Education

N40bn allowance: ASUU defends sharing formula, varsity workers begin protests

Non-academic unions in universities and the Academic Staff  Union of Universities on Tuesday differed on the Federal Government’s N40bn earned allowance for the institutions’ workers.

While ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi,  in an interview with The PUNCH, justified the amount promised lecturers out of the N40bn, non-academic unions described the Federal Government’s sharing formula as illogical and a divide and rule tactic.

The unions spoke as protests by non-academic staff over the  Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System and the N40bn earned allowance rocked university towns across the country on Tuesday.

The Federal Government had,  on December 22, as part of agreements reached with ASUU,    promised to release N40bn earned allowance to universities. The academic union had on December 24 suspended a strike, which it started on March 23.

But the non-academic unions, which kicked against the N30bn promised ASUU, said the sharing formula was 75 per cent (N30bn) for the lecturers and 25 per cent for other unions.

N75% promised ASUU will breed corruption – Union

The General Secretary of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, Mr Adeyemi Peters, in an interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday,  said the failure of the government to implement the recommendations of the forensic audit report on the earned allowance was the cause of the current crisis over the sharing formula.

Peters said the award of 75 per cent of the fund to ASUU was not based on any logic, noting that it would also breed corruption.

He explained that the audit report of consultants engaged by the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation recommended the amount each university would earn as well the total amount that should be paid to the unions.

Peters said, “Since 2013, the government has been releasing money, but these releases have been done in a manner that ASUU gets a bigger chunk of what is released. So, the non-teaching staff said the government should conduct a forensic audit of what had been paid so far.

“It was agreed to by all the unions; and the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation hired some consultants that carried out the forensic audit of what had been released, what had been paid and what was remaining.

“And what we said was that if the forensic report is out, the distribution of the money (N40billion) should be based on the outcome of the forensic report, which probably would have shown how much each staff member has received, and the outstanding and you can use that to determine scientifically the quantum of what each of the union gets, but the government abandoned the report and decided to now say the N40b should be shared 75 per cent to ASUU and 25 per cent to other unions.”

“We said no, that would contradict the idea of the forensic audit. What they are proposing is not based on any logic and it doesn’t portray transparency. That is why we are insisting on the use of the audit report to determine what would be paid to every staff member and what each union would get.”

The NASU secretary said his union did not have any issue with ASUU, but with government which he accused of awarding the sharing percentage randomly.

Peters noted, “What if what you owe them (ASUU) is below the percentage you give to them? We don’t have a problem with ASUU, but we have a problem with the government. The approach of the government is biased in the distribution and it will not guarantee industrial peace.”

FG using divide and rule tactic –Union leader

Also, the President of the National Association of Academic Technologists, Mr Ibeji Nwokoma, in an interview with The PUNCH, accused the Federal Government of using divide and rule tactics to polarise the unions.

He stated that the decision to allocate N30b to ASUU was unfair and unacceptable, noting that the government had not disclosed the yardstick for the sharing formula.

Nwokoma stated, “We are not against the government giving any union what they think they should give, but the truth of the matter is that what is sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. Our earned allowance has been paid only up to 2011, whereas ASUU has been paid up to 2015 and if you give them N30b, you would now pay them to 2020. So, it is unfair, it is unjust and acceptable. Government is using divide and rule system.

Nwokoma said ASUU was probably being rewarded with the huge sum for going on strike, stressing that each of the unions could ground the university system. We have given the government 14-day ultimatum to review the sharing formula or we would shut down the universities.”

The President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Mohammed Ibrahim, during the union’s protest at the University of Abuja on Tuesday, said, “If the government remains adamant and the issues are not addressed, JAC (the Joint Action Committee)  will take an action on Thursday.

“We also have our children in the universities.  We hope that government will do the needful before the end of the three-day protest, but if that is not done, which we are not praying for, by Thursday  we will be able to tell the whole world our next line of action.”

Also at UNIABUJA, the  Treasurer of NASU, Sadiat Hassan, in an interview with journalists, said,  “We are protesting against the irregularities in the  IPPIS payment and demanding the renegotiation of our 2009 agreement which has been long overdue.

“We are also protesting against the non-payment of our earned allowances and injustice that was done by the Federal Government in the distribution of the earned allowance because they gave a particular union 75 per cent and other unions 25 per cent.

“This is against the agreement reached in October (last year) that the money should be for all the unions. So, we expect them to do justice to everybody.”

