The Academic Staff Union of Universities(ASUU) has split as lecturers from five universities formed a new body called Congress of University Academics (CONUA). They made the announcement on saturday in Ile-Ife. They are promising a more stable academic calendar for the varsities in the country.
Major Nigerian Newspapers have more on this story:
Punch Newspaper: Faction emerges in ASUU, lecturers attack varsity heads
The 41-year-old Academic Staff Union of Universities has split with the formation of a new union, the Congress of University Academics.
Lecturers from five universities in the country announced the formation of CONUA in Ile-Ife on Saturday. The lecturers, who unveiled the new union, were from the Federal University, Lokoja, Kogi State; Kwara State University, Malete; Ambrose Ali University Expoma, Edo State; Federal University, Oye-Ekiti and Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife.
But ASUU President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, in an interview with The PUNCH on Sunday said the union was not aware of any splinter group. Ogunyemi said some vice-chancellors, who were rebuked for high-handedness, were encouraging members of the union in their institutions to rebel.
‘We’ll ensure stable academic calendar’
Addressing journalists during the first stakeholders’ meeting of the new group at the OAU, CONUA National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sumonu, explained that the new group was formed because of the need for new approach in handling issues affecting universities across the country.
Sumonu said the first mandate of the new union was to ensure a stable academic calendar in order to improve quality of education in the country’s ivory towers. He said, “For standard of education to be very high, we need a stable academic calendar. We need to be able to predict academic session. We need to have innovation which is difficult without continuity. “We also need to be in tune with modern realities. Our union will approach the matter of engagement with all stakeholders in an engaging manner to have a common ground for moving forward.”
We are not anti-govt –New union
“Our union is not anti-government, if government and by extension, administrators of universities are doing well, we will let the world know and we will quickly knock them, provide alternative constructive criticism and take them to task where they are not doing well. “We will not wait for them to make mistakes before we intervene. We have vision and will provide ahead what can be done to have better results. If that is done we are sure we will have a better way to move forward.
“Members believe we should have alternative ways of solving problems. Members have been contributing very well to the finance of the union. When we fulfill and do all that we need to do, financial constraints will be forgotten. “We have been at this for over three years in Ife. We have been waxing stronger and members from other universities have been experiencing what we experienced here, hence, the decision to come together to form a national union,” Sumonu added.
Asked if the union was not out to rival ASUU, the flagship umbrella body for lecturers, CONUA National Publicity Secretary, Dr Nwoke Earnest, explained that another key objective of the group was to “redefine academic unionism in Nigeria and is not ready to take issue with any union.” He explained that CONAU would prefer to proffer solutions to issues before they become problematic, adding that the essence of forming the group was to enhance interaction with the educational system without being confrontational but through a synergy that would involve all stakeholders.
Some VCs determined to split our union –ASUU
The ASUU National President, Ogunyemi, said some lecturers who were sanctioned by the union about two years ago had decided to kick against the sanctions by forming a parallel group. Ogunyemi said, “I don’t know that group that they are talking about. What happened at OAU was that there were some people we sanctioned two years back; those people that acted contrary to the letters and spirit of our constitution. We sanctioned them and they decided to kick against the sanctions.
“Some of them agreed to serve the punishment and they have since rejoined the union. But those who do not want to serve the terms of punishment are now saying they will join forces with some individuals who have issues with the union. “As far as we know, that is what they have been trying to do and we have been on that for about two years now. What I know is that whether in Ife, Oye Ekiti or Lokoja, we know that some vice-chancellors are encouraging rebellion against the union. Particularly in Oye Ekiti and Lokoja, we have issues with their VCs because of the way they are running their universities. “ASUU has had reasons to complain publicly about the high-handedness of the VCs. Those VCs expectedly will want to take it out on the union and encourage that kind of rebellious attitude.”
FG sets up panel to vet CONUA’s application
On his part, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, said the Federal Government was looking at the application submitted by CONUA. Although the minister confirmed the group was not registered yet, he noted that he had asked a committee to look into the application.
The Minister of Labour and Employment in a telephone interview on Sunday, said, “They (the new union) are not registered yet. Their application is with the ministry. It has not been treated. We will look at it. We are still looking at their application. I have asked a committee to look at it. “When we look at the committee report, we will see. The application came since April. It is passing through a process.”
‘We have no hand in ASUU faction’
The Federal Ministry of Education said it had no hand in the formation or running of any parallel union under the ministry. The Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Mr Ben Goong, said this in an interview with our correspondent.
