UNIBEN Seeks Better Funding As FG Delegation Inspects Projects

UNIBEN Postgraduate Students Reject Increased Thesis Defence Fees

The management of the University of Benin has appealed to the Federal Government to release funds for the completion of abandoned projects in the institution.

Top UNIBEN officials made the appeal on Tuesday when a Federal Government delegation inspected projects being executed by the FG in the institution.

The officials told Channels Television that projects under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) receive better funding, and that some of those funded directly from Federal Government allocation to the school had been abandoned due to poor funding.

A deputy director in the Ministry of Education, Charity Ogah, who represented the Minister of Education, gave the assurance that the Federal Government would continue to do the needful to improve the country’s educational sector.

“Government is doing its best, the ministry is making all necessary effort to ensure that we have peace and ensure that teaching and learning go on very well in our institutions of learning,” she said.

“Government has the interest of every citizen at heart and we are doing our best, with time you will begin to see the result. Government is listening.”

Work is ongoing at the projects the team inspected. They include the postgraduate hostel, female hostel as well as a lecture hall for the faculty of education all of which are funded by the TETFUND.

But for others like the faculty of agriculture building and the college of medical sciences, this is not the case as funding has been a major challenge.

The Director of Physical Planning, UNIBEN, Timi Ikhiesemoje, said, “The ones by the Federal government is actually epileptic in the sense that the funding is inadequate.

“Every year, we wait for allocation, the money allocated is not enough to even complete the number of projects that they are meant for, so we have to focus on few ones to be able to have something reasonable to get out from the funding.”

On his part, the Pro-Chancellor of the University of Benin, Yisa Muhammad said, “The situation in Nigeria is the sort that we have to manage what we have; the resources are limited and we cannot satisfy everybody, but definitely education is underfunded and we will do whatever is humanly possible as a government supplement, that is through the intervention projects like the TETFUND.”

EFCC Arraigns Contractor Over Alleged Diversion Of N0.3bn TETFUND

EFCC Arraigns Contractor Over Alleged Diversion Of N0.3bn TETFUNDThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned one John Ojekorede Ojemuyiwa alongside his company, Digitpro Engineering Technology Ltd. before Justice A.O. Oladimeji of the Osun State High Court sitting in Ede.

The Ibadan Zonal Office of the Commission arraigned Mr Ojemuyiwa on Monday, April 3, on a two-count charge bordering on stealing and giving of gratification to public officers.

The accused, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Ojemuyiwa’s journey to the dock followed a petition to the EFCC sometimes in April 2016 by the Civil Societies Coalition for the Emancipation of Osun, alleging a fraudulent conversion and diversion of 0.3 billion Naira TETFUND approved for sundry projects at the Osun State College of Education, Ila Orangun.

In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Oluwatoyin Owodunni, asked the court for a trial date while the defence counsel, Banjo Akinwande, approached the court with an oral application for bail which was opposed by the prosecution counsel.

Justice Oladimeji ordered that the defence counsel presents a formal application to help the court exercise its discretion on the bail application, in view of the antecedents of failure of the accused person to honour the EFCC’s invitation twice.

One of the counts read: “That you John Ojekorede Ojemuyiwa and Digitpro Technology Ltd., sometimes in February 2014 at Ila Orangun within the Osogbo judicial division, stole the sum of 53,837,574.08 Naira (fifty three million, eight hundred and thirty-seven thousand, five hundred and seventy-four Naira, eight Kobo) only, from the sum of 112,810,952.20 Naira (one hundred and twelve million, eight hundred and ten thousand, nine hundred and fifty-two Naira, twenty Kobo) advance payment to you as mobilisation fee for the construction of an amphitheatre by the Osun State College of Education, Ila Orangun, Osun State”.

The second count also read: “That you John Ojekorede Ojemuyiwa and Digitpro Technology Ltd., sometime in February 2014 at Ila Orangun within the Osogbo judicial division, corruptly gave the sum of 43,093,694.36 Naira (forty-three million, ninety-three thousand, six hundred and ninety-four Naira, thirty-six Kobo) to members of the Governing Council, Osun State College of Education, Ila Orogun, through one David Olayinka Olojede of De Capstone Ltd. on account of the award of a contract worth 228,298,302.00 Naira (two hundred and twenty-eight million, two hundred and ninety-eight thousand, three hundred and two Naira) and the over payment of mobilisation fee to you by the Governing Council and the Management of Osun State College of Education”.

The matter was adjourned till Tuesday, May 2, 2017 for hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.

The accused is to be remanded at the Federal Prison, Ilesha in Osun State, South-west Nigeria.

ASUU Criticizes Amendment Of JAMB Act

ASUU, JAMB Act, amendmentThe Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has criticized the ongoing amendment of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board Act, describing the process as erroneous and capable of hindering the development of the universities.

