Polytechnic lecturers over the country have resumed duty after embarking on a 10 month old strike was suspended to enable the new Minister of Education, Ibrahim Shekarau settle down in office.
Channels Television visited some Polytechnics around the country to capture the mood of students and lecturers as they gradually settle for a long break.
The Federal Polytechnic Nekede in Owerri, Imo State said they are set to resume academic activities as soon as students troop into their campus on the day of resumption.
The Deputy Rector of the polytechnic, Desmon Okparaku, said both the lecturers and students are happy to be back after the long strike.
However, in Yaba College of Technology, most of the students who were hoping to resume immediately were asked to hold as lecturers of the institution were hholding a meeting to make a decision on the next step.
A student of the Institution, who had checked the notice board to find some information about the called off strike, was told by his mates that the school authorities were having a meeting.
The ASUP Chairman, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos chapter, Mr Adeyemi Aromolaran, said the chapter formally announced officially that the 10 month old strike had been suspended for three months and urged lecturers to double their effort in gaining some of the lost period activities.
He further stated that “it will be wrong for people to believe that students should resume lectures today,” he said, explaining that the strike was called off today.
However students and lecturers said it was a right directive for the union to call off the strike.
Striking workers of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, on Saturday reiterated their demands for better working conditions, insisting that the new policies in the hospital were not favourable to their patients.
The President, Association of Resident Doctors, LUTH, Dr Olubunmi Omojuowolo, who decried the state of disrepair in the hospital and high cost of medical care, noted that the Association had made its demands clear before the indefinite strike began on the 2nd of June.
The issues he said are very clear:
“We are very worried as doctors working in LUTH about certain policies which directly affect the lives of Nigerians”, he said noting that medical fees had increased beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.
He disclosed that over a year ago, laceration was about 8,000 but went up to N50,000. Also inserting a tube to drain chest water ranges from N50,000 to N100,000, Cesarean Section went from N35,000 to over N100,000.
There was also a policy that emergency patients had to pay before getting services, however, it had been reversed because of “agitations”, Omojuowolo said.
He further decried the policies which seemed to be making the institution profit-driven, insisting that the Act that established the hospital is clear. “It is for training, research and care. It is never for profit.”
He continued saying, patients are “indirectly rendering service” because they are used to train doctors and so services should be at minimized costs.
He stated that the state of the health sector is abysmal, and there should be a trust fund to revitalize the sector. He also said that “Nigerians are very poor” and many cannot afford services because of the minimum wage of N18,000.
“Our hospital is a social welfare institution” but everything is shifting towards profit.
On his part, the Chairman, Joint House Unions and Associations, LUTH, Mr Kehinde Adegoke, noted that the Group’s strike action which started on 2nd of June, “coincidentally” was also for the same reasons as the Association of Resident Doctors.
He stressed that “we are not seeing enough willingness to actually address these things.”
He stated that their members were falling sick due to shortage of hands while those who had retired or travelled abroad had not been replaced.
While there have been complaints about machines which were not available, promises made by the hospital management had not been fulfilled.
He said that on the 20th of February, a document of about 40 pages was submitted containing the problems and solutions, adding that “we want LUTH to perform better” in the interest of the patients, students and staff.
We have had series of meetings but “LUTH management has its own issue”, he said, noting the problem of funding by the federal government. He stressed that the exact figures are unknown.
He admitted that the Federal budget for health is low and the health insurance should cover over 70% of patient’s bills but what is obtainable now is 30% which “is abysmal” as other West African countries have better policies in place.
He noted that many Nigerians paid out of their pockets which may be unrealistic in some medical cases.
“We want basic facilities to be available,” he said.
He disclosed that the management had assured that fees will be reviewed and the complaints considered.
He expressed concern that the situation had taken such a turn, leading to the death of patients and suffering, but noted that even without strike, patients were dying, when medical materials crucial to their survival, such as oxygen, were not available.
He maintained that doctors were sometimes forced to pay for some materials required with their personal money.
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, (IPMAN) and its allied bodies have threatened to embark on an indefinite strike, commencing from first week in February, over the deplorable Sagamu/Mosimi depot road.
The ultimatum was handed down by the association at a press briefing held at the Mosimi petroleum products loading depot, located in Sagamu area of Ogun state, South-West Nigeria.
