The Late 5: U.S. government replies FG on alleged plans to endorse Atiku; Henceforth, No work, no pay – FG tells ASUU | Other top stories

These are the stories that drove the conversation today:

The Federal Government has ordered that no payment of any form of salaries and allowances should be made to members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) on strike in Federal and Inter-Varsity Centres.

As contained in a memo issued by S.B. Ramon-Yusuf, a Director at the National Universities Commission (NUC) to Universities and Inter-Varsity Centres, the no-work-no-pay rule is in view of the current industrial action by the union.

“Consequently, I am to direct vice-chancellors to apply the “No-work-no-pay” rule. ” All Vice-Chancellors and Directors of Centers should note that the salaries to staff on strike from whatever source of funds shall be viewed as violation of extant rules and directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria,” the memo read.

Ahead of the 2019 presidential election, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday appointed Senator Dino Melaye and seven others as spokespersons for its Presidential Campaign Council.

According to a statement by the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, announcing the names of handlers of operational directorates and spokespersons for its campaign, the other spokespersons for the campaign listed include Buba Galadima, Akin Osuntokun, Osita Chidoka, Nnenna Ukeje, Segun Sowunmi, Kazeem Afegbua, and Umar Sanni.

The council also named a former Cross River governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, as Deputy Director General in charge of Operations, while former Presidential aspirant, Taminu Turaki, was named as Deputy Director General for Administration, as well as Contact and Mobilisation headed by the party’s National Organising Secretary, Colonel Austin Akobundu; and Communication and Strategy headed by Bolaji Abdullahi.

The United States Consulate in Lagos has reacted to a recent statement by the Federal Government on the alleged issuance of visa to the Presidential candidate of the PDP, Atiku Abubakar, saying matters relating to the application for or issuance of visa for anyone, irrespective of their social standing in the society, was strictly a confidential matter.

Public Affairs Officer of the US Consulate in Lagos, Brussel Brooks, who made the assertion in Ibadan on Friday, while fielding questions from journalists called on candidates at all levels, from presidential to House of Assembly elections, to focus on issue-based campaigns instead of dwelling on things that were not important to the well-being of Nigerians.

“We don’t discuss visa status of any person, whether it be a highly rated official, a presidential candidate or an average citizen.

“Anyone who applies for a visa should know that there will be some records that are confidential. It is classified as a private document by the United States Government, and we never discuss them in public,” he added.

The governorship candidate of the PDP in Lagos, Jimi Agbaje, has petitioned the state Commissioner of Police, Edgal Imohimi, over publicity materials for his campaign vandalised and removed by unknown persons in the state.

Police spokesperson, CSP Chike Oti, who confirmed the petition, said the CP has directed the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Panti, Yaba, to set up a monitoring team comprising the command’s Riders Unit, to daily monitor and arrest anybody seen vandalising or defacing campaign posters or boards.

“Constrained by limited manpower, there is no way the command could post policemen to cover all  campaign posters in the state but the much it can do, is to adopt the Aberdeen System in protecting campaign adverts and to solicit the cooperation of all and sundry in ensuring the maintenance of law and order,” he added.

The Nigerian Army says it has identified some persons who released false death toll on Metele attack, stressing that the perpetrators through these acts are covertly supporting terrorists and their activities in Nigeria with a long-term objective.

Stating that it was pressing legal action against them, Army Spokesman, Brigadier General Sani Usman added that the Nigerian Army is aware they plan to use insecurity to scuttle and subvert the democratic process in the country and also create an erroneous impression of the Nigerian Army through inaccurate and false publication of casualty figures on the unfortunate attacks on some of its locations in the North East.

“This is a deliberate attempt to demoralise the Nigerian Army which would have devastating consequences on the troops’ will to discharge their constitutional duties especially in the fight against terrorism and insurgency, thus affecting national security,” a part of the statement said.

And stories from around the world:

Iran’s navy on Saturday launched a domestically made destroyer, which state media said has radar-evading stealth properties, as tensions rise with arch-enemy, the United States. (Reuters)

A minister has resigned saying a row over involvement in the EU’s Galileo satellite-navigation system shows the U.K. will be “hammered” in negotiations over a Brexit deal.

Science and universities minister Sam Gyimah quit after Mrs May said the U.K. was pulling out of Galileo. (BBC)

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent 11 messages to his closest adviser, who reportedly oversaw the operatives who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi, in the hours before and after the journalist’s murder on October 2, according to a Wall Street Journal report. (Al Jazeera)

Anti-establishment leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador will be sworn in as Mexico’s next president on Saturday – a dramatic change in direction for a country fed up with corruption, poverty and crime. (AFP)

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Saturday his country had stepped up security at vital infrastructure sites such as nuclear power stations and Black Sea ports in the face of what he called a Russian test of the world order. (Reuters)

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