What FG, ASUU Discussed At Evaluation Meeting

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, with ASUU leaders at a meeting in Abuja on August 2, 2021.

 

The Federal Government on Monday met with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to evaluate the implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MOA) entered into by both parties.

Addressing reporters at the end of the meeting, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, disclosed that the meeting evaluated seven key issues.

He noted that both parties were satisfied with the implementation stages of what he termed “work in progress, hinting that some of the items in the MOA were nearly done 100 percent within the timeline.

The minister stated that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was directed to expedite action on the integrity test on the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) which if successful, would eliminate the challenges posed by the peculiarities of the university system to the current payment platform.

He further said the government has also paid the sum of N30 billion as the University Revitalisation Fund as contained in the MOA since January.

According to Ngige, the money is still lodged with the Central Bank of Nigeria pending the conclusion of the audit report of the implementation committee on the use of previous funds disbursement to universities by the Ministry of Education and the National University Commission (NUC).

“The report has been turned in, deliberated upon and both the education ministry and the NUC have promised to write to the Accountant-General of the Federation next week for the release of the money to the NEEDS Special Account for onward disbursement to universities shortly,” he said.

The minister noted that the monies would be paid to successful universities based on the evaluation report of the committee while those with shortcomings would be made to make up before accessing the fund.

He explained that apart from the N40 billion earned allowance which the Federal Government has already paid, the Budget Office of the Federation showed evidence that N22 billion earned allowances for the year 2021 were already captured in the 2021 supplementary budget of the federation, and will soon be accessed.

“On the proliferation of State universities, a bill has been sent to the National Assembly by the NUC to strengthen its arms in terms of delisting universities where funding and other parameters are inadequate. This effort was commended as all the parties agreed that mushrooming and proliferation of state universities, some of which mock the ideals of an ivory tower, should stop.

“The inconsistencies in the IPPIS payment were also discussed. There was good interaction and documents were exchanged between IPPIS and ASUU. ASUU is to go back to its members so that we can have a proper update on the extent of the inconsistencies in payment,” Ngige briefed.

He added, “We expressed our displeasure that these things are happening – amputation of salaries, not-too-clear, foggy things happening over peoples monthly emoluments. So we have asked IPPIS and ASUU to work together over this.”

The minister said evidence was presented that promotion arrears have been paid to some universities while the Budget Office of the Federation and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation were asked to liaise with ASUU to sort out the rest.

He stated that that the standing committee on the matter has been expanded to include National Income Salaries and Wages Commission.

“A situation where a university professor is paid N107, 000 out of mistake or over deduction is unacceptable,” Ngige declared.

Commending ASUU, the minister was shocked that the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) would embark on another strike after a similar evaluation meeting which he said was successful.

ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, on his part, said the union was fairly satisfied with the outcome and promised that ASUU would reach out to its members.

FG To Receive Over Four Million Doses Of Vaccines On Monday

A file photo of a healthcare worker holding a COVID-19 test kit. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

 

The Federal Government will on Monday receive more than four million doses of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said on Sunday.

NPHCDA Executive Director/ CEO, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in a memo issued to journalists in Abuja, said the consignment is a donation from the American government.

The expected shipment will be the largest of vaccines received since the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign started in March this year.

Nigeria has run out of COVID-19 vaccines after an initial four million doses of AstraZeneca, received from the COVAX facility were utilized three weeks ago.

This comes days after Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) called for strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols in the conduct of all political events in the country.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Third Wave: PSC Warns States, Political Parties To Ensure Strict Compliance

In a communique issued on Friday, the PSC Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the call followed recent confirmation of more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in several states and the continued rising number of infections and hospitalization across the country.

He warned all political parties, State governments, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC) to avoid the spread of the virus amid political gatherings and ensure maximum public safety.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded 497 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases as new infections continue to increase amid fears that the third wave of the pandemic has already hit the country.

In its latest update issued on Saturday night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the total number of cases in the country has risen to 173,908, with the new figure indicating a slight decrease from the 590 reported on Friday as the biggest daily figure since March.

The 497 new cases were recorded in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with Lagos remaining the epicenter of the virus.

While the nation’s commercial capital recorded 211 cases, Akwa-Ibom State came second with 80 new cases while Kwara recorded 73 cases.

In the South-West, Osun State is ranked 4th on the list with 29 cases while Oyo and Rivers each raked in 17 cases. Cross River recorded 15, Anambra nine and Ogun eight.

We Are Not Aware Of $875m Ammunition Deal With US – Lai Mohammed

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says the Federal Government is not aware of any $875 million ammunition deal with the US which is being purportedly obstructed by some lawmakers in the States.