Also, members of SSANU at the  Federal University Lokoja , Kogi State as early as 8am  on Tuesday embarked on a peaceful protest.

The Chairman of SSANU/JAC in the university, Uche Onyedi, threatened that the unions would begin a nationwide strike, if government failed to meet their demands.

Addressing journalists during a  protest at the Federal University, Gusau, Zamfara State, the Chairman of JAC of the university, Mallam Muddasir Musa, said, “We tried to meet with them (government) and solve the problems, but it never worked.

IPPIS has impoverished us – Non-academic workers

At the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, JAC  lamented that joining the IPPIS introduced by the Federal Government had impoverished workers.

The JAC Chairman, Sulisma Jatau, who spoke to journalists at the commencement of the three-day protest by the unions, said the groups joined the IPPIS in error.

He stated, “The unions in the universities joined the IPPIS because we were deceived that it was a platform that would eradicate corruption and bring transparency.

“We even complained about some irregularities we had in some universities. We went there (Abuja) and rubbed minds and it took us almost six months to tell them that we had some peculiarities in some universities and the platform would not capture them.

“They promised us that that the platform would be flexible that it would encompass everything,  but to our dismay, when we joined, we became poorer than we were.

“Our salaries are being deducted unnecessarily.  In fact, for the past 11 months, we have been getting different salaries. So we discovered that for you to correct one anomaly, you have to go to Abuja. This is counterproductive. We now believe that the IPPIS is corrupt.”

He said that the union signed a memorandum of understanding with the Federal Government on the issue on  October 20, 2020,  but nothing had been done.

He said: “We have waited for so long for the Federal Government to be able to understand our plight. We have to cry aloud to tell the public that we have been shortchanged and the Federal Government is not sensitive to our own plight.  That is why we have to hold this protest to press home our demands.

“We have to do this protest at this moment because of the announcement of resumption date of the universities. We have so many issues on ground and as law-abiding unions, we don’t want to disrupt the calendar of the schools.  That is why we want the government to be very proactive and come to our aid and meet our demands before schools resume.”

But the President of ASUU, Ogunyemi, in the interview with The PUNCH, absolved the union of blame in the sharing formula crisis.

Ogunyemi maintained that his union had an understanding with the government and what ASUU would be paid had been spelt out.

He stated, “I’m not going to go into the controversy. There is no problem with ASUU. I’m not going to go into any debate with anybody. All I know is that we have an understanding on what government would pay ASUU. We believe government would pay.

We have an understanding with govt, others can ask for their rights too – ASUU

“I  don’t have business with any other union. Our concern is with ASUU members. I don’t have problem with any other unions because they too are asking for their rights. So, our rights should not stop their own and their own rights should not stop ours. Whatever they think they are qualified for we don’t have problem with that. We know what our members deserve and what has been established for our members we believe that government would pay.”

He also said ASUU was discussing with government on the payment of the earned allowance.

Recall that Ogunyemi, when he announced the suspension of the nine months strike which started on March 23, 2020 and ended on December 24, 2020, said that the Federal Government promised to pay the money before the end of  December 2020.

Ogunyemi on Tuesday said, “We are engaging government on that. There were some initial obstacles and we have surmounted that obstacle so we have some understanding.”

By Friday Olokor, Adelani Adepegba, Grace Edema, Maiharaji Altine, Gbenga Odogun and Armstrong Bakam

READ MORE
Education

IPPIS: Varsity workers protest, may down tools

University workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities and Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions on Tuesday protested what they described as the injustice of the Federal Government.

Among their grievances are the irregularities in the implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System and distribution of the earned allowances.

During the protest held at the entrance gate of the University of Abuja, the SSANU and NASU demanded that the government should pay them their minimum wage as promised and in conformity with what has been paid to other ministries since 2019.

One of the leaders of the protesters’ Branch Treasurer of NASU in UNIABUJA, Sadiat Hassan, said they would embark on strike if the government did not act accordingly.

She said, “We are protesting against the irregularities in IPPIS payment and demanding the renegotiation of our 2009 agreement which has been long overdue.

“We are also protesting against the non-payment of our earned allowances and injustice that was done by the Federal Government in the distribution of the earned allowances because they gave a particular union 75 per cent and the other unions 25 per cent.

“This is against the agreement held in October (last year) that the money was for all the unions. So, we expect them to do justice to everybody because this is earned allowances.

“We earn our allowances just like every other union. So, we want justice. We also want the government to pay us our minimum wage as promised as they have paid other ministries since 2019.

