The Federal Government and workers’ unions in various sectors of the economy were literally at each other’s jugular, yesterday, over the five-month long strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, which has grounded the nation’s ivory towers.
Pointedly, the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP, and National Union of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees, NUBIFIE, have threatened to shut down airports, banks and financial institutions in solidarity with the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, which has directed its members to embark on a nationwide protest on July 26 and 27 in solidarity with the university teachers’ industrial action.
On a day the National Universities Commission, NUC, lamented the effects of the strike on students, the economy as well as reputation of the nation’s universities, the students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG,also urged its members in the 19 states of the North, who are affected by the ASUU strike, to join the protest action declared by NLC.
However, Presidency officials yesterday accused ASUU leaders of sustaining the on-going strike by blackmail, threat and feeding members with lies about the Federal Government’s efforts at resolving the industrial action that has entered the sixth month.
Some Presidency officials told Vanguard that the Federal Government has implemented five of the seven issues in the Memorandum of Action, MoA, signed with leaders of ASUU in December 2020 and had paid not less than N92.27billion as Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, among others, to ASUU members before they embarked on strike.
“This is different from the N304 billion from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund TETFUND for 2021 and first quarter of 2022,” the Presidency officials added.
Aviation union threatens to shut down airports over ASUU strike
General-Secretary of ANAP, Abdulrasaq Saidu, said yesterday that members of the union will align with the NLC position in protesting against the unfortunate situation in the tertiary education sector.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to end the strike without further delay, lamenting that the protracted strike has added to social vices in the country as students now engage in unpalatable activities capable of destroying their future.
Saidu said the over five-month strike has ridiculed Nigeria’s educational system and made it a laughing stock.
“ASUU, NASU, SAUTHRIAI, NAAT had been on strike for more than five months due to the apparent failure of government to sign the re-negotiated 2009 Agreement with ASUU, failure to honour the terms reached in the May 2022 MoU signed with ASUU, and habitual failure of government to respect Collective Bargaining Agreements willingly signed with labour Unions,” he noted.
He said not only the students are suffering, but also parents and the society, adding that the poor economy has also affected every home in the country.
Saidu said education remained the bedrock of any country aspiring for greatness, noting that ASUU strike would eventually lead to a regrettable situation in future, if not well-handled.
“Our children are using eight years to read courses of four years with resources being wasted. We cannot continue this way,” he said.
In a related development, the NUBIFIE said it would join the NLC in its solidarity strike over the lingering ASUU strike.
According to NAN, NUBIFIE said this in a statement signed by Anthony Abakpa, its national president and Mohammed Sheikh, general secretary, on Sunday.
“However, if after the one-day protest by NLC on this issue and nothing is done, the union will have no other option than to call out all our members in banks, insurance and other financial institutions in solidarity with ASUU,” it added.
NUC laments effects of prolonged strike on Nigeria’s economy, students, others
As the ongoing ASUU strike entered its 6th month, the National Universities Commission, NUC, has lamented the effects of the strike on students, Nigeria’s economy as well as reputation of the nation’s universities.
Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Rasheed, speaking yesterday, at the opening session of the 2022 management retreat with vice-chancellors of Nigerian universities, organised by the commission, asked the vice-chancellors to ensure that universities fulfill their primary roles and mandate.
He specifically said they must take up the challenge through competence and resolutions.
“Our universities have been confronted with uncertainties due to the unfortunate strike. ASUU strike is is in the sixth month and as vice-chancellors, we know the negative consequences of the prolonged closure of universities, we know what it means in terms of its effect on the economy of a nation. As vice-chancellors we know what it means in terms of our institutional reputation and the future of our youths.
“University education is fundamental to success and a nation’s economy. Nations explore teaching, research and community development for aspiration of goals,” Prof. Rasheed said.
Rasheed said NUC was determined to promote dialogue and constructive engagement with critical stakeholders to see a crisis-free university system.
The retreat, he explained, was to identify and support on-going efforts by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, the Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders ,in ensuring stability and put an end to on-going strike in the country’s public universities.
“Nigerian universities must fulfill their primary roles and fulfill their extant laws,” he added.
Noting that “the National Universities Commission is responsible for the development of universities in Nigeria”,the NUC boss reiterated the resolve of his organisation to “continue to provide guidance to ensure students sponsors get value for education.”
Speaking at the retreat, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, represented by the Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nanah Opiah, explained that one of the challenges created by COVID-19 is paucity of funds.