The union also described the application of the Treasury Single Account on the universities as inimical to the wellbeing of the institutions.

The President of the ASUU, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, stated this at a press conference on the state of the nation in Abuja.

The union however okays the decision of the National University Commission (NUC) to scrap pre-degree and diploma courses from Nigerian universities.

Although ASUU is silent on whether it will embark on a nationwide strike or not, the leaders of the union said that they would network with other unions to see how best to engage the government on the issues they have raised.

The Nigerian Senate had on October 13, recommended the extension of the validity of JAMB examination results for three years from the date of the examination.

Federal lawmakers took this decision to amend the JAMB Act after the Chairman of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tetfund, Senator Jibrin Barua, read the report of the committee which was mandated to work on the act.

The Registrar of JAMB, Professor Ishak Oloyede, has also called on the Nigerian Senate to suspend the amendment of  the JAMB Act, explaining that the bill was a product of acrimony and if passed would be counter-productive.

3-Year Validity

The recommendations of the Senate committee include mandating a three-year validity period for JAMB results. This would ensure that a candidate who meets the requirements for admission and is duly qualified shall remain so qualified for three years.

The committee also recommended that a candidate awaiting admission shall be given preference in the succeeding year over fresh applicants who shall only become eligible when the backlog has been cleared.

The committee also recommended that the matriculation examinations conducted by the board shall be the sole examination required for admission and entry into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education to the exclusion of any other institution or body.

The Senate approved all the recommendations.

JAMB Scraps Scratch Card Use, Seeks Suspension Of Act Amendment

JAMB, NUC, senate, Scratch Card, AmendmentThe Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has scrapped the use of scratch card for any of its transactions and services.

The Registrar, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, made the announcement in Abuja in a paper he delivered during a meeting of the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities.

He described the practice as “archaic” and one that should be ended in order to move the agency forward.

In a statement by its spokesperson, Dr. Fabian Benjamin, JAMB says it will now deploy the pin vending platform to check all forms of fraudulent practices which was prevalent with the use of scratch cards.

He explained: “The decision is as a result of its consistent subjection to fraudulent practices; the use of scratch cards is archaic and it is the aim of JAMB to also promote accountability in line with government’s zero tolerance for corruption.

“This new system will be accessible through the options of web payment, ATM issued cards (Visa, Verve and MasterCard), online quick teller, ATM payment, quick teller mobile application and Bank Branch case/card.”

Oloyede also suggested a return to the old practice which saw only serving vice-chancellors being made chairmen of the Governing Board of JAMB since the agency was a creation of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian universities.

This, he said, would “engender good synergies and harmonious relationship with a view to effectively delivering on its mandates” as he believed that the current setup has led to acrimony between tertiary institutions and JAMB.

Amendment Act

Prof Oloyede has also called on the Nigerian Senate to suspend the amendment of  the JAMB Act.

The Nigerian Senate had on October 13, recommended the extension of the validity of JAMB examination results for three years from the date of the examination.

Federal lawmakers took this decision to amend the JAMB Act after the Chairman of the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and Tetfund, Senator Jibrin Barua, read the report of the committee which was mandated to work on the act.Is-haq-Oloyede---JAMD-Register

Oloyede has now explained that the bill was a product of acrimony and if passed would be counter-productive.

“An appeal has been made to the National Assembly to suspend the process of the amendment to allow the Board and tertiary institutions, including the Federal Ministry of Education and other stakeholders to go back to the roundtable for discussion at a conducive atmosphere, as all agreed to work together for the benefit of the Nigerian child,” the statement said.

3-Year Validity

The Senate committee recommended that a candidate who meets the requirements for admission and is duly qualified shall remain so qualified for three years.

The committee also recommended that a candidate awaiting admission shall be given preference in the succeeding year over fresh applicants who shall only become eligible when the backlog has been cleared.

The committee also recommended that the matriculation examinations conducted by the board shall be the sole examination required for admission and entry into all universities, polytechnics and colleges of education to the exclusion of any other institution or body.

The Senate approved all the recommendations.

Research Institutes Demand Inclusion In TETFund

HIV/AIDS, Nigerian SenateThe Academic Staff Union of Research Institutes in Nigeria has staged a protest to the National Assembly to demand inclusion of all research institutes and colleges of agriculture as beneficiaries of interventions from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).

The protesters barricaded the entrance of the National Assembly on Monday, chanting solidarity songs, as security officials refused to allow the group into the premises of the National Assembly.

Addressing journalists, the Secretary General of the union, Mr Theophilus Ndubuakwu, said that the protest was to demand for the inclusion of colleges of agriculture and research institutions as beneficiaries of the interventions from TETFund.

He called on the House Committee on Tertiary Education to make the inclusion as it begins deliberations on the amendment of the act that established TETFund about five years ago.

