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Panic As NASU, SSANU Set To begin warning strike tomorrow

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Panic As NASU, SSANU Set To begin warning strike tomorrow
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Hope that federal universities will reopen soon may be dashed as members of non-academic unions are beginning a three-day warning strike from tomorrow January 12, 2021.
In a letter dispatched to all branch chairmen of both Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) at the weekend, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the two unions explained that the three-day protest is against sharing of N40 billion earned allowances and non-implementation of the agreement it reached with the Federal Government.

At their meeting held in Abuja at the weekend, the two unions listed inconsistencies in the IPPIS payment; non-payment of Earned Allowances (EA); non-payment of arrears of minimum wage; delay in renegotiation of FGN/NASU and SSANU 2009 agreements; non-payment of retirement benefits of outgone members; teaching staff usurping headships of non-teaching units in clear violation of conditions of service and established procedures; neglect and poor funding of state universities and non-constitution of visitation panels for universities as contained in the Memorandum of Understanding, as issues in dispute.

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The JAC directed members of the unions to use today, Monday, January 11, 2021 to sensitise all their colleagues to the imperativeness of the warning strike.

The directive, which was jointly signed by the General Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi, and President of SSANU, Mohammed Ibrahim, added: “That a 3-day protest should hold from Tuesday, 12th – Thursday, 14th January, 2021 at each branch from 8am – 4pm each day.

”Branch leaders are to ensure that the press is fully mobilised and carried along in the protests. State, zonal, and national officers of JAC shall monitor the protest to ensure strict compliance by branches. Every branch should ensure that all members fully participate in the protests while all COVID-19 protocols are to be complied with.

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“As the branch protests mark the beginning of a series of industrial actions to be undertaken by JAC, you are to await further directives immediately after the 3-day protest. Every branch must comply and strictly adhere to these directives.”

While faulting the 75 per cent to members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and 25 per cent to the non-academic staffers, Adeyemi submitted that the process that was used in determining the sharing formula was not scientific.

He also challenged Federal Government to unveil the findings of a forensic audit empanelled to determine how much earned allowance is still outstanding.

“There was a time Federal Government, in conjunction with the office of the Accountant General, hired some consultants to conduct forensic audit of what has been paid so that whatever releases that would be made subsequently would be predicated on the result of the findings of the forensic audit.

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The audit was meant to determine how much had been paid members of each union. To us, that was a scientific way of determining how much is owed. But to our surprise, Federal Government said the academic union should take 75 per cent of the N40 billion that was released recently and 25 per cent to other three unions. We were taken aback by that fiat because it was not based on any fact. To us, that step was meant to promote corruption of highest proportion ever known in the university funding,” he explained.

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JAMB To Extend Registration Deadline As Candidates Grapple With Difficulties

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JAMB To Extend Registration Deadline As Candidates Grapple With Difficulties
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Barring last minute change, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) will announce the extension of the deadline for the ongoing registration for its 2021 unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME) and the direct entry (DE) programme.

This decision may not be unconnected to the difficulties being experienced by candidates in their attempts to generate the required codes towards setting up profiles using their unique national identification number (NIN).

PREMIUM TIMES has exclusively learnt that as of Wednesday afternoon, roughly 72 hours to the May 15 deadline set by the examination body, only 1,012,000 candidates have so far registered for the UTME and about 30,000 candidates for the DE programme.

This figure is low when compared to about 1.9 million UTME and 200,000 DE candidates already captured within the same period in 2020.

Investigations revealed that as of Wednesday about 600,000 prospective candidates, who have initiated the registration process, are yet to receive the required codes meant to be transported to their mobile lines by the network operators.

Challenges
Some officials of the examination body, who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES confidentially, claiming they were not authorised to speak on the matter, said the problem is caused by the adoption of the mandatory use of NIN for the registration.

“The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) that is responsible for the issuance of NIN is expected to generate the linked number to be transported to candidates as soon as they input their required USSD code. But this has been difficult for the agency due largely to inadequate manpower and lack of required technical skill,” one of the sources told our reporter on the phone.

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Another source blamed the mobile telecommunication operators for the delayed response to transporting codes generated to candidates, saying this is the worst outing being recorded by JAMB since the adoption of the USSD system in its registration.

Some ad hoc staffers of the examination body, who were meant to register using the same procedure ahead of the examination, have also expressed frustration in their attempts to be registered for the exercise.

