The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has called on the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency in the education sector and raise funds to tackle the rot therein, just as it did to contain Coronavirus outbreak in the country.
The National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, who stated this in a chat with Vanguard on Tuesday, said the effect of poor funding of education became glaring when COVID-19 broke out in the country and most of the nation’s teaching hospitals did not have ventilators to help keep patients alive.
Ogunyemi noted that China, where the disease broke out, was able to quickly tackle the scourge by resorting to public tertiary teaching hospitals because they were well funded by the state.
“Look at how much money has been raised to fight COVID-19 pandemic. This is because it is seen as a health emergency. We can do same for the education sector. The poor funding of the sector has deep damaging effects on our national life. A poorly trained medical student would end up being a great danger to the health of the people.
“There are cash cows like the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and others that funds can be drawn from. Instead of doing so, our politicians are only interested in drawing funds from them to prosecute elections. Have you ever seen the budgets of the CBN or the NNPC?
Lawan, Omo- Agege mourn New Telegragh Editor, Bakare
Lawan, Omo- Agege mourn New Telegraph Editor, Bakare
“If we want to really catch up with the rest of the world, we must adequately fund the education sector. We plead with parents, guardians, students and Nigerians generally to understand our position and know that we cannot go on postponing the evil day. In fact, the evil day manifested in out lack of adequate response to the COVID-19 outbreak by our teaching hospitals,” he said.
On the complaints that trailed the payment of February and March 2020 salaries of lecturers through the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System, IPPIS, Ogunyemi said his union had been vindicated.
“As we speak, our members in some universities namely Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Akwa, University of Jos, University of Maiduguri, Abubakar Tarawa Balewa University, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture are yet to be paid their salaries. Ridiculously, some lecturers were paid 20 percent of their salaries. Those who got anything reasonable were paid 80 percent of their salaries.
“We have said it that IPPIS is too strait jacketed and not suitable for the university system. Even some sister unions that did not see what we had seen about IPPIS are now complaining. The only solution is for the government to do away with the toga of arrogance and embrace our Nigerian Universities Accountability and Transparency System.
“We are sounding a note of warning that we won’t tolerate further mutilation of our salaries. Our members have been on the same salary structure since 2009. The government has been provocative and lackadaisical in its approach. How do you keep shifting the goal post when a goal is about to be scored,” he stressed.
The ASUU boss added that it seemed some people in government were interested in punishing university lecturers for no just cause.
Recall that ASUU has been on strike since early March this year over IPPIS, implementation of a Memorandum of Action signed with the government, better funding of education generally among other issues.
Going by the position of the union, even if schools shut down due to COVID-19 outbreak are asked to reopen now, the university system may still experience Industrial disharmony.
Focus On Gumi, Shekau Before Chasing Me, Igboho Tells FG
Yoruba activist, Sunday Adeyemo , better known as Sunday Igboho , has advised the Federal Government to channel its energy towards arresting Boko Haram leader , Ibrahim Shekau , and Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, who has been holding meetings with bandits .
Igboho said this during an interview with The PUNCH on Friday while reacting to the face – off between him and security agents around the Guru Maharaji bus stop along the Lagos -Ibadan Expressway .
The Yoruba activist, who has been in the news for serving a quit notice on Fulani herdsmen in some parts of the South -West , said he was never invited before they attempted to arrest him .
When asked if he would honour a police invitation, Igboho said , “ Go and ask them to invite Gumi and Shekau first before disturbing me . Let them face the bandits instead .”
Igboho also said he would not run , adding that he had returned to his base in Ibadan .
When asked if he would go into hiding , he said , “ What for ? I am in the neighbourhood . I cannot run . ”
Igboho also affirmed that his bank account was initially frozen but the restriction was lifted recently .
He said he had done nothing wrong but fight for the rights of his people .
EFCC Arraign Insurance Brokers For N26bn PHCN Severance Benefit
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on Thursday, arraigned Abiodun Waheed Hassan and his company, Bestworth
Insurance Brokers Limited, before Justice S.C Oriji of the Federal
Capital Territory High Court, Apo, Abuja on a five count charge of
alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of funds to the
tune of over Twenty Six Billion Naira (N26billion).
