The National Economic Council (NEC) has resolved to set up a sub-committee that will liaise with the appropriate officials on the new status of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited.
Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Office of the Vice President, briefed State House correspondents after a virtual NEC meeting on Thursday.
The virtual meeting, anchored from the Presidential Villa, Abuja, was chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
“The governors at today’s council meeting also raised a few issues regarding the new status of the NNPC Limited, including issues around ownership.
“On the direction of the vice president, the council resolved to set up a sub-committee of council that will liaise with the appropriate Federal Government officials to look at all the issues that have arisen as implications of the new status of the NNPC Limited and also issues around the Petroleum Industry Act.” In the same vein, Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, also virtually briefed State House correspondents.
Sule said that the managing director of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA) updated NEC on various activities of the company, especially on the 2021 performance.
The governor said that the company delivered very impressive financial results underscoring the resilience of its strategy.
“For the 9th year in a row, the NSIA has consistently remained profitable; closing the year, 2021 with a performance of N153.8 billion which is slightly, 99.1 per cent below the 2020 figure of N156. 5 billion.
“The total comprehensive income declined marginally in 2021 by 8.2 per cent which actually closed at N160.1 billion.
“The NSIA has reached major milestone across domestic infrastructure in the year under review in terms of projects such as motorways, agriculture, healthcare, technology as well as industrialisation.
“The council resolution therefore accepted the report with commendation by all the members of the council to the management and board of NSIA for a very impressive performance.
’’ Sule said that the vice president expressed deep appreciation to all the governors and council members for the several get-well wishes sent to him.
The National Rescue Movement (NRM), says there is no course for alarm as the Isaac Chigozie Udeh-led National Working Committee (NWC) is intact and in charge of the party’s affairs.
Mr Sola Afuye, National Publicity Secretary, NRM, said this in a statement on Thursday in Abuja.
Afuye said that NRM remained an independent party with no plans to merge with any other party for the presidential election in 2023. “The party is not in any merger discussion with other political parties and our presidential candidate is also not in merger discussion with other party presidential candidates.
“We are using every available opportunity to inform the public and other political parties that NRM is not in any merger discussion or any alliance talk with any political party, ahead of 2023 general election.
“As a party we are advising the presidential candidates of various political parties to shun any secret alliance talk with distractors under the guise of NRM.
“Ahead of 2023 general elections, we remain committed and faithful to the objectives of our party and never shall we drift away from our yawning precipice,’’ he said.
Afuye however, said that the party’s concern was how to galvanise and strategise to win all elective positions, especially the presidential election in 2023. He added that the party would no longer tolerate distractions by political jobbers seeking to tarnish its image or to discredit it.
He called on all Nigerians at home and in the Diaspora to join NRM to salvage and rescue Nigeria from all the negativities bedeviling it.
“Also the leadership of our great party is so much aware of the illegal activities of some elements in our party under the supervision of Sen. Saidu Dansadau, the former National Chairman.
“We equally have decided not to join issues with them or promote their obnoxious intentions carried out during their night vigil on Friday, Aug. 12. “Rather, we hold our faithful members and the general public the true position of the party on such matter.
“People conversant with how political parties affairs are handled on who has the rights to call for party meetings and so on will know that it is an illegal action,” he said.
He said that the party was glad that its genuine members across the country were knowledgeable on matters of the party’s constitution.
“That is the reason we refused to participate in such shenanigan,’’ he said.
He said that such meetings without due process would not be acknowledged by the party especially as record also had it that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officers were not present.
“It is obvious that the perpetrators don’t have any place under the law to hide their obnoxious actions than to use Sen. Saidu Dansadau’s living room,’’ he said.
Afuye said that the preparation ahead of the party’s NEC meeting on Sept. 5 was on course and nothing would discourage them.
The Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has opposed the planned privatisation of public healthcare facilities in the country.
The TUC President, Mr Festus Osifo, spoke while addressing newsmen at the end of union’s National Administrative Council (NAC), Central Working Committee (CWC) and National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the union on Friday in Abuja.
He said that the NEC in session strongly opposed the move by the Federal Government to privatise the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and Federal hospitals.
He said that Nigerians hadnever benefitted from privatisations done in the past and as such, TUC strongly frowned at it.
