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ASUU Strike: Committee of VCs constitutes sustainable peace team

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ASUU ”Conditionally” Calls Off 8-Month Old Strike

The Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has set up a sustainable peace team to resolve the lingering impasse between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The former Secretary General of CVCNU, Prof. Michael Faborode, and the Co-coordinator of the team confirmed this to the newsmen in Abuja on Tuesday, through ‘The Sustainable Peace Team Working Paper’.

Also read: ASUU Strike: NUC meets education minister, VCs Sept.6; Osinbajo rallies Governors on Economy, ASUU

He said that the desire of the team was not to allow the current deadlock in the ASUU strike negotiations to take hold, as the toll of the strike on all stakeholders and the nation had been colossal.

According to him, to arrive at the final list, no serving vice chancellor or pro-chancellor is included and membership was based on the record of service as recorded by the CVCNU.

He said that the team comprised of Prof. Jibril Aminu, former Vice Chancellor, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID); Emeritus Prof. Olufemi Bamiro,  former Vice Chancellor, University of Ibadan (UI); Prof. Ekanem Braide, President, Academy of Science; and Dr Nkechi Nwagogu, former Pro-Chancellor, University of Calabar (UNICAL).

Other members of the team are Prof. Joe Ahaneku, former Vice Chancellor, Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK); Prof. Fatima Mukhtar, former Vice Chancellor, Federal University, Dutse; and Prof. Akpan Ekpo, former Vice Chancellor of University of Uyo (UNIUYO).

Also in the team are Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, Secretary General, Committee of Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU), and Prof. Michael Faborode, former Secretary General, CVCNU and former Vice Chancellor, OAU.

“We should not fold our hands and watch our ‘house’ collapse on us as elders.

So, we should speak or act now.

“We do not have any other industry other than the university system.

“Whatever can be done to bring all the actors to reason and broker peace using the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee recommendations as the fulcrum, will be worth the effort.

“A lot had been done already and such patriotic efforts should not be wasted nor despised,” he said.

Faborode said that the “Peace Team of Elders” would operate under the auspices of the CVCNU/CPC.

According to him, both the Federal Government and ASUU are being reached to accept the intervention of the independent team of elders.

“The Team will liaise with the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee to understand the basis of the elements of their proposals and check with both the federal government and ASUU to identify the areas of concern and objection.

“Afterwards the team will brainstorm on how to mitigate the thorny areas and work with all the parties to bring the imbroglio to an amicable end in the interest of all concerned and the nation.

“The meetings and consultations will be mainly online by Zoom and perhaps finally face-to-face to safe costs once we make progress.

This is however subject to review as we proceed,” he explained.

Faborode said that the team had itemized some preliminary considerations that could shape parties’ understanding and way forward.

He said that this was because the deadlock in the crisis seemed to be getting more disturbing with the federal government maintaining a strong stance of “no-work, no-pay” and ordering ASUU to go back to work.

He said this had also made ASUU to firmly prolong the strike to become indefinite as both sides were unwilling to proceed with further negotiation or discussions.

“How do we engage with the Nimi Briggs committee? I am personally in touch with the chairman, and he feels the outstanding issues are not insurmountable.

“These include the federal government raising its offer of salary increase from 23% to maybe 50% that will ensure a Professor receives up to N800,000 monthly as opposed to the negotiated N1.2 million.

“Also, the review of the decision on salaries during the strike to a mid-position, not 0% nor 100% as ASUU wants. How can we further this admonition to both sides?

“Fundamentally, the following facts should be noted: the subsisting condition of Nigerian higher education is unacceptable and inconsistent with the economic development roles envisaged for them.

“Things have been allowed to deteriorate for too long, This, must be halted by all as we embark on an integrated revitalization agenda in the education sector, in the interest of our economic development,” Faborode said.

He, therefore, called on the National Assembly to play its role in providing a sustainable solution of raising resources/funds for the effective running of the universities.

 

Education

Unilorin ASUU Protest alleged Casualisation of Intellectual Workers

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Unilorin ASUU Protest alleged Casualisation of Intellectual Workers

Nonpayment of Salaries: UNN-ASUU Vow to Withhold*** 

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of the University of Ilorin (Unilorin) chapter, on Monday, protested what they called casualisation of intellectual workers in the country.

