At least eleven people have been killed and many others injured by bandits suspected to be kidnappers who attacked Albasu village of Sabon Birnin in Igabi local government area of Kaduna State.
The bandits in their large numbers were said to have invaded the community at about 1pm on Monday afternoon, and opened fire on the residents, shooting in different directions, and in the process killed many people, and also rustled cows and other animals belonging to the locals.
Confirming the incident in a statement, the Kaduna State Commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs, Samuel Aruwan, says Security agencies are already pursuing the bandits in the area with a view to arresting them.
He also disclosed that bandits in a similar operation kidnapped two persons and killed one at Maraban Kajuru in Kajuru local government area on Sunday.
He adds that Governor Nasir El-Rufai has sent condolences to the families of the victims and prayed for the repose of their souls.
Aruwan also said that troops on patrol around Chikun and Kajuru LGAs boundaries found a corpse of an armed bandit who died of gun wounds, while an AK/47 rifle and other valuables were found beside the decayed corpse.
As the work of the about 30 judicial panels of inquiry established nationwide to investigate cases of police brutality against citizens and provide compensation for victims where necessary continues, the Federal Government has again assured that there would be comprehensive justice for all affected Nigerians.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, gave the assurance today in Lagos State at the launch of the Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund.
Prof. Osinbajo, on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari, extended the Federal Government’s “commiserations to the government and people of Lagos State for the loss of lives of citizens, the injured, and the colossal destruction of public and private properties, social amenities and infrastructure.”
Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, was both the epicenter of the #ENDSARS protests and the destruction that followed few weeks ago.
Noting the unfortunate loss of lives and property in Lagos and across the country, the Vice President added that the whole nation was in need of healing and the Buhari administration will pursue restorative justice for all affected.
According to the VP, referencing President Buhari’s commitment to justice, “these deaths should never have happened. It is now our responsibility to honour their memory and ensure that justice is comprehensively served.
“Our State, like our Nation, is in need of healing. We recognize that the balm for a wounded society is truth and justice. This is why judicial panels of inquiry have been established all across the country. Their mandate is to investigate cases of police brutality against citizens, and where necessary compensate victims.
“Specifically, in Lagos, the mandate of the inquiry has been expanded to include a full investigation of the Lekki toll gate incidents. This process has begun and all Federal Agencies and the armed services are participating actively as Mr. President said, and I quote, ”We will also ensure that all those responsible for misconduct or wrongful acts are brought to justice.”
“The pursuit of restorative justice, recompense for injury to innocents and a reckoning for perpetrators of abuse are essential components of the moral and ethical reconstruction of our homestead. I urge all of us to give this process a chance to work and to commit to the advocacy and participation that it will take to enable this process succeed.”
The Vice President again emphasized the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to reform the Nigeria Police Force and address the root issues that led to the protests.
On the looting and destruction that followed the ENDSARS protests, the Vice President stated, “we have seen how the noblest causes, such as the ENDSARS protests designed to call attention to a serious malignant problem of brutality and extrajudicial killings, can be subverted leading to the exact opposite of its objectives, chaos, murder, looting, and arson. We saw what can happen when the restraints of law and order are loosed and anarchy is given free rein.”
“In those difficult days when chaos swept from street to street consuming lives and livelihoods, we learned that society is built on the balance between freedom and order. But we have also realized that order itself is a social construct sustained by the consent of the governed.”
He called for public and private collaboration in the rebuilding and reconstruction of the State, which he noted had not experienced such level of wanton destruction in the past.
Prof. Osinbajo said, “it is now time to rebuild. It is time for the painful and costly task of reconstruction and rehabilitation. It is now time for the private sector, our international friends and partners, and all who love this city to make their contributions to the rebuilding and reconstruction efforts. When Lagos works, it works for all.
“On the Federal Government’s part, Mr. President has said that he will await a full report from Your Excellency (Lagos State Governor) and I am sure that will be on hand soon. For businesses that were destroyed, the CBN has been developing a plan to suspend existing facilities that they may have in banks and lines of cheap credit to help them rebuild their damaged facilities and re-stock.”
