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We’ll position universities to produce quality graduates – President Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari says his administration will give more attention to improving personnel and infrastructure of universities to produce quality graduates, assuring that education will, henceforth, be a top priority in development goals of the country.

President Buhari stated this when he received leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) led by Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi at the State House, Abuja, on Thursday.

He expressed the hope that effective and efficient operations of universities would go a long way in improving the economy, especially with focus on science and technology.

The President urged members of ASUU to assist the Federal Government in realising the target of improved education and credible certificates by complying with ongoing verification and validation of human resources in the universities, which will guarantee optimum output.

“The future of the country depends on quality education and our certificates must be credible to inspire confidence,’’ he said.

President Buhari said constitutional provisions should be carefully studied and adhered to for more harmonious relationships, and standards that would promote efficiency.

He directed the Ministry of Education to put in more effort in ensuring that Nigerian universities are properly funded, with adequate infrastructure and staffing.

In her remarks at the meeting, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said out of the 137,016 academic and non-academic staff members of the universities, 96,090 have been enrolled in the Integrated Payment and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

She, therefore, urged ASUU to encourage the remaining 40,926 members to comply with the process.

According to her, a desk has been opened in the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation for registration of university staff, assuring that peculiarities of the tertiary institutions will be accommodated.

The Minister pointed out that many anomalies were discovered in the university structures that had contributed to the increased cost burden in the universities.

These, according to her, include staff working and earning pay in more than one university, contract staff on payroll of the government, tax reductions on PAYEE and multiple employments.

Ahmed said some universities had rushed to recruit more staff before the IPPIS registration commenced, which was then detected.

“While it is clear that ASUU has peculiarities, it should be recognised and rightly accommodated, and the allowances will be made, and not leaving the university out of IPPIS because of the peculiarities,’’ she added.

Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, urged ASUU to comply with IPPIS in national interest as his office was already in the process of streamlining all issues of human resources in government.

In his remarks, the President of ASUU, Prof. Ogunyemi said the educational sector needed more federal government attention, noting that implementation of agreements over the years would go a long way in improving the quality of education in the universities.

He said: “Nigerian universities can make meaningful contributions to addressing the challenges of the country (economy, security and corruption) if given the opportunities.

”Appropriate funding level, competitive conditions of service, university autonomy and academic freedom are critical to creating such an atmosphere.

“With adequate and effective education, particularly university education, Nigerians will be less susceptible to manipulation, our economy will grow and problems of insecurity and corruption will be drastically reduced,’’ he said.

The ASUU President said Nigeria could learn from countries like China, Malaysia and Singapore that had encouraged universities to drive their educational development through tripartite linkages of government, industries and universities called Triple Helix Principle.

On IPPIS and university operations, Ogunyemi said the federal government’s Visitor initiative to the universities, at least once in five years, was the best guarantee for monitoring accountability processes that include internal and external audit processes.

The ASUU President said the IPPIS would be a “disruptive intrusion’’, adding: “IPPIS violates the laws of the federation, violates university statutes, and violates agreements between the Federal Government and ASUU.

“The Government should welcome ASUU’s ongoing innovation of a robust system of human resource management and compensation, called the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which will address peculiarities of universities and end inappropriate recruitments.’’

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu and Labour and Employment , Dr Chris Ngige, assured that the Federal Government was committed to improving the educational sector, promising to work closely with ASUU.

Edited by: Sadiya Hamza

Foreign

Floyd’s death to inspire change in America: Ghanaian president

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Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressed his hope here late Monday that the death of George Floyd would inspire a lasting change in how America confronts head on the problems of hate and racism.

Describing Floyd‘s death as “unfortunate and tragic” on social media, Akufo-Addo said black people over the world are shocked and distraught by the killing of the unarmed black man by a white police officer in the United States.

African American Floyd died on May 25 shortly after a white police officer in Minneapolis held him down with a knee on his neck for almost nine minutes despite pleas by Floyd he was struggling to breathe, which ignited violent protests in dozens of U.S. cities.

“It can’t be right that in the 21st century, the U.S., this great bastion of democracy, continues to grapple with the problem of systemic racism,” he said.

“It carried with it an all too painful familiarity and un ugly reminder,” said the president, adding that Ghanaians stand with their kith and kin in America in these difficult and trying times.

(XINHUA)

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Mozambican president launches national independence celebration

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President of Mozambique Filipe Nyusi launched Monday the celebrations of the 45th anniversary of national independence, appealing for unity and strengthening efforts to defend territorial sovereignty.