Mr. Mohammed stated this while speaking with newsmen on Friday in Abuja. According to him, there is no contract of such nature and sum between Nigeria and the US.

He described as #Fakenews, the purported sale of the weapons and explained that apart from the 12 AH-I-Cobra attack helicopters of which Nigeria has taken delivery of six, the government is not aware of any contract as being speculated.

READ ALSO: Abba Kyari And The Hushpuppi Scandal: Follow Due Process, Moghalu Tells Buhari

The Minister said the received AH-1- Cobra Attack helicopters would be launched sometime in August, adding that the Federal Government is“quite satisfied with the progress and cooperation that we received from the government of the US on this issue”.

Reports suggesting that influential U.S. lawmakers were obstructing a proposed sale of ammunition and attack helicopters to Nigeria over allegations of human rights abuses and anti-democratic actions of the present administration have been making the rounds.

These reports suggest that the blocked proposed sale includes 12 AH-1 Cobra attack helicopters accompanied by defence systems, 28 helicopter engines produced by GE Aviation, and 14 military-grade aircraft navigation systems made by Honeywell.

Lai Mohammed however stated that the reports are false, emphasizing that “the relationship between Nigeria and the US is smooth and waxing stronger”.

FG Shuts Section Of Lagos-Sagamu Expressway

The Federal Government on July 27, 2021 shut a section of the Lagos-Sagamu Expressway.

 

The Federal Government on Tuesday announced that motorists using the Lagos-Sagamu axis of the Lagos-Ibadan expressway should consider alternative routes or be ready to follow diversion guidelines.

Federal Controller of Works for Lagos State, Engineer Kayode Popoola, said the three-day diversion would last between Wednesday, July 28 and Friday, July 30.

He explained that the essence of the diversion was to allow for the casting of a beam of an overhead bridge at the km 37 plus 100 axis of the road close to Makun in Ogun State.

READ ALSO: We Are Working With Nasarawa Govt To Rescue Kidnapped Monarch, Says El-Rufai

“As part of the progress achieved on the road construction, the contractor will launch the beams and that will take us about 72 hours,” the federal controller said.

“Diversion has been created about 800 meters away, 400 before and 400 after the point of the construction. Any vehicle coming from Ibadan coming towards Makun at kilometer 37 plus 100 would have to shift to Lagos bound lane and would join its original lane 400 meters after.

“It’s not like we’re trying to close the Lagos-Ibadan or that there is going to be any gridlock. We’re only using this opportunity to tell the public that it’s only 72 hours that the diversion will be created. It’s not partial closure and it’s not total closure.”

While debunking reports that the road will be closed for three months, Popoola asked motorists to watch out for road signs and follow safety guidelines.

See more photos below:

 

Igboho Sues FG, Demands ₦500bn As Damages For House Invasion

Mr Sunday Adeyemi Igboho addressed reporters on January 26, 2021.
Igboho had risen to fame following his quit notice to criminal herders in Oyo State.

 

Yoruba nation agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Sunday Igboho, has sued the Federal Government over the invasion of his house and is demanding ₦500 billion as damages.

Igboho filed a notice of application, through his lawyer, Yomi Alliyu, to enforce his fundamental human rights, pursuant to Sections 33-46 of the 1999 Constitution as amended and relevant articles of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.

Channels Television obtained a copy of the application which was filed on July 22 before the Ibadan Division of the Oyo State High Court.

Apart from the Attorney General of the Federation, the State Security Service and the Director SSS, Oyo State were also listed as respondents.

Igboho is asking the court to among other things declare that the July 1, invasion of his house, Igboho villa in the Soka area of Ibadan is a violation of the fundamental right to privacy.

READ ALSO: Court Orders DSS To Produce Igboho’s Associates

He’s also seeking an order of the court directing the respondents to return all the items seized from the house. He lists the items to include, N2m cash, one thousand Euros, travel documents including international passports belonging to him and his family members, gold jewelry and wristwatches, 2 mobile phones and other items yet unknown but which were allegedly carted away by the SSS.

Igboho also asked the court to order the respondents to jointly pay him the sum ₦500m as special damages for the damage done to his house and his car and another ₦500bn as exemplary and aggravated damages for beaching his fundamental rights with the malicious invasion of his house as well as an order directing the Federal Government and the other respondents to tender a public apology in two national dailies.

This comes a day after the Federal High Court in Abuja ordered the Department of State Service (DSS) to produce the 12 aides of Igboho, who have been in their custody since July 2.

