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ASUU Strike: Ngige Begs Varsity Teacher to Have Mercy on Students

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Labour & Employment Minister Chris Ngige has pleaded with striking varsity teachers to show mercy on students by calling off their strike.

The teachers, under auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), began a nationwide strike since November, last year, over some disagreement between the union and the Federal Government.

Ngige also declared that Federal Government would pay a minimum wage, adding that things were being worked out by the Committee saddled with that responsibility.

Ngige spoke yesterday in Awka, Anambra State capital, in a chat with reporters at the premises of a local radio station, belonging to the state.

The Federal Government and Labour representatives adjourned their meeting till today after a five-hour deliberation last Friday. At the end of the meeting, the minister said substantial progress was made and that all that is left is a final resolution. Ngige said the problems of ASUU were not caused by President Muhammadu Buhari, but were bequeathed to the present administration by the previous governments based on agreements reached in 2009.

He said: “FG will comfortably pay minimum wage, we want to pay it, but there must be balancing because figures were bandied and we are asking Labour to exercise patience.

“I appeal to ASUU and Labour to have mercy on students and be patient. As far as I’m concerned, we have treated Labour well. And they should also know I’m a comrade and that is why I always intervened on matters that concern them.”

Ngige, who narrated how he became Anambra governor in 2003, said some of the things being faced in governance today were same problems that he confronted, yet, he paid salaries and piled pensions without borrowing.

The minister said he was made governor under compulsion, and such made him to stand his ground when the hurricane invaded Anambra State then, adding that the rest was now history.

Ngige said: “What Buhari is doing now is what I did in office as governor in Anambra, which was mainly my offence that brought the problems. So, Buhari is not the architect of salary issue in Nigeria.”

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Shoprite Initiates Process To Exit Nigeria

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One of Africa’s largest supermarket chains, Shoprite, has begun a formal process to exit Nigeria.

In a trading update published on Monday, the South African-based company said the decision was made after “approaches from various potential investors, and in line with our re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria.”

The company said when it reports its results for the year, its business in Nigeria “may be classified as a discontinued operation.”

The company’s Nigerian business posted a -6.3% decline in sales for the year ending June 2020, according to its Monday update.

The company entered the Nigerian market in 2005 and its exit continues a trend of South African retail business struggling in Africa’s most populated nation.

Mr Price, another South African retailer, announced plans to close its Nigerian business in June.

In 2014, South African retailer, Woolworths, also pulled the plug on its Nigerian operation, citing high rents and duties, as well as marketing difficulties.

In 2012, Shoprite announced plans to spend up to $205 million on securing new locations in Nigeria.

The supermarket chain went on to spread its tentacles across most of Nigeria’s largest cities.

In 2015, the Nigerian economy suffered a recession, severely affecting consumer spending power and foreign exchange reserves.

In 2019, Shoprite stores were attacked in Lagos as part of reprisal actions for xenophobic-induced attacks against Nigerians in South Africa.

Shoprite’s expected closure in Nigeria comes amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced economies across the world into a slump and devasted entire industries.

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Gov. Ikpeazu Sacks Commissioner, Suspends Chairmen

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Abia Governor Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has sacked Commissioner of Transport Barr. Ekele Nwaohammuo.

A statement by Chief of Staff to the Governor Dr. Anthony Agbazuere on Sunday said the Transition Committee Chairmen for Aba North Victor Ubani; Aba South Cherechi Wogu and Ibe Local Government Areas, Umunnoechi Mathew have also been suspended.

The Governor also sacked General Manager of Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS), Mr. Bright Ikeokwu.

No reason was however given for the sacks.

The statement reads: “The Governor of Abia State, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D has approved the immediate suspension of the following

  1. The General Manager of Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS).
  2. The Transition Committee Chairman of Aba South Local Government Area.
  3. The Transition Committee Chairman of Aba North Local Government Area.

“The Governor has also relieved the Commissioner of Transport, Barr. Ekele Nwaohammuo of his appointment as Honourable Commissioner.

“The Transition Committee Chairman of Umuneochi LGA, Engr. Mathew Ibe has equally been relieved of his appointment.

The Governor, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu, Ph.D has also approved the appointment of the following as Commissioner Nominees;

  1. Tony Nwanmuo
  2. Godswill Nwonoruo

“The Governor has also approved the appointment of Barr. Ezechikamnayo as Transition Committee Chairman Nominee for Umuneochi Local Government Area.

“The Deputy Chairmen of the affected Local Government Areas are to take over and together with their Heads of Service immediately set up a taskforce to check environmental indiscipline and other vices.

“TIMASS taskforce is also to be set up to further check these excesses.”

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Taraba Only State In Nigeria Yet To Report Death From COVID-19 – NCDC

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Despite the rising number of COVID-19 infections in Nigeria with 883 deaths, Taraba is the only state in the country yet to record a single fatality from the virus.

Data from the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as of Saturday, August 1st, 2020, indicated that the West Africa country’s COVID-19 infections now stand at 43, 537 with 20,087 recoveries.

Taraba, so far, have 54 cases of the virus, out of which 11 have been discharged, 43 persons on admission but no death reported.

Nigeria’s COVID-19 epicentre, Lagos has reported 192 deaths from 15,043 cases, the highest number of fatality in the country.

All Clear? 

On May 17th, Taraba state discharged all 17 active cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) receiving treatment after they tested negative twice.

Governor Darius Ishaku confirmed this to reporters when he inspected a 100-bed space capacity isolation centre at the NYSC orientation camp in Sibre in Ardo-Kola Local Government Area (LGA) of the state.

No Testing Centre

The governor had also lamented the lack of a COVID-19 testing centre in the state, calling on the Federal Government to set up at least one testing centre in the area.

Although a lockdown was imposed on the state to curtail the spread of COVID-19, the government suspended the restriction of movement for residents for the Local Government Council elections held on June 30.

Return To Class

On Thursday and in line with the Federal Government’s directive, the Taraba government asked graduating students in secondary schools in the state to resume on August 4.

It explained that this was to enable the students revise for the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE), conducted by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC).

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