secondary and technical colleges in the State.

Other interventions, according to the governor,. include repositioning and construction of Central Education Management Information System (EMIS) for data gathering, analysis and presentation, approval of autonomy for the State Agency for Mass Education; and approval for the composition of the Board of the Ogun State Library.

“In the area of education in particular, we have invested heavily in infrastructure, human capital development, curriculum development and so on, at all strata of our education sector. Our administration’s direct interventions can be seen the immediate approvals for the release of the promotion of primary and secondary school teachers for 2016 and 2017. We have also cleared 2018, 2019 and 2020 promotion exercises. Our Teaching Service is already compiling the list of our teaching and non-teaching staff eligible for 2021 and 2022 promotion exercises,” the governor noted.

Responding,  the Chairman, the  Governing-Council of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Professor Toyin Ashiru, thanked Governor Abiodun for giving them the opportunity to serve the state, promising that the governing boards of all the state owned schools would reinvigorate its internally generated revenue in order to reduce the financial burden off the state government.

While promising to justify the confidence reposed in them, Ashiru assured that the council members would work assiduously in ensuring that tertiary education is taken to an enviable position in the state.

Earlier in his opening remarks, the Commissioner for Education Science, and Technology, Prof. Abayomi Arigbabu, said the inauguration of the governing council would ensure proper management of the institutions and act as an impetus to achieve the vision of the state government in the education sector.

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AMCON files bankruptcy suit against Milan Industries’ Chairman, Rajesh Valecha, Directors over alleged N42bn debt

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The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has filed bankruptcy proceedings before the Federal High Court in Lagos against the Chairman of Milan Industries Limited, Milan Nigeria Ltd and Milan Beverages Ltd, Rajesh Valecha and four other directors of the companies over their alleged inability to repay a N42 billion debt.

The other directors named in petitions are, Ramesh Valechha, Vikram Valechha, and Akin Femiwa Akinsola.

Already, Justice Daniel Osiagor has granted an order permitting Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to serve the Chairman, Board of Directors of Milan Industries Limited, Mr Ramesh Valechha and three of it’s Directors, court processes through substituted means over alleged N41,511,758,031.14 indebtedness.

Other affected Directors are Rajesh Valechha, Vikram Valechha and Akin Femiwa Akinsola.

Justice Daniel Osiagor gave the order while ruling on an ex parte application filed by AMCON’s counsel, Mr. Kunle Ogunba SAN to allow the Corporation serve the defendants in the suit processes via substituted means.

The Court granted the Application upon reading the affidavit in support, exhibits attached and the Written Address dated and filed on the 20th March, 2024, deposed to by Moses Festus, a legal practitioner with the law firm of Kunle Ogunba & Associates.

After hearing Mr. Ogunba, counsel for the creditor move in terms of the motion paper, the court made the following orders; “That leave is granted to the Applicant herein to effect service of Originating Processes (Creditor’s Petition and Affidavit of Non-Multiplicity of action) and all other processes to be filed in this proceeding on the Debtor through any of the following substituted means to wit; by posting at the debtor’s last known address at Road 2, G17/18, VGC Ayali, Lagos State, Lagos State.

“By advertising same in any edition of the dailies/newspapers circulating within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court.

“By serving same on the law firm of A.B Kasunmu Chambers, at 284 Murtala Mohammed Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos State, being Solicitors to the parent companies (Milan Industries Limited and Milan Nigeria Limited.

“That an order is granted deeming the Service of the processes as stated in (1) above as proper service in the peculiar circumstance”.

The court has adjourned the matter till 18th of June, 2024 for hearing.

AMCON had in its petition in suit number FHC/L/BK/05/2023 stated that Ramesh Valechha, who resides at LSPDC Flats Ground Floor Adeola Odeku Victoria Island, Lagos State is one of the alter-egos of the indebted company.

The petitioner stated that Ramesh Valechha directly oversaw the day to day affairs of the Companies by virtue of which the Companies were collectively availed facilities by Skye Bank Plc. (now Polaris Bank Limited) and are now collectively indebted to the Bank in the sum of NGN41,511,758,031.14 (Forty-One Billion, Five Hundred and Eleven Million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand, Thirty-One Naira, Fourteen Kobo).

It stated that by formal requests for initial and additional facilities vide letters dated 7th April, 2010; 12th August, 2010; 9th December, 2010; 9th December, 2010; 18th February, 2011; and 8th June, 2012, the Debtor Companies under the leadership of the Debtors requested various facilities from Skye Bank Pic.

