Benue NUT supports state govt.’s funding of primary education

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), in Benue State, has thrown its weight behind the agitation for primary education in the country to remain under the funding of the state government instead of being handed to the local government.

The state’s Chairman of NUT, Comrade Yiaseh Michael, in his address during a protest march to Government House, in Makurdi, and the State House of Assembly, appealed to the state government and the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to take over the payment of primary school teachers salaries as first line charge from the federation account to save primary education from total collapse.

Michael, while noting that the NUT was also not totally against local government autonomy however posited that the union was particularly concerned about the possibility of scrapping the state joint local government account.

“The NUT is not totally against local government autonomy but the union is concerned about the likelihood of scrapping the state joint local government account which would mean taking primary education back to the dark pre-1994 era.”

He disclosed that teachers in the state were currently being owed several months salaries like their counterparts in many states of the country due to the inability of the local councils to provide the funds needed for salary payment, a situation which he maintained, had created demoralisation and hopelessness among the teachers.

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Lalong sacks 17 council chairmen in Plateau

Governor,Simon Lalong of Plateau State has sacked the management committee chairmen of the 17 local government areas of the state after a midnight meeting that lasted for several hours.

The Daily Sun gathered that the dissolution of the management committee chairmen was against the wish of the state chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Latep Dabang, who begged for the extension of tenure of the council chairmen.

But members of the State House of Assembly, led by the Speaker, Hon. Peter Azi, during the meeting, insisted that the council chairmen, whose tenure expired, on Wednesday night, must vacates their seats.

Governor Lalong, in a press statement, signed by his Director of Press and Public Affairs, Emmanuel Nanle ,directed the chairmen to hand over to Directors of Personnel Management pending further actions in line with the provision of law.

“The Executive Governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Bako Lalong has approved the dissolution of the existing Local Government Transition Committees with effect from Thursday the 29th of June, 2017.

“The Chairmen and Management Committee Members are to immediately hand over the running of affairs of the Local Government Councils to the Directors of Personnel Management pending further actions in line with the provision of law.”

It will be recalled that Governor Lalong, had in 2016 sacked elected Local Government Chairmen and in exercise of his Powers under the Edict providing for the establishment and administration of the Local Government Councils 2005 as Amended, subject to the ratification of the House of Assembly constituted Management Committees whose tenure expired by effluxion of time on the 28th of June, 2017.

He expressed profound appreciation to all members of the dissolved council’s management committees for their selfless service in the two years of their stewardship and wished them the best in all their endeavours.

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Osinbajo signs Executive Order on asset declaration scheme

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, on Thursday, signed an Executive Order to back the Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme.

The signing of the Executive Order was done during the formal launch of the VAIDS scheme at the Banquet Hall of the State House.

The signing ceremony had in attendance Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun as well as governors of Ogun, Kaduna and Zamfara states among other government functionaries.

The Acting President said the new initiative was targeted at increasing tax awareness and compliance, as well as grant tax payers a time-limited opportunity to regularise their tax status without penalty.

The scheme to be jointly executed by the Federal and state governments.

Osinbajo maintained that the law would concentrate on the obligations of all Nigerian companies and citizens to pay their taxes, wherever their income is earned, wherever they reside and no matter how rich they are.

Details later…

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Unions commend Gov. Akeredolu over varsity projects

Labour unions in Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH), Okitipupa, on Thursday, commended Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu over the rehabilitation of a 2.4-kilometre road and other projects at the institution.

The unions also expressed gratitude to the Deputy Governor, Mr Agboola Ajayi, who paid an unscheduled visit to the institution to assess the state of infrastructure.

The current administration, the unions said, had proven to be a government that would uplift the standard of education in the state.

They also promised their unflinching support to the government in the efforts to make life more conducive for staff and students of the university.

The unions–Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT)—made their submissions in a communiqué.

The communiqué was jointly signed by their leaders –Peter Akindehinde, Samuel Olowokanga and Bobola Bamigbola for NASU, SSANU and NAAT respectively.

