Nigerian students sponsored abroad in 2018 for further studies by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on Monday held a fresh protest over the non-release of funds for their scholarship for two years after being verified twice.
The 94 scholars displayed placards with various inscriptions as they gathered in front of the Nigeria High Commission in London, United Kingdom.
The aggrieved students told Channels Television that the non-payment of their fees have exposed them to numerous dangers including the COVID-19 virus as some of them have to work in care homes to raise funds.
“We are here to protest the non-payment of our school fees and allowance for the past two years. We have carried out a series of protests at this embassy but unfortunately, there was no positive response from the NDDC.
“They said our payment will be made by October 12th after the verification exercise has been concluded. From then till now, our tuition fees and upkeep have not been paid. They keep promising us on a weekly basis. We are tired of all these fake promises,” one of the scholars, Femi, told Channels Television.
The scholars lamented that due to the nonpayment of their fees, they live from hand to mouth and depend on menial jobs for funding.
The scholars appealed that the Federal Government use presidential authority to demand that the NDDC pay 2018 NDDC scholarship students as soon as possible.
They said the protest will continue till next week.
He believes more attention should be paid to such courses in order to help in developing the minds and characters of young graduates.
“We need an orientation in education, the education that merely impacts skills and techniques into students and then they graduate with these techniques, it’s not sufficient.
“Today, the rush is for courses that have technical skills such as technology, medicine, law and journalism. But there are disciplines like philosophy, moral education that are made to train the human mind,” he said.
“There needs to be a reorientation…how many students study philosophy in this country.
“The University of Ibadan, which is the premiere university was established in 1948 and it did not start the teaching of philosophy until 1973.
“In most of the north until recently, there was no university in the northern part of this country had a philosophy department.
“This is the kind of thing I’m trying to say.
“Think about those disciplines that humanise and teach the individual the art of being human, it is important because no matter what skills you have, until you begin to behave like a human, you are not a human and so, society cannot survive without that aspect of education”.
The Vice Chancellor of Obong University, Professor Udoudo Ekanemesang has called on the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) to embark on quarterly conduct of its examination to give students seeking admission in Nigerian universities more opportunities.
Ekanemesang made this suggestion in a chat with journalists in Uyo.
He described the current post-UTME examination as a loophole for corruption that allows tertiary institution staff to admit preferred candidates by technically voiding the UTME scores.
Most institutions, he noted, have turned the exercise to a corrupt means of impoverishing innocent Nigerians.
“Something is wrong with our educational system and the way we conduct exams here. We give a child a single examination and his life depends on it, and this makes them to be desperate and involve in all manner of malpractices”, he said.
Professor Ekanemesang added that Nigeria needs to “change the system to give students seeking admission multiple chances by conducting examinations quarterly like in the United states America”.
Obong University is a private university in Akwa Ibom state.
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) is calling for the reinstatement of the 13 Vice Chancellors sacked by the federal government this year.
The protesting students who stormed the office of the Minister of Education in Abuja said that the sack was politically motivated and unjust.
The students, who were led by their National President, Tijani Usman, are calling for the resignation of the Minister.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National University Commission (NUC), Professor Julius Okojie, who addressed the protesting students, appealed to them to articulate their demands as he would facilitate a meeting with the Minister.
The Director General (DG) of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Dr Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, has assured students undergoing skills acquisition training that the agency remains committed to providing effective training for qualified Nigerian students.
Addressing a news conference in Abuja, shortly after the ITF students protested their elongated stay in the skills acquisition centre of the fund on Tuesday, Dr Chukkas–Onaeko, urged the students to remain calm, explaining that the problem of equipment procurement for the centre was being addressed.
The DG appealed to the students to focus on acquiring skills that would make them employers of labour.
Although the students have vowed not to return to the classrooms until their demands are met, the Dr Chukkas–Onaeko said the skills acquisition centre, which was shut down, was facing some challenges that would be addressed soon.
With an assurance that efforts are being made to ensure the graduation of the affected students, calm returned to the fund as policemen took charge of the premises to ensure the security of lives and property.
The West African Examination Council (WAEC) has recorded another decline in the performance of Candidates in the May/June West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations.
Announcing the release of the results in Lagos today, the Chief Executive and Head of National office of the Council, Mr Charles Eguridu said only 31.28% of over 1.7 million candidates that sat for the examination had credits in 5 subjects including maths and English compared to the 36.57% in 2013 and 38.81% in 2012.
