FG To Set New Policy Direction In Universities

Nigeria Needs More Private Universities - NUC Exec SecretaryThe Federal Government says that the incessant face-off between the governing councils of universities and the institutions’ authorities over the running of the day-to-day activities in the universities will no longer be tolerated.

The warning was handed down by the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, during the 31st convocation ceremony of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT), Rivers State.

The Minister who represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the occasion also stated some new policy direction in the university system across the country.

“We must stop housing those who are adventurers, who have no business being in the universities to be in the university. In that wise, it’s being proposed and it will fly that at the end of this academic year, any student that fails to get up to 0.5 GPA should seize being a student of the university.

“The universities will continue from now on to house people who are serious with what they have come here to do. If you score less than 0.5 in your GPA, you are out and out for good.

“Secondly, Mr Vice Chancellor, starting from this year, JAMB has been advised to stop sending students to our professional universities with unrelated disciplines.

“If you are a University of Agriculture, your business should be agriculture; not in medicine, not in law, not in accountancy. Science and technology must remain University of Science and Technology.

“If states wish to have conventional universities, then they must speak to the Federal Government and such schools will be given to such states,” Professor Anwuka said.

A Dangerous Trend

The Vice Chancellor of UNIPORT, Professor Ndowa Lale, on his part, lamented the rate at which student unionism degenerates into what he described as a dangerous trend for the university authorities.

Professor Lale called on the Federal Government to regulate the operational structure of Students’ Union Government, adding that they pose threat to the statutory administration of the universities.

“Union leaders ascribe to themselves funny sounding titles as executive president and commander-in-chief of Aluta forces, secretary general and head of service, chief judge, senate president, honourable speaker of parliament, special advisers, woman leader, chief whip, stakeholders and so on.

“All these high sounding offices operate under the auspices of a Students’ Union Government which now operates at parallel point with the appointed authority of the institution,” he claimed.

The convocation ceremony was witnessed by dignitaries such as the Deputy Governor of Rivers State, Ipalebo Banigo, who represented Governor Nyesom Wike; Vice Chancellors from other universities and top government officials among other guests.

 

FG Embarks On Infrastructure Development In Universities

FG Embarks On Infrastructure Development In UniversitiesThe Federal Government has embarked on infrastructure development in Nigerian universities and has begun by handing over newly renovated hostels and other projects to the University of Port Harcourt.

This follows its ASUU agreement of 2009 with the objective of revitalising public universities to meet both national and international standards.

Flagging off the renovated hostels, faculty and laboratory buildings, staff offices and other infrastructure to the university, was the Chairman of the Implementation Monitoring Committee on Needs Assessment Intervention Fund, Professor Kimse Okoko.

The renovation of infrastructure in the university according to him, was the first in thirty years.

The Vice Chancellor of UNIPORT, Proffessor Ndowa Lale, who was also present, said achieving better accommodation facilities was indeed vital.

Representatives of the Federal Ministry of Education, Implementation Monitoring Committee, principal officers of the University were equally present.

On the other hand, some staff and students have commended the development, believing that it is a signal of the improvement of the fortunes of the nation’s tertiary institutions.

Basketball: Rivers Hoopers Continue Fine League Form

Rivers Hoopers, Basketball, DSTVRivers Hoopers have continued their fine form in the Nigeria Premier Basketball League with a slim 59-53 win of the Oluyole Warriors in a weary match up in Port Harcourt.

Point Guard, Chimobi Azubuike, scored 16 points while Somto Chukwu Managor and Moses Godffrey added 8 apiece and 6 rebounds in a very close encounter in Hoopers fourth straight win of the season.

The former champions went into the game in confident mood after wrapping up three straight wins. Although both sides started slowly as no shots were made in the first two minutes of the first quarter.

It was Friday’s hero, Ronald Alalibo whose shot in 8:30 opened the basket for both teams followed up by 3-pointers from the opposing side sparked the game to life.

Azubuike’s double shot with less than 40 seconds on the clock ensured the Port Harcourt side head to the second quarter with 15-13 lead.

The Petroleum Engineering student of the University of Port Harcourt continued from where he left off in the first quarter with two straight shot within few seconds of the second .The game was tied in different occasion, 2:57 25-25, 0:54 27-27 before Moses’s three point shot before the buzzer gave Hoopers the lead going to the break 30-29.

Similarly, Azubuike continued with his brilliant performance in the third quarter with two steals and it also recorded tied points from both teams in 6:26 36-36, 5:45 38-38.

The host, however, got a 10-point lead 54-44 in the fourth with less than five minutes on the clock but the Warriors successfully reduced the deficit but could not snatch the win as they were made to do catch up till the end of the game.