“As TUC, we take a complete exception to this.
The NEC of TUC, frowns at this, because the privatisation that was done in the past, where has it led us to.
“Nothing meaningful has ever come out from the previous privatisation processes, especially the power sector,” he said.
The TUC president while speaking on the lingering strike in the university system, called on the Federal Government to place value on education in country.
“TUC as a body is here to protect our national interest.
We will do everything possible to ensure that we engage government, and also engage ASUU as well to find an amicable solution.
“You will agree with me that where there is will, there is always a way, ‘’ he said.
He condemned the N1.4 billion spent on the purchase of vehicles for the Government of Niger Republic.
“The value that is placed on our university system is the reason why we are here today, ’’he said.
The TUC president also said that there was no need for government to continue paying for fuel subsidy as the impact was clearly not felt by Nigerians.
The TUC President suggested that the money meant for fuel subsidy could be used to meet the demands of university-based unions.
He further called on governments to as a matter of urgency take steps to address the security challenges in the country.
The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union,(COEASU) lecturers have suspended their ongoing strike for a period of 60 days.
The suspension is contained in a state signed by COEASU President, Dr Smart Olugbeko and Dr Ahmed Bazza, General Secretary of the union on Friday in Abuja.
The union said the suspension followed “enormous progress” made at the ongoing renegotiation with the Federal Government.
Olugbeko said the decision to suspend the strike was taken at the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja, to re-assess the status of issues leading to the three-week roll-over of the national strike.
According to him, as evident in the enormous progress made at the ongoing renegotiation and the appreciable level of progress made towards the amendment of the Colleges of Education Establishment Act, which is paramount for the development of the COE system.
“NEC resolved that the nationwide strike that started on June 10, be suspended for a cool-off-period of 60 days.
“This is to give the government the opportunity to perfect the progress made so far into tangible achievements that are acceptable to the union.
”After which the NEC shall reconvene to re-assess the status of the issues and decide the way forward, ”he said.
He therefore commended critical stakeholders for their intervention and dogged commitment to the resolution of the issues.
Olugbeko also said NEC decried the high level of insecurity in the country, as evident with the increase in the spate of kidnapping, banditry, killings and other social vices.
“NEC, therefore, calls on governments at all levels to address the situation more proactively by beefing up security on all campuses.
“As the system is being reopened for teaching and learning, and across the nation in general, ’’he said.
The union president, therefore, commended the Government of Imo, Kwara, Osun, and Oyo towards the resolution of the lingering issues in their respective colleges of education.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its roll-over strike by another four weeks to give government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues.
The President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.
Osodeke said that the roll-over strike action would take effect from 12:01 a.
m. on Aug. 1. He said that the decision was reached at an emergency meeting of the National Executive Council of the union held at the Comrade Festus lyayi National Secretariat, University of Abuja, on July 31. He said that the meeting was called to review developments since NEC’s resolution to extend its roll-over strike action by another 12 weeks, effective from May 9. “The NEC meeting took place against the backdrop of government’s obligations as spelt out in the Memorandum of Action (MoA) it signed with ASUU on Dec. 23, 2020. “Specifically, NEC recalled that government’s failure to conclude the process of renegotiating the 2009 Agreement, deploy the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) and pay outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA).
“Also government failed to release agreed sum of money for the revitalisation of public universities (Federal and States), address proliferation and governance issues in State Universities, settle promotion arrears, and release withheld salaries of academics.
“Also in the agreement is failure to pay outstanding third-party deductions led to the initial declaration of the roll-over strike on Feb. 14, 2022,” he said.
According to him, NEC viewed with seriousness the recent directive given by the President and Visitor to all Federal Universities that the Minister of Education, in consultation with other government officials, should resolve the lingering crisis and report to him within two weeks.
Osodeke, however, expressed worry why it had taken five full months and needless muscle-flexing for government to come to the realisation of the need for honest engagement.
“NEC acknowledged the growing understanding of the issues and the groundswell of support for the union’s principled demand for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria.
“Nigerian universities must not be reduced to constituency projects that merely exist on paper and our scholars must be incentivised to stay back and do what they know best.
