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FG’s Disobedience To Court Order: SSANU Begins 3-Day Nationwide Protest, Today …NASS Staff Commence Strike, Today, Threaten Budget Presentation …As CUPP Urges NASS To Boycott Budget Presentation

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Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities, SSANU, will today, commence three-day nationwide protest over the Federal Government’s disobedience to court judgment on staff schools and also the inability of government to keep to agreements especially on Earned Allowance.
The resolution to embark on the protest was reached at the 35th regular National Executive Council, NEC, meeting held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.
SSANU in the resolution signed by its National President, Comrade Samson Chijioke Ugwoke and the National Public Relations Officer, Comrade Abdussobur Salaam, accused the Federal Government of disobeying judgment of the National Industrial Court, Abuja, that had two years ago asked that teachers in University Staff Schools that were sacked by government should be reinstated.
The union accused the federal government of being adamant in honouring the judgment to recall the sacked teachers of staff schools.
SSANU President, Comrade Ugwoke, further said that the government has not released the N8 billion Earned Allowance it promised to them.
Recall that the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige had as part of the resolution reached at a conciliation meeting on March 13, 2018, announced that the Federal Government will pay the three non teaching staff N8 billion as their Earned Allowance.
But several months after the agreement was reached, the money was yet to be released and SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, and has also become a source of embarrassment for the leadership.
The resolution read, “The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Education had informed the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee of NAAT, NASU and SSANU via a letter dated 9th August 2018, that approval had been given for the release of Eight Billion Naira being payment of Earned Allowances for Non- Teaching Staff in the Universities and requested for templates for the payments to the unions.”
Continuing, it said, “it appears that the letters being sent to the unions are a delay ploy by the Federal Ministry of Education as the letters in themselves are needless, because the unions had always made their positions known since the irregular disbursement of N23 billion to ASUU in 2017.”
On the technical dismissal of members in the University Staff schools, it said “the status of the workers in the University Staff Schools remained the same despite the National Industrial Court ruling of December 5, 2016 which had ruled that the workers in the University Staff Schools are employees of the Federal Government as the Staff Schools remain an integral part of the University system.”
SSANU, said it was unfortunate that the federal government has continued to show apathy and disinterest in all other aspects of the Memoranda of Understanding reached between it and the union.
“Members have been fully mobilised to participate in the protests, while branches are advised to carry along the media and the security agencies accordingly,” it stated.
The union in the resolution stated that it had comprehensively reviewed the status of the various MoU’s signed between it and the Federal Government in respect of the actualization of the 2009 agreement reached by the duo.
Noting that another letter was received dated 24th October 2018 from the ministry requesting for a schedule of payment from the unions, it said, “SSANU in particular and JAC (Joint Action Committee) in general, had always maintained that disbursement of funds for allowances are not within the purview of unions and that the Government rather than request for templates or schedules from the unions, should rather rely on the submissions of the Universities on Earned Allowances as earlier sent to the Ministry and the NUC.
According to the union, “This is because only the University authorities (Councils and Managements) can determine which staff is entitled to what allowance, as that is what makes it earned.”
SSANU said that the delay in the payment had become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions, while it had also become a source of embarrassment for the leaderships.
It also said that the Federal Government has continued to show disdain and contempt for Court Rulings, the case of the Staff School workers being an example and that the members of staff domiciled in the University Staff Schools, numbering over two thousand, have been subjected to trauma, insecurity and denials of salaries, some going to upward of a year, a situation that the union cannot continue to accept.
Meanwhile, Workers of the National Assembly under the auspices of the Parliamentary Staff Association of Nigeria have said there is no going back on their planned strike scheduled to begin today.
President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the National Assembly last week to notify the legislature of his intention to lay the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday.
As the budget would be laid on Wednesday, the National Assembly has planned to go on Christmas and New Year break on Thursday.
PASAN has, however, vowed to embark on the industrial action, warning that workers would not be on duty when the President would lay the budget.
The workers on December 4, 2018 shut down the National Assembly by picketing the chambers and paralysing legislative activities.
President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, in their intervention, had issued a three-day ultimatum to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Mr Mohammed Sani-Omolori, to address the issues.
The House of Representatives on December 6, 2018, summoned the Minister of Finance, Aisha Mohammed, over the non-release of funds appropriated to the National Assembly, part of which would be used to finance the new Consolidated Salary Structure approved for its workers.
Mohammed was expected to explain the delay on the non-implementation of the 2018 Appropriation Act which captures the 28 per cent increment of salaries under the new structure.
But on December 7 when the ultimatum issued to the clerk expired, PASAN threatened to paralyse activities of federal legislature again, if the management failed to meet their demands.
The Chairman of PASAN, Mr Musa Bature, had said, “We hereby reiterate that the proposed indefinite industrial action that will ground all legislative activities of the National Assembly (will hold),” adding that the workers would down tool from December 17.
The minister on Friday appeared before the Committee on Finance where she said no specific date could be stated for the release of the legislature’s allocation.
Speaking with our correspondent on Friday after the meeting between the minister and the lawmakers, Bature said issues raised by the workers had been partially addressed.
Asked to confirm when the strike would begin, Bature said, “It is Monday; we are starting on Monday. Four days warning strike.”
When asked if he was aware that the President would be at the National Assembly on Wednesday to lay the budget, the PASAN boss replied, “We are not stopping him from coming. But the staff of the National Assembly will not be available. We are not going to work. The legislators can go to work but there will be no staff to work for them.”
When asked if the issues had been addressed, he said, “Not really. Half of them have been attended to while others have not addressed. Some have been attended to but the main ones have not been attended to.”
Bature said, “The condition of service (bill) has been attended to (passed) but the Senate and House have different versions but at least they have passed it and they will meet at the conference to harmonise it. The nomination of the NASC board, they have done their part and transmitted (it) to the President for assent. Those are the two issues that have been attended to.”
Also Coalition of United Political Parties, CUPP, has called on members of the National Assembly, to boycott presentation of the 2019 Appropriation Bill on Wednesday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In a statement by its first national spokesman, Imo Ugochinyere, yesterday, the coalition said the step was necessary to show resentment to the Buhari administration, which it accused of impunity, non-implementation of past budgets, abuse of state institutions and refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, among others.
Ugochinyere said the call for a boycott of the session was hinged on the President’s refusal to substantially implement previous budgets from 2015 to 2018, “which led to rise in poverty;” and “his refusal to sign the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill that will guarantee free and fair elections.”
The statement read, “The opposition coalition holds the view that sitting down and listening to a man who has led several assaults on the institutions of our nation’s constitutional governance is tacit support to his many sins against our nation.
“This is a man who has refused to implement previous budgets passed since 2015 till date; a man who has committed gross misconduct and obstruction of justice by refusing to obey judgments of courts, including ECOWAS Court; a man who disrespects and treats like tissue paper resolutions of parliament.
“This is a man who promised to fix the economy but turned Nigeria into the poverty capital of the world; a man who commands security forces that have no respect for the lives of the citizens; a man who has failed to fight corruption squarely and fairly but rather protects the biggest looters of our nation’s treasury under his watch.
“He does not deserve the company of pure democrats found in the midst of the opposition because such attendance will be abiding and supporting the reign of impunity of Mr. President, who deserves an impeachment notice for his many acts of gross misconduct, incompetence and obstruction of justice and not attendance at his budget speech.”

