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Business

ASUU threatens to resume suspended strike as FG reneges on agreement

ASUU has threatened to resume its suspended strike due to non-payment of salaries and alleged victimisation of its members.

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has threatened to resume its suspended strike again due to non-payment of salaries and alleged victimisation of its members.

This is coming against the backdrop of an earlier agreement with the Federal Government team before the suspension of the 9 months strike on December 23, 2020.

According to a report by Punch, this disclosure was contained in a statement issued by the Chairman, University of Ibadan branch of ASUU, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, on Sunday, March 14, 2021.

While asked Nigerians to blame the Federal Government if universities are shut down again, Akinwole said that many lecturers are still being owed salaries of between 2 and 12 months despite the agreement with the government.

READ: FG accuses ASUU of refusing to reciprocate its offers

What the ASUU Chairman, University of Ibadan branch is saying

Akinwole pointed out that over 100 lecturers were yet to receive payments for the 2 months at the University of Ibadan with lecturers in some universities not receiving any payment since February 2020.

The ASUU chairman said, “While ASUU as a union and her members as individuals in various branches have remained faithful to this agreement by returning to classes and performing their respective duties, the Federal Government, true to type, has reneged on its part.

“Contrary to FGN affirmation of its commitment to pay all withheld salaries of ASUU members who have not enrolled in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information system (IPPIS), three months after the suspension of Strike, thousands of ASUU members across various branch are still being owed salaries.

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READ ALSO: NNPC releases audited financial statements, refineries record losses of N154 billion

 “Instead of deploying the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software developed by ASUU, which has been adjudged effective for payment of salaries, some of our members are still being denied their salaries and others are being coerced by agents of the government to register on the repressive IPPIS for payment of salaries.

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“The Union ASUU and her members are made to suffer from all the aforementioned attacks by the federal government while the public expects our members, some of who now live on the charity of family members and colleagues for survival to use their personal resources to discharge their duties diligently in the universities.

READ: ASUU: FG moves to register a rival union

“These harsh conditions would have terrible consequences on public tertiary education in Nigeria and when push eventually comes to shove, as it definitely will in no distant future, the Nigerian public should accordingly blame the Federal Government for its insincerity.

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“Blame the federal government of Nigeria if the universities are shut down again.”

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that ASUU embarked on the strike action in March 2020, following its disagreement with the Federal Government over the funding of the universities and implementation of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), which according to the union, negates the autonomy policy for the universities.
  • ASUU had called off its 9-month old strike after the Federal Government agreed to some of its conditions which includes the deployment of University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) software for payment of its salaries and allowances.
  • However, report suggests that after 2 weeks of the conditional suspension of the strike embarked upon by ASUU, the Federal Government allegedly flouted the agreements, which includes the payment of the lecturers 6 months salaries, including December 2020 salaries, owed lecturers.

Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Business

FG gives completion date for Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki road project

The government said the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway will be completed within 9 to 10 months.

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AfDB's Akinwumi Adesina and Ekiti State Governor Kayode Fayemi, AfDB to support Ekiti State road and airport upgrade

The Federal Government has given a timeline for the completion of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonsoki expressway project.

The government said the reconstruction/rehabilitation of the expressway which was inaugurated by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2018, to resolve the Apapa traffic gridlock, will be completed within 9 to 10 months.

This disclosure was made by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, during a joint inspection with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on Saturday, April 17, 2021.

He assured that section one of the project would be completed within 3 weeks and thereafter opened for use.

Popoola said that the rehabilitation works, which had been divided into four sections to ease port congestion and gridlock at the Apapa axis, have section one which spans from Liverpool Round through Creek Road to Beachland near Sunrise and is about 10 km, while section two is 8.4 km and spans from Beachland to Cele Bus Stop.

Briefing the press after the inspection that also had in attendance the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Usman, and the Hitech Construction Company, the subcontractor handling the project on behalf of the Dangote Group, Popoola said that grey areas such as accessibility due to trucks infringing on construction zone and disagreements on the pace of construction had been resolved.

