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Sanwo-Olu cancels appointment process for ninth LASU VC

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has cancelled the ongoing process for the appointment of ninth vice-chancellor of the Lagos State University (LASU).

The governor, who is visitor to the university, also ordered a fresh process that would terminate in 45 days.

A statement by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Gboyega Akosile, on Friday stated that the “decision on the cancellation came after a thorough investigation and stakeholders’ engagement, which were necessitated by various petitions against the selection process”.

The statement added, “Governor Sanwo-Olu was inundated with petitions arising from the selection process of the vice-chancellor by the governing council. After a thorough evaluation and investigation of the various complaints, Mr. Governor, in his capacity as the visitor to the university ordered the cancellation of the process.

“The outgoing Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olanrewaju Fagbohun, has also been directed to convene an emergency Senate meeting for the purpose of appointing one of the deputy vice  chancellor, who is not a candidate in the cancelled selection process as acting vice chancellor from Monday, January 11, 2021, when the tenure of the incumbent Vice-Chancellor, Professor Fagbohun, expires.

“The governor further directed that the Senate should select among its members, a protem chairman to superintend the meeting and conduct of the election of acting vice chancellor.”

A joint selection committee of the Senate and Council was set up by the university to interview candidates for the position.

The committee had submitted names of three  candidates it considered the best for the job for onward transmission to the visitor of the university for the final selection of the overall best candidate.

But the LASU chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities kicked against the selection process in a letter dated January 1, 2021, and signed by its Secretary, Tony Dansu, and Assistant Secretary, Adeolu Oyekan. The union alleged that some of the candidates lacked the requisite qualifications to succeed the incumbent VC.

“It would appear that the selection committee was unable to abide by the conditions stipulated in the advertisement for the position of vice chancellor, as candidates who did not meet some of the clearly stated criteria (i.e., possessing 10 years post-professorial experience and having supervised PhD theses), scaled the shortlisting stage and even made it to the three-person list reportedly submitted to the Visitor,” the union stated.

As advertised by the committee for the post, a successful applicant must be a professor of at least 10 years, with a track record of academic excellence of local and international repute including supervision and mentoring of postgraduate students.

More than 18 professors from about 10 universities applied for the job.

One of the selected three candidates was said not to be qualified because his entry qualification to the university was the Fellowship of the Nigerian Postgraduate Medical College and not Ph.D.

Another candidate was said not to be a professor of at least 10 years as stated in the advertisement for the job.

 

Education

BREAKING: Polytechnic lecturers suspend over two-month strike

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Polytechnic lecturers have suspended their industrial action, after 65 days of staying away from classrooms.

The lecturers said the suspension was for three months to enable the government to complete execution of the items contained in a Memorandum of Action signed with their union since April 27, 2021.

The lecturers, under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), said they would resume the suspended industrial action if the government failed to implement the demands after three months.

A statement by the National Publicity Secretary of ASUP, Abdullahi Yalwa, read in part, “Following an appraisal of the report indicating the gradual implementation of the items contained in the Memorandum of Action signed between our Union and the Federal Government, the Union has resolved to suspend its 65 days old industrial action with effect from 10th June, 2021.

“The suspension is for a period of three months to enable the government complete the execution of the items contained in the Memorandum of Action signed with the Union since 27th April, 2021.

“As part of the efforts communicated by the Federal Ministry of Education, certain items have been fulfilled like the reconstitution and inauguration of governing councils and visitation panels in Nigerian Federal Polytechnics while we are led to believe that the release of funds for infrastructure revitalisation and minimum wage arrears is currently being processed.

“Other items include the ongoing efforts at the review of the Scheme of Service and Conditions of Service for Polytechnics as well as the commencement of work towards resolution of the issues around CONTISS 15 migration arrears for the lower cadre. We also acknowledge the recent passage of the Bill for removal of the dichotomy against HND holders in the country.

 

“In reaching the decision to suspend the strike, our Union took into cognizance the appeals made by the government, revered traditional stools in the country, members of the National Assembly, Chairmen of Governing Councils of Federal Polytechnics and indeed members of the public who showed varied interests in the matter.

“It is the expectation of our Union that the suspension of this action will provide an enabling environment for the government to fulfill other aspects of the memorandum of action and afford the government an opportunity to reverse its trust deficit within our sector.

“We equally appreciate the different layers of intervention by critical stakeholder groups in the sector within the period.”

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FG inaugurates remodelled Chibok school seven years after B’Haram attack

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday inaugurated the newly remodelled Government Girls Secondary School in the Chibok Local Government Area of Borno State.

The school was attacked by the Boko Haram terrorisms seven years ago, where they kidnapped 276 schoolgirls.