The excited Ogoh Odaudu dedicated the double win to Hoopers’ fans.

“It is a great feeling and it’s something we could have done over and over again during the regular season. It is the last time our fans would see us play this season so we had to give them something to go home with. So the double win was not for us but for our fans.

“If you look at both teams you could see that fatigue had set in a little bit because it was a strenuous game yesterday (Friday) both teams burnt themselves out and today (Saturday) fatigue started setting in and it was a slow and unimpressive game but most importantly is that we came out top.” Odaudu said.

Oluyole Warriors coach, Taye Shobolu hopes his team can still make the last four from the Atlantic Conference of the DSTV Basketball League.

“I am not disappointed. My players did their best and you all can see that the score is so close. Delta Force still have a game in Lagos against Nigeria Customs and the outcome of the game will determine our fate.” Shobolu explained.

Rivers Hoopers will next play Conference leaders, Kwara Falcons on May 27 and 28 in Ilorin which will be the team’s last game of the regular season. Falcons have remained unbeaten on home court.

Resident Doctors Ask Government To Lift Embargo On Employment

doctorsThe National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) has pleaded with the Nigerian government to lift the embargo on employment of its members that has been on for over three years.

On Tuesday, the doctors expressed displeasure with the embargo placed on the employment of its members in both the State and Federal Government Hospitals.

The plea was made by the National President of the Group, Prince Dan-Jumbo at a brief in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital in Rivers State.

Apparently worried by the state of affairs in the Health Sector, the NARD President queried the personnel funds that run into billions released to the Federal Ministry of Health when resident Doctors are not being employed, calling on the President-elect, General Mohammadu Buhari, to look into the plight of the Health Workers and residency programmes in the country, to avert any possible crisis in the sector.

The group (NARD) also frowned at the non payment of the wages of its members in Kogi, Benue, Edo and Lagos States, appealing to the various State Governments to fulfill their obligations to the Doctors and to take health matters more seriously.

#ALUU4 Parents Mark One Year Of Students’ Death

One year after the gruesome murder of four students of University of Port Harcourt in Aluu, in the Ikwerre Local Government Area of Rivers State, some government officials, students and civil society organisations joined in sympathising with the parents of the deceased during the one year memorial service in commemoration of their death.

Speaking at a Memorial Mass Service and unveiling of the Four Friends Dream Alive Foundation in Port Harcourt in Port Harcourt, the Catholic Priest Reverend Father Pata Edward has urged parents of the deceased students to remain prayerful and accept the will of God in good faith.

He called on the federal and state governments to give students’ welfare and security a human face in the current political dispensation.

The clergy also tasks Nigerian leaders to shun selfishness and greed which he claimed has bemoaned the Nigerian society and fashion out workable measures that would usher in development and ensure better Nigeria.

Disclosing their feelings on the judicial system in the past one year, the Commissioner for Information and Communications in Rivers State, Hon. Ibim Semenitari decried the slow dispensation of justice in the nation’s judicial system.

Semenitari also said, the Rivers State Government is determined to prosecute the killing of the four UNIPORT students to its logical conclusion and ensure justice is done.

Also speaking, a human rights activist in the Niger Delta, Ann Kio Briggs has attributed the killings of the four students of UNIPORT in October, 2012 to lack of accountability by government.

Ann Kio Briggs also explained that the inability of the University of Port Harcourt to provide enough accommodation and security for students of the institution has remained a vacuum to be filled by government as part of its social responsibility to the people.

She called on the judicial arm of government to bring justice to the perpetrators of crime to forestall future occurrences, stating that the involvement of a policeman in the matter is questionable.

On his part, the President of Faculty of Humanities Students Association and UNIPORT Faculty President Forum, Comrade Joseph Iyama expressed dissatisfaction in the way and manner the judiciary failed to give justice on the killing of four students of UNIPORT.

Comrade Iyama further called on the judiciary to ensure speedy dispensation of justice and avoid the politicization of the killing of the four UNIPORT students in order to restore the hope of the Nigerian students in the country.

While campaigning against jungle justice in Nigeria, spokesman of the Civil Liberties Organisation , CLO, in Rivers State, Comrade Livingstone Wechie condemned the act in the nation’s universities and its environment.

Comrade Wechie also described the killing of 40 university students in Adamawa State and another 40 students in Yobe State recently as a wake-up call for the federal government and security agents to live up to their constitutional responsibilities.

He however explained further that, the unveiling of the Four Friends Dream Foundation in commemoration of the gruesome murder of the four students at Aluu would champion the cause that Nigerian educational system is going extinct and must be resuscitated to tackle the upsurge in crime against humanity.

