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FG Blinks, Prays Court to Order ASUU to End Strike

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ASUU ”Conditionally” Calls Off 8-Month Old Strike

…Meets ASUU in Industrial Court Monday***

The Federal government on Monday urged the National Industrial Court to order the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its seven months strike.

Joined as a claimant in the matter is the Minster of Education, with the President of ASUU as the sole defendant.

Also read: ASUU Strike: NANS calls for speedy resolution

The matter which came up before Justice Polycarp Hamman brought by Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige on behalf of the federal government, by way of referral is praying the court to order ASUU to resume academic activities, amongst other prayers.

When the matter slated for mention came up, Mr Ebunolu Adegoruwa, SAN, informed the court that he was representing Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) and that he had filed a suit on the same subject matter before the same court.

He also stated that in the suit NICN/ABJ/269/2022, SERAP is the claimant with the federal government as the defendant.

He, therefore, proceeded to apply that the extant suit be consolidated and SERAP be joined in the suit as a defendant, instead of multiple suits on the same matter before the same court.

Counsel to the claimant, Mr T.A Gazali, SAN, in response said the application was premature and added that there was no need for SERAP to pray to be joined in a suit orally in a matter that did not have its name on the cause list.

Mr Femi Falana, SAN, counsel to ASUU in his response informed the court that both counsels had informed him on Monday that they both were filing some papers.

Falana in addition urged the court to step down the matter to enable both counsels to file their papers and then return at a later date after he would have responded to the claimant’s process

Adegoruwa replied that the defendant had not denied the existence of the suit SERAP filed and served on them.

Gazali on his part also informed the court that his process will be filed Monday and Falana said he would need three days to reply to the process.

The judge in his ruling adjourned the matter until Friday, for further mention.

He also directed that the claimant should file, serve his process, the defendant to also file and serve his response before the adjourned date.

Hamman in addition ruled that SERAP’s application for be joined in the suit was premature.

The newsmen report that the suit filed by the claimant is also seeking the court to give the matter an accelerated hearing in order to bring the dispute to an end.

The claimant also in the instrument of referral is praying the court to: “Inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members which had continued even after apprehension by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“Interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18, LFN 2004 especially as it applies to cessation of the strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour end Employment and conciliation is on-going”.

Various talks between the parties on different occasions concerning the ongoing strike had not yielded any result, hence the referral of the matter to the court.

In the meantime, the Federal Government says it will meet with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) for adjudication on Monday over the prolonged strike.

Dr Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, said this on Sunday in Abuja in a letter addressed to the Registrar of NICN, dated Sept. 8.

Ngige said this in a statement signed by Olajide Oshundun, Head, Press and Public Relations, in the ministry and made available to newsmen.

He said the referral instrument had become necessary following the failure of dialogue between the union and the Federal Ministry of Education.

He added that the matter is billed for mention by 9 a.m on Sept. 12.

”The Federal Government has asked the NICN to inquire into the legality or otherwise of the ongoing prolonged strike by ASUU leadership and members that had continued even after apprehension.

“It asked the court to interpret in its entirety the provisions of Section 18 LFN 2004, especially as it applies to the cessation of the strike once a trade dispute is apprehended by the Minister of Labour and Employment and conciliation is ongoing,” he said.

He also said that the NICN are to interpret the provisions of Section 43 of the Trade Dispute Act, Cap T8. LFN 2004, titled “Special Provision with Respect to payment of wages during strikes and lock-outs”.

Ngige said this ”specifically dealing with the rights of employees/workers during the period of any strike or lock-out.

”Can ASUU or any other union that embarked on strike be asking to be paid salaries even with clear provisions of the law?

“Determine whether ASUU members are entitled to emoluments or ‘strike pay’ during their period of strike, which commenced on Feb. 14.

”Moreso, in view of our national law as provided in Section 43 of the TDA and the International Labour Principles on the right to strike as well as the decisions of the ILO Committee on Freedom of Association on the subject,” he said.

He added that NICN should determine whether ASUU had the right to embark on strike over disputes as is the case in this instance by compelling the Federal Government to employ its own University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) in the payment of the wages of its members as against the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

According to him, as this is universally used by the Federal Government in the nation for payment of wages of all her employees in the Federal Government Public Service of which university workers, including ASUU members, are part.

”Or even where the government via NITDA subjected ASUU and their counterpart, Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll Systems (UPPPS) software to integrity test (vulnerability and stress test) and they failed,” he said.

Ngigi also said the federal government further asked the court to determine the extent of fulfillment of ASUU’s demands since the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) that the union signed with the government.

The minister said their demands include the funding for revitalisation of public universities as per the 2009 agreement, Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) payments, state universities proliferation and constitution of visitation panels, and release of a white paper on the report of the visitation panels.

