Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 9th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Saturday 9th February 2019

Sahara Reporters Latest News Today and headlines on some of the happenings and news trend in the Country, today 09/02/19

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E2%80%98body-bag%E2%80%99-comment-wike-tells-international-community target=_blank>Sanction el-Rufai For ‘Body Bag’ Comment, Wike Tells International Community

Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State, has called on the international community to disregard the “threat” issued by Nasir el-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, on his possible interference of the 2019 elections.
In an interview aired on Tuesday, el-Rufai had threatened that if there was foreign influence in the 2019 elections, such foreigners would leave the country in “body bags”.
However, Wike has urged the international community to disregard the threat, and called for sanctions for the Kaduna governor.
Speaking at the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) campaign rally at Ngo in Andoni Local Government Area on Thursday, Wike said: “We want to call on the international community not to be afraid. They should not be deterred by the so-called threat by el-Rufai. They should come out and monitor these elections. If anybody rigs, they should sanction Nigeria. They should start first by imposing sanctions on el-Rufai. They should cancel all his visas.
“In 2015, the international community monitored the elections and Jonathan lost. He did not fight and handed over peacefully. He said that his ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian. These elections must be free and fair.
“el-Rufai is afraid because he knows he has nothing to account for his stewardship in Kaduna. That is why he can open his mouth to attack the international community. I want the international community to disregard this threat by El-Rufai as empty.
“el-Rufai denies everything he says. Is that a man of character? el-Rufai was one of those who signed an administrative document in 2007 that disqualified Amaechi as a corrupt person. Today, he is singing a different song on Amaechi.”
He also added that “the mere fact that other geo-political zones of the country are quiet does not mean that they don’t know what to do.”

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target=_blank>Oyo Chapter Rejects SDP Endorsement Of Buhari

The Oyo State chapter of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) has rejected the endorsement of President Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate for the 2019 elections.
This was contained in a statement issued on Thursday and made available to SaharaReporters.
At a meeting earlier on Thursday, the SDP National Executive Committee (NEC) had endorsed Buhari’s candidature.
However, the Oyo chapter rejected the endorsement via a statement that read: “The Oyo State SDP received with shock the adoption of President Buhari of the APC by SDP NEC. 
“The State Secretary, Chief Niyi Akande, emphasised that SDP members in Oyo State have in the past few months interacted with the main opposition parties with a view to ensuring that the electorate have the best choice both at the national and state levels.
“The State Secretary categorically said that Oyo State SDP members dissociate themselves from any decision to adopt President Buhari, and that all SDP members and teeming supporters to kindly await the conclusion of the discussion with other opposition parties.
“Also, the Director General of the Bolaji Ayorinde Campaign Organisation, Chief Matthew Oke has vehemently rejected the adoption of President Buhari and any APC candidate in the State. He said Bolaji Ayorinde is not in alliance with the adoption of APC and its presidential candidate.
“He therefore implored all members to be steadfast in the strategies to win the gubernatorial election  for Chief Bolaji Ayorinde of the Social Democratic Party (SDP).”

