The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has said it will shelve its proposed strike to support the fight against the spread of COVID-19 pandemic across the country.
The ASUP President, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Ezeibe said that the union’s 97th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting had resolved to embark on an industrial action after the expiration of a 15-day ultimatum issued to the Federal Government over its inability to meet up with agreement entered with the union.
He said that the 15-day ultimatum took effect on March 18 and expired on April 3.
“Consequent upon the inability of government to keep to agreements entered into with our union since 2010 and the avoidable shortcomings associated with payment of February salaries in federal polytechnics, our union’s 97th NEC meeting had resolved to embark on an industrial action.
“This was after the expiration of a 15-day ultimatum issued with effect from March 18 and which expired on April 3,” he said.
The ASUP president listed the key aspects of the dispute with government to include avoidable shortcomings in the deployment of the IPPIS payment platform in polytechnics with February salaries, against the union’s understandings with the responsible agency of government.
Others, he said, were non-payment of salaries in some state-owned institutions in the country, with some states owing members as much as 17 months’ salaries as well as continued victimisation of the union’s officials in some institutions.
Ezeibe also mentioned other issues as non-release of the agreed revitalisation fund in lieu of the anticipated implementation of the NEEDS Assessment Survey Report for Public Polytechnics, since 2014.
“Non-conclusion of the renegotiation of the union’s 2010 agreement with the government; violations of extant provisions of the Polytechnics Act (2019 Amendment) by the governing councils of some polytechnics.
“Unilateral suspension of the rapid response committee by the Federal Ministry of Education, leading to the non-release of promotion arrears since 2017.
“Also non-release of arrears of CONTISS 15 migration for the lower cadre and non-release of the Reviewed Scheme of Service and Conditions of Service for Polytechnics, among others,” Ezeibe stated.
He also explained that government, through its agencies, had remained insensitive to the issues over the years and had continued to demonstrate such attitude as seen in the delay in the release of March salaries of its members.
By so doing, Ezeibe said that government had unwittingly encouraged the declaration of the impending strike by the union.
He, however, said the union was concerned about the prevailing but unacceptable rate of the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the nation and its consequences on the national life and indeed, the humanity.
The ASUP president also said that the union was moved by the overriding need to collectively focus on and arrest the growing spread of the scourge in the country.
“The union has, therefore, resolved to put on hold its proposed industrial action for the overriding national interest and humanity, to resume at a more auspicious period.
“We encourage our members nationwide to play complementary roles to the extent of deploying their professional competences as well as participating in safe community action efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We also want to encourage our members to observe the requisite safety protocols, as prescribed for this challenging period and beyond.
“While our union has decided on this path of patriotism, it is expected that government will provide the enabling environment to ensure an all-encompassing and sustainable victory against not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also against other similar diseases ravaging our country,” he said.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Omowole and
Welfare of policemen our priority – Minister
The Minister of Police Affairs, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, has restated commitment of the Federal Government to ensure best welfare packages for policemen across the country.
Dingyadi, who spoke on Sunday at his residence in Sokoto, during an interactive session with newsmen, said that the ministry had enhanced strategies toward achieving the desired goals for respective officers.
“We are trying as much as possible to ensure the general welfare of policemen is properly taken up to enable more excellent performance from the men and officers.
“However, to the best of our knowledge, what the security agencies are doing to combat banditry and other forms of criminality in the country is highly commendable.
“The performance is ongoing and by the grace of God, I want to assure Nigerians that we are going to succeed in the fight soon,” he said.
He added that policemen in the country were working closely with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to ensure peaceful and secured living environment for all.
On the police recruitment, the minister said that the process was generally transparent, as it involved all stakeholders throughout the exercise.
“We ensured that every local government area in the country got a fair share in the exercise and only eligible candidates were screened based on the stakeholders’ recommendations,” he said.
On the entitlements of retired and demised policemen, Dingyadi assured policemen that the ministry had been paying all pensions and gratuities as and when due and would continue to enhance the process.
He further said that the ministry had recorded a lot of achievements in restoring peace and tranquility in many parts of the country.
“However, one of the major achievements recorded is the establishment of the Police Trust Fund.
“This is to ensure that the police are properly funded, in order to improve their services, strengthen the officers and support the community policing system,” he added.
On the community policing, Dingyadi said that the Federal and State Governments in the country were on the same page to achieve the desired goals.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide
Rainstorm: Kwara governor sympathises with affected families
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has commiserated with families whose dwellings and properties were affected by Saturday night’s rainstorm in different parts of the state.
