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Resign and go into farming – ASUU Mocks Education minister

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…says he knows nothing about education

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Tuesday advised the Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajuiba, to resign and go into farming.

The Chairman of ASUU, University of Ibadan chapter, Prof Ayo Akinwole, stated this in a statement in Ibadan while reacting to the minister’s criticism of the union.

He said the minister’s criticism showed that he was naïve on education matters.

The minister had, in an interview on Monday, said the striking lecturers should resort to farming, saying they could not dictate to their employers, how they should be paid.

He had said, “Government is actually not holding anyone to ransom. It says ‘this is how I want to pay and it has to be through IPPIS (Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System)’ You can leave the employment. You can opt out of it and say ‘I no longer want to teach’. You can find other professions. What we need now are probably more farmers.

“You cannot keep forcing your employer and tell him, ‘I will like you to pay me my money through my pillow. Or, ‘I will like you to pay it through this mailbox’. ASUU has a lot of complaints and dissipation around

But Akinyole described Nwajiuba’s statement as a reflection of his shallow understanding of the academic profession and the low premium the current administration placed on education.
He said the minister of state had “displayed his naivety on educational matters.”

He added, “If the Minister of State for Education is interested in farming, he should resign his appointment and stop displaying his cluelessness of the problems in the education sector.

“We are on a just fight to ensure that those in public offices become responsive and responsible to the masses they swore to serve. They must fund public education. We have been on the same salary since 2009. That is no longer sustainable.

“The universities are being run with personal sweat of lecturers while politicians siphon money for personal aggrandizement. We cannot accept the IPPIS that is against the laws of the land and which fails to recognise the uniqueness of academic profession and culture.

“We have brought an alternative using our members’ money. People like this minister of state mirror the disdain of ruling class for the workers and people of the country.”

ASUU had on March 23 begun an indefinite strike to force the Federal Government to implement its agreements with the lecturers and protest against the IPPIS.

The union on Monday said its members would not call off their strike despite the directive of the Federal Government that all educational institutions should resume on Monday, next week.

The National President of ASUU, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi, had told The PUNCH that the Federal Government was not sincere about negotiations with the union. He said lecturers would not resume on an empty stomach.

He had said “You can’t expect people to go back to their offices on an empty stomach. You don’t expect my members to suspend this action when their demands have not been met. It is a very clear decision that anybody would make in this circumstance.”

Education

Govt will consider Tescom applicants below 50 cut off marks in phase 2

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… recruitment process was without fear or favour – Oyo Govt

The Oyo state government has assured its citizens that it will consider candidates with below 50 cut off marks in the seccond phase of recruitment for teachers in the state.

This was made known by the Executive Governor of Oyo State, Engr Seyi Makinde on Wednesday.

The governor gave the assurance during a Town hall meeting on the 2021 budget which held in Oyo West Local council in Oyo.

The governor also debunked claims that the recruitment exercise was based on favours or political affiliations. He assured that the recruitment exercise was based solely on merits.

The governor who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Bisi Ilaka noted that openness and transparency are the hallmarks of his administration and that is seen in the town hall meeting on the 2021 budget conducted in seven geopolitical zones in the state. This, he said is to bring the government even more closer to the people.

He noted that Oyo zone hosted the last year Town Hall meeting on the previous budget and the government has decided to make it an annual exercise due to the success recorded in the implementation of the 2020 budget irrespective of the COVID-19 pandemic and fall in oil prices.

He said, “Last year, we produced our first budget, which we tagged, “The People’s Budget” because we came out and engaged in town hall meetings and sought your input. You spoke, and we listened. You made it clear that you wanted more capital projects and infrastructural development. You indicated that payment of salaries and gratuities was a sore point. As a result, of last year’s budget of N213.8Billion, capital expenditure was pegged at N103.4Billion, while recurrent expenditure had a value of N110.4Billion.

“Unfortunately, COVID-19 happened. Additionally, the fall in oil prices affected federal allocations to states. We had to slash the budget. However, we decided that whatever cuts we were making, payment of salaries pensions and gratuities, and other emoluments to the state workforce will not be affected. After the reductions, recurrent expenditure remained N108.9Billion while capital projects took a 36.9% hit and came down to N65.2Billion.

“Still, we have found ways of ensuring that some planned infrastructural projects could still be carried out. For example, we introduced the Alternative Project Funding Approach (APFA), where the contractor executes the entire project with their own money before the government repays over several budgeting cycles. The ongoing reconstruction of the 21km Airport Road-Ajia-New Ife Express Road with a spur to Amuloko and the remodelling of Lekan Salami Stadium, Adamasingba, are products of this funding approach.

“We also had the Contractor’s Project Financing Scheme. Through this scheme, Oyo State contributes an initial percentage of the contract sum while the contractor brings the rest. The government then has the grace of paying over several budgeting cycles. The recently flagged off ‘Light Up Oyo State’ (Phase 2) project is being facilitated using this financing model.”

While appreciating the people for their active participation in the 2020 budget, the governor called for an even bigger participation in the 2021 budget which will see to the continuous growth and development of the state.

