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Court to rule on ASUU strike next week

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The National Industrial Court on Friday fixed September 19 to deliver a ruling on the Federal Government’s prayer asking the court to order the Academic Staff Union of Universities to call off its seven months strike.

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The matter which was first mentioned on Monday was adjourned until Friday for further mention before Justice Polycarp Hamman.

When the matter came up, Mr J.U.K. Igwe, SAN, informed the court that going by its directive on Monday that the claimant should file its process latest by Tuesday, that they had filed two processes.

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He added that the first one was a motion on notice dated and filed Monday for an interlocutory injunction.

Igwe further stated that the claimant also filed on the same date an affidavit of facts in support of the referral sent by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

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He also averred that some questions were raised with a full complement of a written address, and submitted that the defendant had been served with proof of service before the court.

The counsel said that however, as at the time the court was sitting, he had not received a response from ASUU.

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Igwe proceeded to urge the court to take the applications as it was ripe to be taken, stating that the matter is of national interest and urgent as millions of students have been at home since February 14.

Mr Femi Falana, SAN, counsel to ASUU in response acknowledged receiving the process from the claimant and stated that they were already filing their reply in the court’s registry.

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Falana added that the Minister of Labour and Employment lacked the power to ask the court in his referral to order the defendant to go back to work.

He also informed the court that ASUU will be meeting stakeholders in the House of Representatives on September 20 to ensure that the matter is resolved.

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Earlier Mr Ebun-Olu Adegoruwa, SAN, counsel to Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project had raised the issue of joinder and consolidation of the suit, citing section 36 of the 1999 constitution to fair hearing.

He submitted that the court should invoke the cited section in SERAP’s favour to be joined in the suit as a defendant and urged the court to take his application to that effect before entertaining any other application in the suit.

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Adegoruwa said relief 3 of their application is for stay of further proceeding for the court to determine whether or not they will be a party in the suit.

He added that the process had been served on the claimant on Thursday.

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He proceeded to seek to withdraw an earlier filed process dated Monday and sought to replace it with the one served on Thursday.

Igwe in response objected to Adegoruwa’s application, stating that he was in receipt of the application he filed on Monday, which was served to them on Thursday by 5 pm.

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He also argued that it was the same application Adegoruwa was applying to withdraw.

He added that he had not received any process dated Thursday as claimed by Adegoruwa.

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Adegoruwa in response stated that there was proof of service of the said application on the Attorney-general of the Federation on Thursday.

Falana said he was not objecting to Adegoruwa’s application seeking to be joined as a party in the suit and for the suit to be consolidated with the other one filed by SERAP as a claimant.

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The court after listening to the submissions of counsels ruled that the application was not ripe to be taken as it was served at the Attorney-General’s office on Thursday.

The court in addition stated that the application for interlocutory injunction will be taken first on September 19 by 11 am.

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The judge, therefore, adjourned the matter until September 19, for hearing.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Minister of Labour and Employment on behalf of the Federal Government had filed the matter before the court by way of referral to resolve the issue of the ongoing strike by ASUU. (NAN).

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Reactions as new photos of Tinubu with grandchildren resurface on social media

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By Francesca Iwambe

Reactions have continued to trickle from Nigerians on social media over photos of presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu with his grandchildren, which surfaced on Twitter and Instagram on Thursday.

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Tinubu’s son shared photos of the APC flag bearer on his verified Instagram handle with the caption and hashtags, “ Hi Grandpa #FamilyFirst#TinubuFamily #FamilyMan #Grandpa #TakenOnSunday #Noella #BATSenior #BATJunior #Leader.”

Special assistant on digital communications to President Muhammad Buhari, Bashir Ahmad, also shared Tinubu’s photos on Twitter on Thursday.

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Ahmad tweeted, “Good morning from our presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu, and his grandchildren. A wonderful family person.”

Recall that Tinubu shared a video of himself cycling on a fitness bike on Sunday.

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The video, which went viral, had since elicited questions about his whereabouts.

