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Presidency allegedly mounting pressure on ASUU to abandon proposed strike

There are indications that the Presidency is making moves to placate the Academic Staff Union of Universities in the latter’s resolve to embark on another strike, thus disrupting academic activities.

Already, ASUU has declared Monday a lecture-free day, and threatened to go the whole hog of declaring an industrial action thereafter.

The body, which had shelved a similar strike threat last December, accused the federal government of reneging on its promises on lecturers’ earned allowances and other welfare issues.

Meanwhile, a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) states that President Muhammadu Buhari commenced the week under review with a promise that the Federal Government would honour promises made to ASUU.

This, the President said, was to prevent disruptive strikes, engender uninterrupted academic programmes and improve funding of education institutions.

The President had earlier made the pledge on February 1, when he received members of the Nigeria Inter-Religious Council (NIREC) led by the Co-Chairs, the Sultan of Sokoto, Sa’ad Abubakar, and the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle.

ASUU, on Friday, expressed doubts over the ability of the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis in the education sector, particularly the universities, threatening that the union might soon commence the industrial action

However, the President stated that no society which wished itself well neglected its educational system and all its component parts.

He, therefore, commended the leadership of NIREC for intervening in the year-long strike by ASUU and holding consultations with the parties.

Buhari had earlier hosted the 2022 Committee of Business, Political, Media and Civil Society Leaders to a dinner at the State House, Abuja, on Monday.

At the event, the president also pledged his commitment to hand over a strong repositioned agriculture-led, diversified home-grown economy, stable democracy and revamped armed and security forces to the next administration.

On February 2, the Nigerian leader congratulated President Umaro Sissoco Embalo of Guinea-Bissau for surviving Tuesday’s coup attempt in his country.

According to him, Nigerians in the North-east will, in the coming months, witness a change from the protracted insurgency to peace and development in their respective communities.

He explained that the administration had embarked on a revised approach to address the 13-year conflict and insurgency in the region and would not relent in efforts toward a return to peace and normalcy.

Also on February 2, the President presided over the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

The council approved over N115.4 billion for the dualization of the Kano-Kazaure-Kongwalam road linking Kano, Jigawa and Katsina states.

According to the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, the project is expected to be completed in two years, and will be financed through the country’s tax credit scheme.

The President met behind closed doors with a former governor of Imo, Rochas Okorocha at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Mr Okorocha is being charged by the EFCC with allegations he conspired with others, including an APC politician and five companies, to steal N2.9 billion from public coffers when he was governor of Imo.

However, the former governor, who is currently the senator representing Imo West senatorial district, also accused the people he described as cowards of being behind his ordeal with the EFCC.

Buhari inaugurated the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, as well as the National Council on Population Management (NCPM), on Thursday, in Abuja.

While inaugurating the policy and the council, the President stressed the need for urgent measures to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate.

He saw this happening through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country.

The Nigerian leader, shortly after the inauguration on Thursday, commenced a four-day trip to the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he is currently participating in the 35th Ordinary Session of Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government.

The theme of the deliberation is: “Building Resilience in Nutrition and Food Security on the African Continent: Strengthen Agriculture, Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development.’’

While in Addis Ababa, Mr Buhari said the poor and vulnerable in Nigeria remained top priority for protection and lifting from the poverty cycle.

He stated this at the virtual official presentation of the Country Review Report of Nigeria at the 31st Africa Peer Review Forum of the African Union leader on Friday.

Buhari assured that social safety nets would be further sustained, while access to education and opportunities would be expanded.

The President also congratulated the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, on the conferment of the title of “Dan Amana,” (the trusted one) on him by the Daura Emirate Council, on Saturday.

He described the conferment of the title on Amaechi as a clear commitment to the harmonious relationship between the nation’s diverse cultures.

He commended the minister “for working with enormous energy to make the CHANGE we promised Nigerians a reality,” noting that “the change we are witnessing in the transport sector is an extraordinary legacy.”

On February 5, the Nigerian leader met with the Prime Minister of Palestine, Mohammad Shtayyeh, at the ongoing African Union meetings, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Buhari assured that Nigeria would continue to pursue peace and progress in Africa, and other parts of the world, by consistently pushing for justice, fairness and inclusiveness in global affairs.

According to him, Nigeria remains unwavering in supporting democracy, development and good governance, particularly in ensuring the rights of individuals and institutions.

President, who is expected back to Abuja from Ethiopia on Monday, participated in the opening of the 35th Ordinary Session of Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government, on Saturday.

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