“That is why we are communicating with them that they should give us our rights because Universities or tertiary institutions in Nigeria do not comprise only the teaching staff alone.

“There are also other administrative staff that are doing very relevant jobs in various offices. So, we shouldn’t be taken for granted because, without our services, the University system cannot perform because we know that we are also important.

“We are also law-abiding citizens; that is why we decided to go with them when they came for IPPIS. Now, we have enrolled, our problems continue, in fact, more than even what we are having before. That is why we are calling on them now to address these irregularities, else we will be ready to down tools in our various institutions.”

READ MORE
Education

COVID-19: Schools resume Jan 18 until further directive –PTF

The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, on Tuesday, said schools in the country will resume on January 18 until the Ministry of Education announces further directive.

PTF National Coordinator, Dr Sani Aliyu, stated this while featuring on a television programme monitored by The PUNCH.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on Monday, said the Federal Government would review the January 18 earlier date fixed for resumption of schools across Nigeria.

The minister, who spoke at a PTF briefing in Abuja, attributed the decision to the second wave of COVID-19 currently ravaging the country.

Speaking further on the issue on Tuesday, the PTF coordinator said the minister did not say the date has been changed.

Aliyu said, “As regards schools, I just want to make a clarification, what the minister said yesterday was that they were going to review, he didn’t say that they were going to change the date. He said they will review the situation and let the nation know.

“So, for the moment, it is still 18th January until the ministry of education comes back either with an alternative date or reconfirm that.”

The PUNCH had earlier reported that PTF Chairman and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Monday, said travels, reopening of schools, businesses and religious centres contributed to the rise in coronavirus cases in Nigeria.

“It is however very instructive to stress that factors that have contributed to rise in numbers from late November 2020 included increased local and international travels, business and religious activities, reopening of schools without strict compliance with COVID-19 safety measures.

“The full import of the fore-going is to press further on the need for us all to elevate the level of our vigilance and compliance with the recommended non-pharmaceutical interventions,” he had said.

READ MORE
Education

EKITI SUBEB RELEASES LIST OF FIRST BATCH OF NEWLY RECRUITED TEACHERS ON STATE WEBSITE

The Ekiti State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) has released the names of 600 newly recruited primary school teachers on the State Website.

The SUBEB Chairman, Prof. Femi Akinwumi who made this known in Ado Ekiti, explained that the newly engaged teachers were the first batch to be employed from successful applicants in the recruitment exercise and documentation process carried out by SUBEB recently.

Prof Akinwumi advised applicants to check the list by logging to the Ekiti State Website via :
http://ekitistate.gov.ng/jobs.

He said that the 600 successful applicants as well as the already notified 100 newly recruited teachers under the Federal Teachers Scheme would undergo a 4-day induction training workshop from the Monday ,18th January, 2021 at designated centres across the state under strict compliance with the COVID-19 Protocols recently announced by the state Government.

Akinwumi added that the venues for the induction training programme and other relevant information would be made available to the successful candidates in due course.

Stressing that the recruitment exercise was deviod of political, religious, ethnic or gender bias, he said that the exercise was strictly based on merit.

Akinwumi however charged the newly recruited teachers to see their employment as a call to duty, stressing that they should judiciously utilise the opportunity given to them by being diligent, loyal and dedicated to their duties.

The SUBEB boss also assured that the exercise was continuous as more successful applicants would still be employed in due course.

READ MORE
Politics

Ex-minister accuses Secondus of fueling Makinde, Fayose feud

A former Minister of Power and Steel, Dr Wole Oyelese, has accused the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Prince Uche Secondus, of fueling the lingering crisis between Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State and former Ekiti State Governor, Ayo Fayose.

Makinde and Fayose are engaged in the leadership position right of the party in the South-West and there have been altercations between the two on this.

Oyelese said it was worrisome that Secondus was feeling unconcerned about the lingering crisis between the two PDP leaders in the South-West while accusing him of encouraging factions which was tearing the party down.

He said apart from the crisis between Makinde and Fayose, there was no friendly atmosphere in any state chapter of the party in the region, saying this might make it impossible for the state to retain the only state it won during the 2019 elections.

The former minister, who is a leader of the party in Oyo State said in a statement on Tuesday that it appeared that Secondus was more concerned about his second term in office than welding the party together.

Oyelese said, “There is hardly any state where there is amity among the members except in those areas where the leaders of the party are handling the situation with maturity. In this kind of situation, it is quite unimaginable that the chairman of the party will maintain such an undignified silence in the face of serious danger.