Prof. Rasheed Adeoye, the former ASUU Chairman of the university, described half salaries reportedly paid by government to members of the union for October as unacceptable and would be resisted by the union.

“As a law-abiding union, we have heeded the directive of the court which directed that we resume our duty posts while the substantive matter is being heard.

“However, after the resumption from strike and to our utmost dismay, the government decided that half salaries be paid to our members for the month of October 2022. This development is unacceptable and would be resisted by our union.

“The fact is that academics are not casual workers. The law of the land is also clear on this; indeed, the National Industrial Court made it clear in a landmark judgment in 2020 that tenured staff cannot be paid pro-rata,” he said.

Adeoye pointed out that the Minister of Labour should be aware that academic staff engages in so many activities aside teaching duties.

“In fact, the primary duty of an academic staff is research, and there are other activities such as that that continue to engage their attention irrespective of strike action or whether the school is in session or not.

“Let me assure you that our union is resolved to continue to call the attention of the government to its responsibilities despite the obnoxious treatment being meted out to us by the government.

“To this effect, though we have resumed work in our university, government ignoble stance of withholding our eight months’ salaries, which is based on its ill-advised policy of ‘no work, no pay’ is set to trigger fresh crisis,” he warned.

Prof Olatunji Abdulganiyu, the Secretary of the union, asserted that ASUU would respond appropriately to the unpopular policy.

He threatened that members would abandon the works that have accumulated for those periods during which government falsely claimed that our members have not worked.

“Members of the public are hereby sensitised and put on notice again that fresh crisis, which would surpass all previous ones, is looming again in Nigerian Universities.

“Our members cannot and would not continue to do free work that would not be remunerated. We hope that with this notice, all relevant stakeholders, who have the ears of government, would act fast before the fragile peace restored on our campuses nationwide collapses.

“Our union and its members should not be held responsible for the consequences that its actions, in response to the crude wickedness of the Nigerian state, would have on all stakeholders,” he said.

The ASUU leader also said that the demands of the union, included “release of Revitalisation Fund to the public institutions in the country, release of White Paper of Visitation Panels to public universities which our union forced government to convene.

“Others are renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement and the termination of the obnoxious, ineffective and corrupt laden IPPIS as payment platform in the Nigeria public university system, among others”.

In another development, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) Chapter, on Tuesday, protested the pro-rata October salary payment and nonpayment of 8-month salaries owed by the Federal Government.

The union directed lecturers to withhold examination results and not to participate in any department, faculty or senate council meetings to approve results until government did the needful.

Speaking to newsmen in Nsukka shortly after the protest, the Chairman of ASUU-UNN, Dr Christian Opata said that the aim of the congress was to get the input of members on issues concerning the union.

Opata said the rally was to inform the university community of the inability of government to pay ASUU backlog of 8-month salary and to protest the half salary paid to members when the union suspended the strike in October.

“ASUU-UNN has directed its members not to release results of examinations conducted or participate in any department, faculty or Senate council meeting to approve results until government does the needful.

“We will continue to teach but will not release results of any examination or allow the school senate to sit and approve any result.

“ASUU is saying no to the government policy of no work, no pay, but if government insists on the policy, ASUU will not handle any academic activity that falls within that eight months period.

“ASUU wants government to honour its agreement with the union since 2009 and stop further attempts that will keep students away from school,” he said.

The ASUU chairman described as unfortunate the attempt by government to treat lecturers as labourers by using the so-called “pro-rata” format to pay them their October salary.

“This is the first time in the history of this country that university academic staff are paid as casual workers.

“An indication that the present administration in the country has no regard for education,” he said.

Opata threatened that if government failed to do the needful, ASUU was determined to embark on what would be known in Nigeria’s history as mother of all strikes.

“If the government thinks that implementing the policy of no work no pay and withholding our salary will prevent us from embarking on strike again, it’s a big lie.

“If government failed to the needful, very soon ASUU will return to indefinite nation wide strike in public universities,” Opata said.