A copy of the communiqué issued by the unions after a Joint Action Congress (JAC) was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Okitipupa.

‘‘Sequel to the renovation of 2.4-kilometre road network and other rehabilitation projects that are ongoing, we the unions of this institution and students commend Gov. Akeredolu and his deputy, Ajayi, for giving us a new lease of life.

‘‘This institution was neglected for good eight years by the previous state government which caused severe infrastructural decay, and which informed our strike sometime in February.

‘‘The feats recorded by the present state government have shown that it is a government of the masses and ready to uplift education; we hereby vow our support for this government at all times,’’ the communiqué said.

NAN recalls that the unions before an indefinite strike in February had demanded adequate funding, urgent facelift of structures in the institution and appointment of a substantive vice chancellor among other demands.

NAN also recall that the deputy governor immediately after his inauguration on February 24 paid an unscheduled visit to the institution.

 (NAN)

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PDP: Makarfi, Sheriff Groups tango over alliance with Labour

WITH the July 22 local government election around the corner, this may not be the best of times for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Lagos State.

The two factions laying claim to the party structure in the state, Moshood Salvador and Segun Adewale are at each other’s throat as a result of an alliance being entered into with the Labour Party, LP.

The Moshood Salvador-led faction had at a press conference announced an alliance with the LP for the council elections.

Salvador, who leads the Ahmed Makarfi faction of the PDP, said that the alliance was a temporary arrangement, and that all PDP candidates for the polls would contest on the LP platform.

Salvador said: “What we are announcing today is alliance with Labour Party to enable our candidates to participate in the elections. Political alliance is an agreement for co-operation between political parties on common agenda, often for the purpose of contesting elections. This alliance does not mean we are leaving the party. We are PDP anytime. We only have a pre-election alliance. This is not the first time we are having such in the country’s political history.”

While appealing to party loyalists in the state to buy into the PDP-LP alliance, he restated that it was an alliance and not defection.

He said: “It is an alliance. We have not defected to another party; we have not declared for another party and we have not dumped the PDP.”

Adewale reacts

Faulting the alliance, Segun Adewale, who heads the Senator Ali Modu Sheriff-led faction, described the step as unfortunate and uncalled for. Adewale, also referred to as Areoland claimed that his faction made efforts to accommodate the other faction but Salvador frustrated the moves.

The factional chairman urged Salvador to return to the legally recognised authorities, the money his faction realised from sale of nomination forms to aspirants on the platform of PDP. He said that he would set up a disciplinary committee to probe the alliance and mete out sanctions to anybody found culpable.

“How can you buy nomination forms on the platform of PDP and defect to Labour Party for the elections. It is a clear illegal act”, he said.

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PFN tells Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB not to heat up polity

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has advised Nnamdi Kano and Pro-Biafra groups to settle down and work on dialogue rather than engaging in activities that could continue to “heat up the polity’’.

The Chairman of PFN, Enugu State Chapter, Rev. Godwin Madu, gave this advice shortly after a special prayer meeting for peace in the country on Wednesday.

It would be recalled that the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, had led his group and other pro-Biafran groups to a non-dialogue and non-consultative means of civil struggle.

The special meeting was organised by the PFN at the Redeemed Christian Church of God (Province of Excellence), Enugu.

Madu cautioned the IPOB leader and his group as well as other pro-Biafra organisations to settle down and work on dialogue rather than engaging in activities that could continue to “heat up the polity’’.

According to him, PFN is opposed to the radical approach being used by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in its agitations for the South-East.

“Nigeria is good as a country. Anywhere we feel aggrieved, the matter could be addressed amicably instead of heating up the polity and creating unnecessary tension in the entire country,’’ he said.

The PFN Chairman, however, urged the AREWA youths to quickly sheath their swords and work for peace since violence and crisis cannot benefit anybody.

He told the northern youths that “Nigeria had no particular landlord’’, hence no tribe was empowered by the Nigerian Constitution to issue quit notice to any other ethnic group or people.

