Renowned human rights activist and writer, Philip Agbese, has written President Muhammadu Buhari, on the lingering strike embarked on by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Recall that university lecturers have been on strike for over eight months in protest against the Federal Government’s preferred Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and wants UTAs instead.
Agbese, however, regretted that Nigerian students are losing an entire academic session, following the lingering strike by the university lecturers.
In an open letter entitled “ASUU and the need for our students to be back to campus,” Agbese pleaded with the Buhari Government to change its method of negotiation with ASUU by adopting a new approach and style to dismantle this imbroglio.
According to him, the government should broaden the scope of negotiations with ASUU, instead of its exclusive restriction to government negotiators.
He vowed to voluntarily lead negotiation with the striking union in view to finding a lasting panacea to the protracted impasse.
The letter reads below;
Your Excellency, Sir,
An Open Letter: ASUU and the need for our students to be back to campus.
Your Excellency Sir, warm greetings to you. I am obliged by these special circumstances to scribble this open letter to you on the prolonged industrial dispute between the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) led by your indefatigable personality and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). It is my ultimate prayer, this letter should meet you in the right frame of mind and at a time, its contents would assimilate to persuade your appropriate response.
Mr. President, I have unshakable faith in Nigeria, under your leadership. I am persuaded to pen this letter to you in order to share my little suggestions on the lingering feud between the Federal Government and ASUU over the nearly nine months strike for two reasons. First, it is for the sake of the prolonged break in the academic engagements of Nigerian students and the younger generation of Nigerians which you and posterity hold very dear, as father of our beloved country.
Your Excellency, secondly, I fear, the disheartening consequences of Nigerian students losing an entire academic session, if the ASUU strike is allowed to persist. Definitely, I commend the understanding and commitment of your administration to end the feud between ASUU and Government. The attempts at immediate resolution of some of the knotty issues raised by ASUU are commendable and appreciated. My excitement over your efforts is even more justified, if measured against the insensitivity of the previous Government which signed the agreement, but disappointingly reneged from serious commitment to its implementation over the years.
On the part of ASUU, I do not consider them as villains, or sabs of the education system in Nigeria; but academics and intellectuals only concerned with some structural improvements and other critical issues affecting the university system in Nigeria. The stretchy bickering by ASUU and its refusal to blink in spite of the genuine attempts by Government to resolve the issues is touchy to both parents and every Nigerian of good conscience.
Both from the bottom of my heart and millions of other Nigerians, we can vouch for your genuine mindset fixation with resolving all the issues raised by ASUU simultaneously. But subsisting economic constraints and challenges have frustrated your plans, as expected by the union. However, it is unambiguous to us, this Government of Nigeria as symbolized by your patriotic and focused leadership is dedicated to the development and prosperity of all categories of Nigerian youths.
Under your leadership, Government has variously articulated its fiscal challenges, like in this instant case, but, however, the obduracy of ASUU negotiators is also understandable. But I believe the current muscle flexing between ASUU and Government is based on the deceptive postures of the preceding administration tackling the issues of ASUU, which your administration has shown a laudably, remarkable difference.
Mr. President, I therefore, wish to suggest and plead that your Government change its method of negotiation with ASUU by adopting a new approach and style to dismantle this imbroglio. It is visible, the suspicious perception of deceit in current government negotiators by representatives of ASUU is motivated by previously violated official decisions on the ASUU agreement with Government before your administration birthed.
Your Excellency, Sir, it is my humble opinion that your Government should broaden the scope of negotiations with ASUU, instead of its exclusive restriction to Government negotiators. It is what ASUU reasons as the same conspiratorial cabal, ingenuous in dribbling them over the years.
Sir, let your Government take the bold decision by engaging other stakeholders outside the prism of government as part of the negotiators/mediators to resolve the ASUU crisis as quickly as possible. I am volunteering myself as a mediator under the banner of a human rights activist and respected member of the Nigerian populace. And there are a dozen of such organizations and individuals known to Government for this sensitive task. I would appreciate, if Mr. President does the needful to bring Nigerian students back to campuses.
Our dear respected Leader, we consider you a wholly made in Nigeria President that believes in our youths and the future of our students. I repeat again that Mr. President, you mean well for Nigeria and will continue to do so for the immediate development and future prosperity of the country. Let’s put all hands-on -deck to get the strike to an end immediately, Sir.
Nigeria Immigration Service Places Embargo on Capturing, Issuance of Passports
The Nigeria Immigration Service has placed an embargo on capturing and issuance of passports to applicants from today May 18th till the end of May 2021.
The Comptroller General of Immigration, Muhammed Babandede made the announcement on Tuesday during a press briefing in Abuja.
He said the decision is to enable the service to clear its backlog, noting that it will no longer collect fresh applications until the backlogs are cleared.
This means that all passports in control offices are closed for applicants from today till May 31st and payments for passports will be online when the portal is opened which will be June.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola had earlier given a six weeks timeline for passport collection.
He said this will be six weeks which is meant to allow for enough time to investigate, verify and validate personal information supplied by the applicants.
“What we are driving at is the peace of mind that comes from the assurance of certainty. If there are circumstances that will make the date to change, it will be communicated to the applicant one week before the collection date”.
He noted that applicants will have no basis for further communication with officers, other than to complete their application process and leave the venue. The date for the collection of their passports or any challenge to the application will be communicated to them.
“The technology for the efficient running of this system has been acquired and will be deployed.
“We are publishing on our website the list of the backlog of passports that are ready which are yet to be collected by the owners. They will be required to go to the state commands to collect them.
“With these changes, it is my firm belief that we will arrive at a new dawn in passport application processing”, the minister added.
Below is the breakdown of the current backlog
Local: 71, 644
Foreign : 17,906
NLC President Dares El-Rufai, Leads Protesters to Kaduna Govt House
The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, is currently leading union members to the Kaduna State Government House.
This is after Governor Nasir El-Rufai declared the labour leader and others wanted for “economic sabotage” and attack on public infrastructure.
Large crowd, led by Wabba, is marching through Waff road in Kaduna and heading towards the government house.
Gov Obiano Imposes Curfew on 2 Warring Anambra Communities
Gov. Willie Obiano has imposed a 7am to 6am curfew on Omor and Anaku communities in Ayamelum Local Government Area of the state.
This is contained in a statement issued by Prof. Solo Chukwulobelu, Secretary to the State Government.
The state government said the curfew is untill further notice.
”The curfew begins on Monday. Residents of the two communities should obey the order as security personnel are on strict orders to enforce the curfew directives.
”The government has lifted the curfew imposed on Igbariam, Aguleri, Umueri, Nteje, Awkuzu and Umunya communities on April 26, following the return of normalcy in the areas,” the government said.
It was reported that on Sunday, a violent clash broke out between residents of Anaku and Omor Communities.
The police says three persons have been confirmed dead in a clash between Omor and Anaku communities in Anyamelum Local Government Area of the state.
DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, Police Public Relations Officer in Anambra, told NAN in Awka on Sunday that normalcy has since been restored in the area.
Ikenga said that Mr Chris Owolabi, Commissioner of Police in the state, personally led a team of operatives to quell the crisis between the neighbouring communities.He said that the command is still gathering information on the extent of damage while assuring that efforts were on to avoid deterioration of the situation and ensure lasting peace.
“Normalcy has been restored in the area and our men are still on ground to ensure safety of life and property. So far, we have recovered three bodies which have been deposited at the morgue.
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