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UPDATE: ASUU Strike: Leadership of the House of Representatives to meet Buhari

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…. As The House summons Minister of Finance, NIITDA, Salaries and Wages, Accountant General, Auditor General of the Federation, others over UTAS, IPPIS

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By Gloria Ikibah

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the leadership of the House will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari over the resolution of the ongoing face-off between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

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Gbajabiamila, who disclosed this while addressing journalists after a 5-hour meeting with the leadership of ASUU, led by its president, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke and the officials of the Ministry of Education led by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Opiah on Tuesday at the National Assembly, Promised that on the return of President Buhari from the 77th session of the United National General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, the House leadership will present the agreement reached with the striking workers.

Gbajabiamila said that the meeting made “good progress and covered good ground” with some resolutions reached.

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“Now that the legislative arm of government have come in, we are very hopeful based on our deliberations in the last 5 hours that there is light at the end of the tunnel. So I thank them once again for making this time out in the interest of our students.

“There are principally seven areas where ASUU has presented what we consider to be what I call requisitions for them to go back to class.

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The Speaker also revealed that the leadership of the House is inviting to a clarification meeting the Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General of the Federation, the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and the Chairman of the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission on Thursday.

According to him, the issue of the deployment of the payment platform Universities Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) as against the current Integrated Payroll and Personal Information System (IPPIS) calls for clarity before it could be tabled before Mr President.

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“We have looked at this seven areas and we have agreed on certain things in pursuant or to finalise the meeting of our minds we have asked NIITDA, Account General of the Federation, auditor general, and the salaries and wages commission will be invited, unfortunately it is too late to invite them tomorrow because the letter would only go out tomorrow. They will be invited to meet the leadership on Thursday so that we can dot the I’s and Cross the T’s.

“And once that is done, the leadership of this house will await the return of Mr President from the ongoing United Nations General Assembly and we will meet with Mr President and lay before him the agreement made by this arm of government, by the legislature and the leadership of the House. And we are hopeful and believe that Mr President will buy to the agreement and with that I believe this matter will be speedily brought to a close”, the speaker said.

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While thanking the labour leaders, Gbajabiamila also expressed his conviction that the labour leaders would go back to their members and convince them on the need to buy into the solution with the House leadership to avoid undue delay of the resolution of the issue.

“In the meantime between now and when the president comes and we see Mr President, ASUU itself will go back to it’s members and with the resolutions that we have come to today to get their buy-in and I don’t believe that there is an issue or problem with what we discussed and I pray there will not be a problem on our side either. Once that is done I believe we’ll all be good to go and we put this sorry situation to an end”, he added.

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On his part, Prof. Osodeke thanked the Speaker and the leadership of the House for calling the meeting, which he said he hoped an amicable resolution would be reached after the lawmakers’ meeting with the president.

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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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