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* * VOLUME 26 NO. 250



... Since 1988

Jonathan unveils Nigeria’s first indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle RESIDENT Goodluck P Jonathan yesterday in Kaduna unveiled the country’s first indigenous unmanned aerial vehicle, GULMA, designed and constructed by the Nigerian Air Force. Speaking at the ceremony, Jonathan said that the unveiling of the vehicle marked another landmark moment in the nation’s history. He said that besides its diverse military application, the vessel would provide a range of benefits in disaster management, MoU… (L-r)National President, Association of Master Bakers, Sir. Simon Abanulor, Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, Managing Director,Bank of Industry, Ms. Evelyn Oputu, and Executive Director, Business Development, Bank of Industry, Waheed Olagunju, during the signing of MoU on Cassava Bread Fund between Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Bank of Industry (BOI) held in Abuja yesterday.

Senate to APC: No plan to impeach Jonathan


•Summons Service Chiefs

ASUU suspends 6 months old strike

six months old industrial TtheHEaction embarked upon by Academic Staff Union of

Universities (ASUU) has been suspended. This is even as Federal Government yesterday restated its commitment to implement all the items of the resolutions reached with ASUU which led



to the suspension of the strike by the union yesterday. National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Isa Fagge, announced the suspension of the strike Continues on Pg 6


2015: INEC places fresh hurdles before parties NDEPENDENT National Iyesterday Electoral Commission (INEC) said that the result


of both Presidential and Governorship elections will be based on numbers of valid vote cast. Also, the electoral body proposed in what looks like a fresh hurdle for political parties that for political parties to enjoy recognition, it will be good for them to have unspecified number of seats at the state Assembly and Continues on Pg 6

Begin strike, NMA orders doctors

•We’ll implement resolutions —FG


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IGERIAN Medical Association (NMA) has directed its members nationwide to proceed with the planned action for the withdrawal of service from today (Wednesday) over the

collapse in the health sector. NMA had earlier issued ultimatum to Federal Government to fix the health sector services in the country or face industrial action at the expiration of the ultimatum. Continues on Pg 6


Senate to APC: No plan to impeach Jonathan

COSMAS EKPUNOBI, Abuja ENATE yesterday declared that it has no plan to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan, even as the Upper House dismissed as ‘utter rubbish‘ the recent demand by All Progressive Congress (APC), asking the National Assembly to sack the president. Senate also yesterday summoned the Service chiefs to appear before it today (Wednesday) to brief the lawmakers on the security situation in the land. Senate in another reaction yesterday also said that it may review the renewed emergency rule in the Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states after six months in accordance with the 1999 constitution. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had on Monday explained why it may conduct election in the 2015 in the three states that


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yesterday during a media briefing held at the Federal University of Technology (FUT) Minna, after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, adding that all publicly owned universities in the country are to resume work with effect from yesterday, Tuesday, December 17, 2013. “NEC resolved to suspend the strike embarked upon on the 1st July 2013, with effect from Tuesday December 17th, 2013 and directs its branches to resume work forthwith,” Fagge said:. He also said the NEC took into cognisance reports from its National Secretariat and branches on the on-going strike which commenced on July 1, 2013, and resolved to accept the resolutions signed between ASUU and Federal Government on December 11, 2013. According to him” with the resolve to suspend the strike, the union will facilitate the inauguration of the ImplementationandMonitoring Committee on the Report of the Needs Assessment of Nigerian Universities and ensure faithful compliance to the Needs Assessment Report”. Fagge maintained that NEC resolved that ASUU-FGN agreement of 2009 should have a deliberate legislative framework so as to address Continued from Pg 1

The association in the ultimatum drew the attention of the government to other issues bordering on workplace conditions and injustice meted out to doctors in their conditions of service and funding/ infrastructural and equipment upgrade of the health sector. The association said for over five months now, it has recurrently engaged the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Health, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, on issues bordering on some health sector challenges, workplace conditions and the conditions of service of doctors.