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target=_blank>IN FULL: The Speech With Which ASUU President Called Off The Strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities called off its three-month-long industrial action.
Here’s the full speech with which Biola Ogunyemi, President of the union, announced the move at the end of a meeting with a government delegation:
ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU)
NATIONAL SECRETARIAT
THE TEXT OF A PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF UNIVERSITIES (ASUU), THURSDAY, 7TH FEBRUARY, 2019, AT NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS HEADQUARTERS, PASCAL BAFYAU HOUSE, ABUJA
Protocol
Friends and compatriots of the Press,
On Sunday, 4th November 2018, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) resumed its strike action which was conditionally suspended on 14th September, 2017.
The action of 2017 was suspended following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) in which the Federal Government of Nigeria
(FGN) promised to address the contentious issues within a timeline that was to end in October 2017. While announcing the suspension of the nationwide action, however, our Union made it categorically clear that “ASUU will not hesitate to review its position should government renege on the signed Memorandum of Action”. Predictably, Government implemented the MoA in the breach, thereby forcing ASUU to resume the suspended strike action.
Comrades and compatriots, as we have always argued, the last thing ASUU members love doing is to cause disruption in smooth intellectual engagements with colleagues, friends and students right on our university campuses. This has nothing to do with the dubious advertorial of “non-disruption of academic calendar” by proprietors and administrators of some cash-and-carry universities and other self-styled enemies of ASUU.
Rather, it is about deep-seated pains members of the Union undergo to prevent strike actions and the equally painful consequences strike situations bring to all who are genuinely averse to the mercantilen disposition to university education.
Why Strike Action?
The question has been asked time and time again: Why does ASUU like embarking on strike action that causes disruption and dislocation in the universities?
However, ASUU is strongly convinced that if academics fail to fight the cause of university education, the fate that befell public primary and secondary schools would soon become the lot of the public university system in Nigeria. ASUU’s advocacy on the need to stem the continued slide into rot and decay in public universities since the 1980s has fallen on deaf ears. Our experience, as a trade union, shows that successive governments in Nigeria always entered into negotiated agreements only to placate those pleading the cause – be it education, health, transportation, employment or any other issue of meaningful living. This proclivity of the Nigerian ruling class, irrespective of which wing of the insensitive stock they belong, must be continually be tracked, engaged and resisted by all people of goodwill.
ASUU ‘s action strike, which started on 4th November, 2018, was situated in the context of accumulated records of indifference and lackadaisical attitude of Government to negotiated agreements with the Union.
At our media interaction in University of Lagos on 23rd  December, 2018, we highlighted the outstanding issues in the crisis to include the following:
– Funding for the revitalization of Public Universities based on the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA  of 2017
– Reconstitution of the current Government Team to allow for a leader and Chairman of the FG-ASUU Renegotiating team who has the interest of the nation and the people at heart.
– Release of the forensic audit report on Earned Academic allowances (EAA), offsetting the outstanding balance of the EAA and mainstreaming of same into the 2018 budget.
– Payment of all arrears of shortfall in all universities that have met the verification requirements of the Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA)
– Provision of a platform by the federal government for ASUU to engage Governors on the proliferation of universities, underfunding of university education and undue interference in the affairs of the universities
– Release of PFA operational license to NUPEMCO
– Payment of EAA to loyal ASUU members at the University of Ilorin
A new Memorandum of Action and Our Resolution To date, ASUU has had a total of ten (10) interactive meetings with representatives of FGN which have culminated into a Memorandum of Action of 2019.
Highlights of the MoA include the following:
1. In addition to the N20 billion for 2018, the sum of N25 billion only would be released in April/May 2019, after which government would resume full implementation of the MoU of 2013.
2. Part-payment of the outstanding arrears of the earned academic allowances; defraying the balance up to 2018 in 4 tranches within 36 months; and mainstreaming further payments of EAA into the annual budgets beginning from 2019 budget.
3. PICA verification and the release of the arrears of salary shortfall at the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, not later than 15th February 2019.
4. Strengthening the Consultative Committee on State-owned Universities (CCSOU), inaugurated on Monday, 28th January, 2019 to look into the issues of proliferation, underfunding and governance to consistently deliver on its mandate.
5. Payment of the outstanding EAA arrears of all eligible staff in the University of Ilorin, especially the loyal ASUU members whose appointments were illegally terminated by today, 7th February, 2019.
6. Acknowledgement and appreciation of Government for facilitating the release of the final letter of approval for the granting of operational license to NUPEMCO.
7. Visitation to all Federal Universities would commence tentatively by 11th March, 2019.
8. Provision of documented guidelines on procedures and roles of parties in the process of renegotiating FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009 which would commence not later than 18th February 2019 and end by Friday 29th March, 2019.
Based on the initial proposals from Government, the Union made extensive consultations through its various organs. The final level of consultation was the meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) which took place 6th -7th February, 2019. NEC resolved that:
Following a careful review of the report of engagements with the Federal Government on proposals for addressing all outstanding in the 2013 MoU and 2017 MoA, NEC resolved that the current strike action by the Union should be suspended conditionally with effect from 12.01 a.m on Friday 8th February, 2019. However, should Government fail to fulfill its part of the agreement as reflected in the 2019 Memorandum of Action, ASUU shall resume its suspended strike action as the Union deems necessary.
Conclusion
ASUU notes, with serious concern, the covert and overt roles of some vice chancellors in the management and application of funds attracted by our Union to Nigeria’s public universities. Consequently, we condemn, in the strongest terms, Vice-Chancellors who have made efforts to undermine and, in some cases, attempted to break our patriotic struggles for the revitalization of public universities in Nigeria. ASUU will not shy away from taking headlong those Vice-Chancellors who are reputed for acts of impunity, nepotism and other forms of conduct which are antithetic to university culture and the progressive development of our universities.
Our union will compile all their shenanigans and forward them to relevant authorities for further action.
Finally, ASUU acknowledges the understanding and support demonstrated by patriotic Nigerian students and their parents all through the strike period. We equally appreciate the comradely assistance from the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), represented by the newly re-elected President, Comrade Ayuba Waba, who has stood by us throughout the struggle. We also acknowledge the solidarity of the civil society organisations, especially the Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and members of the progressive wing of the media who have consistently partnered with us in our mission to rescue Nigerian public universities from imminent collapse.
While we put a closure to this phase of the struggle, it is our hope and desire that the Nigerian governments (Federal and State) will play the roles expected of them in order to make the new Memorandum work. We shall never abandon our obligation to ensure the survival of a sound university system. For ASUU, the struggle certainly continues!
Thank you for listening.
Biodun Ogunyemi
President

