ASUU Strike: Ganduje Calls For End To Crisis, As NLC, CSOs Visit Him

As governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje of Kano state received state leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), who were at the Government House, Tuesday, protesting in solidarity to the cause of the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), he lamented that the crisis must be resolved to save the system.

“This crisis must be resolved to help save the system. We don’t want system collapse in this country at all,” he said.

He assured that, the striking University lecturers are in the strike action “… to save the system from collapsing.”

While lamenting the plight of students across the country, for being idle all this while, he reveals that, “Myself and my colleagues from all the 36 states, irrespective of our party differences are concerned about the prolonged strike action and we will put our heads together to bring an end to the crisis.”

The Chairman of the Kano branch of NLC Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir commended governor Ganduje for not joining others in no work no pay resolution against University lecturers.

“We really appreciate the state government under your able leadership, the people’s governor Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje for your magnanimous approach in not stopping the salary of the teachers of two state universities. This shows you are education-friendly governor,” Comrade Minjibir appreciated.

Others in the peaceful protest, were ASUU members, students’ bodies, civil society groups, youth organisations, human rights activists, among others.

Bauchi Tertiary Institutions’ Lecturers, Staff Embark On Two Weeks Warning Strike

The Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Academic and Non-Academic Staff Unions Bauchi State Tertiary institutions has declared a 14-day warning strike.

The industrial action takes effect from Wednesday, 19th to Sunday, 30th July 2022 in order to draw the attention of the Government to the legitimate demands of its members.

The Chairman and Secretary General of the association in a joint statement in Bauchi Friday said the move becomes necessary considering the magnitude of the issues bedvedling their memebers amid continuous government silence.

The union leaders demanded that all its members with outstanding salaries should be paid immediately, calling for immediate resumption of promotion implementation and annual increment which were abruptly stopped without any official communication since the inception of the Sen Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir-led PDP government.

“We need to be engaged at all levels for necessary inputs for betterment and security of our members’ rights.

“We are watching with keen interest and hoping that other entitlements that go with it are also included, such as the annual increments.

“It is with a deep sense of responsibility, trust and burden bestowed on us by our respective congresses that we convened this meeting.

“The journey so far has been so long. Forces and life challenges have been so unimaginably unpredictable. JAC, in its cause of seeking justice, has interacted with the office of the Head of Civil Service, the Accountant General, the Commissioner of Education, Council Chairmen, and various stakeholders in the State.

“We appreciate their numerous audiences and genuine attempts to address our perennial and seriously disturbing problems. Equally of note is the laudable effort of His Excellency, Sen. Abdulkadir Bala Mohammed, Executive Governor of Bauchi State, in trying to clean and have a robust payroll payment system for the State”.

“JAC has equally written to the Government, series of letters, containing details of its problems/ demands/anomalies and consequences but without tangible result.

“Therefore, on 30th May 2022, JAC finally wrote a letter to His Excellency Sen. Abdulkadir Bala Mohammed, Executive Governor of Bauchi State, urging him to intervene in our plight. In our letter to His Excellency, we issued a one-month ultimatum for the Government to address these demands”, the statement read in parts.

According to him, “Based on these and some other issues mentioned above, JAC held a meeting and resolved to convey this information to the Government for possible positive development.”


Christian/Muslim clerics reject Society of Nigerian Broadcasters Bill

The College of Bishops, Imams and Clergy Councils has unanimously rejected the Society of Nigerian Broadcasters Bill, which is currently before the National Assembly.

The bill when passed into law aims to duplicate the functions of the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Convener of the group, Abel Kings, at a news conference in Abuja, said the group is ready to address issues that may prompt sentiments and are at variance with nation building.

He condemned the recent action of the former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Professor Tony Iredia, calling for self-regulation of the media in Nigeria.

“Iredia’s call is meant to give impetus to the bill to establish the so-called Society of Nigerian Broadcasters (SNB) before the National Assembly. However, Iredia’s position, like the bill he seeks to support, is fraught with dangers, which makes such a piece of legislation not to be contemplated at all, tendered for consideration, or even allowed to see the light of the day.  

“The Society of Nigerian Broadcasters bill is based on a faulty logic, that is, self-regulation in an industry where professionalism is completely lacking or totally absent. It is a bill which attempts to undo the role of the National Broadcasting Commission as an independent government agency responsible for regulating, monitoring and sanctioning erring violators of acceptable media ethical and professional codes.

