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Daily Archives: December 1, 2018

ASUU Strike: FG orders universities to implement ‘no work, no pay’

The Federal Government of Nigeria has directed vice-chancellors of striking public universities across the country to enforce “no-work-no-pay” rule on the striking lecturers.

The directive to implement the “no work, no pay” policy was communicated to the universities in a memo sent by the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to university vice-chancellors.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had on November 4 declared indefinite, nationwide strike over non-implementation of previous agreements by the federal government and demand for increased university funding.

At least two meetings have been held between the lecturers and the government since the strike commenced. However, both parties are yet to reach an agreement.

In the memo signed by NUC Director of Research, Information and Technology S.B Ramon-Yusuf, the university regulator stated that payment of salaries from any other sources but government funding will be viewed as violation of extant rules and government directive.

The memo reads, “In view of the current Industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the federal government has directed that there shall be no payment of any form of salaries and allowances to the staff on strike in federal and inter-varsity centers.

“Consequently, I am to direct Vice-Chancellors to apply the “No-work-no-pay” rule. However, Universities and inter-varsity centers are to pay salaries and allowances to Non-teaching staff.

“All Vice Chancellors and Directors of centers should note that the salaries to staff on strike from whatever source of funds shall be viewed as violation of extant rules and directive of the federal government of Nigeria.”

In a reaction to the memo, the Chairman of University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, Deji Omole, described the federal government as shameless for owing lecturers seven years of unpaid, earned academic allowances. He said despite the debt, the government still wants lecturers to continue to work while the presidency and the National Assembly ‘feed fat’ on the wealth of the nation.

Mr Omole in a statement on Friday evening said it is sad that a government that prides itself as having integrity has shown it lacks integrity by failing to honour agreements reached with the union. He said the government has resulted to harassment and intimidation of ASUU members on a patriotic struggle to save public education in Nigeria.

He said the “no work, no pay” directive will not deter the lecturers.

“We have passed this road before. It is a familiar terrain which we can navigate with our eyes closed.

“We shall triumph any attempt to destroy the common patrimony. The power of the people is stronger than the people in power, ” the lecturer said.

Diamond Bank drops international operating licence

The Central Bank of Nigeria has granted Diamond Bank a national operating licence.

Uzoma Dozie, the bank’s chief executive officer, confirmed the development in a statement released on Friday.

The statement, which was signed by Ezechinyere Anyanwu, the bank’s head of media, said the move is part of its strategy to focus on the opportunities present in Nigeria.

“With this approval, the bank will cease to operate as an international bank,” Dozie said.

“The re-licensing as a national bank supports Diamond Bank’s objective of streamlining its operations to focus resources on the significant opportunities in the Nigerian retail banking market, and the economy as a whole.

“The move follows Diamond Bank’s decision to sell its international operations, which included the disposal of its West African Subsidiary in 2017 and Diamond Bank UK, the sale of which is currently in its final stages.

“The change to national bank status also enables the bank to maintain a lower minimum capital requirement of 10 per cent, as against 15 per cent required for international banks.

“The reduction in minimum capital requirement also increases our capacity to expand the quantum of business and product services we can offer consumers.

“This development does not affect the bank’s ability to offer services to its clients in international locations.

”Rather, with focus on its domestic business being priority, the bank also intends to pay down in full, the Eurobond loan of $200m at maturity in May 2019.”

PDP to kick off 2019 campaign in Sokoto, asks Nigerians to reject APC

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has announced that its campaign for 2019 elections will kick off in Sokoto state on Monday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, director-general of the party’s campaign council, said this at the inaugural press briefing of the council.

The PDP inaugurated the council, made up of 153 members, on Thursday.

Saraki raised 10 questions, saying if Nigerians cannot give positive answers to them, they should vote out the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2019.

The questions ranged across economy, security, employment and the rule of law.

He said: “ISSUES: For Nigerians, in 2019, the issues that have to be addressed are:

“Is the economy better or worse? Are more people richer or poorer than they were in 2015? c) Are there more people suffering from hunger now than in 2015? Have there been more job losses now than in 2015? Are our people safer now than they were in 2015?

“Are our military and other security agencies better equipped or motivated to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency and other security challenges than in 2015? Is the country more united now than it was in 2015? Is the infrastructure in the country better than it was in 2015?

“Is there less corruption in the country than in 2015? Is the fight against been fair to all or a tool deployed against political opponents? Are people deriving the benefits of the Rule of Law and personal liberty as enshrined in the constitution now than in 2015?”

These are some of the issues that will determine the trend of the campaign and we believe they should guide Nigerians in making their decisions during the 2019 elections. An election is a referendum on the incumbent.

“If Nigerians are unable to answer any of these questions positively, they must vote out the incumbent.”

Buhari: I am a descendant of Abraham — just like Bishop Crowther

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken a swipe at those accusing him of attempting to Islamise Nigeria, describing himself as “a descendant of Abraham just like Bishop Crowther”.

Crowther was the first Anglican bishop in Nigeria. A linguist, he translated the Bible from English to Yoruba.

In an article published by UK-based Christian Times, Buhari referred to the accusation as “nonsense”.

The president said he believes that there is far more that unites Muslims and Christians in the country than what divides them.

“I stand accused — paradoxically — of trying to Islamise Nigeria while also being accused by Boko Haram terrorists of being against Islam. My Vice-President is a devout man, a Christian pastor. He, too, is accused of selling out his religion, because of his support for me,” he said.

