ASUU Owerri Zone Demands Immediate Payment Of Emoluments

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendment Executive members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, comprising five universities in Anambra, Imo, and Abia states, have raised their voices against the persistent shortfalls in payment of their emoluments by the Federal and State Governments.

In a press briefing in Awka, the Anambra State capital, the representative of the Zonal Coordinator and Chairperson of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Mr Uzochukwu Onyebinama, noted that the ASUU has been battling this issue since 2015.

While highlighting the various amounts owed the universities in the region, Mr Onyebinama stated that the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, had been experiencing steady shortfalls in payment and as at January 2017 it had amounted to over 88 million Naira and hit 170 million Naira in February.

That of the Federal University of Technology (FUTO) Owerri, as at February 2017 was put at 157 million Naira, while the situation at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture had increased to 136 million Naira.

Mr Onyebinama then stated that they were not demanding new salaries, rather, they were demanding what was legitimately theirs.

He maintained that the issue was capable of truncating the smooth running of programmes in universities across the country.

He therefore demanded an immediate payment of all emoluments, saying “We unequivocally demand the immediate release of payment of our entire outstanding salaries and remittance of all authorized deductions in order to avert the impending industrial disharmony in our universities”.

Keep Faith, President Buhari Will Take Us To Promised Land – Adesina

Femi Adesina, 5,000 nairaThe Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, has urged Nigerians to keep faith with the current administration’s commitment to take “Nigeria to the promised land.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari is fulfilling his campaign promises to Nigerians, particularly in stimulating the economy for job creation, anti-corruption campaign and security of lives and property.

He made the statement while addressing a delegation of Northern Youths Initiative for Peace and Good Governance on Tuesday in Abuja.

“I am glad that majority of Nigerians are still with President Buhari.

“The excitement and jubilation, around the country, that greeted his return to Nigeria recently is a clear testimony of the love, confidence and belief, which Nigerians have in his leadership.

“We are witnessing a positive turn around in the economy, agriculture, the fight against corruption, job creation and I am very confident that President Buhari will lead Nigeria to the Promised Land before the mandate given to him by Nigerians lapses in 2019,” Adesina said.

The Special Adviser, who received the Sardauna Leadership Award, “Icon of Societal Transformation”, thanked the Group for the honour, noting that he was motivated to serve in government because of the personality and integrity of the President.

In his remarks, the President of the Northern Youths Initiative, Comrade Muhammadu Abubakar, described Adesina as an exemplary leader.

“You are a Goldfish that has no hiding place.

“We northern youths, under the aegis of Northern Youth Initiative for Peace and Good Governance, honour you as Garkuwan Matasan Arewa (The shield of Northern Youths), for your invaluable contribution to the country and inspiring role to the upcoming generation,” he added.

Buhari Condemns Killings Across Nigeria

Southern Kaduna: President Buhari Orders Strong ActionNigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has condoled with the government and people of Benue state on the recent attack on a market in Zaki Biam by gunmen which resulted in the loss of lives.

This was revealed on Tuesday, March 21, in a statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina.

“The President condemns the wicked attack and directs security agencies to begin immediate investigation with a view to bring the perpetrators of the act to book.”

President Buhari, while sympathising with those who lost their loved ones, also prayed that God comforts the grieving families and grants the souls of the victims eternal rest.

Furthermore, he condemned the wanton killings in other parts of the country and challenged security and law enforcement agencies to rise to the occasion and bring the attacks to an end.

“We must condemn inhuman and unnecessary shedding of human blood all over the country.

“We seem to have lost value for human life, which is sacred. Man is the glory of God’s creation and nobody has the right to unjustly and unlawfully take another person’s life in a reckless manner”, the President said.

He enjoined all citizens to learn to live together in peace and brotherhood and not allow little misunderstandings to degenerate into heartless acts capable of straining the bonds of nationhood.

Ogun Govt. To Plant 1.5 Million Trees Across Forest Reserves

Ogun, NLC, TUCThe Ogun state government said it is planting about 1.5million trees in 2017.

This is to regenerate seven of its depleted forest reserves, which have been degraded to about 5% of their original capacity by activities of illegal timber operators across its forest in the state.