The June 25, which marks the national independence of Mozambique from the Portuguese colonial rule, was the beginning of a new era where Mozambican people became owners of their own destiny, said the head of state from the presidential palace in Maputo.

“Mozambicans will never allow their country to be divided to satisfy the wishes of invaders from whichever origin and nature. They will not tolerate blackmails of cyclical wars promoted by manipulators to feed the ego of internal and external elites,” said Nyusi.

“This date reminds us of the need for us not to give in to the complexity of the challenges that we currently deal with in the construction of our nation. Our cultural mosaic and endless resources are our strength. Only if we value diversity and work as one will we build a resilient and prosperous country,” said the president.

He saluted the young members of armed forces throughout the country especially those who stationed in the central and northern regions where conflicts are reported.

(XINHUA)

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Sport

La Liga president admits match times could change in hot weather

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La Liga has taken the unusual step of including temperature predictions in its fixture lists for the remainder of the Spanish football season.

Spanish players union AFE had voiced concern over players playing in extreme heat with the season now extended into the hottest months of the year in Spain.

But La Liga have taken steps to demonstrate that they will not put players’ health at risk from climatic conditions.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said: “We have worked with the historical (average for time of year) temperatures and with the 15-day forecast.”

Both numbers can be seen alongside each game in the fixture list on La Liga’s web page.

The kick-off time causing most concern is the 1 p.m. (1100 GMT) slot.

Tebas said: “We have seen that on the weekend of June 12 the weather is going to be cool. So, we have programmed games at 1 p.m.

“If the weather changes and the temperature rises, we will move the game to a 5 p.m. slot.

“The 1 p.m. slot is important for our partners (clients) abroad.”
OLAL

(
Edited By: Olawale Alabi (NAN)
)

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Foreign

Ghanaian president announces gradual easing of COVID-19 measures to restore socio-economic activities

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Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced here late Sunday the beginning of a phased easing of the measures instituted in March to combat the spread of the new coronavirus in the country.

The president said in his 10th televised address to the nation on the COVID-19 measures that the gradual easing was expected to bring back the country’s social and economic life.

Akufo-Addo ordered schools to start re-opening from June 15 and called for educational authorities to ensure the appropriate enhanced safety protocols and social distancing adherence.

Restaurants could open with the appropriate safety protocols, he added.

The president also assured that the government would continue to repatriate stranded Ghanaians in other countries and quarantine them on arrival.

As of Monday morning, the West African country has recorded a total of 8,070 confirmed cases with 36 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Ogbeh drums support for Adesina’s 2nd term as AfDB President

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Chief Audu Ogbeh, the former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, has drummed support for the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Ogbeh, who succeeded Adesina as minister, told News Agency of Nigeria , that the AfDB president had demonstrated deep concern and understanding of the economic challenges facing the continent.

He said the president had also proven to know the desperate need to find investment capital to stimulate economic growth, especially in the areas of agriculture and infrastructure.

“I speak out in support of Dr Adesina and his continued management of the AfDB.

“I also congratulate African leaders, past and present, who have declared their support for Adesina’s second term in office.

“The truth is that he has demonstrated deep concern and understanding of the economic challenges facing the continent,’’ he said.

Ogbeh described the insistence by the United States for a probe other than the one done by the ethics committee of the Bank as ‘a needle in haystack’ to justify his removal.

According to him, prejudice and scorn for Africa have all combined to keep us down for too long, inflicting pain and penury upon us with no sign of relief in sight.

NAN recalls that Adesina had been accused in a 20-point allegation of non-respect for internal rules and regulations in recruitment, unethical conduct and impediment to efficiency by unnamed employees.

Other allegations are preferential treatment, adversely affecting confidence in integrity, among others.

United States Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin had signed a letter to the board rejecting an internal investigation that cleared Adesina.


Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Donald Ugwu (NAN)

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Foreign

COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on higher alert level: president

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Some COVID-19 hotspots in South Africa may be placed on a higher alert if special interventions fail to contain the pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Sunday.

Different approaches have been introduced to deal with high-infection areas, known as hotspots, and low-infection areas, which require vigilance and surveillance, Ramaphosa said during a virtual engagement with the South African National Editors Forum.

The remarks came a day before the country is set to lower the alert level from four to three, under which 8 million people will be allowed to return to work as most economic sectors in the country reopen.

“We are re-opening most areas of the economy so that people can earn a living, and so that this immediate health crisis does not result in a permanent economic crisis,” Ramaphosa said.

But hotspots where confirmed cases rise at a fast rate remain a concern, particularly after the further easing of restrictions, the president said.

