The Big 5: SSANU commences nationwide protest; Buhari, APC not interested in campaigns for 2019 election, planning to rig – PDP | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) has commenced a three-day nationwide protest this Monday, citing alleged refusal of the Federal Government to obey a court judgment on staff schools and to honour agreements on earned allowance.

In a statement by its National Public Relations Officer, Abdussobur Salaam, the National Industrial Court, Abuja, had two years ago,  ruled that teachers in university staff schools sacked by government be recalled, a judgement the Federal Government refused to honour, while it is yet to release the N8bn earned allowance it promised.

 “But several months after the agreement was reached, the money has yet to be released. The delay in the payment has become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions and has also become a source of embarrassment to the leadership,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Federal government says negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have so far been fruitful and productive , adding that the ongoing industrial action by the union will be called off soon.

According to the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, the federal government has begun consideration of some of demands by the university teachers, including the submission of the union’s list of outstanding payments, and the identification of some areas in the universities in need of revitalisation as contained  in the signed 2009 agreement.

The People’s Democratic Party (PDP), on Sunday accused President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress (APC) of unpreparedness for the 2019 election, adding that they are banking on their plots with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), under Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to manipulate the electoral process in a bid to rig in their favour.

As contained in a statement issued by the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, the failure of the President to constitute his campaign council or develop a clear cut campaign blueprint, 61 days to the presidential election scheduled for February 2019 is an indication that the President was not preparing for the election, urging him to learn from its candidate, Atiku Abubakar who in its words is “working hard, campaigning across the country and offering solutions.

“All over the world, patriotic and obligated leaders, who are seeking (re-) elections, go to the electorate to canvass for votes with their messages and solutions. “But our President and the APC have been busy procuring phony endorsements, harassing and intimidating opposition leaders, compromising the electoral body to create illegal voting centres, delaying election budgets and holding the process to ransom by refusing to sign amendments to the Electoral Act that eliminate avenues for rigging,” the statement read in part.

Similarly, The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has however described the allegations as “spurious,” expressing amazement that rather than focus on its own campaign, the only apparent concern of the PDP is whether APC has flagged off its campaigns or not.

Party spokesman, Lanre Issa-Onilu who disclosed this in a statement, noted that being the governing party, it began campaigns immediately President Muhammadu Buhari resumed office and have spent the last three and half years carrying out  massive infrastructural projects in all the 36 states of the country. while it will soon begin strategic engagements with the people of this country.

“We understand that PDP cannot campaign on issues as they have none to present. PDP’s recent attempts to speak to issues have ended in disgrace as it became obvious they base their projections and analyses on fallacious data. In effect, PDP is left with no other option than to resort to sophistry.” he added.

Prominent Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough (EiE), and BudgIT, have sent a joint Freedom of Information (FOI) to the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, seeking to provide information on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation reports of the Nigerian Army.

According to information made available to the media by the organisations on Sunday, the request is to gain access to information on the amounts released (financial implications) and expended in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 for Operation Lafiya Dole, Operation Safe Haven, Operation Python Dance, Operation Ruwan Wuta, Operation Delta Safe, Operation Mesa, Operation Harbin Kunama, Operation Awatse, Operation Tsera Teku and Operation Crocodile Smile,” which have yielded no tangible result.

The statement adds that a legal action under the Freedom of Information Act (FoI), compelling the office of the COAS to comply would be instituted, if it is not provided within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of the letter.

And stories from around the world:

Nuclear-armed North Korea condemned the United States over its latest sanctions measures, warning Washington’s approach could “block the path to denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula forever.” (AFP)

Saudi Arabia has denounced as “blatant interference” a resolution by the US Senate accusing the kingdom’s crown prince of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and calling for an end to Washington’s military support for a Riyadh-led war in Yemen. (Al Jazeera)

Holding another referendum on the EU would “break faith with the British people,” Theresa May will warn MPs.

“Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver,” she said. (BBC)

Canada’s Ambassador to China has met with the second Canadian detained in the Asian country on suspicion of threatening national security, Canada’s foreign ministry said Sunday. (AFP)

A top aide to Donald Trump insisted on Sunday that the administration is prepared to shut down the government in order to get the funding it demands to build a long-promised wall on the US-Mexico border. (The Guardian)

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