“It is daily becoming clear that the party is being torn apart by the same individuals who are expected to weld it together. The issue of party organisation does not appear to have much meaning to the chairman as he appears to take a special interest in encouraging factions.

“The situation we have in the South West which appears intractable is needless and should not be allowed to fester any further. The politics of survival and assertion currently going on is not in the best interest of the party as the loyal members stand to lose out.

“With the current position of things, there is hardly any state that the PDP can be sure of winning in the South West in upcoming elections. Political neophytes and dreamers may think and say otherwise, but the reality is stark enough to the discerning ones.”

The former minister asked the national chairman of the party to reach out to the founding fathers of the PDP from the South-West and seek their inputs on how to resolve the crisis.

READ MORE
Nation

Eureka! Learn From Henry Fajemirokun, Get Rich

It is a rhetorical question to ask whether everyone wants to get rich. In other words, dear reader, you too are interested in wealth!
Then, here is a story that can inspire you:

How Henry Fajemirokun made his billions

By Dotun Adekanmbi

The history of Nigeria’s organized private sector would be incomplete without mentioning the role of High Chief Henry Oloyede Fajemirokunn businessman (1926 – 1978). During the seventies, Fajemirokun was one of the biggest fish in the widening ponds of big time entrepreneurs. His credentials were like an awesome investment catalogue under the name of Henry Stephens Group of Companies.

Remarkably, Fajemirokun did not have the advantage of starting out anywhere near the upper rungs of the business ladder. His point of entry was as a trader in commodities, cocoa beans, groundnuts and cattle bones for export to Europe under the name of Henry Stephens and Sons Limited, Lagos. Perhaps, something in his background suggested correctly to him the business direction to take when he started out. Fajemirokun made a huge success of the export business. It was only a matter of time before his nimble mind fashioned out opportunities in other sectors of the economy. Suddenly, the theatre of the export and commodity trading concerns became too small for his huge business talents and a business conglomerate was in the making.

Intrepidly but shrewdly, Fajemirokun horned in on a new target. He established Henry Stephens Shipping Company which owned the Nigerian Far East Line and the Nigerian South American Line. The company owned three Nigerian flag vessels and operated a number of chartered vessels while maintaining regular line services between ports in the West African sub region, the far-east and south American ports.

Fajemirokun’s business interests further yield the Nigeria Maritime Services Limited (NMS) whose operations run the gamut of clearing and forwarding, sea and air freighting, as well as free and bonded warehousing. The company also undertook packaging and removal activities with a specialization in door-to-door movement of goods. At its peak, the NMS was described as the foremost removal company in Nigeria.

Henry Fajemirokun, right, and his wife. Photo credit. Photo credit: Lagoschamber.com

Monumental success followed swiftly and Fajemirokun’s Henry Stephens Group spread to every sector of the economy. There was GILCO (Nigeria) Limited which handled sophisticated electrical equipment and machinery, electrical and mechanical power transmissions, marine radar as well as navigational and radio communication devices. Fajemirokun widened GILCO’s operations to include serving as agents, stockists and main distributors for the products of many foreign electrical equipment manufacturing firms. These included Hawker Siddeley Electric Export Limited (Brush Swithgear Ltd) Brash Transformers Limited, Hawker Siddely Power Transmissions Limited, Crompton Cables Limited, Chloride Group of Companies and Doulton Insulators Limited. Others were GEC (lamps and Lightings) Ltd, GEC (Street Lighting Limited), manufacturers of fluorescent, flood and industrial lighting fittings, Hampson Automation Limited, manufacturers of power generating sets, D. Nagata, Midland Electric Manufacturing Company Limited , Aluminum Wire and Cable Company Limited, Sperry Marine Systems, Horstman Gear Company Limited, Safety Products Limited, Gandy Limited and CRC Limited.

Described as a practical businessman and excellent manager of both human and material resources, Fajemirokun possessed an uncanny eye for opportunities. This is obvious from his establishment of Henry Stephens Engineering Company Limited one of his many companies. The company was established obviously not as a hunch but at a time when there was an upsurge in construction activities all over the country.

Munificently funded by proceeds from the petroleum sector, the upsurge in construction was phenomenal. Fajemirokun cashed in on this. Henry Stephens Engineering dealt in construction machinery and equipment. It also served as a distributor for many British, American, Swedish and Indian companies. Shoals of construction equipment were sold for companies like Winget Construction Limited UK, Brown Lennox Limited UK, Dynapac Maskin AB of Sweden and Stenberg Flygt AB of Sweden among others.

