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NANS, KSU students lock down Lokoja in peaceful protest over three months ASUU strike

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NANS, KSU students lock down Lokoja in peaceful protest over three months ASUU strike

Students occupation of Ganaja Junction in Lokoja

Students occupation of Ganaja Junction in Lokoja

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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) in solidarity with the students’ Union Government of Kogi State University yesterday locked down Lokoja Kogi State capital to press home their frustration in the three months old strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff.
The action of the students held travelers to ransom for several hours, workers, students and pupils could not return home after school and work hours as there was a total lock down of the highway.
When Confluece Update visited the scene the police and other security agents were seen making frantic effort to dialogue with the students who would not bulge.
The effect of the lock down raised serious traffic issues along Lokoja-Abuja high way as travelers waited almost all through the day.
Lokoja being a gateway to more than 26 States compounded the issue as those traveling to the east and west were not left out of the imbroglio.
Kogi State university Student Union Government president, Shaibu Philip Omepa said they have been at home for three months due to ASUU strike and negligence of the government to address issues adding that they are tired. 
“This is the only way we can air out our grievances; we have tried dialogue, we have tried consultation, it has not worked. What we want presently is for the government and ASUU to come down here and settle try matter once and for all.
“We are not leaving here until the issue is resolved. We will stay here, eat here and sleep here. Even if the rain likes, let it fall on us, we will let the world see what the students of Kogi state university are suffering and it is uncalled for.”
He pointed out that the governor being a youth should know that without the youth, he cannot remain in that office.
He said it was not their business how many months have been paid 
“Whether four months or not It is not our concern. Our concern is the reopening of the university. 
“I am not taking sides, the only people I am standing for are my students. We have taken our stand that they must solve this issue today. Today makes it three months that ASUU embarked on this strike.
“We are not shifting ground, we have respected Government enough, we have written letters of appeal to the extent that we have been blackmailed that they paid us to compromise.
He said their action is meant to tell the general public that they are not such leaders that would compromise anything.
He dared any any Government official who feels he has given them anything to come forward. 
He said they would continue to occupy the strategic junction as they were not shifting ground until the lecturers and Government reach an agreement to call off the strike.
“We want to see the ASUU chairman and Governor come to the ground and we see them enter Government House for dialogue and they come back to tell us to go and resume if not we are not leaving come rain or shine.”
For travelers he said they should bear with them adding that after all they have been traveling.
Reacting the Special adviser to the Governor on media and strategy Abdulkareem Abdulmalik ASUU’ s grouse is premised on falsehood.
“They were owed five months arrears of salary out of which four months have been cleared which represents 80% of the salary owed them. 
“Only 40% bail out was released so where do they expect the Government to take the balance from?Primary, secondary schools teachers are there they have not gotten as much as ASUU therefore the students action is ill motivated.”
Abdulmalik charged the students to rather be fighting their lecturers for refusing to return to classes after taking four months salary arrears.
“The truth of the matter is that there are unseen hands behind this unrest and Government appeals to the students to remain rational.”
He said government would not joke with the interest of the students and members of the public because it feels the pinch of the inconveniences that the parents are going through
The commissioner of Police Yakubu Usman who spoke to the Guardian in his office said they had met with the students appealing to them to shift ground but they have refused.
He indicated that they don’t want to use force on the students.
“The students are insisting they want to see the Governor but the Governor is not in town as we speak so we are still talking to them and we are hopeful they will leave.
Usman said he was in company of the Director of SSS, Civil defense commandant, SSG, special adviser to the Governor of security matters when they all appealed to the students to no avail.

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

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Again Presidecy tackles Bishop Kukah over damning sermon

Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah, of Sokoto Catholic diocese, has come under attack again from the Presidency for describing Nigeria as a killing field under the Buhari administration.
Kukah in his Easter homily on Sunday, said both the government and the citizens have become helpless as criminals continue to cause havoc in parts of the country.
The battle over insecurity in Nigeria has continued unabated especially in the northern parts of the country where bandits and insurgents have turned to a killing field.
Kukah said the security situation has frustrated many citizens making them to believe the government has gone AWOL (absent without official leave).

“Taunted by Boko Haram, ravaged by bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, and other merchants of death across the nation, there is collective fear as to whether Nigeria’s glory is about to depart” the bishop said.
“Retired military and intelligence officers lament over what has become of their glorious profession, as they watch the humiliation of our military personnel. Traumatised citizens are tortured daily by bandits.
“The nation has since become a massive killing field, as both government and the governed look on helplessly. A thick and suffocating cloud of desperation, despondency, desolation, gloom, and misery hangs in the hot air. We have no message and have no idea how long this will last.”

However in a statement issued in Abuja Garba Shehu, presidential spokesman said Kukah’s “bashing” of President Muhammadu Buhari is “ungodly.”
“All citizens have their individual ideologies, even their own versions of truth. But if you profess to being a man of God, as Father Mathew Hassan Kukah does, ideology should not stand in the way of facts and fairness,” he said.
“Father Kukah has said some things that are inexplicable in his Easter message. But, in saying that the Boko Haram terrorism is worse than it was in 2015, he did not speak like a man of God. 