While describing Lagos as Nigeria’s commercial nerve centre, the VP made reference to the socio-economic ripple effects the State has on the nation as a whole.
The Vice President added, “perhaps it is worth emphasizing that the destruction and disruption of life and work in Lagos is a national tragedy and a major economic setback for the Nation even as we face the most difficult economic challenges in our generation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is the State that leads by far in the collection of non-oil revenues. The bulk of VAT is generated here. The Lagos port, whose Marina office was attacked, generates the most revenue, and is the busiest in the Nation; the Lagos airport is the busiest in Nigeria. In so many ways our fortunes as a Nation are closely tied to the fortunes of this great State.”
According to the Vice President, the government will continue to make efforts to improve its engagement with the youth and all Nigerians, while it continues the process of holistic reforms of the Police. Prof. Osinbajo made a firm proposition for the integration of young people in the new task of repositioning society.
The Vice President noted that, “we certainly cannot afford to alienate our young people who constitute the majority of our society and bear the burden of enterprise, resourcefulness and innovation required to propel our economy into the future.
“For their sake and ours, we need a broad-based and inclusive prosperity that creates opportunities on a scale commensurate with the aspirations of our population.”
The VP added that the task of reconstruction goes beyond physical infrastructure or brick and mortar.
He said, “there is a moral, social and ethical reconstruction to be undertaken as well. We must rebuild trust between the Government and the governed; the vast majority of who are young persons; trust between law enforcement agents and the communities that they are meant to serve. Never again should law enforcement find itself on opposite sides of any conflict with society.
“We must in the process rebuild the morale of our police force, the gallant men and women who daily brave the elements to keep us all safe. The process of reform has commenced.”
Prof. Osinbajo stated that the reformed Police Act and the Police Trust Act signed by the President was part of government’s efforts in improving the Police while ensuring the rights of Nigerian citizens are protected.
“After 70 years of the Police Act, Mr. President signed the new reformed Police Act 2020 into law. The new law contains in many parts components of a charter of the rights of citizens when being questioned.
“The President has also signed into law the Police Trust Act, essentially to provide a source of extra funding for the police. Equally, the Police has also initiated its community policing programme aimed at reframing policing as an activity based on trust between law enforcement and the community,” the VP said.
The Vice President also commended the leadership shown by the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo–Olu, throughout the challenging period.
“First, Mr. Governor, you led your State’s efforts in addressing the COVID-19 Pandemic to both local and international acclaim. When State Governors under the auspices of the National Economic Council (NEC) resolved that States should establish judicial panels of inquiry, Lagos was the very first state to constitute its inquiry. Your actions have been an example of responsibility, creativity, sensitivity and resolve under pressure.”
The VP added that “Lagos and the Nation at large will emerge from this crisis better and stronger,” while noting that, “even in the darkest of clouds bear a silver lining. These trying times offer an invaluable learning opportunity, a teachable moment, and it is the lessons we draw from this period that will shape our path going forward.”
Earlier in their separate remarks, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, called for collaborative efforts in rebuilding Lagos, emphasizing that the level of destruction could not be handled by the State Government alone.
Mr. Emefiele then pledged the support of the organized private sector in the rebuilding of Lagos State which he noted would include the reconstruction of destroyed police stations by the private sector coalition and supporting affected private businesses to survive the devastation.
Other speakers at the event were the representative of Senate President, and Senator representing Lagos-West Senatorial District, Sen. Olamilekan Adeola, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, among others.
The Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund Board led by Mr. Yemi Cardoso was inaugurated at the event.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the House is ready to support the interventions of the Federal Government to rebuild Lagos and other states worst hit by the recent EndSars protests.
Gbajabiamila also tasked Lagosians to put heads and resources together to rebuild the state in view of the destruction of properties worth billions of naira in the state.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Board of Trustees of the Rebuild Lagos Trust Fund on Monday in Lagos, Gbajabiamila said he was heartbroken after going round the state for an on-the-spot assessment of the devastation that followed the unrest.
He said it is time for Lagosians to put aside partisan politics and stand up to rebuild the state, saying “I believe more than ever before that saying, Eko o ni baje, and the quick reply is, O baje ti’.
