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ASUU strike: Negotiation panel report ready



ASUU strike: Negotiation panel report ready.

The committee set up by the Federal Government to re-negotiate the 2009 agreements with the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other university-based unions have submitted its interim report to the Ministry of Education.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige, who disclosed this yesterday, said the Education Ministry has already commenced work on the report.

However, hours after, public university workers under the aegis of the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), said that their ongoing warning strike is now indefinite. The union said they had adopted a “No Pay, No work” stance in response to government’s “No work, No pay policy.”

The re-negotiation of the agreements is one of the demands of the four university-based unions….ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and NAAT

Other demands are non-deployment of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, non-release of revitalisation funds for universities, non-payment of earned allowances for university teachers and shortfall of payment as a result of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

The seven-member renegotiation committee is headed by Prof. Emeritus Nimi Briggs, the pro-chancellor, of Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, Ebonyi State.

ASUU was however absent when the committee was inaugurated on March 7, 2022. It had insisted that government should commence implementation of the existing pact instead of wasting time through the committee.

When contacted yesterday evening, ASUU President Emmanuel Osodeke said the union was not aware the Briggs-led committee had submitted its report.

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But Ngige, who said that discussions were ongoing to end strikes by the unions, added that he would meet with either SSANU or NASU leadership tomorrow. He did not say if he also contacted ASUU or not.

The minister said: “Discussions are ongoing, not only with ASUU but with all the other education unions. On Thursday I will meet either SSANU or NASU.

“I am still waiting for the Education Ministry to give me the final report they have from the ad -hoc committee we put in place on the condition of service for the 2009 agreements.

“The report is for every education union. The chairman told me that they have put in an interim report. The education ministry is working on the interim report.

“I will make contact with the ministry to know where they are because they have subjected whatever they are doing to an inter-agency committee work which is the right thing to do.”

But ASUU President Osodeke said the report would be of no value to university teachers if did not expressly state that the government should sign the agreement renegotiated in May last year.

His words: ”Except the report is saying that they (government) should sign the agreement then fine. But if they (panel) have submitted another thing, then they don’t want this issue (strike) to be resolved because they have not discussed anything meaningful with us.

“Anything that has to do with the agreement (2021 renegotiated agreement) they have not told us.

”They (panel) called us for a meeting and they told us that they went around a number of ministries, National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and had a discussion with them and got their opinion.

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”We told them that that was not the issue. We have our agreement with a team set up by the government. That is what we will listen to.

“The President asked the Minister of Labour and Employment to organise a committee and if you are calling for what you have from ministries that is not part of our negotiations.

:” So, if they submitted anything that is different from what we negotiated without informing us then it has no value.”

Also yesterday, NAAT said that laboratories, workshops, farms and others in the universities would remain shut till the government pays its members’ salaries.

NAAT President Ibeji Nwokoma advised members of the union to remain undaunted, and not allow the government’s “divide and rule” tactics to dampen their morale.

Nwokoma said: “Today (yesterday), our Union and ASUU have been singled out for the implementation of the policy of “No work, No Pay” policy.

“Comrades, your President and indeed the National Leadership stand with you in this trying moment. Our strike action is legitimate and follows every due process.

“We, therefore, stand on “No pay, No work”. This divide and rule policy of Government shall not work. Be rest assured that we shall come out better, stronger with every dime paid before or on resumption of work.”

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ASUU mulls strike extension, protests in cities



ASUU mulls strike extension, protests in cities.

Indications emerged yesterday that the ongoing strike by university teachers might be extended once again.

The decision was reached at a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Abuja.

A member of the NEC, who made this known to The Nation, said that ASUU was displeased by the slow pace of progress in its negotiations with the Federal Government.

“The Federal Government is not serious. Nothing concrete has come out of the meetings with them,” he said.

Yesterday, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) announced that it had begun mobilisation of its members for a three-day warning strike.

The NLC took the decision at a meeting with university-based unions in Abuja where a 21-day ultimatum was issued to the government to meet the demands of the unions. The 21-day ultimatum was ratified by the National Executive Council of the NLC. The ultimatum ended on May 4, 2022.

Students in Lagos, Illorin and Owerri have resolved to take their protests against the strike to the streets, beginning from today.

The Nation gathered that the students decided to embark on a peaceful march because there seems to be no end in sight to the strike, which is in its third month.

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According to fliers trending on social media platforms, students in Lagos will gather at University Road Junction, Yaba today, while those in Ilorin will meet at the University of Ilorin gate tomorrow. Imo State University (IMSU) students will protest on Wednesday.

On social media, hashtags such as #EndASUUstrike, #FGendASUUstrikeNow topped Twitter trends. Also banners with inscriptions such as ‘End ASUU strike now’, and ‘No to incessant strikes’, among others have since gone viral.