The aides to Igboho who were arrested at his residence are expected to be in court on Thursday, 29th July and their case is expected to proceed regardless of the annual court vacation slated to begin on the 26th of July

The suspects had earlier sued the DSS before the Federal High Court Abuja, on grounds that their fundamental human rights had been infringed.

EID-EL-KABIR: FG Declares July 20 And 21 As Public Holidays

 

The Federal Government has declared Tuesday, July 20, and Wednesday, July 21, 2021, as public holidays to mark this year’s Eid-el-Kabir celebration.

The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration on behalf of the Federal Government, congratulates all Muslim faithful and Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora on this occasion.

“I call on Muslims to continue to imbibe the spirit of love, peace, kindness, and sacrifice, as exemplified by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and to also use the period to pray for peace, unity, prosperity, and the stability of the country, considering the challenges of insecurity we face at the moment. These mainly are bandits in the North West and North Central, insurgents in the North East, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic agitators, and sundry criminals in other parts of the country” Aregbesola added.

READ ALSO: Reps In Disorder As Deputy Speaker Rules Against E-Transmission Of Electoral Results

The Minister assured that the Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is “committed to the security of lives and property of every Nigerian, empowering the citizens for successful living, the provisions of social investments programmes and adequate security in the schools, especially with the spate of innocent school children being targets of kidnapping” he added.

Aregbesola, while wishing Muslim faithful a happy Eid-el Kabir celebration, advised all Nigerians to take responsibility by reporting any suspicious individuals and criminal activities to law enforcement agencies, especially during this festival.

He also enjoined on all Nigerians the observance of all Covid-19 protocols, particularly the non-pharmaceutical measures – wearing facemasks, hand washing, and social distancing – designed to keep the transmission of the disease at bay. “We must all take responsibility for containment of the pandemic during this year’s festival,” he said.

The Minister sympathizes with the families of school children who have been kidnapped or suffered one misfortune or another. “Our hearts and prayers of comfort are with you,” Aregbesola said.

FG Extends NIN-SIM Verification To July 26

A file photo of a Nigerian holding a national identity card.

 

The Federal Government on Monday said it has approved the extension of the deadline for NIN-SIM data verification to July 26.

This was communicated via a statement signed jointly by spokespersons of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigeria Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

At least 57.3 million Nigerians have enrolled for the NIN, with an average of three to four SIMs per NIN, according to the agencies.

“The decision to extend the deadline was made after a request by stakeholders on the need to consolidate the enrolment and NIN-SIM verification process following the rapid increase in the number of enrolment systems across the country,” the statement said.

The agencies also noted that as of June 28, a total of 5,410 enrollment systems have been made available nationwide to “significantly ease the NIN enrolment process and subsequent linkage of NIN to SIM.

“It is worthy of note that there were only about 800 such enrolment systems as at December 2020.

“The Federal Government has approved the extension as part of its effort to make it easier for its citizens and residents to obtain the NIN and it is important to take advantage of the extension.”

People Taking Advantage Of #TwitterBan As Blackmail Weapon – Keyamo

 

The Federal Minister of State for Labour and Employment of Nigeria, Festus Keyamo, has lamented that some Nigerians have been taking undue advantage of the #TwitterBan in the country to blackmail the Federal Government.

Speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, the minister said the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government has never used any social media platform to promote content that was capable of “setting the country ablaze”.

He said this in response to questions that the party used the same social media to rise to power back in 2015, stressing that the goal of the government with the #TwitterBan is not to stifle free speech.

“As a political party APC, can you tell us examples when we tried to use social media platforms to set the country ablaze?,” Keyamo asked, adding “we should not be blackmailed into a corner and behave as if we are acting against our own principles.

“We are not talking about stifling free speech. People have been using this as a blackmail weapon that we rode to power using social media. That is blackmail because we need to set specific examples where we use social media to undermine the territorial integrity and peace and unity of Nigeria,”

“Nobody is saying that people should not use social media platforms, nobody is saying that we should not call government officials to question. Nobody is saying that you should not even abuse us but is it right for you to go to social media and promote false stories that are capable of turning one part of the country against another?” he added.

Read Also: ECOWAS Court Restrains Nigerian Govt From Imposing Sanctions On Twitter, Others

The Federal Government has since come under fire for its decision to ban the social media platform in the country both from citizens and the international community.

Beyond the ban, the Minister for Justice, Abubakar Malami, had also announced that anyone found still using the app would be prosecuted.

But on Tuesday, the ECOWAS Court of Justice joined the call to condemn the decisions.

