Strike: We’re still considering govt offer, says ASUU – Newstrends
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Strike: We’re still considering govt offer, says ASUU

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  • NANS threatens to shut down all private universities

National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, says the appropriate organ of the union is still reflecting on the Federal Government’s offer and will make its position known soon.

He denied claims that the union agreed to end its strike on Wednesday, December 9.

He spoke just as the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to shut down all private universities across the country should the nine-month strike embarked upon by ASUU continue.

“To put the records straight, the principal officers and trustees, who constitute the core of representatives of ASUU at negotiation meetings with the government, are not constitutionally empowered to suspend any strike action,” Ogunyemi said in a statement.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, in a statement, had said ASUU promised to call of the strike by December 9, 2020.

Ngige also said promises made to ASUU could only be achieved if the union returned to work.

But Ogunyemi said, “ASUU leadership did not reach any understanding with government to suspend the strike on December 9, 2020, and there is nothing in the government offer of November 27, 2020 to suggest that conclusion as allegedly claimed by the Minister of Labour and Employment.

“At our last meeting in the office of the Minister of Labour and Employment on November 27, 2020, the ASUU leadership promised to faithfully present the latest government offer to its members through the established tradition.

“The latest offer by government makes proposals on nearly all items of demand by the union with timelines. Among others, the document which was signed by the Hon. Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, contains proposals on inauguration of the reconstituted FGN-ASUU Renegotiation Committee (1st December, 2020); release of details about visitation panels (1st December, 2020); working on the actualisation of the release of the withheld salaries of ASUU members (Wednesday, December 9, 2020).

“Clause 9 on the document reads, ‘Based on these conclusions reached on items 1-8, ASUU’s leadership will consult its organs with a view to suspending the ongoing strike.’”

He explained that the outcome of any engagement with agents of the government remained an offer which must be taken back to the branches through the various organs of the union.

He stated, “Views and perspectives on offers by governments are aggregated and presented to government agents as counter-offers.

“This trade union strategy of offer and counter-offer is continually deployed until the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU – consisting of all recognised chairpersons – finally approves what it considers an acceptable offer from the government. It is only then that any strike action by ASUU can be suspended.”

Ogunyemi also said the strike would have been avoided had the government implemented agreements it signed with ASUU.

The ASUU leader said, “It was a needless crisis in the first place. It happened because government has consistently failed to faithfully implement the agreements it freely signed with the union.

“ASUU members, as stakeholders in the Nigerian university system, are equally worried and embarrassed that those in position of authority, over the years, displayed seeming indifference to the rot and decay in Nigeria’s public universities.”

Meanwhile, President of NANS, Sunday Asefon, while speaking on a Punch Online interview programme, The Roundtable, said the association would shut down all private universities if FG and ASUU failed to resolve the crisis.

Asefon, who lamented that the ongoing strike, which is the longest industrial action embarked upon by the university lecturers, said that NANS would get into a discussion with the Federal Government representatives and ASUU leaders to find a lasting solution to resolve the stalemate in negotiations between the two sides.

However, the NANS President pointed out that if the strike action was not called off as soon as possible after consultations with both parties, the association would be left with no option but to move in and shut down all tertiary institutions in the country.

Education

BREAKING: Only applicants from federal institutions can access student loans – FG

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BREAKING: Only applicants from federal institutions can access student loans – FG

Managing Director of Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND), Akintunde Sawyerr, has revealed that a maximum of 1.2 million students across federal tertiary institutions will access the students’ loans in its opening phase.

Speaking ahead of the portal’s formal launch for applications on Friday, he stated that students enrolled in federal tertiary institutions whose institutions have finished uploading their data would be able to apply in the first phase.

Sawyerr stated that potential candidates can start the application process as early as May 24, but stressed that the loan application process has been simplified to provide simple access for all qualified students in federal tertiary institutions.

According to Sawyerr, the program is an essential part of President Bola Tinubu’s administration’s Renewed Hope Agenda.

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Its purpose is to give needy students financial support (obligatory fees and stipends) so they can pursue their academic objectives without worrying about the financial burden.

He also added that the Fund will pay 100 percent of institutional fees directly to the institutions of learning account while also providing stipends to the students monthly based on when school is in session.

He stressed the importance of some of the key features of the student loan including, No physical contact between the loan applicant and NELFUND, a user-friendly Loan Application portal, comprehensive support where applicants can access online support to assist and flexible repayment plans.

He said: “We encourage all students in federal institutions to take advantage of this opportunity to secure the required financial assistance for their education. Applicants must submit their applications as early as possible to ensure timely processing.”