The peaceful protest started from the Faculty of Social Science to the administrative block and to major roads in UNN.

Some placards carried during the protest have inscriptions such as; “We say no to intimidation by government”, ” kill education, kill the nation, “Our government does not honour agreement,” No pay no academic results, say no to pro-rata”.

“Pay us our salary backlogs, stop using pro-rata to pay us, lecturers are not casual workers “, Enough is enough, mother of all strike is loading” among others.

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Education

Foundation Trains 100 Girls on Health, Intelligence

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Foundation Trains 100 Girls on Health, Intelligence

100 girls were selected and trained on Thursday at Moba Community, Ajah area of Lagos, on mental health, financial intelligence and other topics to promote the development of the girl child.

The training was organized by the ‘R Foundation’, a non-profit organization.

President of the foundation, Dr. Boluwatife Paul, said the company was committed to enhancing individual and family lives with special focus on girls and women empowerment.

Paul added that the company would continue to aspire to improve the living conditions of the less privileged and marginalised via strategies such as community initiative, and sensitisation through health assessment screenings and literacy skills.

She said the training was in line with the company’s vision where the girl child had guaranteed opportunities to development that enabled them exercise their right to education, health, livelihood, and social security.

“The training today on mental health, financial intelligence, drug abuse, sexual purity and finding purpose would go a long way to enable the girls live the best life possible in the areas of health, education and social welfare.

“We would continue to promote community-based organisations at the grassroots level for sustainable development in rural and coastal areas,” she said.

In her own speech, Dr. Simiat Oladipo, Public Health Officer, Lagos State Primary Health Care Board, urged the girls to dare to achieve their dreams by being positive, encouraged and determined to ensure growth beyond their backgrounds and obstacles.

She advised the girls to visualise their plans for success and daily meditate upon those goals to push them towards the success of their dreams.

“Before now, as a girl child, nobody expected much from us but the society today has changed and you must not lose the focus that would enable you create wealth and provide the impact that the society needs to become a better place,” she said.

In his own remarks, Mr. Turawa Kolawole, Principal, Jais Secondary School, Moba, lauded the initiative and urged the girls to ensure that the lessons learned would encourage them to take the steps necessary for self-development and all-around growth.

“Initiatives like this, particularly for the girl child, would ensure that in the nearest future, their positive contributions to societal development cannot be quantified.

“As it is widely said, train the girl child and train a nation.

“It is my hope that initiatives like this, beyond what is being taught in the classrooms, continue so that many more lives can be impacted,” he said.

The foundation also donated materials that supported women’s personal hygiene and consumables to the participating schools: Jais Secondary School, Great Star Academy and Remaliah Secondary School.

 

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Ukraine Returnees: Parents cry over alleged double payment to universities

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Ukraine Returnees: Parents cry over alleged double payment to universities

Parents of Nigerian students evacuated from Ukraine due to the ongoing war with Russia, have lamented the alleged double payment which they have been subjected to in order for their children to continue with their education in Nigeria.

A parent, Taofik Amade, who spoke to journalists in Abuja on Thursday on the development, alleged that the universities in Ukraine have denied their children the option of enrolling in universities of their choice by refusing to release their academic transcripts.

Rather, he said, they entered into a mobility arrangement with some Nigerian universities through the National Universities Commission (NUC) whereby the students would be taking lectures partly online with Ukraine and physically with the selected Nigerian universities.

“But the problem is that we are now forced to pay double school fees, one to the Ukrainian university and another to the Nigerian university all in US dollars.

“With this high rate of dollars, how many parents can afford the double fees?”

He, therefore, appealed to the Federal Government to urgently intervene to save the education of thousands of Nigerian students affected by this situation.

Also speaking on the same issue, another parent, Laila Usmanz expressed concern that since July when the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the affected students to apply for enrolment into Nigerian Universities, nothing has been heard, thereby leaving the students stranded.

“Even in August, the Federal Ministry of Education issued a notice that the Ukraine returnees should apply to the Federal Scholarship board which they did

“But as I speak to you, my daughter has not heard anything from them,” she said.

 

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