ASUU sustaining strike with lies, blackmail, threat, FG spent N421.27bnon varsities — Presidency officials
Accusing ASUÛ leaders of sustaining the on-going strike by blackmail, threat and feeding members with lies about government’s efforts at resolving the industrial action, some Presidency officials told Vanguard that the Federal Government has implemented five out of the seven issues on the Memorandum of Action, MoA, it signed with the leaders of ASUU in December 2020 and has paid not less than N92.27billion as Earned Academic Allowances, EAA, among others to ASUU members before embarked on strike.
This is different from the N304 billion from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund TETFUND for 2021 and first quarter of 2022.
According to them, “the universities received N25 billion for all their staff in May 2022 arising from the consequential adjustment of the 2019 minimum wage. What this means is that every staff of the Federal Government was given 10 per cent increase as against what he or she was earning before the new minimum wage.”
One of the officials said: “The Federal Government paid ASUU N40 billion EAA as Earned Allowance in January/February 2021 for 2020. The government also paid N22.27 billion for 2021 mainstreamed into 2021 budget as promised to ASUU in the MoA. Similarly, N30 billion was paid in June 2021 for Revitalisation as contained in the MoA, amounting to about N92.27billion.
“On the issue of ASUU’s University Transparency Accountability Solution, UTAS, as against the Federal Government’s Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System, IPPIS, UTAS, has been tested since 2021. While it passed USER Acceptance, it failed Integrity test. That is, it did not pass vulnerability test against hackers, stress and traffic usage/ accommodation.
“You are aware that the other unions in the university system, especially the Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions, NASU, and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, said they developed their own payment platform which they call University Peculiar Payroll and Payment System, U3PS or UPPPS. NASU and SSANU have vowed that even if UTAS is 100 percent perfect, their members would not key into it. How do you describe that? It is total confusion.
“Nevertheless, as part of efforts to resolve the issue, further tests on UTAS and UPPPS, even, the IPPIS are ongoing at the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA. But ASUU’s insistence on the usage of UTAS whether good or bad shows how they want the matter to remain unresolved. As part of the implementation of the MoA, on the visitation panels to the universities, it has been done. The panel’s work has been concluded and its gazette will be released anytime.
“On the issue of renegotiation of 2009 agreement, another official informed that “it was actually renegotiated in 2013/ 2014 and to be reviewed every five years. The Wale Babalakin committee started the renegotiation in 2018 and left it later for Professor Munzali. Because its proposal in 2021 was not processed in the Federal Ministry of Education until October 2021, a new committee was set up headed by Professor Nimi Briggs.
Unfortunately, the committee also decided not to work with the appropriate Federal Government agencies like the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Budget Office, National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission, Office of Head Civil Service of the Federation and Ministry of Labour and Employment that fix and recommend salaries and wages and public service Conditions of Service as proposal to the Federal Ministry of Education and Presidential Committee on Salaries and Wages.
“However, ASUU went back to tell its members that an agreement has been drawn up. This is in bad faith as any such agreement is guided by capacity and ability to pay. The proposal’s financial implications as it affects the 44,377 lectures with about 7,000 professors when you include other staff in the universities comes to about one trillion Naira a month. The Presidential committee on Salaries chaired by the Minister of Finance as we speak is still working on a template to accommodate all in the Education sector including Polytechnics and colleges of Education.”
Lamenting, one of the sources, said: “ASUU’s habit is to intimidate everybody. Because UTAS failed integrity test, they said the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Patami ‘s Professorship should be withdrawn, accusing him of asking NITDA to fail UTAS. They also threatened to withdraw the certificate of the Director-General of NITDA from ABU. At the negotiation table, they used threat which is against ILO principles of Collective Bargaining.
They have been feeding their members with lies. As a union, you must conform to the tenets of unionism. The Labour law says once a matter has been apprehended by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, you go back to work. Go and check Section Eight of the Trade Dispute Act. It is there.”
Northern students back NLC, mobilise to join nationwide protest
The students’ wing of the Coalition of Northern Groups, CNG, has urged its members in the 19 states of the region, who are affected by the strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities to join the protest action declared by the NLC.
Vanguard had reported that the NLC, in a circular obtained on Sunday, declared a two-day nationwide protest in solidarity with the striking lecturers.
The circular dated July 15, was signed by the National President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, and issued to all state chairmen of the union.
According to the circular, the protest will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday in all the states of the Federation and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Backing the call to action in a statement jointly signed by Jamilu Aliyu Charanchi (National Co-ordinator) and Emuseh Gimba Bokunga (National Secretary), the student wing of CNG blamed the Federal Government for failing to fulfill some of the agreements it made with ASUU as far back as 2009.
