Citing re-colonisation, ASUU embark on indefinite strike; Hadi Sirika “swears by Allah” on the amount spent for Nigeria Air | Other top stories of the week

These are the stories that drove conversation this week.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) started an indefinite strike to protest what it described as years of continued re-colonisation under an alleged democracy.

According to the National President of the union, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who briefed journalists after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo, “Having waited patiently for action and meaningful negotiation with reasonable men using the principle of collective bargaining that ASUU at its NEC meeting of November 3 and 4, 2018, at FUTA, resolved to resume the nationwide strike action it suspended in September 2017 with immediate effect.”

“This strike will be total, comprehensive and indefinite. Our members shall withdraw their services until government fully implement all outstanding issues as contained in the MOA of 2017, and concludes the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements,” he added.

In reaction, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu assured the aggrieved lecturers that the government was already making efforts to address their concerns. He said, “the issue of the release of N20 billion to the universities – on this, let me state in unequivocal terms that I am in touch with the Minister of Finance and that she is very optimistic this will be released in the coming weeks.”

“For us to negotiate under the pressure of strike, we will end up producing the kind of agreement we had in 2009, which almost all stakeholders have agreed is not easily implementable,” the minister explained.

A High Court sitting in Kano issued an interim injunction stopping the Kano House of Assembly from investigating the bribery allegation against Governor Abdullahi Ganduje.

However, the investigative committee of the Kano Assembly probing Ganduje dismissed reports that a court order has stopped its investigation.

It is also important to understand that the Constitution is very clear. Sections 128 and 129 empower Kano State House of Assembly to embark on any kind of investigation that it deems appropriate when something like this arises,” said the Chairman of the committee, Baffa Babba Dan Agundi.

The contractor behind the videos expressed readiness to testify before the seven-man investigative panel of the Kano House of Assembly panel currently probing the matter.

An unidentified gunman was arrested by the police in Abuja after invading the residence of the Deputy President of the SenateIke Ekweremadu.

Ekweremadu’s Special Adviser on Media, Uche Anichukwu said in a statement, “The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, his wife, and son escaped an assassination attempt at about 4 am on Tuesday.”

The Police, however, debunked a statement at the Senate alleging attempted assassination.

“Preliminary investigation carried out so far did not reveal assassination attempt on the life of the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu and his family but a case of burglary, adding that “investigation is ongoing to determine if there is any other motive behind the offence.”

Ekweremadu, in reaction, threatened to release the video of the alleged assassination attempt to the public if the Nigerian Police do not correct their report.

Presenting the report to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Tripartite Committee set up to review the national minimum wage proposed N30,000, while the President said he was committed to having a new national minimum wage within the shortest time.

On this, Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi said the newly proposed N30,000 minimum wage will cause inflation in the country. “Civil servants should look beyond minimum wage; even the minimum wage of N30,000 cannot solve their basic needs,” he said.

The Nigerian Senate approved that N121 billion of the N242 billion budgeted for the 2019 elections be sourced from the 2018 budget of 30 federal agencies while the other half sourced from service-wide votes.

In a motion co-sponsored by 19 Senators, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Danjuma Goje, while making contributions on the floor of the chamber said “the Senate is aware that because of some obvious and imminent issues of national socioeconomic importance, the virement/supplementary request cannot be implemented as earlier approved.” 

“Initially, the source of funding was to come from the service-wide votes but now we reduce the weight by half. That has to come from the MDAs. Otherwise, this Senate took a decision, approved this virement.” Goje said.

Nigeria’s Information Minister, Lai Mohammed claimed that the government spends about N3.5 million monthly to feed the Shi’ite leader, Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, who has been detained by the government for over two years.

Also, a Kaduna High Court refused bail to El-Zakzaky, and his wife, ruling that the accused did not attach enough medical evidence to warrant being granted bail.

Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar approved N33,000 as the minimum wage for all staff in his conglomerate.

According to the Managing Director of Gotel Communications (a media outfit owned by the former Vice President), Mohammed El-Yakub, who confirmed the development, said, “the N33,000 new salary scale, which takes effect from November 2018, includes domestic servants and all categories of workers on the former VP’s payroll.”

He added that over 100,000 people are currently on a monthly payroll of the former Vice President.

President Buhari declared a state of emergency on the water supply, sanitation and hygiene sectors, a move he said is aimed at reducing the high-prevalence of water-borne diseases in different parts of the country, which has caused preventable deaths.

Buhari disclosed this and inaugurated the National Action Plan for Revitalisation of Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Sector at State House Conference Centre in Abuja.

The Federal Government says only N50 million has so far been incurred for the national carrier project, ‘Nigeria Air,’ which it said is yet to be paid, dismissing reports that over N1.2 billion has been spent on the suspended project.

Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika who made the clarification at the Aviation Stakeholders forum, said that apart from commitment in respect of transaction advisory services, branding and participation at Farnborough air show, no other expenditure has been incurred on the Nigeria Air project.

“So my dear brothers and sisters, it is not $8.8 million I paid. I swear by Allah who created me, I also swear by Allah who created me that it is this amount I have shown you that we paid for all of the activity,” he said.

Director General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON) and a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Osita Okechukwu asked the party National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, to resign honourably instead of pontification, grandstanding and running away from the country.

Addressing a press conference at the national secretariat of the party, Okechukwu, an aggrieved Senatorial aspirant in Enugu, said Oshiomhole’s exit will save President Buhari and the APC defeat on the eve of the 2019 crucial general elections as well as the serious moral burden his reported interrogation by the Department of State Security Services (DSS) had imposed on it.

“One personally would not want the mud Comrade Oshiomhole had accumulated via gross breach of the Constitution of the APC, the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and extant laws to be splashed on neither our great party nor Present Muhammadu Buhari,” he said.

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