The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has dismissed the Federal Government’s directive that all educational institutions in the country should resume on Monday October 12.
The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in a telephone interview said the Federal Government was not sincere about negotiations with the union, adding that lecturers would not resume on an empty stomach.
Ogunyemi specifically took a swipe at the Accountant General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, for violating a directive of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that lecturers’ salaries should be paid.
He hinted that Nigerians should be ready for a long-drawn strike in universities with the way government was handing negotiations.
Also, the Non-Academic Staff Union on Monday said the Federal Government’s Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System was not transparent, saying many of its members were being cheated.
Both NASU and the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities began a 14-day warning strike on Monday over the adoption of the IPPIS in universities and non-payment of minimum wage to their members.
The Minister of Education Adamu Adamu, had, at a media briefing in Abuja on Friday, said government had approved the reopening of educational institutions beginning from Monday, October 12.
Recall that all educational institutions in the country were shut in March following the outbreak of COVID-19.
But before March, the Federal Government and ASUU had been at loggerheads over the IPPIS, which the later said should not be adopted in universities because it would violate their autonomy.
Buhari, during the presentation of the 2020 budget in October last year, ordered ministries, departments and agencies to migrate to the IPPIS as part of efforts to check fraud.
On March 23, ASUU began an indefinite strike to force the Federal Government to implement its agreements with lecturers and protest against the IPPIS .
Responding to a question on when the strike would end, Ogunyemi stated, “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach. You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met. It is a very clear decision that anybody will make in this circumstance.”
He said that on August 18, ASUU wrote the Federal Government, stating that it was ready to demonstrate its University Transparency Accountability Solution, which it designed as alternative to the IPPIS.
According to him, the union did not receive government’s reply until September 30.
Explaining contents of the letters, he stated, “They said they were considering our requests for a meeting. Mainly, we raised two points in the letter we wrote to them, that we are ready to demonstrate our platform which is the alternative to the IPPIS. We had earlier presented it to the Ministry of Education, although we told the Ministry of Labour that they should facilitate presentation to other stakeholders, particularly the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation. It is from there we are being dribbled.”
Berating the AGF, ASUU president stated, “The AGF has withheld salaries of our members. The salaries withheld range from three months to eight months and I don’t think that is good negotiations. If you think you can use hunger as a weapon of war against Nigerian academics, it means the government is not sincere about building an enviable university system in Nigeria.
“All these games of arm- twisting, intimidation and manipulation will not take them far and that is why we want Nigerians to prevail on the AGF to stop this attack on our members. He is using hunger as a weapon of war and he should get ready to be tried for genocide.
“We have reasons to believe they are trying to frustrate the new platform we have developed and we are not going to take that kindly because we used the contributions of our members to develop that platform. We didn’t take a kobo from government because we thought we should demonstrate patriotism.”
He recalled that at a meeting between the union and the government held on March 17, issues such as visitation panel to universities, earned academic allowances and revitalisation of the institutions were discussed.
“I want to assure Nigerians that while the AGF may claim that he is achieving his objectives by humiliating some lecturers, we have a vast majority of our lecturers who are resolute and they are ready and steady in the ongoing struggle and at the appropriate time the showdown will come and Nigerians will see the truth about what is behind the IPPIS,” Ogunyemi stated.
Efforts to get reactions of the Director of Information in the Office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Henshaw Ogubike, did not succeed as he had not responded to questions sent to his phone as of the time of sending this report. He had earlier requested that the questions should be sent to his phone.
But the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, in an interview, said all lecturers had migrated to the IPPIS.
He said, “I think every ASUU member has been paid. They received their last salary in July, which was the period transfers were made last. What they haven’t received are their August and September salaries.”
On the allegations against the AGF, he said funds for salaries were not being given to universities, but paid into individuals’ accounts.
He stated, “You remember that the President gave a directive that they should be paid, so they submitted their details which were then used to migrate them to the IPPIS. So while they were still protesting that they didn’t want to be on the IPPIS, the IPPIS platform accommodated and paid them.
