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Real reason our meeting with FG ended in deadlock — ASUU

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• ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has explained that its meeting with the Prof. Nimi Briggs-led committee last Tuesday, ended in deadlock because the committee presented “award of a Recommended Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure (CONUASS), prepared by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission” to it.

ASUU said the ‘award salary’ was “against the principle of collective bargaining, based on the Wages Boards and Industrial Council’s Decree No 1 of 1973, the Trade Dispute Act (1976), ILO Conventions 49 (1948), 91(1950), 154 (1988) and recommendation 153 (1981), Udoji Commission Report of 1974, and Cookey Commission Report of 1981.”

The report, it noted, “also provided a platform for resolving such important issues as special salaries and conditions of service of university staff, university funding, roles of Pro-Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, and National Universities Commission (NUC).

“A key outcome was a special salary scale for university staff known as University Salary Structure (USS).”

Accusing the government of insincerity in its approach to resolving the lingering crisis in the university academic system, the union demanded that “The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Education, return to the New Draft Agreement of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Renegotiation Committee, whose work spanned a total of five and half years as a demonstration of good faith.”

The union in press statement, Thursday, by its president, Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed anger that the “award” presented by the Nimi Briggs-led Team came across in a manner of take-it-or-leave-it on a sheet of paper,” noting In the statement, tagged “Why ASUU Rejects Governments Award of Salary”, the union claimed that “Government imposed the ongoing strike action on ASUU and it has encouraged it to linger because of its provocative indifference.”

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“The Munzali Jibril-led renegotiation committee submitted the first Draft Agreement in May 2021 but government’s official response did not come until about one year later!

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“Again, the “Award” presented by the Nimi Briggs-led Team came across in a manner of take-it-or-leave-it on a sheet of paper. No serious country in the world treats their scholars this way.

“Over the years, particularly since 1992, the Union has always argued for and negotiated a separate salary structure for academics for obvious reasons.

“ASUU does not accept any awarded salary as was the case in the administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar.

“The separate salary structures in all FGN/ASUU Agreements were usually the outcome of collective bargaining processes.

Leaking economy’

“The major reason given by the Federal Government for the miserly offer, paucity of revenue, is not tenable.

“This is because of several reasons chief of which is poor management of the economy. This has given rise to leakages in the revenue of governments at all levels.

“There is wasteful spending, misappropriation of fund and outright stealing of our collective patrimony.

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“ASUU believes that if the leakages in the management of the country’s resources are stopped, there will be more than enough to meet the nation’s revenue and expenditure targets without borrowing and plunging the country into a debt crisis as is the case now,” it said.

While noting also that, “At the commencement of the renegotiation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU Agreement on 16th March 2017, both the Federal Government and ASUU Teams agreed to be guided by” some terms of reference, ASUU, however, expressed regret that the former reneged on its side to abide by the agreement.

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It warned that,” Government’s surreptitious move to set aside the principle of collective bargaining, which is globally in practice, has the potential of damaging lecturers’ psyche and destroying commitment to the university system.

“This is, no doubt, injurious to Nigeria’s aspiration to become an active player in the global knowledge industry.”

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Education

Abuja British School shuts down over bullying, assault of female student

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Abuja British School shuts down over bullying, assault of female student
• Lead British International School
The management of Lead British International School, Abuja, has shut down the institution over the bullying incident that went viral on social media.

An X user, @mooyeeeeeee, posted two videos where the victim she identified as Maryam Hassan was repeatedly slapped by another female student. Brithe

The video generated thousands of comments by netizens who called on the school authorities to investigate the matter.

At a meeting on Tuesday, the school authorities announced a 3-day closure to enable them probe deeply into the matter.

A top member of staff said the decision to shut down the school temporarily was in the interest of all parties involved.

Earlier reports said tempers flared at the meeting when a parent walked up to the student who bullied her colleague and gave her a slap.

The student, who has been severely criticised,  was seen walking into the premises accompanied by elderly males.

A lady identified as one of the parents walked up to the student, asking her, “She is proud of what she did. You are proud of what you did! You are proud right? Someone’s child; innocent child, you beat her, did you give birth to her? I am asking you, did you give birth to her?”

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The student was trying to walk away so as to avoid confrontation, but the angry parent shoved her, saying, “I’m asking you: did you give birth to her?” The student muttered some incoherent words and the angry parent responded with a slap, before other elderly person around moved in to douse tension.

