ASUU Set To Review Pact With FG

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is planning to hold its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting to review the Memorandum of Action (MoA) signed with the Federal Government before the suspension of its strike a few months ago. Both government and ASUU had agreed to a memorandum of action, which stipulated that the Federal Government would have implemented its agreed contents latest by October 2017.

 

 

The Federal Government, according to investigation, was, however, yet to implement issuance of licence for the registration of Nigerian University Pension Company (NUPEMCO), which it promised to do within two weeks of strike suspension. The government was also alleged to have defaulted in payment of earned academic allowances and revitalisation funds for public universities.

 

 

Some University of Ibadan (UI) lecturers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that it was unfortunate that the government has not paid as promised by end of October. They said they had asked their leadership not to suspend the strike until the government pays the money as promised but were persuaded to test the government.

 

 

Based on the tension generated on campuses, ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, had sent a mail to all members to douse the tension over the delay in the payment of earned academic allowances.

BREAKING: ASUU LAUTECH Call Off Strike, Academic Activities To Begin Monday 23rd

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) has called off its industrial action.

The strike which has been for months was put on hold after a meeting with the members of the union at the university’s main campus in Ogbomoso on Tuesday.

The governing council had about a month ago approved reopening of the institution with a promise that the two owner states will provide the fund needed to offset the arrears of workers.

Recently, the institution received more than N1 billion subventions from the owner states as agreed with the governing council.

The Secretary of ASUU LAUTECH Dr. Abegunrin, corroborated by the union’s Zonal Coordinator Dr. Ade Adejumo, confirmed that the strike had been suspended with immediate effect but academic activities will kick off on Monday, October 23.

“The zone will have to be briefed, national will have to be briefed, but the Congress has suspended the strike in principle as from today but full lectures will resume on Monday,” Dr. Adejumo said. “Skeletal things will continue, preparatory to the commencement of full academic activities on Monday.”

The suspension is coming following news that the lecturers started receiving their three-months’ salary arrears – one of their demands for resumption – during the weekend.

Over the months, LAUTECH had been riddled with numerous resumption dates which turned out to hold little water. First, the university management widely publicised September 15 and October 3 for reopening the university and resuming academic activities, respectively.

Although the gates of the institution were reopened as scheduled, lectures did not commence as the academic staff union refuted the announcement saying none of their issues had been addressed and that “strike is still in full force.”

With mounting pressure from the agitated students, LAUTECH’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. A.S. Gbadegesin, once again, promised Monday, October 16, as an alternative resumption date. That date also passed, to no avail.

Dropping The Chalk, Dropping The Stethoscope

The second week of August and the first week of September were not good weeks for the Buhari administration, for Nigerian undergraduates in public universities, and the Nigerian people – with two strikes by two big unions and a dangerous security situation in the South East. While students stayed idle at home, worried because of the additional chaos and truncation in their lives, poor patients in federal public hospitals across the nation felt the bite of the strike by medical doctors. These days, owing to a distorted academic calendar most students spend one additional year (or more) at home after graduation before embarking on the mandatory national service. It is a period of limbo, a year that cannot count in building one’s curriculum vitae. It adds to the frustration of the average youth in the country.

It is no longer news that members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and the Nigerian Association of Registered Doctors (NARD), dropped their chalk (or felt pen) and stethoscope respectively. Ironically, the issues raised by the unions were sadly familiar. There was a sense of déjà vu for some of us who had watched and participated in the system for some decades now. For the academics, the issues had to do with the Federal Government honouring past agreements on funding the universities and guaranteeing a healthy pension scheme. The doctors also complained that simple agreements that would enhance health service delivery were never kept by the government.

The strikes showed our poor capacity as a nation to hold or sustain continuity in the reins of leadership in our polity. It is also indicative of apathy to issues that concern the generality of the people. It is on record that the unions had been writing letters, holding meetings with government officials since the last strike. ASUU called out a one-week warning strike in all public universities in November last year to draw the attention of government and the public to the burning issues. The union was virtually ignored. Once the strike was declared, ASUU officials were invited to ‘marathon meetings’ to convince the leaders that the strike should be called off. The government gave two weeks to implement some of the demands. Indeed, government officials openly admitted that they had failed to do the proper thing! As we write government has made some offers, yet to be fully accepted by the union. The question is this: why were these steps not taken before the strike started?

A sweet dimension to the doctors’ strike was the fact that the current Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole was president of NARD when the union embarked on a nationwide strike in 1985. The Head of State at the time was General Muhammadu Buhari! For his role as arrowhead of the strike, Adewole lost his job at the time. Some 35 years later the NARD president has become head of the Ministry of Health charged with the responsibility of turning things around. Sadly issues of three decades ago remain unresolved. What does this say about our institutions, our governance model and our national objectives?

