Federal Poly Lecturers In Niger Embark On Strike

A file photo of the front gate of Federal Polytechnic, Bida in Niger State. Photo: www.fedpolybida.edu.ng

 

 

Lecturers at the Federal Polytechnic Bida on Monday embark on an indefinite strike over allegations of lingering salary shortfall, non-payment of allowances, and secret recruitment of over 141 new staff, among others.

This was made known in an open letter addressed to the Accountant General of the Federation signed by Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) at the polytechnic, Dr Umar Saganuwan.

The lecturers described the alleged recruitment of new staff as unjustifiable, especially when the existing ones have not been paid full salaries and other allowances since July 2019.

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They also said the recruitment was fraudulent and does not serve the needs of the various departments of the institution.

 

What Are They Hiding?

The letter read,

Sir, it may interest you to know that apart from other allowances unjustifiably owed staff of this institution for several months and as if this is not enough, the staff have also not enjoyed payment of their full salaries since July 2019, due to management claims of the shortfall in the monthly allocation to the institution.

Coincidentally, while we are still grappling to come to terms with the reality of the  pains inflicted on us by the twin issue of the shortfall of personnel emoluments and non-payment of our allowances, we were greeted by the rude shock of secret and fraudulent recruitment (replacement) of over 141 staff by the management and which does not serve the needs of the various departments.

The questions we are asking are; what is the justification of the massive recruitment when the same institution cannot pay its existing workforce? Why was the appointment secretly done against all known procedures and rules for such exercise?

Why were the appointment letters of the newly recruited staff backdated to 7th December 2018 while they were documented in October 2019 and they are to assume duties in January 2020. What are they hiding?

 

The union, however, urged the Federal government to set up a committee to investigate the alleged shortfall in personnel emoluments which has led to cut down in staff salaries.

In its response, the management of the polytechnic wrote to the Accountant General of the Federation to counter the allegations of the lecturers.

It explained that the recruitment was transparently conducted, starting from obtaining the governing council’s permission to the issuance of a certificate of compliance by the Federal Character Commission.

The management stated that the letter by the union contained falsehood, adding that it has issued queries signed by the Deputy Registrar, Hussaini Muhammad Enagi, to the executive members of ASUP in the polytechnic.

It, however, queried the ASUP Chairman for flaunting the internal grievance procedure by writing a direct letter to the Accountant General of the Federation.

The query read,

Your action depicts that you have not changed your attitude despite the intervention of the Executive Secretary of NBTE at the Abuja Peace Accord meeting where attention was drawn to respect the internal grievance procedure which you jettisoned by directly writing the Accountant General of the Federation without first reporting to the council.

The above actions contravene Section 4 Sub-section F of the Public Service Rule Chapter 16.2 and 16.5 of the Polytechnic Staff manual.

You are given 24 hours to substantiate with facts why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.

 

Meanwhile, the union has declared that its members would not go back to lecture rooms until the query was withdrawn and all issues raised in the open letter were addressed.

Seven Malian Soldiers Die In Clash With Jihadists

A group of soldiers from the Burkina Faso Army patrols a rural area during a joint operation with the French Army in the Soum region along the border with Mali on November 9, 2019.
MICHELE CATTANI / AFP

 

Seven Malian soldiers died Monday during fighting with suspected jihadist militants in the tense border region near Niger, the army said on Twitter.

A statement said an army patrol was engaged by “terrorists” near the northeastern town of Tabankort and suffered “seven deaths and 15 injured along with material damage.”

A counterattack was backed by troops from France and Niger, it added.

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Northern Mali fell into the hands of jihadists in 2012 before the militants were forced out by a French-led military intervention.

Since then, however, the border regions of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso have become the theatre of repeated clashes with jihadist fighters.

Mali’s army has been struggling to contain the Islamist insurgency despite help from France, African neighbours and the United Nations.

Two recent attacks have claimed the lives of about 100 Malian soldiers.

