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ASUU-FG tussle: Demands not met, we will not call off strike — Osodeke



Abimbola Abatta and Deborah Onatunde

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted that since the Federal Government failed to meet its demands, the union will not call off the ongoing industrial action.

ASUU’s President, Prof Emmanuel Osodeke, disclosed this on Sunday in an exclusive interview with Nigerian NewsDirect newspaper.

Professor Osodeke stated this in reaction to the suspension on the five-month strike embarked upon by the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Education and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).

JAC spokesman, Peters Adeyemi, had announced the suspension in Abuja on Saturday, saying the relevant organs of the two unions decided to call off the strike after the Federal Government met most of their requests.

The two unions said the strike would be called off for two months.

However, the ASUU President said the unions “Decided to call off their strike because the Federal Government had agreed on what they want.

“But we will not call it (the strike) off because the government has not agreed with our demands,” he added.

A media report, yesterday, revealed that a source in the union, who was privy to the negotiations, explained that ASUU refused to resume further talks because of a ‘Greek gift.’

According to the report, the sources, noted that while there would be a paltry increase in the salaries of professors and a deduction in the salaries of graduate assistants.

On the proposed salary scheme, the ASUU President said, “We have negotiated with them [Federal Government], and told them what we want.

“What we have is collective bargaining, not a gift or award. This is what we keep on saying. It is still by collective bargaining that we can agree, not one person dashing people any amount. It is a collective bargain.”

Reacting to the speculations that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are planning to protest against ASUU regarding the lingering strike, he said, “If all Nigerian students are not in school and are wasting their time, and the government insists that they want to punish ASUU, well, the CSOs can go ahead to protest. They are free.

“We have finished negotiation with government. We have told them what we want. We have discussed all the issues. I don’t think there is any country in the world where all academic staff union of universities are on strike for six months. So, the CSOs have the right to protest.”

Nigerian NewsDirect reports that on February 14, the union commenced the ongoing strike, following the government’s failure to meet some of the lingering demands of the union.

The reasons, according to ASUU, bordered on the refusal to release revitalisation funds for universities; non-release of earned allowances to lecturers; end the proliferation of universities by politicians and State Governments; refusal to deploy the University Transparency Accountability System for the payment of salaries and allowances of lecturers; and refusal to renegotiate the ASUU-FGN 2009 agreement.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the striking lecturers met with the Federal Government last week with the hope of resolving the industrial action.

When ASUU met with the Professor Nimi Briggs Renegotiation Committee, the committee appealed to the lecturers to suspend the strike, assuring that their demands will be captured in the 2023 budget, a development that was swiftly rejected by the striking lecturers.

Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had noted that the failure of the government to agree to the payment of six months arrears of salaries of the lecturers was stalling the suspension of the strike.

According to Adamu, ASUU insisted that its members must be paid for the period they have been on strike.


Aliu Toluwani bags Future Awards nomination in education



Founder of Upsurge Foundation formerly called Upsurge Global,  Aliu Toluwani Victor, has been nominated for the prestigious Future Africa Award under the Education category.

Known for his impactful work in EdTech and digital education, Toluwani has dedicated himself to fostering global leaders through youth empowerment and entrepreneurship.

As a current Global Youth Ambassador at Theirworld, Toluwani has been at the forefront of innovative initiatives such as the National Leadership Summit and Royal Leadership Fellowship. His commitment to advancing education is evident in his efforts, having successfully trained over 5,000 students across 30 secondary and tertiary institutions, promoting EdTech and design thinking for community development.

Toluwani’s initiatives, including the groundbreaking “Aliu Empowerment Program” that granted tuition-free scholarships to over 40 students and the skill development powerhouse “Regal Tech Academy” which has equipped hundreds of students with tech skills across Africa, have made a substantial impact on education.

Toluwani organised the African Royal Leadership Fellowship in Kigali, Rwanda, hosting fellows from 5 African countries. This event not only showcased his commitment to global youth empowerment but also highlighted his dedication to fostering positive change on a continental scale. Collaborating with esteemed organizations such as Sterling One Foundation, JCI Rwanda, United Nations Association of Nigeria, and The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust UK, Toluwani is a beacon of inspiration for young people worldwide.

His nomination for the Future Africa Award in the Education category is a testament to his unwavering dedication to advancing education through technology. The Future Africa Award, recognised by Forbes International as the “most important youth awards,” acknowledges individuals making significant contributions to society. Toluwani’s nomination highlights the impact of his work and the transformative role he plays in shaping the future of education in Africa.

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Lead City Voices rewards students with over N50,000 cash prize at annual debate



Lead City Voices, a student association in Lead City University has rewarded students with cash prizes worth over N50,000 at its annual debate.

The 8th inter-faculty debate competition had its theme as: “Nigeria Educational crisis: Is it Government, Students, Parents, Teachers, Curriculum the cause?”

Representatives from Lead City’s faculty of communication and information sciences, Faculty of  Education, Faculty of management and social sciences, Faculty of Law, Faculty of Arts, Faculty of Pharmacy, Environmental design & management, Engineering, Natural & Applied Sciences, College of Medicine participated in the debate.

In the grand finale, Faculty of Natural and Applied sciences ended with 140 points for supporting the notion given, Faculty of Law had a total of 145 points, Faculty of Management and social sciences garnered a total of 150 points to beat Faculty of Law.

The Faculty of Management and social sciences emerged as the overall winner with a congratulatory cash prize of N25,000 award certificate and Lead City Voices magazine and journal.

The dexterity of the Faculty of Law earned them the second position and a cash prize of N15,000 with an award certificate alongside Lead City Voices magazine and journal.

The eloquent and well crafted speech of the Faculty of Natural and Applied sciences made them emerge as the 3rd position with a cash prize of N10,000, award certificate, Lead City Voices Magazine and journal.

Commenting, the President of Leadcity Voices President, Ogunola Victor disclosed that the first round of the debate, which held on 21 November, 2023 afforded speakers from the participating Faculties five minutes each, while the chief speakers had an additional minute to summarise their points.

He added that participants were placed in two groups, with each having a topic to support or oppose accordingly.

Also speaking, the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Kabiru Adeyemo represented by the University’s Head of Marketing, Dr (Mrs) A. Deborah, praised LCV for organising the debate which will help students think critically as well as proffer tangible contributions to issues of worldwide importance.

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Ogun Assembly urges tertiary institutions to reduce fees



The Speaker of the Ogun State House of Assembly, Olakunle Oluomo, has appealed to tertiary institutions owned by the Ogun State Government to reduce fees payable by students.

Oluomo asked them to reconsider the plight of indigent parents by doing a downward review of the recently hiked tuition fees.

It was gathered that students of Tai Solarin University of Education, Ijagun and those of Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta, recently took to the streets to protest the hike in fees by the learning institutions.

During plenary on Wednesday, the Minority Leader and lawmaker representing Odogbolu State Constituency, Lukman Adeleye, called the Assembly’s attention to the sudden rise in fees and the protests that greeted the development.

Adeleye, earlier in his presentation, recounted the recent mass protest by the students of Tai Solarin University of Education, pleading that the Assembly wade into the matter to ensure a reduction of the hiked fees.

Reacting, Oluomo acknowledged the adverse effects of the economic challenges being faced by parents currently.

The Speaker noted that it was “important for the Heads of the tertiary institutions to show more compassion and empathy by allowing the new fees to wear human faces so as not to put the students at a disadvantage.”

He explained that though the institutions might have the compelling need to increase their fees to meet their pressing needs, given the high rate of inflation, the fees should be affordable.

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