A delegation of the Federal Government led by the Minister of Labour, Employment and Productivity, Dr Chris Ngige, met behind closed doors with the leadership of the Senate on Tuesday to appraise the University Transparency Account Systems payment platform developed by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
The meeting, chaired by the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, also had in attendance, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris and the ASUU leadership led by the President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi.
Ngige had before the commencement of the meeting, said the parley was at the instance of the Senate President, as part of efforts to resolve the lingering crisis between the Federal Government and ASUU.
Addressing journalists after about a three-hour closed session on the issue on Tuesday, Ngige said, “ASUU has demonstrated to us, how the UTAS they developed could work but the demonstration will continue.
“We will involve other government agencies who would also come and assess it. Discussions on it are not foreclosed yet.
“UTAS is homegrown software. It is what we call local content that Mr President is encouraging. It will be considered by the government,” Ngige added.
ASUU had rejected the IPPIS as it embarked on indefinite strike on February.
The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, told the meeting that the current impasse between ASUU and the Federal Government was an ill-wind that would not do any of the two parties any good.
The Senate President asked the two parties to find a middle ground to resolve their differences.
“It has to be a win-win situation,” Lawan said.
Tuesday’s meeting with the Federal Government delegation was after a similar dialogue with ASUU by the Senate leadership on Monday.
Lagos State Gov awards scholarship to kids of slain police officers
Police officers killed in the wake of the violence that trailed the #ENDSARS protests will not die in vain, Lagos Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has vowed.
He directed Lagos State Scholarship Board to award scholarship to their children up to the university level.
Twenty-nine Divisional Police Stations and 17 Police posts were razed by hoodlums disguising as protesters.
Also, six police officers were lynched, 36 critically injured while 71 police operational vehicles were torched.
Sanwo-Olu made the offer to take the bill of replacing the logistics lost by the police when he visited the Command Headquarters in Ikeja to boost morale of officers.
The Governor said the statutory duties of the Police could not be wished away because of the actions of a few bad eggs, noting the impact of the police officers’ absence on the roads was generally felt by residents.
He said the state must put the event of the past week behind it and move on to restore peace across the communities.
To achieve this, police officers, he said, must regain their confidence.
He said: “Commissioner of Police has come forward with a number of requests, which we will need to address to boost the morale of officers after the last week’s event.
“As your Governor, I have come here to take full responsibility for the loss you have suffered in terms of logistics. From tomorrow (Thursday), we will start implementing these requests.
“Through the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF), we will be replacing the police operational vehicles burnt in the violence.
“We have bigger plans for all the police stations burnt down. We will look for the funds and build befitting stations that will set the standard of what police stations should be.
“The most important request is to offer scholarship to the children of officers that died. I have directed the Lagos State Scholarship Board under the Special Adviser on Education to immediately award scholarship to the children of the slain officers.”
Sanwo-Olu said his administration would also compensate family members of the officers killed in the violence and foot their funeral bills.
He said Lagos would also pick the hospital bills of those injured in the mayhem.
Police officers serving in Lagos are also to get life insurance, Sanwo-Olu added.
The Governor directed the Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr. Rasaq Balogun, to establish the modality with the police leadership in the State.
The Governor also approved the request to upgrade Police Cottage Hospital in Ikeja, directing the Commissioner for Health to inspect the facility for the required upgrade.
In addition to donating two 150KVa generating set to the police, Sanwo-Olu said the Command Headquarters would be connected to the State’s Independent Power Project (IPP) for constant power supply.
Northern States Working On Reviving Almajiri Schools To Reduce Out Of School Children
After being abandoned for years, Almajiri schools and those to cater for out-of-school children, OSC, are being revived in Oyo and Osun states, checks by our correspondents have revealed.
The Almajiri education has been part of the culture of the people in Northern part of the country, and the influx of people from that part of the country to other areas necessitated the setting up of the schools across the country.
The Almajiri schools were part of the education policy of the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Oyo State government has decided to key in into the system to improve on the standard set by the National Policy on Education and subsequently attain education for all.