Another of his companies executed a ceaseless flow of contracts of all types of building materials throughout the country. There was also a transport and haulage arm including foreign travels and ticketing.

As his businesses grew, so did his statue in the business community. Fajemiroukn held many positions in various Chambers of Commerce. By 1966, he was an executive council member of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry. At about the same time, he was president of the Nigerian American Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Other honours followed . These included vice president, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (1970), president Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Mines (1972), first president, Federation of West African Chamber of Commerce (1972) and vice president Federation of Commonwealth Chambers of Commerce (1978). Fajemirokun can certainly be described as a business mogul.

In his 52 years of life, he virtually turned the Nigeria corporate terrain into a mosaic of his foot prints. Aside from more than ten companies in his stable, he also sat on the boards of several up market companies both within and outside the country. Some of these include Oil Exploratory Company Limited, Marine and General Assurance Company Limited, Schiffarts and Handelgesellschaft mbh, Hamburgh Germany. He was also a director, First Bank Nigeria Limited, director Nigeria Krafts Bags Limited, director Nigeria Sewing Machine Manufacturing Company Limited, deputy chairman Johnson Wax Nigeria Limited, chairman Rank Xeros (Nigeria) Limited and chairman National Bank of Nigeria Limited.

Unlike his lowly beginning in the world of business, Fajemirokun’s roots in Ile Oluji was Brahminic. Fajemirokun was born a blue blood on 14 July 1926. He started his primary education in 1932 at St Peter’s School, Ile Oluji and left in 1936. After a years break in his schooling, he continued at St Lukes School in the neighbouring town of Oke Igbo where he completed his elementary education. A year after completing his primary education in 1940, Fajemirokun gained admission into the prestigious CMS Grammar School Lagos where he spent a year. Then he crossed over to Ondo Boys’ High School where he spent two years. He left the school in1955 to enlist in the old Royal West African Frontier Force.

One year after enlistment he was posted to India to join the 82nd West African Division. He served with distinction at the General Headquarters of the 2nd Echelon. Thansi, of the then United Province India. Fajemirokun’s romance with the military profession lasted for only two years. He returned home in 1946 and joined the Posts and Telegraph Department (P&T) where he developed an interest in trade unionism. His commitment to workers’ welfare culminated in his election as the president general of the Nigerian Civil Service Union in 1957.

As an entrepreneur of towering stature, the appreciation of Fajemirokun’s worth transcended the confines of the corporate environment. His numerous philanthropic gestures were recognised through the conferment of many chieftancy titles on him. In 1968 he was conferred with the title of Yegbata of Ile-Oluji, Asiwaju of Oke-Igbo (1971), Lijoka of Ondo (1973), High Chief Orunta of Ifewara (1974) and the Obaloro of Ado Ekiti (1977). The University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University Ile Ife also conferred on him the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science in Business Administration in 1972.

Perhaps the only known area where Chief Henry Fajemirokun did not record any success was his desire to move into publishing. His bid to take over controlling shares in the Daily Times Group in 1975 was checkmated by then management of the newspaper which felt that Fajemirokun would have too much power at his disposal if his bid succeeded.

On 15 February 1978, the candescent career of Fajemirokun was suddenly extinguished in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, while leading a trade mission. In 1983, that is, five years after his death, the Federal Government honoured him with a posthumous national award of the Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON). By then, Fajemirokun had strolled into his well earned place in the pantheon of entrepreneurial giants.

Originally entitled “Henry Fajemirokun: ahead of his Time,” Dotun Adekanmbi contributed this article to People in The NEWS.

READ MORE
Education

Vice Chancellors counter ASUU, say Varsities can resume

Vice-Chancellors of some federal and state universities in Nigeria have expressed readiness to reopen schools.

Though the Academic Staff Union of Universities had said that varsities were not ready for reopening, the VCs said they had planned to reopen their institutions as directed by the Federal Government.

One of the VCs of a federal university in the South-West told our correspondent that it was wrong for ASUU to claim that there were no guidelines for reopening varsities.

Apart from the scare arising from the second wave of COVID-19, another VC said some of them (VCs) had planned to stagger resumption.

“I think ASUU should begin to speak to facts. Inasmuch as we do not want the COVID-19 outbreak on our campuses, we had our plans. Some academic activities can resume for classes with a few populations,” one of the VCs told our correspondent on the telephone.

“LASU recently held examinations for students in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines, and it went well. What do they mean by saying there is no guideline for reopening?” another VC queried.

