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Inflation: N1.1tn revitalisation fund no longer feasible – ASUU

Universities , Parent, Middle, strike
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The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ebonyi State University Chapter, Dr. Ikechukwu Igwenyi, has urged the union’s national leadership to go back to the drawing board and review the 2009 agreement it entered with the Federal Government.

This was as the don stressed that the N1.1 trillion outstanding revitalisation fund for the nation’s universities was no longer tenable, saying the current economic realities did not match with the hitherto pact the union entered with the authorities in 2009.

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He stated this in a statement on Tuesday in Abakaliki, a copy of which was made available to The PUNCH.

While pointing out that it was expedient for leaders to pay critical attention to the merits of ASUU’s position on tertiary education, he lamented that the government was paying lip-service to the demands of the union.

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The statement read in part, “ASUU, as a thinking union of intellectuals, is not realistic in this current struggle and there is need for the union to call for the review of the negotiated 2009 FG/ASUU agreement to ascertain possible performance rate and the expected outcomes.

It is considered that the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement is not only out of date and obsolete, but unrealistic today, if truth must be told, because of the time value of money over 13 years of this negotiation.

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“It is a fact that a people that take no interest in what seems small, will definitely take false interest in what is big. The fact is also that Nigerian leaders set wrong priorities and are not paying due attention to the demands of ASUU in this imbroglio but rather join the unpatriotic gladiators that have no interest in nation building through quality education of Nigerians because their children are not attending schools here in Nigeria.

“It is a clear testimony of irresponsibility with the recent vituperations from some highly placed individuals in government and the idea of taking ASUU to court.

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“Rather than look critically into the merits in ASUU position on tertiary education, leaders tell Nigerians that university education is not for everyone; ASUU fixes salary of members; there is no money to meet ASUU’s demands; the government will take ASUU to National Industrial Court; students should take ASUU to court; etcetera. What a people!

“No nation can develop beyond the level of education of her people and by extension, beyond the capacities and capabilities of their tertiary institutions. If the youths who are the future leaders and trustees of posterity are trained in institutions with low-grade resources and manpower, where lecturers are subjected to dehumanising treatments, all manner of cruelty without consideration to human dignity, threats to job security and salaries, emotional trauma, mental torture and psychological mortification of unimaginable proportion in a developing nation, how can such a system perform maximally?”

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It added, “ASUU, therefore, is not realistic, because rather than calling for a review of the renegotiated agreement in the context of the current economic realities of dollar to naira ratio, they are asking for the release of funds negotiated in 2009, when a dollar was less than ₦150 as compared to present day reality rating of dollar to naira ratio of about ₦700.

“This implies that ASUU should be asking for about ₦5trn for the revitalisation of public universities in this current and prevailing economic dispensation. The about ₦1.1trn outstanding revitalisation fund cannot achieve the same objectives as prices of items like cement, rods, wood for furniture, reagents, and chemicals, equipment and stationeries, books and subscriptions, utility vehicles, fuel for generators and other consumables are no longer in tandem with the economic equivalents of same items 13 years ago.

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“There is a need to review all the agreements upwards in terms of proportional inflation, currency devaluation, and today’s equivalent of the 13 years old negotiation as part of the renegotiation rather than demanding for the release of funds that cannot meet up with its purpose now because ASUU would be blamed in future for the failure of the system to achieve the purpose of these struggles.

“It is for this same reason that ASUU is demanding for the release of the White Paper on the Visitation Panel Reports to assess the level of success or failure rate so far recorded in the funding for revitalisation of public universities.”

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Kenyan socialite Vera Sidika removes butt implants, warns girls over body enlargment + Photos

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By Francesca Iwambe

Kenya socialite and social media personality, Vera Sidika has advised young girls not to allow peer pressure to plunge them into activities that could ruin their future.

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Sidika gave the advice via her post on her verified Instagram page

Her advise followed her latest surgery to reduce her butt size as she admonished young girls to appreciate their natural bodies.

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The 33-year-old social media influencer previously had butt implants which gave her a well-endowed body but had to remove them due to medical complications she had suffered.

“Due to health risks and complications, I had to undergo surgery,” Sidika said.

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In the extensive revelation on social media, Sidika said she was fortunate to be alive while attributing this to God’s love for her as well as appreciating her husband and other members of her family.

Sidika said: “THE REBIRTH …This has been the hardest phase in my life. Due to health risks, I had to undergo surgery. It’s still very unbelievable. But I’ve come to terms with it and learnt to love myself regardless.

