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Crisis Deepens As FG Moves To Deregister ASUU

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As a result of ASUU’s alleged failure to submit its audited reports as required by law over the past five years, there are indications that the Federal Government may revoke its registration as a trade union. This information came to light on Wednesday.

According to reports, the Registrar of Trade Unions has already questioned the union about why its registration certificate should not be revoked because it violates the law.

This is due to the Nigerian Association of Medical and Dental Academies’ (NAMDA) request for registration as a separate labor union from university teachers in the medical industry.

The group has also said that it did not join the ongoing strike embarked upon by its parent body ASUU, rather, its members were locked out due to the industrial dispute declared by the union.

It said that it would soon start examination for the 500 and 400 levels of medical students, noting that the country has shortage of medical doctors and that it would not be in her interest to lose a year because of any strike.

Speaking while receiving members of NAMDA, who had visited him to express their solidarity with the Federal Government on the ASUU imbloglio, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige acknowledged receiving the group’s request for registration.

The Minister lamented that the university based unions have been in the habit of not obeying the law that sets) them up with regard to the submission of their yearly audited account.

He said that he was constrained to allow the hammer of the law to descend on ASUU because of the prolonged strike as any action taken by the government would be wrongly interpreted.

He maintained that going by the provisions of the law, the leadership of the university based unions that collect check-off dues from their members are mandated to render account on how the money is spent.

Responding to the group’s request to be registered as a trade union, Ngige said, “I am happy today that you people have noticed what is wrong with medical education and decided now to form a single trade union.

“Yes, we have received your application about two or three months ago. Even when NMA had come to make an oral application for you people, I told them that it is not done that way. If you understand what you need, you come to be registered as a trade union. Registration as a trade union has its own rights and privileges.

“The privileges are as follows. As a union, you are enjoying freedom of association as people of like minds. People who have the same profession. People who have the same ideas. People who believe in the furtherance of the production of medical doctors in their country.

“You also have the advantage that as a union, you get check off dues from your members, automatically done at source by the employers in which case now, universities. These are the advantages.

“What are the disadvantages? The disadvantages is that you have to obey our laws. The laws of the land. That is where you elite fail, especially SSANU, NASU, ASUU, NAAT. All of you in the university system. They have not been obeying trade union laws.”

He further said, “ASUU has not responded to the relevant section of Trade Union Creation for submission of audited accounts. How do they utilise their money? The money they collect as check off dues, should be accounted for. So, the Trade Union Act says that in June of any given year, unions should produce audited account at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

“The Registrar of Trade Unions has written them to show cause why we should not withdraw their certificate of registration. They have not responded to the letter. Rather, I learned that they came last Friday with bundles of papers and said they are their audited account.

“Of course, he rightly told them that ‘I didn’t ask you for your audited accounts anymore. I need you to respond to my query on why disciplinary action should not be taken against you. If disciplinary action is taken against ASUU now, although I am restraining him, they will say that it is because we are in court. They will say that we are being victimised because we are on strike. We are being punished. Whereas, they have been running foul of the law.

“Five good years, they have not tendered an audited account of their activities, at least, for the benefit of their members. For now, you are their members. They should give you account of how they spent your money. They have not done so.”

Speaking on ASUU strike, he said, “You went on strike. The Minister of Labour brought you here one week after and we discussed seven items one after the other and agreed on five of the items.

“The two items we couldn’t reach agreement are the usage of UTAS; we asked NITDA to go back and test. We met with the traditional rulers, Sultan and NIREC and asked NITDA to give us a report in six weeks.

“We asked them to go to education to negotiate their conditions of service, which is the only thing outstanding in the renegotiation of the 2009 agreement.

“When you say government is not implementing 2009 agreement, it is not true. It was in the renegotiation of 2009 in 2013 that President Jonathan and his team agreed to pay you N1.3 trillion-N220 every year for six years. Maybe because they knew they were going away. But that was what they agreed on.

“By 2019, we had conciliated here again. But, we said this government is unable to meet your demand. What do we do? We structured a payment plan for one single tranche of N220 billion.

“This government started paying. They have paid N50 billion or so. I am not sure but we asked them to go and reconcile the figures from Budget Office and ASUU. When they say 2009 agreement, the public is deceived. It is the 2009 revitalisation of the government of Goodluck Jonathan we couldn’t pay. It is not a wrong thing for government to say it is unable to pay. Let us restructure our debt or our promise to you. It was an agreement. A Collective Bargaining Agreement can be renegotiated anytime. That is where we are.

“Another thing to be renegotiated was their conditions of service, to include salaries of their scale, which is the CONUASS. We remitted that one back to education, their primary employer. Education invited Chairmen of councils, with Prof. Mini Briggs to chair the renegotiation committee.What also will guide that negotiation. It is the availability of the fund and by extension, the ability to pay, which is the ILO principle in wage fixing mechanism.