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target=_blank>To Prove It Has Nothing To Hide, INEC Opens Up Situation Room To Visitation

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) says it will grant visitation rights to observers for the 2019 elections.
This was disclosed by Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the INEC Chairman, at an interactive meeting with the administrative board of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) in Abuja on Thursday.
According to the INEC Chairman, the situation room is a “very boring place”, and “since the perception is that we might be up to something, which is why (according to the narratives, the Commission is unwilling to open up the place), we have decided to open up the situation room.”
“We will give visitation rights,” he added.
The meeting with bishops was part of the commission’s nationwide consultation with stakeholders on its readiness for the elections.
Yakubu gave a detailed background of the measures already put in place to ensure a successful outing, noting that the commission was determined to improve on the gains recorded in the 2015 elections.
He debunked media reports making the rounds about the alleged centralisation of the recruitment of Collation and Returning Officers for the elections, stating that there was no basis for the allegation in the first place, since Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) had never handled the recruitment of such officers.
On another allegation that the National Register of Voters contained names of underage or ineligible persons, he said while the current register was, indeed, not perfect, “it is the largest and most current database of Nigerians with photographs and full biometrics.”
He also noted that the responsibility of cleaning the voters’ register was not INEC’s alone. He said while the law requires the commission to paste the register at each polling unit nationwide before the general election for claims and objections, Nigerians and political parties also owe it a duty to draw the commission’s attention to the names of ineligible persons for rectification.
He said: “We have been doing so consistently. After the last one, we received only a few comments from the states; I think 48,000 out of 84 million registered voters. Part of the difficulty is that we are very careful if someone says that one person is dead, because of the experience the Commission had in 2015.
“We received a letter from one particular political party that a candidate was dead and they submitted a Death Certificate obtained from a government hospital. They also went to court, swore to an affidavit and his family also attested to the fact that the candidate was dead. They filed all these documents at the Commission. A week later, the supposedly dead candidate turned up and said he was alive.”
On the National Collation Centre, he added: “What is a situation room? It is a place where we have our social media platforms, call centres where we take calls to listen to complaints people might have, details of the situation on the field, and so on. It is a very boring place.
“Since the perception is that we might be up to something, which is why (according to the narratives, the commission is unwilling to open up the place), we have decided to open up the situation room. We will give visitation rights.
“The Chairman of INEC is the Chief Returning Officer for the presidential election and I am not going to share that responsibility with anyone.”