He said, “That matter about a new union has not come to the ministry yet. But the fundamental principle is that the ministry does not have any hand and will not have any hand in the formation and running of any union. “On the issue of whether we will recognise it; everyone has a right to form a union. The recognition by the ministry is immaterial. But like I said, this is coming to us for the first time. When it comes to us officially, the ministry will look at that administratively and deal with it.”
Guardian Newspaper: Fresh controversy over Abalaka’s HIV cure claims
Fresh claims by Dr. Jeremiah Ojonemi Alabi Abalaka have stoked a two-decade-old controversy over a Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) vaccine that can cure not just the dreaded disease but also Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV).
Abalaka, in a WhatsApp and YouTube video that has gone viral, accused the United States and the Western world of taking advantage of Nigeria and people living with HIV/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) by selling “toxic” drugs for the treatment of the disease and at a very exorbitant price. According to him, the Western world is not interested in a cure for HIV. It only seeks a ready market for its drugs that “do not provide cure but damage the patient’s organ because of adverse side effects.” The surgeon-turned immunologist however said that with a few kobos, he could cure many Nigerians of the virus and save the nation millions of dollars “wasted” yearly on procuring Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) from the West.
Abalaka told The Guardian: “I infected myself with HIV 20 years ago and today, I do not have HIV. I have a cure for HCV, HBV and HIV, not AIDS. The Western world has failed to find a cure for HIV after 35 years. They do not want to lose the global market for ARVs. I can cure HIV in a newly infected patient in five weeks, with the patient’s blood extracted and put back into the person within two hours…” A report detailing Abalaka’s controversial “cure” for HIV, as well as a vaccine that prevents infection with the virus, has been published in a scientific journal, Vaccine.
According to a September 2004 article, the “cure” or therapeutic vaccine was developed from the blood of HIV patients. Abalaka claims it cleared the deadly virus from 20 people with HIV. (A therapeutic vaccine aims to bolster the immune response of a person already infected with a disease, to reduce or stop progression.) Abalaka says further that his therapeutic vaccine eliminated antibodies for Hepatitis B and C viruses from the blood of co-infected HIV-positive patients and improved symptoms of malaria in a handful of patients. He claims he has tested his cure on almost 4000 HIV positive patients over six years and had used himself as a guinea pig for both therapeutic and preventive vaccines. To test the preventive vaccine, he says he inoculated himself before injecting himself with HIV-positive blood on six separate occasions. He claims he did not contract the virus. He then tested the vaccine on about 300 HIV-negative people, saying none has yet developed the infection, as far as he knows.
Abalaka’s claim of a cure for HIV started in 1999. But the Federal Government shut him down. His work had caused a huge controversy, and altercations especially with the ministry of health. In 2015, however, after 16 years of legal tussle, Abalaka won a court case against the Federal Government’s ban on his vaccine. His claims, however, have divided the medical sector. A school of thought, led by the President, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) Dr. Segun Olaopa, told The Guardian: “The government should listen to him and let us have some local approach to some world problems. He might just have some answers to the scientific problem.” But another, led by the President, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Francis Adedayo Faduyile, said, “I find some of the pronouncements not in line with orthodox medicine because in orthodox medicine, there are guidelines for getting treatment and they must be strictly adhered to.”
According to Faduyile, “In the history of the world, it is not accepted to use human beings as guinea pigs. It is after it has passed through all the necessary stages that it can then be registered and given to human beings at the approximate dose. Any orthodox medical practitioner knows that pathway. You cannot have a drug and only you know what is in it, how it works and the dosage. “I doubt if it is running to the media, government and National Assembly that makes that discovery acceptable. That is not known to the scientific world. I call on the public to be wary of such pronouncements. We have had so many and I think it is important to stress that it is not scientific, not orthodox and not the right way of doing things.”
Also, a specialist medical microbiologist and immunologist, Dr. Abiodun Osiyemi, said the HIV Vaccine (‘Triple Cure Viral Vaccine’) by Dr. Abalaka is a scam and not a cure. According to him, “This claim about the action of the vaccine is false and purely propaganda. The Federal Government, Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) must stop the mortalities being caused by the spurious vaccine now.”