This disclosure was made by the State Commissioner for Forestry, Mr. Kola Lawal, during the International Day of Forestry with the theme ” Forests Energy” held in Abeokuta, the state capital.

The Commissioner said that the state government is reviewing its various laws on forestry to strengthen existing laws, and recommend stricter punishment for illegal operators across the state.

”We have nine forest reserves in Ogun state, seven out of the nine have been degraded to about 5% of their original capacity but the state government under Governor Ibikunle Amosun, has done a lot in its afforestation programme, for example, in 2016 we planted 500,000 seedlings, this year (2017) we are planning to plant 1.5 million seedlings so that we can regenerate our forest reserves”.

”We know the government alone cannot do it, that is why we are frightening our relationship with private investors and private sectors”, he said.

The Commissioner further said: ”The current forestry laws in place was last reviewed in 2006 but because of the governor’s mission to rebuild the state, we are reviewing the existing laws because they can no longer stand the challenges of the current time, this you are going to see in the next couple of months when the reviewed laws are going to be presented to the State House of Assembly for passage”

” Most of the laws are obsolete, that is why we need to have a look at them with a view of reviewing them, there are some without punitive measures which allow these people to do whatever they like in the reserves, we know we should strengthen and enhance the law to be able to arrest the situation” he concluded.

Gov. Fayose Declares Support For LGs’ Autonomy

Ayodele Fayose, Ali Modu Sheriff, PDP, Ahmed MakarfiThe Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on Monday, declared his support for total autonomy of the third tier of government, calling on other governors to follow same in bringing development to the grassroots.

The Governor also pardoned a local government staff and Deputy President of the Nigerian Union of Local Government Employees (NULGE) in Ekiti State, O.B. Olatunde, who was dismissed from service for alleged rudeness to the governor over salary crisis.

The affected LG staff was alleged to have rudely addressed the Governor when a directive was given on how certain money should be disbursed being recommended by the State Joint Allocation Committee.

Fayose gave the indication after meeting with the NULGE’s reconciliation delegation led by its National President, Ibrahim Khaleel, in Ado Ekiti, the state capital, to appeal to the Governor to rescind his pronouncement on the erring staff.

Fayose, while briefing the delegation said: “There should be a government that the people at the grassroots can refer to as their own. When you cede the LGs to the people, then nobody can blame a governor for the inefficiency at that level.

“I want to appeal to my colleagues to embrace total autonomy to all the 774 LGs in this country”, he said.

On the punishment meted out to the Deputy President, Fayose said: “I have decided to shift ground on this matter, after the recommendation of the committee because of the swift way Mr. Khaleel handled the matter. Unionism is not always about confrontation, but about respect and reconciliation”.

“I want to commend the NULGE delegation for the show of solidarity and I want to tell you that rather than dismissal, the government will look for alternative punishment to serve”.

Mr. Khaleel, who described Fayose as the “voice of the voiceless”, said: “I decided to honour Governor Fayose because I saw him as part of this fold, He is a comrade governor because he represents the voice of the voiceless in Nigeria.

“In the recent time, Governor Fayose has been speaking for the commoners. He has been fighting their courses and he deserves our respect. I want to thank the governor for this mutual respect and I want to assure you that your relationship with the LG staff will remain intact’.

SERAP Calls On FG To Investigate Amnesty International Office Attack

Alleged Corruption: SERAP Writes Buhari Over SGF's CaseThe Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has called on both President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, to urgently instruct appropriate authorities to promptly and thoroughly investigate the attack on the Amnesty International office in Nigeria, and ensure the safety and security of its staff.

It would be recalled that a group of protesters on Monday, barricaded the Abuja office of Amnesty International and asked the international organisation to quit Nigeria within 24 hours.

In a statement signed on Tuesday, by SERAP Deputy Director, Timothy Adewale, the organization called on Buhari and Osinbajo to “Act swiftly to end the attack, intimidation, harassment and threats against Amnesty International Office in Nigeria and its staff.

