Thursday, 25 August 2016

CRISIS:FIDEI POLYTECHNIC SHUT DOWN


FIDEI Polytechnic Gboko in Benue State was, on Wednesday 24th of August, shut down indefinitely following alleged killing of two students and two police officers by suspected group of thugs known as ‘SHAWA.’ On 23rd of August.  Two students were killed and another hospitalized, while properties belonging to the institution were also destroyed during the crisis that broke out later at the polytechnic. FIDEI polytechnic is owned by Rev. Fr. Chris Utov of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi. An eye witness, Terfa Guum, told CAMPUSMIRROR on the phone that the affected properties include the bakery, bursary, the ranch and pen house. SHAWA thugs allegedly invaded the institution to dislodge some students who were protesting peacefully over their exclusion from their ongoing second semester examinations. Guum said trouble started when final year students who were owing tuition were barred from writing the examination. “This made the students to stage a peaceful protest,” Guum said. He said that immediately the protest commenced, policemen stormed the school premises, shooting tear gas and shooting sporadically. Guum said, “In the process, a student was hit on the chest and died instantly, while another hit on the head died in the hospital.”
The institution’s authority subsequently cancelled the examination. Angered by this, the students allegedly regrouped and embarked on massive destruction of the school’s properties. When contacted, the Rector of the institution, Ugo Abah, said he was on his way to the Police headquarters, Makurdi, to make a formal complaint. In reaction, Police Public Relations’ officer, ASP Moses Yamu, said, “Miscreants and students overpowered policemen during a peaceful protest in the school, injured two police officers and damaged six vehicles, one belonging to the police.” Yamu said 21 persons have been arrested so far.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

ASUU’s warning shot unsettles varsities:


Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) sent shockwaves across public universities in the country recently when they accused the Federal Government of failing to remit N605billion outstanding Needs Assessment Intervention as at the third quarter of 2016. Like a war drum that never sounds in vain, public universities have been disquieted by the union’s claim that parts of the 2009 ASUU/FGN Agreement have not been implemented.
Some students told Campus Sun that ASUU’s jeremiad presages an imminent crisis, considering the union’s penchant for industrial action whenever peaceful negotiation with the Federal Government collapses. They warned that another round of strike would be an irredeemable mistake that could provoke unrest in the nation’s ivory towers. Others maintained that another strike would strangle public universities and bring afresh the harrowing experiences of the six-month strike action of 2013, which frustrated many final year students and increased massive brain drain of seasoned scholars to foreign universities.
Rising from her National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, ASUU shouted from the rooftop, warning the nation of the cheerless situation in the nation’s universities. The union said Nigerian universities are sinking in financial crisis, with budgetary allocation to education sector dropping from 11 percent in 2015 to mere eight per cent in 2016.
ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, accused the Federal Government of violating the 2009 Agreement with impunity, with a staggering N128 billion arrears in Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) within three years of the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding.
Ogunyemi explained that several aspects of the 2009 Agreement were yet to be implemented. He noted that out of the N30 billion disbursed in 2013, only N13b went into partly settling the claims of academic staff in the universities. According to him, government’s reluctance to implement the regime of allowances and other aspects of the 2009 Agreement has ignited fire of agitation on campus, which could lead to dire consequences.
Ogunyemi ruled out fears of an immediate strike, stressing that the union would only make such decision after wide consultation. However, he urged the government to douse the tension, otherwise ASUU should not be blamed.
“What we are doing now is to tell Nigerians what our members are saying. And they are saying that they are running out of patience. If their patience gets to the boiling point and they can no longer contain that, they will tell us what they do. At this stage, we have only been aggregating and articulating opinions and feelings of our members,” he added.
The union strongly condemned the shortfall in personnel emoluments of its members, who render full services in their universities but receive fraction of their salaries. The lecturers said such an approach was a recipe for disaster in universities and urged the government to reverse the trend.
The union also condemned the implementation of Treasury Single Account (TSA) in universities, noting that it has made it difficult for universities to draw research grant, run programmes based on endowment funds and transfer funds earmarked for staff development. The lecturers vowed to resist the continued implementation of TSA in universities.
The ASUU President also decried the infrastructural decay in state universities in the country, which he said were parts of the issues addressed in the 2009 negotiation and subsequent FG/ASUU Agreement. He said many state governments have refused to fully implement the provisions of the agreement.
He further explained that some state governments that failed to fulfill their obligations towards their existing universities went ahead to establish new ones. Citing Edo, Ondo and Bayelsa states, he said one common thread that runs through the story of the so- called world-class universities was their location in communities where the founding governors came from. According to him, establishing new universities in their hometowns has become a constitutency project for these governors.
The union urged the National Universities Commission to stop licensing more state universities, especially where a state is struggling to fund the existing ones.
Ogunyemi said the adoption of the World Bank/IMF sponsored neo-liberal policy of privatization and deregulation has brought massive devalue of the naira to N395 for a dollar. The union advised the government to adopt an alternative economic system.
ASUU also condemned the appointment of the former Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof Ishaq Oloyede as the Registrar, Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB), describing him as anti-democratic.
ASUU said its members would not attend any meeting where Prof Oloyede would be present, warning that his antecedents towards the union preclude him from heading a unit like JAMB, where he would interact with ASUU directly or through members of the union.
The union also alleged that the National Pension Commission’s (PENCOM) erected roadblocks to frustrate the registration of the Nigerian University Pension Management Company (NUPEMCO).
ASUU further demanded the release of the white papers on the special visitation exercise to eight federal universities and two polytechnics. “The committees have completed their work and reports of the investigation submitted to the Federal Government for upward of eight months. Our union was very vocal in demanding for investigation into the atrocities being perpetrated in these universities,” he explained.
Reacting to the development, a 300-level student of Delta State University, Abraka, Chenube Ejiroghene Emmanuel, pleaded with the Federal Government to honour the pact with ASUU, noting that an irretrievable breakdown of the 2009 Agreement would spill forth immeasurable suffering among students in public universities.
He called for a timely intervention to save the situation before it snowballs into a major crisis. According to him, the frequent disruption in academic calendar encourages Nigerian students to seek admission in universities in neighbouring African countries.
From the Northeast, Adewole Adebusayo, 300 level, University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID), urged the government not to dismiss ASUU’s grievances with a wave of hand. According to him, reneging on the agreement entered with the union in 2009 could trigger an industrial action that would subsequently cripple the university system.
Another student of UNIMAID, Amita Jubril, urged both the Federal Government and ASUU members to return to the negotiation table for the interest of students in public universities. She warned that closing the gates of universities could open the doors of prison, with several undergraduates as convicts.
While expressing her worries, a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Agaezi Utazi, pleaded with government to address ASUU’s agitation and allocate more funds to the education sector in order to improve the facilities for learning. She said adequate remuneration of lecturers and infrastructural uplift would improve the global ranking of Nigerian universities.
Another student, Ifeoluwa Lawal, explained that the effect of another strike in universities would be hard to bear and advise government to hasten up the process of meeting up with ASUU’s demands and possibly renegotiate.
Ifeoluwa, a student of National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN), said although the lecturers in her university do not participate in ASUU strike, she feels with sadness the frustration of students from other public universities that would be caught in the crossfire if ASUU members eventually return to their trenches.
In his reaction, Prince Onuoha, from the University of Lagos (UNILAG), said strike would reverse the progress of local universities, at a time when academic institutions in the world are waxing stronger in research and development. He warned that strike would do more harm to universities.

