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Education

10 Odumegwu Ojukwu University retirees allegedly died of unpaid salary, pension arrears

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About 10 retirees of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University of Anambra State (COOU) reportedly died while waiting for payment of their pension.

The Chairman, National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT) and leader of Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions (JAC), Comrade A.C. Okeke stated this while addressing members of Anambra State House of Assembly, during a protest by the groups.

The groups had given the university’s management up to Wednesday, August 14 to meet their demands of non payment of arrears of salaries and pension to its retirees or face indefinite industrial action by the staff.

The workers who are members of National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and under the Joint Action Committee of Trade Unions (JAC) had marched to the state Assembly for a protest.

The groups claimed that the university was owing them over N4.6 billion.

Okeke said, “Some of our members have died while waiting for payment of their pension. About 10 of them that we know have died.

“On a daily basis, you see our retired members who come to the university gate to beg for money, and we feel pained about their plight.

“It is for these reasons that we decided to come here and tell you people. We have been very linient with the school management, but we are already fed up. They keep telling us to exercise patience, but this has been on for a long time without any hope.”

A member of the state of Assembly, Hon Emeka Aforka who represents Orumba South state constituency who addressed the protesting workers expressed unhappiness over their plight.

“We feel your pain, and we are Happy that as enlightened people from the state’s citadel of learning, you decided on a peaceful protest, and that is very much appreciated.

“The Speaker of the state assembly, Rt Hon Uche Okafor is unavoidably absent, but he has sent me to represent him and hear from you. We shall ensure that we do the needful by bringing this to the notice of the state governor.

“To assure you of our concern, you will hear from us very soon over this, but we urge you to remain law abiding,” he said.

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Education

72 graduands bag first class in Otuoke varsity

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The Federal University, Otuoke (FUO), Bayelsa State, will, on Septem 21, hold its maiden convocation ceremony for 1,121 graduands, with 72 of them in First Class category.

The Vice-Chancellor of the university, Seth Accra-Jaja, who disclosed this at a news conference on Thursday at Utuoke, said the event was part of the activities marking the maiden convocation ceremony of the institution.

He said out of the 1,121 graduands, 72 will be awarded first class, 462, second class upper, 503, second class lower and 84, third class degrees.

“The ceremony would be a combined convocation of students who graduated during the last three academic sessions of the university,” he said.

The vice chancellor said the convocation was delayed because of the death of the Chancellor of the institution in 2015.

“After we scaled through the huddle of having a new Chancellor, other issues like industrial action by members of staff also contributed to the delay,” he explained.

Accra-Jaja, a professor, said the graduating students were drawn from 28 programmes under the Faculties of Humanities, Social Sciences, Education, Engineering and Management Sciences.

He said since his assumption of office, 16 programmes had been introduced and approved by the National Universities Commission (NUC), with the aim of making the university a world-class institution in academics, research and development.

“Students and lecturers now take class attendance and other academic work seriously due to the stringent measures put in place as well as the cordial relationship that exists between them in the university,” he stated.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the institution was among the nine universities established in 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

(NAN)

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Education

Lecturers warn FG over looming strike in colleges of education

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There is evidently a looming strike in the Colleges of Education across the country.

This development followed the demands by the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) to the Federal government.

COEASU affirmed that if government fails to accede to its various demands it would result to the disruption of academic activities.

The union said the demands are based on the understanding and agreement reached before the suspension of its industrial action in December 2018 after two months.

It said this in a communiqué it issued at the end of its Expanded National Executive Council (ENEC) meeting on September 10 and 11, in Lagos.

The communique which was jointly signed by the President, Nuhu Ogirima, and General Secretary, Taiwo Olayanju, decried the disposition of the Federal Ministry of Education and the National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE) to the resolution of all the protracted issues.

Ogirima also said the agreement was long overdue and the government need to act on it fast.

The union said it was expecting a meaningful rejigging of the system to ensure the resolution of all lingering issues in contention, following the re-appointment of the minister of education, Adamu Adamu.

The union urged the ministry and the NCCE to take the issues of the colleges seriously to avert the disruption of the COEs calendar by a strike .

(a) Presidential assent to the reviewed Establishment Laws of FCEs and NCCE as passed by the National Assembly;

(b) Executive approval of Dual Mode (NCE and Degree) for Colleges of Education; to check attrition of subscription to teacher education by both students and lecturers;

(c) Non-release of the fifteen billion naira (N15bn) palliative funds pledged by the FGN to revitalize the public COEs;

(d) Non-payment of about two billion five hundred million naira (N2.5bn) Peculiar Earned Academic Allowances (PEAA); and

(e) Review of the policy of out-sourced services and its implication on security in the institutions.

The union also expressed dissatisfaction over the attempt to impose the application of the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS) on colleges of education, considering the peculiarities of tertiary institutions.

The academic body said it is not aversed to policies adopted by the government to check corruption and leakages in the schools towards more cost-effective payroll management system.

”COEASU condemned the refusal of FME to direct the enrolment of teachers of Demonstration Schools on the payroll of the institutions as done in the case of a sister tertiary institution with similar policy, ” the communique reads.

The union also described alleged persistent poor handling of staff welfare-related issues in most state colleges of education ”as utterly unacceptable”

”The pathetic situation is evident in the introduction of promotion criteria extraneous to the extant provisions of the conditions of service, ” the communique reads.

The union suspended its last strike in December.

The strike began on October 9 over non-implementation of the union’s agreements with government, especially NEEDS assessment report.

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Education

Nasarawa University owes N1.72bn – VC

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The Nasarawa State University, Keffi, has declared that over N1.72 billion liabilities is hampering its operations.

The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Suleiman Mohammed, made this known on Wednesday at a news conference in Keffi.

He therefore called on the state government to take over payment of salaries of all staff of the institution to reduce the burden.

Mohammed explained that the news conference was part of preparations for the 2nd stakeholders meeting of the university scheduled for September 14, at 10 am in the institution.

According to him, the 2nd stakeholders meeting had two main objectives; the first was to address the challenges facing the university and the second was to present his five years action plan to the public.

In his words, “I also want to tell the stakeholders about our liabilities with the hope that the stakeholders will assist the university to settle the debt.

“Presently, this is the summary of our liabilities – salaries and allowances is over N1.43 billion; pension and gratuity is over N116.4 million; Students Association dues 2012/13 is over N13.62 million; Students Association dues 2016/17 is over N22.86 million.

“Others outstanding un-remitted deductions is over N65.76 million and former principal officers severance allowance and other benefits stand at over N72.1 million, and total liabilities is N1.719,996,144.08,” Mr Mohammed explained.

He said his action plan for the institution was based on 12 objectives in order to take the university to greater heights.

Mohammed said in the action plan, the university would establish two new faculties; Health Sciences and Engineering, beginning from the 2020/2021 academic session.

The vice chancellor restated his commitment to fight all unethical conducts among staff and students in the interest of the education sector.

“I therefore seek for the cooperation of the press and other stakeholders in the war against unethical practices as well as support our objective of making the university a 21st century university,” Mr Mohammed said.

The vice chancellor commended Governor Abdullahi Sule for donating a fire fighting machine as well as the pledge of N75 million to fence the Lafia campus of the university against encroachment.

“We will use the meeting to appeal to the state government to take over the salaries of all staff as done for all the state owned tertiary institutions and most other state universities,” he said.

(NAN)

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