“I believe in my heart, that this saying can never be truer than now, that Eko o ni baje, o de baje ti. (Never will Lagos go bad, never).
“We will rebuild this state with everything that we need, with all the tools at our disposal, we will rebuild Lagos. This is the time to prove it, that Eko o ni baje,” he said.
He said in rebuilding the state, there should be a public-private partnership, which he said would be one of the best ways to face the task.
“I think it goes beyond budget or appropriation. It will call for a special intervention from the Federal Government to make sure that monies are devoted, not just to Lagos, although Lagos bears the major devastation.
“So it’s going to be panoramic; it’s going to be for all the states, but we all know that Lagos bears the brunt of the devastation.
Gbajabiamila said in working for Nigerians, the 9th House would try as much as it could to abide by its slogan, which is ‘Nation Building: A Joint Task.
“So we will pull all our friends and colleagues and talk to them that we don’t look at this from a state or political prism but a nationalistic point of view and make sure that what needs to be done would be done.
“We will remain our brother’s keepers. That’s what we do in the National Assembly, be our brother’s keepers, and that’s what we will do for Lagos State and the rest of the country.”
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, has warned that the Federal Government will destroy the criminal justice system in States if Executive Order 10 is implemented.
Governor Wike, said Executive Order 10 of the Federal Government, which permits the deduction of funds from each State account to finance the judiciary, is politically motivated and geared towards the 2023 general election.
The governor made this assertion in his keynote address presented at the 3rd Annual Nigerian Criminal Law Review Conference organised by the Rule of Law Development Foundation in Abuja on Monday.
He stated that ahead of the 2023 general election, the federal government which has been hostile to judges, now suddenly wants to lure the judiciary to assume it believes in the independence of the judiciary, by enacting Executive Order 10.
“Independence is not to take resources and preside over award of contract. If you cannot give judgment according to your conscience; if you cannot give judgment according to the law, then there is no independence. And this of course affects the criminal justice system.”
Governor Wike also pointed out that politicisation of the issue of Security by the Federal Government has continued to negatively affect the criminal justice system in the country.
He said the prevailing cases of kidnapping, banditry, and armed robbery which threatens the very existence and stability of the nation clearly justifies the establishment of State or Community Police.
He observed that while establishment of State Police may require amendment of the extant Section 214(1) of the 1999 Constitution to provide State, the Rivers State Government is of the opinion that community police or Neighbourhood Watch could be established without a constitutional amendment.
“The truth of the matter is that with the current strength of the Nigeria Police Force which stands at about 372000 (Three Hundred and Seventy-Two Thousand), the Nigeria Police Force lacks the operational capacity to fulfil its primary or core mandate of crime detection, crime prevention and maintenance of public safety, law and order or protection of lives and property of persons in Nigeria.
“To put it plainly, the Nigeria Police lacks the operational capacity to police the nation which is a federation of about 923.768km (356.669 sqm) with an estimated population of 195.9 million. It is this stark reality that informs call for the establishment of State Police to provide a complementary role to the Nigeria Police Force in crime detection, prevention, and maintenance of law and order.”
He explained that it was against this background that the Rivers State Government enacted the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Law, No. 8of 2018 which establishes the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency as a corporate body and vested with the power to establish uniformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps in the 23 Local government Areas of the State and to prescribe regulations guiding the operations of the Safety Corps and any other Local government vigilante group in the State.
In furtherance of this law, he stated that recruitment and training of members of the uninformed Neighbourhood Safety Corps commenced at the NYSC orientation camp, Nonwa in Tai LGA, after obtaining all necessary approvals from the Nigerian Army and other relevant security agencies. But, unfortunately, the exercise was violently disrupted by the Nigerian Army, claiming it was illegal and unconstitutional.
Governor Wike said despite a competent court of jurisdiction recent ruling that upheld the constitutionality of the Rivers state Neighbourhood Safety Corps, the Army has refused to allow it to carry out its recruitment and training of personnel.
“The point being made here is that as long as the Federal Government continues to politicise issues of security whether national or local, so long shall our criminal justice system remains seriously jeopardize. The suzerain power exercisable by the Federal Government over matters of security is made manifest by the irregular postings of Commissioners of Police to the Rivers state Police Command”, he said.