“We keep sending the codes to 55019 as instructed by JAMB but the response is always that it is being processed and that we should await SMS. But the SMS never comes even after more than 48 hours. I can now imagine the problem the prospective candidates are going through,” an ad hoc staffer who does not want to be quoted told our reporter on the phone.

Meanwhile, a parent, Bassey Udo, who was trying to change his son’s course of study for the ongoing 2020 admission at a university, told our reporter on the phone that even after paying the required fee, the one-time password (OTP) required to complete the transaction has not been received for more than three days.

“Till now we cannot complete the transaction. I spoke to MTN and I was asked if I had activated the “Do not disturb” system on my line. But they found out I did not. So they concluded there was no basis not to receive a message from a third party. But still, the situation has remained the same. I don’t know what would be the fate of this boy if we are unable to complete the task,” Mr Udo told our reporter.

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JAMB keeps mum
Meanwhile, the director of public affairs and protocol for the examination body, Fabian Benjamin, refused to comment on the matter.

He said he would respond to PREMIUM TIMES’ enquiry ‘soon’. His promised response, however, did not come as of the time of filing this report.

It would be recalled that JAMB had earlier scheduled its mock examination for April 30 but later rescheduled it to hold on May 20. The abrupt change might not be unconnected with the difficulties being experienced in the registration exercise.

Meanwhile, a highly placed source in the agency who does not want to be mentioned told this newspaper that the best solution would have been to waive the use of NIN for candidates.

“If we do that, I can assure you that in two days the whole exercise would be completed. But we cannot because the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was impressed by our efforts and has even written appreciation to our supervising ministry and also to the federal executive council. So we cannot backtrack on that for now,” the source said.

The examination body is billed to meet with ‘stakeholders’ including members of various groups such as civil societies and media ahead of the examination.

Network operators deny culpability
Meanwhile, the mobile network operators have denied being responsible for the challenges being faced by candidates in their efforts to be registered for the examination.

The operators’ umbrella body- Association of Licenced Telecommunications Operators in Nigeria (ALTON) said its role is ”simply to transport the codes to the candidates and not to generate”.

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In his response to our reporter’s enquiries, the association’s chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, said the delays cannot be from the systems of the telecommunication companies.

“Telecommunication companies don’t manage the process of generating the code for candidates, we only provide the “transport” access to their servers and we rely on the examinations agency to generate the code. We don’t manage their database and as such we’re not responsible for generating the said examination code,” Mr. Adebayo said.

When confronted with the claim of the existing generated codes ”yet to be transported”, Mr Adebayo said; “If the codes are generated and their servers do not upload them to the operators, there would be nothing on the link to deliver. Operators are just a medium of transport, and if their servers don’t deliver the codes, the link (transport) will be empty. Maybe there’s something they’re not saying. Ask them again and let them show a proof!”

NIMC fails to respond
When reached for reaction, the authorities at the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) failed to respond.

The agency’s head of corporate communications department, Jamila Ahmed, who failed to pick many calls sent to her telephone line later responded to our reporter’s message that she was on leave.

Ms Ahmed also directed our reporter to speak to a man identified simply as Kayode.

But efforts to reach Mr Kayode were not successful as his provided mobile telephone line did not go through. A message sent to the number was yet to be replied as of the time of filing this report.

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Osinbajo: The Economic Future Of Our Nation Is Extremely Bright

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Osinbajo: The Economic Future Of Our Nation Is Extremely Bright
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It’s the first in sub-Saharan Africa and one of the three such cutting-edge facilities on the continent, with top prime global certifications for smart card manufacturing and it is based in Lagos, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, relished yesterday afternoon while touring SecureID company’s premises, and affirmed Nigeria’s extremely bright economic future, which he said cannot be aborted despite current challenges.

According to him, “the economic future of our nation is extremely bright. Yes, we have challenges today and they may look daunting. But let me assure you that these issues will be resolved. The march of this nation to its manifest destiny as Africa’s leading economic power will not be aborted. We are more than able to overcome.”

An impressed Prof. Osinbajo said the Buhari Administration in “following the recommendation of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council, has determined that manufacturing will be our main focus in bringing about dynamic growth, jobs and exports. This will mean retooling our business environment for greater competitiveness, especially with the take off of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement.

“We are rethinking our tax regimes, sorting out external and internal trade issues, getting our regulatory authorities; SON, NAFDAC, and even Customs, to see their roles more as business facilitators rather than policemen or revenue generators. Our environment must be friendly for local businesses first, foreign investments will follow enthusiastically.”

