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NLC Protest: Don’t abdicate responsibility to fund education, parents urge FG

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NLC Protest: Don’t abdicate responsibility to fund education, parents urge FG

…NLC tells FG: Don’t deny our children quality education***

Some parents on Wednesday called on the Federal Government not to abdicate its responsibility to fund education as the ceaseless strikes de-market the Nigerian universities and certificates.

The parents spoke with the newsmen during the National Day of Protest organised by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Also read: NLC Protest: Members March in Ikeja with Placards, Sing Solidarity Songs

Mr Sam Eze, a parent said the Federal Government had the responsibility to fund education and it should not abdicate that responsibility.

According to him, the excuse for which ASUU has remained on strike is no long tenable; government should sign the renegotiation agreement and implement it as quick as possible.

“It is important for the government to fund public education, which is by ensuring that proper infrastructures are put in place in the universities across the country.

“As there are no proper accommodations for the students, no conducive learning facilities or materials for them to study, among others and now they all at home, this can lead to socio vices,’’ he said.

Eze, while speaking on the mega protest rally organised by NLC said that the protest was long overdue but that it was commendable.

He added that what the labour had done was to ensure that the Federal Government should take immediate decision on the striking lecturers in our public universities and other tertiary institutions that are on strike.

“Even though the NLC NEC directive to embark on a National protest is coming late, I think the Federal Government has been given another opportunity to redeem itself.

“Also, not just the NLC, other socio forces should join hands with the labour centre to ensure that government funds public education to ensure quality education,” he said.

Also, Mrs Figor Daniel, another parent expressed fear that the Nigerian children might not enjoy quality education in their own country.

“I feel pained that students who are supposed to be in school for the past six months are at home due to the failed agreement reached between the Federal Government and ASUU and other unions in the education sector.

“I have already lost hope and confidence in the Nigerian education system.

It is as if my children can never get any quality education in their own country.

“I always wonder what kind of education my children are receiving in this country and how they can compete with their peers outside this country,’’ she said.

Daniel, therefore, called on NLC to live up to their responsibility of protecting the rights of workers, who were the parents of the children.

She called on NLC to ensure that there was a harmonised salary structure for workers in the public service.

“If there is a harmonised salary structure, we will not be having this kind of situation that we are into today.

“Because most of those parents that are civil servants that government pays heavily, they have since found other alternatives of getting a good education for their children whereas we have not been able to.

“Most of them have sent their children to private universities or abroad but those that cannot afford it lag behind,’’ she said.

She, therefore, called on the Federal Government to do the needful in ensuring that they wake up on their responsibilities.

“I did not any see reasons why the Federal Government would encourage politicians to pay a whooping sum of 100 million for just for a form to contest election in a party.

“Rather such monies can be used to put in our education system and these monies are not more than what the striking lecturers are asking for to be put in the university system,’’ she said.

Also, Mr Julius Emmanuel, a parent also expressed fear on the prolonged strike on the education system.

According to him, as a parent, the prolonged strike has increased my fears about our educational system; it has also reduced hope for my children.

“It has also made me to feel as if I am not capable to send them abroad to study.

“Right now, so many parents who have the resources have sent their children to countries like Ireland, and Canada, among others for quality education.

“That is, away from our failed education system and for the survival of the future of their children, because it appears that the children in Nigeria have no hope,” he said.

He called on the Federal Government to act fast in providing quality education for the Nigerian child adding that the country’s certificates no longer have value outside the country.

In the same vein, the Nigeria Labour Congress(NLC) has called on the Federal Government not to deny the children of the less privileged quality education in the country.

The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, made the call while presenting a Letter of Complain to the Leadership of the National Assembly, on Wednesday in Abuja.

The NLC had organized an “Abuja Mega Protest Rally’’ in solidarity with the trade unions in the public universities over their lingering strike.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as, “When enough is not enough’’, “Students are our assets”, “Pay our salaries according to the impact we make on the system’’, and “IPPIS incompatible with university operations” among others.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other trade unions in the education sector have been on strike for more than five months over the alleged failure of the government to keep to agreements entered with the unions.

The newsmen report that the demands of the striking workers include non-implementation of the 2009 agreement, funding of universities, salaries, and earned allowances of lecturers, among others.

“The reason we are here today is to let the Federal Government know that the children of the working class, the less privileged have been at home for the past five months, and nobody cares.

“No reason is good enough for the children of the working class and the poor to be at home for one day, whereas their children are graduating from Nigerian private universities and abroad.