The statement reads in part: “We note that the government is unconcerned by the disadvantages of the closure of universities. Politicians are so unconcerned; their major concern is how to secure the next election, rather than securing the next generation and the future of the country. This is related to the fact that most of their children are studying either abroad or in private universities.
“As a last option and failure of these decent moves to yield positive results and ensure the reopening of universities, we hereby direct all our state chapters to mobilize students and parents to join Nigerian Labour Congress for a massive protest that would entail the shutting down of activities in all states and National Assembly, all political party offices and all major highways, airways and railways.
“It is unfortunate, that people in Government today, whom are the major beneficiaries of the magnanimity and foresight of past Nigerian leaders in the provision of quality, accessible, readily available and affordable education are today the same people working to deprive other generations of the same privileges. We are left with no option but to do anything humanly possible which will ensure the reopening of our classes.”
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Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan Hits the Right Safety Button with LNSA
Since the inception of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s Administration in 2019, there is one thing he reiterated in his manifesto and has sworn to uphold under his THEMES agenda where he highlighted Security as one of the pillars of his administration. In a bid to ensure all Lagosians can go about their lawful activities without fear of the unknown, he saddled himself with the responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the state to ensure he puts the necessary security apparatus in place to ensure the safety of lives and properties. Without a doubt, Governor Sanwo-Olu delivered in every aspect as no stone was left unrolled. Taking the Security of lives and properties serious, he invested a heavy financial war chest in the acquisition of security gadgets for the Police, the Response Rapid Squad RRS and the Lagos State Neighborhood Agency LNSA headed by the indefatigable Prince Ifalade Ajasa Oyekan.
Since the Administrative commencement of the Agency in 2017 during the Past government till this moment, Mr. Governor has ensured proper funding for the safety outfit investing Billions of Naira to equip it so it can give the necessary security support in the aspect of surveillance to the necessary agency for a swift collaboration and a positive synergy for a better Lagos. When Ifalade took over in 2021, He was like a fresh Gust of Summer wind who had a loft idea owning to his background as a seasoned technocrat having worked at the Law Enforcement Training Institute LETI and his experience working with a dredging company and also as a season legal luminary. On assumption of office, one thing he ensured was to bring a different feel to consolidate the effort of Governor Sanwo-Olu in ensuring the agency functions optimally to ensure it lives up to its expected expectation. He used his good relationship to ensure Mr. Governor increases his stake in the affairs of the agency. The transformation agenda started by re-orientating his officers on proper conduct, proper dress code and proper ethics among the citizenry. He introduced the use of Body cameras for his officers. He also ensured they often attend LETI for proper updating of knowledge in discharging their duties. In addition to that, he also ensured proper welfare packages for his staff by raising a motion for life insurance for officers who are injured in the cause of discharging their duties or eventually loss of life. This was infused as many commended his effort that to protect lives and properties, one must be fully motivated to give his all. Falade did not only stop at that with the help of Mr. Governor, He also ensured several visiting routines were taken to ensure the functionality of each Local government and a general meeting with the head of commands where they relay their concerns on pressing issues and the challenges. This gives room for positive and negative feedback which the agency acts upon to be above board at all times.
In his process of rebranding, he also requests the permission of Mr Governor to further recruit more hands to enable adequate manpower for the agency to function well. Currently, the Agency is recruiting over one thousand officers who will be commissioned into the agency before the end of the year. In a bid to also spread its tentacles through a public and private partnership with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons NAPTIP, the agency launched an anti-trafficking unit last year August in collaboration with NAPTIP on child and human trafficking among other vices. In a bid to rebrand, he has gotten the approval of Mr Governor to create several units in the agency that will also be supportive of intelligence gathering. The agency will create a research and documentation unit, Forensic unit, Situation Room, Water Ways surveillance, Drone deployment, Forest Monitor team and a host of others.
Over the week, at the Agency’s head office in Bolade, Oshodi, Falade and ensured the distribution of tactical materials like; caution tapes, Ropes, Scanners, Tasers, Shin and elbow guide, Generators, Riot Shield, LNSA Photo book and a host of items for administrative purposes and enforcement.
In his quest to show effectiveness in duty through proper monitoring, the agency under Falade’s watch also commissioned 16 zonal heads. The Zonal heads will monitor zonal local Government unit. He also handed out brand new patrol cars to the officers who emerged having gone through proper scrutiny, training and exams. The Zonal head will ensure the smooth running of their domain and ensure all unit functions optimally and report to the Agency’s head office. As part of the rebranding process, The Agency next month will commence the rebranding of all its offices across Lagos with full painting with the agency’s Blue and Yellow colour with visible signage to ensure uniformity. The agency will also commence building and furnishing of new offices for some units that run under a temporary office.