Obiano to renovate FCE Umunze access road:



Governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, has promised an end to the agony being suffered by students and members of the public, on the dilapidated road leading to the Federal College of Education (Technical), Umunze. He said palliative work would soon commence on the Nsogwu Road and equally donated a 32-seater bus to the College.
Obiano made the promise during an enculturation Mass held at Christ the King Chaplaincy of the college recently. He described the college as key to his administration’s strides in training middle level technical manpower, required by the numerous investors in the state. He assured that through the investments, students of the college would be fully engaged upon graduation.
The Provost, Prof. Josephat Okechukwu Ogbuagu, commended the governor for responding to the need of the college. He said the expanded management of the college had earlier agreed to name the Nsogwu Road ‘Chief Willie Obiano Boulevard’ in recognition of his goodworks in the state.
Ogbuagu noted that the college had produced quality teachers who have made immense contribution in the nation’s education sector. He said his administration would continue to partner relevant stakeholders and corporate bodies to improve the quality of teaching and learning in the college.

Monday, 15 August 2016

TRAGIC! Highway Robbers Open Fire On University Bus, Two Reported Dead




Two students of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Imo State University, have been confirmed dead while two others sustained injuries after they were attacked by robbers on the Kaduna-Jos Road. The deceased were identified as Joy Ihezie (400 level) and Faith Okeke (200 level).
It was learnt that the victims and their colleagues were on Friday travelling to Jos, Plateau State, on a coastal bus to attend a national conference of the National Fellowship of Christian Medical Laboratory Science Students, when they were ambushed around Mararaba junction.
They were about three kilometres to their destination when the incident happened.
It was said that the gun-wielding robbers were operating on the highway when the bus conveying the students ran into them.
The gunmen reportedly opened fire on the students when their bus attempted to flee the scene.
An IMSU student, who announced the deaths on the social media, said the university community had been thrown into mourning.
He wrote, “The entire Faculty of Health Sciences of the Imo State University, Owerri, has been thrown into mourning following the death of two of its medical laboratory science students while on their way to a national conference in Jos. The students were travelling from Owerri (Imo State) to Jos to attend a national conference of the National Fellowship of Christian Medical Laboratory Science Students when they were attacked around the border between Kaduna and Jos.
“Two of the students were shot dead on the spot, while many were seriously injured.”
The spokesperson for IMSU, Mr. Ralph Njokuobi, confirmed the attack to our correspondent, adding that those injured were responding to treatment.
He said the corpses of the deceased students would arrive in Owerri on Sunday.