“Kukah should go to Borno or Adamawa to ask the citizens there the difference between 2014 and 2021.”
Shehu also faulted the bishop for saying Buhari is not concerned about those displaced because of the security crisis, citing the creation of the ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management and social development as part of the president’s efforts in that regard.
“Some of the comments are no more than a sample of the unrestrained rhetoric Fr. Kukah trades in, which he often does in the guise of a homily,” the presidential spokesman said.
“We urge well-meaning citizens to continue to support the ongoing efforts by the administration to secure the country and move it forward.”

With additional reports from Cable

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Kwara Gov should be held responsible for looming religious crises over Hijab conundrum says CAN

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Kwara Gov should be held responsible for looming religious crises over Hijab conundrum says CAN


The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) has berated Kwara Governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, for allowing the hijab wearing in schools controversy to degenerate further.
The association therefore urged the Federal Government and the Inspector General of Police to intervene in the violence over the hijab policy.

The General Secretary, Joseph Bade Daramola, in a statement on Wednesday indicated that AbdulRazaq’s pronouncement on hijab in clear contempt of the court directive on the matter for statusquo to be maintained until the matter is finally resolved by the court is leading to more crises.

According to CAN scribe the state government ordered the reopening of the closed schools without resolving the crisis.

Daramola said churches and mission schools are being vandalised with impunity by those “banking on the state government’s support in the pretext of enforcing the policy”.

The Christian leadership observed that the Governor who is playing ostrich while innocent Christians are being violently abused and attacked in the State he is the chief security officer.
In order not to precipitate further crises CAN said wisdom is required by those in leadership to handle sensitive issues such as that of religion.
“It is disheartening and unfortunate that a government that was installed democratically will become insensitive to the plight and the yearning of the people as if the governor was voted into the office primarily to protect his religion. This is unfair, ungodly and reprehensible.

“There are public schools and schools that belong to some Islamic organisations where those who wanted to be wearing hijab can be attending without causing the ongoing needless crises rocking the state.”

The statement advised AbdulRazaq to order “his hoodlums to stop attacking mission schools and churches before the situation degenerates into an unprecedented religious crisis.”

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Senate panel unravels N443bn subsidy scam by NNPC

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Senate panel unravels N443bn subsidy scam by NNPC

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts on Wednesday uncovered a scam involving N443B by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) which allegedly lavished the money on oil subsidy in 2016 without budgetary provision.

The panel, therefore, summoned the leadership of the nations oil firm to brief it on the expenditure.

The committee’s chairman, Senator Matthew Urhoghide, issued the summon yesterday when the panel considered a 2016 report by the Auditor-General for the Federation.

“During the examination of subsidy records provided by Federation Account Allocation Committee (FAAC), it was observed that total subsidy paid during the year 2016 was N443,940,559,974.80,” the audit report.

The breakdown of the fund showed that N403.3 billion was paid to oil marketers, while interest & foreign exchange differential gulped N40.6 billion, totalling N443.9 billion.

The fund, according to the report, was spent in 2016 without budgetary provision and was deducted at source.

“This reflects continuing weaknesses in the budgeting process adopted by the Federal Government,” it added.

Responding to the audit report, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris, told the committee that the NNPC would be in better position to explain the extra-budgetary spending.

The Chairman of the committee, Senator Matthew Urhoghide summoned the NNPC Group Managing Director, Melee Kyari to give explanation on the expenditure.

In a related development, the committee also summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria over alleged disappearance of $9.5 million interest from Investment Petroleum Profit Tax (PPT), Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude.

The invitation of the Apex Bank in the country was sequel to the 2016 Auditor General Report which accused the Central Bank of Nigeria failing to present documents supporting the investment for verification.

The Senate observed no letter supporting the investment of the fund and the actual amount invested were not made known.

The Query reads, “During the examination of transfers to Forefinger Excess PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Accounts it was observed that during the year 2016, amount totalling $6 million and $3.5 million were credited to the Foreign PPT/Royalty and Foreign Excess Crude Account as interest on Funds investments.

“The authority for placing the funds which yielded the above interests totaling $9.5 in deposit account, the principal sums deposited, the tenor and rate of interest were no made available for audit verification.

“This observation had also been a subject of my reprts since 2017 without any positive response from Central Bank of Nigeria

“Records made available for audit further revealed that the balance in the foreign PPT/Royaltt and Foreign Excess Crude a accounts as at 28th December 2016 were USD0.00 and USD, 251,826 respectively

“This suggest the foreign PPT/Royalthy was depleted before the year end.

“The Accountant General has been requested to provide the authority for the funds invested, tenor of the investment, rate unrest payable, certficate for the funds invested and forward same for audit verification.”

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Urhoghide however asked the Accountant General of the Federation, to respond to issue raised in the Auditor General Report.

The Accountant General was unable to present any document on the issue raised by the Committee.

He further told the lawmakers that the Office of Accountant General has sent a letter to the Central Bank of Nigeria for clarification on the issue raised.

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