“ Even when they were on strike, we kept paying them. We paid in March, April, May, June and July. They are now on the IPPIS because during the period of the lockdown, there was no other way to pay them. When they gave us their bank verification numbers, we migrated them to the IPPIS and we are now paying them on the IPPIS. – Punch.
Nasir el-Rufai is hurting. Badly. He is angry. Very, very angry.
It serves him right.
The Kaduna State governor is beside himself with rage because he was booted out of the 60th Annual General Conference of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) which kicked off virtually today.
He is hurting because he was originally billed to be one of the star attractions at the August gathering in August.
He was to rub shoulders with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike; House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila; Chief Justice Tanko Mohammed; former President Olusegun Obasanjo; former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; Attorney General and Justice Minister, Abubakar Malami; Commonwealth Lawyers Association (CLA) President, Brian Speers; and Judicial Institute for Africa Director of Training, Linda Dobbs.
A man in love with the sound of his own voice, and not one to miss such an auspicious platform, El-Rufai had already primed himself to deliver a killer punch of a speech that would damn and, perhaps, silence his critics forever.
But some lawyers, apparently scandalised that such a divisive figure was offered the platform to further spew his obtuse, imperceptive and disruptive rhetoric, protested and demanded he be disinvited as a guest speaker.
The aggrieved lawyers felt that failure to withdraw his invitation would be a bounteous reward for bad behaviour. The NBA leadership acquiesced.
There has been a bedlam ever since. El-Rufai’s supporters are up in arms.
Some of them who are lawyers have threatened to boycott the conference. The deposed Emir of Kano, Lamido Sanusi, made a surprise visit to Kaduna, the first since his dethronement, and took a swipe at the NBA.
“Withdrawing the invite does not show us as people who want progress. Because if you disagree with someone, having him in your hall where you can tell him your views is important and he can defend himself,” Sanusi argued.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar lll, also came calling. The timing of his visit is instructive. According to El-Rufai, he also expressed support for his efforts at bringing peace to Kaduna State.
All these are expected.
El-Rufai, a man of immense political muscle, is well-heeled and entrenched in the power superstructure of the Muslim North. He believes he is one of those who own Nigeria and, therefore, remains infallible, no-matter what he does. The consequence of such sense of entitlement is the vexatious swagger and predatory impunity.
He sees the NBA’s action as ultimate humiliation and will fight back in any way he can.
But even as he plots revenge, he pretends that the NBA’s rebuff does not matter to him. After all, he insists, it was the association that invited him. So, if they decide to withdraw the invitation, it is their problem, not his.
But don’t be deceived by the bold face and braggadocio, the NBA’s stern rebuke is ego-deflating and humiliating to El-Rufai.
So, when he says he “wishes to make clear that he did not seek the platform and is not agitated that he has one less speaking engagement,” it is sheer baloney.
Such antics remind me of the Igbo saying that when a rat escapes a child on a hunting expedition, he dismisses it as a “shit-hole rat.”
El-Rufai surely needed one more, not one less, speaking engagement to continue espousing his jaundiced, cynical and jaded worldview of ethno-religious supremacy.
Such opportunities pump his adrenaline. Denying him is a hit below the belt, a quintessential sucker punch.
Some people have argued, just like Sanusi, that withdrawing the invite was a wrong-headed move by the NBA. To them, the platform would have put him on the hot seat to provide the lawyers an opportunity to grill him.
So, rather than shoving him off the list of guest speakers, a question and answer segment could have been factored into the programme to give Nigerian lawyers the opportunity to engage him and pick his brain.
But what difference would it have made?
El-Rufai, the unapologetically proud and brilliant Fulani, tweeted on July 15, 2012 that: “We will write this for all to read. Anyone, soldier or not, that kills the Fulani takes a loan repayable one day no matter how long it takes.”
He would have used the NBA platform to further espouse his highly skewed narrative aimed at unconscionable ethnic baiting and profiling.