“Any failure to hold to account those who may be responsible will invariably increase the vulnerability of civil society in the country, and strengthen the perception that attacks against the Non-Governmental Organization (NGOs) and the human rights workers can happen with impunity.”

“If the Buhari government does not take all necessary measures to immediately end the mob attack on Amnesty International or any other civil society group for that matter, SERAP will be compelled to take appropriate legal action nationally and internationally including approaching the United Nation (UN) Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders for remedy.

“SERAP will continue to work to challenge any attempt to restrict, silence or eliminate the voices of credible civil society in the country.

“We urge the presidency to speak out strongly against intimidation and harassment of Amnesty International office in Nigeria and its staff.

“Investigating the attacks against naming and shaming the sponsors and bringing them to justice will send a powerful message of protection and support to civil society groups who stand up to speak truth to power.

“Any attack on Amnesty International office in Nigeria or harassment and intimidation of its staff members is an assault on the entire human rights community in the country.

“This government has an obligation to support and protect civil society groups and human rights defenders against violence and sponsored attacks.

“Nigeria is a democratic society and the government can’t just sit back and watch reprisals, threats and increasing hostility to Amnesty International in particular and the NGO community in general.

“Under the Constitution of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and International Human Rights Law, everyone whose rights are violated are entitled to a right to an effective remedy.

“Exposing human rights violations and seeking redress for them is largely dependent on the degree of security enjoyed by civil society groups and human rights defenders.

“Protecting NGOs against sponsored attacks and ending impunity for such attacks is therefore a critical element in the promotion and protection of human rights in this country.

“While some may not like to hear these things Amnesty International has said, this in no way justifies this kind of mob attack on its office and staff members.

“The authorities should show its commitment in protecting the right to freedom of expression and guarantee conditions for civil society to flourish.”

I’ll Complete All Road Projects Embarked On – Ajimobi

Abiola Ajimobi, Oyo State, Paris ClubThe Oyo State Governor, Abiola Ajimobi, has told contractors handling the multi billion Naira road construction within Ibadan metropolis and residents of the affected areas, that he does not intend to hand over uncompleted road projects to whoever will succeed him in 2019.

The Governor disclosed this while addressing residents of Agodi-Gate, Idi Ape, Iwo Road Interchange, Basorun, Akobo-Oju Irin and Ologuneru, during an inspection tour of the project sites, in company with the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Adeyemo, and other top officials of the state, on Tuesday.

He said that he would spare no efforts in ensuring that the ongoing expansion and dualisation of roads, in these areas were completed in the next 18 months by personally supervising the projects until they were completed.

Although some of them were Federal roads, Ajimobi said that the state government decided to bankroll the projects to give succor to residents, whom he said were daily experiencing hardship while plying the roads.

At each stop, enthusiastic residents, who trooped out in their numbers, had pleaded with the Governor to ensure that the projects were completed in record time.

Ajimobi said, “For ease of business and commercial activities, we must build roads. You will recall that this government is the first that was elected for a second term by the people in the history of Oyo state. We are still grateful for this.

“This is part of the dividends of democracy, we made promises to you during the election and this project is in partial fulfillment of the promises.

“We will not renege on any of our promises. What we promised, we will deliver and it will be solid projects that will endure.

“We are going to complete the road construction projects within the next 18 months, because I don’t intend to hand over these road projects uncompleted to my successor. We are desirous of leaving behind a legacy of achievements in urban renewal”, he said.

He further said: “We owe the citizens the responsibility of modernizing and beautifying Oyo State like other big cities in the country.

“But, I must appeal to residents to endure the imminent inconveniences because to eat omelette we must break eggs.

“With good road network and infrastructure, we already have a platform for development and no administration has ever worked the way we are working. It will boost commercial activities and also serve as incentives for investors.”

A resident of Akobo Oju-Irin, Mr. Siyanbola Gbenga, told newsmen that the people of the area were in dire need of expansion of the road which according to him, would ease the perennial traffic congestion that had become nightmare for them.

At Iwo road interchange, the Governor had bought off the roast plantains on display by a roadside seller, Mrs. Rachel Oyerinola, who was dumbfounded at her luck at being paid a sum far higher than the selling price of the plantains.