“Fortunately, the facts speak differently from the words of those who seek to divide us from one another. I believe that the messages of the Bible are universal: available for anyone to exercise, and instructive to all.

“Like Bishop Crowther, I am a descendant of Abraham; unlike him, I am a Muslim. I believe our two great religions can not only peacefully coexist but also flourish together. But Muslims and Christians must first turn to one another in compassion. For, as it says in Amos 3.3: “Do two walk together, unless they have agreed to meet.”

He said Nigerians must resist the temptation to retreat into their respective communities because “it is only when we mix that we can reach new and greater possibilities.”

He highlighted the efforts of his government to secure the government.

“Since my administration has been in power, Boko Haram has been significantly and fatally degraded; I have befriended church leaders and church groups both within and outside our country; my Vice-President has addressed and opened dialogue with Muslims up and down our land,” he wrote.

“In all things, we seek that which all well-meaning Christians and well-meaning Muslims must seek: to unite, respect, and never to divide.”

Emefiele warns currency speculators as naira falls

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigerians (CBN), says currency speculators, betting on a fall of the naira, will lick their wounds again.

Speaking at the 2018 Annual Bankers Dinner in Lagos, Emefiele said some people are already betting on the fall of the local currency, following a drop in naira at the parallel market this week.

The governor said the CBN, under his leadership, has been in more difficult positions, yet defending the naira — a position the bank is still willing to maintain to keep the currency stable.

“Between day before yesterday and yesterday, we saw some uptick, and I can say that we are seeing that some of our friends at the other side are rearing their heads, and I want to assure them that they are going to lick their wounds this time again,” Emefiele said.

“If you are joining them in speculating, we are in a better position than we were in 2016, 2017. Don’t forget, reserves was $23 billion in October 2016, you could say that we were weak then, today reserves is comfortably at $44 billion.

“So you can imagine that we do have the strength to confront you and we would do so.”

On Friday, the naira fell to 371 to the greenback, while the pound and euro sold at N472 and N415 respectively.

The CBN has stepped into the situation, with plans to increase dollar auctions from December 2018.

“With the approach of the yuletide season and the resultant increase in the demand for personal/business travel allowance, the CBN has in addition to the existing market days(Monday, Wednesday and Friday) introduced a special intervention every Thursday for $15,000 per BDC (bureau de change),” the bank had said.

The British pound also sold at an all-year high of N472 to a single pound, while euro went for 415.

20 states ‘may experience electoral violence’ in 2019

The civil society joint action committee, a coalition of civil society organisations in the country, has warned that 20 states may experience electoral violence in 2019.

The CSOs said there has been a weekly occurrence of violence in the country most of which, are not reported.

Addressing journalists in Abuja on Friday, Chidi Odinkalu, senior team manager for the Africa programme of the Open Society Justice Initiative, said the violence across the states is a source of serious concern.

He added that the CSOs are alerting relevant stakeholders in the affected states to be on the alert.

Quoting Nigeria Watch, Odinkalu said: “Between June 2006 and May 2014, there were about 915 cases of election violence resulting in about 3,934 deaths; the north-central recorded about 1463 deaths; 911 deaths were recorded in north-west; 644 deaths in the south-south, while 319 and 386 deaths in the Northeast and south-west respectively.”

He added that the affected states are Abia, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Plateau, Bayelsa, Borno, Zamfara, Kaduna, Cross River, Bauchi, Oyo, Yobe, Benue, Kogi, Nassarawa, Imo, Osun, Ondo and Kano.

He also said: “The insurgency in the north-east region, the worsening banditry in Zamfara State, the herdsmen and farmers crises in the Benue state valley, the violent attacks on Shi’ite Muslims in and around Abuja, resource control violence in the South-south and south-east regions of the country, the rise in deadly gang and cult activities everywhere, including the south-west and more, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons across the country are indication of violence.

“This lethal combination of unabated violence; access to weapons and Nigeria’s propensity for turbulent and fiercely contested elections do not augur well for peace in the 2019 elections.”

Jonathan: I can’t take responsibility for abduction of Chibok girls

Former President Goodluck Jonathan says he cannot take responsibility for the kidnap of 276 students from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno state, in 2014.

Jonathan had been accused of not doing enough to secure the release of the students.

But speaking in an interview with BBC, the former president said Boko Haram should be blamed for the abduction which sparked global outrage.

“I cannot take responsibility for the abduction; I don’t control Boko Haram. They are criminals,” he said.

Some of the abducted girls

“But as a president, of course you know it is not the president that goes to the field. You have security and intelligence officers that do the work.

“Let me admit that yes, maybe they did their best but their best was not good enough for us to recover the girls. That I cannot say I am right or I am wrong. That does not mean I am trying to remove myself from any blame.

“I may not be blamed for the action but I could be blamed that my security intelligence system was not strong enough to rescue the girls. If I as a politician could tell the whole world that my political ambition for any office is not worth the blood of a single Nigerian, how would I be happy that girls have been kidnapped? I am not that kind of character.”

Michelle Obama

The former president also accused the government of the US at the time of politicising the Chibok issue.

He wondered why Michelle Obama, first lady of the US carried a ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ placard.

“Immediately the Chibok issue came up, we expected Nigerians to be concerned about how to get these girls out,” he said.

“Within a couple of days, we saw people going to the US with ‘Bring Back Our Girls’ placards. How? Why? And of course, Mrs. Obama received one of those placards.”

Over 100 of the girls are still in captivity while many have regained freedom.