Making their feelings known to journalists shortly after the memorial service, parents of the four students killed at Aluu also disclosed the vacuum the killing had created in the life of their families in the past one year.

Mother to one of the students, late Lloyd Toku-Mike, Mrs Jane Toku-Mike said, the death of her son in the past one year has not only created a vacuum in the family but has encouraged her to prophesy and commit her children to consistent prayer life to avert repetition.

In the same vein, Mrs Chinwe Biringa, mother to late Chiadika Biringa has commended the media for its objectivity and investigative skills, urging the judiciary to rise to its responsibility of speedy dispensation of justice.

Also, Mrs Faith Friday Elkanah, mother to late Friday Elkanah and Mr Obuzor Josiah, father of late Ugonna Kelechi Josiah described the death of their children as a painful loss to the family and the society at large.

Delivering a lecture at the event, a lecturer with the University of Port Harcourt in the Social Sciences Department, Eze Chris Akani called for exemplary moral values in the society to avert crime against humanity.

OPINION: Impact Of Social Media On Nigerian Journalism

Journalism is the activity or profession of writing for newspapers or magazines or of broadcasting news on radio or television while Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share, exchange and comment on contents among themselves in virtual communities and networks.

The impact of social media in the communication system cannot be overemphasized as traditional media has undoubtedly taken an onward progressive turn in achieving its core assignments of educating, informing and entertaining its audience; the Nigerian populace.

The consistent and goal-driven use of social media has filled the interactive and investigative vacuum found in the traditional media in Nigeria and the entire world. Hitherto this new age of journalism, reporters were only able to practice the time-sensitive profession within a certain constrained environment which permitted the Nigerian journalist to find facts from physically available sources.

Today, the Nigerian journalist can boast of new skills in news gathering and better accuracy in reporting the opinion of the people. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google + have been used to monitor trends and gather intelligence in regards to the opinion of the masses.

Take for instance events which have garnered much attention as a result of activities on social media. Thousands of Nigerians joined Twitter during and after the subsidy protest (OccupyNigeria) of 2012,  the death of four UNIPORT students (ALUU4) caused a nationwide outcry against ‘jungle justice,’ the video of a policeman caught extorting a motorist went viral online and has now found its way into TV and radio.

These events were either instigated or projected online as a result of the use of social media platforms by those who witnessed and shared the details.

The ability of the social media to breed interactivity has caused the audience to exit its passive shell and enter into a new sphere of activity. This has helped in a number of other sectors in the economy; most especially politics and education. Worthy of note is the fact that social media has helped traditional media to gain its lost audience (youths).

With the rise in social media usage, Nigerian youths, who scarcely subscribed to the print media, have now cultivated a healthy habit of keeping abreast of events in the country.

Social media has impacted Nigerian journalism in the area of reporting as new features i-reports which allows individuals report events in real time in any case where an official correspondent is not on ground.

The integration of social media in news gathering and delivery has also enabled the Nigerian journalist to work in a capacity that totally erases the restrictions of distance. Today, interviews are conducted via email correspondence, Twitter conversations, Skype video chats etc.

Breaking News! This feature has been redefined since the advent of social media in Nigerian journalism. Journalists can now break news as they happen with supporting files such as pictures taken and posted alongside headlines.

Live broadcasts have been made possible online via web streaming. In most cases, the audience is able to participate and give feedback via the comments section which allows the reporter access to instant feedback.

The World Wide Web evolves daily; so does the social media. This means traditional media will yet experience even more changes and growth in times to come.

Written by Mayowa Ogundele, an online journalist with Channels Television, creative writer and aspiring broadcaster. Follow her via Twitter @Ohluwamayowa and Google+, Mayowa Ogundele.

Aluu Killing: Court Frees 7 Suspects

Seven out of the 18 persons arrested for the killing of the four University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) students in Omuokiri–Aluu community were on Thursday discharged by a Chief Magistrate court following the advice from the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Magistrate, Emmanuel Woke discharged the seven after he read the advice dated 25th January 2013 before the court.

He said that the seven persons were arrested and charged to court based on suspicion.

The advice also indicted one Hassan Welewa and 10 others for negligence in preventing the killings and active participation in the murder of Ugonna Obuzor, Toku Lloyd, Chiadika Biringa, and Tekenah Elkanah.

Channels Television correspondent, Grace Ekang, reports that the magistrate told the court that the 11 accused were to face other charges from the DPP.