The Debtor Companies, (Milan Industries Limited; and Milan Nigeria Limited) were thus collectively availed U.S. Dollars and Naira loan facilities respectively vide offer letters from Skye Bank Plc, dated 14th May, 2007; 4th February, 2010; 6th April, 2010; 16 February, 2011; and 14th June, 2012 which were accepted and duly drawn down by the said Debtor Companies.

It stated that Skye Bank Plc availed the Debtor companies several facilities, principally for the construction of a 361-room Hotel Facility known as Intercontinental Hotel (now Lagos Continental Hotel), situate at 52, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Similarly, in Suit number FHC/L/BK/02/2023, Justice Yellim Bogoro, of the Federal high court in Lagos has granted a Motion ex-parte restraining Vikram Valechha, a director in Milan Industries Limited and Milan Nigeria Limited from operating, withdrawing from or dealing with the Debtor’s funds in any Bank or Financial Institution within Nigeria pending the hearing and final determination of petition filed by AMCON.

Justice Bogoro also directed Banks or Financial Institutions in Nigeria harbouring the Debtor’s account{s) to furnish the Creditor or its firm of Solicitors, the details of the credit outstanding in the Debtor’s account(s) within 7 (seven) days of receipt of the enabling Order.

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Olatunji’s abduction: Media bodies, Civil societies refer matter to ombudsman, allege increasing militarisation of civic space

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Media bodies and Civil Society organisations have referred the matter of the abduction of the General Editor of FirstNews newspapers, Mr. Segun Olatunji to the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC).

This was disclosed in a joint statement issued by the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Nigerian Press Organisations (NPO), Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON), President, Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), National President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Guild of Corporate Online Publishers (GOCOP), International Press Institute, Nigeria Chapter (IPI Nigeria), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), International Press Centre (IPC) and the  Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project (SERAP) on Sunday.

The organisations noted that in response to its concerns expressed by the Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO), the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) and Civil Society Partners, on the abduction of the General Editor of FirstNews newspapers, Mr. Segun Olatunji, and a demand on the government for accountability, the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), requested a meeting with the NPO, BON and the Civil Society Partners on April 14.2024.

“The military authorities said they acted to forestall a potential threat to national security and would have reported the matter to the National Media Complaints Commission (NMCC) – The National Media Ombudsman – if they had been aware of its existence.

“After considering this disposition towards the Ombudsman, the NPO, BON and the Civil Society Partners have decided after reviewing the outcome of the April 14 meeting, to refer the matter to the Ombudsman for adjudication,” the statement read in part.

It also stated that the report of the Ombudsman process would be made public while urging the military to settle the matter in the interest of law, order and respect for the provisions of Nigeria’s constitution.

The group also condemned an alleged increased militarisation of the civic space noting that it has seen increasing use of excessive force by soldiers in matters that would ordinarily be handled by the police.

Recall that the group had earlier condemned the abduction of the FirstNews Editor.

The aggrieved bodies and associations demanded a speedy, public, transparent and independent investigation into this act of barbarism displayed by military personnel as well as the brazen disregard for the Constitution and the Government’s obligations under relevant domestic laws and international instruments.

They stated that all persons within and outside the military who are found to have been connected with this unacceptable violation of the rights of the journalist and the Constitution, including those who effected Mr. Olatunji’s arrest, detention and torture, those who directly commanded them, and those who ordered or instigated the action, should be prosecuted before the appropriate court and punished to the full extent of the Law.

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APC, PDP at loggerheads in Osun over Adeleke’s religion, rebranding of FG’s palliatives

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…As APC accuses Adeleke of rebranding FG’s palliatives

By Ismail Azeez, Osogbo

The All Progressives Congress (APC) and People Democratic Party, (PDP) in Osun, are at loggerheads over what the APC described as a deceitful act of Governor Ademola Adeleke claim to be a Christianity and Muslim at the same.

The opposition also accused the state government under watch of Governor Ademola Adeleke of rebranding the Federal Government’s rice palliatives meant for ameliorating the effects of fuel subsidy on the citizenry.

In a separate press statement over the weekend, the state chairman of the APC, Tajudeen Lawal, through a statement issued by the party’s Director of Media and Information, Chief Kola Olabisi, observed that Governor Adeleke is breaching a vital part of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended by presenting himself as both a Muslim and Christian contemporaneously.

Lawal explained that his observation of Governor Adeleke portrayed him as someone who believes in using his fake religious attachment as a tool to advance and sustain his political aspiration which subsequently is to the disadvantage of the overall development of the state.