Our hospitals are in bad enough shape, calling for a revolution in services. Most lack the necessary equipment or infrastructure. The private hospitals that lay some claim to good services are very expensive, out of the reach of the middle class. In some places where there is expertise the attitude to work is poor. Nurses can do havoc just as doctors who are seriously distracted can prescribe drugs just to gain some benefits. That our President stayed in a London hospital for nearly three months was a vote of no confidence in our health sector. The instructive thing is that our current President has, or should have enough motivation and reason to drive a restoration of things in the health sector. It will be legacy; it will be a testament for generations to come. It will also save us the embarrassment of having the health status reports of our national leader in the hands of foreign governments while we grope in the dark at home!

Universities are expected to be the centre of research that could change the nation’s history. By producing graduates from all disciplines, steeped in the local challenges these graduates are expected to go out there and influence or change thinking. However, with the infrastructure deficit in the universities, this mission has been near impossible. When some people query ASUU for incessant strikes they are asked: what steps should we take? Most insiders are weary of strikes. They would rather not have them. But what should they do when they find out that that is the only way to attract government’s attention?

Of course, we understand what Fela called ‘Government magic.’ It is possible that the government officials whose duty it is to nip things in the bud have been quietly pushing things within government circles. If the President or the kitchen cabinet does not think that the matter is urgent the minister would be pushing against a brick wall until a strike is called out. As a loyal appointee, the official may not be able to say to the public that ‘the powers-that-be’ are responsible for the breakdown!

It is possible to run the universities without strikes if the will is present. The results of negotiations since 1992 and other modifications are sufficient to guide and conscientious government on the path to smooth uninterrupted academic sessions for 10 years. To achieve this ASUU leadership should be carried along at all times. They are in a better position to brief the government on existing conditions and what should be done annually to avoid a breakdown of relations in the university system. Their call that 26 percent of the national budget be dedicated to education is the way to go. It is true that this cannot be achieved in one fell swoop, but a gradual upping of the budget from the paltry 6 percent to 7 percent in the next decade would have a multiplier effect on the education sector. It was through ASUU initiative that TERTFUND was created; its impact on university education has been great.

As at press time, the medical doctors had called off their strike after intense negotiations and concessions. The chalk is still hanging in the air in the universities, with the fate of thousands of youths hanging in the balance. ASUU has conditionally suspended its strike. But the total picture in the country, if you add the tension and conflict in the Southeast and the threat of a military occupation of the South West, was a narrative of ‘dropping the chalk, dropping the stethoscope, picking up the gun’ – a nation in a crisis of self-definition and determination!

ASUU Suspends Nationwide Strike

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has announced a conditional suspension of its nationwide strike.

This comes after a series of meetings between top government officials and members of the union.

ASUU has now directed its members to return to classrooms with immediate effect.

President of the Union, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, addressed a news conference at about 9.30 pm Monday night, after another round of meeting with the government delegation, led by the Minister of Labour, Senator Chris Ngige.

Ogunyemi explained that they decided to conditionally suspend the strike action, in view of the timeline of October 2017 for the implementation of the signed agreement.

ASUU had declared a nationwide strike on August 14, over the failure of the federal government to implement the 2009 agreement.

 

FG Gives Varsity Workers 5-Day Ultimatum, Begins Payments

The Federal Government, after a nine-hour meeting with the striking university workers, has given the Joint Action Committee five days to consider government’s offers and resolve the strike.

The JAC is comprised of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities, and the National Association of Academic Technologists.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, who said this late on Thursday after the meeting in Abuja, noted that government had mandated the Accountant-General of the Federation to begin the payment of the money that the unions were asking for.

He said, “During our reconciliation meeting, the issues (in question) are non-payment of earned allowances, lack of good governance in the universities, poor funding, inadequate infrastructure, shortfalls in salaries and the universities’ staff schools.

“The issues that were raised – apart from one or two – are the same ones we have been tackling with the Academic Staff Union of Universities. We agreed that the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation should expedite action on the payment of these monies.

“On the implementation of the judgment obtained by the unions from the National Industrial Court, we have mandated the National Universities Commission to issue circulars to implement the judgment. Also, the Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has initiated the process of ensuring compliance with the judgment. The unions are to get back to the government by Wednesday, September 20, after having presented our recommendations to their executive councils.”

The JAC President, who is also the SSANU Chairman, Samson Ugwoke, said, “We tried to agree on certain issues, even when the government was still saying ‘no money’. But we believe that money should be made available. The government has said that before we come back, certain amounts of money would have been paid in. They don’t have to pay into the accounts of our individual members. If they pay into the accounts of the universities, we will accept and believe it.”

