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ASUU suspends 8-Month-Old strike conditionally

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has suspended its eight-month-old strike conditionally.

The suspension of the strike follows a meeting of the leadership of the union which comprises of the chairmen of the state chapters and members of the national executive. The meeting, which took place at the ASUU National Secretariat in Abuja, started on Thursday night and ended in the early hours of Friday.

However, an official statement from union is yet to released.

ASUU’s NEC meeting was prompted by the intervention of the speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, last week on the union to call off the eight-month-old strike and, most importantly, the ruling of the Court of Appeal for the union to call off the strike.

The Appeal Court had ordered the union to call off the strike while it continues discussions with the Federal Government.

Following the Appeal Court’s intervention, the union’s national executives agreed to meet to determine the next line of action.

The suspension of the strike is a product of the decision of the state branches to respect the court ruling and give room for discussions with the federal government to continue.

ASUU has been on strike since February 14 this year.

Read also: ASUU may call off strike this week

Finance minister’s ‘debt restructuring’ comment taken out of context — DMO

The Debt Management Office (DMO) has clarified that a statement on seeking an extension of Nigeria’s loan payment by Zainab Ahmed, the minister of finance, budget and national planning, was taken out of context.

Nigeria’s debt manager issued a press statement on Thursday following the negative impact of the minister’s misrepresented statement during her recent interview on Bloomberg TV had on the Eurobond financial markets and the fears it had created in the hearts of the country’s international investors and external creditors.

“Over the years, Nigeria’s debt management strategy has always highlighted the need to utilise appropriate debt management tools to streamline the cost and risk profile in the debt portfolio,” the statement read.

“Towards implementation of these strategies, Nigeria has typically availed itself of concessional loans; the spreading out of debt maturities to avoid bunching; and re-profiling of the debt maturities by refinancing short-term debt using long-term debt instruments.

“All of these, none of which constitute debt restructuring, are already being implemented.”

The debt manager added that it’s current moves to ensure agreements on loan repayment are met.

“The Nigerian government is also looking forward to exploring other appropriate debt liability management options, such as bond buyback and bond exchanges,” DMO stated.

It maintained that the Federal Government was exploring more cost-effective ways to manage the nation’s debt liabilities and was not seeking an extension.

“We want to assure local and international investors and creditors that Nigeria remains committed and will meet all its debt obligations,” DMO said.

The office asked international investors and creditors to remain calm and understand that the country does not in any way seek to violate the terms of its agreement.

Earlier in the day, Nigeria’s Eurobonds fell in price, trading at 56.79 cents on the dollar at midday. Those are bonds having 2047 as their expiry date, having fallen from Tuesday’s 58.37 cents. Those due in 2049 and 2051 dropped as well, according to Bloomberg data.

Further investigation by a Bloomberg index which keeps tabs on government debt instruments from emerging markets showed that the country offered half a dozen of its bonds at 1,000 basis points or more than U.S. Treasuries, a level often deemed to be distressed.

AGF clarifies Court judgment on Nnamdi Kanu

Abubakar Malami, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, on Thursday clarified the judgment of the Appeal Court to discharge Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

According to statement signed by Dr. Umar Gwandu, the AGF spokesperson, Malami said that the appeal court only discharged but not acquit him.

“The Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has received the news of the decision of the Court of Appeal concerning the trial of Nnamdi Kanu,” the statement read. “For the avoidance of doubt and by the verdict of the Court, Kanu was only discharged and not acquitted.

“Consequently, the appropriate legal options before the authorities will be exploited and communicated accordingly to the public.

“The decision handed down by the court of appeal was on a single issues that borders on rendition.

“Let it be made clear to the general public that other issues that predates rendition on the basis of which Kanu jumped bail remain valid issues for judicial determination.

“The Federal Government will consider all available options open to us on the judgment on rendition while pursuing determination of pre-rendition issues.”

Labour Party to release supplementary campaign council list, removes Wabba, Osifo

Labour Party (LP) says it is set to release a supplementary list for its Campaign Council, saying that Ayuba Wabba and Festus Osifo were erroneously included.

The party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, made this known in a communique he read at the end of the Expanded National Working Committee (NWC) meeting of Labour Party in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that Abure, said that the party’s expanded NWC meeting met to review its political activities in recent time and made some resolutions.

He said that the Presidents of NLC and TUC were removed from the campaign council because they were erroneously included.

“It is in the strength of the above that the Presidential Campaign Council has been dully announced with representation across all states, tribes and faith.

“Labour Party hereby announces the endorsement of the Campaign Council; however, we acknowledge some omissions and misplacement of some names in the Council.

“This will be corrected and a supplementary list released before the inauguration of the Council.

“Also corrected is the erroneous inclusion of Nigeria Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress members in the Campaign list.”

The expanded NWC reaffirmed that the party’s National Chairman, Julius Abure, was a diligent administrator whose expertise was felt by every member of the party.

The NWC, therefore, urged him to continue with the good work of leading the party to victory come 2023.

According to him, Labour Party is fully ready to put all parameters in place to prosecute the election in 2023.

“As of moment, we are consolidating the momentum that will help us establish a new Nigeria come May 29, 2023.

“We also further make it clear that Labour Party enjoys a robust relationship with the new Campaign Council.”

Abure reiterated the party’s commitment to gender, youth and social inclusion in all facets of its operations.

He added that the NWC in session condemned, in strong terms, the incessant attack on Labour Party members and supporters during peaceful solidarity marches.

This, he said, occurred in Kano, Kaduna, Plateau, Enugu, Ebonyi and Katsina where thugs of other political parties and some nefarious elements of the Ebubeagu vigilante in Imo State and Ebonyi attacked LP members.

India tells Gambia it is probing childrens’ deaths linked to India-made drugs

New Delhi is “seriously investigating” the deaths of 69 children in Gambia in the wake of a report that provisionally linked the fatalities to Indian-made products, the South Asian nation’s foreign minister told his Gambian counterpart on Thursday.

According to Reuters, the Indian health authorities announced a production halt at domestic company Maiden Pharmaceuticals’s factory in Sonepat in northern India on Wednesday after a WHO report said its cough and cold syrups might be linked to the deaths of 69 children in Gambia.

The matter “is being seriously investigated by appropriate authorities,” India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar said in a tweet.

The deaths, the worst involving drugs made in India, are a blow to an industry whose exports more than doubled in the last decade to hit $24.5 billion in the fiscal year through March.

Known as a “pharmacy of the world”, India supplies 45% of all generic medicines to Africa.

The WHO issued a medical product alert last week asking regulators to remove Maiden goods from the market.

The U.N. health agency said that laboratory analysis of four Maiden products – Promethazine Oral Solution, Kofexmalin Baby Cough Syrup, Makoff Baby Cough Syrup and Magrip N Cold Syrup – had “unacceptable” amounts of diethylene glycol and ethylene glycol, which can be toxic and cause acute kidney injury.

Indian authorities suspended the company’s manufacturing activities after inspecting its main factory in Haryana state, finding rules were violated “across its manufacturing and testing activities”.

Maiden, which has two other factories in the state, has an annual production capacity of 2.2 million syrup bottles, 600 million capsules, 18 million injections, 300,000 ointment tubes and 1.2 billion tablets at its Haryana factories, according to its website.