“In the history of broadcast in Nigeria, broadcast practitioners come from journalism, mass communication, English, Linguistics, Sociology, Political Science, Estate Management, among other courses offered in the universities or polytechnics. Most of these courses have nothing to do with broadcast or media practice.

“Self-regulation, that is, entrusting the regulation of activities and conduct of members of the media in the hands of the society of broadcasters might look attractive or even desirable. However, in using the long practice established for doctors, lawyers, nurses, engineers, among other professional bodies, it might be rightly argued that broadcasters or media practitioners in Nigeria should not be allowed to self-regulate their own activities and conduct of their members,” stated.


Eid-El-Kabir: HOD celebrates with students in Bauchi, shares sallah meat

By Victor Habila, Bauchi

As parts of his efforts towards promoting peace and encouraging oneness, the Head of Mass Communication deparment, Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, Mal. Bello Madaki Beli, has hosted some students to mark this year’s sallah celebration.

Beli invited the students to join him in felicitations by partaking in the little Sallah Meat he provided for them, saying it’s a way of showing appreciation to the Almighty Allah for seeing the day.

He said the little he has given to his students is a form of exchanging gestures and he expects the students to also emulate the same in their respective neighborhood.

The HOD further noted that Mass Communication deparment is a one big family, hence the need for the love to keep growing.

Speaking on behalf of the students, the President of Mass Communication Students Association (MACOSA), Comr. Alex George, expressed gratitude to the Head of Department for such an inspirational gesture by hosting the students and sharing sallah meat.

While extending his regards, the MACOSA President charged the students to also emulate that spirit of oneness and unity as exercised by the HOD, whom he described as a father to all and a great mentor to the entire Mass Communication students.

FG meets IPMAN, MOMAN, fuel price hike imminent

The Federal Government on Wednesday said it was currently engaging oil marketers on issues bordering on the cost of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, fuel queues, bridging claims payment, among others in the downstream oil sector.

It was reliably gathered in Abuja that the meeting might lead to an upward adjustment in the pump price of petrol, as oil marketers had repeatedly blamed the persistent fuel queues in various parts of Nigeria on the unsustainable cost of PMS.

This came as the Major Oil Marketers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday joined their counterparts in the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria and the Natural Oil and Gas Suppliers Association to call on the government to gradually raise the price of PMS.

IPMAN and NOGASA had earlier pushed for the upward review of petrol price, as some members of IPMAN had already effected this by selling above the N165/litre government approved price.

Some of them currently dispense petrol at N180/litre and above in many states including Abuja, Lagos, Ogun, Imo, Niger, among others.

When informed on Wednesday about the demands of the various marketers groups, the General Manager, Corporate Communications Department, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Regulatory Authority, Kimchi Apollo, told our correspondent that the government was currently engaging the oil dealers.

“We are meeting them now on the various concerns, so don’t worry. By tomorrow you will know what is the outcome,” he stated.

Apollo added, “The NMDPRA is engaging them in a meeting that is ongoing, so I’ll let you know the outcome. Hopefully by tomorrow you will know the outcome of the meeting.”

Asked if the meeting was being held with just MOMAN or all oil marketers, the NMDPRA spokesperson replied, “We cannot engage only MOMAN, we are engaging all of them. We are engaging them so don’t worry. You will know the outcome later.”

The sole importer of petrol into Nigeria – the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, however, insisted that it was not a regulator of oil prices and would not comment on whether the cost of petroleum products would be raised on reduced soon.

“If you can call Shell and ask them for comments on petroleum products’ prices, then you can call us (NNPC) and ask us for such comments,” a senior official at the oil firm, who pleaded not to be named due to lack of authorisation, stated.

The source added, “We don’t have any kind of regulatory function in the sector, we are just operators now. It is the government that manages that. And based on the Petroleum Industry Act, we are no longer an appendage of government.

“The company is owned by Nigerians and the government is holding it in trust, but we don’t have any governmental role in terms of pricing, control or whatever. Although we are mandated to be the supplier of energy security, we are not a regulatory body.

“So we don’t control the price, we don’t regulate price, we have no control over any of those, as well as other similar issues.”

But the Secretary, Abuja-Suleja IPMAN, Mohammed Shuaibu, whose unit covers Abuja, Kogi, Niger and parts of Nasarawa and Kaduna, stated that though the association had informed the government about the issues in the sector, he was unaware of the meeting by the NMDPRA.