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“Ladies; please learn to love yourself and don’t ever let peer pressure rush you into things that will ruin you in future. I’m lucky to be alive, God loves me so much.

Honestly, it’s been pretty hard, I didn’t even celebrate my birthday this year, but here we are.

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“Happy birthday to me. New me. I’ve come to appreciate life and never take things for granted. Thanks to my family, especially my husband for being there for me. To my fans: I am still the same sweetest. Vera Sidika and that hasn’t changed. I appreciate y’all love and support and pray you will walk through this journey with me.

“I will be posting my surgery journey videos here, for those who have been thinking of getting booty surgery or changing anything on their bodies this might change your mind. Peace and Love.”

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ECOParl: MPs Say Covid-19, Russia-Ukraine War, Low Import Duties, Reason For Low Remittances of Community Levy

ECOWAS
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By Gloria Ikibah

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Parliament, have attributed the causes of low remittance of community levy by member states to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, low import inflow, the effect of Covid-19 on the global economy leading to recession among other factors.

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Speaking with Journalists at the ongoing 2nd Extra-Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Lome, a cross-section of Parliamentarians from different countries also blamed the development on negligence on the part of some member states.

The Ghanaian Head of Delegation, Hon. Alexander Afenyo Markin, asserted that the current economic downturn experienced across regions is a major deterrence to remittance of levies.

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“Without attempting to speculate, I should think that the recent downturn in business is a result of economic crisis leading to low import could be a factor, in the sense that now we are having this Ukraine- Russia war which came just after COVID obviously import have come down, it has reduced drastically, and this levies are imposed on import at our Ports so obviously.

“It could also be the slow pace at which member states transmit or transfer such levy as collected so we need that political will from the Commission, the Heads of States, or those responsible for this, and those coordinating to ensure that these levies as at when they are collected are transmitted to ECOWAS on time.

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While MP from Seirra-Leon, Hon. Veronica Sesay said the possible cause of countries non-remittance of levy was negligence.

“This could be out of negligence. We cannot move, we cannot succeed, even ECOWAS Parliament committees cannot come to Lome or go to Abuja without paying of levies, and that is why we are asking the other member states to pay their levies because it is sometimes unfair if others pay their levies on time then you benefit on time, so I don’t want to call it parasitic because we have to work together as a team”, she said.

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Hon. Adjaratou Traore from Cote d’Ivoire said, “without the community levy there will be no ECOWAS Parliament, there will be No ECOWAS Commission, every country need to contribute, we have to make sure our government take this issue very seriously to make the operation of the regional body smooth, so all Member States have to work hard on it”.

Similarly, Nigerian Delegate to the session, Sen. Smart Adeyemi said, “There is a global economic recession now, I think as the economy improves maybe next year, some of these West African Countries will be able to meet up their obligation to the ECOWAS Parliament”.

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Hon. Siryon from Liberia added “the pandemic came in and interrupted countries economic plans, I feel that is the reason why some of them have not been able to pay, no matter what, they have to pay, if they have problems, they have to come to us, they have to come and let ECOWAS know the problem, they put the Act together, they sign it and I believe that they will pay” she said.

The Parliamentarians furthermore called for mechanism to be put in place to fast track payment by making sure that such funds come to the Commissions by the use of technology.

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They also believe that, bureaucracy of collection and transmitting should be eliminated by creating a network which will automatically ensure that ECOWAS and other institutions receive their payment directly from the Member States once charges are made in their Ports. That according to them will be one way of resolving that issue of non-remittance of community levy.

“There will be no excuses as to what the Member States have collected and refused or delayed. It is these levies that are used for capacity building, for all activities, for stability and for work to progress, and also for salaries of workers, our community institutions depend on this levy, that is our only source of income and funding for our activities as a Sub-Region, for me, it is a key thing that must be considered”.

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North Korea fires two missiles, blames US

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North Korea fired two ballistic missiles Thursday and claimed its recent blitz of sanctions-busting tests were necessary countermeasures against joint military drills by the United States and South Korea.

As the United Nations Security Council met to discuss Pyongyang’s Tuesday launch of an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan, North Korea blamed Washington for “escalating the military tensions on the Korean peninsula”.

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The recent launches — six in less than two weeks — were “the just counteraction measures of the Korean People’s Army”, Pyongyang’s foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday.

Seoul, Tokyo and Washington have ramped up joint military drills in recent weeks, including large-scale naval manoeuvres and anti-submarine exercises.

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