Those claiming that by disinviting him the NBA denied him a fair hearing, are either missing the point if they are truly sincere in their submission or they are simply being mischievous.
It is not a surprise that El-Rufai is hitching a ride on this fair-hearing wagon.
But he has had the fairest opportunity to air his opinion on the ugly developments in his state. He monopolises the bully pulpit of his office. He is a regular face on television and radio talk shows.
Journalists in the print media fall over themselves to avail him the pages of their newspapers, an opportunity the victims of the Kaduna macabre orchestra can only dream of.
But rather than using the bully pulpit of his high office to bring out the best in civic life, he divides the people and insults those who disagree with him.
So, what difference will the NBA platform make? None that I see. If anything, it would have afforded him one more opportunity to spew ethnic and religious hatred, insult his critics and further divide the people.
It is good that he was denied the opportunity. Kaduna, and indeed Nigeria, needs less, not more, of El-Rufai’s incendiary rhetoric.
Those imputing ethnic and religious motive to the NBA’s courageous and commendable action also miss the point. It is, no doubt, a narrative that resonates with the man and one he is actively promoting.
But it is too simplistic.
In the first place, El-Rufai is not the first Muslim from the northern part of the state to govern Kaduna. Ahmed Makarfi, a Muslim, governed eight years with relative peace. At no time did Makarfi incite one ethnic group against another.
El-Rufai was disinvited neither because of his religious belief nor ethnic origin. Among other invitees, Gbajabiamila is a Muslim from the South; Mohammed and Malami are Muslims from the North.
The young lawyers who championed this cause gave their reasons.
In its petition to the NBA’s Technical Committee on Conference Planning, the Open Bar Initiative – an advocacy and justice initiative for lawyers across Nigeria – listed El-Rufai’s lack of “empathy,” statement that invaders “will go back in body bags” ahead of the 2019 elections, the threat by his son, Bello, to support gang-rape of a Twitter user’s mother, routine arrest and intimidation of critics, contempt for judicial pronouncements, among other gripes.
The leadership of the NBA, whose motto is ‘respect for rule of law, democratic norms and values’, agreed with the petitioners and took the heartwarming step of axing El-Rufai from the conference.
That is the crux of the matter.
Last week when I wrote in the article Nasir el-Rufai and the carnage in Southern Kaduna that if he persists in playing whack-a-mole politics with people’s lives, Nigerians must make a conscious decision to call him out, I didn’t know that the NBA would deploy its huge moral authority to do so.
Will that change anything? We wait and see. But by rebuking El-Rufai, the NBA has done Nigeria a good turn.
The leadership of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) rejects out rightly the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari recently. By implications, he has repealed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990 (1). The law, to say the least is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.
We recall that during the First Term of the President, there was a Public Hearing conducted by the National Assembly on the Non- Governmental Organisations Bill tagged ‘Bill for an Act To Provide For The Establishment Of The Non-Governmental Organizations Regulatory Commission For The Supervision, Co-ordination And Monitoring Of Non Governmental Organizations’ which was attended by CAN and many NGOs. At the Public Hearing, the Bill that sought to bring the religious organizations and NGOs under the control and influence of the government was totally rejected because it would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control. We thought it was all over until we heard of the CAMA that was assented to by the President, making the rejected bill a law.
The satanic section of the controversial and ungodly law is Section 839 (1) &(2) which empowers the Commission to suspend trustees of an association (in this case, the church) and appoint the interim managers to manage the affairs of the association for some given reasons.
While we are not against the government fighting corruption wherever it may be found, yet we completely reject the idea of bringing the Church, which is technically grouped among the NGOs, under control of the government. The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations. This is why we are calling on the Federal government to stop the implementation of the obnoxious and ungodly law until the religious institutions are exempted from it. We call on President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment. Nigeria should not be compared with any other nation when it comes to the relationship between the religious institutions and the government. In Nigeria, people’s religions are tied to their humanity and of course, their life.
