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UNILAG set to hold 51st convocation

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A pre-convocation press briefing to be addressed by the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, would hold on June 30.

More than one year after the hopes of 13,489 fresh graduates of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, to receive their honours were abruptly dashed as a result of the cancellation of the institution’s 51st convocation ceremonies, the institution has announced new dates for the ceremonies.

The cancellation, which followed the directive of the National Universities Commission (NUC) based on an instruction by the minister of education, Adamu Adamu, was announced on March 5, 2020.

The announcement came just 24 hours after the university’s vice-chancellor, flanked by the members of the management and senate of the institution, addressed a press briefing to announce the schedules of activities to mark the ceremonies.

The decision, which attracted public condemnation, was the climax of the frosty relationship between the Ogundipe-led university management and the governing council which was chaired by Wale Babalakin, an alumnus of the university and a lawyer.

But a notice issued on Wednesday by a principal registrar, corporate affairs office at the communication unit of the office of the vice-chancellor. Nonye Oguama, noted that a pre-convocation press briefing to be addressed by the vice-chancellor, Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, would hold on June 30, 2021.

Convocation cancellation

Since 2017 when Mr Ogundipe assumed office as the university’s 12th substantive vice-chancellor, the relationship between his management and the governing council led by Mr Babala has been frosty.

The relationship peaked in May, 2019, when the governing council set up an investigative committee to probe allegations of financial mismanagement, among others, against Mr Ogundipe.

There were queries and counter-queries between the two quarters leading to peaceful protests by workers’ unions on the campus.

The climax was when Mr Babalakin complained to the minister that the scheduled convocation ceremonies did not receive his blessings and urged the minister to halt the process.

But the university management said the same governing council approved the N70 million budget for the ceremonies, and countered the claim that it wasn’t carried along.

The workers’ unions on the campus, and particularly the university’s chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) also intervened and argued that the law governing the university puts the matter of convocation under the purview of the university senate, the management and the chancellor.

The union said the pro-chancellor, who is the governing council chairman, has no role to play in matters of convocation.

But in his reaction to Mr Babalakin’s complaint, the minister through the ministry’s permanent secretary, Sonny Echonu, wrote to the NUC, as the regulatory agency, to inform the university of its suspension order.

 The University received a memo from the NUC on March 3, less than 24 hours after the VC’s pre-convocation press briefing, confirming the decision of the minister.

Many graduands, parents and well-wishers who had arrived Lagos from far distances including overseas ahead of the ceremonies, were disappointed by the last-minute action, and heaped the blame on the governing council.

Some national dailies including The Guardian, wrote editorials on the development, analysing the possible consequences of the action on the image and branding of the ivory tower.

The crisis eventually consumed the university’s governing council as President Muhammadu Buhari, in November, 2020, announced its dissolution and reinstated the then suspended vice-chancellor.

Varsity sends results to graduands

As a damage control measure, the university opted to send to each of the graduands a soft copy of the statement of results.

The decision, which was endorsed by the university’s senate, was aimed at assuaging the angry graduands and offered them an opportunity to own a document that could help in their career or further academic pursuits.

New date set

Apparently following the constitution of a new governing council, the university has said it is committed to covering the lost grounds.

“The coronavirus pandemic did a huge blow too, but without letting down the guard, we are prepared to reclaim the glory and return the university to the right path to excellence,” Mr Ogundipe said recently.

The university has, therefore, lined up series of activities to mark the aborted 51st ceremony, including exhibition and convocation lectures.

According to the notice by Mrs Oguama, the governor of the central bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, will on July 5, deliver the convocation lecture.

The event is scheduled to be chaired by the overseer of citadel global community church, Tunde Bakare.

“The congregation for the award of first degrees, diplomas, certificates and prizes to graduating students of the faculties of education, social sciences, arts, environmental sciences and science will take place in the morning and afternoon sessions on Tuesday, July 6,” the notice states in part.

The event is scheduled to end on July 8 with the congregation for the award of PhD, degrees and best PhD award of the school of postgraduate studies and conferment of honorary doctorate degrees, emeritus professorship and distinguished professorship.

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JOHESU, AHPA issue fresh 15 days nationwide strike notice

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The Joint Health Sector Unions and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations have issued a fresh 15 days strike notice.

This followed an unanimously resolution adopted by the two groups to step down the notice of strike due to expire midnight September 17 and issue a fresh notice of 15 days.

It would be recalled that the union had on September 2 issued the Federal Government a 15 days ultimatum to meet its demands or embark on nationwide strike at the expiry date.