BREAKING: Only applicants from federal institutions can access student loans – FG

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Wigwe varsity becomes most expensive Nigerian university, unseats Nile, Baze

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Wigwe University

Wigwe varsity becomes most expensive Nigerian university, unseats Nile, Baze

“I cannot change the world overnight. But if I can empower even one youth today, or tomorrow, they could join me in empowering others. With time, we could change the world,” were the words of the late Herbert Wigwe, the founder of Wigwe University, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Wigwe, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his wife, Chizoba, and son, Chizzy, in the United States, was also a co-founder of Access Holdings (owners of Access Bank PLC).

The school, located in Isiokpo, Port Harcourt, when inaugurated in August 2024, could be Nigeria’s most expensive university, topping the likes of Covenant University, Otta; Nile University, Abuja; Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos, and Baze University, Abuja, which are said to be some of Nigeria’s most expensive universities.

The varsity which is set to open its gates to its first set of students in August is also said to be run fully on 24-hour electricity and WiFi.

According to the school’s website, it also has an active conservation plan.

“With environmental protection as one of our eight sustainability pillars, we not only prioritise our impact but have looked to the area’s natural state to guide our campus design and planning.

“Port Harcourt’s tropical rainforest and indigenous plant species, lost through previous agricultural practices, are actively being reintroduced, whilst stormwater attenuation, vegetation, and fauna conservation direct our landscaping. Pedestrian, cyclist, and electric people-mover campus routes, along with forest walking/jogging/cycling trails, connect students to our surrounding environment, encouraging a lifelong love of nature,” it stated.

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The university will offer a diverse range of programmes across four major colleges – the College of Management and Social Sciences, the College of Art, the College of Science and Computing, and the College of Engineering.

Since the school mentioned that it would commence its first session in August, it has set off public debates among educational stakeholders, parents, and prospective students.

Many have said the university would only just be for the elite who could afford it but would not be made available to the children of the poor.

However, some others on the other side of the divide, have said quality education does not come cheap, adding that anyone who can not afford it should go to a school they can afford.

With the fees said to be as high as N12m per session, the university could become, undoubtedly, Nigeria’s most expensive university.

A check on the school’s website shows that the cheapest fee is the College is Arts which stands at N9.6m.

Students taking courses in the College of Engineering, College of Management and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Computing will pay a total fee of  N11,998,800 each.

The fees cover tuition, books, laboratory supplies and consumables, personal protective equipment, project lab resources, e-learning resources, health insurance, student membership in professional associations, student activities, and facilities maintenance.

There are also additional charges covering accommodation fees which include the luxury single-bedroom apartment plan at N1,000,000 per month, premium one en-suite bedroom plan at N3,845,000  per session, classic one plan at N3,707,000 per session and classic two plan at N3,500,000 per session.

The management of the university, while defending its decision to charge in dollars, recently stated that home students would pay their fees in naira, while international students could select the dollar payment option.

It also said the decision was a strategic one that aligned with its vision to attract a diverse and international student body.

School’s defence

Defending the fees, the university said it was unwavering in its commitment to excellence in education and the shaping of future African leaders.

Wigwe varsity becomes most expensive Nigerian university, unseats Nile, Baze

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FG fixes May 24 to open student loan portal

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FG fixes May 24 to open student loan portal

The Federal Government through the Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) says the application portal for students’ loan scheme will open on 24th May 2024.

This is contained in a statement signed by Nasir Ayitogo -Media and Public Relations Lead of NELFUND, on Thursday.

He said the move marks a significant milestone in the commitment of President Bola Tinubu to fostering accessible and inclusive education for all Nigerian students.

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The statement reads in full : “The management of Nigerian Education Loan Fund (NELFUND) led by its Managing Director, Mr Akintunde Sawyerr are thrilled to announce 24th of May, 2024 as official date for the opening of portal for student loan applications.

This marks a significant milestone in the commitment of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu (GCFR) to fostering accessible and inclusive education for all Nigerian students.

Through the portal, students can now access loans to pursue their academic aspirations without financial constraints.

The portal provides a user-friendly interface for students to submit their loan applications conveniently.

We encourage all eligible students to take advantage of this opportunity to invest in their future and contribute to the growth and development of our nation.

Students can access the portal on www.nelf.gov.ng to begin application.

For more information and assistance, please contact NELFUND via email on info@nelf.gov.ng or contact us via our social media handles.”

FG fixes May 24 to open student loan portal

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