Given that the criminal justice system is inextricably linked with the security, peace and order of the State, the governor emphasized the need for critical stakeholders in the criminal justice sector to rethink the system through reform designed to address current challenges.
Former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Joseph Daudu (SAN), lauded Governor Wike, for standing out as one of the pillars of rule of law in the country. Present at the occasion were the Attorney General of Rivers State, Professor Zacchaeus Adangor, the Attorney General of Kogi State, and other eminent lawyers.
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume, says he sees nothing wrong with the proposed Social Media Bill.
The Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, also known as the Social Media Bill, was proposed by Mr Mohammed Sani Musa, who says its aim is to curb the spread of false news.
The bill which has passed its second reading at the Senate has been a topic of great debate as many believe that the bill is aimed at gagging the press and infringing on the expression rights of individuals.
Senator Ndume however disagrees with this view, he said on Channels Television’s Sunday Politics that he feels “there is nothing wrong in having social media bill”.
Ndume who stated clearly that he is not saying freedom of speech should be muzzled, noted, however, that people should be held responsible for what they say or do.
The lawmaker was of the opinion that there should be a kind of law that controls or guides the way you express yourself on social media. Adding that “anything in this world that has no control can be disastrous”.
Ndume who said the present government came in with three major agendas which are to secure the country, to fight corruption, and to provide infrastructure, argued that President Buhari has performed on all counts.
He however noted that the implementation of certain policies as put forth by the president is where the problem lies.
According to the lawmaker, the president cannot do it all by himself, so he had to appoint persons to act in various capacities but some have failed to deliver on the job.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila has said that the House is committed to increasing the allocation to the health sector with a view to improving the well-being of Nigerians.
Speaking at a 2-day training organised for health workers by his office in Lagos State, the Speaker said the programme was to improve their capacity to be able to handle the Covid-19 situation better.
Declaring the training open on Sunday in Lagos, the Speaker said it was “part of efforts to ensure that health care professionals have the skills they need to continue to do the incredible work they have done so far.”
The Speaker, who paid glowing tributes to all health workers across the country for the way they have handled the Covid-19 situation so far, said he believed they deserve more attention in terms of training and capacity building.
“Through all of this, our medical professionals have shown exemplary courage and commitment. Their efforts have renewed our faith in the human spirit and shown us that we are, each one of us, capable of extraordinary greatness, of courage beyond measure and goodness beyond what we imagine in ordinary times,” he said.
He said: “This moment also requires that governments at all levels continue to support the training, welfare and wellbeing of the medical professionals who are at the forefront of this existential battle. We owe them that much, and so much more.”
Gbajabiamila added that the House “has committed to increasing the appropriations due to the health sector so that we can remedy the weaknesses of infrastructure and capacity, access and quality that bedevil our national health care system.
“It is also an example of what we can do when we work together, across different levels of government and with the private sector to deliver objectives that serve the best interests of all our citizens.”
He expressed delight at the discovery of a vaccine that would bring Covid-19 to an end, cautioning, however, that “Yet we must recognise, and we must continue to act in the knowledge that we are still far from the time when that vaccine will be perfect and readily available to all the people of the world.”
“When the final account of this moment is given, we will not forget to credit the health workers and medical professionals who have helped us here in Nigeria, and others all over the world, to manage and overcome the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“So, while we anticipate this medical breakthrough, we must brace ourselves to deal with the reality of now. And the truth is that we still have work to do to ensure that we survive this battle against disease and death.
“That work begins with making sure that all our citizens continue to observe the Covid-19 guidelines and keep looking out for one another as we have done so far.”
Gbajabiamila thanked the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for personally attending the programme as well as other partners and those that helped designed the programme.
Speaking, Sanwo-Olu, who acknowledged the fact that the Speaker is doing both Lagos and Nigeria proud, said the training would deepen the efforts of the Lagos State Government in ensuring that health care is accessible and affordable to the people of the state.
“For us in Lagos State, we’ll continue to see health delivery as an important pillar in our team’s agenda. We have committed to see that year on, we’ll increase our budget size in health,” the governor said, adding that despite the budget deduction of about 22 percent during this year, that of health was increased instead.