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KenPoly Sacks 10 Lecturers, Suspends Seven

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Authorities of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Polytechnic in Bori, Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State have confirmed the sack of no fewer than 10 lecturers, while seven others were suspended over alleged sexual harassment in the institution.
The Rector of the polytechnic, Dr. Onengiyeofori Georgewill, who disclosed this to newsmen, said the 8th Governing Council of the institution has already put measures in place to ensure sanity and academic excellence after identifying that sex or money for grades has been a major challenge in the institution.
Georgewill said, “They are so many. I cannot give you the exact number but I know they are so many. I can tell you that as we speak, I am not very sure but not less than 10 lecturers have been sacked.
“And as I speak with you, about seven more are on suspension. I can’t give the exact figure but just about that,” the rector stated.
On proposed plans by the National Assembly to prescribe 15-year jail term for any lecturer found culpable of sex or money-for-grades in the nation’s higher institutions, Georgewill said the polytechnic had been meting out punishment even before the matter received the attention of the Senate.
“We have been doing that even before this law (bill) came because the 8th Governing Council, as soon as they came in, that is one of the areas they actually identified, and immediately put a structure in place, and asked the management to implement.”
The KenPoly rector further said even if the National Assembly prescribes 25-year jail term for randy lecturers, he would have no problem with it, noting that the governing council of the institution was happy with actions taken so far by management on the issue.
“So, we have been doing that and they (governing council) are happy with us. Even if it is 25 years, I am also very comfortable with it,” Georgewill explained.
By: Dennis Naku

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Otedola Donates N5bn To Singer Daughter’s Foundation …Dangote Gives N100m To DJ Cuppy