The woman said she was amazed at the rapid transformation that Iwo road had undergone during the Ajimobi led administration.

Having inherited the business from her mother, whom she said also sold the commodity on the same spot, she said she had always known Iwo road as the den of armed robbers, thugs, hard drug peddlers and rapists until Ajimobi instilled sanity in the area.

NIS Clamour For Office Of Surveyor-General In Edo

edoThe Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), Edo state chapter, has called on the Edo State Government to establish the office of Surveyor-General to ease the work of survey and planning in the state.

The Chairman of NIS, Anthony Ekhator, stated this when he led some members on a courtesy visit to the Government House in Benin City, the state capital.

He said no meaningful infrastructure development can take place in any society without accurate map of the state, to help government’s developmental objectives.

This according to him can be made easier with professional bodies like the NIS and an office of Surveyor General to facilitate easy planning.

“In the south-south states, it’s only Edo state that don’t have an office, we believe this is an opportunity because the office is an extra-procedural office.

“The surveyors observe with precision, compute with accuracy, report comprehensively and cost ethically”, he said.

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, said his administration will work closely with the body in areas of research and planning to bring about economic development.

“Every development has to occur within a certain space like you said your profession is that one that measures this space and gives development accuracy to what to do within the space.

“We are not going to attract business without creating housing and other support services for the people who are going to work there.

“All what you asked for we are going to do, we have the will but are you going to support us professionally to get this done”, the governor said.

Gov. Bello Demolishes Four Kidnappers’ Dens In Okene

Yahaya-Bello-Governor-Kogi-StateThe Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, has demolished buildings used by suspected kidnappers, terrorist and armed robbers in perpetrating their crime, in Okene central Senatorial district of the state.

Governor Bello, who was accompanied to the area by the Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, and other security agencies in the state, has so far pulled down four structures, with a vow from the governor to implement the anti-kidnapping robbery and terrorism law in the state.

Recently, the central senatorial district witnessed a lot of criminality ranging from cultism, armed robbery and kidnapping.

Meanwhile, it was all celebration and jubilation by the large crowed of the people from that area who came watching as the building of the notorious kidnap Kingpin Tijanni Bakare situated at Oyunkoko ward in Okene LGA area, was pulled down by the bulldozer.

The building which was discovered to have his five cars, a tortoise, black dog, and a shrine in it was were kidnap victims were said to be paid.

Then enforcement team and the Governor also demolished the notorious Ahlui-Sunnah Mosque in Inike, Okene lga, which was reportedly hijacked in 2015 by members of the Boko Haram terrorist group and has been serving as operational base for their nefarious activities.

The last building demolished was at Adavi local government area, owned by 75-years old Aishetu Mohammed, who started crying as soon as the team arrived, her son was said to keep arms and ammunition ina  part of the house which was later discovered.

The government through the administrator of the local Government while demolishing the building, promised to build a four bedroom flat for her.

Gov. Ahmed Signs 2017 Budget Into Law

Abdulfatah-AhmedThe Kwara State Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, has assented to 160.9billion Naira 2017 budget as passed by the Kwara State House of Assembly.

Speaking during the signing ceremony at his office, Governor Ahmed said with the signing of the budget into law, his administration will commence execution of some major capital projects immediately, starting with the new campuses of Kwara State University (KWASU) and all other major projects across the state.

“I want to assure you that as we sign the budget into law, we will hit the ground running.

“In this regard, some major capital projects slated for execution this year will be flagged-off from next week.

“We will start with the campuses of Kwara State University, we are building for Ilorin School of Governance, College of Agriculture in Ilesha-Baruba and of course, the Osi Campus.

“We will also be flagging-off the dual carriage roads and all other projects”, he said.

Ahmed said his government is working round the clock to ensure that funding for the budget is made available through the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) for optimal implementation of the appropriation law.

He also said he will uphold adherence to the provisions of the budget, while commending the House of Assembly for its professional approach to legislative function.

Dr. Ahmed said the House will however be approached for supplementary appropriation where the need arises.

Earlier, the Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad said the House has passed a budget of 160.9 billion Naira with over 90billion Naira devoted to capital expenditure where all the indices put in place by international organisations are present.