AFP

Appeal Court Affirms Bello’s Election As Niger Governor

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A file photo of Niger State Governor, Abubakar Bello

 

 

A Court of Appeal has affirmed the election of Mr Abubakar Bello as the duly elected governor of Niger State.

The court gave the affirmation on Saturday in a unanimous judgment delivered by a five-man panel of justices, while ruling on the appeal filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate in the March 9 poll, Umar Nasko.

It held that it lacked the jurisdiction to enter judgment against Mister Bello as the appellants failed to conclude their petition within 180 days, as stipulated by Section 294 Sub-section 2 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Justice Oyebisi Omoleye, who read the lead judgment, insisted that election matters must be concluded within the 180 days prescribed by law.

The judge held that having failed to do that, the appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate has failed and was subsequently dismissed.

‘Warehouses Along The Border Must Be Dismantled’: FG Gives Conditions For Reopening Borders

The Federal Government on Monday gave conditions that ECOWAS countries have to meet for Nigeria to reopen its borders.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, gave the conditions related to the movement of goods and persons during the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Temporary Partial Closure of Land Borders in Abuja on Monday.

The conditions include respect for the rules of origins with regard to the movement of goods and shutting down warehouses along the border.

“We absolutely insist on the dismantling of all the warehouses along our common borders,” Onyeama told journalists in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

“No longer will we accept anybody coming into the country through land borders with anything other than recognised”.

The conditions which come months after Nigeria shut its borders with Benin and Niger, citing massive smuggling activities, especially of rice, taking place on that corridor, will be presented to the countries in two weeks, according to the Minister.

Apart from demanding the dismantling of warehouses, the Federal Government is also going tough on the repackaging of imported goods to pass them as local ones (from ECOWAS countries).

Onyeama said, “On the transportation of goods within ECOWAS and across borders, we will now insist on proper recognised packaging of those goods.

“No longer will we have goods, you know, of all shapes and sizes just going through the borders. We are going to have accepted conditions for the packaging of goods that will be transported by road across our borders.”

The accepted conditions include respecting the rules of origin. This, according to the Minister, will help prevent dumping of goods in Nigeria.

“(For) Goods predominantly produced in ECOWAS member states, the rules of origin must be satisfied. So, we have to avoid any possibility of dumping,” he said.

“If goods are produced in ECOWAS member states, those goods must be majorly produced in those states. If they are coming from outside ECOWAS, the value addition made by an ECOWAS country must be over 50 percent.”

12 Soldiers Killed As Gunmen Invade Military Base In Niger

 

Gunmen killed 12 soldiers Wednesday in a predawn raid  on a military base in southeastern Niger’s Diffa region, a regular target of Boko Haram jihadists, the defence ministry said.

Another eight soldiers were wounded in the attack on the Blabrine military unit, said the ministry statement read out on state radio, adding that this was a provisional toll.

The attack was “very probably” carried out by Boko Haram, the statement added.

This was the latest in a string of increasingly brazen attacks near the west African country’s border with Nigeria, where the radical Islamist insurgency has claimed hundreds of lives.

The attack was launched at around 3:00 am (0200 GMT), a municipal source told AFP earlier on condition of anonymity.

A senior official in Diffa added that military equipment had been torched in the attack.

Diffa, which borders the birthplace of Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria, has been hit by repeated cross-border attacks by the Nigerian jihadist group since 2015.

There was a lull in the attacks late last year, but they have ramped up since March when 10 civilians were killed by a suicide bomber in the town of N’Guigmi, about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from the Blabrine base.

The mayor of Kabalewa, a village close to N’Guigmi, and his wife were kidnapped by Boko Haram members earlier this month.

The jihadist group has also previously carried out large-scale assaults on military posts, including a raid on a base near the southeastern town of Bosso in 2016 in which 26 soldiers were killed.

 ‘Threat spreads to the south’ 

Boko Haram, loosely translated as “Western education is banned”, wants to create a hardline Islamic state.

A regional military coalition is battling the group, but the decade-long insurgency has killed at least 35,000 people in Nigeria alone.