“They have the audacity to post them on social media so that we can see,’’ he said.

He said that the Federal Government must do the needful to respond effectively and promptly to resolve the issues affecting the education system.

The NLC president noted that over 10 million children in the public institutions including three sets were waiting for their admission to be sorted out.

“If we denied our children quality education, they will become a menace to society and all of us will be sleeping with our eyes opened, that is a reality and it is a wake-up call.

Wabba, therefore, called on the government to listen to the cries of the poor as, without quality education, there would be no peace for everyone, even democracy.

He said the government must be ready to salvage the country and salvage the education sector at all levels.

He said that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Colleges of Education, and Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, among others had pending issues with the government.

“Those issues are straightforward; some of them are not even monetary policy issues.

Yet our leaders cannot listen to fix those issues.

“It has been promises and those promises have not been kept, we are tired but we are not tired of their antics.

“We will take our destinies in our own hands and that of our children, which is very important and fundamental, ’’he said.

The NLC president added that it was time to reset the country to ensure that Nigerian leaders do the right thing.

He commended the lecturers, whose salaries had been stopped for over three to five months due to the fact that they were on the strike.

Wabba also added that workers were tired of lamentation rather they want solutions, stressing that they wanted the issues to be fixed.

“Workers must be ready, if the Federal Government failed to sort out the issues after this protest, we will embark on a three-day nationwide strike.

“I hope they will be reasonable.

I hope they will listen because we have sent the message very clearly and loud.

“We will not allow political elites to destroy the future of millions of Nigerian youths,’’ he said.

Also, Sen. Boroface Ajayi, who received the Letter of Complain on behalf of the Senate President, Mr. Ahmed Lawal, commended the NLC leadership for the peaceful protest.

Lawal said that the National Assembly was working to ensure that the strike was called off and the students returned to school.

Also, Mr. Mohammed Ibrahim, President, of the Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities called on the Federal Government to do the needful.

Ibrahim said that government should respect and honour the collective bargaining agreements that they freely and mutually reached with the unions and also fast-track the renegotiation of the 2009 agreements.

 

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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Education

SIFAX Chairman, Afolabi Agrees To Deliver LAUTECH Convocation Lecture In April

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…Following the University’s Special Visit and Invitation

The Chairman of SIFAX Group, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has agreed to deliver the Convocation lecture at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology LAUTECH, Ogbomosho, come April 2024.

This was a sequel to an invitation by the management of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho led by its Acting Vice Chancellor, Professor Rasak Olatunde Rom Kalilu, following a courtesy visit to the revered SIFAX Group Chairman, recently. 

*L-R: Professor Temisan Ebijuwa, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology; Chike Ogeah, Managing Director, Mac-Folly Hospitality, a subsidiary of SIFAX Group owners of Lagos Marriott Hotel; Professor Rasak Olatunde Kalilu, Acting Vice Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho; Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group and Wunmi Eniola-Jegede, Executive Director, Business Development and Strategic Planning during the formal visit of the LAUTECH management team to invite Afolabi to give the University’s convocation lecture in April 2024 held at the Lagos Marriott Hotel, Ikeja.

The SIFAX Group Chairman, in the course of the visit, was adequately briefed on happenings in the University.

ALSO READ: SIFAX Chairman Lauds Gerar University On Infrastructure, Donates Bus

The LAUTECH has been at the forefront of Nigerian universities actively promoting transportation logistics and maritime studies.

*R-L: Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group; Professor Rasak Olatunde Kalilu, Acting Vice Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho; Professor Temisan Ebijuwa, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Ladoke Akintola University of Technology and another staff of the university during the formal visit of the LAUTECH management team to invite Afolabi to give the University’s convocation lecture in April 2024 held at the Lagos Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, 

Consequently, the Maritime First learnt that the Convocation lecture would provide a unique opportunity for the renowned business mogul, not only to further expose the lucky audience, to the unfolding opportunities in the various industries where he presently towers like a colossus; but also to impact them with the tools and motivation needed for a successful exploration of the nation’s Blue Economy.

ALSO READ: SIFAX: Ajayi Crowther University Honours Taiwo Afolabi With a Doctorate Degree

* L-R: Professor Rasak Olatunde Kalilu, Acting Vice Chancellor, Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho and Dr. Taiwo Afolabi, Chairman, SIFAX Group in a discussion during the formal visit of the LAUTECH management team to invite Afolabi to give the University’s convocation lecture in April 2024 held at the Lagos Marriott Hotel, Ikeja, today.

 The University’s next convocation is scheduled for April 2024.

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