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ASUU/FG Faceoff: NANS threatens shutdown of major airports

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ASUU/FG Faceoff: NANS threatens shutdown of major airports

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Zone D, on Monday, threatened to shut down major airports if the face-off between the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government continued.

NANS South West Zone Coordinator, Mr Adegboye Olatunji, made this known in Abuja on Monday, at a protest to the All Progressive Congress (APC) Secretariat in solidarity with Gov. Dapo Abiodun of Ogun to run for a second term.

Also read: ASUU Strike: NANS protests in Ekiti

Olatunji said that it was time both parties came together to resolve the issues leading to the strike as students were at the receiving end.

“We are planning to block government organisations that generate money for them if the ASUU issue is not resolved.

“We have been protesting on this issue by occupying major roads in the South West but we believe if we ground airports, the government will do something about the strike,” he said.

Olatunji said that the student body had dissociated itself from Abiodun’s prosecution and disqualification from contesting the 2023 elections.

He said Abiodun’s education policy remained enviable in the South West region because he’s coming on board had helped in the resuscitation of some tertiary institutions in the state.

“Their call for prosecution and disqualification of Gov. Abiodun from running for the second time in office through their petition to the EFCC copied to the National Chairman of the APC is nothing but a ruse that cannot stand the test of time.

“We wish to advise them and their sponsors of this unwarranted political venture to follow the right channels through legal means to prove their allegations as their claims are nothing but a figment of imagination.

“As students’ leaders from South West, we can state unequivocally that the way and manner Abiodun is conducting the affairs of Ogun has hitherto improved the standard of living of all residents in the State.

“And of great concern to us as students is the improvement in the standard of education in Ogun State. His adherence to rule of law in managing the affairs of the state is highly remarkable to us as young people,” he said.

Olatunji, however, said that the student body passed a vote of confidence on the governor for his commitment and sacrifices toward education development in the state.

Also speaking on the alleged N80 billion fraud by the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr. Ahmed Idris, NANS Joint Campus Committee (JCC) Chairman, Mr. Damilola Kehinde said the alleged fraud was a slap on the integrity of the country when students were at home due to the ASUU strike.

Kehinde said that the educational sector was suffering as the country was not able to implement the UN recommendation of 26 per cent budget on education.

“We have been at the forefront of the ASUU struggle ever since it commenced, we have shut down most of the federal roads in southwest agitating that the Federal Government listen to the plight of ASUU.

“We have not kept our sword in fighting for the lecturers and the generality of the students.

“If government officials or politicians can upgrade themselves every three months spending billions of naira for wardrobe allowances, I don’t think it is wrong to also equip our academics.

“What ASUU is clamouring for is not up to what a single person is embezzling.

I think it is high time the government has to rise by using some of these persons as a deterrent to others,” he said.

The newsmen report that inscriptions such as ‘Moving Ogun Forward’, we need Dapo Abiodun, Dapo Abiodun, a silent achiever, Dapo Abiodun, the people’s choice’, among others were written on the placard during the protest.

 

Education

Afolabi Foundation To Award 2000 Scholarship In 2024, Donates Furniture To Abia School

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Afolabi Foundation To Award 2000 Scholarship In 2024, Donates Furniture To Abia School

The Ajoke Ayisat Afolabi Foundation (AAAF), the philanthropic arm of SIFAX Group, has set a target of awarding a scholarship to 2,000 indigent students nationwide in 2024.

Foluke Ademokun, Executive Coordinator, AAAF, while speaking on the activities of the non-governmental organisation in the first quarter of this year, noted that the driving force behind this initiative was to support indigent parents and tackle the menace of out-of-school children.

She said: “We are focused on helping the government reduce the number of out-of-school children, so in our way, we have provided a platform where we source and pay for school fees of indigent students across Nigeria so they can access quality education, despite the financial circumstance of their parents or guardians and we have been doing this since the inception of the Foundation about 15 years ago. Thousands of underprivileged children have benefitted from the Foundation.

“In the first quarter of 2024, we have paid for over 237 students in Lagos and Zaria and we are optimistic that before the end of the year, we should reach more than 2,000 students. The Foundation also plans to equip the students with in-demand skills, promote life-long learning opportunities, and reduce inequalities in access to quality education.”

Ademokun further said the foundation also extended support to Umunna Comprehensive Secondary School, Umuosu in Isiala Ngwa North Local Government Area of Abia State with the donation of 3-in-1 desks and seats to foster a good learning environment that would impact the student’s overall learning experience and success.

 “When we visited the school and we saw that the environment was not conducive for learning especially the tables and desks used by the students, we knew that an intervention was necessary to make the school attractive for the students, this was why we initiated this donation of new desks and seats. We believe that the students will be motivated and better engaged with the new desks and seats”, she noted.

