Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, has assured of the party’s victory at the 2023 polls, as he led the National Assembly caucus of the All Progressives Congress (APC), to meet with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, at his official resident, Aguda House, in Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.
The Tuesday night meeting was the breaking of Ramadan fast session hosted by Vice President Osinbajo for the Senate caucus of the 9th Assembly.
Lawan, who addressed the media at the State House, said the Senate is working hard to ensure the party retains power in 2023, while he said his team of Senators wished the Vice President well in his presidential aspirations, after he briefed the Senate APC caucus about his intention to run for the office of the President in 2023.
VP Osinbajo, had, in a video posted online on Monday, declared his intention to run in the 2023 presidential election.
“We had dinner with the Vice President to break the fast and thereafter, we had a brief interaction on our government and the Vice President’s declaration to run for the president’s office.
“Naturally, the Vice President told us he had expressed his interest and that he needed to consult with the Senate APC caucus.
“He wanted us to hear from his mouth and that we did; and he was seeking our support in whatever way we can at the appropriate time; and we wished the vice-president good luck in this endeavour.
“Let me assure everyone that the Senate APC caucus and indeed, the National Assembly caucus of the APC will continue to work very hard for our great party the APC, to continue to provide services to Nigerians.
“We shall also work hard to ensure that by 2023, the next administration is an APC administration at the federal and states levels by the Grace of God,’’ Lawan said.
ASUU Strike: Group Condemns Shooting, Harassment Of Student Protesters By Nigerian Army, Says Action May Provoke Total Shutdown
A pressure group, the Fund Education Coalition, has condemned the unprovoked harassment of peaceful protesters by personnel of the Nigerian Army.
SaharaReporters earlier reported how soldiers harassed and shot at students who were protesting against the ongoing strike action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Akure.
The students were on Akure-Ilesa highway, protesting against the ASUU strike when the soldiers invaded the area and started shooting indiscriminately after which they vandalised the equipment of the protesting students.
Reacting in a statement issued by Babatimehin Asiwaju, the Fund Education Coalition on Tuesday condemned the action of the Nigerian Army, warning that it may provoke a mass movement to totally shut down all economic activities in the country.
The group which described the development as ‘disturbing’ said soldiers, by virtue of the law only have business with defending the territorial integrity of the country.
It, however, encouraged students to remain resolute in the struggle for a better Nigeria as it urged the government to ensure there is no repeat of harassment in the state and in other parts of the country.
The statement reads: “Our attention has been brought to a report circulating online wherein personnel of the Nigerian army could be seen harassing and shooting sporadically in a bid to disperse peaceful protesting students in Ondo state today.
“The protesters who are a coalition of all students in Ondo state can be seen scampering for safety while some in the process sustained injuries.
“For us at Fund Education Coalition, we find this disturbing and particularly appalling that soldiers who by virtue of the law only have business with defending the territorial integrity of the country and are barred from operating in the civil arena, are seen brutalising aggrieved students who were simply demonstrating their civil rights to freedom of assembly.
“We totally condemn this act and warn the state government to immediately swing into action and ensure there is no repeat of this ugly menace.
“We clearly understand the language with which the government, the principal element using the armed men to physically brutalise students – is speaking to Nigerian students.
“It is a message of ‘do your worst’. It is indeed the language of a bully. However, we are not a punching bag that does retain jabs without retaliation, we will surely respond in the language they understand – Mass movement to totally shut down all economic activities in the country.
“To the dogged Nigerian students in Ondo state and all across the country, who have stood their ground against the 94 days shutdown of universities, we rain a flood of solidarity greetings on you and urge that we remain indefatigable in the #EndASUUStrike struggle.
“This is a fight to finish and indeed a duty history has imposed on us that we must not avoid, no matter the consequences. Solidarity.”
ASUU had on February 14, announced a warning strike which was prolonged a month after, to allow the government to meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.
The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.
One bone of contention for the lecturers is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.
But the Nigerian Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
Restaurant Demands Compensation Almost 3 Years After Demolition Of Business Structure In Akwa Ibom
The management of a restaurant, Food Affairs Limited, located at No 1, Uyo/ Ekpene Road, in Ikot Ekpene government area of Akwa Ibom State has demanded adequate compensation for its building demolished by the state government.
The building was demolished on June 27, 2019, allegedly under the directive of a former Commissioner for Works and Fire Service in the state, Mr. Ephraim Inyangeyin.
The Managing Director of the eatery, Mr. Isidore Ebong, in a statement on Sunday titled “Ephraim Inyangeyin and his Atrocious Trespass and Malicious Destruction of Food Affairs Building,” described the demolition as inhuman.