“NEC appreciated the historic nationwide protest of July 26th and 27th organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) in collaboration with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to further create awareness on the antics of the Nigerian ruling class to destroy public education.
“ASUU renews its commitment to the struggles of NLC in championing the cause of the working and suffering Nigerians.
“NEC observed that non-signing of the draft renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement more than one month after it was concluded by Prof. Nimi Briggs-led Committee is further tasking the patience of ASUU members nationwide,” the statement read in part.
The president also said that the on-going trial of the suspended Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, on allegation of fraud had vindicated ASUU’s rejection of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information (IPPIS).
According to him, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is enjoined to release reports of the latest tests on the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) vis-a-vis IPPIS without further delay.
He, therefore, said that the ASUU would resist any attempt to truncate the deployment of UTAS with all legitimate means available to the union.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union had been on strike since Feb. 14, over alleged refusal of the government to keep to agreement entered with the union.
The union demands included implementation of the 2009 renegotiation Agreement, deployment of UTAS, payment of outstanding arrears of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), promotion arrears, and release withheld salaries of academics.
The President, National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Dr Dare Ishaya, has asked the Federal Government to implement the payment of the new Hazard Allowance and arrears stipulated as at Dec. 22, 2021.
Ishaya said this in a telephone interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.
According to him, the allowance is contained in the circular issued by National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) dated Dec. 22, 2021 with reference number 04.21811406. Ishaya said that the National Executive Council (NEC) of the association at its meeting and scientific conference which ended on Saturday, decided to present the Federal Government with a two-week notice to implement the circular.
The two weeks take effect from Aug. 1 to Aug. 14, after which the group would convey another meeting and decide on what to do to drive home their demands.
He also said that a communique was issued at the end of the conference which also stipulated other demands the association wanted to be met.
“Also our medical training is just a function of the Duty Tour Allowance because just like any other person who goes out to represent the government, it is the same thing with us.
“Moreso, it has already been issued in circulars and others have started enjoying it, why can’t it be implemented for us?
“So when NEC deliberated over all these issues and considering the economic realities in the country, we felt that the government was not being serious in implementing those things they had issued circulars about.
“So there is a need to give the government some time line to act and we could have resumed the suspended strike without giving the government any notice but NEC decided to give the notice to see if they will try to resolve this issue.
“That was why we issued the two weeks notice and if after the meeting nothing is done we will review the situation and take further actions for which nationwide industrial harmony may not be guaranteed.
” In the communique which was made available to NAN, the association is also urging the Federal Government to expedite action on the payment of the newly reviewed Medical Residency Training Fund (MRTF) within the two weeks.
This is to enable its members to meet up with the closing date of examination registration as advertised by the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria (NPMCN).
It also urged the Federal Government to expedite action on the payment of the skipping arrears for 2014, 2015 and 2016 to deserving members as the patience of the association was waning concerning the matter.
“NEC demands immediate payment of consequential adjustment of minimum wage to our members who have been deprived this benefit since it was implemented several years ago.
“NEC demands an immediate review of the Consolidated Medical Salary Structure (CONMESS) and other related allowances given the current economic situation in the country.
It said this was also in line with the agreed terms from the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that it would be reviewed regularly.
The association also urged the Federal and all State Governments to look into the issue of assault on doctors and thoroughly investigate the ongoing cases and put measures to forestall future occurrences.
It also enjoined the Federal Government to take steps towards curtailing the brain drain in the health sector and find ways of eliminating all bureaucratic bottlenecks in the employment and replacement of the resident doctors.
The doctors also called for an increase in funding of the healthcare sector in the country to the tune of 15 per cent budgetary allocation in line with the 2001 Abuja declaration for healthcare financing in Africa and global best practices.
Nigeria has secured qualification to the semi-finals of men’s Table Tennis Team event at the on-going Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, the United Kingdom.
After a sluggish start at NEC Hall 3 on Sunday, an inspired Nigerian side, led by Quadri Aruna, bounced back to defeat Malaysia 3-2, booking a semi-final spot against India on Monday.
In the Doubles event, the duo of Javen Choong and Qi Shen beat Nigeria’s Bode Abiodun and Olajide Omotayo 3-1 (6-11, 12-10, 12-10,11-7).