He reiterated that the cost of petrol was unsustainable at N165/litre, stressing that some filling stations in Abuja were currently dispensing the product at N185/litre, as they now purchased the commodity above N168/litre from depots.

Shuaibu also noted that the indebtedness of the government to marketers with respect to bridging claims must be settled, otherwise the strike by IPMAN members would hold soon.

“The cost of petrol at N165/litre is not sustainable. Bridging claims need to be settled and these are issues that should be addressed to avert the impending strike,” he stated.

These concerns came as the scarcity of petrol continued in Abuja and neighbouring Nasarawa and Niger states on Wednesday, as some filling stations shut their doors to customers, citing lack of products to dispense.

Oil marketers called for gradual phasing out of fuel subsidy instead of a total deregulation following the current product scarcity being experienced across the globe.

The Chairman, MOMAN, Olumide Adeosun, made the call during a briefing with journalists on Wednesday.

According to him, the impact of the Russian/Ukraine war on businesses is “immense”, hence, the call on the federal government to gradually phase out subsidy to avoid “shock”.

“The effect of the Russian/Ukraine war cannot be compared to what we experienced during the covid. What we are seeing is that countries are beginning to close borders against importers and products are being reserved for their own citizens alone. So Nigeria is also being shut out,” he said.

Speaking further, Adeosun said the Nigerian government has ran the subsidy regime for too long, adding that the huge fund reserved for subsidy should be diverted into growing other sectors such as Agriculture, health, education and others.

“The Federal Government has allowed subsidy for too long and we haven’t saved for the raining days. The subsidy keeps increasing to the tune of N4 trillion. Such money would have been invested into Agriculture, health, education and others”

The MOMAN chairman further said selling petrol at N165 per litre is no longer sustainable due to the rising costs of diesel.

Findings showed that price of diesel had increased from N266/litre in October 2021 to above N800/litre currently.

“MOMAN is not short of empathy for Nigerians at this time. The association is pro-business, pro-progress and pro-human.

“We, therefore, stand for phased deregulation of the downstream sector because we don’t want subsidy to be removed all of a sudden in order not to throw the masses into shock. We can no longer sell petrol at N165 because diesel is what we use in our operations. We use diesel to power our trucks, run our stations and depots, and as we all know, price of diesel keeps rising.

“The options we have now is to either save our businesses by shutting it down, or that the government should allow a gradual phasing out of subsidy by allowing price increase gradually.

“It is better to have products at a slightly increased price than not have products at all. The money for subsidy should be injected into another sector. No government can make the current crisis go away because it is a global one, and we all have to adjust,” he said.

Also recently, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, described the controversial subsidy regime as “a criminal enterprise.”

A source in the know had told The PUNCH that oil marketers and the, Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority also known as The Authority, had last week, secretly agreed to slightly increase price from N165/litre to between N175-N180/ltr.

Just retired Group Chairman/CEO of International Energy Services Limited, and a PhD holder in Petroleum Process Economics from the University of Ibadan, Dr. Diran Fawibe, said the fuel supply crisis had become like a Pandora’s box which had defiled all solutions.

The Chief Executive Officer of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, and former Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, Muda Yusuf, told The PUNCH that the current price is not sustainable.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Gas Association has called on the Federal Government to clear the legacy gas supply debts in the power sector, describing it as an impediment to progress.

The President of the association, Ed Ubong, made the call in a press statement sent to The PUNCH on Wednesday.

According to Ubong, as soon as the government cleared the backlog of debts, only then could it hold private stakeholders accountable for promises made to bolster the sector with more gas supply.

Ubong noted that while members of NGA in tandem with the government were seeking innovative solutions for the sector, end-users also needed to adopt gas as a viable and clean source of energy during the decade of gas.

He further asked the government to institutionalise gas-powered generator usage for federal and private parastatals that use generators of more than 250KVA capacity.

Meanwhile, fuel marketers in Kano on Wednesday arbitrarily hiked their prices from the regulated price of N165 per litre to between N200 and N220 at different outlets in the metropolitan city.

Prior to the development, motorists in the city had been experiencing fuel shortages at filling stations, which had lingered for the past two months.

Our correspondent visited some filling stations on Wednesday and discovered that some outlets on Airport road, as well Paniso and Bompai areas had commenced the sale of petrol to motorists at prices ranging from N200 and N220.

However, at A.A Rano filling station, on Bompai road by Central Hotel roundabout and Aliko petrol station, at Paniso by Jaba, the product was sold for N185 per litre.