Osiyemi who has worked with the Immunology Unit, British Medical Research Council, The Gambia, under the leadership of Prof. Hilton Whittle, was part of the first team to conduct studies on the Chemokinetics and Chemodynamics of Abalaka’s HIV Vaccine, AZT and 3TC on HIV 1 and HIV2.He said: “I dismissed the vaccine as fake since 2000. But it is very sad that the case is resurfacing as a viral video clip 19 years later. The vaccine is unwholesome and not suitable for human treatment especially because there is no approval, regulation or control of its administration on people. “Very sadly, this vaccine led to hundreds of deaths in 2000-2001. Google my name and Abalaka’s and you will see how I was involved in preventing further genocide through enlightening people that the vaccine is fake.“This is the time for the Federal Government to act, to prevent the administration of unwholesome vaccines into human beings just any how in the 21st Century.”
Saladin Osmanov, acting coordinator of the joint World Health Organisation (WHO)/Joint United Nations Programme on AIDS (UNAIDS) HIV vaccine initiative, warned that Abalaka’s vaccine has not been evaluated under the strict protocols required, and that his work has not been independently reviewed by experts. But the editor of Vaccine, Ray Spier, defended his decision to publish Abalaka’s findings in an editorial accompanying the report, saying: “Time is short and the prevailing situation demands action.” He said the findings were published as a report and not a peer-reviewed research paper, though Spier himself had assessed the work.
Sun Newspaper: Forces plot Osinbajo’s exit
Forces against Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, are reportedly considering giving him the ‘Onnoghen’ treatment. In addition to pushing for Osinbajo’s investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commssion (EFCC), the forces are reportedly insisting that the vice president should account for Social Investment Programme (SIP) funds which were under his supervision before the general election.
In January, a non-governmental organisation, Anti-Corruption and Research-Based Data Initiative (ARDI) forwarded a petition to the Code of Conduct Bureaun(CCB), wherein it detailed fraud allegations against then Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen. ARDI Executive Secretary, Dennis Aghanya, explained then that his petition against Onnoghen was to save Nigeria from collapse and that his organisation commenced investigation against him in 2018. That was the plank upon which Onnoghen was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. On October 3, the Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) charted a similar path when it called on the EFCC to probe Osinbajo in an alleged N90 billion released to him by the Federal Inland Revenue Service for the elections.
In the petition, CHRICED said the allegations were quite weighty and worrisome. The petition signed by Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi reads: “On the basis of this express declaration from the president, to the effect that public funds will not be deployed to fund electioneering purpose of the ruling party, the Nigerian people believed and trusted the president’s pledge. “However, the claims by Timi Frank imply that the ruling party did not adhere to the directives of the president on his proclaimed non-use of public funds to prosecute the election in favour of the ruling party. “If these allegations are proven to be true, it would also mean that the campaign finance legislation governing the electoral process, as enshrined in the Electoral Act 2010 as amended, had been flagrantly violated. “As a former Deputy Publicity Secretary of the ruling party with the benefit of wide contacts in the seat of power, Timi Frank could as well be privy to information, which the rest of us may not know. “As such, only a meticulous investigation of these claims will bring the truth to life.
“In the light of these developments and their implications for the legitimacy of the government, and by extension the anti-corruption crusade, CHRICED calls for a robust, painstaking and thorough investigation of these claims with a view to verifying whether they are true or false. This step from your honourable Commission is critical, and will help clear the air, and douse the suspicion, which the allegations have precipitated since they began circulating. “If the vice president is culpable as these allegations claim, then he should be made to face the consequences of such culpability. “However, if the claimant making the allegations is found to be deceiving the public, appropriate steps should be taken to hold him to account; in line with the rule of law.”
It was gathered that although the vice president has “no problem with his boss,” the forces against Osinbajo are insisting that his role in the Federal Government-backed SIP must be investigated. A source privy to the plot added: “At an interactive session with women in the Presidential Villa, early this year, it was the First Lady, Aisha Buhari, who raised the alarm that the federal government SIP was a failure in the North. The first lady even said that the SIP failed in the state of the SSA to the president, in charge of the programme. These and other allegations about SIP funds are being bandied about, against the VP. “There is a formal petition before the EFCC. They must act on it.”
Daily Sun’s efforts, yesterday, to ascertain what EFCC is doing about the petition yielded no result. Telephone calls and text messages to EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, went unanswered. Regardless, two weeks ago, the vice president met with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CN), where he dismissed the fraud allegations as “politics of 2023.” Daily Sun gathered that at the meeting held at Akinola Agudu House, inside the Presidential Villa, Osinbajo insisted there was “no N90 billion anywhere,” and that he is ready to defend his integrity anywhere.