The Lead British International School had earlier said it has launched investigation into the matter.

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In a statement issued earlier on Monday, it said the counselling unit of the school is helping the victimised student overcome the emotional and psychological impact.

The statement read, “We are committed to providing a safe and supportive learning environment for all our students. Hence, upon learning of the incident, we initiated the process of reaching out to the victim and family with a view to providing support, including access to counselling services to help them cope with the emotional and psychological impact of the incident.

“Additionally, we will be working with the perpetrators and their families, offering counselling and disciplinary measures to address their behaviour which has no place in society.

“We have also immediately initiated an investigation, appointing a dedicated team to conduct a thorough inquiry into the matter. The team has been gathering information, including reviewing video footage and interviewing witnesses, to understand the full scope of the incident and identify the immediate and remote causes.”

The federal government has also confirmed shutting down of the Lead British International School, Abuja for three days over the case of a student of the school, Namtira Bwala who was physically bullied and assaulted by her classmate, Maryam Hassan.

The Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, who visited the school on Tuesday,  announced the shutting down of the school following the outrage that trailed the viral video of how and where the female, Maryam brutally slapped and bullied Namtira.

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Yahaya Bello: NBA disowns protest by lawyers

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Yahaya Bello: NBA disowns protest by 'fake' lawyers
• The protesting 'lawyers'
• Says protesters not lawyers

The Nigerian Bar Associaiton (NBA) on Tuesday, disclaimed a protest by lawyers over what they called the illegal approach of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in handling its allegations against former Governor of Kogi, Yahaya Bello

The no fewer than 500 persons who claimed to be legal practitioners from across the country on Monday, stormed the Supreme Court complex.

The lawyers, under the umbrella of judicial watchdogs, faulted the siege on the ex-Gov’s residence, in a bid to arrest him, in spite of  a valid court order to the contrary, which had not been vacated.

Meanwhile, in a short notice to newsmen on Tuesday, the NBA through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Habeeb Lawal, says the group of protesters are not lawyers.

The notice reads: “The above report refers.

“The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is aware that some news outlets have reported this news.

“Please be informed that while the NBA respects the rights of citizens to assemble and protest, we insist that this particular group of persons are not lawyers.

“For completeness, their supposed leader or convener Sylvanus K. Alewu is not a name known to us,” he said. (NAN)

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7 repentant bandits surrender weapons in Plateau

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7 repentant bandits surrender weapons in Plateau
• Surrendered weapons

Special Adviser to the Plateau Governor on Security and Coordinator of Operation Rainbow, Brigadier General Gakji Shipi (rtd), has announced that the non-kinetic approach to addressing security challenges in the state is showing positive results.

General Shipi (rtd) revealed that seven notorious bandits have surrendered and given up their weapons, including AK-47 rifles, to security agencies.

During a briefing with journalists on Monday, General Shipi (rtd) praised the joint efforts of security agencies, vigilantes, and hunters in Wase local government area for their recent actions in combatting banditry and other security threats.

He highlighted that the collaboration among these groups had led to the surrender of the weapons by the bandits. General Shipi (rtd) explained that although the bandits were initially hesitant to surrender out of fear of reprisal, they eventually decided to abandon violence and willingly return their weapons.

He stressed that the increasing incidents of armed banditry had prompted security agencies to broaden their focus beyond known hotspots to other regions.

The special adviser credited this achievement to the united efforts of Wase local government authorities, local vigilante groups, the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON), the Department of State Services (DSS), and the police.

General Shipi (rtd) stated, ““For quite some time now, we have been taking a look at the security situation bedevilling the state and apart from the kinetic approach, we have decided to adopt the non-kinetic means to solve the problem.

“We have also decided to shift attention to other areas, especially Wase local government area, which had had fair share of armed banditry and the endeavours have started recording success.

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“Some of the criminals and bandits have returned their weapons to us and you know we are still negotiating, but for fear of being prosecuted, some of them have surrendered their weapons to us without coming out, but with the confidence measures we are building more will return their weapons as well as surrender to the authorities”.

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While General Shipi (rtd) did not disclose the exact number of bandits who had surrendered, he confirmed the return of seven AK-47 rifles, suggesting that seven individuals have turned away from banditry.

“We are still in the negotiation phase, and we are hopeful that more bandits will follow suit in renouncing violence and returning their weapons”, he noted.

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