Commenting on the efforts of the administration to position the country as a leading economic beacon on the continent, the VP also stated that the Buhari administration was ramping up efforts in improving the country’s infrastructure and digital space.

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He said, “aside from the work we are doing with other infrastructure such as rail, roads and power we are committed to a plan of democratizing broad band connectivity. Our programme, which we have reiterated in our Economic Sustainability Plan, is broadband connectivity for all by 2023.

“The Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy launched the National Broadband Plan which is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria of a minimum 25mbps in urban areas and 10mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90% of the population at affordable prices by the target date. Broadband connectivity is as important as electricity in the digital age unlike electricity we do not have to make several mistakes before getting it right.”

While commending the efforts of the founder and Managing Director of SecureID, Mrs Kofo Akinkugbe, Prof. Osinbajo described SecureID facility as a place of history, innovation and creativity.

He said, “This world-class manufacturing facility is reputed to be the first certified smartcard manufacturing plant in sub-Saharan Africa, the only smart card production and personalization plant in West Africa and one of only six on the continent and one of only 80 in the world.

“The facility serves 21 countries across Africa and is fully certified by major commercial card companies – VISA, Verve and MasterCard. SecureID has shown that this country can be at the cutting edge of development in technology and digital enterprises. The world in which companies like SecureID operates, providing comprehensive end-to-end payment, identity management and digital security solutions is one that thrives on innovation.

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Continuing, the VP said, “the company has in these few years of her existence provided notable innovative offerings to the financial services sector, telecommunications, government, education, healthcare and private enterprises. Equally remarkable is the fact that with this facility, the company can produce all the payment cards, SIM cards, loyalty cards and the various identity management cards (residency cards, voter registration cards, drivers’ license and national identity cards) required here in Nigeria, with capacity to spare.”

“Congratulations also for your successes in getting the certifications that will help to meet the demands of customers, such as Global System of Mobile Applications (GSMA), Visa International, MasterCard Incorporated, Verve, Card Quality Management (CQM), and ISO 9001/2015 for Smart Card Manufacturing and Personalization of credit and debit cards.

“In particular, we must also congratulate SecureID for earning the GSMA certificate last year; this is a world class security requirement for SIM card manufacturing and personalization. Your rapid expansion is also worthy of commendation, especially as you have added a number of subsidiaries, one of which is the digital arm of the business: SID Digital, while the other is involved in transport payment infrastructure. This has put the company in good stead to provide services ranging from identity management to tax collection, school management systems, health management systems, digital cards for the banks and, of course, e-ticketing for all forms of transportation, including road, rail and water.”

Speaking earlier at the event, the founder of SecureID, Mrs. Kofo Akinkugbe, highlighted the significance of the Vice President’s visit, noting that the VP has come to see some of the much-touted potential being realized. She added that SecureID was a good entrepreneurial story of an abiding faith in God and the nation, proving the viability of investing and staying in the course.

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Akinkugbe commended the federal government for establishing institutions and agencies to support and encouraged start-ups, MSMEs and other enterprises that had offered assistance to the company.

In his remarks, the representative of the Bank of Industry, its Executive Director, Mr. Simon Araronu, said he was excited to partner with SecureID, being a pioneer of world-class status in the industry, as well as making world class products, while generating foreign exchange earnings and creating jobs.

Others who spoke at the event were the Corps Marshall, Federal Road Safety Corps, Boboye Oyeyemi; Deputy Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Gbenga Shobo.

The representative of the Governor of Lagos State, His Lordship, the Anglican Bishop of Lagos State, Bishop Humphrey Olumakaiye, alongside other top government functionaries, also attended the event.

Accompanying the Vice President were the Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Zubairu Dada; Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Office of the Vice President, Mr. Ade Ipaye; and the Economic Adviser to the President in the Office of the Vice President, Ambassador. Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu.

*Laolu Akande*
*Senior Special Assistant to the President, Media and Publicity*
*Office of the Vice President*
*12th May, 2021*

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Nekede Poly Student Beaten To Death By Her Boyfriend (Photo)

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Nekede Poly Student Beaten To Death By Her Boyfriend
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Jennifer Chinemerem, a native of Emeabiam,Owerri West LGA & a student of Federal Polythecnic Nekede, Owerri, (dpt of office tech & manageement)was allegedly beaten to death by her Boyfriend in Ihiagwa, Owerri West LGA.

Details later…

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