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Government Failed ASUU, Minister Admits

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Adamu Adamu
  • Government Failed ASUU, Minister Admits

The Federal Government has admitted that the failure on its part in the negotiations with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resulted in the ongoing indefinite strike. Briefing State House correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu said government failed on its part of the bargain, a development which made the strike by the university teachers inevitable.

“Very sad that I am here and ASUU is on strike. Late last year, we had a meeting because ASUU gave one week notice of strike and we were able to work out some agreement. I must confess government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain,” the minister said.

Adamu, however, disclosed that efforts were being made by the government to negotiate with the teachers and work out modalities on how the strike could be called off as soon as possible.

“Even though we are unhappy that ASUU went on this strike without following due process and giving us good notice, the lecturers took the decision to declare the strike after deliberations at its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held at the University of Abuja last weekend.”

In a document titled: “Strike Bulletin No.1”, which was signed and issued by, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi said the strike was to be total and indefinite whereby no form of academic activities, including teaching, attendance of any meeting, conduct and supervision of any examination at any level, supervision of project or thesis at any level should take place at any of the nation’s universities.

While assuring ASUU on the issue of Earned Allowances, the minister explained that “there were communication differences which stalled the earned allowances. “They have been paid N30billion, the problem actually arose because they were not able to account for the N30billion and we said we would only give them the balance if they were able to account for it and the balance is N23billion, the total is N53 billion and government has the money to pay.‎”‎

Adamu said: “I will be meeting them later today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (today, Thursday) and I am sure we will be able to reach some agreement so that the strike will be called off as soon as possible.“I am sure you are aware of the issues we agreed on, there is re-negotiation which is the only one on which they agreed government has done what it promised because we set up the re-negotiation team and negotiation is already ongoing.”

On the issue of registration for Nigerian Universities Pension Commission, the minister who was joined by his counterpart in Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said there were a few issues that needed to be sorted out with the commission, just as he assured “there will be no problem with that.”

“The issue of their staff school, I think the court has given them verdict to go ahead with it. They have requested that they should be allowed to stay off the Treasury Single Account (TSA) and I think government will not do this, but there are some peculiar funds in the university, like endowment, which are monies kept and all the interest they generate, prices and so on are given.

“Government will exempt that one only, but it is part of the peculiarities, they just must log on. I hope later on, when I meet them there will be total agreement‎,” he said.Asked to reconcile his earlier statement during the last dispensation about ASUU strike, Adamu said: “Instead of hectoring ASUU to call off its strike, the nation should be praying for more of its kind in other sectors of the economy.”

According to him, if ASUU had not forced former President Goodluck Jonathan, he would not have created the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), without which he said, the university system would have collapsed.

“That is still my view. I believe ASUU is composed of patriotic people, very responsible. If I can look at what their struggle is, they forced the then government to create TETFund and today, without TETFund, the university system would have collapsed. I’m not supporting ASUU, I am supporting what is good. If it is something bad, I will condemn it.”‎

ASUU yesterday cautioned the Federal Government and political office holders against politicising the strike, saying there was nothing political in asking for a full implementation of the 2009 agreement and 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).The union reacting through the Chairman, University of Ibadan Chapter, Dr. Deji Omole, to the comments made by a member of the House of Representatives, Johnson Agbonayinma (Edo-PDP), lashed out at the lawmaker for displaying shallow knowledge and playing politics with the lives of children of the masses and the future of the country.

Omole also accused the National Assembly of conspiring with the executive to further reduce allocation to education to six per cent in the 2017 budget while pretending to love Nigerian children.Agbonayinma was quoted by a news agency to have said that the strike was a deliberate plot to disrupt President Muhammadu Buhari’s return.

Omole asked Nigerian leaders to demonstrate the love they have for Nigeria by withdrawing their children in private universities both in Nigeria and abroad and stop health tourism by using the health facilities they provide for Nigerians.The ASUU boss said they were surprised that the Chairman of the Federal Government negotiation team was also losing sight of realities that there is a difference between implementation of agreement already signed and renegotiation of the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Ebonyi State University and the Benue State University (BSU) have joined the strike. This happened as the Unified Nigerian Youth Forum, UNYF questioned the intellectual reliability of ASUU leadership, saying that ineffectiveness of the union on policy and decision making has always led to continuous strike.

The youth forum said there was a need for ASUU to set up a think-tank team to proffer more effective alternatives to their continuous demand instead of embarking on strike every now and then.A statement by its President, Abdulsalam Muhammad Kazeem, called on government to, as a matter of urgency, declare a state of emergency in the education sector.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

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U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

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President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

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Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

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AMCON

Ahmed Kuru, Hassan Confirm as AMCON, NDIC MDs

The Senate has confirmed both Ahmed Kuru and Bello Hassan as the Managing Directors of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigerian (AMCON) and the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, respectively.

The two were confirmed after careful consideration of two separate reports of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions.

Also, the Senate confirmed Ebelechukwu Uneze and Aminu Ismail as executive directors of AMCON; and Muhammad Ibrahim as Executive Director of the NIDC.

Senator Uba Sani, the Chairman of the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, said Kuru was confirmed as the MD of the AMCON in 2015.

He said, “The Corporation saw tremendous and tangible transformation and performance in effectively discharging its mandate during his first tenure through the introduction of new policies and frameworks.

“Strategically under his leadership, AMCON partnered investors and operators for value-enhanced exit of its portfolio companies, as well as the introduction and implementation of the Asset Management Partners scheme to assist with the resolution of small loans which in turn created over 3000 jobs both directly and indirectly.

“He also championed the creation of the Asset Tracing Unit which has led to more extensive discovery of assets and subsequent recovery of indebtedness while simultaneously having proactive negotiations with debt holders to achieve prompt and optimal settlements,” the lawmaker said.

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