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Strike: ASUU Accuses FG Of Deceit As Minister Explains Payment Delay

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Strike: ASUU Accuses FG Of Deceit As Minister Explains Payment Delay
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Strike: ASUU Accuses FG Of Deceit As Minister Explains Payment Delay

The Federal Government, on Monday, explained why it had not paid the University Revitalisation Fund and met other demands of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who stated this in an interview with The PUNCH, said the government was working hard to ensure the release of the revitalisation fund by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

But ASUU, in its reaction, dismissed the minister’s explanation, saying the government was being dishonest in its justification of the delay in paying the revitalisation fund.

In 2020, a nine-month strike by ASUU, which commenced in March and was called off in December, paralysed public universities in the country.

The lecturers had gone on strike following their disagreement with the government over the funding of the universities and ineffectiveness and discrepancies around the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, among others.

ASUU, however, developed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution to replace the IPPIS and had several meetings with officials of the ministries of finance, education, labour and employment, and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation before the UTAS was approved, but it has yet to be implemented.

Strike: ASUU Accuses FG Of Deceit As Minister Explains Payment Delay

On August 2, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, said the government had paid the revitalisation fund as contained in the Memorandum of Action signed with the lecturers.

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He, however, said the money was in the custody of the CBN pending the conclusion of the audit

The PUNCH had on Monday reported that another strike was looming in the nation’s universities as ASUU threatened a showdown following the government’s alleged failure to implement the agreements reached with the university teachers.

The report quoted ASUU President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, as lamenting the government’s failure to fulfil its promises to the union.

While claiming that government officials had stopped taking the calls of the ASUU members, Osodeke also said the union had given the government till Tuesday (today) to meet its demands.

But Nwajiuba, stated in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday that the government was working hard to secure the release of the money from the CBN and appealed to ASUU to be patient.

Nwajiuba said the process of meeting ASUU’s demands was in progress.

He, therefore, urged the union to reach out to the government.

The minister said, “Why won’t the Federal Government take their calls? You called me with an unknown number and I picked your call, so why won’t we pick calls from ASUU? Who did they reach out to? Talks on the funds for the revitalisation of universities and ASUU are in progress.

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“We are pursuing the CBN to be clear on the timing. Let ASUU reach out to us.”

The ASUU president, when contacted by one of our correspondents, said the government was not interested in the plight of the poor, who attend public universities.

“I don’t think they are honest with what they are saying. If they are interested in the children of the poor, who cannot afford private universities, they would have written to us that they are sorry. This is the normal thing they should have done in a system,” he said.

Faulting the minister, Osodeke stated, “The CBN and the ministry are the Federal Government. They showed us a document that the money is with the CBN. What is difficult in transferring money from one CBN account to another CBN account? That means the document they showed us was fake.

“As of today, accounts of all federal parastatals are domiciled in the CBN through the TSA (Treasury Single Account); so, it shouldn’t be difficult. This is how they are creating problems in the system. If actually the ministry has written to the CBN, I don’t think the CBN will say they are not transferring the money. We are waiting for them. On the deadline, let’s wait till tomorrow.”

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The union president also berated the Ministry of Education, stating, “We expect the ministry to have convened a meeting of the bank’s monetary committee to allocate the money to the universities. It is not about the CBN; between that time (August 2) and September 1, they would have allocated the money so that each university would know how much it is expecting. Have they called the meeting? Does that meeting also depend on the CBN?

“They are not showing goodwill on the issue we are talking about. This is about Nigerian students; about 95 per cent of Nigerian students are in public universities; only about five per cent are in private universities and abroad; so, they should take care of these children.”

The ASUU President said the union would continue to watch the Federal Government until the ultimatum it earlier issued elapsed.

He said the union’s decision would be made known on Tuesday (today).

“Oh! They said they have been picking our calls? No problems, we are watching to see how things will play out. By tomorrow (Tuesday), our decision will be made,” Osodeke added.

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Education

Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction
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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Sunday said its National Executive Council would meet next week to weigh its options on whether to embark on strike or not following the failure of the Federal Government to meet some of its demands.

The union’s National President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja.

Recall that ASUU had issued ultimatum to the Federal Government and accused the government of deliberately ignoring its demands.