They claimed that the bad road has continued to have an unpleasant impact on their businesses, just as avoidable human loss and resources are being wasted on the 7km stretch of road.
As a result of this, the independent marketers, tanker drivers and other affiliated bodies of the union have threatened to withdraw their services indefinitely, if something concrete and urgent is not done by the Federal Government.
A quick intervention by the authority concerned could avert this impending industrial action which is capable of paralyzing socio economic activities in the affected areas.
A senior lecturer from the History and Strategic Studies department of the University of Lagos, Dr. David Aworawo today revealed that “many Nigerian lecturers have signed to return to work” following the directive of the government.
Aworawo said that different universities had adjusted their school calendars to accommodate what was left of 2012/2013 session.
Speaking as a guest on Sunrise Daily, Channels Television’s flagship breakfast show, the historian said: “Across the universities, many went to sign the register as directed by the government. The calendars specifies that people will have to wait until lectures are supposed to commence for us to actually know how many will return to class”.
He insisted that it was not totally true that the lecturers disobeyed the directive, as they never told the government to go to hell”.
He listed the universities where the lecturers signed the register noting that “if the classes were opened on Monday, you will actually see many go to the class to teach”.
He berated the loss suffered by students during the strikes maintaining that the “loss is in trillion”. He added that “there is nothing the government would give to ASUU that will make up that loss”. Citing two independent reports carried out in South Africa and Canada on Nigerian educational strikes, he insisted that the students are the biggest losers in the fight.
The Management of the Federal University of Technology Owerri has resumed and hence fixed the semester’s examination for December 16.
This is in compliance with the directive of the Federal Government for all federal universities to resume academic activities.
The Vice Chancellor (VC) of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Prof. Chigozie Asiabaka, disclosed this in his office while speaking to Channels Television in Owerri the Imo State capital.
He said that the resumption is in line with the directive of the Nigerian government that all university lecturers should resume work on or before December 9. He added that close to 80% of the lecturers have signed in the school register and students are in their revision week ahead of their exams starting in the coming week.
However, there is little students’ presence noticed in the school premises, as some students, who spoke to Channels TV, said that most of their colleagues, who have resumed, were in their hostels and classes revising and reading, ahead of the exam that is slated for December 16.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, FUTO Chapter, Dr. Ikenna Nwachukwu, has faulted the VC’s claims of reopening the school.
In a phone conversation with Channels Television’s Imo state correspondent, the VC said that his members were still on strike and that it was only the National Executive Council of ASUU that had the powers to call off strike.
Following the strike embarked by teachers in public primary and secondary schools in Delta state, the state leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday pleaded with the State governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan to intervene and stem the industrial crisis.
The strike which commenced on Tuesday had crippled academic activities in public schools in the state.
In a letter to the Governor titled: “An appeal to avert The on-going strike action by teachers in Delta state,” the state Chairman of the NLC, Williams Akporeha urged the governor to quickly intervene in the matter to avert the on-going industrial action by primary and secondary school teachers in the state.
The letter, which was made available to journalists, reads in parts, “We write to passionately draw your kind attention to the above mentioned subject and to humbly appeal for your quick intervention towards averting the on-going industrial action by primary and secondary school teachers in the state.
“Your Excellency Sir, you will recall that the issue at stake have actually lingered for so long and deserve your immediate intervention to ensure continued peaceful industrial climate in the state”
Mr Akporeha said that the available records with the state council of congress indicates that the issue at stake include; non-restoration of the 27.5 percent teachers peculiar allowance, non-promotion of stagnated school principals on SGL16 in the state to SGL17, continued stagnation of university graduate teachers in primary school system on SGL14.
Others, he noted are; non-payment of arrears of minimum wage to primary school teacher s, non-payment of arrears of the consolidated salary structure to primary school teachers in the state.
He said Labour was equally worried about inadequate classrooms for displaced students from schools recently handed over to missions in the state.
Mr Akporeha held that the issue may create another source of crisis in the state if not immediately addressed, as it tends to negate the policy of education for all (EFA).
He therefore urged Governor Uduaghan to “act in his usual labour friendly disposition to address the issues raised without further delay. “
Argentine forward and Barcelona ace player Lionel Messi has credited his club the Spanish giants on their readiness on the challenge of competing on all the tournaments this season.
