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Withheld salaries: Be patient… interventions have been made, Gbajabiamila tells ASUU

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Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, says interventions are being made to resolve the issue of payment of salaries of lecturers.

The speaker said this in a statement on Monday.

The development comes after members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) had tackled the federal government for not paying them full salaries.

ASUU had embarked on strike on February 14 to press home the demand for improved funding for universities, review of salaries for lecturers, among other issues.

Amid the back-and-forth over the union’s demands, the federal government had threatened not to pay the lecturers for the strike period, but a review of the decision was said to be under consideration.

On October 14, the union suspended its strike and directed members to resume work immediately.

However, the federal government had recently paid the lecturers “half” of one month pay.

“When the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) called off their industrial action three weeks ago, it meant that academic activities could resume in our nation’s public universities, and students could return to their academic pursuits after the prolonged interruption,” the statement by Gbajabiamila reads.

“Since then, the Executive and the House of Representatives have worked to address the issues that led to the strike.

“We are currently working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170,000,000,000.00) to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers.

“The Bill also includes additional three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000.00) in revitalisation funds to improve the infrastructure and operations of federal universities.

“Furthermore, the House of Representatives has convened the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), the Academic Staff
Union of Universities (ASUU) and other stakeholders to facilitate the Federal Republic of Nigeria adoption of elements of the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS) into the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

“The Executive position that it is not obligated to pay salaries to lecturers for the time spent on strike is premised on the law and the
government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.

“Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.”

Gbajabiamila also urged the union not to consider disrupting the academic calender of universites.

Education

‘Insensitive decision’ — Falana reacts as Ogun state government renames Tai Solarin College of Education

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Femi Falana, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN), has asked Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun, to review the decision to rename the Tai Solarin College of Education.

In July 2021, Abiodun had announced the decision to rename the college after Sikiru Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebuland.

On November 24, Abiodun formally unveiled the renamed institution as Sikiru Adetona College of Education, Science and Technology (SACOETEC).

Reacting to the development in a statement on Sunday, Falana said while the traditional ruler deserves to be honoured, renaming the institution amounts to denigrating the record of Solarin, the late foremost educationist.

“It is indisputable that the late Dr. Tai Solarin, the founder of the Mayflower School, Ikenne, contributed immensely to the educational development of Nigeria,” the statement reads.

“In appreciation of the contribution of the late educationist, the Ogun State government rightly named a tertiary institution after him, the Tai-Solarin College of Education, Science and Technology (SACOETEC).

“Surprisingly, the Dapo Abiodun administration has announced its decision to rename the College of Education after a highly respected monarch, Oba Sikiru Kayode Adetona, the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode.

“The decision ought to be jettisoned as the governor has not adduced any reason for denigrating the indelible record of the late foremost educationist.

“However, in view of the contribution of the Awujale to the cultural development of Ogun State and his consistent defence of justice and fair play in the country, the Ogun state government is advised to name an important institution after the monarch.

“The governor does not have to assault the memory of the great Solarin in order to honour the eminent Awujale.

“Besides, the governor should be wary of the historical implications of such a seemingly insensitive decision.

“For the immense contributions that Solarin made to enhance our collective humanity, his memory cannot be honoured enough. Indeed, any country should be proud of the legacies of Tai Solarin and be interested in immortalising him.”

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Muhammad Zaiyan-Umar appointed VC at FUBK

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The governing council of the Federal University, Birnin Kebbi (FUBK) has appointed Muhammad Zaiyan-Umar as the new vice-chancellor (VC) of the institution.

NAN reports that Funmi Togonu-Bickersteth, the chairperson of the council, announced the appointment on Thursday.

Togonu-Bickersteth was briefing journalists after the council’s 25th meeting held in Birnin Kebbi.

“As you may be aware, the tenure of the vice-chancellor ends on December 3, 2022,” she said.

“The governing council at its 25th meeting held from Monday to Thursday approved the appointment of Zaiyan-Umar as the new VC.”

Zaiyan-Umar will take over from Bello Bala-Shehu, the outgoing VC, whose five-year tenure ends on December 3.

Togonu-Bickersteth, who is also the pro-chancellor, said the approval of Zaiyan-Umar as successor followed after an advertisement was put out in the national dailies.

She said the appointment also followed a subsequent interview by the governing council.

Zaiyan-Umar was the immediate past deputy VC at the Sokoto State University.

He is a professor of Political Science at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto (UDUS).

The academic is currently the chairman of the board of the Centre for Open and Distance Education (CODE) at UDUS.

Zaiyan-Umar was, at various times, the acting head of the department for Political Science.

He was also the deputy dean and dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, as well as the dean of the postgraduate school at UDUS.

The new FUBK VC is a Fulbright Fellow who served at the University of Washington, Seattle in the US between 1988 and 1999.

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FG flags off teacher training programme to reintroduce history in basic school curriculum

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The federal government has launched the first phase of a teacher training programme to reintroduce history in the basic education curriculum.

The development was announced on Thursday at an inauguration ceremony held in Abuja.

History was removed from the basic school curriculum during the 2009/2010 session — a development which has elicited sharp criticism.

However, in March 2018, the federal government announced a reintroduction of the subject.

Speaking at the event on Thursday, Adamu Adamu, minister of education, who was represented by Goodluck Opiah, minister of state for education, expressed concern over the non-teaching of history for more than 10 years.

He, however, added that 3,700 history teachers have been shortlisted for the first round of training to reintroduce the subject.

“History used to be one of the foundational subjects taught in our classrooms, but for some inexplicable reasons, the steam of teaching and learning was abolished,” he said.

“As a result, history was subsequently expunged from the list of subject combinations our students could offer in both external and internal examinations, compared to the subjects that were made compulsory at basic and secondary levels in Nigeria.

“This single act, no doubt, relegated and eroded the knowledge and information that learners could otherwise have been exposed to. It was a monumental mistake and we have already started seeing its negative consequences.

“The loss created by the absence of this subject has led to a fall in moral values, erosion of civic values, and disconnect from the past.

“More worrisome was the neglect of the teaching of this subject at basic and post-basic levels of education, which invariably eroded the knowledge of the evolution of Nigeria as a country.”

The minister added that the focus of the re-introduction is the training of teachers in order to enhance capacity development.

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