The singles event saw Malaysia’s Chee Feng Leong lose1-3 to Quadri Aruna (9 -11, 11-6, 5 -11 and 5-11) while Abiodun lost 0-3 to Qi Shen Wong. (10-12, 12 -14, 5-11) In the third singles game, Leong lost 1-3 (8-11, 11-9, 7-11, 6-11) to Omotayo while the last game also saw Jave Choong succumb to Aruna 1-3 (11-7, 8-11, 5-11, 9-11).
Meanwhile, Edidiong Umoafia clinched a bronze medal for Nigeria in the men’s 67kg Weightlifting event earlier in the day.
Umoafia lifted a combined 290kg in “Snatch’’ as well as “Clean and Jerk’’ categories to get on the podium.
In the boxing event, Nigeria’s Adeyinka Benson defeated his Ghanaian opponent Abubakari Kwesi Quartey 3-2 in Round 16 of the men’s over 71kg-75kg Middleweight category.
Benson has progressed to the quarterfinals.
Some parents on Wednesday, called on the Federal Government not to abdicate its responsibility to fund education as the ceaseless strikes de-market the Nigerian universities and certificates.
The parents spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria during the National Day of Protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday in Abuja.
Mr Sam Eze, a parent said the Federal Government had the responsibility to fund education and it should not abdicate that responsibility.
According to him, the excuse for which ASUU has remained on strike is no long tenable; government should sign the renegotiation agreement and implement it as quick as possible.
“It is important for government to fund public education, which is by ensuring that proper infrastructures are put in place in the universities across the country.
“As there are no proper accommodations for the students, no conducive leaning facilities or materials for them to study, among others and now they all at home, this can led to socio vices,’’he said.
Eze, while speaking on the mega protest rally organised by NLC said that the protest was long overdue but that it was commendable.
He added that what the labour had done was to ensure that the Federal Government should take immediate decision on the striking lecturers in our public universities and other tertiary institutions that are on strike.
“Even though the NLC NEC directive to embark on a National protest is coming late, I think the Federal Government has been given another opportunity to redeem itself.
“Also, not just the NLC, other socio forces should join hands with the labour centre to ensure that government funds public education to ensure quality education,” he said.
Also, Mrs Figor Daniel, another parent expressed fear that the Nigerian children might not enjoy quality education in their own country.
“I feel pained that students who are supposed to be in school for the past six months are at home due to the failed agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU and other unions in the education sector.
“I have already lost hope and confidence in the Nigerian education system.
It is as if my children can never get any quality education in their own country.
“I always wonder what kind of education that my children are receiving in this country and how they can compete with their peers outside this country,’’ she said.
Daniel, therefore, called on NLC to live up to their responsibility of protecting the rights of workers, who were the parents of the children.
She called on NLC to ensure that there was a harmonised salary structure for workers in the public service.
“If there is a harmonised salary structure, we will not be having this kind of situation that we are into today.
“Because most of those parents that are civil servants that government pays heavily, they have since found other alternatives of getting good education for their children whereas we have not been able to.
“Most of them have sent their children to private universities or abroad but for those that cannot afford it lag behind,’’ she said.
She, therefore, called on the Federal Government to do the needful in ensuring that they wake up on their responsibilities.
“I did not any see reasons why the Federal Government would encourage politicians to pay whooping sum of 100 million for just for a form to contest election in a party.
“Rather such monies can be used to put in our education system and these monies are not more than what the striking lecturers are asking for to be put in the university system,’’ she said.
Also, Mr Julius Emmanuel, a parent also expressed fear on the prolong strike on the education system.
According to him, as a parent, the prolong strike has increase my fears about our educational system; it has also reduce hope for my children.
“It has also made me to feel as if I am not capable to send them abroad to study.
“Right now, so many parents who have the resources have sent their children to countries like Ireland, Canada, among others for quality education.
“That is, away from our failed education system and for the survival of the future of their children, because it appears that the children in Nigeria have no hope,” he said.
He called on the Federal Government to act fast in providing quality education for the Nigeria child adding that the country’ certificates no longer have value outside the country.
