The Late 5: ASUU threatens to boycott further meetings with FG on strike; Akwa Ibom denies Buhari, APC use of stadium, directs them elsewhere | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said it may not honour further calls by the Federal Government for a meeting on the way forward over the current strike by its members, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

Speaking on Sunday after a a news conference on the update of the union’s struggle to salvage the country’s public universities from deterioration in Lagos, National President of  ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, said both parties have had six meetings since the commencement of the strike, with no clear commitment from government to resolving the issues presented by the union.

“Government appears to have adopted ‘keep them talking’ strategy while deceiving the public that progress was being made and that partial agreements had been reached between union and government. “We want to say that government has continually and falsely raised the hopes of the Nigerian public on the state of duscussion with our union and we may not be interested in holding further dialogue with them until we see signs of commitment and sincerity in addressing the issues before them,” he said.

The feud between Imo Governor and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Adams Oshiomhole, appears to have taken another dimension on Sunday after the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) described the former labour leader as a noise maker.

Governor Okorocha who was reacting to the statement by Oshiomhole during the flag-off of the party’s governorship campaign in Owerri where he called the governor a failure, said that the APC national chairman lacked the moral right to contribute on issues concerning payment of civil servants salaries, while challenging him to publish his achievements as state governor for eight years while he (Okorocha) publishes his own scorecard as the Imo state governor.

If Oshiomhole failed to accept this challenge, we won’t have any other option than to conclude that he is just a noise maker. “Oshiomhole has been talking and working to fulfill his own part of whatever deal he has with Chief Hope Uzodinma. He is acting his own part and in doing that, has thrown caution to the wind.,” a statement by his chief press Secretary read.

Ahead of Friday’s flag off  President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election campaign in Akwa-Ibom, the state government has denied the president and his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC),  the use of the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, for the exercise, directing them instead to make use of the the Uyo Township Stadium.
According to a statement by the state Commissioner for Sports, Monday Uko issued on Friday, it will be practically impossible to ‘regrass’ the stadium for pre-fixed matches ahead of the next season of the Nigeria Premier Football League (NPFL) scheduled to begin on January 13, 2019 if used for non-sports activities, because of the nature of pressure that such events bring on the pitch.

“Additionally, The Maintenance Contractor (Julius Berger) had also advised that the present atmospheric conditions being very hostile to the pitch, the facility should not be used for non-sport activities during this harmattan period, so as to avoid inflicting long-term or irreversible damage to the grass on the football pitch,” the statement read in part.

The Zamfara Police Command says it has deployed another police unit to Magami village in Maradun local government area of the state where a number of persons were killed on Saturday by bandits.

In a statement signed by the Command’s Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Mohammed Shehu in Gusau on Sunday, said the personnel from the unit comprising Police Mobile Force (PMF), Counter Terrorist Unit (CTU) and the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad (FSARS) would complement efforts of the police and other security operatives already on ground.

He added that all security agencies in the state were already in the trail of the attackers and would continue to work jointly until lasting peace was attained.

Bankers Warehouse, the company whose officials were arrested by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission(EFCC) on Thursday with $2.8 million cash, said the anti-graft EFCC agency erred in intercepting the money  and has demanded an immediate retraction and apology from the anti-graft agency.

As contained in a statement by the company, the young men Ighoh Augustine and Ezekwe Emmanuel, arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu on the suspicion of money laundering and “whose character and reputation have been deliberately soiled by the EFCC operatives were conducting their legitimate duties as requested by a bank customer of the company,” stressing that such movement of money was legitimate since it was licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Our client who has been unfairly exposed and accused of implied illegality, and whose money is still being improperly held by the EFCC operatives, deserve a very special apology for the disclosure of their business and damage done to their image,” the statement read.

And stories from around the world:
A U.N. advance team arrived in Yemen’s port city of Hodeidah on Sunday to start monitoring a ceasefire and withdrawal of forces agreed by the Iranian-aligned Houthi group and Saudi-backed government forces, the United Nations said. (Reuters)

 Protests in parts of Sudan continued for the fifth consecutive day on Sunday, as doctors prepared to strike over the rising cost of bread and fuel.  (Al Jazeera)

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani called Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir on Saturday to express his support for Sudan after days of anti-government protests, Bashir’s office said in a statement.

Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed Sunday to prevent a power vacuum in Syria after US ground forces withdraw, in a phone conversation days after the US president shocked global partners by announcing Americans would leave the war-scarred country. (AFP)

Similarly, France’s President Emmanuel Macron has said he deeply regrets President Donald Trump’s controversial decision to withdrawal all US troops from Syria.

“An ally must be dependable,” said Mr Macron, who reportedly called Mr Trump to warn him against the plan. (BBC)


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