What the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos is saying

Popoola said that the inspection gave the NPA team the opportunity to see for themselves that the contractor had been working progressively.

He said, “And this section that we are is the end of section one which we have completed. We will complete the remaining portion within the next three weeks, especially the asphalt work.

So within that three weeks, the outstanding works will be completed fully and then the section one will be made available to the motorists.

We (FMW) also complained about the trucks that are infiltrating the road while we are working. We have told them (NPA) that we cannot allow trucks to flock onto the section where we are working because they will disturb the contractor.

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So the trucks will now be monitored and controlled fully. Both the NPA security, the Nigerian Police, LASTMA and then the contractor’s representative will form a synergy to work out how they will be controlling the trucks that enter into the port road henceforth,’’ Popoola said.

He said the contractor is expected to move to site to start the construction works on section two of the project based on agreement adding that work on sections three and four had reached an advanced stage, with over 70% completion reached cumulatively.

Popoola said that the entire project would be completed and handed over within the next nine to 10 months, including section two which had just been awarded.

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The NPA Managing Director said that agreements were reached on timelines for construction works in order not to disrupt port operations with resolutions that the contractor worked during the weekends and on public holidays to ease congestion.

She said it was resolved that a corridor would be opened for trucks movement in addition to palliative works on some roads and another inspection in three weeks on section one.

The contract was awarded to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd at the cost of N73bn under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that the Federal Government had earlier in the year said that the first phase of the Apapa-Oshodi-Ojota-Oworonshoki project, which has faced several delays, would be delivered in April 2021.
  • The government said that sections one, three and four of the project which was awarded to AG Dangote Construction Company Ltd at the cost of N73bn under the Tax Credit Scheme of the Federal Government, were almost ready and would be completed in April.
  • They had also said that section two of the project which spans from Beach Land bus stop area to Cele Bus Stop which was recently awarded would also be completed in December 2021.

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Business

USSD N42 billion debt: Telcos insist banks have to pay, seek CBN, NCC intervention

Telcos in Nigeria have called for the intervention of the CBN and NCC as they insist that banks have to pay the N42 billion debt for the USSD services.

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Bank CEOs, NCC, CBN to meet over USSD charges

Telecommunications companies have insisted that the banks have to pay the N42 billion debt for the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) and called for the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) over the dispute.

This follows the accumulation of the debt to the mobile network operators over a period of about 1 year for services rendered to the deposit money banks.

According to a report from Punch, this was made known by the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, who said that this has become a moral burden on the banks.

What the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria is saying

Adebayo, in his statement, said, “The over N42bn debt remains outstanding and the banks have to pay the telcos. It has become a moral obligation because the banks used the services, debited their customer accounts and now not paying the telcos.

Who do they expect to pay and what were the deductions made from their customers for USSD services, which you and I were debited for?

What is the deduction meant to for? It’s a debt and the banks have to pay the operators. It’s a moral obligation.”

On the association’s next step should the banks refuse to pay, Adebayo stated that the CBN and NCC would have to intervene.

He said, “We are hoping the regulators, CBN and NCC, having intervened by preventing operators from disconnecting the USSD services, will resolve the lingering debt issues.

 “They (banks) owe the operators and they will pay. Otherwise, where is the money deducted for USSD services from their customers? You and I know we were charged for USSD transactions; what is the deduction meant for?

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What you should know

  • It can be recalled that telecommunication firms under the aegis of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had threatened to withdraw their Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services to financial institutions from March 15 due to the N42 billion accumulated debt.
  • However, following the intervention of the CBN and NCC, the planned action was shelved with both parties (the telcos and the banks), going into a meeting with the Federal Government representatives.
  • As a fallout of the meeting, the CBN and NCC announced the introduction of N6.98 per transaction as new charges for customers using the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) services with effect from March 16, 2021.
  • Recently, the Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank Plc, Herbert Wigwe, reportedly stated that Nigerian banks were not indebted to telecommunications firms for using telcos platforms to provide payment services.
  • The statement made the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ikechukwu Nnamani, ask CBN to call the banks to order as regards agreements reached on the settling of the N42bn.

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