“We’ll continue to ensure that we raise the bar on our health agenda. I’m sure in terms of numbers, you saw how many tests we did for Covid in Lagos. Because we know it’s public health, we’ve done over 120,000 to 125,000 free. So, you can compare to when we brought our private laboratory practitioners.
“It goes to show you that envelope, the size of financial commitment that the state had to make, to make sure that a public health challenge like Covid was not just something that we were glossing over. We faced it right from the beginning.
“Today, it’s about the Speaker, who deemed it fit to say that ‘this is time to look back and give back to a sector that I truly believe in.’ So, Mr Speaker and the Chairman House Committee on Health, we want to thank you for bringing this to Lagos.”
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Health, Rep. Tanko Sununu, said Nigerians are appreciative of the proactive measures taken by the Lagos State governor toward containing the coronavirus since its outbreak in Nigeria, as well as his continuous surveillance and interventions.
“This training, is very important being about ethics, which is a systematic strategy of what a person’s conduct and actions should be with regards to self, whether humans and the environment, couldn’t have come at a better time than now, when Nigerians, most especially medical and healthcare providers are passing through a lot of stress.
“The training will serve the practitioners with the best conduct expected of them while providing health service with empathy in order to have an excellent outcome for patients”.
Also, the Minister of State for Healthcare, Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora, lauded the Speaker for organizing the training, which he said would go a long way in achieving its objectives of improving the capacity of the health workers.
“This training represents the quest and desire for improvement, growth and development in the health sectorn. Any system that has no interest in training programmes for the personnel or fails to give training the importance it deserves has inevitably planned to fail or fizzle out completely
“In order to keep pace with quality delivery of services, there must be deliberate and committed efforts to ensure that continuous training and capacity building remain at the center of the institution’s mandate,” he said.
Former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has used the occasion of his 60th birthday to forgive all those who might have betrayed him in the course of his political journey, especially after he left office in 2018.
Fayose, who urged all politicians in Ekiti State to forget the politics of bitterness for the interest and progress of the state added that at 60, his desire was to be closer to God and be a preacher of His words.
The former governor made this known yesterday while speaking on a radio programme to commemorate his birthday on Our People’s FM, 104.1, Ado-Ekiti.
Fayose thanked God for what He has used him to achieve in the last sixty years, especially what he was able to do when he was the governor of Ekiti State.
He charged all politicians to start embarking upon what will make people to remember them after leaving the position of authorities, noting that whatever they do today will become history tomorrow.
The former governor mentioned few among his achievements as the governor of Ekiti and that include; Amphitheater at Ewi’s Palace, Ado-Ekiti, flyover bridge, Ado-Ikere road, High Court Complex in Ado, new and old governor’s office, Ministry of Finance Building and the new obas’ market in Ado-Ekiti.
He said his memorable day was when he was illegally impeached from office as governor of Ekiti State.
“The day I was forced out of government was the day I will never forget, this incident gave me high blood pressure and I asked God for three months to know what went wrong.
“Another memorable day was when I was sworn-in again as governor of Ekiti State,” he said.
While answering a question on the rationale behind the stomach infrastructure programme he initiated when he was in office, he said Covid-19 palliative is stomach infrastructure.
Fayose, who defeated two incumbent governors, Otunba Niyi Adebayo and Dr. Kayode Fayemi in 2003 and 2014 respectively, said he still believes he can be Nigeria’s president and that how it will happen is for God to decide.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejects an increase in the pump price of fuel to N170 per liter by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government, describing it as wicked, unbearable, and unacceptable, particularly given the prevailing excruciating economic crunch already foisted on Nigerians by the Buhari administration.
The party insists that this increase in the pump price will worsen the already suffocating economic situation in the country.
“Such a hike will also be an additional log tied on the economic neck of Nigerians,” the PDP stated in a communique on Friday.
The party held that the APC and its administration have no justification to increase the cost of fuel to anything above N100 per liter talk less of N170 when there are practical options to maintain affordable price given our production capacity and potentialities.