Other projects executed by the Foundation and SIFAX Group in the first quarter of the year, according to Ademokun, include the provision of daily meals for indigents in Zaria, donation of foodstuffs to over 1,000 Lagos residents, free medical outreaches in Lagos and Ogun states, digital training for market women in Lagos, distribution of energy-efficient stoves to women in Abia state, and start-up grants to women in Zaria, Kaduna state. 

While commenting on the various projects, Basil Agboarumi, Executive Director, Corporate and Governmental Affairs, SIFAX Group noted that the Group was committed to investing in the underprivileged Nigerians through its various intervention projects aimed at improving their quality of life.

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Education

Lion Kills OAU Zoo Attendant 

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…Lion killed instantly 

Mr Olawuyi Olarewaju, a veterinary technologist with Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun,  has been killed by a Lion.

It was learnt that Olarewaju, who had been in charge of the OAU Zoological Garden for over a decade, was attacked by a nine -year-old male lion on Monday.

He was said to have been attacked while feeding the lion at the zoological garden of the university.

Confirming the incident, Mr Biodun Olarewaju, the OAU Public Relations Officer, said the management of the university had been thrown into mourning following the incident.

Olarewaju, in a statement in Ile-Ife, said that other members of staff of the university, who were at the scene of the incident did everything within their powers to rescue the deceased but the wild cat had already caused severe fatalities.

He said that saddened by the tragic event, the aggressive lion had been euthanized.

“On hearing the sad news, the management team, led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Adebayo Bamire, abruptly ended an on-going meeting for an on-the-spot assessment.

“The vice chancellor was informed on arrival by the Acting Director of the University Health and Medical Centre, Dr Tirimisiyu Olatunji, that all first aid and medical efforts to save the life of the victim failed.

“The deceased has been taking care of the lions since they were born on campus about nine years ago but tragically, the male lion killed the man who had been feeding them.

“The university management has sent a delegation to the widow and children of the deceased,    imploring them to take solace in God who gives life and also has the power to take life,” he said.

Olarewaju said that the management had ordered a comprehensive investigation into the immediate and remote causes of the incident.

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Education

ASUU Says 46 Members Lost Their Lives To Economic Hardship

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abuja zone, has disclosed the death of some of its members due to economic hardship alongside poor remuneration of academics and unfavourable working conditions.

The 1st zonal coordinator, ASUU, Abuja zone, Salahu Muhammed made this known while briefing newsmen in Abuja on Monday.

Muhammad said no fewer than 46 academics lost their lives in universities under the Abuja zone.

They are the University of Abuja, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State University, Nasarawa, and the Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai.

He said that the union recently lost an eminent Professor of Fisheries, Johnson Oyero, of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, due to inability to afford quality medical facilities.

“In the last decade, more Nigerian academics are leaving the country in droves in search of greener pastures, thereby overworking the patriotic ones that remain in the system whose level of patriotism is dwindling daily due to poor remuneration and working conditions.

“It is also worthy of note that the union has lost several members during the period under review due to herculean working conditions, psychological and emotional stress, and diseases related to these conditions.

“For instance, universities in the Abuja zone have lost 46 members,” Muhammed said.

He decried the payment to their members, of amputated two-month salaries by the Federal Government out of the seven-and-a-half month withheld salaries.

Also, the 2nd ASUU Abuja Zonal Coordinator, Mr Salahu Lawal, said the salaries were withheld when the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari invoked a ‘No Work, No Pay’ policy on members of the union that embarked on a strike that lasted eight months in 2022.

Lawal said despite the order by President Tinubu for the release and payment of their withheld salaries, some members have reportedly received an amputated two-month salary of the seven-and-a-half-month withheld salaries, while many were yet to get anything.

“This is far below the expectation of the union and further weakens the morale of our members and the union’s trust in government promises.

“We use this medium to call on all that are involved in this inglorious act to do the needful with regards to lecturers’ withheld salaries as there is nothing more to prove,” he said.

Lawal also lamented the inability of the government to implement the exemption of Federal Universities from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) as approved by the federal Executive Council in December 2023.

‘’In December 2023, the Minister of Education after a FEC meeting told the world that tertiary institutions are now exempted from the IPPIS an imposition on federal universities by the immediate past Buhari-led government.

“It is worrisome that two months after that pronouncement, the directive has not been implemented rather there was a funny narration on the salaries paid in January stating ‘’New IPPIS’’.

“This is lack of political will to carry out a directive from the president or even FEC by some elements who are beneficiaries of the dubious payment platform,’’ Lawal stated.

He further called on the Federal Government to sign and implement the Professor Nimi Briggs committee renegotiation agreement.

The ASUU Zonal Coordinator called for the immediate implementation of salary awards of 25 percent and 35 percent and payment of its arrears from January 2023 to date

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