A founding member of the body, Dr Obi Onubuogu, stressed the need for dialogue as the main key to solving the nation’s current problem.

Also, former Secretary of the PFN in the state, Pastor Joseph Ajujungwa, said that the prayer meeting became necessary because the PFN was against AREWA youths’ quit notice.

While emphasizing the efficacy of prayers in matters like the current tension in the country, he said, he was opposed to the quit notice given by the northern youths to the Igbo residing in the north.

“A lot of souls had been wasted through needless hostilities as the blood of the innocent is crying to high heavens,’’ Madu said.

He, however, called on the media to be agents in uniting the country, rather than dividing it.

“I would advise the media to be useful instrument for the promotion of peace in the country,’’ he said.

Earlier during the prayer session, 36 persons representing the 36 states of the federation were called to the podium, to offer fervent prayers to God for peace to reign in the country.

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Power supply drops by 14%, as another systems collapse occurs

Nigeria’s power supply, yesterday, dropped by 14 per cent as the nation’s national grid experienced another systems collapse.

The supply dropped from 3,333MW recorded the previous day to 2,881MW, showing a decrease of 452 MW.

In its report made available to Vanguard, the advisory power team disclosed: “On June 27, 2017, average power sent out was 2,881MWh/hour (down by 452MWh/h). The reported gas constraint was 1927MW.

“The reported line constraint was 684.3MW. The reported frequency management constraint due to loss of DisCo feeders was 890MW. The water management constraint was 0MW.

‘’The power sector lost an estimated N1,574,000,000 on June 27, 2017, due to constraints. System collapse at 17:40Hrs, system frequency declined sharply from 50.28Hz to 47.00Hz and followed by collapse.

‘’Benin/Omotosho 330kV line (cct B5M) CBs tripped at both ends. Omotosho/Ikeja West 330kV line (cct M5W) had been out of service for maintenance work.”

Also, eight Generating Companies, GENCOs, generated zero megawatt of electricity. The companies include: Afam IV-V, Sapele NIPP, Alaoji NIPP, Afam VI, A.E.S, ASCO, Trans Amadi and River IPP

Investigations in Lagos and its environs showed the systems collapse has affected power supply to many consumers.

Meanwhile, former Minister of Power, Bath Nnaji, has said the Federal Government should liquidate its position on its 40 percent stake in distribution companies as soon as possible.

Nnaji, who spoke on the sideline of Nigeria Gas Conference in Lagos, said: “Government was supposed to use its stakes to ensure that the distribution companies performed, but in a case where you now have government people being on the board, board members will not be able to take decision you imagine will happen. It is not just correct for them to operate like that. Government needs to quit along the line.”

Mr. Frank Udemba, President of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, had disclosed in an exclusive interview that the situation was critical.

According to him, with over 180 million people and huge manufacturing and other business activities, the country should be generating at least 180,000MW per day.

He had quoted the World Bank report, as stating that Nigeria’s electricity per capita was abysmally at 142 kilowatts, which when compared with the world figure of 3,104 kilowatts for the same year, was too small.

Udemba noted that the challenge of electricity supply was hydra-headed, adding that the challenge found maximum expression in inadequate supply of electricity and exorbitant and escalating tariff.

He said: “According to survey conducted by MAN in 2015, manufacturers, electricity supply averaged 7 hours per day with seven times average of power outages per day in the year.

‘’Consequently, to sustain production, manufacturers have for years relied on self generated electricity as an alternative source of power notwithstanding the associated huge cost estimated at N129.95 billion in 2016. In spite of the poor supply, electricity tariff has been subjected to indiscriminate upward review by the DisCos and the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, NERC.

‘’The ugly situation is usually that while a particular Multi Year Tariff Order (MYTO) subsists another one is crafted and superimposed on the subsisting one. This is not manufacturing friendly and negatively affects the ability of consumers to maximize welfare .”

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