He said it is a budget that will be different from all the budgets earlier passed in the state.

Hon. Ahmad stated that with the injection of significant capital expenditure into the economy, the state will surely move out of recession faster than expected.

It will be recalled that Governor Ahmed presented the 2017 budget estimate of 135,064,529,461 billion Naira to members of the State House of Assembly for consideration and approval on December 29, 2016.

However, the approved budget was increased by the House to 160.9billion Naira, with 90.1billion Naira voted for capital expenditure, while 70.7billion Naira was allocated to recurrent expenditure.

Aisha Buhari Urges Nigerians To Know Their Consumer Rights

Aisha Buhari Thanks Nigerians for Supporting Husband’s AdministrationThe wife of the Nigerian President, Aisha Buhari, has urged Nigerians to understand their rights as consumers, in order to stand up to market abuses that undermine those rights.

She said the rights of the consumer must be protected and those on the wrong side of the law should be made to understand that.

“Their rights come to an end where the rights of the consumers begin”, Aisha said.

Mrs. Buhari made the remarks in Abuja, during her appointment as Consumer Ambassador of Nigeria, by the country’s Consumer Protection Council, as part of activities to mark the World Consumer Rights Day 2017.

Represented by the wife of Nasarawa State Governor, Mairo Tanko Almakura, she thanked the Management of the Consumer Protection Council for the honour bestowed on her.

She said: “The campaign for consumer rights is a noble cause and I assure the Commission of my support and commitment towards driving the campaign embarked by the council.”

The Director General of the Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Atoki, said digital technology, though beneficial, has exposed consumers to online threats such as cybercrime, data theft and invasion of privacy.

Atoki stated that this year’s theme tagged ‘Building a Digital World Consumers  Can Trust’ is intended to call attention to these consumer issues.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah and the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu in their goodwill messages highlighted the important role of the Council in protecting the rights of consumers.

The agency said the stakeholders workshop, which is scheduled for Thursday, March 16, 2017 will feature presentations from Google, Microsoft, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), among others.

British Govt. To Partner With Nasarawa On Infrastructure

Al-Makura Commits To Peaceful Coexistence In NasarawaThe British Government has pledged to partner with Nasarawa State Government in the areas of agriculture, mining, housing and infrastructure to help shore up its economic base.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Thomas, stated this when he paid Governor Tanko Al-Makura his first visit at the Government House, in Lafia, the state capital.

On his part, the Governor assured the UK of all the cooperation it needs so as to achieve optimum results.

While stating the purpose of his visit in a swift manner, he said that more needs is to be done in some sectors of the State and the United Kingdom is ready to partner.

“The purpose of my visit is to understand more about the challenges in this state, to understand about the opportunities in the state and see what support the British Government can bring to Nasarawa.

“Some of these opportunities include agriculture, mining, mass housing, infrastructure, and there is a lot of work that needs to be done, I know the Governor is getting on with that work and doing it very well.

“One of those sectors, one of those priorities are areas where the UK has expertise, British companies can come to the state and engage with you.

“We will look at the opportunities and see in what way they can contribute to the economic development of Nasarawa state”, he said.

The governor who appreciated the visit, responded by saying that the state has a conducive business environment and abundant natural resources, and so the United Kingdom will be given all the cooperation needed for a fruitful partnership.

“Agriculture, solid minerals which abound in Nasarawa state is because we have conducive business environment and climate that can produce any kind of crops.

“So, any British entrepreneur that is interested in partnering with this administration or any organisation within the state can come and we would give certain organisation all the support and encouragement” the governor said.

For optimal result to be achieved, Al-Makura assured that when a deal is signed, it would be supervised by him to avoid any hitch.

“I would like to take the opportunity of this courtesy to bring to your notice that we really acknowledge and appreciate all the support we are getting in terms of this international partner support.

“In particular I would want to assure you that whatever support that comes to Nasarawa state, will be personally supervised by me, to ensure that the ultimate objectives and results are achieved”, he said.

Also part of the visit was an exhibition of samples of mineral resources that the state is endowed with and a visit to the special school in Lafia.