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Lecturers vow to continue strike, reveal who to blame

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The Chairman of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Joel Okewale, has said that Federal Government should be blamed for the continuing strike action by the Union.

He said the Federal Government has been “insincere, deceitful and unwillingness to resolve the issues raised by the Union.”

Okewale stated this yesterday while briefing newsmen at the ASUU Secretariat, OOU Mini Campus, Ago Iwoye.

The briefing was attended by the Secretary of the branch, Olugbenga Azeez, the immediate past zonal coordinator (Lagos) of ASUU and member of the union’s negotiating team, Adetola Nassir and other branch executive members.

Okewale informed journalists that rather than addressing and resolving the main issues that led to the strike, the Federal Government had engaged in dishing out false information to raise hope of Nigerians over the matter.

He noted that “government has not shown serious commitment to the defraying of the outstanding N1.1trillion revitalisation fund and the shortfalls in salaries to affected ASUU members.”

He pointed out that this “situation would make the suspension of the ongoing strike difficult.”

Okewale explained further that “the revitalisation fund as contained in the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and 2017 Memorandum of Action (MoA) between the FG and ASUU, were meant to ensure rapid transformation of Nigeria’s public universities for improved efficiency, infrastructural development and global competitiveness.”

He added that the union had “agreed with the FG to release the outstanding revitalisation fund in tranches at N220b annually.”

He said that the release of N25b by the government to 69 public universities and which was widely publicised, was a far cry from what was agreed upon.

On the payment of shortfalls in salaries of ASUU members, Okewale disclosed that “N20b released by the FG for the purpose was not meant for university lecturers alone, but for staff of MDAs, polytechnics, colleges of education and others.”

According to him, “the Union would continue with the strike action until the FG shows serious commitment to the payment of revitalisation fund, renegotiation of 2009 agreement and addressing of other matters such as release of NUPEMCO’s operation license by PenCom, full payment of arrears of shortfalls in salaries of university academies, release of the report of forensic audit on Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), payment of outstanding arrears and mainstreaming of the allowances into 2018 budget, among other demands.”

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Education

ASUU Strike: Awaiting meeting result of FG with the union is out

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The meeting of the Federal Government with Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), was meant at evaluating the implementation of the Memorandum of Action (MOA) which was entered into by both parties and became successful.

Chris Ngige was interviewed and he said that the meeting analysed seven main issues with both parties expressing satisfaction with the completion stages, adding that “work is in progress”.

According to him, some of the items in the MOA were nearly done 100 percent within the time of the meeting.

The minister said that the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was instructed to carry out action on the integrity test on the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS).

He said, ”If successful, it will eliminate the challenges posed by the peculiarities of the university system to the current payment platform.”

Ngige said the government had also paid the N30 billion as the University Revitalisation Fund contained in the MOA since January 2021.

He said, “The report has been turned in, deliberated upon and both the Education Ministry and the NUC have promised to write to the Accountant General of the Federation next week for the release of the money to the NEEDS Special Account for onward disbursement to universities shortly.”

The minister added, “On the proliferation of State universities, a bill has been sent to the National Assembly by the NUC to strengthen its arms in terms of delisting universities where funding and other parameters are inadequate.

”ASUU is to go back to its members so that we can have a proper update on the extent of the inconsistencies in payment.

”We expressed our displeasure that these things are happening – amputation of salaries, not-too-clear, foggy things happening over peoples monthly emoluments. So we’ve asked IPPIS and ASUU to work together over this.”

Chris Ngige, the Minister of Labour and Employment, disclosed this while addressing journalists at the end of a closed-door meeting in Abuja on Monday.

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Education

ASUU Meets FG today over predominate strike causing anxiousness in Nigerian Universities

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As the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, make arrangements to meets the Federal Government on Monday (today).Some students have shown concerns over the planned industrial action by ASUU

9jaflair reports that the  FG through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, has scheduled to meet with the leadership of the union over the predominate strike action.

Recollect that the union had on June 19, threatened to embark on another strike over the alleged deliberate refusal of the Accountant-General of the Federation, Mr Ahmed Idris, to pay the salaries and remittance of check-off dues of over 1,000 staff for 13 months.

The ASUU chairman University of Jos, Dr Lazarus Maigoro who made the revelation in a press statement accused the AGF of fanning the embers of discord between the Federal Government and the Union.

In a move to forestall the industrial action, the Federal Government would meet with the union 2pm today to look at the unending issues.

Recollect  that the union had on March 23, 2020, embarked on an industrial action which lasted for over 9 months, the longest of its strike in 10 years over the inability of the Federal Government to address the issues and implement some agreement the two parties entered years ago.

Consisting thea fresh development, some students spoke with 9jaflair to register their grievances over incessant strike actions in Nigerian Universities.

A 300 level student of the Benue State University, Makurdi, Miss Martha Onuh, lamented the current move by ASUU, urging the union to put the interest of the students at heart.

She said, “After staying at home for a while during academic calendar year in 2020, you think I will be happy hearing that ASUU may still embark on strike? Sometimes I don’t even care to know who is at fault and who is right. The Federal Government and the union should put our interest at heart.

“I applied for 4 years course, this is my 5th year in the university yet I’m in 300 level. It’s bad,”she lamented.

Similarly, James a final year student of the University of Nigeria, Nnsuka in a chat with our correspondent, appealed to both parties to find a means of settling their differences without industrial action.

“Most times, ASUU would say that they are fighting for the benefit of the students but at the end, the students who they claim that they are fighting for are the ones losing.

“Is there no other way for a union to register its grievances without a strike action? The incessant industrial action by the union, to me has crippled Nigerian universities,” he added.

Also, a Master’s Degree student in the university of Abuja, Adebayo Micheal urged the Federal Government and ASUU to settle their differences once and for all.

He said, “We can not be talking about strike every year. It’s quite shameful that our education system is never stable. I think even if it would take them one whole year to settle their differences and end it forever, it would be better for the students.

We await the result of today’s meeting by the union with FG.

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Education

A soldier is arrested by Army for killing UNICAL student in Calabar

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A soldier who allegedly killed a final year Student of the University of Calabar has been arrested by The Nigerian Army.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, in a speech, said the Army had instituted an investigation into the allegations.

9jaflair gathered that Mr Gray Agbesu was killed on Friday by a serving soldier deployed on duty at the Calabar Correctional Service facility.

Nwachukwu said the soldier who was arrested while trying to run off, is in the custody of the Military Police and would face judicial processes after the investigation.

He further stated that the Commander 13 Brigade had also visited the scene of the incident and spoke to the youth, assuring them of justice.

”The Commander has also paid a visit to the family of the deceased, where he repeated the Army’s resolve to ensure that the family gets justice over the killing of their son.

“The Brigade Commander has equally visited the Cross River State General Hospital, where the corpse of the deceased was deposited,” he said.

Onyema Nwachukwu re-assured the family and the community that the soldier will be thoroughly investigated and made to face judicial processes as directed by the law.
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