A close source disclosed that; all these giant strides and impeccable records would not have been possible if not for the full support and the quest for the protection of lives and property of the State Government under Governor Sanwo-Olu. In a quick conversation; Prince Ifalade averred that; “Mr Governor has been supportive in all ways. Our mode of operation now is different from what it used to be. Anytime we give Mr Governor a proposal on anything regarding security, he does not joke with it. In fact, he signed it with immediate alacrity. He has also told us to ensure that each time we have any request we should not hesitate to call his attention that he is ready to support us to the fullest so we can keep functioning at a higher capacity.”
“The Agency is not relenting despite some challenges we face. We will continue to intensify our effort to make Lagos a safe haven for all. We are also open to public and private partnerships. Every top individual and private firm in Lagos who wants to reach out through their Corporate Social Responsibility CSR, will also ease the burden on Government. Security is the responsibility of all sundry and should not be left to some selected people only. If all hands are on deck, Lagos will be a safer place”. He further concluded.
Sanwo-Olu, media chiefs for corporate governance workshop in Lagos
GOVERNOR Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State will, on Thursday, declare open a two-day workshop on Good Corporate Governance in the Media, organised by the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE.
The workshop, which would be attended by managing directors, publishers and editors of national media outlets, including print, broadcast and online, holds at the De Rembrandt Hotel, Alausa in Ikeja with the theme ‘Journalism and Digitalisation: The Imperative of Good Corporate Governance.’
In a statement by its President and General-Secretary, Messrs Mustapha Isah and Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the NGE said the workshop is aimed at exploring the impact of digitalisation on journalism, the media industry and prescribe practicable responses to its disruptions.
“Digitalisation has changed the face and the practice of journalism, eroding its space,” the NGE said, adding, “For the profession to thrive, it needs more efficient management models.”
It stated that a lecturer at the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University Lagos, Dr. Pius Onobhayedo, will deliver the keynote address on the theme, while the former Managing Director of Guardian Press Limited, Mr Emeka Izeze, would speak on the sub-theme ‘Striking the Balance among Commercialism, Proprietary Right and Professionalism.’
The statement reads: “The former Managing Director, The Sun Publishing Limited, Dr. Tony Onyima, and the former Deputy Editor-in-Chief of The Punch, Mr Gbemiga Ogunleye, would deliver papers on ‘Surviving the Digital Onslaught,’ and ‘Journalism and the Law: Who Watches the Watchdog?’ respectively.
“The workshop, which is supported by the Lagos State Government, would attract 50 participants spread across Lagos, Ekiti, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Edo and Delta States.”
Soldier killed, two others injured as military repels Abuja attack
Facts emerged yesterday of how Nigeria’s military repelled the planned invasion of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, by terrorists.
In the foiled invasion, many of the attackers suffered fatalities. Unfortunately, one soldier was killed, while two others were injured.
Sources privy to the exchange informed Saturday Vanguard that the gunfight that ensued was like a war movie.
Read Also: Terrorists killed one soldier, injured 2 in Zuma Rock attack
The invasion, which, according to sources, was to be a hit-and-run, was planned with a view to setting a decoy, while attacking targets within the capital city and retreat.
However, acting on intelligence, the military was on full alert.
Unconfirmed reports said in some military barracks in Abuja, the bugle was blown, signifying the urgency for full military readiness.
In fact, deployment and reinforcements were sent to strategic targets within the capital city Thursday night.
Military sources confirmed that the alertness and readiness of the military saved what would have been a very serious security breach within the capital city.
The planned invasion is coming in the same week when the terrorists holding hostages from the Abuja/Kaduna train attack of March, 2022, threatened to abduct President and Commander-in-Chief, Muhammadu Buhari, and the Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai.
The main theatre of Thursday’s gunfight was a checkpoint at Zuma Rock.
The area is the boundary between Niger State and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja.
The terrorists were said to have come on motorcycles, while others came in a Hilux van.
Troops of 102 battalion of the Presidential Guard’s Brigade, who are responsible for manning the check-point, were said to have put on a gallant response during the gun-fight leading to some of the terrorists sustaining gunshot wounds and fatalities, which also made them retreat and flee.
A reinforcement team was dispatched to the scene of the surprise attack on Thursday night with artillary weapons which further boosted troop’s response against the terrorists.
Those who heard gunshots and escaped being trapped in the gunfight were said to have made frantic calls to friends and office colleagues to stay indoors.
A source said authorities of Guards Brigade Nigerian Army have further deployed a reinforcement team from headquarters to beef up security within 102 Battalion barracks and FCT environs as the military is now taking the threat’s of terrorist’s attack more seriously.
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