In Oyo State, the hope of the Almajiris and street hawkers has been rekindled, as the Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), implemented in the state, would soon see them attracted to schooling, while over 5,000 out-of-school children have been added to the enrolment number in the state’s public primary schools.
The Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Dr. Nureni Adeniran, further said in an interview that the state had identified centres across 21 local government areas in the state where Almajiris and hawkers would be trained, pointing out that the centres would become operational as soon as training of teachers to man the centres is concluded.
He expressed the readiness to put into use BESDA take-off grant towards educating the out-of-school children in identified local government areas and ensure their retention in schools.
He said: “Despite all the hiccups, I strongly believe that the essence of BESDA, which is to effectively take all the out-of-school children off the streets and draw them back to schools, will be accomplished in Oyo State.”
Expressing displeasure with the outrageous number of out-of-school children in the state, Adeniran stated that the government would ensure that a total of 62, 733 hawkers were taken back to school, while 107, 803 Almajiris would be taken off the streets in the Oke-Ogun region of the state.
Also in an interview, Head, Coordination Support Team, BESDA, Mallam Iro Umar, said, “Oyo State has a good team to implement BESDA project. BESDA has what it takes to drive the programme to a fruitful end.”
He disclosed that the state government would receive an initial BESDA grant of $3 million to kick off the programme in Ona-ara, Kajola, Surulere, Saki West, Akinyele, Olorunsogo, Iseyin, Saki East, Oyo West, Ogbomosho South, Ogbomosho North and Iwajowa, Ogo-Oluwa, Ibadan South East, Oriire, Oluyole, Afijio, Oyo West, Ibadan South East, Egbeda, Oreloope, Ibarapa Central and Ibadan North East.
In Osun State, the structure put in place by the President Goodluck Jonathan administration in the state capital has been taken over by an Islamic school.
The school, after commissioning has never been put to use.
However, when Vanguard visited the Akede Iyaloja area, where it was sited, it has been converted to an Islamic school.
The sign post on the school read Zumratul-mumeen school, while the dress adorned by the children is different from those used by other public schools in the state.
When contacted, the Executive Secretary, State Universal Basic Education Board, Adeoye Bakare, said the Almajiri education was up and running across the state.
According to him, “the system is under the Universal Basic Education Board and is majorly for the Fulani children but the regular pupil can also join the classes.
“The Almajiri education system has not been abandoned, it will be difficult to access school at this time due to the ravaging coronavirus pandemic. You should also know that it is under the supervision of the Universal Basic Education. But I am very sure it is functional.”
FG Slams ASUU For Using UTAS As Condition For Ending Strike.
Ministry of Education’s spokesperson, Ben Goong, said the demand of the body is ridiculous
– Goong further stressed that ASUU cannot dictate how varsity lecturers should be paid their salaries.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has come under attack as the federal government described the condition set by the body before it can end its strike as “unreasonable.”
It would be recalled that ASUU said it would end the strike action after its home-grown University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) has passed the federal government’s integrity test.
Speaking in an interview with The Punch, the association’s national leader and president, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, gave the assurance with questions popping up on when the lecturers will resume back to classrooms.
ASUU was expected to call off its strike and mandate lecturers to resume back to lecture rooms on Wednesday, October 21, after striking a unilateral agreement with the representatives of the federal government.
The federal government said the demand of ASUU is ridiculous. Credit: BBC Pidgin
But Ogunyemi said UTAS, which is a payment system developed by ASUU in place of the controversial Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), is still going through an integrity test handled by NITDA.
Reacting to the ASUU’s stance, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education, Ben Goong, said ASUU’s demand is ridiculous because varsity lecturers cannot determine how they should be paid by their employers which is the federal government.
“I don’t know whether you know how many groups, organisations and associations receiving a salary from the federal account. So, if everybody is doing their own platform, imagine how many payment platforms government will have to deal with it.”
Meanwhile, ASUU has raised an alarm over what the body termed as a deliberate attempt to strangulate public education in Nigeria.
Speaking during a Town and Gown meeting at the African Hall in the University of Ilorin, Kwara state, ASUU president Ogunyemi said the lecturers’ body is being neglected by the federal government because “there were plans to make education inaccessible to the poor.”
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