Barca appeared on course to retain both their league and Champions League triumphs as last season drew to a close.
But they were knocked out of Europe’s premier club competition by Chelsea in the semi-finals and lost their domestic crown to Real Madrid.
He admitted that as always, he would have loved to win the champions league last season and every other tournaments as it has been their trademark for a while now.
He said further that not beating Chelsea who were crowned the new European Champions last season and playing the final was painful for Barcelona and the most painful for him was the penalty he missed but all that is behind now because Barcelona will be going all out for laurels again for they are very prepared.
The Argentine said although new coach Tito Vilanova had a different personality to previous boss Pep Guardiola, his approach to football is the same.
Abuja will not be seeing long queues from friday as the national union of petroleum and natural gas workers nupeng has lifted the strike.
Petrol tankers are now allowed into the city to dispense fuel to petrol stations.
The federal government reached an agreement with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), the Nigeria Labour Congress and oil marketers during a closed door meeting in Abuja that lasted for over 9 hours.
In a communique signed by all parties and read by the Minister of Labour Emeka Wogu, it was resolved that all the issues raised over subsidy payments, non payment of salaries among others will be looked into and reviewed in 2weeks.
The negotiation between the Federal Government and the employee’s union of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) has been postponed till next week Tuesday. Briefing journalists after a closed door meeting chaired by the Secretary General of the federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, the president of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Peter Esele said the government continues to insist that the labour union is mis-informed.
“Our position on the matter is clear. We are not telling the government not to privatise or carry out the reform it wants to carry out in the power sector. Our position is, for you to do this, the severance package as enshrined in the condition of service is followed to the letter,” Mr Esele said.
“If government does that, then there will be no problem at all,” he added
The labour activist therefore disclosed that a full representation of all parties will meet on 28 August to find a middle ground and iron out the issues once and for all.
Meanwhile, the employees of the PHCN continue to maintain that the Federal Government must pay its workers the 25 percent demanded for their pension before privatizing the power sector.
The Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has threatened to embark on an indefinite strike over the failure of the federal government to pay subsidy for imported petroleum products and the poor state of the country’ refineries among other issues.
The group disclosed this at a media briefing addressed by its national president, Achese Igwe, in Lagos.
Meanwhile, the NUPENG president said the union will begin its planned strike today in sympathy with their members sacked on Wednesday by the MRS Oil and Gas Plc.
Mr Igwe said the strike will continue until the MRS management reinstates the sacked drivers.
He said: “Despite the promises and understanding reached between the union and the management of MRS, the company still went ahead to sack our members, about 2,500 tanker drivers.
“The action of the company is not acceptable to us as a union.”
He said the strike would be restricted to the Lagos zone, which includes Lagos, Ogun, Ekiti, Oyo, Osun and Kwara States.
Other parts of the country depend on this area for supply of fuel; therefore, it would be more like a national strike.
Mr Achese said that other parts of the country might join the strike in sympathy and solidarity.
The National Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) on Monday suspended its one-week nationwide strike with effect from Tuesday. This according to the union will give the federal government more time to meet its demands.
The Acting National Chairman of the Union, Felix Faniran announced the suspension at a press conference held at the NASU secretariat in Ibadan.
Mr Faniran, who said the decision was to minimise the sufferings of ordinary Nigerians, directed members of the union to resume work on Tuesday morning.
JOHESU, an amalgamation which comprises various professional unions in the health sector, had on May 7 embarked on the nationwide strike in federal health institutions.
Mr Faniran said the strike was justified because the government had refused to meet its 10 demands.
He, however, said six out of the demands of the union had been exhaustively discussed with both the Ministry of Labour and Productivity and Ministry of Health while they were resolved in favour of the union.
Mr Faniran listed the remaining four demands to be non-skipping of CONHESS 10, National Health Bill, consultancy status and payment of specialist allowance as well as negotiation of call duty and other professional allowances.
He urged the presidency to expedite action on the Presidential Committee Report on Harmonious Work Relationship among Health Professional and Workers.
Mr Faniran also implored members to show concern with Nigerians, adding that all issues raised would be resolved in their interest.