“It is evident that the continuous increase in the pump price of fuel under opaque and nebulous indices is a product of incompetence and large scale corruption being perpetrated by a few individuals in the Buhari administration, who are bent on fleecing Nigerians and holding our nation to ransom.
“Our party notes that the APC administration has failed to come clean on the parameters being used for the hike in prices vis-a-vis our production, export and accruing revenue.
“Indeed, the APC administration is not being honest with Nigerians regarding the status and volume of oil production, sales, and accruing revenue.
“This is in addition to its failure to fix our refineries and end crude oil theft, allegedly to aid APC interests.
“This appears to provide answers to why the APC administration has failed to offer any explanation on huge fraud going on in the management of our nation’s oil resources including the alleged stealing over N9.6 trillion ($25 billion) by APC interests, as detailed in the leaked NNPC memo.
“It has also failed to publish details of its sleazy oil subsidy regime, including the involvement of APC interests in the claimed under-recovery for unnamed West African countries, running into trillions of naira, while Nigerians are made to bear the burden of high fuel costs.
“Such humongous fraud in the management of our oil resources is responsible for the high costs and unspeakable hardship being suffered by millions of Nigerians who can barely afford their meals and basic necessities of life,” the communique partly read.
The party urged President Buhari to end the corruption and the “stealing of Nigeria’s oil resource under his watch by APC leaders”, recover the looted resources and immediately reverse this increase in the price of fuel.
PDP also urged President Buhari to take steps to fulfill his promise to revamp the refineries or accept his failures and apologize to Nigerians.
“It is still not yet late for him to get more competent hands to run our oil sector instead of imposing more hardship on Nigerians,” the PDP stated through its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan.
As part of efforts to mitigate the effect of COVID-19, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, says the Federal Government, is in the process of acquiring a 750 million dollar loan, from the world bank to help states.
This loan according to her is to stimulate the local economy and support vulnerable household consumption.
Mrs. Ahmed disclosed this at the inauguration of the Federal Steering Committees of the Nigeria COVID-19 Action Recovery and Economic Stimulus (N-CARES) program, in the nation’s capital.
The minister noted that the federal government has created windows of intervention, as captured in the economic sustainability plan inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari, in March 2020.
She stressed that in going to borrow the money the federal government is considering the cause and consequences of civil unrest and COVID-19 in the country.
“The consequences will be too high if we ignore the root cause of rising civil unrest in our country. We must, therefore, fashion out ways of ensuring that post-Covid-19 is not injurious to the Nigerian people and the economy,” Mrs. Ahmed stated.
According to her, in a bid to ensure that the implementation of the N-CARES is in line with the federal government priorities as outlined in the ESP, the Federal Steering Committee made up of ministers and permanent secretaries as well as a Technical Committee, made up of directors of key ministries, department, and agencies (MDAs) has to be in place.
The minister stated that the government has carefully selected the “members of the Federal Steering and Technical Committees because of the important role MDAs play in the recovery of the Nigerian economy as well as the fulfillment of lifting 100 million people out of poverty”.
Speaking on the expediency of the inauguration of the committee, the Finance Minister said, “the inauguration of the committees “is expedient given the nature of this emergency intervention; Nigeria as the biggest economy in Africa cannot afford to remain in recession; the survival of over 200 million population is germane to all we do and we must address the concerns of the majority of our populace”.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, says he will be going back to the negotiation table with leaders of the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) and other stakeholders in the education sector to ensure that the current impasse is resolved.
Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today, Senator Ngige said he is optimistic that the disagreement with the lecturers will be resolved.
“Even if countries go to war, at the end of the day you come back to the negotiation table,” the minister said.
Ngige further stated that he will be inviting ASUU in the coming week, adding that there have been government side meetings where collations are being made to ensure that all pertinent data and pending issues are brought to the place of negotiation.
The minister said he is very optimistic that with the myriads of options available, the matter will be resolved next week.
Ngige’s comments come a day after the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU) have kicked against the payment system proposed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
ASUU had asked the Federal Government to adopt the University Transparency Account System (UTAS), rather than the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), for the payment of lecturers’ salaries and allowances.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, disclosed the position of NASU and SSANU to reporters on Thursday at the National Assembly complex in Abuja, the nation’s capital.