Meanwhile, sources close to ASUU said on Friday that no tangible decisions had been made at the National Executive Council meeting on whether the union would call off the strike or not.

The sources said there had yet to be a consensus.

Source: The Punch

BREAKING: LAUTECH Announces Resumption Date

By Toba Ajisafe

The Governing Council of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), Ogbomoso, has approved resumption of activities on the Institution’s Campuses which would take effect from Friday September 15, 2017.

This was contained in a release by Head, Public and Alumni Relations Unit, Mr. Lekan Fadeyi which was made available to OSUN DEFENDER on Thursday.

According to a statement signed by the Registrar and Secretary to Council, Mr. Jacob Agboola, students of the University are expected to return to school on Monday September 25th, 2017, while full academic activities, the details of which Senate will announce, shall commence immediately after the Independence anniversary holiday.

The State Government of Osun on its part said  it is excited that the governing council has reached this decision on the resumption of the institution.

Speaking on Thursday, a governor’s aide who was privy to the negotiations, but who isn’t permitted to speak with the media confirmed to OSUN DEFENDER that the government is excited by the decision to reopen the institution for academic activities.

The Governing Council had in its statement thanked the two owner states for agreeing to provide necessary support to the institution.

“Council thanked the Governors of Oyo and Osun States, Senator Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi and Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola respectively, for agreeing to support the University with necessary funds to enable the University to return to its normal work schedule and reinvigorate its latent capacities for accelerated and sustainable growth and development.  Council also appreciated all stakeholders for their understanding and support.

“Council further appealed to students, staff, parents as well as the general public to demonstrate greater faith and dedication to the well-being of the institution, as better days lie ahead of it. Concerted efforts should, therefore, be geared towards ensuring that nothing is allowed to disrupt the normal work of the University again.

 

 

FG To Release N220bn To Public Universities

The Minister of Labour, Chris Ngige has disclosed that the Federal Government has agreed to release the sum of 220billion Naira as revitalisation funds to public Universities in Nigeria.

This agreement is one of the outcomes of the extensive deliberations, negotiations and meetings that followed the indefinite strike announced by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The ASUU’s President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi told newsmen that the new terms of agreement between the union and federal government would be ratified at the National Executive Committee meeting expected to hold next week before ASUU reverts back to government on its next line of action.

Professor Ogunyemi admitted that the proposals made by government were concrete for the time being.

“We have had useful deliberations and we had some concrete proposals that we will take back to our members as part of our consultations. And like the Honourable Minister of Labour has said, we plan to come back here to take decisions as advised by our members,” Ogunyemi said.

Ngige, said that beyond the pledge to release the sum of N220 billion not later than October 2017 to fund the revitalization of federal universities across the country, government had began the payment of earned allowances of ASUU members.

In a meeting that had in attendance the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters Senator Ita Enang, newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Bolaji Adebiyi including ASUU’s executive, led by its President, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, Ngige said “We have concluded negotiations, the government and the leadership of Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

“There’s one funding for revitalization of public universities and the issue of Earn Academic Allowances, EAA, the issue of Staff Schools that there was a court judgement, the issue of National Universities Pension Commission, and the issue of salary shortfalls for lecturers and staff of universities.

“There is also the issue of TSA exemption and the problems in the state universities. All are the issues that ASUU felt that government should address.

“On the issue of funding for the revitalization of public universities, we have discussed in detail and extensively on that. This is the fund that would be needed for the revitalization of public universities in terms of their working tools and other things needed for effective performance of their duties.

“There was an agreement from the MoU of 2009 and that of 2013, for government to be making some quarterly payments into this fund. And from 2014 to date, it has not been possible for government to pay or they didn’t pay. But this government has been negotiating with ASUU since last year.

“Today, there’s is a government proposal which we all agreed that it can be workable. But ASUU has to take back this proposal to their organs, so we have decided that there’s an agreement for government to make some funds available in September and October to show that they are not repudiating their agreement and to also show a good sign of faith.

“ASUU will also send in their proposal for testing terms of reference for the committee to the minister. We expect that that will be done today since today is already a Friday.

“Government is though not appealing, we have agreed that the decision should be conveyed to the various universities.

“Issue of NUPENCO was also addressed and ways have been fashioned out for the registration of that company.

“Salary shortfalls for lecturers and university staff were also addressed and government has shown their commitment and evidence that payments have started in order to liquidate the outstanding allowances.

“The issue of TSA exemption was also discussed and an agreement or proposal was muted by which the Central Bank would a special account for that in order for endowment funds and research grants will be exempted,” the Labour Minister said.

“Based on these discussions, ASUU leadership will consult with its organs and revert back to government within one week. They will consult with their organs with a view to calling off the strike. And we expect them that within one week, they will get back to government.