The court restrained the Federal Government from imposing sanctions or harassing, intimidating, arresting, or prosecuting Twitter.

It also restricted the government from carrying out such actions against any other social media service provider, as well as media houses, pending the hearing and determination of a suit challenging the government’s suspension of Twitter operations in the country.

However, reacting to this, Mr Keyamo said “I have not seen anywhere where they said the ECOWAS court is the moral thermometer or barometer to decide whether Nigeria’s image is bad or not”.

Lai Mohammed, Others To Engage With Twitter Over Suspension

The Nigerian government argues that Twitter habour content that undermines the country’s sovereignty.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the composition of the Federal Government’s team led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed to engage with Twitter.

This is over the recent suspension of the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.

It was announced in a statement from the office of the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday.

Mr Mohammed will also be the chairman of the team.

READ ALSO: Buhari Congratulates New Iranian President, Assures Closer Cooperation

Other members of the team include the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy; Minister of Foreign Affairs; Minister of Works and Housing; Minister of State for Labour and Employment as well as other relevant government agencies.

The statement added that Twitter had earlier written to President Muhammadu Buhari seeking to engage with the Federal Government over the suspension of the microblogging site in Nigeria.

“This is with a view to charting a path forward,” the statement added.

The Federal Government earlier in June placed a ban on the usage of Twitter in Nigeria citing activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

Twitter Has Reached Out To Us For Negotiation, Says FG

PHOTO USED TO ILLUSTRATE THE STORY: Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed and Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed discussing after the FEC meeting held on June 9, 2021, at the State House, Abuja.

 

The Federal Government says the management of tech giant, Twitter, has reached out for dialogue.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said this on Wednesday while addressing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council.

He said Twitter reached out to the Federal Government on Wednesday morning for ‘high-level discussion.’

He declared that the ban has so far been very effective following reports of Twitter’s huge financial losses running into billions.

READ ALSO: Buhari Receives Made In Nigeria Mobile Phones

The Information Minister maintains that Twitter has been a platform of choice for separatists to thrive and would be disallowed from operating until it is duely registered, licensed, and operates within regulations.

Lai Mohammed addressing journalists at the State House on Wednesday, June 9, 2021.

 

When the Minister was asked about the law under which Nigerians who violate the Twitter ban would be prosecuted, Lai refrained from answering and asked that the Attorney General of the Federation provide answers.

Speaking concerning the discussion at the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari, Mohammed insisted on the ban and asked politicians to rise beyond various divisions and queue behind the country’s decision to ban the microblogging site.

 

– Tax Payment and Registration –

Minister Lai Mohammed also spoke concerning the payment of tax by tech giants in the country.

He explained that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have offices either do they pay taxes for the billions earned.

Henceforth, the Federal government has resolved to ensure other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram be registered in the country and adverts have been published to this effect.

The information minister, despite criticism by Human Rights groups, insists that freedom of speech has not been stifled as a result of the ban.

He maintained that other social media platforms are still available for use.

Continue Using Twitter – NASS Joint Minority Caucus Urges Nigerians

 

 

The Joint Minority Caucus of the Senate and the House of Representatives has met over the ban on Twitter by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government and has restated its condemnation of the embargo as draconian and unacceptable.

This position was contained in a communique signed by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe the Minority Leader of the Senate) and Hon. Ndudi Elumelu the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives.

In the statement, the Joint Minority Caucus also dismissed threats by the APC-led government to arrest and prosecute Nigerians using Twitter and calls on Nigerians to go ahead and use their Twitter as they would not be contravening any law in Nigeria or any international statute.

The Joint Minority Caucus recognized the provisions of Articles 19 and 20 of the United Nations Charter on Fundamental Human Rights, which Nigeria is a signatory to, as well as provisions of Sections 39 and 36 (12) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), and notes that by these provisions no one will be violating any law for using Twitter in Nigeria.

READ ALSO: Suspension: FG Should Have Sued Twitter, Not Place A Ban – Falana

As lawmakers, the Joint Caucus said it is pained by the anguish Nigerians, especially the youths, who find the use of Twitter as a means of livelihood and genuine social interaction, are passing through just because the APC-led Federal Government feels slighted that an individual’s post, was deleted by Twitter for ethic violation.

The joint caucus, therefore, called on Nigerians to use various opportunities offered by technology and continue making use of Twitter since such does not violate any law in our country.

“It is agonizing that Nigeria and Nigerians have been losing billions of naira on daily basis since the ban on Twitter. This is completely unacceptable as it is worsening the already biting economic hardship and frightening unemployment level in the country.

