Former Lagos State governor and now minister of works and housing, Babatunde Fashola, and the 14th Emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Muhammad Sanusi II, have volunteered to mobilise Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike to raise a seed fund of N10 billion for the development of impactful homegrown medical research outputs in the country.
The duo made the commitment on Tuesday in Lagos at a public presentation of the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) Foundation.
They said they are worried by the funding challenge facing researchers’ efforts to develop homegrown impactful research works that will primarily affect health challenges that are peculiar to Africans including non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, and neglected tropical diseases.
While Fashola serves as the chairman of the governing board of the foundation, Sanusi is a trustee alongside two renowned medical scholars- Oye Gureje and Emmanuel Idigbe. On the board of trustees is also a veteran broadcaster, Moji Makanjuola.
ASUU postpones its decision on strike then hints at being blackmailed by the FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced that its decision on strike has been postponed.
The union made this known in a press statement released after its National Executive Council meeting, which held on Saturday, Dec. 18.
In the press statement titled, ‘Enough of blackmail’, signed by ASUU president, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, the union members lamented that the Federal Government had turned its back on the plan to set up an inter-ministerial committee to review the draft Renegotiated 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement.
The statement reads I part: “NEC was worried by the spirited efforts of government agents to reduce the demands of ASUU to a regime of intermittent payment of watered-down revitalisation fund and release of distorted and grossly devalued Earned Academic Allowances.
“ASUU shall not relent in demanding improvement in the welfare and conditions of service of our members. However, we shall resist any attempt to blackmail the union and derail our patriotic struggle for a productive university system by official propaganda founded on tokenism and crumb-sharing.
“NEC concluded that government has failed to satisfactorily address all the issues raised in the 2009 FGN-ASUU Agreement and subsequent MoUs and MoAs.
“However, considering the ongoing intervention and consultation efforts, NEC resolved to review the situation at a later date with a view to deciding on the next line of action.”
Earlier, ASUU had announced plans to embark on a strike over the Federal Government’s failure to meet its demands.
Apart from the Earned Academic Allowances, ASUU said its demands included the review of the NUC Act to curb the proliferation of universities by state governments who are not funding the existing ones; adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solutions (UTAS) with concurrent discontinuance of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) and distortion in salary payment.
Others are the release of accumulated promotion arrears; and the review and signing of the draft document on the Renegotiation of 2009 ASUU-FGN Agreement.
Buhari jets out Turkey for summit
President Muhammadu Buhari will on Thursday leave Abuja for Istanbul, Turkey, to attend the third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit, hosted by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of the Republic of Turkey.
According to the organisers, the theme of the Summit is ‘‘Enhanced Partnership for Common Development and Prosperity’’ and the agenda includes reviewing the cooperation between African countries and Turkey since the last Summit in 2014.
This was disclosed in a statement by Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, on Thursday morning.
The third Turkey-Africa Partnership Summit is coming on the heels of President Erdogan’s recent State visit to Nigeria during which several agreements in the fields of energy, defence industry, mining and hydrocarbons were signed to expand existing bilateral ties.
The Turkish leader had during the visit to Nigeria, affirmed his commitment to immediately expand the volume of trade between the two countries to 5 billion dollars and the Nigerian delegation will seize the opportunity of the gathering in Istanbul to enhance cooperation with other partners for more trade and investment opportunities in the country.
It is expected that the Summit would provide guidelines and direction for cooperation with African countries for the next five years.
President Buhari will be accompanied on the trip by his wife, Aisha Buhari; the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Defence, Maj-Gen. Bashir Magashi (Rtd); FCT, Mohammed Bello; Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire; Agriculture, Mohammed Abubakar; Industry, Trade and Investment, Adeniyi Adebayo; the National Security Adviser, Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (Rtd); and the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Ahmed Rufai Abubakar.
The President is expected back in Abuja on Sunday, December 19.
Tackling scourge of banditry, terrorism remains Buhari’s priority Editorial– Presidency
The Presidency says that tackling the scourge of banditry and terrorism remains Federal Government’s first priority, as President Muhammadu Buhari holds the victims and their families in his thoughts and prayers.
Malam Garba Shehu, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, stated this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja while reacting to Sunday’s Daily Trust editorial: “Life has lost its value under Buhari’s Nigeria’’.
The presidential aide described the editorial as unfair comments, saying Daily Trust’s suggestion that the president exchanges violence for the support he got electorally is beneath a publication that claims any kind of political neutrality or integrity.
The statement read in part: “Given the seriousness of the issue raised by the Daily Trust today, the Office of the President would like to issue a response.
“The growing instability and violence in the North of Nigeria and elsewhere is unacceptable. No one, not least the Presidency underestimates the seriousness of the situation.
“Everyday, the President holds the victims and their families in his thoughts and prayers. Above all, he wishes to reassure them – and all Nigerians – that tackling the scourge of banditry and terrorism remains this government’s first priority.
“Sadly, in this respect, Nigeria is not unique. Violence and terror have risen steadily across the entire African continent over the last decade.
“The Economist magazine in a recent publication wrote about “The Next Afghanistan”, warning the global community of the horrifying security in our neighborhood, citing specifically the states of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
“So we understand the frustrations of the Daily Trust and Nigeria’s northern communities about the ongoing challenges of security and the Buhari administration is no less worried.
“But it is only fair to say that Nigeria’s persistent and continued efforts to suppress that instability have seen results, with the terror group Boko Haram among others reduced to a shell of its former self.
“Yet, now we Nigerians face a new threat: the worst global health crisis in living memory. Even Nigeria that proudly holds the mantle of Africa’s largest economy is not immune from the debilitating economic impact of COVID-19.’’
According to the presidential aide, the economic instability that the pandemic has wreaked has proven an effective recruitment tool for bandits and terrorists across the continent.
Shehu, however, admitted that the Daily Trust had correctly identified the source of the violence as “an amalgam of many complex issues” such as poverty and unemployment.
“It is equally right to note that, in tackling the violence, “force alone will not be enough.” It is quite wrong, however, to suggest the problem of insecurity is intractable, and more wrong still to claim apathy on the part of the government.
“So what is the government doing?
“First, our military efforts have not let up. It is true that in the face of today’s growing number of threats from Boko Haram, kidnappers and IPOB to your run-of-the-mill bandits, our forces are stretched increasingly thin. But our dedicated soldiers are working around the clock to keep Nigerians safe.
“Second, alongside military force, this government is seeking to address the violence at its economic source.
“Massive infrastructure projects like the coastal rail and new train from the southern coast through the north-east to our neighbour Niger, aim to expand employment and opportunity across the country, bringing hope to our more remote and poorer regions where bandits and terrorists thrive.
“Third, even as the West continues to extricate itself from Africa militarily, we are lobbying our Western allies aggressively for partnership, investment and support in other areas,’’ he added.
According to the media aide, such areas include proscribing Boko Haram, bandits and IPOB as terrorist groups, which will severely dent their funding; for investment in trade and infrastructure, and to help lessen economic instability.
He said the western allies needed to help the country with technical assistance, advanced weaponry, intelligence and ordinance.
“This will likely be small comfort to the families and loved ones of those already lost. But make no mistake: this is a battle we are fighting without let up.
“The Daily Trust’s suggestion that the President exchanges violence for the support he got electorally is beneath a publication that claims any kind of political neutrality or integrity.
“Now is not the time for this sort of lurid political journalism.
“Now our focus as Nigerians must be on coming together and ending the violence. As President Buhari wrote recently of the terrorists in the UK paper, The Financial Times: “We will defeat them, one highway, one rail link – and one job – at a time.”
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