He noted that others are the reconstitution of the government renegotiation team for renegotiation of the 2009 agreement, which was renegotiated in 2013/2014, due for renegotiation in 2018/2019, and the migration of ASUU members from IPPIS to its own UTAS, which is currently on test at NITDA.

”Consequently, the Federal Government requested for an order of the Court for ASUU members to resume work in their various universities while the issues in dispute are being addressed by the NICN in consonance with the provisions of Section 18 (I) (b) of the TDA Cap T8. LFN 2004,” he said.

 

Education

Safety Boosting: LASWA Trains 300 Pupils on Swimming

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Safety Boosting: LASWA Trains 300 Pupils on Swimming

The General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, has said that the agency trained 300 pupils in the last three years to reduce the incidence of children drowning in Nigeria.

Emmanuel made the disclosure during the 3rd edition of LASWA’s Advocacy Programme tagged ” The Lagos Water Savvy Kids Programme.”

It was held in partnership with State Universal Basic Education Board SUBEB and the Dolphin Swim School, in Epe, Lagos.

The General Manager said that swimming training would help to reduce the incidence of children drowning in water accidents and improve use of water transportation.

Emmanuel said the training was to instil water confidence in pupils by giving them theoretical and practical knowledge on waterways safety, swimming skills and basic survival techniques in an emergency.

“A total of 50 students from five public schools in riverine communities in the Epe axis of Lagos were selected to participate in this year’s edition.

“With this training, school children using the waterways will be more confident, conscious of their safety, and be self-reliant in an emergency.

“There is a need to increase swimming culture among children and we have deemed it fit to take this to public schools and to all the divisions of the state. 

“The training of kids on how to swim is not only done by Lagos State Waterways Authority, the Sport commission is also involved. 

Safety Boosting: LASWA Trains 300 Pupils on Swimming
*L-R, The Lead Instructor, Dolphin Swim School Mrs Aderoju Ope-Ajayi, The representative of SUBEB in Epe, Mrs Temidayo Oyeniran, the General Manager, Lagos State Waterways Authority (LASWA), Mr Oluwadamilola Emmanuel, one of the trainees Gafar Waheed and the Education Secretary, Epe Local Government, Otunba Idowu Shittu during the 3rd edition of swimming programme organised by LASWA in Epe on Thursday.

”There has been a call to all stakeholders to create more awareness and encourage the swimming culture as well as ensure that there are always water guards around the pools. 

“This is the third edition, and we have taken the exercise to Ibeshe, Ojo and Epe,” Emmanuel said.

The LASWA boss promised to continue to engage schools, teachers and parents to understand that the programme is safe, and healthwise, advisable. 

He promised to look into the inclusion of teachers along riverine areas in the training.

Emmanuel said that the safety of lives on the waterways had become paramount and LASWA would continue to give it its utmost attention by providing necessary safety guidelines and life jackets.

The Education Secretary, Epe Local Government, Mr Idowu Shittu, commended LASWA for organising the swimming programme for their pupils.

Shittu pleaded with the Lagos State Government and LASWA to extend the swimming training to the teachers, to remove their phobia of water transport.

He explained that swimming was part of the psychomotor aspect of education which was also a source of generating income and employing people.

The representative of SUBEB in Epe, Mrs Temidayo Oyeniran, expressed her gratitude on the swimming training for the kids and pleaded for an extension to teachers.

Oyeniran said that they lost a teacher as a result of drowning during the rainy season, noting that if the teacher had such training, it would have saved her life.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Lead Instructor, Dolphin Swim School and Dolphin Aquatic Center Ltd., Mrs Aderoju Ope-Ajayi, said the pupils learnt how to use life jackets properly, how to swim with it and how to avoid drowning.

Ope-Ajayi said that the pupils were taught the importance of water safety and were able to grasp the concept easily because they had local knowledge of swimming.

“Currently, we run a learn-to-swim programme for children and adults.

“A child learning how to be water safe means drowning prevention; that means the rate of death by drowning will significantly reduce.

Over 800 children drown every year, now the children will demonstrate the skills they learnt during the training,” she said.

One of the beneficiaries from Local Government Primary School, Oriba in Epe, Miss Afusat Muritala, said she was able to learn basic survival strategies, diving and swimming.

Another pupil, Moshood Idowu, appreciated the State government and LASUBEB for the swimming training.

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JABU will Continue to strive for Excellence; ranked 3rd position among private varsities – VC

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JABU will Continue to strive for Excellence; ranked 3rd position among private varsities – VC

The Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Ikeji Arakeji in Osun will continue to strive for excellence even as it placed third in the webometric ranking of private universities in the country, Prof. Olasebikan Fakolujo, Vice Chancellor said.