During a chat with a fuel attendant at A. A. Rano, who declined to have his name in print, it was confirmed to our correspondent that the price was hiked since Tuesday.

Also, at Amkar petrol station on Airport road, the product sold for N220 per litre. The attendant at this filling station said the price increased to N220 last week.

A motorist interviewed at Amkar petrol station on Airport road, Ibrahim Baba, decried the hike, stressing that the government had insisted that the price would be pegged at N165 per litre.

“It is so sad that I can only afford 15 litres of fuel at this price of N220 and surprisingly the NNPC has been advising motorists against engaging in panic buying and that the price remains N165 per litre,” he said.


FG, IFAD, VCDP distribute farm inputs to Enugu rural farmers

Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in collaboration with the assisted Value Chain Development Programme (VCDP) has distributed cassava and rice inputs to 1,495 farmers in Enugu state.

The 2022 wet season input distribution was flagged-off at Enugu East local government area.

In his welcome address, Dr Chyka Unamma, the Agricultural Production Adviser, IFAD-VCDP, said the rural farmers were duly registered and profiled.

Unamma, who represented the National Programme Coordinator, IFAD-VCDP, Dr Fatima Aliyu, said the programme provided improved inputs for food sufficiency.

“We do not aim at providing improved inputs alone but ensure it reached the final end of targeted 1,495 farmers with 208 hectares of farmland in the state.

“IFAD-VCDP get land, develop them, give it to farmers and any land we developed will be given to farmers for 10 years programme,” he said.

Dr Edward Isiwu, the state coordinator of VCDP, said the inputs given to the farmers were improved ones from a satisfied institute.

“The cassava inputs are improved ones, known as TMA 419 from the National Roots Research Institute, Umudike, Umuahia.

“Here we have, rice, fertilizer and agro chemicals. We have prepared 30 hectares of farmland in Enugu east for the farmers.

“We are also preparing another 30 hectares at Udenu for the famers from that local government area,” he said.


Journalist quits job to support Peter Obi’s presidential bid

A journalist with Silverbird Television, Favour Bassey Otu, has resigned her job to support presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), in the 2023 general election, Peter Obi.

The broadcast journalist made the announcement on her Twitter page on Saturday.

Otu said she made the decision to quit her job and support Obi because she is not allowed to be partisan due to the nature of her work.

“They said a journalist must be non-partisan (unbiased and fair). So, I resigned my position with Silverbird TV to throw my full support on Peter Obi,” she said.

After the elections next year, I’ll apply for a media job maybe with Channels TV or ARISE TV or start up my business.

“We must get it right. Please this is not a campaign.”


Yobe North: Lawan Loses Out as INEC Affirms Machina

Yobe North 2023: Lawan Loses Out as INEC Recognises Machina The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has affirmed Bashir Machina as the winner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election for the Yobe North Senatorial District.

A certified true copy of the Commission’s report from the May 28, 2022, election showed Machina scored 289 votes out of 300 delegates, corroborating the politician’s public claim that he won the primary and legally emerged candidate.

The document, certified by the electoral body on June 23, 2022, did not mention Ahmad Lawan, the Senate President who has been labouring to steal Machina’s mandate in collusion with the party’s national chairman Abdullahi Adamu.

Adamu had listed Lawan as the candidate of the APC for the Yobe North 2023 senatorial election, claiming that a primary held in which Lawan purportedly emerged winner.

Even though Machina has been certified winner by the electoral office, he still expects additional fights ahead when INEC will post candidates standing for election across different political parties in the coming weeks.

INEC had said it lacked the powers to pick a candidate in an election, even though its authentication was necessary to certify that an election held.

Lawan started making attempts to seize the ticket from Machina after losing at the ruling party’s presidential primary, which was won handily by Bola Tinubu on June 8.

Don’t Lose Sleep over Muslim-Muslim Ticket, Chose Alternative Party – CAN Urges Christians in Kaduna

Ahead of the 2023 general elections in Nigeria, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Kaduna State Chapter has said that parties attempting to field same faith tickets will not make them lose sleep.

Rev. Joseph Hayab, the state CAN Chairman, on Thursday urged Christians not to lose sleep over one political party’s decision to run a Muslim-Muslim ticket when there are several other parties that have interest of other faith at heart.

“Why would anyone worry about Muslim-Muslim ticket when there are several options and there are even Christian candidates in some political parties.

“Tell Christians that CAN says when we have more than 10 political parties, why should we be bothered about the choice of one party,” he said.