are currently under state of emergency. Chairman of the commission, Prof, Jega, in a submission to the Senate Committee on Electoral Matters, said that the commission may not conduct the general election in the three states if the security challenges in them fail to abate before 2015. But Senate in reaction yesterday said it may review the situation after six months to ascertain the level of insecurity or otherwise in the said states. The service chiefs are expected to brief the Senate in closed session today on the security situation in the land especially in the three states under emergency rule. Chairman of the Senate Committee on Information and Media, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, at a news briefing yesterday said: “In fact, part of the briefing that we are going to get tomorrow (today) from

the service chiefs will also be along this line of knowing what is the state of the security situation in all parts of the country is. “So, I don’t think that it will be right, at this time, to speculate on what is going to come forth in a year’s time because we know and we assume that things must have had stabilised by that time”. The opposition party was reported to have asked the lawmakers to commence impeachment proceedings against the president on account of the recent letter to the president by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. But the Senate in what looked like its official reaction yesterday insisted that such call was utter rubbish’. Spokesman of the Senate told journalists yesterday that Senate has no plan to impeach President Jonathan. Though he did not comment on the said letter to the president by Chief


on all-round education that will enable them compete with the rest of the world,” the ASUU President said. Fagge, who was optimistic that his members would do their best to keep their own side of the bargain, urged Federal Government to remain resolute in the implementation of resolutions reached and signed with his union, especially in the area of victimisation. “It is our hope that government will honour these resolutions as signed that nobody shall be victimised in any way whatsoever for his/her role in the process leading to these resolution and agreement,”he said. Meanwhile, Federal Government yesterday reistated its commitment to implementation of all the items of the resolutions reached with ASUU which led to the suspension of the strike yesterday. Supervising Minister of Education, Barrister Nyesom Wike, stated this while reacting to the suspension of the over five months industrial action by ASUU, reiterating the commitment of the Federal Government to the revival of Nigerian universities. This was contained in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Simeon Nwakaudu.

the challenges facing Nigerian universities. Continuing, Fagge said ”the union hoped that all the provisions of the extant agreements for the revitalisation of the University system will immediately focus on the policy and legislative needs”. He thanked Nigerians and all stakeholders for their understanding and support during the strike and stressed that the union has resolved to go extra miles to cover the five months of non-academic activities. “We have undertaken to go back to the classroom, laboratories, etc, to do our best for our students, their parents and our country. “We are going back to rekindle the motivation and aspiration in our members to strive to encourage our students to excel, all in the expectation that government will sincerely honour its’ own part of the bargain”. “We are returning to classes with the firm hope that parents will take actual interests in their children’s conditions of learning and living. We expect parents to actively demand better funding, better living conditions, better laboratories, better freedom for their children, in order to get


It recalled that on the September 2, 2013, it issued a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address the issues tabled by it. The association in a statement signed by the President, Osahon Enabulele however said, based on the understanding reached following the intervention of the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Emeka Wogu, it decided to extend her ultimatum by four weeks at her emergency National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held in Abuja on September 22, 2013. It further noted that

following the expiration of the additional four weeks grace granted to the Federal Government, it again magnanimously extended twice the ultimatum on account of the Government’s constitution of a Presidential Committee and promise to speedily resolve the issues contained in the requests of the NMA. But in a statement yesterday, the association regretted that since the report of the Presidential Committee was submitted to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, only the re-constitution and inauguration of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria has been achieved.

Obasanjo, but Abaribe said “Senate reaction to the APC call to impeach the president was ‘utter rubbish”. Meanwhile, there were indications yesterday that the president may present the 2014 budget to the joint session of the National Assembly before the Christmas break. The president had twice shelved the presentation of the budget to the lawmakers on account of the inability of the two chambers to harmonize

their positions on the proposed crude oil benchmark for the 2014 fiscal estimate. The conference committee of the two chambers had last week adjourned session indefinitely following the ability of the two chambers to agree on the benchmark for the budget. Spokesman of the Senate at news briefing yesterday confirmed that the conference has decided to resume discussion on the benchmark, adding that the Senate will be

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power line surveys and law enforcement. Jonathan said that the vehicle would also be useful in aerial imaging/mapping, telecommunications and weather monitoring. ``It is also rapidly becoming an important tool in news coverage, environmental monitoring, and oil and gas exploration. ``Considering the potential impact of its benefit and versatility, I cannot but say how proud I am of the men and women of our Armed Forces. ``Apart from their commitment to the protection of our sovereignty, they are helping to keep our nation ahead in military science and technology and to keep their civilian counterparts on their toes. ``Today, as we stand in appreciation of the gallant men and women of our Air Force, we are reminded that hard work and diligence can break many barriers,’’ he said. Jonathan commended the Chief of Air Staff and all officers and men of the Nigerian Air Force for the Continued from Pg 1