Mr Dumebi Kachikwu, the African Democratic Congress (ADC), presidential candidate has unveiled Mr Ahmed Buhari as his running mate for 2023 General Elections.
Kachikwu, during the unveiling on Wednesday, in Abuja described Buhari as a person with the capacity to unite Nigeria.
“Buhari has over 18 years experience as a professional and is both physically and theologically fit to occupy the office of the Vice-President.
“He is very intellectual and is ready for office from day one come 2023,” he said.
Speaking, Buhari thanked Kachikwu for choosing him as running mate.
He lauded the ADC Board of Trustees,the National Executive Committee (NEC), the National Working Committee (NWC)and party supporters for choosing him as presidential running mate.
“I thank Kachikwu for this opportunity and the entire leadership of the party.This is a call to service and indeed a call to rescue Nigeria and I am ready for it.
“In the last two months I have been called by some political parties to be their party’s vice presidential candidate, but I turned them down for reasons best known to me.
“I am ready to serve and I have chosen ADC as the right platform and in 2019 when I ran for office, I promised to only support a southerner and that is what I am doing now,” he said.
Mr Ralph Nwosu, ADC National Chairman, urged the presidential candidate and his running mate to live up to expectations and uphold the party’s integrity.
“On behalf of NWC, the NEC, the board of trustees and all ADC members, I hereby unveil and present the party’s flag to Buhari as Dumebi Kachikwu’s running mate for the 2023 election.
“ADC has transitioned from the ADC of 19 years ago to a new ADC by presenting the two youngest presidential and vice presidential candidates,” he said.
A group, the Electoral Forum, has called for the amendment of the Electoral Act to make delegates’ inducement and vote buying a criminal offence.
It also recommended deeper and more regular public education on the Electoral Act, to enable Nigerians take active part in the electoral process.
The Chairman of the Forum, Prof. Adebayo Olukoshi, in statement in Abuja said the recommendations were made at the forum’s Sixth Technical Session held via Zoom. Olukoshi said that the session, which was supported by OSIWA, focused on three key electoral issues in the current electoral timeline.
He said that they included conduct of political party primaries, emergence of candidates for the 2023 election, and Ekiti and Osun governorship election.
“The Electoral Forum proposed some recommendations such as: reconstruction and reconfiguration of voting cubicles to further guarantee the secrecy of the ballot and voting.
“Further amendment of the Electoral Act is required in some key areas including the delegate selection process to ensure the quality of delegates and address vote buying and selling, amongst others.
“Vote buying and selling as well as delegate inducements should be criminalized with strict enforcement of penalties through collaborative efforts amongst relevant agencies including Police, EFCC, ICPC, and INEC.” He added that the forum suggested that INEC and Civil Society Organisations should develop and promote a programme of education on the new Electoral Act to enable Nigerians have full and better understanding of its provisions.
Olukoshi said it was agreed by participants that there should be a firm, consistent, and uniform enforcement of the Act and INEC’s regulations and guidelines to ensure fairness and equity.
He added that it was important for INEC to submit party membership register and delegate lists on time in situations of indirect primaries for proper verification of the names.
The chairman said the forum agreed that only primaries monitored by INEC should be accepted, while there was need to reform the process of candidates’ selection with focus on the quality of delegates.
According to him, the meeting examined political parties’ primaries, dynamics of the outcomes and post-political primaries’ environment.
He added that the meeting also analysed the implications of Ekiti and Osun election, ahead of 2023 election.
He said that this was to identify strategies and mechanisms for addressing the challenges observed during the primaries and the election.
Olukoshi said that the overall aim was to recommend strategies to improve the electoral process as Nigeria prepare for the 2023 general election.
“The forum commended INEC for the successful supervision of these elections; there is clear evidence that our elections are getting better although still challenged by vote-buying and selling.” Olukoshi said that the forum observed that all stakeholders, including NEC, security agencies and the electorate did better during the recent election.
“Voter mobilisation has improved with a higher turnout of 54.48 per cent turnout in relation to Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) collection,” he said, but expressed concerns over vote buying and the high number of rejected votes.
Some of the participants at the meeting included Prof. Attahiru Jega, Hajia Amina Zakari, Prof. Antonia Simbine, Prof. Babatunde Babawale and Mrs Gloria Ukpong.