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target=_blank>Buhari Urged To Pay ‘Special Attention’ To Appeal Court In Tussle For Zamfara Gov Candidate

President Muhammadu Buhari has been asked to pay “special attention” to the case at the Court of Appeal regarding the governorship candidate the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Zamfara State.
A statement signed by Usman Bungudu, convener of the Zamfara Unity Forum, noted that “the confidence with which Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari, the state governor, has been campaigning for his Commissioner of Finance, Mukhtar Idris, suggests something sinister”.
The group wants the President to not just focus on the Supreme Court, but on the Court of Appeal as well.
The statement read: “Anybody following the Zamfara case should be worried by Yari’s confidence. Perhaps he knows something that Nigerians don’t know. We therefore call on President Muhammadu Buhari not to limit his searchlight to only the Supreme Court. Special attention must be paid to the Court of Appeal as well, and Justice Zainab Adamu Bulkachuwa, the President of the Court of Appeal, must be reminded of her responsibility to justice and fairness.
“We at the Zamfara Unity Forum insist that Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari must not be allowed to perpetuate himself in office after failing us for the past eight years. Kind can only beget kind. He must not be allowed to smuggle his candidate into the governorship race through the courts. The APC NWC was in Zamfara to organise the primaries. Most of the contestants endorsed Mallam Dauda Lawal as the governorship candidate and his name was submitted to INEC by APC. He filled INEC Forms CF001 and CF002. If the court finally orders INEC to accept Zamfara APC’s list, it certainly cannot be the one Yari wants to present.
“APC has a list which it has already sent to INEC. It only makes sense for the list to be re-presented if the courts finally have a change of mind. As we can see in the Rivers case, the chances of APC being asked to submit its list are very bright. For the record, it is the national body that conducts party primaries. So Yari cannot organise his own imaginary primaries and foist the list on us.”
The APC National Working Committee (NWC) had submitted the name of Dauda Lawal to the Independence National Electoral Commission (INEC) as its consensus candidate, but INEC rejected it.
INEC based its rejection on the argument that primaries didn’t hold in the state; it therefore insisted that APC would not participate in the legislative and governorship elections in the state.
However, the NWC said consensus candidature is part of its constitution and that the candidates were picked unanimously by most contestants after the violence that rocked the primaries.
Also, two high courts recently gave conflicting judgments on the issue, one asking INEC to accept the list and another ruling that INEC was right in rejecting the candidates.
The cases are now at the Court of Appeal.

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target=_blank>PDP Accuses Ondo Deputy Governor Of Conniving With Ex-militants To Rig Elections

The Ondo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused Agboola Ajayi, the Deputy Governor of the state, of plotting to use ex-militants to manipulate the 2019 elections.
The party alleged that Ajayi held several meetings with the ex-agitators in the riverine areas of the state over plans to rig the elections in favour of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Banji Okunomo, the PDP Publicity Secretary in Ondo State, made the allegation in a statement issued in Akure, the state capital, on Thursday.
Okunomo claimed that part of the plans of the Deputy Governor was to use his position to block the ”bank accounts” of prominent leaders and candidates of the party.
The statement read: “Indications emerged yesterday that the Deputy Governor of Ondo State, Mr. Agboola Ajayi, is plotting all manners of unlawful devices to undermine the coming elections with rigging plots aimed at foisting unpopular candidates against the wishes of the good people of Ondo State.
“Also yesterday, the Deputy Governor (Agboola Ajayi) held a series of meeting with ex-militia groups in Ondo State particularly from the riverine areas of the state, seeking their support to hatch his illicit plans in contravention of the electoral laws.
“One of the ex-militants, who attended the meeting and pleaded anonymity, said they were promised to be assisted with compromised security personnel who will be on duty during the elections. The ex-militants were given N2million as inducement and they were asked to return for further tranches in the next few days.
“Other unlawful strategies include blocking the bank accounts of prominent leaders of PDP, blocking the campaign fund account of our party, wanton arrest and whisking away of PDP leaders to unknown destinations.”
The PDP spokesperson called on the international community and security agencies to beam searchlight on riverine areas of the state before the February 16 and March 2, 2019 elections. He also urged Rotimi Akeredolu, Governor of Ondo State, and the President to also call the Deputy Governor to order to forestall possible crisis that may surface during the polls.
However, Ajayi has denied the allegation, noting that PDP was merely looking for “a cheap way to explain its failure at the forthcoming elections”.
Speaking through Leke Akeredolu, his Chief Press Secretary, Ajayi said: “We would, however, like to make it clear to the whole world that the Deputy Governor, who is the Chairman of the Amnesty Programme in the state, met leaders of the ex-militants on Monday to resolve a misconception over their incorporation into the Federal Government amnesty programme.
“The said Monday meeting was not different from the previous meetings that government representatives have had with leaders of the ex-militants and the discussion centred basically on their inclusion into the amnesty programme, not elections matter.
“Mr. Ajayi only appealed to these ex-militants, who had been threatening to disrupt the elections in the riverine areas of the state, to sheathe their swords and be patient with the Federal Government. He told the aggrieved ex-militants that the Federal Government would soon begin training for them at the newly commissioned Oil and Gas Vocational Training Centre in Agadagba-Obona in Ese-Odo Area of Ondo State.
“Let it be known to the PDP that the Akeredolu government will not use militants to rig elections in the state, but count on its visible achievements across the state, which have been lauded by the masses, who are ready to cast their votes for APC to win the elections.”