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Business mogul, Femi Otedola, has donated N5billion to the Cuppy Foundation, a philanthropic project of his singer daughter, Florence Otedola, popularly known as DJ Cuppy.
Mr. Otedola, who was represented by another one of his daughters, Tolani, made the announcement during the ‘Gold Gala,’ an event by his daughter, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, yesterday evening, to a standing ovation from guests in attendance.
Tolani said, “My father, Mr. Femi Otedola, has been at the forefront of supporting worthy causes.
“It is in this spirit that he will be donating the sum of N5billion to the children of Borno, Adamawa and Katsina States through the Save the Children.”
Among the guests were Vice President Yemi Osinbjao; CEO, Save the Children, UK, Kevin Watkins; Mr. Femi Otedola; entrepreneur, Hajia Bola Shagaya; Ambassador Babagana Kingibe; and Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo.
They also included Senator Gabriel Suswam, Representative of Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; Minister of State for Transport, Gbemisola Saraki; National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Adams Oshiomhole; billionaire businessman, Aliko Dangote; and his daughter, Hajia Halima Dangote.
Others were Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen; former Governor of Borno State, Gen Buba Marwa; Group CEO, Oando Plc, Wale Tinubu; Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun; and Governor of Borno State, Babagana Zulum.
Cuppy’s godfather, Dangote, who is the owner of the Dangote Group, also made a donation of N100m.
The businessman told guests that they should not just allow government to do everything as even government had “a lot of challenges.”
Dangote said, “To whom much is given much is expected. It gives me great pleasure to be here supporting my brother, Femi, making this kind of big donation. I believe we need more Nigerians to have big hearts to give back to the needy.
“People find it very difficult in Nigeria to give money away but the more you give, the more God blesses you. Femi, you are no more a rich man. You have joined the league of wealthy men. I have said I will give more of my money when I pass away.
“To Cuppy, I must congratulate you for having a big heart to visit those children in Borno. She spent about four days with them playing with them. In the light of this, I am making a donation of N100million.”
The young philanthropist, who is also an ambassador of the Save the Children UK, a non-governmental organisation, said her foundation, which was launched in August 2018, was inspired by a trip to Maiduguri, Borno State.
According to Miss Otedola, she started the foundation as a way of giving back to the less fortunate.
She said, “Becoming an ambassador for Save the Children has exposed me to so many children around the world.
“I was able to visit Save the Children in Maiduguri with the help of my godfather, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.”
Osinbajo, in his address, told the guests that the event must refocus their minds on caring for the poor and malnourished especially in Nigeria.
According to the Vice President, in 2015, Buhari proposed the “largest social investment programme in Africa” of about N500bn annually.
He added, “Yet we are far from where we ought to be. It is obvious that government cannot do it alone. So, we don’t (all) need to be billionaires (to do our part). It is time for every one of us to decide that we can make a difference to ensure that the poor and vulnerable are given a decent life.”

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2019/2020 Legal Year: Wike Berates NBA’s Involvement In Politics

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has berated the Rivers State Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) for descending into the political arena by issuing politically motivated ultimatums on security in the state.
Addressing a special court session of the formal opening of the 2019/2020 Legal Year of the Rivers State Judiciary in Port Harcourt, last Friday, Wike regretted that the NBA crossed the redline by playing politics with the security situation in the state.
“We wish to warn that by descending into the arena of politics with irresponsible ultimatums, threats and utterances, the NBA in Rivers State has crossed the red line and become part of the enemy of our people.”
Wike regretted that the NBA in Rivers State had demonstrably failed to defend the state’s courts and the rule of law when they were subjected to undeserved assaults and abuse by the powers that be.
He said: “The NBA kept quiet when they closed down our courts in 2013. It lost its voice and remained indifferent when the homes of judges were brazenly attacked in the dead of night by security agents. Again, it looked the other way and maintained a conspiratorial silence when political thug invaded the High Court premises in a failed politically-motivated bid to stop judges from sitting.
“In the midst of these failures and acts of gross irresponsibility, the chairman of Port Harcourt branch of the NBA could have the temerity to issue ultimatums to the state government and threatening to boycott courts on account of an unfortunate kidnap incident that affected a member of the association.
“Security of lives and property is one issue nobody can accuse us of neglecting. In the last four and half years, no state government has spent as much resources and efforts to support the federally-controlled security agencies to fight crime and criminality than this state, Wike noted.
Wike stated that in view of the political stance of the NBA in Rivers State, the government has withdrawn all pledges and support for the NBA.
He said: “We have withdrawn all our support and patronage for the NBA in Rivers State, including the promise to support the hosting of the 2020 National Conference of the NBA in Port Harcourt.”
The governor said the state government was as concerned as the NBA in Rivers State on the plight of her kidnapped member, adding that security agencies were working to resolve the problem.
He stated that his administration would continue to work towards the improvement of the state Judiciary through critical interventions and funding.
Wike, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the Rivers State Judiciary in terms of dispensing with the cases brought before them, and urged the state Judiciary to reciprocate the investments of the state government by stepping up performance.
The governor also urged lawyers under the Rivers State Ministry of Justice to work hard to improve in line with the investments of the state government.
He added that the Rivers State Government would also construct a Magistrates’ Quarters to encourage the magistrates to work harder to dispense justice.
In her address, Chief Judge of Rivers State, Justice Adama Inyie Iyaye-Laminkara commended Wike for the interventions of the state government in the development of the Judiciary.
She listed the construction of Judges’ Quarters by the Rivers State governor as one of the outstanding achievements in the state, and described Wike as the Diamond Governor of Rivers State.
Also speaking, the Attorney General of Rivers State, Prof Zacheus Adangor said that the governor has over the years kept his promises to lawyers and the Ministry of Justice.
Spokesman of the Body of Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Chief Onueze Okocha suggested that states should be allowed to appoint judges in line with their needs.
Chairman of the Nigeria Bar Association, Port Harcourt Branch, Mr Sylvester Atama praised the Rivers State governor for his outstanding investments to improve justice delivery in the state.

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