Special interventions will be made in hotspot areas by deploying dedicated, multidisciplinary teams to contain the outbreak, including epidemiologists, doctors, nurses and community health workers, he added.

As of Sunday, the country reported 32,683 cases of COVID-19 with 683 deaths. The Western Cape, the hardest-hit province, recorded 21,382 cases with 503 deaths.

“It is of utmost importance that we reduce the rate of spread in the Western Cape and we do everything possible to prevent other parts of the country from following a similar trajectory,” Ramaphosa said.

Each hotspot will be linked to testing and quarantine facilities, and additional hospital beds when necessary, with a close focus on tracing contacts and isolating them so as to prevent further transmission, Ramaphosa said.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

AfDB: Sierra Leone president assures Adesina of country’s support

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President Julius Maad Bio of Sierra Leone has assured President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, of his support and that of his country for his quality leadership.

Bio joined other African leaders to rally support for embattled Adesina in his verified Twitter Handle accessed by the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday.

NAN recalls that United States Department of Treasury had called for an independent probe corruption allegations levelled against the AfDB president after being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

“Be assured of my and country’s staunch, conference and unflinching support for your bold and progressive leadership of AfDB,” the president stated.

NAN reports this was coming less than 48 hours after about 15 former presidents of African countries rallied support for Adesina.

Similarly, Ambassador Harold Doley, the United States (U.S) first ever Representative to the AfDB, also urged President Donald Trump’s administration to support Adesina.

Doley, who said supporting AfDB was a good business for America, noted that since taking office in 2015, the current president of the bank had rapidly restructured the bank and refined its focus through a high5 strategy.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Military units respond firmly to terrorist attacks in Mozambique: president

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Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi said Sunday that the country’s military units are responding firmly and bravely to the terrorist attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado.

Speaking to the national radio station while on a work visit in that province over the weekend, Nyusi said the results of military operations are encouraging.

“We have information that superior members of the enemy force have been shot down. Morale is good,” said Nyusi, adding that “the last battles fought by the Defense and Security Forces were huge, they were very productive.”

Nyusi said works are effective by authorities based in Cabo Delgado on the ground, in the districts of Mocimboa, Quissanga, Muidumbe and Macomia, where the armed terrorists have perpetrated attacks.

President Nyusi met with senior figures of the Defense and Security Forces in Cabo Delgado accompanied by the ministers of defense and interior.

(XINHUA)

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Economy

Adesina: HURIWA asks President Trump to call America’s representative at AfDB to order

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), a Civil Rights Advocacy group has urged President Donald Trump to call its Executive Director at the African Development Bank (AfDB), Stephen Dowd to order.

Mr Emma Onwubiko, the National Coordinator of HURIWA gave the advice in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Sunday.

NAN recalls that the United States Department of Treasury had called for an independent probe of allegations levelled against Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president on alleged corruption after being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

Onwubiko said he didn’t believe the United States could be directly involved in this crisis but alleged that it was from individuals with clandestine agenda that was unfavourable to Africa.

He explained that if U.S didn’t call its representative to order, it would expose the country to public ridicule and as well hurt American’s interest in Africa.

According to him, the mission for probe of Adesina is to discredit the candidacy of the AfDB boss, thereby, stopping his re-election slated for August.

The coordinator said that these futile attempts to discredit Adesina with frivolous allegations about his style of governance had already been put to bed by the Ethics Committee of the Bank.

He added that the Ethics Committee comprised the Executive Directors from all 81 shareholding countries, adding that it was surprising that in spite of this, the United States executive director at the bank was calling for an independent probe, which he said was unheard of in the history of multilateral banks.

“This is a distraction from the strong corporate governance structure that African Heads of State established at the bank.

“We vehemently frown upon attempts to mislead and arm-twist the Treasury Secretary of the United States to discredit the internal governance system put in place by the founders of the Bank.

“By misleading the Treasury into his personal battle, the United States executive director has displayed desperation and confirmed the popular belief that he was indeed the unseen hand in the petitions against President Adesina.

HURIWA affirmed that there are empirical data that have shown that the bank has done tremendously well under President Adesina since he assumed office in 2015.

“It must be restated that it was in recognition of this sterling stewardship that the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States have unanimously endorsed Adesina for a second term in office.

HURIWA believes that as COVID-19 ravages economies, the U.S government has many countries looking up to it to provide leadership in finding a cure, and remain a global power.

“This is not the time for America to allow its name to be dragged in the mud by its seemingly overzealous representative on the board of a critical institution as the AfDB,’’ he stated.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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