How can the government sack the trustee of a church which it contributed no dime to establish? How can a secular and political minister be the final authority on the affairs and management of another institution which is not political? For example, how can a non-Christian head of Government Ministry be the one to determine the running of the church? It is an invitation to trouble that the government does not have power to manage. Let the government face the business of providing infrastructure for the people. Let them focus on better health provision, food, education, adequate security employment, etc. The government should not be a busy body in a matter that does not belong to it. The government does not have the technical expertise to run the church of God because of its spiritual nature.
If the government is bent on imposing a law on us which the entire Church in Nigeria is against, then, they have declared war on Christianity and the agenda to destroy the Church which we have spoken against before now is coming to the open more clearly. If you cannot give us good amenities of life, we would not allow you to take away our liberty to worship our Maker.
What good thing again will you not take away from the people in the name of being in power? Are we not running a democracy which is a government of the people by the people and for the people? Is this not gradually becoming a dictatorship or what was the essence of the Public Hearing you called us to when you had made up your mind not to consider the position of Christians at all which we presented during the Public Hearing?
We call on all well meaning Nigerians to ask the Federal Government to suspend the law because we do not need it in this nation.
Thank You for making this position of CAN known through your credible and popular media.
God bless you richly.
Pastor Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant, (Media &Communications) to His Eminence, Rev Dr Samson Ayokunle, the CAN President.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has rejected the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA), saying appointing a supervising minister to suspend church trustees and appoint new one is satanic.
CAN said the new act would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control.
Presiding Bishop, Living Faith Church Worldwide, Bishop David Oyedepo had condemned the CAMA law and rejected it in totality.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 signed into law, the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020. The bill which has been passed by the National Assembly replaced the 1990 CAMA.
According to CAN, the law is Satanic as section 839 (1) and (2) of the law which empowers the supervising minister “to suspend trustees of an association (in this case, the church) and appoint the interim managers to manage the affairs of the association for some given reasons.”
A statement issued by Adebayo Oladeji, Special Assistant on Media and Communications to CAN President, Rev Samson Ayokunle, stated that the Federal Government had declared war on the church if it moved on to implement the law.
According to the statement, The leadership of CAN rejected outrightly the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 that was assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari recently, saying that the law, to say the least, was unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible, and an ill-wind that blew no one any good and a time bomb waiting to explode.
It said while CAN was not against the government fighting corruption wherever it might be found, yet it completely rejected the idea of bringing the church, which is technically grouped among the NGOs, under control of the government.
“The Church cannot be controlled by the government because of its spiritual responsibilities and obligations. How can the government sack the trustee of a church which it contributed no dime to establish? How can a secular and political minister be the final authority on the affairs and management of another institution which is not political? How can a non-Christian head of government ministry be the one to determine the running of the church? It is an invitation to trouble that the government does not have power to manage.
“Government should face the business of providing infrastructure for the people. Let them focus on better health provision, food, education, adequate security employment, etc. The government should not be a busy body in a matter that does not belong to it. The government does not have the technical expertise to run the church of God because of its spiritual nature,” it said.
CAN said if the government was bent on imposing a law, which the entire Church in Nigeria is against, then, they have declared war on Christianity and the agenda to destroy the Church which “we have spoken against before now is coming to the open more clearly. If you cannot give us good amenities of life, we would not allow you to take away our liberty to worship our Maker.”
According to the body, Buhari must stop the implementation of the obnoxious and ungodly law until the religious institutions were exempted from it and return the law to the National Assembly for immediate amendment.
Also, human rights activist, Femi Falana, SAN, has broken his silence on the disputed Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA), saying the law was badly drafted.
According to Falana, he had read the law and that it was badly drafted.
He said a government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604-page business law.
Falana stated that the law was not completely new, as registered NGOs were regulated in the past in line with the practice in all democratic societies.
He said the only addition which was objectionable was the power conferred on the commission to take over and manage NGOs on allegations of misconduct.
