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Ngige: FG not against new welfare package for lecturers, others

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  • ASUU strike: NLC to meet varsity workers leaders

The Federal Government says it is not against negotiating a new welfare package for university workers including lecturers in line with current realities.

It said this as the Nigeria Labour Congress is set to meet with leaders of the university over the face-off between the four university-based unions and the FG concerning the non-payment of minimum wage arrears, the shortfall in salary payment, renegotiation of the 2009 agreement and revitalization funds, among others.

Speaking at a meeting with members of the 2009 FG and university-based unions renegotiation committee, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, said that the government was not happy with the approach being used by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to pursue its demands.

ASUU embarked on a one-month warning strike on February 14 and extended it by another two months at the expiration of the warning strike over the alleged failure of the government to address their demands.

Ngige, at the meeting with the Federal Government Renegotiation Committee in his office, pleaded with the committee to ensure that it concludes its assignment within six weeks as provided in the Memorandum of Action with the unions.

He asked the renegotiation team to keep to the six-week timeline for the conclusion of their assignment.

He said the Federal Government was aware of the level of depreciation to which the Lecturers earning have been subjected due to the rise in the inflationary rate, adding that he had advised the leadership of ASUU to find a better way of pressurizing the Federal Ministry of Education and National Universities Commission to hasten action on the Implementation of agreements reached with the government rather than rushing to strike every time there was a disagreement.

He said, “I am not Minister of Education. I cannot go to the Education minister and dictate to him how to run his place. But I told ASUU that you should be bombarding them at the Federal Ministry of Education for this to be moved forward.

“There are many ways to do so. If you go to the labour act, there is something called picketing. You can picket. The strike is an ultimate thing. Picketing means that you can stay in the corridor, clapping or singing. Workers are permitted to do so.

“But I am tired of every time there is a disagreement, it is a strike. And the bosses in the Federal Ministry of Education don’t feel the strike. It is the children and some of us parents that have our children in public schools.”

The minister also said that he had commissioned studies on productivity vis-a-vis emoluments and that the result was that payments done 10 years ago when the dollar was strong have now lost value with 100 per cent depreciation.

He said, “Why won’t I support if ASUU and their unions now want a renegotiation of their conditions of service, which is the main thing in the proposal by the previous committee?”

Chairman of the 2009 FG and University-based union renegotiation Committee, Prof. Nimi Briggs, said his committee was consulting all the stakeholders with a view to finding an amicable solution to the ASUU dispute.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the NLC has scheduled to meet with the four university-based unions over the ongoing strike in the universities.

NLC said it was worried that public universities in the country have been closed down as a result of the strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Non-Academic Staff Union of Allied Educational Institutions, and the National Association of Academic Technologists.

The four unions affiliated with the NLC shut down universities over unresolved issues including difficulties they face with the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System, non-payment of the minimum wage arrears, revatizatipn funds, and nonreview of the 2009 Agreement with the government.

After ASUU commenced strike in February, .SSANU and NASU through its Joint Action Committee, JAC, in March, also embarked on a two-week warning strike following the alleged government failure to address the concerns they raised which includes the nonpayment of minimum wage arrears after many promises made to them by the government.

NAAT also declared its warning strike in early March to press home its demands.

The NLC explained that the scheduled meeting with the four striking unions was to know their level of engagement with the federal government.

Vanguard reported General Secretary of NLC, Emma Ugbaja, as saying on Monday that the meeting slated for 10am on Tuesday at the Labour House was aimed at seeing a way to resolve the face-off between the aggrieved unions and government in the interest of all stakeholders.

Ugbaja said that it was proper to hear from the unions first before taking any position, adding that the interest of labour was to ensure that the matter was sorted out.

Education

Half-Salary: UniMaid Lecturers Threaten To Withhold Students’ Results

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UniMaid

Lecturers at the University of Maiduguri (UniMaid) have said they will not submit examination results or release the final results of students until the federal government resolves the issue of pro-rata payment of salary and nonpayment of their 8 months’ salaries.

The Unimaid Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) branch Chairman, Dr Abubakar Mshelia Saidu, announced this at a press conference in Maiduguri on Tuesday.

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Daily Trust recalls that the university had commenced examinations for students for the 2020/2022 session following the suspension of the strike by ASUU.

Saidu said, “Members of ASUU will not mark athe current examination scripts; they will also not submit the results of both the first and second semesters of the 2020/2021 academic session.

“There will be no computation of academic status by coordinators of parts 1-4, 5 or 6, as applicable.

“Government said ‘no-work, no-pay; we say ‘no-pay, no-work.”

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Kwara gov Abdulrazaq, NBA, others mourn KWASU VC Akanbi who died at 51

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Eminent Nigerians and groups including the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and the Nigerian Bar Association have commiserated with the Kwara State University (KWASU), Malete, over the death of the institution’s vice chancellor, Prof Muhammed Mustapha Akanbi (SAN).