Although he rubbished the idea of a Muslim-Muslim ticket by the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, he explained that there is need for political parties to be sensitive.

“The constitution says leadership in Nigeria should reflect federal character to promote unity.

“Perhaps it is the Christians in that party that are incompetent. They may have shown that they do not have capacity to mobilize support for the party.

“If anybody is to protest, then let the Christians in that political party come forward to complain because they are the people that their party is insulting not the entire Christian faithful.

“Those who think they don’t need us, there is no problem.

“Those who used to argue about 1993 or any previous election should know that times have changed,” he warned.

Reverend Hayab said that, “What I will tell Christians in Kaduna State is that there are several political parties, if one says he doesn’t need you, go fo another.

“People go to restaurants to only eat the food that will not cause their body problem. There are different choices of food. You may choose to eat white rice, jollof rice or rice and beans,” he said.

Kaduna Targets N112b Revenue in 3years

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

Kaduna State Government is expected to generate over One Hundred and Twelve Billion Naira (N112b) in the next three years according to state official.

This was disclosed on Tuesday during the presentation of the state Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), to Civil Society Organizations and the Media by the state Planning and Budget Commission.

According to a presentation made by the Director Budget of the Commission, Idris Suleman, a the state hope to generate a total of N112,042,723,771.00 by 2023, 2024 and 2025 from both Statutory Allocation (SA), Value Added Tax (VAT) and Internally Generated Revenue (IGR).

He said the total revenue projection for 2022 is over N97b (97,576,096,856.00), with over N41b from IGR, N13b from VAT and N42b from Statutory Allocation.

For 2023, he said the projection is N61b, N15b and N45b for IGR, VAT as well as SA. N36b, N17b, N60b for both IGR, VAT and SA, while N40b N19b N52b is expected to be generated from the three revenue sources respectively in 2025.

MTEF is an annual, three-year expenditure planning that sets out the medium term priorities and hard budget constraints against which sector plans can be developed. The document indicates fiscal targets, fiscal risks, estimates of revenues and expenditures including government financial obligations.

Idris, explained that the purpose of the MTEF is three-fold, which includes; “to provide a backwards looking summary of key economic and fiscal trends that will affect the Public expenditure in the future, i.e. Economic and Fiscal Update.

“To set out medium term fiscal objectives and targets, including tax policy; revenue mobilisation; level of Public expenditure; deficit financing and Public debt, i.e. Fiscal Strategy Paper and Medium Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) and to provide indicative sector envelopes for the period under review which constitutes the Medium-Term Budget Framework (MTBF).”

According to him, “Statutory Allocation’s forecast is based on elasticity of non-mineral revenue (Custom and Excise Duty & Company Income Tax) using historical data from 2013 to 2020 and forecast for the period of 2022 – 2024 using GDP growth rate and inflation.

“Mineral revenues are based on the benchmarks and the current proportion of crude oil sales proceeds that are converted into fiscal resources. The budgeted figures for Statutory Allocation do not include any excess crude or other Federation Account receipts. It has taken into cognisance the 0.005% deduction of Police Trust Fund from both the Mineral and Non-Mineral Revenue.

“The estimate for VAT is based on elasticity using 2013-2020 actuals and 2022-2024 real GDP growth and inflation . Historical elasticities are calculated for the period 2013-2020. The 2020 Finance Bill increasing VAT from 5% to 7.5% and an additional 3% deduction from VAT for Northeast Development Company is recognised.

“There are no provisions for revenue from excess crude because Excess Crude is a kind of stabilization fund that is distributed at discretion to the Federal Government and States or when the economy needs to be supported to cushion the effect of recession or economic down-turn. This makes it not reasonable to budget or forecast excess crude.

“The actual IGR collections for 2020 was used to project for 2022 to 2024. The State’s IGR has grown by more than 200% since 2015. The State recorded an increase of 11.5% in its 2020 IGR as compared with 2019 actual collections. This came even with the Covid-19 imposed lockdowns in the State. The State has continually outperformed its budget figures of IGR in recent years. This is mainly due to the political will of the government to increase IGR over time and be independent of Statutory Allocation in the long run.”

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Commission, Bashir Muhammed, commended the CSOs, Media and donor partners for always engaging with the Commission, which he said has made the entire budget process better.

On his part, State Team Lead, Partner to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), Abel Adejor, called on citizens not to get tired of engaging with the budget process, adding that every stakeholders have a role to play in making the state a better place.