Falana stated that the law was illegal because it was a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution.
In his words: “I have read the law. It was badly drafted. A government that set out to facilitate the ease of doing business could not have come up with a 604-page business law (CAMA 2020).”
“But it is not a completely new law. Registered NGOs were regulated in the past in line with the practice in all democratic societies.
“The only addition which is objectionable is the power conferred on the commission to take over and manage NGOs on allegations of misconduct.
“It is illegal because it is a violation of the fundamental right to freedom of association guaranteed by section 40 of the Constitution.”
The Northern Governors’ Forum on Wednesday urged security agencies to investigate the allegation by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr. Obadiah Mailafia, that “…one of the northern governors is the Commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria”.
A statement in Jos, the state capital, by Dr. Mukut Simon Macham, the Director of Press and Communication Affairs to the Chairman of the forum and Plateau State Governor Simon Bako Lalong, said the NGF was concerned about Mailafia’s weighty allegation, which must be thoroughly investigated.
The statement said the forum, which had been working with the Federal Government, security agencies, community, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, as well as development partners to defeat terrorism, banditry and other forms of crimes in the region, found it necessary to call for the investigation.
It added: “We, as Northern Governors, have met severally to discuss insecurity in the Northern Region and the nation at large, where we did not only condemn the activities of terrorist groups, such as Boko Haram, bandits, armed robbers, kidnappers and other criminals, but also engaged the President and all heads of security agencies in finding solutions to the problems.
“To now say that one of our members is leading Boko Haram in the Nigeria is a serious allegation that cannot be swept under the carpet. We demand immediate and thorough investigation.”
The forum also urged Mailafia and other Nigerians with useful information on the activities of criminals and terrorist groups to assist security agencies and government at all levels with such intelligence for proper action.
It hoped that such allegations were not smear campaigns or attempts to discourage the North’s governors from ending insecurity in the region.
The NGF stressed that it would not support the activities of any criminal group as one of its members, Borno State Governor Babagana Zulum’s convoy was attacked recently.
The Department of State Services (DSS) had invited Dr. Mailafia for questioning over the allegation.
A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Dr Obadiah Mailafia, on Wednesday said he would not retract his statement that a northern governor is the leader of Boko Haram.
Mailafia spoke with journalists shortly after he was released by the Department of State Services (DSS), which grilled him for more than six hours at their Jos, Plateau State office.
He said there was no need for him to retract anything.
Mailafia was invited by the DSS on Wednesday following an interview he granted to an Abuja radio station during which he said a northern governor was the commander of Boko Haram.
Mailafia, who arrived at the office the DSS office around 12.30pm, was not released until 6.40pm
Mailafia went to the Jos office of the DSS, in company of his wife, Margaret and lawyers, including Pius Akubo; Plateau State Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA, Bawa; Rev. Gideon Para-Mallam, among others.
Placard-carrying members of various socio-cultural organisations from the Middle Belt, also followed him to the DSS office.
Mailafia said he would not keep silent in the face of the current security challenges facing the country even if it meant for him to die. He called for an end to the killings in Southern Kaduna and other parts of the country.
On his claim, Mailafia said, “If I retract anything, I won’t be able to leave this place. I am a man of peace, I am not a man of violence.
“I must never give up on Nigeria, if need be, I will die for Nigeria.”
After his release, Mailafia said he was treated with respect and decorum during the period of interrogation.
He noted that all the killings in Southern Kaduna and other states in the country must stop with immediate effect.
According to Mailafia, every Nigerian child, from Daura, Katsina, Manchok to Zaria and other places are his children.
He added that he was not talking politics, that the struggle for emancipation was his concern, stressing that he is not afraid to die for the sake of the people.
He pointed out that it is the duty of government to protect lives and properties of citizens and commended his well-wishers and supporters, urging them not to give up on one Nigeria.
His wife, Margaret, appreciated all who stood by them, saying her husband is “a good man who stands with the people.–Vanguard