ASSU Strike: Union Denies Demanding N1trn From FG
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has denied rumours that it demanded a fresh payment of N1 trillion from the federal government as a condition to end its ongoing strike.
ASUU embarked on a warning strike on February 14 after a two-day deliberation of the union’s national executive council.
The union had accused the government of reneging on the agreements it reached to suspend its last industrial action in 2020.
ASUU also argued that the latest strike followed the government’s attitude towards the renegotiation of salaries and allowances as well as the adoption of the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) payroll software.
The lecturers’ agitations cover the funding for the revitalisation of public universities and promotion arrears.
Other demands are the renegotiation of the 2009 ASUU-FGN agreement and the inconsistencies in the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).
The federal government has since been meeting with the union to deliberate on ways to end the industrial action.
ASUU President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed concern that there has been little progress on the part of the government as regards its engagement with the union over the past couple of days.
Asked about the rumours that fresh monetary demands were made by the union, Osodeke said, “it’s not correct”.
“The outcome of that meeting was reported. Nobody mentioned N1 trillion. We don’t respond to all these rumours. What we’re demanding is coming after the government agreed to spend N1.3 trillion in 2009,” the ASUU president added.
“It was to be released N200 billion per year for five or six years. They didn’t do that which is what we’re asking for.”
Also, the ASUU chairman at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Moyosore Ajao, reiterated that the renegotiation of the salaries of lecturers has been an integral aspect of the union’s demands.
“That’s blackmail [to claim we made fresh demands]. We’re talking about outstanding debt needed to fund the system based on FG’s 2013 agreement. FG was supposed to pay N1.3 trillion to universities over six years,” he said.
“It was meant for the revitalisation of universities to bring our universities to be at par with global standards. This is an agreement of 2013 when the former president Goodluck Jonathan released N450 billion out of N1.3 billion.
“And so far, they have released about N50 billion to fund the entire university system.
“That is to cover federal and state in terms of equipment, furniture, and whatever. The ASUU strike is [also] about our salaries, we’ve said this several times. People have been on the same salary structure since 2009.
“How many times have the salaries of NNPC chief executive and so on been reviewed? These are the questions.”
Poor infrastructure in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions including polytechnics, colleges of education, varsities is one of the reasons ASUU embarked on what became its 16th strike in 23 years.
The strikes disrupted the academics of Nigerians, with an estimated 75 percent graduating later than scheduled.
Following the NEEDS assessment of 16 federal universities in 2012, the government had agreed to consistently release N1.3 trillion as revitalisation fund over the space of six years, starting with N200 billion in 2013.
This was meant for the massive injection of funds into public universities to improve facilities and human capacity.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, His Grace, Most Revd. Ignatius Kaigama, on Sunday asked President Muhammadu Buhari to listen to the cries of Nigerians and intensify action to resolve the problems of lingering fuel scarcity in the nation and the one-month warning strike by the ASUU.
Kaigama, who stated this while speaking at the dedication ceremony of Holy Cross Parish in Gwarinpa, Abuja, said that leaders must not ignore the voice of reason.
“Our nation would achieve greater progress when we truly listen to one another in mutual respect.
“Government leaders must listen to its citizens, politicians must listen to the people they represent.
“This is the path to enduring peace, greater solidarity and harmony in our society and the best way to resolve problems such as the lingering fuel scarcity in the nation and the ASUU one-month warning strike to press home her demands from the Government,” he said.
He regretted the hypocrisy of some leaders in the country, stating that many who occupied big positions of responsibility lacked the disposition to make such offices function properly.
Referencing the Biblical text of Luke 6:39-45, Kaigama said, “Jesus speaks in the Gospel about leaders who should see clearly and have the wisdom to lead others, since a blind man cannot lead a blind man.
“Leaders with the responsibility of governance must remove the log in their eyes so that they can better help others to remove theirs.
“This means that leaders must look first at themselves and correct their faults before they can see clearly to identify and correct the errors in other people.
“What we find in our society today is sadly the reality of ‘blind guides’. There are some leaders who occupy big positions of responsibility today, but lack the disposition to make such offices function properly.
“Some fight and even kill to occupy such offices, but are only guided by their quest for material possessions and could be regarded as “blind guides’. Leaders are challenged to expunge hypocrisy and deception, to bear good fruits.”
The Catholic prelate disclosed that following the Russia-Ukraine fiasco, Pope Francis had directed that Christians should make fervent prayers for peace to reign in the world on March 2, 2022.
“The worsening Russia-Ukraine war situation is a failure in human compassion and the consequence of failure to listen to the voice of reason. The Holy Father, Pope Francis, has called for prayers and fasting on March 2, Ash Wednesday,” Kaigama stressed.
Out-of-school Children: Bauchi Govt Trains 370 Enumerators On School Census
The Bauchi state Ministry of Education has embarked on a two-day training of 370 enumerators for the annual school census in the state.
Addressing the enumerators shortly before the commencement of the training in Bauchi on Saturday, the state Commissioner for Education, Dr. Jamila Dahiru congratulated the enumerators for being selected to participate in the exercise.
According to her, the exercise was very crucial as it would help the state government to know the actual numbers of schools, students and pupils of both the integrated Quranic and public schools as well as the facilities, so as to equip itself with the necessary data for proper planning.
Dahiru, who reminded all the participants in the exercise on the need to effectively and accurately carry out the exercise, said no school must be left behind.
She explained that the census exercise would last for 10 days, starting from March 6, 2023.