ASUU Suspends Strike In Bayelsa University





The aggrieved lecturers of the Bayelsa State owned University, the Niger Delta University (NDU),Ammassoma in Southern Ijaw Local Government area of the State has indicated readiness to call off the lingering strike action over unpaid six months salaries by the State Government.

Though the decision to call off the strike was indicated following pressure of Traditional Rulers from the host Ammassoma community, the Governing Council of the University and members of the State House of Assembly.

Source at the various meetings confirmed to CAMPUSMIRROR that though the earlier condition of lectures to be paid Four out of six months salaries being owed was reduced to two months due to the State Government complaint of paucity of fund, the lecturers may resume next week Monday being 15th of August, 2016.

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson has again vowed not to allow any individual or group to destroy the Niger Delta University (NDU) because of selfish interest.

Speaking yesterday when he received a delegation from Amassoma community, the governor stated that the NDU remains a pride of Bayelsa as the only state owned university and as such must be preserved.

He expressed worry over the current situation of things in the NDU, noting that it is the handy work of mischief makers who are out to destroy the school and turn around to blame the government.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Anguish on varsity, polytechnic access road:

For residents of Nekede, Ihiagwa, the university community and visitors to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede and the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), nothing makes them feel hollow besides the present economic hardship, than the deplorable condition of the only access route in the community.
Going in and out of the area has now become an arduous task as the all-important road, which was in good condition a few months back, has now become almost impassable even for motorists riding in Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs.)
The road, from Owerri, capital city of Imo State, has been cut into two due to the devastating flooding suffered in the area recently, which has terribly softened the ground surface, turning the road into a muddy mess.
Any vehicle attempting to pass through the bad portion, especially when the road is still muddy, gets stuck.
As a result, commuters are left with no choice than to travel a longer distance with higher fares from Owerri, through the Port Harcourt Road, to their destination. Other means is to engage the services of commercial motorcyclists, who navigate the bad portions by riding through several private residences and compounds after paying toll fees to some youths in the communities.
According to a community leader in Nekede, who is a lecturer at the Department of Mass Communication, Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State, Dr. Christian Meziobi, the situation of the road has become a nightmare to road users.
Speaking with newsmen, Meziobi urged all relevant authorities to come to their aid and rescue the community from being cut off from other parts of the state.
“It is horrible. I spent two hours trying to access my ancestral home, in a journey of 10 minutes from Owerri. Look at the way the road has become. I know that resources are limited, but I am appealing to the governments at all levels to come to our aid.”
According to a monarch in the area, Eze Maurice Eke, his subjects are in pains moving from one spot to the other.
Eke said early warning signs of the road’s disintegration were ignored by the state government.
Speaking recently, the Commissioner for Works, Mrs. Josephine Udorji, said the state government has begun the rehabilitation of roads, but regretted the volume of rains as impediment to completing all the road projects.

DELSU recommends dismissal of 5 lecturers for sexual assault, abuse of office:




 Five lecturers of Delta State University, DELSU, Abraka, have been recommended for sack by a disciplinary committee of the institution set up to investigate various offences, including sexual harassment of female students and financial extortion for marks. The recommendation of the committee is coming 13 months after the institution dismissed three lecturers for alleged professional misconduct, including a lecturer in the Department of Theatre Arts, who was caught pants down with examination scripts in the room of a 400 level female student in the same department. Vanguard gathered that one of the lecturers (name withheld) of the Department of Primary/ Nursery Education was caught pants down in a hotel room within Abraka and detained for two days at the Abraka police station while trying to have his way with a female student, who had pretended to have succumbed to his sexual advances but to find out she had reported to the police. A former Head of Basic Medical Sciences Department and traditional chief (name withheld) was also recommended for dismissal over alleged sexual harassment and collection of various sums of money from his students in a bid to pass them in their exams. Though management of the institution is yet to issue a statement on the matter, the university’s Public Relations Officer, Mr. Edward Agbure, when contacted said that the fate of the lecturers would be determined by the DELSU Governing Council.