“Moreover, the ban on Twitter in Nigeria appears to be in favour of criminal and terrorist elements, whose activities fester in an environment of suppressed information flow.

“The Joint Minority Caucus sympathizes with the organized private sector, manufacturing and service providing companies, small and medium enterprises, online business owners and other hardworking entrepreneurs across the country, whose genuine business and means of livelihood have been crippled by the unwarranted ban on Twitter by the APC federal government,” the statement partly reads.

The caucus also identified with our students, research-based organization, media houses, the organized civil society, faith-based organizations, community groups among others, whose information-based activities have been violently disrupted by the ban.

In the same vein, the Joint Caucus sympathized with regional, states, local government as well as members of the international community, whose genuine and constructive activities have been crippled by the prohibition of twitter in Nigeria

It also identified with traditional rulers, who have even found Twitter as a means of communicating with the constituents, especially in this era of insecurity in the country.

The Joint Caucus vehemently berated the APC-led government for abandoning its duty of addressing the serious economic and security problems confronting our nation to rather focus on dissipating energy victimizing Nigerians over their disagreement with Twitter for deleting a post by an individual.

The Caucus counseled the Federal Government to swallow its pride, accept its misdoing and go and settle whatever issue it has with Twitter instead of this resort to inflicting pains on Nigerians.

FG Gives Condition To Be Met Before Twitter Ban Is Lifted

 

 

The Federal Government says it would restore Twitter operations in Nigeria if the platform would be used responsibly by the citizens.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama disclosed this after a meeting with some of the top envoys of various Diplomatic Missions in Nigeria.

While highlighting that the responsibility of the government is to protect law, order, and human lives, Onyeama made it clear that there is no definite time for lifting the ban.

“The condition would be a responsible use of the social media and that really has to be it.”

“We are not saying that Twitter is threatening the country or any such thing; why we have taken this measure is to stop them to be used as platforms for destabilization and facilitation of criminality or encouragement of criminalities,” Onyeama stated.

Envoys present at the meeting which held at the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abuja on Monday included, those of Canada, the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland.

The meeting became imperative following a joint reaction by the envoys expressing disappointment at the indefinite suspension of the microblogging platform.

Speaking after the forum, Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, said they had a fruitful deliberation and reviewed the situation.

According to the minister, the security concerns of President Muhammadu Buhari and the steps taken to address them were tabled.

Onyeama said the government acknowledges the roles social media plays and how it swings positively and negatively.  He further stressed that the negative aspect has dire consequences and can threaten the unity of the country.

The minister further stated that these concerns have brought about the strong steps taken by the president to maintain the nation’s unity.

He highlighted the need for the envoys to support the country on the Twitter ban, just as they lent their support to fixing the security crisis.

On her part, the US Ambassador, Mary-beth Leonards who spoke on behalf of other envoys, said they want to see Nigeria succeed, and while the challenges could be daunting, they aren’t insurmountable.

She reminded the government that free access to social media, is important and they are happy that the government, is in talks with Twitter.

The diplomatic missions had on Saturday said they were let down by the decision to suspend Twitter operations in Nigeria.

“The diplomatic missions of Canada, the European Union (Delegation to Nigeria), the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States of America convey our disappointment over the Government of Nigeria’s announcement suspending #Twitter and proposing registration requirements for other social media,” a joint statement from the missions said.

“We strongly support the fundamental human right of free expression and access to information as a pillar of democracy in Nigeria as around the world and these rights apply online as well as offline.

“Banning systems of expression is not the answer. These measures inhibit access to information and commerce at precisely the moment when Nigeria needs to foster inclusive dialogue and expression of opinions, as well as share vital information in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less, communication to accompany the concerted efforts of Nigeria’s citizens in fulsome dialogue toward unity, peace, and prosperity. As Nigeria’s partners, we stand ready to assist in achieving these goals.”

Bad for Business

Earlier the United States had chided the Nigerian government over its decision.

“Nigeria’s constitution provides for freedom of expression,” a statement from the US Mission in Nigeria said.

“The Government’s recent #Twitterban undermines Nigerians’ ability to exercise this fundamental freedom and sends a poor message to its citizens, investors and businesses.

“Banning social media and curbing every citizen’s ability to seek, receive, and impart information undermines fundamental freedoms.

“As President Biden has stated, our need for individual expression, open public conversation, and accountability has never been greater.

“The path to a more secure Nigeria lies in more, not less communication, alongside concerted efforts toward unity, peace, and prosperity.”