Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Kaduna State University shut down by Unions

The Kaduna State University chapters of Senior Staff Association, Non Academic Staff union and National Association of Technologists have joined the nationwide indefinite strike declared by unions on Monday. 

Mr Kantoma Bala, Chairman of the universities senior staff association, told newsmen in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the three unions had formed a Joint Action Committee to monitor the strike.

“It is a national strike and the non academic staff unions are part of the respective national bodies. 

“We began the indefinite strike as directed by our respective national leadership over the failure of the Federal Government to implement the 2009 agreement with the union,” he said.

Newsmen report that the agreement was supposed to address the problem of inadequate funding of public universities, poor governance and administrative lapses. 

Other issues that prompted the strike include poor infrastructure, abandoned projects, fragmentation of salary payments to staff, and lack of adequate teaching and learning facilities among others. 


NITDA Invites Awardees for Fresh Selection Process, After 43 Scholarship Awards were revoked

The 43 young Nigerians whose post-graduate scholarship awards were cancelled by the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, have been asked to undergo a new selection process.
The awardees had been left in a state of shock after the awards were withdrawn by the agency which had cited the paucity of funds for the development.
The applicants who applied in 2016/2017 exercise had their dreams cut short as the offers awarded to them after successfully navigating the months-long intensive selection process were withdrawn by NITDA under circumstances the applicants claimed were unclear and unsettling.
But in an apparent move to calm frayed nerves, the agency on Friday sent a letter by email to the applicants inviting them to take part in the 2017/2018 exercise.
A committee has been set up to handle their matter and that they (43 awardees) would not be expected to take part in processes for the award such as verification of credentials, supplementary assessment, evaluation of character, etc.
The letter signed by Eniola A.A. on behalf of the Director General, reads: “I’m directed to inform you that the Director General/CEO has already constituted a committee to conduct interviews (which includes Verification of Credentials, Supplementary Assessment Test, Evaluation of Character etc) towards accommodating you as part of the 2017/2018 NITDEF Scholarship Scheme.
“Accordingly, you will be contacted next week for the date and time of the interview. However, please note that no award letter has been issued to anyone and none of the previous stages of exercise will be repeated.”
The letter did not however explain how the 43 already successful candidates would be accommodated in a scheme that attracts thousands of applicants on a yearly basis.
One of the applicants who pleaded not to be named to avoid victimisation, told this newspaper that he was not impressed with the development.
‘‘The letter they (NITDA) sent to us this evening shows that they are jokers. We will continue to push until they do the right thing,” he said.
The applicants have since formed a WhatsApp group to push home their demands that their scholarships be restored.
Head, Corporate Affairs and External Relations, NITDA, Hadiza Umar, had said the decision was “necessitated due to serious budget deficit experienced in the Agency’s 2016 budget year which the scheme was appropriated for but no money was released to fund it.”
The statement added that the agency has made the appropriation for the scheme in its 2017 budget year, consequently, a new selection process will be announced soon.
The scholarship scheme is aimed at promoting competency and proficiency amongst Nigerians in Information Technology at doctorate and masters Levels. It is a form of support towards assisting such Nigerians with funding to achieve their educational aspirations.
The scheme usually selects two persons per state, including the Federal Capital Territory, FCT at masters’ level and 1 person per geo-political zone of the country at doctorate level.
The agency on its website claims to have ‘successfully sponsored 247 Nigerian graduates in Information Technology fields at post graduate level and 24 for doctorate.
It also said that it is ‘continually monitoring skill gaps in the field with a view to help create a capable workforce that can face the challenges of the Agency’s vision of Nigeria becoming an Information Technology driven economy.

ASUU Strike:Cleric says Politicians' wards should not study abroad

The Bishop of Diocese of Uyo, Anglican Communion, Rt. Rev Asukwo Antai, has called on the Federal Government to enact a law banning public office holders from sending their children/wards to study in tertiary institutions abroad as means of averting incessant strikes in the country’s tertiary institutions.

Bishop Antai, who decried the incessant strikes in the country, explained that lack of commitment of the Nigerian government towards addressing lingering issues is connected to the fact that most of them have their children studying abroad. 

