FG berates ASUU over six-month-strike extention - OPID News

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Monday, 29 August 2022

FG berates ASUU over six-month-strike extention

 FG berates ASUU over six-month-strike extention

Chris Ngige

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has extended its six-month-old strike.

The decision was taken after a series of heated discussions at the National Executive Council meeting held at the union’s headquarters at the University of Abuja on Monday morning.

Speaking on the extension, the spokesperson for the Federal Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, told newsmen that the government had taken all possible steps to end the strike.

He said, “As regards the next steps, the government has already inaugurated a committee to harmonize the IPPIS, UTAS, and UP3. This will ensure that the government will pay with only one payment platform that will harmonize all the technical peculiarities.

“If you bring some demands and almost 80% have been attended to, there is no need to drag the strike anymore.

“It is unreasonable for the strike to be lingering seeing as the government has worked towards fulfilling most of the demands.”

ASUU had declared the commencement of a strike on Monday, February 14, 2022, at the University of Lagos.

Akwa Ibom militants demand withdrawal of security agents from creeks, or face oil facilities destructionThe group stated that it observes with “utmost dismay the ill-treatment and discrimination meted out to Akwa Ibom indigenes by the Nigerian government.

Amilitant group in Akwa Ibom State under the umbrella of Unyekisong Akwa Ibom has warned the Nigerian government to immediately withdraw security agents from creeks and territories of oil-rich communities in the state and the entire Niger Delta region.

The group issued the warning in a communiqué signed by its leader, General Dede Udofia and the leader of the Special Operations & Strike Team, Major Ibanga Ekang.

The militant group in the communiqué titled 'Award of Oil Pipeline Surveillance Contract to Ex-militants' leaders and ill Treatment of Akwa Ibom People by the Nigerian Government: Our Position,' lamented that the Nigerian government has ill-treated and discriminated against the indigenes of Akwa Ibom State under the Presidential Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government for ex-militants.

The group's warning came after its general assembly meeting held on August 21 in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital to analyse the activities, projects, programmes and developments of the Akwa Ibom oil-rich communities as well as to review the activities of crude oil theft as it affects the Niger Delta people and its environment.

The group stated that it observes with “utmost dismay the ill-treatment and discrimination meted out to Akwa Ibom indigenes by the Nigerian government, especially those under the Presidential Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government.

"Some of those who surrendered their arms and were documented for the programme and were paid for some months, and their payments were abruptly stopped, their names were illegally replaced without any justification while others have not been trained as their counterpart in other states despite the huge contribution of our people to the sustenance of peace in the Niger Delta region.

"Even those who were trained by the Presidential Amnesty Office over eight years ago have not been given empowerment packages like their colleagues in the other Niger Delta States. It is a common fact that Akwa Ibom people have not been treated fairly in the Niger Delta project despite the fact that we are the highest oil-producing state with minimal issues from the host communities.

"And it is also a common fact that Akwa Ibom State is the most peaceful state in the entire South-South and Niger Delta region in general, which has translated into the huge crude oil daily output in the state.

"It would be recalled that during the administration of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, an oil pipeline surveillance contract was awarded to some Ex-militant leaders in the Niger Delta region, but Akwa Ibom State was tactically excluded, ignored and discriminated against by the NNPC (Nigerian National Petroleum Company) and the Nigerian government.

"During the disarmament and documentation of the militants in the Niger Delta, over 3,600 of our colleagues surrendered their arms but were tactically excluded from the Amnesty programme; let it be known by the public that based on these injustices to Akwa Ibom indigenes, there are less than 400 indigenes of Akwa Ibom State out of the current 30,000 ex-militants documented by the federal government, yet they systematically excluded the 3,600 who surrendered their arms and embrace the programme under Phase 3 Amnesty Programme.

"It is unfortunate that out of 26,000 ex-militants trained and empowered by Amnesty office, Akwa Ibom people are not up to 5; this is totally unacceptable and should be addressed.

"That Akwa Ibom State as at today is the highest oil producing state in Nigeria as a result of our tireless work, peace-building with stakeholders, patrol along pipelines routes and waterways yet we have been treated with total disdain over the years by the successive government.

"Our environment has been polluted and the ecosystem destroyed by oil and gas activities, yet our elders and stakeholders have been pleading with us to maintain the atmosphere of peace, but we cannot continue to maintain peace under the present discrimination against our people while our resources are being taken daily to feed others.

"We hereby warn that we shall no longer allow impunity to continue unchallenged; we call on the Federal Government to withdraw security agents from our creeks and territory and give us the opportunity to protect oil facilities in our territory as we cannot be jobless in our land while others are benefiting from it.

"We can no longer allow discrimination, impunity and daylight robbery of our right to continue unchallenged. This time we are ready to ensure that the entire world is aware of the neocolonialism perpetrated by the Nigerian government against Akwa Ibom people.

"The oil pipelines and other facilities in our territory are under our care and we call on the government to understand that we shall stop at nothing to ensure that justice is done; it is either we are given the opportunity to protect pipelines, oil wells and other oil facilities in our territory or we mobilise our men for total destruction and hostilities.

"Finally, we want to call on the Federal Government to do the needful and stop discriminating against Akwa Ibom people as we shall not continue to tolerate ill treatment from the Nigerian government despite our continuous loyalty and peaceful disposition.

"If our people are not carried along by the government in her dealings with the Niger Delta people and stakeholders we shall be forced to go back to those dark days of hostilities.

"If the Federal Government is not prepared to award oil pipeline surveillance to Akwa Ibom people, then they should be prepared for zero oil production in our territory.

"The government should know that no one has a monopoly of violence and that Niger Delta does not belong to one individual, or one ethnic group but it is circular and distinct by different states and tribes that make up the region. A stitch in time saves nigh."

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the Nigerian Government gave a multi-million-dollar pipeline surveillance contract to a former militant leader.

It was learnt that the government and the NNPC had signed a deal with a former militant leader and Commander of the defunct Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND), Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo to end pipeline vandalism and all forms of oil theft in the Niger Delta, the source said.

It was gathered that youths from across the Niger Delta area were trooping into Oporoza, the ancestral headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri West Local Government Area of Delta state and the home of Tompolo.

It was learnt that Tompolo had already met with some ex-agitators and youth leaders in oil-rich communities in Niger Delta for enlistment to safeguard oil pipelines.

The contract awarded to Topolo has been generating mixed reactions.

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