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ASSU Strike: Union Denies Demanding N1trn From FG

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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.

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Education

NYSC Gets New State Coordinator In Taraba 

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By Sani Yarima

The National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Directorate Headquarters has appointed Mr. Ella Aji Williams as the new Coordinator of the Taraba State Secretariat. 

Mr. Williams is a Deputy Director with a wealth of experience and a reputation as an astute administrator. 

He has worked in several formations of the scheme, including Enugu and Kogi State secretariats. 

Before his appointment, he was a Deputy Director at the South-West Area Office, Osun State, where he demonstrated his competence and professionalism.

As the new State Coordinator, Mr. Williams expressed his desire to deepen the relationship with Corps Members, staff, state government, and collaborating agencies in the state. 

He urged all staff to feel free to make suggestions on how to discharge their duties effectively, promising to run an open administration.

During a general meeting, Mr. Nzoka, the outgoing State Coordinator, implored staff to cooperate with Mr. Williams to enable him to achieve success in the state. 

Mr. Nzoka also introduced Mr. Williams to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mrs. Indo Markson, and that of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Idris Goje, reaffirming Mr. Williams’s commitment to sustaining the progress already made in the state.

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Education

Gov Fintiri Inaugurates ADSU’s 5-member Governing Council

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By Muhammad B. Muhammad

Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State has inaugurated the five-member of the Governing Council of Adamawa State University Mubi in the Government House, Yola Friday.

They are Professor Maxwell Gidado SAN as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman while Alhaji ALiyu Mohammed Gabdo, Mr Vidon Jaule, ⁠Dr Ali Danburam and ⁠Barrister Hapsat Abdullahi Jimeta will serve as members of the Governing Council.

Speaking at the event, Governor Umaru Fintiri said the positive reaction of people towards the announcement of the reconstituted governing council has showed that the appointments were and based on merit.

With their tract record, competence and experience, Governor Umaru Fintiri believes that the appointees will deploy their efforts to bear in making the institution a world class university.

“The next story I want to hear is that because we have you, the University has broken into the list of the top 10 Universities in the world. Yes, I mean the world. It is doable because, that is my own definition of a world-class University.

“A definition that spurs us to compete beyond the Nigerian space. I want you to walk into the University with a clear mandate to work with the management to geometrically advance the three success factors in university-rating with required aggression, ” he said.

Governor Fintiri stressed the commitment of his administration to education, as demonstrated by its huge investment to free education, infrastructure such as construction and rehabilitation of schools among others.

“As a government, we are committed to the education sector, that we can’t settle for anything less. So, far we have demonstrated this commitment, by investing heavily in improving access, retention and transition, ” he said.

In addition to the ongoing construction of 21 model nursery and primary schools across the state, Governor Fintiri announced that soon, the government will flag off 3 mega senior secondary schools projects across the 3 zones in Adamawa.

The new ADSU Pro-chancellor, Professor Maxwell Gidado while responding, assured that the reconstituted governing council, will conduct its assignment with honesty, transparence and accountability to the best interest of Adamawa.

He said they will uphold integrity and work tirelessly to make the university a world class centre of learning, innovation and excellence in the nation.

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Education

Gov Fintiri Reconstitutes ADSU Governing Council With Prof Maxwell As Pro-Chancellor

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Governor Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri has approved the reconstitution of the Governing Council of the Adamawa State University Mubi with Professor Maxwell Gidado SAN as Pro-Chancellor and Chairman.

Other Members include, Alhaji ALiyu Mohammed Gabdo, Mr Vidon Jaule, Dr Ali Danburam and Barrister Hapsat Abdullahi JImeta.

The reconstitution of the governing board is based on the powers conferred on the Governor by the laws establishing the University.

The appointment of Professor Gidado and others is in furtherance to the commitment of the administration to achieve academic excellence in the university.

The formal inauguration of the Governing Council would take place on Friday 5th April, 2024 at the Government House Conference Hall by 11 am prompt.

Humwashi Wonosikou
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor

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