“It is not enough to say I will give you N1.3 trillion and not pay it. That is why the negotiation went on there and different proposals were made. Those proposals are now the subject of contention. When the committee in education gave them a proposal on what they can pay, they did not do enough consultation with government. They did not consult Minister of Finance. They did not consult Budget Office of the Federation. They did not consult the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

“Rather, the officials we sent there were told to leave. And they gave themselves award. They awarded money to themselves. Our Director Trade Union Services was there. She was told to leave. Our labour attache in Education was told to leave. The person in NSIWC was also told to leave. He didn’t even participate. The person from Finance was told to leave and they decided and awarded themselves money. It is not done that way. That is no longer a CBA. Collective Bargaining Agreement.

“Even at that, government said, ‘we need our children to go back to School, let us do a counter offer. They gave them counter offer. It is that counter offer that they called an award and that it is pittance and miserly. The award was for an increase of 23.5 percent across board for everybody in the university system, including SSANU, NASU and NAAT and 35 percent for professors. This is in spite of the fact that in May, consequential adjustment of National Minimum Wage was put in their salaries.

“You had 10 percent rise in salaries and government paid you arrears from May 2019 when the Act was signed by Mr. President. A lot of people got the money even though they were on strike.

“Some others wrote and said it is ammunition to continue strike that they will use it as ammunition to fight government. You are not fighting any government. I am in government but tomorrow, I will leave. I have brothers and sisters who are ASUU members. I have friends.

“My classmates are professors who are teaching. They are ASUU members. So, naturally I want something good for them but they are going about it the wrong way. They want to use intimidation and blackmail but I am telling them no.

“Don’t intimidate your employers. It is not allowed in labour negotiation. Even a strike during negotiation is now an instrument of blackmail and intimidation during negotiation and it is not allowed in wage fixing mechanism. It is in ILO principles at work.

“That is why Section 18 of TDA says if you are on strike or if you have locked out your employers for any reason, once the Minister puts in place, an apprehension mechanism on the dispute, you call it off.”

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Education

Kwara Goes Tough On Illegal Examination Fees

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Kwara State Government has vowed to sanction any principal  who collects above the fees approved for external examinations.

Fidel Info reports that the decision to again outlaw any form of extortion is part of the ongoing reform agenda of the government to improve quality of education without imposing any hardship on the parents.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, Mrs Mary kemi Adeosun, made this known today at a meeting with the Principals of Senior Secondary Schools across the state during this year’s 2022 West African School Certificate Examination floating.

The Permanent Secretary was represented by the Director Curriculum and Assessment of the Ministry, Hajia Folashade Raji, at Saint Anthony Secondary School, Ilorin.

Adeosun gave the break down of the approved registration fees for WASSCE 2022/2023 thus: WAEC Charges N18,000, E – regisration Charges N1,050

Administrative Charges N1,100 and the total fees to be paid is N20,150.

She said the ministry will not tolerate extra charges from any principal apart from the one approved by the ministry of Education and Human Capital Development.

She also solicited the support of the Principals for the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who, she said, is wholeheartedly committed to the welfare of teachers and the citizens.

Speaking at the same event, the Executive Chairman of the Kwara State Teaching Service Commission, Mallam Bello Tauheed Abubakar, applauded Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for moving the education sector forward in the state.

Bello explained that the present monitoring embarked upon  by the ministry of Education and Human Capital Development, in conjunction with the Teaching Service Commission and Chairman Kwara State Universal Education Board, is to improve the sector.

In their contributions, the President of All Nigeria Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools, Comrade Usman Abdulahi and the Chairman of Nigerian Union of Teachers, Kwara State Chapter, Comrade Bashir Oyewo, applauded Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq for putting the right people to run the affairs of the  education sector in the state.

They  thanked the governor for revamping the sector through the rehabilitation and construction of schools across the three senatorial districts of the state, recruitment of qualified teachers to all primary and secondary schools across the state, prompt payment of salaries and training and retraining of teachers.

Other achievements of the governor, according to the stakeholders, include the promotion of teachers and free hand to select outstanding teachers for awards which has never happened  in the history of the state.

They promised to ensure improved productivity of teachers across the state.

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Education

KWASU Releases Pre-Admission Process Schedule

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Kwara State University has released the Pre Admission process schedule for the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (M.B; B.S) Programme.

Fidel Info reports that the process is for Candidates whose first choice of institution is Kwara State University or Candidates who wish to choose Kwara State University (KWASU) as their first choice. They are, however, required to change their choice of institution to KWASU on JAMB Portal before the Pre-Admission Screening Registration.

To be eligible, all candidates must have Five (5) O’level credits passes at ONE sitting in the following subjects: English Language, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Mathematics and UTME subjects in English Language, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

Online registration starts on Tuesday 29th November 2022 and closes on Wednesday, 7th December 2022.

Candidates are required to pay a non-refundable fee of Two Thousand Naira (N2,000) only.

The procedure for the admission screening registration goes as thus:

1. Visit https://portal.kwasu.edu.ng and click on “Click here to apply”

2. Click the Undergraduate link under the Apply Now menu bar at the top

3. Enter your JAMB Registration Number correctly and complete the basic information page (Please note: Enter only valid phone number and email address and click next).

