The Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria (MMWG) has condemned the lingering ASUU/FG Crisis and called on ASUU and Federal Government to shift ground with a view of paving way to resolve the crisis in the interest of the citizens of this Nation.
In a Press Release issued in Abuja today and signed the Group’s National Coordinator Mal. Ibrahim Abdullahi, the Group commented on three issues. The issues are – the ASUU Strike, Granting of Bail for serious economic crimes and Plea Bargaining.
On ASUU strike, the Group said that the hardline posture of ASUU and Federal Government cannot help matters. It appealed to ASUU to show more patriotism by calling-off the strike since the Federal Government has accepted the new pay platform introduced by it i.e. UTAS with marginal increase in salaries of ASUU Members stating that that should not be the end of the matter as negotiations for better pay and fulfilment of other parts of 2009 Agreement could continue.
The Group also called on Federal Government to be magnanimous by waving the ‘No work, No Pay’ Policy on this particular ASUU strike pointing out that the matter is now delicate and cannot be resolved by any hardline stance; adding that the striking Lecturers be paid their outstanding salaries to date as soon as they resume duty so that Lectures could commence pointing-out that seven months strike of ASUU is creating economic hardship for some Nigerians and it is reversing the educational gains already achieved.
As Parents themselves, the Group said, ASUU supposed to give consideration to the economic hardship created by its strike and resolve the crisis by ‘bending a little’ to get the matter resolved by resuming duties latest by Monday 29th August, 2022 so that the FG could order payment of their outstanding salaries, give go ahead to UTAS Pay Platform and negotiation for other demand could continue after resumption of Lectures.
Meanwhile, the Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria in the same Press Statement today, called FG and National Assembly to making serious economic crimes unbailable and to abolish ‘Plea Bsrgaining’ in the Nation’s Administration of Criminal Justice (ACJ) System.
Reflecting deeply on serious economic crimes being committed in Nigeria, the Group said it believes that as long as all serious economic crimes remain bailable so long would corruption, economic crimes and insecurity pervades the Nigerian System. It maintained that corruption strives in Nigeria because of the weak process of our judicial administration and law governing crimes being committed adding that these have been causes of insecurity, economic hardship and poverty ravaging the Nation.
It calls on the Federal Government and the Nigerian Law Reforms Commission to immediately set a bar for serious economic crime exceeding N250 million adding that suspects for such crimes should remain in detention until the case is finally disposed. Granting bail for serious economic crimes apart from depleting The Nation’s Treasury, gives opportunity to suspects to influence judicial process in various ways and to finally set themselves free through such influence.
On Plea Bargaining, the Group described it as a provision in our Criminal Justice System that encourages corruption and economic crimes which allows a suspect to refund certain part of the loots and ‘go home with the balance’ adding that this is the reason why some Public Officers and Functionaries swindle the Nation and various State Governments believing that ‘the huge amounts stolen’ would pay them in the long-run as ‘ Plea Bargaining ‘ is there for them ‘to let them go’.
The Group regretted that many people had been set free through Plea Bargaining process adding that this is one of the reasons for our present economic problems. For example, a looter of N100 Billion could offer to pay back N65 Billion, then the case is terminated if paid, and the looter goes home with N35 Billion – who is the loser? ….The Nation i.e. the masses who owns the commonwealth.
MMWG therefore maintain that no anti-corruption fight would succeed in any Country that allows this questionable law to operate. It therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari for immediate action to make high economic crimes unbailable and scrap ‘Plea Bargaining’.
Ibrahim Abdullahi, FCIPM
Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria
23rd August, 2022 CE
21st Muharram, 1444 AH