National Assembly. Chairman of INEC, Professor Attairu Jega, who presented the commission proposal, also demanded absolute freedom, saying that the commission should not be receiving suggestions from anybody in the country. Jega said that such amendments would guarantee the commission additional independence and protection from external influence. This is even as the Senate President, Senator David Mark, said that Nigeria’s Electoral System still contains some shortcomings which must be addressed. Prof. Jega, Chairman of INEC, who elaborated more on the proposed amendments to the Constitution during a retreat in Abuja yesterday organised by the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, on the Electoral Act Amendment, said that although the commission more than any other electoral body in the world has enjoined commendable independence, amending Section 158 of the 1999 constitution by adding

achievement, noting that it would strengthen the country. He said it would also enhance the nation’s role in peace keeping and conflict prevention. The president said he was optimistic that this stride by the Nigerian Air Force would mark a turning point for indigenous technology in every sector of the nation’s life. ``Let me assure the Air Force of the Federal Government’s support for this and all other research projects. ``We will encourage and assist private sector concerns to key into mass production of the project to achieve the highest and best commercial use of this prototype Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. ``As I said in my Independence Day address, our nation is made great by the big and small efforts of regular citizens. ``Indeed, indigenous initiatives remain indispensable in achieving national greatness. ``To retain the country’s

INEC an additional clause 3 to the existing two clauses will provide addition independence and guarantee non interference in the operations of INEC. Jega said that the additional clause should read that: “INEC must not be subjected to the direction or control of any other person or body with regards to its operations”. Another amendment, he said, is on sequence of election and timing of elections. He suggested that section 76 (1) of the constitution should amended to read that elections to the National and State Assemblies shall be held on a date to be announced by INEC. He also added that considering some lacuna in the provisions of the 1999 Constitution, it is imperative to spell out whose duty it is to notify INEC of existing vacancies in either the State House of Assembly or the National Assembly as opposed to the present provision where the constitution is silent on the matter.



ready to receive the budget from the president even on ‘Sunday’. Said he: “The conference committee on MTEF/PSF that had adjourned sine dine last week because of differences between the Senate and the House of Representatives with regard to the benchmark. We will reconvene at 3pm today and hopefully, we will resolve the matter. “Of course, resolution of the matter also means the country will be in a position to receive the budget from Mr. President. This is what I can confirm”. importance on the global stage, we must continue to produce leaders in science, technology, and engineering, and invest more in ideas,’’ the president said. In his remark, Supervising Minister of Defence Labaran Maku said the development of a surveillance aircraft by the Nigerian Air Force was a bold statement of government’s resolve to provide security for the Nigerian populace. Maku, who is the Minister of Information, said that the GULMA UAV would potentially afford the armed forces a window of immense opportunities in its task of acquiring timely intelligence and combating criminality. ``Although the UAV was a brainchild of the Nigerian Air Force, it is important that other services and security agencies incorporate it into their operations, if its potential is to be fully harnessed. ``There is therefore, the need for a comprehensive policy on UAV acquisition and operation to optimise the employment of GULMA UAV by all services and security agencies,’’ he said.

Prof. Jega suggested that “the speaker of either of the legislative houses should be given the prerogative to notify the commission within seven days of existing vacancy resulting from the death or resignation of a member. If the law is clear on this, we will make a lot of progress.” Jega also expressed concern on the stand on the constitution on the disqualification of persons who do not meet the prescribed criteria to contest elections. According to him, “the constitution as it is today has no right to disqualify unqualified persons from contesting an election. This should be addressed. INEC should be empowered to disqualify candidates if it is proved that such candidate is unqualified for the position he or she is vying for, and that the commission shall notify the political party of that candidate on the grounds of his/ her disqualification. The INEC boss also made case for the inclusion of Nigerians in the Diaspora to able to vote during elections as according to him, that has become the norm globally.

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