Resident Doctors Explain Reasons For Ultimatum

Nigerian DoctorsThe President of the National Association of Resident Doctors of Nigeria (NARD), Muhammed Askira, says the ultimatum given to the Federal Government by the association is due to government’s delay in meeting the demands of the resident doctors.

The doctors had given a 21-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to address their issues or face a nationwide strike.

‘Remuneration Injustice’

Dr. Askira was the guest of Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Friday and he explained that the issues were mainly about their Residency Training Programme and what he called ‘Remuneration Injustice’.

Mr Askira explained that over the years, the Residency Training Programme had not been provided with a template or guiding policy that was uniformly applied in all the training institutions.

“There is no uniform template for employment, there are no enough spaces for intake of resident doctors and also the National Postgraduate College that is supposed to be coordinating the activities and accreditation of the training institutions is not adequately funded,” he said.

The implication, according to him, is that training institutions and resident doctors have had to scramble for funds to sponsor resident doctors for update courses.

“If you look at it, the residency training programme, as the only postgraduate medical training programme in Nigeria for producing medical specialists, not funded is not acceptable,” he added.

He further disclosed that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund), which was set aside by previous governments, had not been covering the medical profession.

He appealed to the present administration to come to the aid of the NARD.

Dr. Askira cited the salary challenges being faced by their members working for state governments as another issue the association wants addressed.

He mentioned Osun, Oyo, Imo and Abia as states where their members have spent between three to eight months without their salaries.

Referring to Osun State as the worst, he wondered why the state government would not heed the cries of the doctors who had been considerate enough not to down tools during a period when all workers in the state did.

“When the bailout came, the government settled the backlog of the salaries of all workers and when they found out they could not continue paying the salaries, what is the normal thing to do? You call everybody to have an understanding.

“The government saw reasons to call only the other workers and not the resident doctors in LAUTECH and with the other workers they now agreed to a percentage of salaries, just for the resident doctors to wake up in July and find 46% of their salaries (unpaid).”

Before the Ultimatum

Asked if there had been efforts to resolve the issues with government before the issuance of an ultimatum, Dr Askira said that the association was left with no option, as every attempt to bring the Federal Government to the negotiation table failed.

“Since I assumed office on September 15 last year till today, as I am talking to you, there is no single working day that I am not in Abuja. I am primarily employed in Maiduguri, doing a posting in Kano but I am always in Abuja.

“Sometimes I go into some of the offices and they would not even allow me in and I would sit down and wait for them. Simply because of one fact, we want to see that constructive engagement takes precedence to dispute but at times you have no choice.

“This ultimatum is supposed to have even come since October last year but our members showed restraint, maturity because when we heard the President of the country saying impatience is not a virtue, we say patience is a virtue, lets be patient.

“There was even a circular from the same ministry saying that some of these things would be implemented by January 2016 and we waited till January.

“We delayed, constructively engaging them until now when we found out that unfortunately maybe these people are just like the old ones who understand only ultimatum and strike,” he said.

On Thursday, President Muhammadu  Buhari urged the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) to shelve its threatened strike and give the Federal Government more time to address the  doctor’s grievances.

President Buhari made the appeal at a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) in Abuja.

He gave the doctors an assurance that no agreements duly entered into by the Federal Government would be dishonoured by his administration.

 

FUTO Staff Protest Non-Promotion, Victimization

FUTOWorkers in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) have embarked on a protest against the leadership of the university.

Under the auspices of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), the workers are protesting the non-promotion of their members for over two years.

Addressing newsmen during the protest at the university premises in Owerri, the Imo State capital, the chapter chairman of SSANU, Loveth Ekwemalor, accused the management of introducing unfriendly appraisal guidelines to stagnate staff promotion as against what is contained in the current university scheme of service.

They also accused the management of non-implementation of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) ratio of 30:70 non-teaching and teaching staff conference ratio.

Responding to the allegations, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Mr Francis Eze, described the protest as uncalled for and unwarranted.

He said that the university council had already set up a committee to address the issue of promotion and it was expected that the union would wait for the outcome of the committee’s decision before embarking on any protest.

Mr Eze said that it was not true that staff have not been promoted in the school over the last two years, adding that the action by the three unions was ill-motivated and unwarranted.

NANS Urges Federal Government To Increase Polytechnic Education Funding

NANSThe leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has urged the Federal Government to increase funding of polytechnic education through the TETFUND special intervention.

The group made the call on Sunday in Owerri, the capital of  Imo State in south-east Nigeria while on a facility tour on Federal Government projects to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede in Owerri.

The National President of NANS, Comrade Tijani Usman, said that the association remained committed to supporting President Buhari-led Federal Government in fighting corruption, especially in the education sector.