But, the spokesperson of the APC presidential campaign council, Festus Keyamo has said cycling is a regular routine for Tinubu, adding that the former Lagos state governor was not trying to prove any point.

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Keyamo, while speaking in an interview with Channels Television’s Politics Today on Wednesday, described Tinubu as an “avid cyclist.”

His words, “People who are close to him know that he is an avid cyclist. He does that all the time. It is his regular routine. So, we are not trying to prove anything to anybody.”

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Meanwhile, Tinubu also posted picture of himself in an office on Instagram on Thursday with a caption that simply reads, “Stay Focused.”

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NCC To Deploy Technology For Verification Of Annual Operating Levies, Tax, Among Others

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that it is going to deploy technology to verify the annual operating levies (AOL), tax and other payments by network service providers to the Federal Government.

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Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbata, disclosed this on Wednesday when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee to Investigate the Duplication of Functions of Agencies of the Federal Government.

He said, “We are currently going to deploy a technology solution. We call it Revenue Assurance Solution. We have finished signing the MOU with the consultant that is going to do this deployment, so that we can be independently verify that the amount of annual operating levy (AOL) they are paying and other taxes are indeed what they are supposed to pay and therefore not shortchange the NCC or government when it comes to payment of taxes”.

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He also revealed that the Commission recently did a successful fifth generation spectrum auction where more than half billion dollars was generated for the Federal Government.

He said, “We, through what we call annual operating levy, run our operations, pay our staff salaries and allowances and even provide resources for intervention in the diverse areas of information and communication technology in the various parts of the country.

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“These interventions are verifiable. There is no state of the federation that we don’t provide interventions in the diverse areas of ICT. We also provide training. We would like to ensure our citizens are ICT savvy by embracing this important technology because that is what the whole is doing. That is what we can do in order to ensure our citizens are socially and economically transformed to change the way they are doing things, the way they collaborate and innovate.

“We have records available to show that we have been contributing a lot to the coffers of the government and a very good example is when we did that successful 5G auction. The proceeds from the auction goes to the coffers of the government. We don’t normally take anything. It is gazetted that whatever we sell spectrum, we do not keep the money, we normally transfer this money to the consolidated revenue fund of the government,” he said.

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Earlier, the Chairman of the Ad hoc Committee, Rep Victor Danzaria, said research, revenue generation and service delivery are critical conditions in the consideration process for merging or crapping agencies of government.

According to him the committee had a mandate to investigate duplication of functions and counter productivity of agencies for possible merger.

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Some of the agencies under consideration were Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBS) and the Nigerian Communication Satelite.

Others are, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Galaxy Backbone, National Boundary Commission and Border Communities Development Agency among others.

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Danzaria said that it is not about having many agencies with so many Director-Generals that does not deliver the required services to Nigerians but about productivity.

“The ad hoc Committee is critically looking at these agencies, their existence and looking at possible synergies and mergers of these agencies to give effective service to Nigerians.

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“One area is research, second is revenue generation and thirdly is regulatory functions and service delivery and at the end of the day, this is what Nigerians want.

“It is not about when you go to any agency, you see this man seated there on a table and services are not being offered there,” he said.

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BREAKING: Rivers State House of Assembly Delists Omehia, As Ex-Gov

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Rivers State House of Assembly, on Thursday at plenary adopted a motion to derecognise Sir Celestine Omehia, as a former governor of the State.

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Omehia was governor of the state from May 29, 2007 to October 25, 2007 when he was removed by the Supreme Court and replaced by Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi as the rightful governorship candidate of the PDP at the time.

Although Justices of the Supreme Court, while delivering their judgement, declared that in the eye of the law, Omehia was never a governor, but on June 25, 2015, the incumbent governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, officially recognised Omehia as a former governor of the State.

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The motion to derecognise the Ubima, Ikwerre local government area-born politician, was moved by the leader of the House, Hon. Martin Amaewhule.

Naijablitznews.com reports that the former governor is a close ally of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

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