On his part, VC of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Prof. Felix Salako, said the varsity would resume academic activities on January 18, in compliance with the directives of the Federal Government.

Salako maintained that the university was ready to resume academic activities, saying that measures had been put in place, including COVID-19 protocols as stipulated by the Federal Government.

He said it was mischievous and political for any lecturer to go to the media to say that the university was not ready for academic activities.

Salako noted that the school had undergone fumigation more than 10 times since March 2020, just as there had been massive infrastructural rehabilitation.

He added that the management had been producing its own hand sanitisers, as well as procuring hand-washing basins and soaps needed to keep the students and members of staff safe from contracting the virus.

The vice-chancellor also said the university would be running what he described as “hybrid” teaching, a mix of physical and virtual learning, while no fewer than 150 solar panels had been installed in some of the buildings, to provide alternative sources of electricity and facilitate the planned hybrid system of learning delivery.

“The virtual learning will take care of large classes, like the part one students, but for fewer classes, we have large halls to accommodate the students”, NAN quoted Salako as saying.

Meanwhile, the University of Ilorin has started online lectures as scheduled.


The management of the University of Benin also announced that the institution would resume on January 30.

Also, the Senate of Bayero University Kano, on Monday, approved the commencement of a new academic session on January 18, 2021, while the second semester would commence on May 3, 2021.

The PUNCH gathered that the Senate of Ekiti State University had also announced that the institution would resume online academic activities from January 18.

Deputy Director, Corporate Communications and Protocol of the Federal University of Technology, Akure , Mr Adegbenro Adebayo, said academic activities will resume on January 18 for its students.

The Public Relations Officer of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Biodun Olarewaju, said the Senate of the institution would meet on January 19 to decide when its students would resume.

Subject to the decision of the Senate, the spokesperson said OAU would put in place all necessary arrangements in compliance with COVID-19 protocols to ensure safety in the university environment.

The PUNCH had reported that branches of ASUU had on Sunday assessed COVID-19 protocols in the universities and said the institutions were not ready for safe reopening.

The chapters of the union, in separate interviews with The PUNCH, commented on the directive of the National Universities Commission that universities could resume on January 18, but must adhere to COVID-19 protocols in hostels and lecture halls.

ASUU said although its members were ready to start work, the government had not put measures in place for safe reopening of the schools.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said on Monday that FG would review the January 18 earlier date fixed for resumption of schools across Nigeria.

It attributed the decision to the second wave of COVID-19 currently ravaging the country.

Adamu said, “It (January 18 date of school reopening) is not sacrosanct. When we decided on that date it was just a target towards what we were working on. Of course, we are keeping it in view and looking at what is happening in society and then it is supposed to be subject to constant review.”

READ MORE
Crime

Military Kills 50 Bandits, Recovers Livestock in Zamfara

Nigerian Army Troops of Operation Hadarin Daji have announced that 50 bandits have been killed in Kuriya village of Kaura Namoda LGA of Zamfara State.

This was disclosed on Sunday in a statement signed by the Director, Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche.

According to Enenche, the troops with close air support by the Air Component made contact with the bandits at Kuriya village leading to their death.

Four soldiers, however, sustained injuries.

The statement added that troops deployed at Dunya village of Danmusa LGA of Katsina State while on routine patrol also recovered hundreds of livestock from bandits who fled into the bush on sighting troops.

General Enenche said the troops have continued to dominate the theatre of operation with aggressive patrols to deny criminals freedom of action until normalcy is restored to all troubled zones of the country.

READ MORE
Politics

Service Chiefs: Buhari Sees What His Critics Don’t See – Garba Shehu

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, has again defended the decision of President Muhammadu Buhari to keep the service chiefs despite persistent calls for their sack.

Shehu, while featuring on a programme on TVC titled ‘Politics on Sunday’, urged Nigerians to give President Buhari the benefit of doubt as he pledged to make changes in the security architecture.

The presidential aide, while responding to the question that reminded him that the service chiefs had outlived their tenure, said: “It is because he is seeing things that critics are not seeing. He is seeing things most people don’t see.

“It is not a tenured appointment. There is no part of the law that says Chief of Army Staff must serve for two years. Then, after two years, he must go.

“He serves at the pleasure of the President. Now, the President has said again he will make changes. When will he make those changes? It is entirely up to him. I think Nigerians should give him the benefit of the doubt.”

Shehu added: “This country has always been challenged by issues of insecurity. No country is crime free. The challenges are mutating. They are transforming from one form to another….