The new school is now renamed ‘Government Secondary School’ as a mixed school for boys and girls.

The attack which took place on April 14, 2014 had led to the schoolgirls, mostly Christians, being ferried into Sambisa Forest, causing agony for the parents, the state and the country.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan through his Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iwella, visited Chibok in March 2015, to lay the foundations for new school building.

But not until President Muhammadu Buhari came on board, in which, the Borno State Government under the leadership of Governor Babagana Zulum took over that the project was completed, this year.

While some of the girls escaped, some rescued, about 112 of them were held captive or married off to the terrorists as their whereabouts are still unknown.

Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, who at the Monday’s inauguration represented Buhari, said she was in the state to bring a goodwill message of the President to the people of Borno, especially those in Chibok.

She thanked Borno State Government for singlehandedly renovating the school.

She said the FG was determined to provide quality education, especially to the downtrodden and improve the girl-child education.

She said the present administration was also unwavering to root out insurgency in the North-East region and the country as a whole to enable the displaced people to return to normal life.

The minister said, “We sympathize with the Chibok community. We know what you are going through. But I want to assure you that we are working day and night to make sure that life returns to normal both in your community and all others affected by terrorism.

“I want to appeal to Chibok leaders and the community to continue give their maximum support to the present administration under the leadership of Governor Babagana Umara Zulum who is ever willing to give girl child education the desire it needs.”

The chief host, Governor Zulum, thanked President Buhari for his support and cooperation to the state government to obtain the required funds which led to the completion of all the destroyed structures, and pledged his administration’s commitment to uplifting the education sector in the state.

He prayed God to rescue the remaining schoolgirls and all those still in the captivity of Boko Haram.

Zulum said, “The reconstructed Chibok school have a state of the art classrooms, library and laboratory, computer and ICT centre, a sports arena and a clinic.

“For security, it has a gate house and observation post to be manned by well-equipped security agents.

“This administration promised to rebuild the Government Secondary School in Chibok which was destroyed by terrorists. Today, I am glad that we are all witnessing the official commissioning of the completed befitting projects.

“We want our students to go back to school. We want them to get the education they need to live a decent life. We will support them and we will do everything we can to support their parents and the entire community.

“We will also not forget the Chibok girls. We are working hard to ensure that they return home. As a father, I can feel the pain of the parents. What happened was tragic. But I want you to know that this administration cares. We will not abandon our children. We are with you.”

A number of other projects executed by the state government were also commissioned to mark the governor’s two-year anniversary.

 

The projects executed by the Zulum administration are the newly constructed Government Lodges in Chibok and Askira Uba LGA,  Mbabala Technical College also in Chibok; primary health care centres in Mbalala and Wamdeo in Askira Uba; 200 housing units in Chibok town; 20 double classrooms in Damboa; boreholes in Mboa community as well as distribution of palliatives, among others.

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UNILAG sacks two lecturers over sex-for-grades scandal

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Two senior lecturers of the University of Lagos have been sacked, two years after they were exposed in the sex-for-grades documentary by the British Broadcasting Corporation.

The embattled lecturers, Dr Boniface Igbeneghu of the Department of European Language and Integrated Studies and Dr Samuel Oladipo of the Department of Economics, were found guilty of allegations of sexual harassment levelled against them.

The university had set up a panel to investigate the allegations levelled against the lecturers in the sex-for-grades scandal.

A BBC reporter, Kiki Mordi, had visited Igbeneghu, wearing a secret camera and posing as a 17-year-old admission seeker. The clip went on to show the lecturer making sexual overtures to the reporter.

The lecturer, in one of the recorded meetings, described a section of the school’s staff club as the “cold room” where lecturers make out with female students.

“There’s an upper part of the staff club where lecturers take girls to for smooching and romance,” he had said.

In October 2019, Igbeneghu and Oladipo were suspended by UNILAG, pending the outcome of investigations by the panel.

The panel was headed by Prof Ayodele Atsenuwa, a professor of public law, who was then the Dean of Faculty of Law.

A statement from the Public Affairs Unit of UNILAG, dated June 2, 2021, said the governing council had approved the immediate dismissal of Igbeneghu and Oladipo from the university.

The statement said the decision was taken at a council meeting, which considered the report and findings of the Senate committee set up to investigate the allegations of sexual harassment against the two lecturers in a BBC investigative series, titled, African Eye, which centred on sexual harassment in tertiary institutions.

“The council consequently decided and approved that both Dr Boniface Igbeneghu and Dr Samuel Oladipo be dismissed from the services of the university for misconduct, with effect from Monday, May 31, 2021, in line with Section 18 of the university of Lagos Act 1967.”

The council also directed the university management to review the sexual harassment policy as might be necessary and institute effective strategies to prevent future occurrence.

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