Fakollujo said this on Monday, in Ikeji Arakeji, at a news conference heralding the institution’s 13th convocation for the 2021/2022 academic session.

Fakolujo said that no fewer than 481 graduands would be awarded first degrees during its 13th convocation ceremony slated for Jan.27.

The VC said that the ceremony would also see the award of postgraduate degrees to 88 candidates with six out of the figure bagging their PhDs.

He further disclosed that three eminent Nigerians including the immediate past Corps Marshall of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Dr Boboye Oyeyemi, would be conferred with honourary doctorate degrees at the convocation.

Others listed for the awards are Sen. Michael Opeyemi Bamidele, a human rights activist, lawyer and politician as well as Mr. Aderemi Olowookere, the Chairman, Christy Caleb Foundation, a frontline entrepreneur and an astute philanthropist.

Fakolujo said that JABU was passionate about producing graduates that perform excellently in life.

“One of such excellent performance was recorded by one of our law graduates who passed out with a First Class Honours during the just concluded 2021/2022 academic session of the Nigerian Law School.

“This and many more notable feats keep attracting the interest of many prospective students desirous of studying at our institution.

“I am pleased to tell you that a 400-level student of the Department of Entrepreneur, Samuel Jesuyan, was appointed West Africa Youth Ambassador due to his laudable antecedents of dedication, hard work and diligence in service to humanity.

“He is an advocate and relentless crusader for promoting entrepreneurship for African youths. The award is the Nelson Mandela Leadership Award of Excellence and Integrity,” he said.

The Vice-Chancellor said that the institution had been proactive in the area of security by collaborating with the Nigerian Police and Nigerian Air Force unit, based in the state, for the safety of lives and property.

Fakolujo enumerated some major achievements by the university in the last academic year, adding that the university’s stakeholders had not rested on their oars in ensuring that JABU attained its desired aims and objectives.

“Not less than 10 members of staff bagged their PhDs in various fields and there was the improved power supply to the campus through the introduction of solar streetlights,” he said.

The VC added that Dr. L. J. Babalola, the Acting Director, Research and Grant Management Office in the university won the International Foundation for Service grant of $11, 520.000.

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LASU School of Transport Wins $50,000 Research Grant; Research covers Ghana, Kenya

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LASU School of Transport Wins $50,000 Research Grant; Research covers Ghana, Kenya

Lagos State University School of Transport and Logistics has won a Volvo Educational and Research Foundation award grant of SEK500,000 (Swedish Krona — approximately 50,000 dollars).

The grant is to enable it to contribute to policy guidelines on how to minimise road and water accidents in some African cities.

Prof, Samuel Odewunmi, team lead of the research and former Dean of LASU School of Transport and Logistics, made this known in a virtual press briefing on Wednesday, in Lagos.

The research topic is: “Comparative Study of Water and Road Traffic Crashes in Selected Cities in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya”.

Odewunmi said that the research proposal was submitted to Volvo Education and Research Foundation (VREF) in June 2022 to obtain the number, pattern, causes, injuries and fatalities of road and water accidents in the cities of study.

“We examined the phenomena of travel accidents on the roads and waterways of three selected cities in West and East Africa.

“Studies of road traffic crashes are extensive, but studies on accidents on waterways are rarer, while cities with water bodies have urban forms with peculiar safety and environmental challenges.

“Safety policies are well formulated and communicated to enlighten citizens, but this is less so for water transportation, especially for the local boat and ferry operators mostly patronised by the urban poor.

“Hence accidents are common, with many of them unreported,” he said.

Odewunmi said that their research objectives include a comparative analysis of the data among the cities and between the modes.

“It will also entail evaluation of the safety regulations, enforcement and enlightenment.

“Besides the LASU team, other Co-Researchers include Prof . Kazeem Adebiyi, Rector, Polytechnic Ibadan and Prof Abane Albert, Dept of Geography and Regional Planning, University of Cape Coast Ghana.

“Others include Prof Gituro Wainaina, Business and Management Sciences Dept, University of Nairobi Kenya; and Prof. Karen Lucas, School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED), University of Manchester,” he said.

Odewunmi said that LASU School of Transport and Logistics had become a global Centre of excellence for transport research and education.

“It has received several streams of young scholars from Ghana and South Africa for mentoring sponsored by VREF.

”We express our gratitude to VREF for continued support for research and educational development in Africa.

“The LASU School of Transport Team is profoundly grateful for the conducive environment provided by the able leadership of Prof Ibiyemi Olatunji- Bello, for research and the current pace of quantum development of LASU,” he said.

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