“Without the correct data, we won’t have something to work on. We are hoping that using our annual school census for this year, we will be able to come up with projects and planning for anything that we want to do in the next few years.
“So, if you mislead us, we will be misled entirely, and it is important that you capture and present accurate data.
“The reason why we said we want to have a robust annual school census this year is because over the years, we have been having records of Bauchi state statistics of out-of-school children where we were told that we are now leading in Nigeria.
“We believe that this is not true. If we have people, ministries, other agencies, and recruiting teachers over the years and enrolling students, yet we keep on topping the chart, I think something is wrong.
“Either the data is not correct or we are doing something wrong. And so, we want to find out,” said the Commissioner.
She urged the participants to go out as ambassadors of the state, keeping in mind that acquisition of true data was their topmost priority which would help the ministry and any other stakeholders that might be interested in improving the educational sector in the state.
One of the enumerators who spoke on behalf of all, Ibrahim Dauda, promised to do the needful in getting and presenting credible data that would help to improve the ministry and the educational system in the state.
Dangote Disburses Scholarship Funds To Coal Communities, Others
The Dangote Coal Mines Limited has disbursed scholarship funds to members of host communities in Benue and Kogi States.
This is coming barely one year into coal mining operation at Effeche Akpalli in Ugbokolo Ward of Okpokwu Local Government of Benue State.
In Ankpa, Kogi State, scholarship fund was also distributed to members of the coal communities.
In the same token, the Dangote Cement Plant in Gboko also disbursed scholarship funds to host communities in Benue State.
The exercise is part of the company’s annual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) scheme for host communities, and it has been running for upward a decade.
In 2022, Group President of the Dangote Industries Limited Aliko Dangote had announced series of scholarship schemes for communities hosting the Dangote Sugar Refinery in Numan, Adamawa State.
In Benue, ten members of the Effeche community who are currently studying in higher institutions of learning benefitted from the fund.
The company’s contribution to the educational development in Nigeria has been described as immeasurable having constructed multimillion naira edifices and hostels in some selected universities in the country.
The company is adjudged to be Africa’s largest donor, and second biggest employer of labour, after government in Nigeria.
The Head of Dangote’s mining operation in Benue, Mr. Dillip Taman, said the scholarship was part of the Corporate Social Responsibility of the company, adding that the company takes the plights of the host communities very seriously.
He said the company is kick-starting several other projects contained in the Community Development Agreement.
The chairperson of the Okpokwu Local Government Amina Audu, who was represented by the Leader of the Legislative Council, urged the beneficiaries to use the money efficiently, while urging the company not to relent in the annual scholarship scheme.
A community leader Chief Samuel Ameh said the community was desirous of ensuring a smooth operational turf for the company, saying a peaceful coexistence was a major prerequisite for profitability and community development.
Education Holds Key To Our Development – Provost COE Azare
The Provost Aminu Saleh College of Education (ASCOE) Azare, Prof. Asabe Sadiya Mohammed has urged the government and stakeholders to pay more attention to the sector of education, saying a knowledge based economy is the key to development.
Mohammmed made the call at the first memorial lecture in honour of Late Alhaji Aminu Saleh former SGF and one year anniversary in office of the provost of ASCOE Azare Professor Mohammmed on Saturday in Azare.
According to her, Education holds the key to our development. We must continue to give priority attention to the sector because it is the bedrock of any development,” he said.
Professor Mohammmed recalled the lifetime of the late Aminu Saleh Wamban Katagum who invested immensely in her education which she prayed to Allah to grant him Jannah.
In a remark, Emir of Katagum Alhaji Umar Faruk II lauded Professor Asabe Sadiya Mohammed, Provost Aminu Saleh College of Education (ASCOE) Azare for her innovation in academics and human capital development in her one year in office.
Umar Faruk said Professor Mohammmed’s leadership role in the area of innovation and entrepreneurship in her one -year administration was commendable.
In his remarks the Guest Speaker of the occasion Alhaji Auwabu Abdullahi described the life of Late Alhaji Aminu Saleh as an extraordinary human being, smart, intellectual, religious and his generosity has reached an exceptional level beyond human thinking.
He lives an exemplary life of serving humanity. He recalled his years during service and the sacrifice he made for the development of the Nation, State and Katagum LGA in general.
He further added his tremendous contribution in policy formulations had helped the development of the country.
On his part, the Registrar of the College Malam Gimba Babaji while giving overview of the Provost one year in office described Prof. Mohammmed as one of the well accomplished women in society in view of her track-records during her academic journey.
“Parts of her records in the college, Prof. Mohammed has facilitated the completion of the process for introduction of four additional postgraduate diploma courses under the college investment.
“She succeeded in ensuring 24hrs clinical services and free drugs to both staff and students, reconnecting the College with national grid after 2-years without electricity,” Babaji said.
According to the registrer, the Provost hosted the NUC accreditation of three Degree Programmes namely; B. A. Ed. Hausa, B. A. Ed. English and B. A. Ed Islamic Studies.
“Continued with the free admission and registration of Physically Challenged Students in the College as well engaged the services of the Flexisaf for the development of College Website, portal registration and other online Academic processes.
“Facilitated through individuals for sponsorship of Students enrolment into the College. Smooth take up of the New NCE benchmark Academic Standard,” the Registrar said.
He added that Prof Mohammmed had streamlining and make academic units to meet up with the new benchmark such as the School of General Studies, Directorate of ICT and the Directorate of Continuing Education
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