The JOHESU Acting General Secretary, Chief Matthew Ajorutu, said this in a communique issued at the end of an Expanded National Executive Council emergency meeting of the union via Zoom and physical attendance on Friday in Abuja.

The expanded NEC had the Presidents and General Secretaries of affiliate unions and professional associations, NEC members of affiliate unions and JOHESU Chairmen and Secretaries at the state and branch levels.

Ajorutu said that NEC-in-session had critically appraised the reports of JOHESU negotiation and conciliation meetings with the Federal Government since the declaration of the trade dispute through the 15 days strike notice issued on September 2.

He said that NEC also noted the appeal from President Muhammadu Buhari on the need to show understanding with his administration and the President’s pledge to pay any debt owed health workers.

He said that NEC also received and examined reports of congresses held at various health facilities across the country on the mobilisation for the strike action due to commence at midnight on September 18.

According to Ajorutu, NEC, after long hours of exhaustive deliberations on issues surrounding the planned industrial action, resolved that the Federal Ministry of Health should ensure speedy circularisation of all establishment and welfare matters as agreed during negotiation meetings.

He said: “The Federal Government should ensure that the new data for the computation of the adjusted Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS) for JOHESU members be completed and submitted to the ‘High Level Body (HLB)’ of the FG not later than Wednesday, September 22, as agreed.

“NEC-in-session urges the Federal Government to ensure that the High Level Body (HLB) complete and submit the computation of the adjusted CONHESS for inclusion in the 2022 budget within the September 30th, submission window.

“NEC urges the Federal Government to reciprocate the patriotic humanitarian gesture of JOHESU in the interest of the larger Nigerian masses to expeditiously resolve all the demands within the fifteen days window.

“Finally, NEC-in-Session unanimously adopts a resolution to step down the notice of strike action due to expire mid-night September 17, and issue a fresh notice of fifteen days.”

The communique further said that NEC commended all members for their commitment and understanding towards the struggle for better working conditions, improved healthcare services and social justice for all.

Eagle Online

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Defection: Gumi knocks Fani-Kayode, calls him ‘Judas of Oduduwa’

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Popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, has described Femi Fani-Kayode as the ‘Judas of Oduduwa’ following his defection from the opposition party (PDP) to the All Progressive Congress (APC).

In a Facebook post on Thursday, Gumi wrote:

“I have for long, neglected the rantings of the Judas of Oduduwa attacking me knowing fully well that he is fake and a traitor.

“Time has now caught up with him and thanks to Allah, all his vituperations are cast in the dustbin of merciless history.

“It is him now, one wonders which of the seven circles of hell this duper will settle if he doesn’t repent.”

Recall that the Fani-Kayode, a former minister of aviation under President Olusegun Obasanjo, berated those fronting for bandits and terrorists in the country. Though he never mentioned names but his rhetorics suggested he was referring to Sheikh Gumi.

On joining the APC, Fani-Kayode, however, said that he was moved by the Spirit to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the APC, pointing out that he was a founding member of the ruling party.

Arogbonlo Israel,Vanguard News Nigeria

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BDCs funding Boko Haram, kidnappings, says CBN governor

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has accused operators of Bureaux de Change (BDC) of funding terrorism and kidnapping in the country.

Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, stated this in Abuja on Friday after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting.

He also vowed that CBN would not rescind its decision to ban the sale of foreign exchange to the BDCs.

Emefiele said the CBN had resolved to stop funding the BDCs in the name of stabilising the forex market.

He said, “We have decided that this will stop and it has stopped for good. It beats my imagination that Nigeria carried on with this kind of practice that tended to support illegal activities of people who are involved in graft and involved in corrupt practices.”

He also said, “We have unwittingly supported activities of those who illegally buy foreign exchange from this illegal market, carry them in aircraft out of the country and go to buy arms and ammunition and bring them back into the country and conduct crime whether it is Boko Haram, kidnapping or all sorts of nefarious activities.

“We the CBN take our country’s dollar and sell to people to go and buy arms ammunition to come and hurt us. That is what we are saying that people want us to continue to do. We cannot do that any longer.”

He told bank customers with legitimate requests for forex exceeding the official limit that “your bank will speak to us and we will give you what is even more than the limit. We will continue to monitor the banks.

“We conducted a study, one of the banks sold in one day forex to 52 people who wanted to travel. After two weeks, they went to check, 40 out of the 52 had cancelled their tickets. They will have to return the forex or we will pursue you if you are involved in this nefarious activity. We are not going to go back there again.”

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