“These are the highlights of the meeting and I can tell you that the meeting took place in a very cordial atmosphere,” he concluded.

See Full List Of Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Cut-Off Marks For 2018/2019

All tertiary institutions in Nigeria have fixed cut-off marks for admissions into their first year.

The cut-off marks, decided by the Senate and management of each institution, have also been sent to the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB.

As directed by the examination body, none of the universities have cut-off marks below 120, while none of the polytechnics and colleges of education have cut-off marks below 100.

See the full cut-off marks below:

Source: Premium Times

Osinbajo Takes Over FG, ASUU Negotiations, Says Ngige

To find lasting solution to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has taken over the headship of the Federal Government negotiation team with ASUU.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige briefed State House correspondents at the end of the FEC meeting chaired by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Ngige also blamed the private sector of being responsible for the delay in announcing the Chairman of the Minimum Wage Review Committee.

According to him, the Federal Government was ready and will announce Chairman of the Committee when all the names of representatives of the private sector are received.

ASUU had embarked on a nationwide strike since August 13 over the failure of the Government to implement an agreement it reached with the union in 2009.

The union also alleged that the Federal Government did not implement the Memorandum of Understanding the two sides signed in 2013.

The union, in a statement on Tuesday, said it would call off its strike after receiving a positive response to its demands from the Federal Government.

The union boycotted a meeting which was scheduled to hold between the government and the union on Tuesday.

Source: The Nations

Strike: FG To Meet ASUU Today

The ongoing national strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU may today, Tuesday come to end if the Federal Government agree to demands of the union.

Meeting to resolve the lingering issues surrounding the strike will hold between the leaders of the union and Nigeria government.

The meeting was confirmed in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Press, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, late on Monday.

The statement said the government delegation at the meeting would include the Ministers of Education and Finance; Chairman, National Income Salaries, and Wages Commission; and the Executive Secretary, National Universities, Commission.

The President of the Nigeria Labour Congress is also expected at the meeting.

The ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, is expected to lead a delegation of lecturers to the meeting scheduled for noon in Abuja

The Nigerian government said it has shown great commitment to resolving the crisis rocking the education sector and still remains committed to solving the issues that have arisen from the lecturers’ agitation

The meeting will be coming after the ASUU leadership held a meeting at the University of Abuja on Friday and Saturday where all its branch chairmen were present to discuss how best to resolve the strike.

 

In a related development, the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, Non-Academic Staff Union and National Association of Academic Technologists held a ‘referendum’ throughout the country on Monday to decide their fate and also the possibility of an indefinite strike action.

The unions are accusing the federal government of negotiating with ASUU alone despite their own welfare demands which have been pending over the years.

They are expected to meet again on Wednesday at the NASU Secretariat in Abuja.

EDITORIAL: Auditing As A Roadmap

The whole point of a forensic audit is to provide a roadmap for the future. If a process is broken, an audit is a very good way of achieving a preventive mechanism against same or similar mishappenings in the future. To state the obvious, it is clear that the process, operating structure and mechanism of the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) is broken and has to be fixed. This has to start with a thorough audit.

Without the audit, the co-financing owner states of the institution will be reenacting says law, which every school pupil knows as “throwing good money after bad”. There is obviously something very disturbing about the reports that the labour unions of the institution were reported to have frustrated the Accounting Firm, KPMG which was engaged by the two owner states, Osun and Oyo to audit the finances of the university, as part of the recommendations by the Chief Wole Olanipekun-led visitation panel. Series of drama and threat have thereafter trailed and frustrated this effort to get the institution back on its feet.

The Olanipekun-led panel had found out that the LAUTECH accounts were audited last in 2012, and a sum of N400 million was in question then, just as it revealed that the university runs 97 different accounts, in spite of the Treasury Single Account policy that has since been in vogue as recommended and adopted by the Federal government since 2015. The panel also found that the TETFUND and the Need Assessment Fund running into billions of naira had been given to LAUTECH without commensurate research output to show for it.

It is totally unacceptable that a citadel of learning should be averse to modern management methods which allows for auditing. It also makes one to ponder as to whether or not they are on the same page with the laudable anti-corruption battle. An aversion for auditing in any institution whether public or private sector has specks of corruption.

It is absolutely clear now that there are vested interests who for self-serving reasons want to prolong the strike, in order to hide their abnormalities and other shortcomings. It means that they are using the students as ‘human shield’ to emotionally blackmail the owners of the institution into submitting to their own interests.

This is completely unacceptable. The convention on warfare makes the use of non-combatants, as a shield, a war crime. In industrial relations, using innocent students as a shield is tantamount to the same thing. The time has come for the management and the unions to allow the visitation report of the Olanipekun-led panel to be implemented. This will allow the students to get on with their lives. They owe them that moral obligation.