Workers in the research institutions under the auspices of the Joint Research and Allied Institutions Sector Unions (JORAISU) denied suspending their ongoing seven months strike.

General Secretaries of Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU), Peters Adeyemi and Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASUR), Theophilus Ndubuaku made the clarification followed claims by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that the strike had been suspended.

In a letter to the Chairmen, Secretaries and members of ASURI, Ndubuaku said the strike was still on.

According to him, the statement by the Ministry of Labour was a misconstruction of reality.

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The statement reads: “As all our members know, ASURI is a signatory to the JORAISU strike which commenced on October 13, 2021.

“That strike has not been called off and we have no reason to direct our members to desist from participating in it

“The JORAISU strike is a sectoral struggle, so we cannot pull out of it unilaterally. The leadership of JORAISU is one and there is no division whatsoever,” he said.

The Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) threatened to embark on strike over the failure of the Federal Government to release the N15 billion funds for revitalisation.

The union also frowned on the lack of progress in the re-negotiation of the COEASU-FGN 2009 FG agreement, as well as the use of the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS) to pay its members.

In a statement signed by its President, Smart Olugbeko, the union urged Nigerians to hold the government responsible for the impending industrial crisis across the entire College of Education system.

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First batch of UTME results out next week – JAMB



First batch of UTME results out next week – JAMB.

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board has said results from the first batch of candidates who wrote the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination on Friday and Saturday will be out next week.

JAMB’s Head, Public Affairs and Protocols (PAP), Dr. Fabian Benjamin, who confirmed this to The Nation on Saturday, declined to give further details.

It was however gathered that the Board would start releasing the results from Monday or Tuesday.

Benjamin said the checking of the UTME and Direct Entry results would follow similar processes adopted by the Board last year.

Benjamin said the checking of the UTME and Direct Entry results would follow similar processes adopted by the Board last year.

He said this was done to avoid fraudsters from compromising the result checking processes.

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About 1,761,338 registered for both the UTME and DE which commenced on May 6, 2022, nationwide.

The examinations, which are being conducted in 750 CBT centres approved by the Board, will end on May 16, 2022.

An official of the board ruled out the rescheduling of the examination for some candidates who missed the UTME examination as a result of heavy downpours in Lagos and other major cities.

The JAMB official said it was against the policy of the board to reschedule examinations for some candidates when others took the same examination in the same city or centre.

The official added that only candidates affected by technical challenges as a result of their centres would have the opportunity to retake the examination.

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The source said: “Rainfall is not an issue because others have written. It was the same Lagos. It was raining and some people came to write the examination.

“Our process is that as long as others have written that examination we cannot reschedule it for any candidate.

“If it is a technical issue we can reschedule but rainfall is not an issue. For those whose session was disrupted by the rain, we will not reschedule.

“If there are technical issues at some centres leading to some candidates not being able to write the examination, certainly we have that obligation to reschedule the examination for the affected candidates.”

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69,828 candidates sit for 2022 entrance exams into Unity schools



69,828 candidates sit for 2022 entrance exams into Unity schools.

No fewer than 69,828 pupils on Saturday sat for the 2022 National Common Entrance Examination (NECO) for admission into the 110 federal government colleges across the country.

According to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Malam Adamu Adamu, the Minister of Education, disclosed this when he led some top ministry officials and NECO officials on a monitoring exercise to some centres in Abuja.

NAN reports that some of the centres visited included Government Secondary School, Lugbe; Junior Secondary School, Lugbe; and Federal Government College, Kwali, Abuja.

Adamu, who was represented by Mr. David Adejo, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, added that out of the total figure, there are more female applicants than their male counterparts in the ongoing examination.

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“Of the 69,000 plus, we have 36,855 female applicants while the balance of 32,000 plus are male,” he said.

On his assessment of the exercise, he noted that the examination was hitch-free and peaceful.

He added that laid out standards and criteria would strictly be adhered to in the selection of successful candidates.

“As far as Nigerian basic education is concerned, and in respect to the junior and secondary schools, the unity schools still remain the best, so for you to get into it, it has to be competitive.

“We are not looking at taking all the 69,000 plus, we are taking the best of the 69,000 plus and there are standards that measure what you take.

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“So the standard and criteria have been put on ground, so I don’t see us having a problem with all that,” he said.

On his part, Prof. Ibrahim Wushishi, the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer, NECO, confirmed that Lagos State recorded the highest number of registered candidates for this year’s examination.

“Lagos state registered the highest number of candidates with 19,516 candidates, while the least registered state is Kebbi with 74 candidates; they had 37 males and 37 females,” he said.

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