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ASUU, FG parley to ward off looming strike

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The Federal Government will commence the disbursement of the N30 billion revitalisation funds to universities owned by it very soon.

Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige, disclosed this in his office after a marathon conciliation meeting between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

The meeting was convened by the minister to evaluate the level of implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by both parties in December 2020 and the resolutions of the follow-up meeting held on August 2, this year.

Speaking after the meeting, Ngige said both parties held fruitful deliberations, stressing that the six issues on the agenda were satisfactorily addressed.

He gave the assurance that the government was desirous of making the university system excellent, adding that the government was desperate to ensure that public universities are fit and proper places for learning and research.

He reaffirmed the commitment of the government to uplifting the standard of Nigerian universities, saying the government would try as much as possible within its limited resources to make a meaningful contribution to the development of the university system.

On the issue of revitalisation funds for public universities, the minister said the meeting received an update from the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education, adding that they were happy that the assignment given to them had been done satisfactorily.

According to him, the NUC and the Federal Ministry of Education did their assignment in terms of getting the universities to come and defend the various allocations given to them based on the needs in the universities.

He said: “A committee to monitor has also been sent up by NUC. We are happy about that and expect the disbursement of the revitalisation funds to commence very soon.”

Regarding the issue of Earned Allowances, Ngige said the meeting was equally satisfied with the work that the NUC had done, having compartmentalised the payments based on the universities and the existing unions.

He said the sum of N22.172 billion was provided in the 2021 supplementary budget for earned allowances to all workers in the universities.

He expressed optimism that the payments to the individual universities would commence very soon, as the meeting set a timeline for the payment to begin on or before October 30, 2021.

He revealed that they received the report from the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) on the preferred University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) system developed by ASUU.

According to Ngige, the meeting looked at the promotion arrears and other outstanding payments of the university teachers and gave the timeline of the end of October for the issues to be resolved once and for all by the universities to enable the affected persons to enjoy the fruits of their promotion.

On the issue of shortfalls in payments, the Minister said the meeting asked the IPPIS office to have a template and liaise with vice-chancellors and bursars in the universities to hold a discussion next week, to develop a foolproof template that would enable everybody to get his or her salary.

“We have it on good authority that some university teachers have not been paid for several months because of issues of incomplete data. We have told the IPPIS office to gather those data as soon as possible to ensure that those university teachers were paid. A worker is due his wages. As a government, we don’t agree that we will use issues of incomplete data to hold back the salaries of workers for months. We think that should be sorted out as well. We gave a timeline of the end of the month to do this,” he said.

The Minister added that the meeting asked the Federal Ministry of Education to fast-forward the renegotiation process so that the product of the renegotiation would come to the government to look at it and agree on the areas of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) contained therein for speedy implementation and execution.

Responding, the National President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, expressed hope that all the issues would be resolved quickly for the benefit of the children, the university system and the country in general.

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Oyo Polytechnic student dies, female partner rushed to hospital after sex romp

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Ibadan polytechnic engages Amotekun to tackle cultism

A male student of The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Oyo State, on Monday lost his life while his female partner was rendered unconscious after the two reportedly had a long duration of sexual intercourse.
Witnesses said the couple were engaged in a sex romp after they came back from the campus.

They were also suspected to have used drugs to enhance their sexual performance.
The deceased, a National Diploma 2 student identified only as Oromidayo, was from the Civil Engineering Department, while his lover, Aramide, is also in ND 2 level in the Department of Business Administration.
SaharaReporters gathered that the incident occurred at a private hostel around Apete.
A neighbour of the deceased said she was horrified when she saw his lifeless body on the floor while the female partner was gasping for air.
“He is in my Faculty; yesterday was supposed to be the day we start our examinations but the school was closed down.
“There was protest yesterday; so he and his girlfriend went back home. They drugged themselves and started having sex. The guy is dead now and the babe who is in a coma is at the University College Hospital,” the witness said.

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Bomb blast rocks Kano

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At least three residents of Kano were killed while many are currently trapped in an explosion which rocked Sabongari in Fagge Local Government Area of the state.

Details of the incident are still sketchy, but residents said an explosive device went off in the early hours of the day.

One resident said a suicide bomber struck in the area, but that cannot been independently verify as at the time of going to press.

When our correspondent visited the scene, officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) were seen packing what is suspected to be shattered body parts of the suspected suicide bomber.

A welder in front of Winners Schools, Kano, which is adjacent the scene, is reported to be among the casualties.

Commenting on the incident, the Kano state government debunked the reports that the explosion occurred in a school.

The state commissioner for information, Malam Muhammad Garba said the incident happened at an animal feed store opposite the school along Aba Road, Sabon Gari.

He said while the cause of the explosion and the damage it had done is yet to be officially ascertained, investigation has since commenced to determine the cause, impact and measures to be taken.

Malam Garba called on the people in the state, particularly those living in the area where the incident occurred, to remain calm while government in collaboration with relevant agencies are working on the matter.

The commissioner assured that government would keep the public abreast on any development and warned people to desist from spreading unsubstantiated news.

More details shortly

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Unions reject Aero’s plans to reduce workforce by 40%

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Aviation unions have threatened to disrupt Aero Contractors’ operations over allegation that the management of the airline plans to sack 40 per cent of the workforce.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) accused aero management of concluding plans to reduce the staff strength of the company without considering redundancy or any other alternative to outright sack.

Speaking during a press conference organised by the General Secretary, NUATE, Ocheme Aba and Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole the two unions appealed to the National Assembly, Ministers of Aviation and Labour & Employment to initiate an intervention that could save both Aero Contractors and Arik Air, which are under the receivership of Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

The unions chided the management of Aero for admitting that the airline has old aircraft, noting that Aero has maintenance facility and so identifying the aircraft as old was immaterial.

They said the challenge of the airline started with a phony aircraft lease, where it acquired two aircraft, which it operated at a loss.

The unions frowned at the seconding of Mr. Charles Johnson Arumemi from Arik Air to Aero Contractors, alleging that as commercial manager Arumemi drew up a schedule granting the leased aircraft all Aero Contractors’ juicy routes, which grossly reduced the airline’s revenue and leading to its inability to pay staff for about three months.

Aba said: “The CEO’s assertion that Aero’s planes are too old to fly is completely false, even if aided by internal misinformation. The fact as we know it is that Aero operates the B737 Classic generation, the oldest of which just clocked 30years.

“This class of aircraft are able to operate up to 85,000 cycles, or 100,000 flight hours as approved by the manufacturer, Boeing. None of these aircraft in Aero’s fleet has operated up to half of the approved figures. “We stand to be proved wrong. While it is true that older aircraft do have higher maintenance costs, it must be borne in mind that the airline owns an approved Maintenance & Repair Organisation (MRO) with elite engineers in its fold. Till date, there is no report from the MRO or the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) that any aircraft operated by Aero is too old to be maintained or to fly.”

On the alleged phony lease, Aba said, “For the period that the lease lasted, the entire Aero Contractors was essentially working for House of 5A’s (the leasing company), as the lessor was making more money than the airline itself.

“No wonder the airline ran itself into deep financial crisis and began to owe salaries unprecedentedly. But for the intervention of the unions, which threatened to direct workers to withdraw services to the leased aircraft, Aero would still have been under the bondage of the House of 5A’s contract. So, who arranged such a murky lease? And was it a deliberate ploy to bring the airline down?” he asked.

The unions said they were exposing the ills in the airline for concerned authorities to know; so that when they take action the unions would not be told that it was unexpected and without consultation.

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