Located in the Lake Chad basin in the middle of the Sahel, the Diffa region is home to 120,000 refugees from Nigeria fleeing the Boko Haram violence, as well as 110,000 people internally displaced within Niger, according to UN data released this month.

The region has also seen flooding after heavy rains caused the Komadougou Yobe river to burst its banks, affecting at least 40,000 people, the government has said.

As well as facing Boko Haram to the southeast, Niger is also battling jihadists — including those from the Islamic State group — in the west near the Malian border.

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has repeatedly called on the West and the United Nations to help the country battle the jihadists.

But the presence of French, American, and German forces in Niger as well as the UN in Mali has not stopped the increasing attacks.

“Not a day goes by without loss of life,” Issoufou said last month, warning that the situation was urgent as “the threat spreads to the south”.

AFP

Youths Shut Down Minna-Suleja Road, Protest Neglect By FG

 

Some youths in Niger State have shut down the Minna-Suleja Road to stage a protest.

The demonstrators stormed the road in large a number on Monday morning to protest what they called neglect by the Federal Government.

They accused the Federal Government of neglecting federal roads in Niger State and called on the President to come to their aid.

During the protest, some of the protesters dance to a song by hip hop singer Eedris Abdulkareem, in which he called the attention of the government to the plights of Nigerians.

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The protesters in one of their placards and banners called on President Muhammadu Buhari to save them.

According to them, people die every day in the state and Niger is part of Nigeria.

Some travellers on the Minna-Suleja Road were left stranded as a result of the protest.

However, officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) arrived at the scene to calm the protesters.

The Minna-Suleja Road connects Niger State to Abuja and generally links the north-west region of the country to the Federal Capital Territory.

Four Niger State Workers Die As Car Crashes Along Mokwa-Batati Road

 

Four Staff of the Niger State Ministry of Lands and Housing have been confirmed dead, following a motor accident which occurred on Wednesday evening along Mokwa-Batati road in Mokwa local government area of the state.

The Federal Road Safety Corps unit command in the area confirmed the accident to Channels Television via telephone conversation.

He says the crash involving a Trailer and a Honda Civic car took place just after Batati village, after a heavy downpour.

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The four staff of the State Ministry of lands and housing were said to be on their way to Mokwa when the accident happened.

They were confirmed dead at the spot where the accident occurred.

According to a report by the Ministry’s Head of Information, the victims are Ibrahim Audu, Abubakar DANJUMA, BABAN KOGI and Idris Jibrin.

As at the time of filing this report, the remains of some of the victims have been claimed by their relations for burial.

Bandits Carry Out Fresh Attacks On Four Communities In Niger, Over 1200 Sacked

 

Unknown gunmen have attacked communities in Shiroro local government area of Niger state, sacking more than one thousand two hundred residents from their homes.

The fresh attacks come barely one month after armed bandits attacked seven communities in the same area, killing two women a child and sacking over five thousand persons from their homes.

The renewed attacks on Gyaramiya, Bataron Jatau and Bataron Waziri communities took place at about 10:am on Wednesday.

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According to eyewitnesses, the armed men dispossessed members of the communities of their valuables including food stuff and petroleum products.

They say the bandits did not however kill anyone, but threatened the residents to vacate their homes and leave for Alawa town in the same local government.

The district head of Alawa, Ibrahim Salihu in a telephone conversation with Channels Television confirmed the incident saying over 1,200 displaced people from the three communities are in Alawa looking for shelter and food.

Salihu appealed to the state government to come to their aid.

Speaking on the issue, police spokesman, DSP Abubakar Dan-Inna said he has been trying to reach the DPO in the area for confirmation of facts, but without success.

DSP Dan-Inna said for now,  he has not gotten an official report on the attacks.

He however, was quick to add that the place is a very remote area and communication is big problem.

Kidnapped US Aid Worker Alive, Says Niger President

 

Niger’s President Mahamadou Issoufou has said a US aid worker kidnapped in 2016 is alive and in good health and the government is still working for his release.