Antai made the call at the Bishop’s Episcopal charge during the third Session of the Seventh Synod of Uyo Diocese, noting that such law will help sustain the interest of Nigerian leaders in the education sector. 

His words: “The incessant shut down of our tertiary institutions due to non-payment of emoluments, among other demands, should make our government to enact a law/policy that will prohibit public office holders from sending their children/wards to study abroad. “That will help them work towards upgrading and stabilising the education system. There should be a change of heart by Nigeria’s leaders to educational development.”

Speaks against Biafra Republic, but… 

He congratulated the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, agitators, noting that “the Biafran agitation should be seen as a call to action on the government and people of Nigeria to take another critical look at the type of federation that the country is currently practising.” 

The Bishop, who disagreed with the call for an Independent Biafra Republic, however, called on every well-meaning Nigerian not to relent on the demand for restructuring aimed at devolving power to either constituent geo-political zones or states.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Amputated schoolgirl due to 2012 electricity incident goes on hunger strike

THE Rotary Club International, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, has brought rivers of joy to 10-year-old Joy Kingsley Michael, the only survivor of the Itam Primary School, Uyo, pupils electrocuted by a high tension wire of the non-operational National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, after a heavy downpour, while returning from school in 2012.

Unknown to the 20 teenagers that a high tension wire conveying electricity had fallen on a pool of rain water, they stepped into the water and were electrocuted with 19 dying instantly. Joy was rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH).

She survived, but lost her two legs which were amputated. For over three years, Joy bemoaned her near hopeless situation until recently when the Rotary Club of Uyo forced a smile on her by providing her a motorized wheel chair as well as empowering her mother to eke out a living for the family.

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EFCC apprehends 7 MAPOLY students for cyber fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos zonal office, has arrested seven National Diploma (ND) students of the Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Abeokuta, Ogun State for alleged offences bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and possession of forged documents. 

The suspects- Adesina Olalekan, Makinde Noheem, Toheeb Ogunowo, Somotun Olusola, Somotun Sodiq, Tajudeen Hafeez Bolaji and Kareem Olaseni- are studying various courses in the institution.

They were arrested alongside Iyun Ifeoluwa, Odusanwo Ibrahim, Obanijesu Opeyemi Soneye, Azeez Olayinka, Babatunde Ajala, Ojejimi Ademola, Aderowunmi Ayomide and Oluokun Oluwaseun by operatives of the Commission within Abeokuta and its environs on August 17, 2016, following a petition received by the Commission about their activities. 
Then, the money is remitted into my personal accounts domiciled in GTBank and Skye Bank.” A number of items, including laptops, forged documents, were recovered from the suspects during their arrests. The suspects will be charged to court after investigations are concluded.

The suspects, who were said to be living flamboyantly, were alleged to be involved in internet scam, forgery of financial instruments and lottery scam, among others. One of the suspects, Olaseni, a 21-year-old Business Administration student, was said to have created a Facebook account with the name Dean Robert, with which he interacted with his victims. 

In his statement, Olaseni gave a blow-by-blow revelation of  his modus operandi, saying, “I tell them (his victims) that they have won Facebook Lottery. I have people who receive the money sent by the victims. 

Proprietors complain about Aregbesola's education reforms

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Things seemed to have been hard for private schools in Osun as some of the schools proprietors and proprietress lamented over the sharp decline in the ‎enrollment intake into the private schools in the state. The decline which was described as artificial was said to have been the positive effects of education revolution of the present government in the state. 

As it is, facts have emerged that the administration of Governor Rauf Aregbesola had not only taken the bull by the horn at revamping education sector, but has also refocused the people’s attention and interest to quality, qualitative and functional education through his various interventions that have attracted residents, particularly parents to resolve taking their children to public schools.

The Osun public school sector that had almost collapsed and failed prior Aregbesola’s government are now at the central point of reference in enrollment strength, leaving private schools at enrollment low ebb. It was gathered that private schools in the state are gradually loosing students to public schools due to facilities which Aregbesola’s administration had put in place to advance public education.

Some members of the National Association of Private School Proprietors of Nigeria, Osun state chapter, confirmed that the decline in the rate of pupils and students enrollment into private schools in the state had been on increase in the last few years. The affected school proprietors stated this as part of reasons for their inability to meet up with the agreed tax ought to be paid to state government.