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ASUU strike: ‘No headway as lecturers damn court order, fight on’

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Despite Wednesday’s judgment by the National Industrial Court, Abuja Division, the prolonged industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, is far from being over.

The Court, while ruling in a motion filed by the Federal Government, ordered the lecturers to resume work immediately.

The Court invoked section 18 of the Trade Dispute Act and national interest of the Nigerian students to grant the request of the Federal Government for an order of injunction against the lecturers.

Justice Polycap Hamman compelled the lecturers to go back to work.

However, the university lecturers, who have been clamouring for the payment of their withheld salaries, are not ready to give up very easily.

Before the government approached the court, it had tried using ‘no-work-no-pay to break the lecturers’ ranks. When that did not work, a certain breakaway faction also tried to scuttle the strike, but that strategy failed too, prompting the government to approach the Industrial Court.

The judgement of the Court came as a big relief to the Federal Government, with the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige, declaring that the Committee of Vice Chancellors would be asked to re-open the universities for teaching and learning.

A delighted Ngige said the judgment was a case of ‘no-victor, no-vanquished’, stressing that the ruling does not preclude further negotiation between the Federal Government and ASUU.

He said: “The ruling is in the best interest of the nation. It is a win-win situation for all of us- government, students, lecturers- all Nigerians indeed. I have just gotten the order of court asking ASUU to go back to work.

“It is a sound judgment. It is ‘no victor, no vanquished’. You doctors in academics are for now members of ASUU, but, you are here, even though you have dissociated yourself and you are working. We want to thank you for working and teaching your students.

“The court ruling does not preclude us from going on with further negotiation and consultations. The pro-chancellors met Mr. President and made some demands, such as topping up government offer and seeing whether there could be some bailout. Mr. President said in considering it, he will consult stakeholders. So, he is going to consult everybody.”

However, ASUU is not on the same page with Ngige as the president, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, did not give any hint that the strike will end anytime soon.

Osodeke, during an interview on Channels Television on Wednesday night, instead warned about the far-reaching effects of the judgement.

According to him, the outcome of the verdict would be catastrophic.

“Let me tell you the catastrophe of what has just happened. The last time this happened was during the military era.

“I can assure you, when this strike is over, a large number of our lecturers are going to migrate from this country. When you are using force to push your lecturers to class.

“First of all, they said, ‘If we owe them, if we don’t pay them, they will come and beg us.’ Seven months, it didn’t work. Our members are still alive. And then, they went to court, you want to force them. It is a catastrophe,” Osodeke said.

It is unclear what could be the next line of action by the Federal Government, as well as the National Associations of Nigerian Students, NANS, which started civil action on Monday as a measure to compel both the FG and the ASUU to find a common ground.

The students’ body announced on Wednesday that no form of political campaign would be allowed unless the strike is called off.

Addressing a press conference at Ogun NUJ Secretariat, Abeokuta, the Chairman, NANS National Taskforce on #EndASUUStrikeNow, Raymond Ojo, said the blocking of roads and ports is just a warning.

“If the government fails to conclude all the negotiation and agreement with ASUU within the frame of two weeks, they will witness more protests and rallies all over the country, they will also witness the annoyance, anger and frustration of Nigerian students who have been at home for the past seven months.

“We promise them that we will not allow any political campaign to be held across the country until we are back to class,” he warned.

While the ASUU heads for the Appeal Court as it has already indicated, there are indications that the Government is ready to use the court order and enforce the reopening of universities.

But a cross section of lecturers, who spoke to DAILY POST, indicated unwillingness to obey the order pending when their salaries are paid.

Education

Osun: Governor Adeleke Sacks 1,500 Teachers Employed By Oyetola

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The Governor of Osun State, Ademola Adeleke, has nullified the employment of 1,500 teachers citing irregularity in the recruitment process.

JomogNews reports that Senator Adeleke said the late employment was done without due process by the former governor, Gboyega Oyetola.

Former governor Adegboyega Oyetola on 17th July 2022, employed several residents into the Osun State civil service as civil servants, including 1,500 teachers.

Governor Adeleke had on his assumption of office issued an Executive Order that nullifies the employment of 1,500 teachers that was hurriedly done by Oyetola.

However, in a passionate appeal by the affected teachers, on Monday, led by one Mr Owoyemi Abdulwasiu during a press conference held at Correspondent Chapel in Osogbo, urged the Governor to exercise restraint in disengaging them on the passionate ground.

Owoyemi said the sack will throw the 1,500 teachers back into the unemployment market and shatter their family livelihoods. He asked the governor to consider the value chain effect the sack would cause on the families of the teachers and society.

As of the time of filling the report, the state government is yet to respond officially to the sack of the teachers.

 

 

 

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FUTA Student Commits Suicide Over Fraud Allegation

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A 300-level student of the Federal University of Technology Akure, Olona Oluwapelumi, has committed suicide at his residence in the Aule Area of Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The deceased, who was popularly called Black, was said to be in the Department of Industrial Design at the university. He was said to have hanged himself in his room.

The reasons he took the action against himself were unknown as of the time of filing this report.

A source in the school stated that the deceased’s friends on Saturday went to his room and discovered it was locked, after several calls without response, the door was broken and he was found hanged.

Reacting to the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mrs Funmilayo Odunlami, confirmed the death of the 300-level student and said the incident was reported to the police.