“But all hands are now on deck. From the resolutions we are seeing, particularly coming from the President, 2021 is going to be very decisive in dealing with Boko Haram, banditry, and kidnapping.”

‘Buhari is still in charge’

Shehu, while reacting to the insinuation that the President was not in charge of his government, he said: “President Buhari is healthy, fit, and fully in charge of his government. Let no one make mistake that they can chance the President on this thing. The fact is that the President is calm, patient, and not bullish.

“He was once a military Head of State. He had executive power, legislative power, and judicial power under the military as Commander-in-Chief. But it’s about dictatorship. So, he knew power and how to wield it.

“But the fact that he is here as an elective president in charge of one of the three arms of government, the executive arm of government, this has changed on how much he can really go after them. He can only persuade the parliament. He as President will also not like to be seen as dictating to the courts.

“The latitude of opinions intellectually, be it academic, medical, or whatever it is available to the President at anytime is not available to any single citizen.

“The critics are saying he is not getting it right. The President cannot be bound by every advice he gets. He makes choices because on every given course of action, the President is presented with options to decide what is in the best interest of the country because he has sworn to an oath to defend the nation, the Constitution, lives, and properties.”

The presidential spokesman said the Buhari government had stopped the kind of ground corruption that rocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration.

He also expressed optimism that the country would exit recession this year.

He said: “The opposition has the right to say we should be thrown out of office. That is how democracy is. That is why the opposition must convince the people…. Some members of the country are thinking it is too soon for the horrible and horrific records of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be washed away.

“It is too early to forget what they did to wreck this country. It is still that PDP which used national treasury as if it belongs to one or two people….”

Asked whether corruption had stopped under this administration, he said: “This government under President Buhari has stopped ground corruption. As I said, people will pull out money from Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), put it on the table and just go home. Today in Nigeria, you cannot do that in daylight and take money from treasury and nothing will happen. High people have been locked up and sent away from office. People have been jailed, governors, whatever.”

READ MORE
Politics

LOUD WHISPERS: MY PROPHECIES FOR 2021-BISI ADELEYE-FAYEMI

Happy New Year! It is that time of the year when I reveal my prophecies. For those of you who do not know, I am a well-respected Prophetess, with a track record for accurate prophecies. My inbox has been bombarded with people wanting me to tell them what I think will happen this year. This time last year, these are some of the predictions I made:

This year will be a difficult one for China:

The year 2020 has not started well for China and it is going to take time for them to recover from the Coronavirus disaster. I predict that the virus will be contained there after many deaths and infections but China will pay a stiff price. The Chinese economy will be hit on many fronts. Clients around the world will cancel massive orders for Chinese products. Thousands of business people and tourists will cancel trips to China. Many roads and facilities under construction across Africa will not have the usual Chinese labour to deliver projects on time. I however see a silver lining in all this. China will bounce back stronger than ever.

There will be more sex scandals in 2020:

How can we get through 2020 without a juicy sex scandal? Last year churches and tertiary institutions were under scrutiny. There will be drama in some top banks. I urge all big men and women in the banking industry to be very prayerful, and to be very careful with their cellphones. If you are in this sector and would like to know more, I can arrange a bespoke prophecy for you. I also predict Baby Mama and Baby Daddy drama this year.
I don’t need to go into any further details on the above, the events that unfolded speak for themselves. There is a particular politician who consulted me for advice and I asked him to donate a new Mercedes Jeep to my prophetic ministry. That would help sharpen my visions and enable me to see him more clearly as the next Governor of his State. He called me a charlatan and went elsewhere. These days his gubernatorial ambition is limited to distributing exercise books to primary school pupils and boxes of matches to market women. I gather he owes three top banks a lot of money. If only he had not been so stubborn. Anyway, moving on. Now that I have convinced you that I am a bonafide Prophetess and not a false one, these are my predictions for 2021. There are so many of them, but I will only share a few here.

African Angels will fly to the United States on January 20th

On January 20th, a delegation of ‘African Angels’, will fly to the United States of America. Their mission will be to oversee the swearing in of President-Elect Senator Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States and Senator Kamala Harris as the first black and female Vice-President. The African Angels are preparing a statement to announce their trip. In their statement, they will explain why they were unable to accept the invitation for them to intervene and fly to the US to pray for the success of the 45th President of the US when he was running for re-election. According to the angels, it was difficult for them to find the time because the ‘Shit hole countries’ they live in needed them, to fight the COVID19 pandemic, as well as many other issues such as poverty, insecurity and bad governance. However, they are interested in working with a new President who does not consider their abodes to be ‘Shit holes’ and is therefore a better candidate for their divine prayers and interventions. While they are there, the angels will ensure that the belongings of the 45th President are removed from the White House before 12pm on January 20th, and they will be quite happy to give him a ride on their wings to his permanent residence in the Sunshine State.