He attributed the decline to the diminishing interest of students in their academic activities and studies.
The Council also announced the introduction of the Candidates Identity Verification, Attendance, Malpractice and Post- Examinations Management System, to enable supervisors and staff of the council to address and record the processes in real time and WAEC Customised Calculators to check exam malpractices.
Candidates who sat the May/June 2014 exams will be able to check details of their performance on the council’s result website www.waecdirect.org by the August 13.
Results of 145,795 candidates are withheld because of examination malpractice and the cases are currently being investigated.
The Student Union Government Presidents of two Lagos based polytechnics, YABATECH and LASPOTECH, Babajide Salvado and Abdulkareem Yusuf, have explained why the students are in support of the strike by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP).
The student leaders were guests on Channels Television youth programme, Rubbin’ Minds, where they explained that majority of the points for which their lecturers are agitating affect the students directly.
Mr Salvado of Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) decried the imbalance in the manner in which the Nigerian Government and the media gave more attention to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) during their 5-month strike in 2013, failing to give same to the Polytechnic lecturers since their struggles started in January 2014.
He also laid emphasis on the bureaucratic bottlenecks that had bedevilled the growth and development of polytechnic education for many years.
He noted that the students belief that the Polytechnic lecturers’ demands were genuine. Although he admitted that emphasis had been laid on the lecturers’ monetary demands as it concerns the payment of their arrears.
The dichotomy between the Polytechnics and the universities also came to the fore as the students insisted that there should be no reason for graduates from polytechnics and colleges of education to be treated as inferior to their counterparts from the universities.
There had been arguments in many quarters that the entry requirements of students into the universities have always been higher than what obtains in the other institutions with lower cut-off marks and as such their products could not be at par.
The student leaders unanimously condemned the view. Yusuf claimed that many Polytechnic students scored as high as the university cut-off marks and still were not offered admission into a university due to factors beyond them. Citing his school, the Lagos State Polytechnic as example, he noted that Nigerian polytechnics can boast of many intelligent products who would comfortably compete with university graduates.
Salvado also added that the students were ready to have the cut-off mark for all tertiary institutions set at parity if the discrepancies would be the basis for considering polytechnics as inferior to universities, as he was also sure that they had the technical edge in their competencies.
The Student Union Government President of the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Olusola Ogunnowo, whose lecturers under the aegis of Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union, COEASU, have also been part of the industrial action, added that the reforms in the education sector have shown that being a teacher would no more be seen as an alternative career.
He revealed that many of his colleagues were in school not as a way out of having failed to make it into other institutions but as a form of fulfilment of their dreams to be teachers. He added that there were graduates of universities who were back in their schools in order to get certification for their dream to become lecturers, a process he claimed showed the seriousness and importance of the Colleges of Education.
The over 6 months old strike had been experiencing challenges with some schools in different parts of the country pulling out; a development that the student leaders condemned. They claimed that the disunity among the ASUP and COEASU was a product of selfishness and pursuit of personal interests.
Salvado also had tough words for the national leadership of the National Association Nigerian Students (NANS) for having failed to make a statement in solidarity with the plight of the students and their lecturers in the polytechnics and colleges of education.
He noted that the President of the NANS had been at the National Conference supposedly to represent the youth and there has been no mention of how to develop Nigerian education since the conference started.
They called on the Nigerian Government to change its attitude towards education, especially the polytechnics and colleges of education.
Network Africa on this edition starts off from Nigeria where the House of Representatives, concerned about the increase in the number of Nigerian students killed abroad, has mandated a joint committee to conduct a public hearing on the matter and report back to the House in two months.
Raising the motion, the Chairman of the House Committee on Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, says Nigerian students have become endangered species in different parts of the world, leading to the House urging Nigerian embassies in Ghana, Malaysia, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa to ensure all pending cases are thoroughly investigated.
Oscar Pistorius Trial
It appears to be a 50 /50 chance for the Paralympics star as a key Police ballistics expert says Oscar Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he shot his girlfriend, as the athlete’s trial continued in South Africa.
The prosecution says he intentionally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day 2013, after an argument. Mr Pistorius denies murdering her, saying he thought she was an intruder. The latest account lends support to the defence team’s insistence that the shooting was not premeditated.
Our South Africa correspondent, Betty Dibia, tells us specifically about the happenings on day 11 of the trial which was the very first time the mother of the deceased showed up since the proceedings began.
Also from South Africa, President Jacob Zuma is being slammed by critics for using way too much money to give his home a makeover.