Jeffery Woodke was seized at gunpoint on October 14, 2016 from his home in Abalak in the Tahoua region of Niger, about 350 kilometres (220 miles) from capital Niamey.

His kidnappers have still not been identified, but Niamey suspects the al-Qaeda-allied Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) took him and is holding him in Mali.

“From the information we have, he is alive and he is good health,” Issoufou told American ABC News channel in an interview conducted in September during the UN General Assembly in New York and broadcast on Wednesday.

“We will continue in any case to do everything to bring about the conditions for his release.”

According to local officials, two armed men in turbans stormed in and grabbed Woodke, killing his bodyguard and a member of the national guard.

The aid worker — who speaks the local language Tamasheq fluently as well as Fula and Arabic — had run the aid group JEMET since 1992, helping the local Tuareg community.

Jihadists, including those of the Islamic State, have a presence in southwestern Niger near the border with Mali — where they have carried out bombings, shootings and kidnappings.

In 2017, four US soldiers and at least four Nigerien troops were killed in the area in an ambush believed to have been carried out by a regional affiliate of the Islamic State.

pgf/pma/klm

Niger Elections Tribunal Set To Deliver Judgement Amidst Tight Security

 

There is a heavy presence of security personnel at the Niger State Judiciary Complex Minna where the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal is expected to deliver judgment.

The verdict follows a suit filed by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate Umar Nasko challenging the victory of Governor Abubakar Bello of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the recently held governorship election.

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The petitioners had alleged that Governor Bello submitted forged certificates to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

They also alleged that the governorship election was marred with irregularities.

See Photos Below:

 

 

9,000 Niger College Of Education Graduates Yet To Claim Certificates

 

No fewer than 9,000 graduates of the Niger State College of Education, Minna have yet to collect their certificates from the institution.

The Provost of the college, Professor Yakubu Auna, who disclosed this to reporters on Sunday, noted that some of the documents belong to graduates of over 24 years.

He said the certificates covered between 1995 to date, and appeal by the management of the institution to owners to come and claim their documents has been unfruitful.

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“We have used various media platforms to announce that the owners of the certificates should come and claim their results but they have failed to show up,” the academic lamented.

He revealed that part of the measures taken was to write both the state and local governments to mandate their personnel using statement of results to present their original certificates.

“How can somebody who graduated from an institution after 10 years not care to come and collect the original certificate that he or she spent years and resources to earn?” the provost asked.

Professor Auna was also worried that some civil servants and other individuals were found parading forged certificates belonging to the institution.

“We have received the disturbing reports of some civil servants who are parading themselves with forged results which bear our logo, but we are liaising with the state government with a view to checking the trend,” he said.

62 Suspected Thugs Arrested Over Violence At Niger APC Primaries

Security Operatives Rescue Kidnap Victims, Arrest Two Suspects In Ondo
A file photo of suspects arrested by the police.

 

 

Sixty-two suspected political thugs have been arrested in Niger State following the violence that rocked the Local Government primaries conducted by the All Progressives Congress.

The Public Relations Officer of the State Police Command, Mr Abubakar Dan-Inna, confirmed this in a statement on Sunday.

Three persons were said to have been killed in Shiroro Local Government while there were reports of pockets of clashes among party supporters in other local government areas during the primaries which held on September 7.

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Dan-Inna explained that the suspects arrested by the police in five local government areas were in possession of weapons and deadly substances suspected to be hard drugs.

Some of the items recovered from them, according to him, included a vehicle loaded with machetes, daggers and knives.

The Command’s spokesman noted that the suspects have been charged to court for unlawful assembly, disturbance of public peace, and for sponsoring thuggery in accordance with the state’s Anti-Thuggery Law.

He added that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abubakar Usman, vowed that the Command under his watch would not allow disgruntled elements to continue to harass innocent citizens.

Usman, therefore, warned those planning to disrupt the forthcoming local government elections to have a rethink.

“Anyone with any grievances in the conduct of the primary election should seek redress in the court of law rather than resorting to violence,” the police commissioner was quoted as saying.