The statement reads in part, “It is more than two years since the unlawful, ridiculous, ferocious and excruciating demolition of the Food Affairs business premises in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area, without due process and payment of compensation, about which the staff and management of the business are still traumatised while counting their losses.
“The former Commissioner for Works in Governor Udom (Emmanuel’s} first administration (2015-2019) on June 27, 2019, maliciously demolished a business building belonging to Food Affairs Limited at No.1, Uyo – Ekpene Road, Ikot Ekpene during business hours without any prior notice and/or payment of appropriate compensation.
“It was a terrible and pitiable scene as staff and customers scampered for safety, and some regrettably left their personal belongings behind as the madness continued.
“Production staff in their aprons, who never knew what happened, narrowly escaped death, almost trapped, eventually came out through the broken back fence to a neighbour’s compound as the building caved in.
“The extension of the edifice used as a bar with assorted drinks and furniture was not spared. Looters had a field day as they packed anything and everything they could lay their hands on as Ephraim gave orders to ground everything.
“To ensure the prompt destruction of first-hand evidence of the demolition, the manager of the facility who tried to take pictures of the demolition exercise was manhandled and his phone ceased on the instruction of Mr Ephraim Inyangeyen.
“Properties worth millions of naira ranging from furniture, electronics, refrigerating and air conditioning equipment, raw, semi-finished and finished food products, fittings, toys, generators, staff personal effects as well as cash were smashed by the two bulldozers that abruptly entered the premises on the command and supervision of Ephraim Inyangeyen.
“To attract public justification for this inhuman act, Inyangeyen publicly lied that former Governor, Godswill Obot Akpabio paid the sum of 150 million naira, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel paid 100 million naira and he paid 30 million naira as compensation for the same property which was marked for demolition to give way for construction of the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene Road, yet they refused to pack out of the property to enable the contractors handling the road project continue with their work.”
Ebong challenged the former commissioner to show any proof to substantiate his claims that the management of the restaurant had been compensated by the government for the demolition.
“Those who did not understand passed judgment because Mr Ephraim as a former commissioner had publicly and categorically stated how a total amount of Two Hundred and Eighty Million (N280,000,000.00) was paid while they refused to pack out.
“We, therefore, call on the federal and state governments to carry out thorough investigations into this matter and pay adequate compensation for the loss (building, materials, and business time),” he said.
Inyangeyin had reportedly questioned why the issue was being brought up about three years after the incident.
Inyangeyin described the allegation of trespass by the company as preposterous and unsubstantiated, saying the state works ministry carried out the demolition of the property and not him.
He said the road that was constructed on the site was still being enjoyed by the people of the state.
He said, “Don’t you think if Food Affairs has any complaint to make, they should have made the complaint since 2019 against the Akwa Ibom state government that did the demolition?
“Inyangeyin did not demolish their site to take the land. Why the dramatization because I am going for an election? Three years after the demolition even when I was not reappointed commissioner, what have they been doing+ They were supposed to have taken the Akwa Ibom state government to court. Inyangeyin did not do the demolition, Akwa Ibom state ministry of works did.
“I told the manager since you have refused to take your compensation to court, but if you take me to court as a person it wouldn’t hold water. So, why the drama in the media, is it going to be media judgement.
“Why did he not do this in 2019 when I was the commissioner for works? In 2020 I left the ministry of works and in 2021 I was appointed the Chief of Staff till 2022. Why is it in May because I was vying for an election that they brought the falsehood?
“They had gone to Premium Times and now SaharaReporters. The state government is sponsoring him and they think with the media, they will tarnish my name. They (government) demolished the place and constructed a road used by Akwa Ibom people.”
He asked the company whether they saw him building a house on the land, adding that when he was not reappointed after the 2019 elections, a consultant firm after evaluation of the property paid him but he refused to take their money.
“They wanted the payment in a phase that is not in my hand, I don’t make payment, I supervise road construction. When we have that kind of issue based on valuation, a payment consultant has to pay.”
He added, “The same government that owes them is now blackmailing somebody that did the demolition. One simple question the company should answer is: did Inyangeyin demolish the property to use it for himself? Did I demolish the property as Inyangeyin or as the Ministry of Works?
“Did the state government use that place to construct roads that Akwa Ibom people are using? Why did Inyangeyin demolish a property that has no value to him as a person? Is Inyangeyin the Akwa Ibom state government?”
However, all efforts to speak with the present commissioner, Professor Eno Ibanga, were unsuccessful as he did not answer his calls nor reply to text messages sent to him.