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ASUU strike: FG says it has adopted voluntary conciliation to end strike

ASUU strike: FG says it has adopted voluntary conciliation to end strike

The Federal Government said it will adopt voluntary conciliation to end the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

This was disclosed by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige on Tuesday at a 3-day capacity building workshop on International Labour Standards and Dispute Resolution in Nigeria on Tuesday in Abuja.

He revealed that voluntary conciliation was adopted instead of arbitration in order not to delay the resolution process with the striking lecturers.

In the event organized by the Industrial Arbitration Panel (IAP) in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Minister stated that he would have have transmitted the matter to the IAP or the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN).

But I used my discretion to weigh the situation to know if it would cause more delay in the resolution of the dispute in a court process”, he said.

He added that “ASUU had embarked on strike on February 14 and voluntary conciliation started in February 22 and subsequently, on March 1 citing that by the second meeting, most of the issues arising from the 2020 Memorandum of Action (MOA) signed between ASUU and the Ministry of Education with other government agencies involved, were conciliated leaving out only two.

“The two outstanding issues were the conditions of service, which according to the 2009 Agreement would be reviewed every four years.

“The last review was in 2013 and we started the review in 2018 under Wale Babalakin (SAN) as the chairman of the renegotiation committee. We could not conclude because Babalakin left.

“A new committee headed by Munzali came. Munzali finished his work and put in his report at the Federal Ministry of Education”, he said.

He added that all the committees including the  previous Onosode committee were all internal committees of the Ministry of Education.

 “The major issue here is salary and wage review. That is where they are before ASUU embarked on strike,’’ he said, also adding that a strike triggers the content of the Trade Dispute Act (TDA) on how to resolve the industrial action.

 “If a party wants us to transmit a matter back to them to have a second look, you assist them. That is what you call voluntary conciliation”.

What you should know

Nairametrics reported this week that the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) extended its ongoing strike by another 4 weeks to give the Federal Government more time to resolve outstanding issues in its dispute with the union.

They said “Following extensive deliberations and taking cognisance of Government’s past failures to abide by its own timelines in addressing issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA), NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for four weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues. The role-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 am, on Monday, August 1, 2022”. 

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Education

FG hasn’t informed ASUU of cash crunch – Osodeke

FG hasn’t informed ASUU of cash crunch – Osodeke

Striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said the government has not at any time indicated that it does not have money to fund the union’s demands and university education.

The union was reacting to recent comments by the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo; and Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, who said it was unreasonable for the Federal Government to borrow over N1 trillion to meet ASUU’s demands.

The PUNCH reports that ASUU has been on strike since February 14, 2022, after submitting its demands, which were being renegotiated by the Prof. Nimi Briggs committee set up by the Federal Government.

The strike enters its 180th day on Friday (today).

ASUU’s National President, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, in an interview with The PUNCH, described those saying the government had no money as interlopers who had no business in the affairs of ASUU and the government.

Osodeke said, “Do you believe the FG has no money? Is Umahi the FG? Has the Minister of Education said so? Has the Minister of Finance said so? If the person directed to resolve a matter has not said so when interlopers are saying things, who will you believe?

“When did Umahi become the spokesperson for the FG? They can borrow money for Trader Moni, they can borrow money to feed schoolchildren in schools, they can borrow to buy vehicles for Niger Republic, but they cannot borrow to fund education. We are tired too. If they want to close down all the universities formally, they should.”

When asked if ASUU would bend its demands so that the students could return to school, Osodeke insisted that the issue had to do with the government’s coming to the renegotiation table with ASUU.

“It is not about ASUU bending its demands; our demands are with the government. They should come to us with what they want. We don’t have to beg them. We agreed on something and let them send it to us. We have reached a negotiation. Let them come and tell us what they can do,” he said.

ASUU on leaders

Meanwhile, Osodeke, also on Thursday urged parents and students to vote out leaders that have made universities remain closed nationwide.

He spoke with journalists at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State, shortly after addressing the institution’s ASUU congress, which was also attended by lecturers from some other neighbouring universities.

Osodeke, who declared that ASUU would not relent in its bid to ensure better funding for universities, decried the Federal Government’s nonchalant attitude towards issues that concern education in the country.

“We also appeal to Nigerians. This matter concerns their lives. In the next five to six months, there will be an election. They should hold their PVCs, and all those who have subjected them to this, they should vote them out.