Political machinery will be activated across the country

The next Nigerian Presidential election is in 2023 and before then there will be a number of gubernatorial elections in different States. I see various categories of politicians gearing up for the contests. For our local people it is a Win-Win. Many of them will be placed on monthly salaries for ‘mobilisation’, they will have the school fees of their children paid and they will receive support for medical expenses both real and imaginary. Our churches and mosques will be beneficiaries too and we can expect to see many buses being bought, accommodation for clergy and ‘improvements’ carried out on places of worship. There will be large orders placed for sewing machines, grinding machines and Okadas from China, to be distributed to ‘party faithful’. I also see many gatherings of big men and women at political rallies masquerading as funeral, wedding and birthday parties, COVID19 notwithstanding. Please note that I am one of the best in my field, patronize me if you want to achieve your political ambitions. If you go to my competitors, they will drain you of all your resources and reduce your fortunes from that of a Gubernatorial candidate to that of a local councilor. May that never be your portion.

Common Sense will trump ‘Covidiocy’

The year 2020 was terrible, with so many people being infected and even dying from COVID19. As I wrote in one of my essays last year, our case in Nigeria/Africa is that of a motherless child who cannot afford to have sores on the back. Only a mother has the love, time and patience to check your body, find and nurse sores in hidden places. So far, we have taken God’s mercy and kindness for granted. In parts of the world where the mothers are not only alive, they are billionaires, they are still dropping like flies. Over here, in spite of the gains we have made, we are still prepared to squander our good fortune. In 2020, the Oxford English dictionary added new words such as ‘Covidiot’ and ‘Covidiocy’. A ‘Covidiot’ (Noun) is a person who ignores or disobeys the protocols to prevent Covid19 such as refusing to wear a mask, practice social distancing, and insists on shaking hands instead of elbow-bumping. A Covidiot is someone who nurses ‘Malaria’ for two weeks and refuses to present him/herself for a COVID-19 test. When a Covidiot tests positive, they vanish into thin air and cannot be found. Covidiocy (Adjective) is when you believe that COVID19 is a hoax, that it is only an illness for the rich and powerful, that the vaccines will change your DNA and that it is an elaborate plot by Bill Gates to rule the world. Verily verily I say unto you, repent and let common sense prevail.

An enterprising young person will launch an award program called Fools of the Year

I see an exciting new awards event being announced this year. Almost every day, I get a proposal for the organisation of one event of the other, many of them bogus awards ceremonies that you are expected to pay for. I have wondered why our enterprising young people can’t think of something more innovative. Why not an award for the Most Foolish Man, Most Foolish Woman, Most Befuddled Influencer, etc. of the year? There will be many contenders for these distinguished awards and I am happy to nominate a few. One of them would be for the man who works as a bricklayer but has eighteen children from three wives. Another top contender would be the young man who takes out a loan to organize a ‘befitting’ wedding ceremony at his fiancé’s insistence but has to hide from his landlord after the wedding. Then there is the young woman who gets a N250,000 Christmas bonus at work and spends it on a new phone for her ex-boyfriend hoping to win him back. The awards ceremony would be a very lucrative one with sponsors lining up to support prizes in different categories.

A note of caution. If I give you a prophecy that you consider to be negative, it means you need to fast, pray and invest in my ministry to make sure it does not come to pass. If you get a positive prophecy, you still need to fast, pray and invest, because African Angels have a way of switching fortunes. On the whole, 2021 will hopefully be a year when citizens read more newspapers, read interesting books, listen to the radio, limit their reliance on WhatsApp, watch good television programs and visit informative websites. I predict that if people are better informed, they will be able to analyse current events and trends for themselves. This is however a prediction that I do not want to see come to pass. How else would I make a living if I can’t prey on ignorant, lazy-minded and gullible people? Remember, if you need my services you can pay in any currency of your choice, my ministry has accounts in Naira, Dollars, Pounds and Euro. Have a blessed year.

Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi is a Gender Specialist, Social Entrepreneur and Writer. She is the Founder of Abovewhispers.com, an online community for women. She is the First Lady of Ekiti State, and she can be reached at BAF@abovewhispers.com

READ MORE