“His body had been taken to the morgue and investigation has started to unravel the reasons behind his action, but it was a case of suicide,” the PPRO stated.

The Students Union Government of the school in a statement, signed by its President, Jesunifemi Asoore, also confirmed the incident.

The statement read, “It is with deep sadness and heavy hearts that we inform you of the death of our colleague and friend, Olona Joseph Oluwapelumi. popular known as Tart Angle. who passed away on Sat 21st Jan 2023.

“According to the report, His death was confirmed in the early hour of Saturday, January 21, 2023. The deceased, identified as Olona Joseph a 300-level student from the department of Industrial Design was reported to have committed suicide by hanging himself in the early hour of today.

“I know we are all saddened by his death and we’re sending our condolences to his family and friends. Death can be difficult for us to understand, especially when it is sudden. Many of us may be confronted with a variety of emotions. which might include shock, sadness and confusion.

“We want to assure you that we, the Students Union, care about you and the feelings you may be experiencing.

When contacted, the Head of Media and Protocols Unit of the institution, Mr Adegbenro Adebanjo, confirmed the incident.

He said, “The university is aware of the very sad and unfortunate development. The Students Affairs Division has gotten in touch with the family and it is also providing support services.

Counsellors are also providing needed support for students who may have been impacted by the sad development.

The police authorities have also been duly informed. Our prayer is with the family at this very difficult moment. May the Lord grant the family and friends of the deceased the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.”

Meanwhile, a friend of the deceased, Omoniyi Enoch, who spoke with the Union of Campus Journalists of FUTA, on its Facebook page, said the deceased was suspected to commit the act following an issue of money he had with his department.

Enoch said Late Olona was the Financial Secretary of his department until his death.

“When school resumed for the 2021/2022 session, the Treasurer of the department wasn’t around to receive payment for due. Joseph (Olona) decided to receive the payments from students.

“The President requested that Joseph should send N100,000 to him for a departmental project. Joseph sent it using his digital bank – Carbon. He was debited but the President didn’t receive the payment.

“Several emails were sent to the bank but the issue wasn’t resolved. Due to that, he was so pressured about it and everyone secluded him. He hasn’t attended lectures since we got back from the Christmas break because of the pressure,” Enoch explained

He added, “Yesterday morning, I went to get my phone from Joseph because his phone is faulty and we both shared my phone. He informed me that his HOD called his daddy and said he engaged in fraud. He was very disturbed about it.

“He requested to follow me to my office at the Students’ Union Building because he didn’t want to stay alone. I left him at the office to attend the homecoming event that was held at the T.I Francis auditorium and also watched the Awopegba match.

“When I got back to the office, he had already locked the office door. He came back to give me the keys and left. When I got home, I forced him to eat.

“At 7:40 pm, knocked on his door but he didn’t open. I left thinking he was still angry with me for leaving him at the office.

“At 8:30 pm, I knocked again but there was no response. At 10:01 pm, I tried again but there was no response, so I went to sleep.

“This morning, I went to knock around 8 am but there was no response. I had to go and check through his window and I saw him hanging from the ceiling.”

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Education

Visa Denial: Canadian College Withholds Nigerian Applicant’s Fees

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A Canadian college, George Brown, has withheld the part-payment of the school fees paid by a Nigerian applicant, Miss Precious Ademokun, who got denied a study visa by the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Ademokun who spoke with the CBC News said she had received her admission into a programme at the George Brown College in April and paid CAD8,867 for the first semester fees out of the total of CAD16,872 for both semesters, before applying for a student visa on July 4, adding, “I was told the visa application process could take six to eight weeks.”

The 19-year-old lady maintained that after months of waiting in Nigeria for her study permit application to be processed, she was denied a student visa — and the Toronto college she applied to won’t refund her money.

“I’m very disappointed and sad,” Ademokun told CBC Toronto.

A copy of letter from George Brown College denying Ademokun a refund.

When Ademokun contacted the college on September 19, with no decision on her visa by the IRCC, she missed the school’s refund deadline.

On October 6, she received a decision from the IRCC that her study permit had been denied.

Despite that, the Canadian college told Ademokun it could not refund any of the fees she paid to the school.

She appealed, but the school denied her request for withdrawal and refund in a letter sent to her on December 15.

In a letter sent to Ademokun, George Brown College denied her appeal to withdraw her first tuition deposit of $8,962 because she didn’t meet up with the deadline date.

Observing the institution’s website to validate their claim, it wrote, “In George Brown College, international students who are refused a study permit are eligible for a refund or deferral, if it is requested within their deadline date.”

When the CBC Toronto contacted the school’s registrar, Janene Christiansen, she said in a statement that it values its international students and understands “it is always a huge disappointment when study permits are denied.”

Christiansen added, “The school is ‘following up directly’ with Ademokun to ‘find a resolution.’”

“Now that new information is coming to light, we are following up directly with the individual to gather more details and find a resolution.”

Christiansen also said George Brown College’s international withdrawal and refund policy is aligned with other colleges in Ontario and complies with the Ministry of Colleges and Universities directives, as well as IRCC regulations.

However, she says, the school is reviewing its internal processes and policies to “ensure an improved, clear and transparent process for all prospective students.

When The PUNCH observed Canada’s website on study permits for international students, it reads that it currently takes up to nine weeks to process.

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