Some of ASUU’s demands include the payment of salary arrears of its members, payment of revitalisation funds of universities and the development of a new payment platform known as the UTAS platform.

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Planned Strike: ASUU Sets To Meet Next Week, Over FG’s Inaction

The Federal Government had, however, insisted that it was working hard on making sure that the association’s demands were met.

But Osodeke said, “For now, there is nothing new from their (government’s) side. They have deliberately continued to do this in a bid to make us bad.

“We have given them enough time and we are sure the public has heard our cries. The NEC will be meeting next week. No particular day yet but it is next week.

“We are hoping they do something before next week. When we meet, we will weigh our options and decision will be taken.

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“We will update you with other things. But we are meeting next week and they have till next week.”

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS
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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

The Academic Staff Union of Secondary Schools(ASUSS), has expressed regret over incessant killings, kidnappings and harassment of teachers and students across the country, saying the sordid scenarios were affecting the teachers’ productivities adversely.

Despite the situation, ASUSS lauded the Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, for employing 7,600 teachers, commending Kano and Adamawa, for legislating on extension members’ retirement to 65 years.

The ASUSS’ CWC said this in a communique issued after its meeting in Kaduna on Wednesday and made available to newsmen by its National President, Samuel Omaji and Secretary-General, Sola Adigun, who doubles as the Chairman of ASUSS in Ekiti State.

The communique reads: “We appreciate the governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, for the recruitment of 7,600 teachers into its 9,000 Secondary School Tutors. This is laudable as it is geared towards quality and functional education.

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“We commend the government of Kano State for redeploying 11,000 trained teachers in its MDAs to schools to boost teaching and learning. The commendations also go to Oyo, Lagos and Delta States, for the up-to-date promotion of teachers”.

In spite of the above incentives to teaching, ASUSS frowned at the insecurity across the country, particularly, incessant attacks on schools, leading to the killing and kidnapping of teachers and students for ransoms.

“That the prevailing insecurity transcends ethnicity and politics; and for the umpteenth time, the union calls on governments at all levels to be sincere in handling security issues as it is their fundamental responsibility”.

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Killing, kidnapping of teachers threaten education in Nigeria – ASUSS

“ASUSS vehemently frowns at the recent harassment of teachers by students and parents; case studies were Plateau State where a student stabbed a teacher to death and Ekiti State where a police officer came to his child’s school with a team of three other policemen to harass the school principal and the teachers, while the police authority has refused to act on ASUSS complaints”.

It added further that its members are incurably committed to its objectives of raising future leaders and shall vigorously pursue them for meaningful and robust development of education in Nigeria.

ASUSS urged the National Assembly to expedite action on the bills to energise better welfare packages for teachers, saying dilly-dallying on the passage doesn’t correlate with the position maintained by President Muhammadu Buhari

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It stated: ” Other state governments should emulate Kano and Adamawa States that have gone ahead to legislate on elongation of service for their teachers with immediate implementation of same.

“That the leadership of the union is ready to organize all Secondary schools tutors, to scientifically pursue better welfare, improved terms and conditions of services, to enhance the dignity of members”.

ASUSS called on all other states that have allegedly denied teachers their privileges, rights and regular emoluments to do the right thing to alleviate the burdens and pains on members.

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police
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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

Students of Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, yesterday brought academic activities to a standstill as they took over the Aba-Owerri road in protest over the alleged rape of three female students of the institution by policemen attached to the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), in Aba.

This is even as the students also protested the non-accreditation of the Civil Engineering department of the institution.

Some of the placards displayed during the protest include; “Say no to rape”’, “Sell this school and give us our money back”, among others.

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Abia Poly Students Protest Over Non Accreditation, Rape Of Three By Police

The students of the Department of Civil Engineering lamented that they were being given certificates bearing Department of Building upon graduation and urged the Abia State government and the management of the polytechnic to expedite action to accredit the department to enable them to graduate with certificates bearing Civil Engineering.

On the alleged rape of students by RRS operatives, the students stated that three female students, residing at a Lodge, near the Aba North council headquarters, were raped and taken to an undisclosed hospital in the area. The students lamented that some personnel of the RRS team had been sexually assaulting them at their lodge.

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While addressing the protesting students, the Rector of the Polytechnic, Prof. Kalu Osonwa, explained that he got information that the RRS men were assaulting students.

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