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SANs, Profs to defend ASUU before industrial court

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Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities who are Senior Advocates of Nigeria and Professors of Law among others will be defending the union as the case instituted by the Federal Government at the National Industrial Court comes up for hearing on Monday (today).

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The PUNCH reports that the Federal Government had dragged the union before the NIC over its ongoing strike which started on February 14, 2022.

The union is demanding, among others, the release of the revitalisation fund for universities, release of earned allowances for university lecturers, deployment of the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers, release of the white paper report of the visitation panels to universities and the renegotiation of the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement.

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After efforts to end the strike failed, the government decided to drag the union before the industrial court.

In an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday, a member of the union’s National Executive Council, who did not want his name in print because he was not assigned to speak with the press, said the union would make use of its members who are senior lawyers.

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“The president is meant to address this but we will be in court on Monday (today); we have members who are Senior Advocates and Professors of Law, they will be defending the union pro-bono,” the source said.

Also speaking with our correspondent, the union’s National Vice-President, Dr Chris Piwuna, confirmed that members would be in court for the hearing.

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“We will be in court tomorrow (Monday) morning. Earlier, we met with the Minister of Education but we are ready for anything. That is the nature of the struggle,” he said.

In a separate interview, the chairman, ASUU of the Federal University of Minna, Dr Gbolahan Bolarin, said, “We are in receipt of the letter and we will be in court tomorrow (Monday). We are, however, shocked at the decision of the Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige.”

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Accelerated hearing
Meanwhile, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, asked the court to give the case an accelerated hearing to quickly bring the strike to an end.

It’s sad Nigerian varsities no longer attract foreign students – Olanipekun
The minister, in a court document, marked HMO/LAB/ISO/15, said, “In view of the fact that ASUU members have been on strike since February 14, 2022, and have refused to call off the action despite the apprehension of same, it would be appreciated if this dispute is given an accelerated hearing to bring the dispute to an end.”

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SERAP sues Buhari
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project and five university students have filed a lawsuit against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), asking the court to “declare unlawful the refusal by the Federal Government to meet ASUU’s demands, which has occasioned the prolonged strike and violated the students’ right to quality education.”

SERAP’s Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

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According to the statement, Ngige and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), are joined in the suit as defendants.

The suit was filed on behalf of SERAP and the students by their lawyer, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN).

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The students who are co-claimants in the suit are Dongo Davou; Oyebode Babafemi; Ejie Kemkanma; Peter Aniefiok; and Imam Naziru.

They are said to be students of Plateau State University, Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Port Harcourt, University of Uyo, and the University of Ibadan, respectively.

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In the suit marked NICN/ABJ/269/2022 filed last week at the National Industrial Court, Abuja, SERAP and the students are seeking: “an order directing President Buhari and Mr Ngige to immediately implement all the agreements with ASUU to end the strike action and violation of the students’ right to quality education.”

According to SERAP and the students, “Disruption of classes undermines both the quality and duration of students’ education.

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This situation has aggravated existing disparities in access to university education in the country, further marginalising economically disadvantaged parents and students.”
PUNCH

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Elderly Woman Falls On Her Knees To Pray For Peter Obi In Jos Rally

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As political campaigns for the 2023 general elections commenced on Wednesday, a elderly woman has been captured praying for the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, during a solidarity rally held in Jos, Plateau State.

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The Director-General of the Obi-Datti Campaign organization, Doyin Okupe, in a tweet on Wednesday disclosed that the LP candidate and his vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, will attend the Jos rally although the party is yet to commence campaigns officially.

”Today in Jos, HE Peter Obi & his running mate Datti-Ahmed, will honour an invitation from the Middle Belt forum to attend a solidarity rally. We are yet to commence our own campaigns.

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To comfort our students, We urge the FG to quickly resolve the lingering ASSU Crisis,” the tweet read.

Amongst persons seen at the venue to welcome the LP flag bearer was an elderly woman on her knees in the midst of other supporters praying for Peter Obi at the Rwang Pam Stadium Jos, Plateau state.

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UNIBEN releases post-UTME, DE screenings date

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The University of Benin has fixed dates for its Post Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination and Direct Entry screenings for 2022/2023 session.

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The university in a notice by its Registrar, Ademola Bobola on Wednesday in Benin, said the exercise would hold between Nov. 14 and 25.

Bobola said the screening would be conducted in designated centres at the Ugbowo main campus of the institution, using the Computer Based Test mode.

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“Only candidates who applied through JAMB for the 2022/2023 UTME and Direct Entry admission and chose the University of Benin as First Choice and scoring 200 and above for UTME candidates are eligible for this screening exercise,” the registrar said.

Bobola, however, referred admission seekers to the institution to the university’s official website.

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Presidency denies authorising Katsina security outfit to carry arms

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The Presidency has denied that any state has been issued authorisation to procure automatic weapons for its security outfit.

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Last week, Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu had accused the Federal Government of bias in refusing to allow the Western Nigeria Security Network Agency, also known as Amotekun Corps, to carry sophisticated firearms, while allegedly granting approval to the Katsina State security outfit to carry sophisticated firearms.

That was as the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba said that quasi-security outfits established by state governments have no legal basis to function during the 2023 general elections.

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In a statement on Tuesday, the Presidency said the possession of automatic weapons and AK-47 remains illegal in the country.

“The Presidency wishes to strongly assert that there is no state, not Katsina, not any other state in the federation, that has been authorized to procure automatic weapons for their security outfits,” the statement reads.

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“Under this administration, the President has repeatedly made it clear that nobody is allowed to illegally carry AK-47 or any other automatic weapons and that they must surrender them”.

The Presidency however said neither Katsina nor Ondo is allowed to purchase automatic weapons for security outfits.

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“Under the existing regulations, only the Office of the National Security Adviser can issue such authorization, upon proper clearance by the President and Commander-in-Chief and as it is at this moment, no such approvals have been issued to any state government.

“In the specific Katsina State often cited, the Governor, Aminu Bello Masari wrote to explain that the administration invited the Provost of the Civil Defence Training College in Katsina to train their vigilantes for a five-day period….

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“in the handling and operations of Pump Action Rifles,” emphasising that “the vigilantes were not trained to take over the responsibilities of the security agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria but to assist them”.

The Presidency added that it “appreciates the active involvement of states with security matters. As they continue to expand their capabilities as well as their active collaboration with law enforcement agencies of the federation, the joint efforts continue to yield good results, thwarting attempts of terrorists to wreak havoc and destruction on communities”.

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President Muhammadu Buhari was quoted as saying he has received reports “of acts of utmost bravery and professionalism” by operatives of state security outfits.

“He thanked them for their alertness that is helping to defeat nefarious plots against targets at grassroots levels”, the statement added.

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Furthermore, the Presidency called on leaders at various levels “to exercise restraint in their speech, even as we are in a political season”.

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