“There are other unions in the university system that are saying they will develop their own system, and that they are not going to go on to UTAS – Senior Staff Association of Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), … ASUU is not the only union in the university,” he told journalists after defending the budget of his ministry in the Senate.
Ngige stated that the government was making effort to meet up with ASUU’s demands but warned against the use of different payment platforms in Nigerian universities.
He stressed that it was important for the government to ensure that the concerns of SSANU, NASU, NAAT, and others were addressed while working to ensure the return of the lecturers to the classroom.
The minister, however, hinted that the payment system proposed by ASUU had been forwarded to the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) for assessment.
He said, “If we ignore those people and what they are saying, even if ASUU calls off the strike, they will close the lecture halls, they will close the laboratories, they will close even the gates.
“It has happened before, entry gates into the universities; we don’t want that to happen. That is why we are taking them holistically and going in measure steps to be sure that we carry everybody along.”
ASUU has been on strike for nearly seven months and one of the union’s demands is to have its own payment system separate from the government’s IPPIS.
Several meetings between the union and the government have ended without a definite conclusion, raising concerns on the part of students who have been out of the classroom since March.
The Taraba State Governor, Arc Darius Ishaku has urged investors willing to develop the state not to be frightened by stories of insecurity in the North-Eastern part of Nigeria.
He said though Taraba is located in the region, it is not affected heavily by insecurity, caused by Boko Haram Insurgency.
While describing Taraba as a state of immense potentials waiting to be harnessed, the Governor drew the attention of the state’s would-be investors of his willingness to Feed Nigeria through rice farming.
The Governor was speaking when he held a virtual meeting with US-based Foreign Development and Investment Groups led by Mahmood Mustapha Founder & Futurist FiLab, Silvio F. Pupo CEO Logos Capital, and Peter Mendez President & CEO 1st SOS Inc.
Ishaku during the meeting noted that Taraba was desperately looking for investment partners that could assist the state in growing its economy to adequately take care of the growing needs of the youths in the state for gainful employment.
The group’s areas of special interest, which formed the crux of the meeting is the development of investment opportunities for boosting economic growth.
The team had earlier told Gov Ishaku that the group have expertise in the establishment of malls, promotion of agriculture, the hospitality industry and mineral resources development and marketing.
Ishaku who was visibly elated by the level of experience of the group in these areas assured them of the willingness of his administration to partner with them to quicken the pace of development of the state.
He said the idea of establishing a mall will serve as a great attraction and suggested that the first branch of the mall be located in Jalingo, the state capital.
This, he said, would complement the success of his administration’s Green House project in Jalingo which is already enjoying an expansive market for its products, which include tomatoes, pepper, lettuce, cucumber and other vegetables will use the malls as its primary outlets.
The Governor promised to put a helicopter owned by the State Government at the disposal of the group to facilitate collaboration.
Another major area of discussion was how to expand rice farming, packaging, and marketing, where Ishaku told the group that Taraba has one of the best soil to grow rice and require assistance in promoting its marketing.
He said more than sixteen thousand rice farmers in the state have been empowered by his administration since 2017, all who have become prosperous and the envy of other residents.
He insists his administration was determined to do much more for farmers through dry season rice farming which is more productive, stressing that he would love to see many small but functional rice mills established in the state as part of the partnership.
Ishaku however, requested the expert advice and assistance of the group for his government to make farming more attractive to youths in the state.
The Governor solicited for collaboration with the group to promote tourism in Taraba State, noting that the Gashaka Gumti Park located in the state was already attracting international attention, stressing that the state was already negotiating an agreement with African Nature Investment for a 30-year lease agreement of the park.
He told the American investment group that the Park is the largest in Africa and is available for investment.
He extended the invitation of the State Government to the group to visit Taraba State soon to learn more about the state
Earlier, each member of the group had briefed the Governor on their expertise and experience in investment promotion and assured him of their determination to work with the government to quicken the pace of development in Taraba State.
The group is to develop a proposal based on the discussion and agreed areas of collaboration for the Governor to study and approve for onward partnership.