Mr Usman said that polytechnic education was one of the key to sustainable growth and technological development of Nigeria.

The President reiterated that would not be business as usual for School Authorities who embezzle funds meant for school development by erecting kangaroo projects that do not have impact on the students.

While commending NANS for the visit, the management of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, thanked the Federal Government for the special intervention fund which they said had gone a long way to help the school’s growth.

They, however, appealed to the government for more funding, as students from polytechnics were contributing immensely to the technological growth of country.

Shekarau Urges Buhari To Sustain Jonathan’s Education Transformation Agenda

EducationNigeria’s incoming government have been urged to consolidate on the transformation agenda of the current administration  in the education sector, without considering the political differences.

The Minister of Education, Mr Ibrahim Shekarau, made the statement during his maiden visit to the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede In Owerri the Imo State capital, South-east Nigeria.

Mr Shekarau told reporters that if given more and adequate funding, polytechnics were capable of helping Nigeria attain a high technological development base, as most developed countries in the world.

He also advised the incoming General Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to sustain the two cardinal factors of the present government in education which include; increasing access to education and improving the quality of education.

In his earliest visit to the school, Mr Shekarau met with the Rector of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Mrs Celina Njoku and had brief interaction with the management and staff of the institution.

After the meeting, Mr Shekarau, accompanied by the Minister of State for Education, Professor Viola Onwuliri and the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education, Dr Masaudu Kazaure, proceeded to commission some of projects built by the Federal Government through the TETFUND special intervention and some other projects initiated by the school’s management.

Complementing his statements, Professor Onwuliri noted that the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration had achieved a lot in the education sector, stressing that adequate funding would make Nigeria’s educational system more enviable.

However, Mrs Njoku commended the Minister for the visit and lodged  a complaint over the one billion Naira High Impact Funding for polytechnics in Nigeria which her school did not benefit from

Some of the project commissioned include the new School of Business Management complex, 500 capacity engineering lecture theater, chemical engineering department, the E-library, classroom complex and the fabrication and production workshop.

Nigeria’s Vision 202020 dream is an illusion–ASUU

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has said Nigeria’s aim to become one of the top 20 economies in the world  by 2020 will remain an illusion if the nation’s tertiary education is not overhauled. 

In a statement on Monday signed by its National President, Dr. Nasir Isa, ASUU noted that,“unless something drastic and fundamental is done about the universities where those who drive the other levels of education are produced” the Vision 202020 is far-fetched .

Reacting to the recent release of funds by TETFUND to some universities, the academic body of lectures noted “the intervention of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) were beginning to make a difference on university campuses” but added that “TETFUND, as an intervention agency, was not conceived of, and should not be a replacement for government shelving its responsibility on adequate funding of its universities.”

The statement further allege that, “for five months, following the resolution of the dispute between ASUU and the Government on the need to address the rot in Nigerian universities as a matter of urgency, reliable scientific data have been obtained from the universities.”

“Accordingly, ASUU expects the Federal Government to release urgently the agreed N100billion special intervention for sole purpose of addressing some of the prioritized needs immediately the Needs Assessment Report is released.”

ASUU also called on the federal government not to renege on the release of additional N400billion subsequently for the next two years as agreed with the body.

Meanwhile, the union has alleged that state governors posed the biggest problem to state universities in Nigeria today.

ASUU claimed that most governors have turned universities into “appendages of their offices and extension of personal estates.”

It claimed the governors manipulate the system, disregard university laws and show outright discontent for what universities stand for.

 

UNILAG and 11 universities to get TETFUND’s N25 billion fund

Twelve tertiary institutions across the six geo-political zones of the country have been allocated N25 billion for academic upgrade under the Special High Impact Programme of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).

The Minister of Education, Professor Ruqayyatu Rufai, at the 2012 Strategic Planning Workshop organised by TETFUND on Tuesday, announced the 12 benefiting institutions which included the University of Lagos, for the fourth phase of the Special Intervention Fund.

The fund is meant for the execution of high impact projects covering learning, postgraduate training, research and publications.

According to Prof. Rufai, “six federal and state universities will each get N2 billion while three polytechnics and three colleges of education will get N1 billion each.”

These funds are in addition to N589 million given to all Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education as normal intervention fund for the year 2012 is meant to impact the academic growth of universities and other tertiary institutions.

She further revealed that besides the Special High Impact Fund, the 12 tertiary institutions are given normal interventions funds for the year.

These funds, she also disclosed, will be closely monitored to ensure they are put to good use by each university authorities.

The TETFUND is dedicated towards the improvement and maintenance of standards in higher educational institutions in the country. The minister also said “the allocations to institutions have increased with each passing year”.

The Minister of Education noted that with these intervention funds, inadequate funding can no longer be blamed for substandard education in Nigeria.