Lawal said, “As the incumbent state governor, Senator Ademola Adeleke owes the people of the state a duty to declare his faith and rather than claiming double membership of both Christianity and Islam with the ulterior aim of fraudulently harvesting their votes during the elections.

“One of the reasons it would be pungent clear that Governor Adeleke has not been faithful in claiming to belong to two faiths is that he has been frustrating the moslems and the christians with his privileged position as the state Chief executive.

“It is high time Governor Adeleke stopped his flagrant game and came up clear with his real faith as he won’t be the first or the last person worldwide whose parents shared different faiths,” Lawal stated.

The opposition party called on the people of the state to be wary of another antics of Governor Ademola Adeleke to pull a fast one on the citizens over another consignment of the Federal Government’s rice palliatives meant for ameliorating the effects of fuel subsidy on the citizenry.

The party alleged that Governor Adeleke is perfecting a means of shortchanging the people of the state again with reference to the issue of the new consignments of rice from Abuja.

Lawal stated that a credible source authoritatively confirmed that about two weeks ago, trailers loaded with bags of rice branded in the name of the Federal Government of Nigeria were offloaded  in the Ministry of Agriculture, State Government Secretariat, Abere, and are being re-branded to Osun State Government.

He explained further that the bags of rice which are being rebranded at a secret location in the state ministry have the photograph of Governor Ademola Adeleke inscribed on it in order to give a false impression that the palliative items are provided by his administration.

In Lawal’s words: “Is it fair or justifiable for a state government to corner the palliatives meant for the people and pretend as if it is the state that is providing it?

“What informs the choice of Governor Adeleke to order that the palliative rice should be re-branded with the inscription of his photograph and name on it?

“There cannot be any other name for this action other than official fraud.

“It is our resolve as a party that the trailer-loads of palliative rice sent by the APC-led administration at the Federal level should not be used by Governor Adeleke to play dirty politics to the disadvantage of the opposition.”

Reacting to the allegations of the opposition party, the chairman of the People Democratic Party, PDP, Hon Sunday Bisi, and Commissioner for the Ministry of Information and Public Enlightenment, Kolapo Alimi over the weekend said: The opposition party has derailed to the extent of issuing statements on Mr Governor’s religious affiliation.

“The state APC has dishonorably derailed to the extent of issuing statements on Mr Governor’s religious affiliation. The opposition is bereft of ideas and has become too overwhelmed to craft appropriate strategies to respond to the PDP government’s great performance.

“A responsible opposition will focus on alternative policy proposals to counter a sitting government. We affirm that the state APC  is unelectable in 2026 due to its depressional outbursts, its evil legacy and its worsening public ratings.

“We challenge the APC and particularly Mr Gboyega Oyetola to respond to the latest scandal to the opposition. A civil society group, Osun Transparency Alliance, just threatened to drag the former Governor to the anti-graft agencies.

“The Osun APC left a legacy of squandermania and destruction of state assets. The former administration virtually left the state in ruins across the sectors. Osun people mandated Governor Adeleke to rebuild the state and put it on a pedestal of sustainable growth and development.

“That is the mandate of the Osun people to Mr. Governor and he is fulfilling those obligations. The people of Osun state are also following up with the administration. The people see and appreciate the rebuilding efforts.

“Our people want good governance. They want an upgrade of state infrastructure, good schools, better health access, food availability, environment for job creation and security of lives and properties. They care less about your religion. Voters want good governance and Mr Governor is delivering,” the statement posited.

But, Kolapo Alimi said there is no truth in the allegation, saying the release from the APC is another manifestation of the opposition’s desperation.

According to the Commissioner, “the federal rice palliatives are just coming into the state and none of it was re-bagged.

“The delivery is still ongoing and they are in safe keeping as they are delivered. The government has already activated its structure for the sharing of the federal palliative to reach all strata of the society.

“The government however deem the supply from the central government insufficient,  hence its decision to buy more trucks of rice for distribution to the population.

“Rice purchased by the state which are also being delivered are however branded and they are also due for sharing very soon. What is branded are the state’s rice, not federal palliative , the delivery of which is still ongoing.

“We challenge the APC leadership to come to the State stores for verification. Sooo Tajudeen Lawal and his team of fake news merchants will,  after inspection, see the futility of lying to misled the public.

“The present administration is committed to due process, rule of law, transparency and accountability for the delivery of good governance. Members of the public should ignore the rantings of an opposition in search of political direction,” the statement read.

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