Akanbi died at the age of 51.
A statement from the university’s social media on Sunday night said the VC died in Lagos after a protracted illness.
“The sad event took place after a protracted illness. We urge all to remember the immediate and extended family and the University in prayers in this very trying time,” the post said.
Also in a condolence message by the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to the Kwara governor, Rafiu Ajakaye, described as painful and shocking the death of Prof. Akanbi.
“We submit to the decree of Allah who gives and takes. It is against that backdrop that we mourn the vice chancellor who answered Allah’s call tonight. He was a true and humble servant of Allah and we beseech our God, the oft-forgiving and merciful, to grant him al-jannah Firdaus.
“The professor of law was a colossus who played the leading role to open a new chapter of academic excellence and greatness for KWASU. Our condolences go to his family, immediate and extended, to KWASU and the rest of the academic community, and to members of the bar and the bench in Kwara State and across the country,” the statement added.
Similarly, the Emir of Ilorin and chairman Kwara State Council of Chiefs, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, expressed sadness over the incident, adding that it was “quite shocking, unfortunate and saddening.”
The Publicity Secretary of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Ilorin, Ridwan Musa, said “The Janāzah prayer will be offered on his remains immediately after Salatul-‘Asr at his residence in Ilorin, on Monday.
Late Mohammed Mustapha Akanbi became a professor at the age of 40 years and was appointed as Vice Chancellor at 49.
The KWASU Registrar, Mrs Kikelomo Salle, in a statement issued in Ilorin Sunday said, “Burial arrangement will be announced soon.”
Prof. Akanbi was born to the family of late Hon. Justice Muhammed Mustapha Adebayo Ajao Akanbi and late Hajia Munfaatu Aduke Akanbi.
He hails from the Ile magaji Kemberi, Awodi, Gambari Quarters, Ilorin East, Kwara State.
He attended various primary and secondary schools across the country i.e Kano, Port Harcourt, Ibadan and Okigwe in Imo State. Prof Akanbi graduated from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife with a Bachelor’s degree in law in the second class division in 1993.
Akanbi attended the Nigerian Law School, Victoria Island Lagos, where he also bagged the second class upper division. He was called to bar in 1995.
During his service year in 1995 – 1996, Akanbi served the nation as a legal assistant in the legal unit of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Lagos.
Between March 1996 and 1998, he practised as a junior in the law firms of Wole Bamgbala & Co, Lagos, Olawoyin and Olawoyin, Lagos and Ayodele, ‘Gafar & Co, Ilorin respectively.
Prof Akanbi bagged a master’s degree in law (LLM) in 1998 from University of Lagos, Akoka. Between 2004 and 2006, he attended the prestigious Kings College, University of London, United Kingdom for his doctorate degree in law (Ph.D) which he bagged in a record time of two years.
During his doctorate programme, Akanbi also earned a Graduate Certificate (Non-award Route) in Academic Practice (GCAP), from the same university in 2005.
In August 1998, Akanbi joined the service of University of Ilorin as a lecturer 2 in the Department of Business law, faculty of law of the University. By dint of hard work and perseverance, he rose through the ranks and was appointed a Professor of Law in the Department of Business Law in October 2012.
In 2014, he was also appointed an adjunct professor of law at the Kings University College, Accra, Ghana for a period of one year.
In over two decades career period in the University of Ilorin, Akanbi had held several administrative positions, chief of which were: Sub-dean of the faculty of law, Head of Business Law Department, Faculty of Law, Postgraduate Representative, Senate member, Dean of the Faculty of Law, Deputy Director, Centre for Research Development and In-House Training (CREDIT) and Director, School of Preliminary Studies, Fufu, University of Ilorin.
Akanbi has over 60 national and International publications in reputable peer-review journals with a bias in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Arbitration Law.
Other research areas include conflict resolution laws, corporate management law and practice.
In 2017, Akanbi completed a BADEA-UNITAR Online Course on Private Sector Development (2017) with specialisation on Ease of Doing Business in Africa and was awarded a Certificate of Completion by Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (BADEA-UNITAR).
Akanbi has a number of cutting-edge and trans-disciplinary research projects and consultancy to his credit, some of which include: Lead researcher (2016- 2017), ‘Developing Interventions: Understanding Prosecutors’ Routine and Pretrial Practices’. (A research project involving 6 countries: USA, Mexico, South Africa, Ukraine, Poland and Nigeria) commissioned by the Open Society Justice Initiatives, New York.

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Education

ASUU members received their rightful salary in October – FG

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Minister of Education,  Mallam Adamu Adamu

The Federal Government has said members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU received their rightful salary in October, which was paid in pro-rata basis.

The Minister of Education,  Mallam Adamu Adamu, stated this while briefing correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The Federal Government also denied the allegation that it has indirectly made Nigerian lecturers causual workers by paying them half salary in October, saying that nobody can make them casual staff.

Recall that the, called off the eight month strike it embarked on February 14 this year on October 14 and was paid the October salary based on the number of days they worked.

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ASUU called off the strike as a result of the judgment by the National Industrial Court of Nigeria, NICN, that ordered the union to go back to work before it could entartain its pending case.

Angered by the payment of half salary, ASUU has embarked on protest in different universities to express their dissatisfaction with the government decision not to pay them full in October.

But despite protestations from ASUU over pro-rata October salary payment, the federal government on Wednesday insisted that the lecturers were paid what was due them

The government also insisted that the lecturers would not be paid for work not done.

Responding to the allegation made by the President of ASUU, Professor Emmanuel Osodoke, suggesting that paying the lecturers on pro-rata basis was a ploy to make them casual workers, the Minister remarked that government has no such plan.

“Nobody can make University lecturers casual workers,” he said.

Vanguard

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