4. On the payment review page, click on “Make Payment” and this will take you to the payment page where you can provide your card details.

5. Enter your ATM card (Mastercard, Visa, or Verve) number and other details as appropriate and submit

6. Enter the “OTP code” sent to your phone and click Continue to complete your payment.

7. After a successful payment, click on “Main login” on the portal, enter your JAMB registration number and Surname as password

8. Click on “Login” and complete your registration.

9. Ensure you print the completed registration form and payment receipt for your record.

Failed payments attempt dues to bad network or debits without completing the payment can be re-queried. Enter the JAMB registration number and phone number, press the tab button to display a Re-query interface below the page, then Re-query the unsuccessful payment attempt. For support, contact helpdesk@kwasu.edu.ng

All candidates must know that final admission into the University is based on meeting the University’s and the Academic Programmes’ cut-off points in UTME and also on the availability of spaces within the NUC-approved admission quota for Kwara State University, Malete (KWASU).

Candidates are to note that, falsification of citizenship certificates, or any documents for that matter, will lead to disqualification and prosecution.

The closing date for online registration is Wednesday 7th December 2022.

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Education

Like Adeleke, PDP’s Guber Candidate Yaman Abdullah To Sack Kwara Teachers If Elected

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Strong indications have emerged over plans by the gubernatorial candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to sack the civil servants if elected as a governor in the 2023 polls.

Fidel Info reports that In May 2021, Kwara State Government recruited 4,701  including 50 first class graduates for teaching jobs in both TESCOM and UBEC categories.

The exercise overseen by independent groups, experts, and NUT was adjudged thorough, the fairest and most transparent recruitment process in the state.

The development followed the layoff of 2,414 teachers in the employ of SUBEB over allegations bordering on incompetence, faulty recruitment process, and nepotism into service in December 2020.

The workers were engaged by the administration of ex-governor Abdulfatah Ahmed a few months before the end of his tenure.

Eventually dubbed the ‘sunset’ workers, findings revealed many of them were primarily engaged to settle the party members of the outgoing government in the state.

During the new exercise, some ‘sunset’ workers who had reapplied were caught and arrested by the police for examination malpractices, trying to game the system.

Along with the renovation of schools, prompt payment of teachers’ salaries, and introduction of KwaraLEARN, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has been praised at various times by stakeholders for the bold steps in revitalising the education sector in the state.

This may be reversed.

As directed, some of the sunset workers registered for, participated in the new recruitment, and were reappointed in May 2021.

Six months after, Kwara was announced the winner of the presidential debate competition defeating Kaduna, Kano, and Lagos state.

However, some of the sunset workers still stuck to the streets for months protesting their disengagementemnt from service.

It was gathered that some of them didn’t reapply due to a lack of required certificates, incompetence, and, or, couldn’t make it out of the recruitment process.

As weeks turned to months, they became a pressure group of blackmail against the government on radio and social media.

Stakeholders have severally expressed concerns that there public conducts were political and indecent for people seeking to raise children with sound values and morals in society.

Although quite early, these concerns might have come to pass.

The gubernatorial candidate of the PDP, Shuaibu Yaman Abdullah has thrown his weight behind the conduct of the sunset workers, promising to reinstate them once elected.

Speaking for the guber candidate over the weekend, Abdullah Kayode GreatKay, a member of the PDP reconciliation committee, disclosed that reinstatement of sunset workers was a priority to the party.

‘Education in peril’

Incidentally, people are concerned that Yaman’s decision panders to the base sentiments of politics, instead of prioritising education — the bedrock of sustainable social development.

“I thought Yaman would prioritise education. But with that statement, he is shown he is more interested in politics. So, he will reinstate people who were not competent to teach just because they were employed by Maigidia, one of his bosses now, two years after their sack. So, the feelings of 2,400 teachers, or ego of Abdulfatah Ahmed, come first over the future of Kwara children? Disappointing,” Hajia Rukayat Ahmed, a lecturer based in Ilorin, said.

“I don’t see any sense in reinstating the sunset workers who either didn’t reapply or failed the new exercise. We all saw the error-riddled placards they carried during their protests and the voice notes from their Whatsapp groups. Haba. Most of these people were not competent. How and why will a sane person employ them to teach our children? This is not a good idea,” Mrs Kehinde Iyabo, trader, lamented.

“I have read that article/statement all over again. I think what Yaman might be saying is that he will also sack the newly recruited, qualified teacher by this administration if Bukola or Ahmed asks him to sack them. Can govt afford salaries of 2000 teachers plus 4,701 at a go without affecting infrastructural projects? Will they be taken as workers or teachers? Will he conduct new exams for them to ascertain competence? Has he done needs assessment? Or he just wants to “reinstate” them for political purposes? Teaching jobs should be not like that. I fear that this man will put education in peril,” a don at the University of Ilorin who craved anonymity remarked.

In Osun, Governor Ademola Adeleke of PDP sacked 12,000 workers, reversed the appointment of 3 monarchs, and set aside the logo, anthem etc in his first day in office– a decision many described as ”draconian, vengeful, and narrow-minded.”

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