ASUU strike: No progress as lecturers scoff at court order, fight on; Buhari seeks debt cancellation at United Nations General Assembly | 5 Things That Should Matter Today

  • ASUU strike: No progress as lecturers scoff at court order, fight on
  • Buhari seeks debt cancellation at United Nations General Assembly
  • We won’t allow political campaigns until ASUU strike is resolved – NANS
  • Court refuses Baba Ijesha‘s bail application
  • Lagos gov restates commitment to tackle drug abuse

Across Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, these are the five top Nigerian news stories you shouldnt miss:

ASUU strike: No progress as lecturers scoff at court order, fight on

Despite the National Industrial Court’s Abuja Division’s decision on Wednesday, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), long-running strike is far from ending.

The Court granted the Federal Government’s request for an injunction against the lecturers, citing section 18 of the Trade Disputes Act and the national interest of Nigerian students.

The lecturers were ordered to return to work by Justice Polycap Hamman.

On the other hand, university lecturers who have been clamoring for the payment of their withheld salary are not about to give up easily.

Before going to court, the administration attempted to break the lecturers’ ranks by implementing a “no-work, no-pay” policy. When it failed, a specific splinter faction tried to sabotage the strike as well, but that method also failed, pushing the government to approach the Industrial Court.

The Court’s decision came as a huge relief to the Federal Government, with Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, saying that the Committee of Vice Chancellors would be urged to re-open the institutions for teaching and learning.

A jubilant Ngige declared that the decision was a matter of ‘no-victorious, no-vanquished,’ emphasizing that the finding did not prohibit further negotiations between the Federal Government and ASUU.

However, ASUU is not on the same page as Ngige as the president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, did not give any hint that the strike will end anytime soon.

Osodeke, during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday night, instead warned about the far-reaching effects of the judgment.

According to him, the outcome of the verdict would be catastrophic.

“Let me tell you the catastrophe of what has just happened. The last time this happened was during the military era.

“I can assure you when this strike is over, a large number of our lecturers are going to migrate from this country when you are using force to push your lecturers to class.

“First of all, they said, ‘If we owe them, if we don’t pay them, they will come and beg us.’ Seven months, it didn’t work. Our members are still alive. And then, they went to court, you want to force them. It is a catastrophe,” Osodeke said.

While the ASUU heads for the Appeal Court as it has already indicated, there are indications that the Government is ready to use the court order and enforce the reopening of universities.

Buhari seeks debt cancellation at United Nations General Assembly

President Muhammadu Buhari addressed the United States General Assembly, UNGA, in New York for the final time yesterday and advocated for debt cancellation for developing countries, stressing that it creates “serious challenges” for the affected nations.

President Buhari is likely to leave the post of President of Nigeria on May 29, 2023, after completing his second term in office, as required by law.

Giving the country’s statement at the 77th General Assembly, the President recalled that he would have first addressed them in 1984 as military head of state, but had his first opportunity in 2015 when he became Nigeria’s democratically elected president.

He said, “Indeed, the multifaceted challenges facing most developing countries have placed a debilitating chokehold on their fiscal space.”

“This equally calls for the need to address the burden of unsustainable external debt by a global commitment to the expansion and extension of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to countries facing fiscal and liquidity challenges as well as outright cancellation for countries facing the most severe challenges.”

Buhari told the international body that Nigeria would have a new president by this time next year, and he praised the world leaders who have worked with Nigeria to address difficulties, while also highlighting the country’s efforts to restore peace and stability to West Africa. 

President Buhari spoke of the world’s ongoing issues, which he said have been compounded by the conflict in Ukraine.

He committed to establishing a process of free, fair, transparent, and credible elections in which Nigerians could choose their leaders.

We won’t allow political campaigns until ASUU strike is resolved – NANS

As the nation prepares for the general elections of 2023, Nigerian students have threatened to prevent candidates and political parties from campaigning until the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) ends its ongoing strike.

Under the auspices of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), the students also pledged to ground activities at all of the country’s public assets, including seaports.

All of this, according to them, is part of their ongoing #EndASUUStrikeNow campaign until the Federal Government addresses issues with ASUU and students return to their schools.

On Wednesday, the Chairman of the NANS National Taskforce on #EndASUUStrikeNow, Raymond Ojo, spoke during a news conference at the Ogun Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Secretariat in Abeokuta.

“If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger, and frustration of Nigerian students who have been at home for the past seven months.

“We promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to hold across the country until we are back to class,” he said.

Court refuses Baba Ijesha‘s bail application

An Ikeja Special Offences Court has denied bail for the convicted Nollywood actor, James Olarewaju, AKA Baba Ijesha.

Baba Ijesha’s bail was denied because he did not meet the criteria for extraordinary circumstances.

According to Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, the actor must demonstrate extraordinary and exceptional circumstances because the five-year term is to run consecutively.

Justice Taiwo further stated that there is no information that an appeal has been filed and that there is no indication that the court will not deal with the case swiftly.

Remember that Baba Ijesha is appealing his five-year prison sentence for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

On August 10, he notified the court, through his attorney, Mr. Gabriel Olabiran, that a notice for bail pending appeal had been lodged in accordance with Section 6 (6) of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Olabiran stated that the application granted the applicant bail, either unconditionally or on reasonable restrictions and that the case was brought before the court due to difficulties in obtaining a date at the Court of Appeal.

However, the state prosecutor, Mr. Yusuf Sule, contended in a counter-affidavit on August 18, 2022, that the defendant failed to prove the specific circumstances that would grant the convict bail in its speech.

Lagos gov restates commitment to tackle drug abuse

Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos State, has reiterated his administration’s commitment to creating a stable society through programmes to combat drug misuse among adolescents.

According to a statement released on Wednesday, the governor made the announcement during the fourth edition of the state community sensitization and empowerment event, which was held at the Lagos House in Ikeja.

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by Mrs. Folasade Jaji, Secretary to the State Government, praised the First Lady’s Office for its initiatives and ongoing advocacy against drug misuse.

“It is a well-established fact that family is the bedrock of any society, and a stable family unit raises strong men and women capable of leading to success. The government must continue to engage the family to achieve such stability.

“Since the inception of our administration, the First Lady has been at the forefront of the fight against this form of abuse and I commend her for initiating programmes and projects which have complemented the efforts of our administration towards building a stable society, which is key to this administration’s policy.”

The wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, urged stakeholders in the community to develop a greater understanding of the consequences of drug abuse.

“The stakeholders in our various communities have a key role to play to change the ugly narrative, and this is why we have deliberately included the ‘War against Drug Abuse’ campaign in today’s programme to enable participants to have a better understanding of the consequences of drug abuse.”

“They also need to know the signs to note when one is engaging in drug abuse or illicit dealing in drugs. Drugs don’t discriminate; either young or old, woman or man, boy or girl can become a victim. This is why we must all be aware,” she said.

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