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target=_blank>BREAKING: ASUU Suspends Strike But Warns Government It’s Not Yet Over

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its nationwide strike, and announced resumption of academic activities from Friday, February 8, 2019.
The strike began in November 2018, and was aimed at ensuring better funding for universities.
The decision to suspend the strike was reached after a meeting with the Nigerian government on Thursday.

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BREAKING: ASUU Reaches Agreement With Nigerian Government

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At the end of the meeting, an agreement was reached and a deal was signed.
ASUU, however, resolved to resume the strike if government backs out of the newly signed Memorandum of Action.

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target=_blank>IMN: Hoodlums Planning To Attack El-Zakzaky Amidst Security Agents And Kill All Of Them

The Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN), otherwise known as Shi’ia sect, has raised the alarm over a fresh plot to assassinate its leader, Sheikh Ibraheem El-Zakzaky, in detention.
IMN also debunked a media report that the movement had predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari would lose election in major parts of the North.
Abdullahi Muhammad Musa, Secretary of the Academic Forum of the movement, disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja at a press conference.
He explained that the movement got an intelligence report through a letter written by one Sanusi M. Galadima, Director of Internal Security, Office of National Security Adviser (NSA), addressed to the Inspector General of Police, on a planned attack by the group on detention facilities.
He said: “The public will please recall that on August 8, 2018, we received a report from an unidentified security agent, who exposed a plan by the Department of State Security Service to use hoodlums to kill Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) and his wife in the facility that they are being detained.
“According to the report, the hoodlums will attack Sheikh Zakzaky and all the soldiers and security agents escorting him to court or hospital and kill both the Sheikh and the security operatives.
“After the failure of the August 2018 plan, in January 2018, we received another report that the Office of the National Security Adviser is anchoring another plan to kill Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) in the facility that he is being detained, but this time around, they will blame it on the followers of Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H).”
Musa said the letter is aimed at changing the narratives by the government to kill their leader in disguise. He, however, told the international community to “hold President Muhammadu Buhari responsible if anything terrible happens to El-Zakzaky”.
“We will like to inform the public that the plan to attack detention facilities is the direct plan of the Tyrant Buhari-led administration and his security agents and anything that happens to Sheikh Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), we are going to squarely hold Tyrant Buhari and the National Security Adviser responsible,” he added.
On the report that IMN predicted that Buhari would lose in major parts of the North, he said the report was a “misrepresentation of the issues raised”, as he was quoted out of context.
He expressed the group’s determination that the group would continue with the protest to demand for the unconditional release of Ibraheem Zakzaky and his wife, Zinah.

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target=_blank>BREAKING: ASUU Reaches Agreement With Nigerian Government

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Nigerian government have reached an agreement towards ending the three-month-old industrial action of university teachers.
The consensus was reached after a meeting in Abuja on Thursday.
Present at the meeting were representatives of ASUU, Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, and other government officials.
Students had also besieged the Abuja venue of the meeting and threatened to embark  on a protest if the issues were not resolved.
At the end of the meeting on Thursday, an agreement was reached and a deal was signed.
Details later…

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LIVE: Vice Presidential Candidates Face Off At ‘The People’s Debate’

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