Reacting to requests made by the different groups and local governments, the governor disclosed that the Durbar Stadium, alongside other stadia across the state, has been approved for upgrading and will soon be used for sporting activities.

He also announced that infrastructural projects such as construction/renovation of state roads, upgrading of the general hospital, completion of the Akesan market, amongst others will be executed in due time.
Furthermore, the state government will serve as catalyst for federal projects such as the Erelu water works, Oyo-Iseyin road, etc to be executed speedily.

He, however appealed to representatives of the different groups to appropriately document their requests and needs and forward it to the Ministry of Budget and Economic planning.

Speaking to newsmen, Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Barr Adeniyi Farinto expressed satisfaction on the feedback gotten from the people concerning the 2020 budget. He noted that the joy of this administration is to see that its efforts is putting smiles on people’s faces.

He assured that the 2021 budget will contain exactly that which the people asked for.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of budget and Economic Planning, Mrs Mofoluke Adebiyi expressed gratitude to the people for actively involved in the budget process. She however urged leaders of the zone to give opportunities for women to be heard in such forum.

According to her, “at least 30% of women should be allowed in leadership and issues that pertain to governance. Only then, can we have true progress as a society.”

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Chibok students write WAEC exams for first time in six years amidst tight security

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For the first time in six years, students in Chibok local government area of Borno State are taking part in this year’s West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE).
Chibok became popular in April, 2014 following the abduction of over 200 school girls from the Government Girls Secondary School by the terrorist group, Biko Haram

Due to this abduction and subsequent attacks by the insurgents; the Federal Government announced complete closure of other schools in the region in order to protect the students from further Boko Haram attacks.

This recent development was contained in a statement issued by the Acting General Officer Commanding (GOC); 7 Division of the Nigerian Army, Gen. Abdul-Khalifa Ibrahim, during a press briefing.

Ibrahim further confirmed that the school where the girls were abducted by the Boko Haram terrorists, had been converted to a mixed school.

He said: “It will be gladdening to note that for the first time in the past six years; WAEC successfully held WASSCE in Chibok with the military providing security.

“We are all witnesses to what happened in the recent past like the abduction of the Chibok girls; the slaughtering of students at Buni Yadi, and abduction of students at Dapchi. These happened in the past and we have turned around that narrative.

“Let me equally say that the Chief of Army Staff has been making deliberate efforts through the education corps to post teachers to all schools in the North-East states.”

Meanwhile, Amnesty International on Friday, September 11; urged Nigeria to release the findings of a report on rights abuses by security forces; three years after the government ordered the probe.
The campaigning group has accused security forces of hundreds of extra-judicial killings; rape; torture; as well as enforced disappearances claims the military has always denied.

A presidential panel was set up in 2017 and investigators submitted a report a year later; but it was never released to the public; a decision that Amnesty International described as “a gross display of contempt for victims”.

“Victims and the larger public in Nigeria deserve to see and scrutinise the findings,” said Osai Ojigho; Nigeria director of Amnesty in a statement.

“We are calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to fulfil the promise he made in 2015 to end impunity by immediately releasing the report,” he added.

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Covid19: ASUU blocks chances of schools reopening; says FG must adhere to its set guidelines

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Ibadan Chapter, has cautioned against the reopening of schools without provisions for schools to meet COVID-19 precautionary guidelines.

This was contained in a statement by its chairman, Prof. Ayo Akinwole, made available to newsmen in Ibadan on Sunday.

Akinwole warned against the negative effects of the pandemic on the students, lecturers and other workers if the there is not enough plans for safety precautions in the schools, saying that no financial gains is worth more than the lives of people.

Akinwole noted that before COVID-19 pandemic, public varsities were overcrowded with students and hostel facilities took more than its capacity.

The ASUU Chairman then warned parents not to jubilate at the news of a possible reopening of schools.

However, they should ask the government to put measures in place so as not to have a surge in COVID-19 that might happen as a result of ill-thought out reopening, he said.

“What we are simply saying is that the Federal Government should adhere to their own set guidelines.

“Our position, as a responsible union in all these is that; throwing schools open in the midst of all these, is an open invitation to the tragic explosion of the COVID-19 scourge on a scale never witnessed anywhere since its outbreak.”

He said that the union was aware that there had been agitations from some quarters for the government to reopen schools.

The renowned academic said that those leading the campaign are the proprietors of private universities.
He said, “ASUU is not in any way opposed to this call.

“However, Nigerians should honestly interrogate this position. Has the Nigerian government met the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) criteria on COVID – 19 protocols in our institutions?

“COVID-19 pandemic is still very much with us. It is in recognition of this fact that the government itself has rolled out certain conditions; to be met before schools are reopened.”

The ASUU chairman asked, “How many of our public institutions can confidently vouch for the safety of our children; given the available facilities such as: provision of running water for hand washing; social distancing among students?”

He listed others to include: the use of recommended face masks and shields; which are key components of NCDC protocols.

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