“It is their right. They should vote them out because children of the masses can’t be at home while children of those leaders will be enjoying education outside the country. That is their right and they should use their PVCs,” Sodeke concluded.

180th day

The PUNCH reports that ASUU strike enters its 180th day on Friday (today), making it one of the longest in the history of the country.

Osodeke said the plan was not to “suspend the strike but to end it permanently. We want to end strikes permanently in our universities, and that is our demand. That is our desire.”

The Programme Director, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, said, “It is a shame that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has continued to set terrible records for itself, especially in the area of education. 2020 is still fresh in our memories when our schools were closed for close to one year.

“We have the same situation coming up in 2022. This should not be allowed to continue. We reject the plot to turn our undergraduates into out-of-school children.”

 

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Education

Resolve issues with ASUU now, vice-chancellors beg FG

Resolve issues with ASUU now, vice-chancellors beg FG

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (CVCNU) has said the government’s insistence that it does not have money to fund Nigerian universities is disheartening.

The PUNCH reports that the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, had in an interview, said the government had no money to meet ASUU’s demands and would not go into borrowing.

Speaking in an interview with The PUNCH, on Tuesday, the chairman of CVCNU, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, explained that the demands of ASUU were not for the union but for the rehabilitation of the universities, adding that what the government meant by that statement was that it did not have money to fund its own universities.

He said, “This issue of saying we don’t have money to put into the university system shouldn’t be. It is like the NEEDS assessment fund; it was not given to ASUU, it was given to the universities.

“When they say we don’t have funds, what they are saying is that ‘these universities are our own but we don’t have money to give. We don’t have money to pay for overhead to run the universities.’ I listened to Keyamo also. He is not even at the centre of the whole thing.”

Edoumiekumo added that he and other VCs in the country are not happy that the universities were closed down.

“I will not take whatever Keyamo says as the position of the government. We are not happy that our universities are closed down. I plead with both parties to amicably resolve the issues on the ground. I know the government and ASUU, especially the Ministry of Education, are working with national leaders of ASUU, but they have not finalised the reason they have not come out publicly,” he added.

He continued, “We are not happy that universities have been closed for this much time. It has been close to five months now. It affects the operations, and it disrupts the academic calendar, which has a negative effect on the operations of respective universities.

“Especially at those universities where their visitors are not funding the institutions, it is the little funding they get from students that they make use of.

“We are pleading with the government to look at the plight of students and lecturers in Nigerian universities to resolve the issue. If we decide to keep silent, we are prolonging evil days. With last year’s strike, we lost some academic sessions and it is affecting the economy.”

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Education

2022 WASSCE: WAEC Releases Results, Withholds 365,564

2022 WASSCE: WAEC Releases Results, Withholds 365,564

The 2022 West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) results have been released with those of 365,564 candidates in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice withheld.

This was disclosed by the Head of National Office, West African Examinations Council (WAEC), Patrick Areghan during a briefing in Lagos on Monday.

Announcing the release of the results, he lamented that the students’ preparations for the examinations were poor, saying they were no longer ready to learn.

According to Areghan, 365,564 candidates represented 22.83% of the total number of candidates that sat the examination, adding that the number was 11.74% higher than the 10.9% recorded in the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021.

“Reasons for this are not far-fetched.  Candidates are no longer ready to learn.  Preparations for examinations are poor,” he said.

“There is over-reliance on the so-called ‘Expo’, which is actually non-existent.  Candidates simply got frustrated when they got into the examination hall and discovered that all they had celebrated was fake.

“This has pitiably led to some of them failing the examination, which if they had relied on themselves and studied hard, would have passed like many others.”

Giving the performance analysis, the WAEC official explained that  88.04% of the candidates who sat the 2022 WASSCE obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects (i.e with or without English Language and/ or Mathematics) and 76.36% obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.

Of the 1,607,981 candidates that registered for the examination from 20,222 recognised secondary schools in the country, Areghan said 1,601,047 candidates sat the examination.

He stated, “The analysis of the statistics of the performance of candidates in the examination shows that out of the 1,601,047 candidates that sat the examination, 1,409,529 candidates, representing 88.04%, obtained credit and above in a minimum of any five subjects (i.e with or without English Language and/ or Mathematics.

“1,222,505 candidates, representing 76.36%, obtained credits and above in a minimum of five subjects, including English Language and Mathematics.”

Areghan stressed that the results of candidates who were sponsored by states indebted to the Council would not be released until they pay up.

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