The defendant allegedly diverted humongous sums of money earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), into the corporate account of entities.
Count one of the charge reads: “That you, Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited on or about 15th January 2015, in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being entrusted with certain property to wit:
the sum of N26,236,594,986.00 (Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and
Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred
and Eighty-six Naira only) paid into Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited’s Skye Bank Account No. 1771645118 from PHCN STAFF Severance Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did
commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by
dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N2,500,000,000.00( Two Billion
Five Hundred Million Naira only) thereof when you transferred the said
sum into Kakatar CE Limited’s Zenith Bank Account No.1012637660 and you
thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004.”
Count Five states, “that you , Abiodun Waheed Hassan, Director, Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited and Bestworth Insurance Brokers
Limited on or about 18th December 2014, in Abuja within the jurisdiction
of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, while being
entrusted with certain property to wit: the sum of N26,236,594,986.00
(Twenty-six Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-six Million, Five Hundred
and Ninety-four Thousand, Nine Hundred and Eighty-six Naira only) paid
into Bestworth Insurance Brokers Limited’s Skye Bank Account No.
1771645118 from PHCN STAFF SEVERANCE Benefits account with the Central Bank of Nigeria, being funds earmarked for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), did commit criminal breach of trust in respect of the said property by dishonestly misappropriating the sum of N6,000,000,000.00 ( Six Billion Naira only) thereof when you
transferred the said sum into PJO Venture Limited’s Skye Bank Account
No.1771645235 and you thereby committed an offence punishable under
Section 315 of the Panel Code Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria,
The defendant pleaded ‘not guilty’, when the charges were read to him.
Based on his plea, prosecution counsel, Benjamin Lawan Menji, ask for a
trial date and prayed the Court to remand the defendant at the
Correctional Service pending the trail.
Counsel for the defendant, Ade Olusalako told the court that the defense
had filed a motion for bail of his client and pleaded for the remand of
the defendant in the custody of the EFCC pending the determination of his bail application on the grounds that “the defendant has been on administrative bail for almost five years and he has an underlining sickness”.
However, the prosecution counsel objected to the application. “As he
rightly submitted, we received the application but we shall vehemently
be opposing the application; we said vehemently so that the court will
know that we have a strong opposition. Moreover, our facility is
overstretched because of the issue of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the little
we have we are trying to manage them. The proper place of detention or
custody is the Correctional Service which the government has done its
best in providing”, Menji told the court.
However, Justice Oriji adjourned the matter till March 4, 2021 for
hearing on the bail application and remanded defendant in EFCC custody.
Niger Delta Militants Threaten To Attack Lagos, Abuja
Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Supreme Egbesu Liberation Fighters have threatened to destroy infrastructure in Lagos State and Abuja .
In a video posted on Tuesday by AIT , members of the group were seen wearing masks and putting on a military uniform .
One of them , who read a statement on behalf of the group , lamented poor implementation of the amnesty programme in the region, saying , “ there are no schools , no potable water , no light , no hospital and access roads for our people to enjoy till date” .
He said , “ Over the years, the Niger Delta people have made frantic efforts to create an enabling environment but to our great dismay, the Nigerian government over the years has decided to handle the issues of the Niger Delta with kid gloves .
“ They have betrayed the struggle and have left the people to their fate ,” a member of the group read from a statement .
“ Rather, what is visible is the presence of military gunboat and the numerous military personnel dispersed to the Niger Delta who are killing, raping , and maiming the innocent people of the region.
“ Look at the security surveillance contract taking place in our region through the federal government these agencies in place have decided to shortchange our people . Now in our territorial waters , it is an Israeli company that is providing waterway security which we have competent hands with expert knowledge to manage.
“ Don ’t worry, because we are coming to destroy all your infrastructure in Abuja and Lagos . As a group committed to giving total liberation to our people , we will destroy the oil facilities both onshore and offshore in no distant time , we will be seen to be crippling the Nigerian economy. ”