“The governor is saddened by the havoc wreaked on various households in Ilorin, the state capital, and indeed elsewhere across the state by the heavy rain.
“He sends his heartfelt commiseration and a message of hope to such families in this trying time,” the governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Rafiu Ajakaye quoted him as saying in a statement on Sunday in Ilorin.
According to him, as part of AbdulRazaq’s proactive measures to mitigate the effect of the natural disaster, he visited various federal government agencies to seek special relief for Kwara.
“The state government is again urging the Federal Government to urgently consider Kwara State for special support.
“The governor, on his part, is immediately setting up a special disaster response team to collate data from areas affected and determine how the state government can offer support based on available resources,” the CPS added.
Ajakaye said the governor would announce members of the response team very soon.
“The Governor is also aware of the damage to electric poles during the storm.
“He has directed relevant agencies to quickly fix the poles as soon as possible to avoid further damage and ensure the restoration of power,” he said.
Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)
Flood: Reptiles invade homes in Anambra community
Dangerous reptiles have began to creep into some residential houses in Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra, as a result of flood.
Mr Arinze Awogu, Transition Chairman of Ogbaru Council Area who disclosed this on Sunday, said some displaced people were already moving into the holding camps prepared for them.
Awogu said the level of the River Niger had continued to rise, making streets and flood channels that emptied into the River to flow backwards.
He said no fewer than 1,000 persons have been forced out of their homes.
Ogbaru is a coastal local government with all its 16 communities on the banks of River Niger.
He reported that a big cobra which found its way into an apartment in Atani, was killed with the assistance of operatives from the Atani Divisional Police Station.
According to him, the cobra was killed in Atani, the man in whose house it was killed miraculously escaped being bitten by the snake the previous night as he went into his Boys Quarters in search of some documents.
“On sighting the snake, he quickly shut the door and invited the police from Atani police division who teargassed the room and the reptile became uncomfortable, but as it made its way out, it was killed by those around,” he said.
Awogu advised people of the area to always shut their doors at all times and spread repellants to ward off the unwanted guests as most of them had been displaced from their natural habitat.
“Snakes and other dangerous reptiles are being driven out of their habitats by the flood and people’s homes are likely to be where the deadly animals may be seeking refuge,” he said.
The council chairman said more people were being displaced from their homes by the flood and that they had started moving into the three holding camps in the council.
He regreted that flooding had become a yearly experience for the people and assured them of care while in the camps.
“People are leaving their homes and heading to the holding centres created by the Anambra government for people in flood-prone local government areas.
“The task now is to ensure they have the necessities of existence like food, healthcare and other facilities, while waiting for the flood to recede.
“In addition to what the state government is doing, we are calling on the Federal Government through NEMA to come to our aid,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Idonije Obakhedo
Okiro urges peaceful coexistence among Ex-Niger Delta agitators, Nigerians
A former Inspector- General of Police, Mr Mike Okiro has called for peaceful coexistence among members of the Ex-Niger Delta agitators and other citizens of the country.
A statement by Mr Supreme Ibitomi, Special Asssitant, Media to Okiro said he made the call when leaders of the ex-agitators visited him on Sunday in Abuja.
He advised them to be peaceful wherever they found themselves as it was the only panacea to development in a heterogenous country like Nigeria.
The former police boss thanked the group for embracing the presidential amnesty programme of the Federal Government and urged them to be law abiding.
Earlier, the leader of the ex-agitators, Mr Awe Akuke said they were indebted to Okiro for the role he played in the actualisation of the amnesty programme.
Akuke said that many of them would have been dead by now if not that they resolved to embrace the amnesty by the federal government.
The group, which comprised of leaders of phase one, two and three of the programme, expressed gratitude to Okiro, who they referred to as “Father of Amnesty”.
In a related development, Okiro has advised the leaders of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), to always carry their members along in decision making to minimize friction, rancour and suspicion.
Okiro gave the advice when leaders of the group led by the pioneer secretary and chairman of the Elders Council, Abuja chapter, visited him in Abuja.
He assured them of his support in the quest to unite and work towards an enduring peace in the Niger Delta.
Earlier, leader of the group, Mr. Braye Odiowei, Chairman of the Abuja chapter of the Elders Council, said the visit was to expressed their gratitude and invite the former police boss to their upcoming general election.
He said that the council has resolved to make Okiro its life patron in recognition of his contributions to the development of the region and the Ijaws in particular over the years.
The chairman said that Okiro has always being in the forefront in protecting the interests of the people of the region and had never disappointed them. ( NAN)
Edited By: Joseph Edeh/Felix Ajide