The amount which is 23 million dollars was state-funded and was for a security upgrade to his private home that included a swimming pool, cattle enclosure and amphitheatre.
As a consequence, he might have to repay costs for some of the unnecessary renovations.
Rest of Africa
The plans of 2 men were foiled when Kenyan police arrested them, when they suspected them of having links to Somali Islamist militant group after they were tracked and found to have six large bombs that may have been aimed for use in the area of the port city of Mombasa.
The search for greener pastures almost claimed the lives of 596 people as the Italian Navy was able to rescue the people off the Italian coast on Monday (March 17), 62 of whom were children.
The migrants, mainly from Eritrea, were huddled onto two different boats and were spotted by the Italian Navy ships off the coast of the southern island of Lampedusa.
Meanwhile, two Egyptian army officers and five jihadist militants have been killed in a gunfight that erupted during a raid North of Cairo.
The Brigadier and Colonel, both bomb disposal experts, took part in the raid on a warehouse in Qal-Yu-Bi-Ya province along with police and Special Forces.
The militants were from Ansar beit al-maqdis, which has claimed responsibility for a string of attacks. The Al-Qaeda-linked group, which is based in the Sinai Peninsula, is believed to have killed more than 200 security forces and government personnel since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi in July.
A Trip To Space
Despite the tension in Egypt, however, some people are realizing their dreams of going outside of the planet. Egyptian adventurer and mountaineer, Omar Samra will soon become the first Egyptian to travel to space after winning the Axe Space Academy competition.
Samra is among 23 winners of the competition who are set to be sent into orbit in early 2015, in a journey he says has been a lifelong dream.
Nigerian students intending to study in Cyprus have been warned to be wary of moves by the authorities of Cyprus International University, Nicosia to lure them into the institution.
The House Committee on Diaspora led by Committee Chairman, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa drew attention to the dangers of sending Nigerians to the University located in North Cyprus, following the mysterious death of a student in July 2013.
In a statement, Hon. Dabiri-Erewa said the University had alleged that 20-year old Gabriel Soriwe, who hailed from Edo State was knocked down by a female drunk driver whose identity was protected by authorities.
Investigation revealed that the University connived with the North Cyprus police to release Soriwe’s killer and also shield her identity from his parents.
The university went ahead to send Soriwe’s body to his family as unaccompanied cargo without any of his belongings, and with no word of condolence from the institution.
Another Nigerian who lost his life in the region was Stanley Ateimo, who was a musician based in Cyprus and was murdered in August 2013.
The House of Representatives have warned that both the University and its location, Nicosia, are dangerous for Nigerian students, while the institution itself is not recognised by Nigeria and other countries in the world.
A Professor of Counselling and Psychology at the University of Lagos, Ngozi Osarenren, on Thursday said ASUU’s insistence on getting its demands met is not out of a callous desire to keep students away from school as their own children are enrolled in the same schools, and are victims of the strike.
“ASUU members are not barren. They have children staying at home too,” she said.
Speaking on Sunrise Daily, she said the struggle for a better education sector is not for the personal gratification of the members and association. She said “no ASUU member is sharing from the money it is demanding.
“It’s for the revitalization of the education sector and it’s very painful that people who ought to know are shamelessly playing the ostrich, pretending not to know,” she said.
The former commissioner for education in Edo state disclosed that the association had sent a letter to the Federal Government on the 22nd of November but until December 5th, there has been no reply.
“How come the government cannot communicate to ASUU since then? The government has not sent any reply to ASUU. We are only hearing this in the media.”
She stated that they have been labelled militants and described as subversive but “we are not asking for salary increase. No ASUU member is sharing from the 200 billion naira.”
She stressed the fact that no Nigerian university ranks among first 10 in Africa despite the title “Giant of Africa” which the nation lays claim to.
She accused the government of regarding ASUU members as non-serious people who are not to be reckoned with, adding that what they sent to the government was leaked to the press.
Despite the Federal Government’s disclosure that it has created an account in the CBN for ASUU, Mrs Osanrenren stated that they have only seen it in the media and that the government is yet to reply ASUU’s letter.
Speaking about those who have resumed in UNILAG, she said people who have other reasons may have resumed but insisted that there are no factions in the school.
“The press is making the faction issue in UNILAG to thrive. If you are not on strike, it does not mean that there is a faction,” she said.
Asked when ASUU will call off the strike, she said, “once we get official document to show that these things have been done, ASUU will call off the strike.”