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FG declares ASUU strike illegal, says action is corruption

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The Federal Government has declared the current two-week warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities as “illegal.”

It accused ASUU of not following laid down procedures before embarking on the industrial action.

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, gave the government’s position in Abuja after the Federal Executive Council meeting.

He said ASUU did not give the government the “mandatory notice” required before a union could proceed on strike.

Ngige noted that having allegedly failed to follow the laid down procedures, it amounted to corruption for the university teachers to go on strike.

The minister said,

“I am in shock. The strike is illegal because they did not give us the mandatory notice.

“If you withdraw services and you still want to be paid, it is corruption. Is that not corruption?”

However, Ngige said he had contacted the leadership of ASUU and invited them to a meeting on Thursday (today) to discuss the issues raised by the union.

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But, he warned that the government would not succumb to threats by ASUU, arguing that “no employee should dictate to an employer.”

ASUU, while declaring the warning strike, had stated that the government had yet to address issues raised in agreements it reached with the union from 2009 to 2019, including poor funding of the university system.

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An immediate issue was the union’s opposition to the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System of the government, designed to capture all federal government workers under one payment system.

Government’s target is to eliminate ‘ghost workers.’

But, ASUU has consistently kicked against it on the grounds that it would not suit the university system.

In place of the IPPIS, the union proposed the University Transparency and Accountability Solution, which it said would address the peculiar case of the universities.

When asked on the government’s final stance on IPPIS, Ngige replied that after the union visited the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), earlier in the year, the government stood its ground on the IPPIS.

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However, he disclosed that both sides agreed that the IPPIS and ASUU’s UTAS could be harmonised after all the grey areas were sorted out.

The minister added that it came to government as a surprise when ASUU called the warming strike, still raising the issue of the IPPIS.

Ngige also answered questions on insurance for workers and employee compensation, saying that it was mandatory for all employers to insure their employees and also make adequate provision for compensation payment in the event of accidents or injury suffered in the course of work.

Student's Life

Homegrown food distribution, a success in Lagos State – LASUBEB

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The Lagos State Universal Education Board (LASUBEB) says it has recorded success in the ongoing Homegrown food distribution to Schools Programme launched in Lagos on May 21.

This is contained in a statement by Mrs Eniola Adewunmi, Public Relations Officer of the board, in Lagos on Tuesday.

Adewunmi said the targeted 37, 589 households of pupils in public primary school. one to three had been concluded.

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She said the Feeding Programme was anchored and financed by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development.

She said the programme also supported by the Lagos State Government through LASUBEB was designed to see to the continued sustenance of primary school pupils in spite of the school’s closure.

“Immediately after the flag-off, the distribution of Take-Home Rations to households of pupils started in earnest in 202 centres across the 20 Local Government Education Authorities (LGEA) in the state.

“Each beneficiary received a Take-Home Ration made up of 5kg Bag of Rice, 5kg Bag of Beans, 500 ml Vegetable Oil, 750ml Palm Oil, 500mg Salt, 15 pieces of eggs and 140gm Tomato Paste.

“During the exercise, the Executive Chairman of LASUBEB, Hon. Wahab Alawiye-King, Board Members, and the Board Secretary effectively monitored the distribution exercise.

“At most of the centres visited, the chairman expressed satisfaction with the conduct of government officials at the various centres as well as the orderliness of the parents being attended to, describing the exercise as transparent,’’ she said.

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COVID-19: Lagos working to protect pupils when FG reopens schools – Education Commissioner

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The Lagos State Government has begun work on putting measures to protect pupils when the Federal Government reopen school nationwide.

WuzupNigeria reports that the President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari [retd], had announced the closure of schools to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at the annual ministerial press briefing of the state Ministry of Education on Tuesday, the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Folasade Adefisayo, said although it was the FG that would decide when the schools, the state was putting in place measures to protect the pupils when the schools reopen.

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She said,

“It is the Federal Government that will open the schools as they were the ones that closed the schools. Recall that the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 on Monday said schools remain closed.

“I can’t give you a date when schools will resume in Lagos, but we are working with development partners, ministries of Education across the country to come up with series of protocols on how we will be able to manage when we open schools.

“So, we are working behind the scene, we have a paper on the protocols and we will start to share as the paper is finally approved in a few days.

“There must be protocols that will address schools with large gatherings.

“There are many things we are thinking of, we are thinking about pupils not coming to school every day so that we will be able to spread the children across the whole school.

“Pupils don’t have to be in their class to learn, they can learn in a room with tables and chairs.”

Adefisayo added that a total of 3000 primary and secondary school teachers were recently absorbed into the teaching workforce of the Lagos State in a bid to boost the capacity of the existing workforce thereby providing quality education.

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The Commissioner also pointed out that the Ministry had embarked on the construction and upgrading of Public Schools’ infrastructure across the state with the completion of six blocks of 92 classrooms in primary schools and three blocks of 54 classrooms in secondary schools in the state.

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Nigeria Update

COVID-19: Final year students may write exams in July; bars, clubs and gym remain closed

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The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday said final year students in its tertiary institutions may write their examination in July as the Federal Government begins the second phase of the gradual easing of restrictions placed on Nigerians over the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chairman of the task force and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha, who disclosed this at the PTF press briefing in Abuja, said the reopening of churches and mosques would be based on guidelines issued by the task force and protocols agreed on by states.

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But the Coordinator of the PTF, Dr Sani Aliyu, noted that while markets would be opened and artisans could run their business, street hawking was prohibited.

Schools remain closed, final year students to prepare for exams

He added,

“All schools to remain closed until further evaluation. The Federal Ministry of Education is instructed to work with schools to start the process of preparing students that require exiting exams, to allow them to take exams early in the next phase of the lifting of the lockdown. But for the moment, schools are to remain closed.

“I have already mentioned places of worship. Restricted opening will apply subject to the guidelines issued by the PTF as well as the protocols agreed by respective state governments, working with religious leaders.

“Recreational parks and communal sports to remain closed until further evaluation.

He said for funerals, the task force was limiting the crowd to 20 people including family, with physical distancing adhered to, as well as hand washing.

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