13 persons including the 59-year-old traditional ruler of Aluu, Alhaji Hassan Welewa, were in October 2012 arraigned before the Port Harcourt Magistrate Court, over their alleged role in the killing of four students of the University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Updated: UNIPORT shut down as students protest death of slain colleagues

The management of the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) on Tuesday shut down the institution following violent riot by hundreds of students who were protesting the gruesome murder of four of their colleagues last Friday.

The Spokesman of the university, William Wordi, who confirmed the closure of the school to the Vanguard newspaper, said he would send an official statement which was still being expected as at the time of this report.

The students, who defied appeals by the University’s authorities, made good their threat to protest the killing of their colleagues, who were beaten to death and set ablaze by the vigilance group from the Aluu community for alleged robbery.

The protest caused vehicular traffic jam on the road, forcing passengers to trek to their various destinations.

The students carrying placards and photos of their slain colleagues, called for justice.

And if justice was denied, they vowed to retaliate the killing of their colleagues.

Armed policemen and soldiers were drafted to the scene to maintain law and order and Channels Television’s correspondent reported sporadic gunshots and the shooting of tear gas by the security operatives, who attempted to disperse the students.

The protesting students were reportedly marching to the office of the governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi but were stopped by the police.

Frightened students were also spotted attempting to vacate their hostels but were sent back by policemen.

The students had earlier been told to remain calm and allow security agencies perform their duties.

The university also ordered that the National Flag be flown at half-staff and suspended the students’ union week that was to start today.

The identities of the students have been made public by UNIPORT authorities. They are: Biringa Chiadika Lordson, a second-year Theatre Arts student, with Matriculation Number U2010/1805036, Ugonna Kelechi Obuzor, also a year two Geology student with Matriculation Number U2010/5565149 and Mike Lloyd Toku, year two Civil Engineering student with Matriculation Number U2010/3010094.

The fourth person, Tekena Erikena, was yet to be identified as a student of the University of Port Harcourt, but information had it that he was a student of School of Basic Studies.

Senate condemns UNIPORT killings

The Senate President, David Mark on Tuesday said that he is in support of the calls for the introduction of state police to check the worsening insecurity in the country.

Mr Mark said this while the senate discussed the murder of three students of the University of Port Harcourt and one other person at Omuokiri – Aluu community in the Obio/Akpor Local government area of Rivers State.

The senate passed a resolution asking the police and security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the crime including the spectators captured in the video making the rounds and try them for murder.

Chinwe Biringa, mother of the murdered Chiadika Biringa, a second year student of Theatre Arts at UNIPORT had written a petition to the Senate President dated 9 October, 2012 with the title ‘’Petition: Gruesome murder of my son at Aluu, University of Port Harcourt host community.’’

The petition

Part of the letter which was addressed to the senate president reads: “my name is Mrs. Chinwe Biringa. I am the mother of Mr. Chiadika Biringa, a second year student of Theatre Arts at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT). My husband is a very senior staff officer at the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

“My son turned 20 years old this week and we gave him pocket money to celebrate it with his friends. On Friday morning, we were called by my second son, also a UNIPORT student that all was not well and he was hearing bad rumours that villagers at ALUU, the host community of UNIPORT had murdered four students. I immediately rushed to the scene only to see my son’s dead body being taken away naked to a mortuary in UNIPORT Teaching Hospital. I could not believe my eyes and collapsed.

“What did my son do? What did the other three young men who died with him do? First, we heard that the four students were alleged to have stolen a Blackberry phone and a laptop computer. This could not be further from the truth. My son has had a Blackberry phone and in fact a laptop computer since he was in primary school. No way could my son steal such a common thing as a cell phone which every village woman now owns.

“We have been subjected to several gory videos and pictures on the internet. This shows that someone filmed the whole barbarism from beginning to end. My son and his friends were savagely beaten and burnt to death while villagers at ALUU watched. All this has been caught on film!

“The video shows that all this was filmed in broad day light which suggests that they were killed after 7.30 am. Further investigation has revealed that they left their friend’s house at ALUU at about 7 am to go and prepare for lectures.

“To waylay them and beat them with planks until they died like chicken is the most savage thing one can witness in Nigeria of 2012. First they were stripped naked, marched around like frogs and then beaten to death. What savagery and bestiality.

“My husband and I want only two things, namely: (a) To clear the name of Chiadika, (b) justice

“Your Excellency, every responsible parent knows what I, my husband, and the entire family are passing through over this beastly murder.

“Again, and for emphasis, the film shows everything in clear view and all the perpetrators must answer for their crimes.

“We want Justice. Those who murdered my son must face the wrath of the law.

“Heartbroken mother.’’

Arrest killers now

Ayogu Eze (PDP Enugu) brought the matter to the floor of the senate and other lawmakers also condemned the killings.

“Only within one week of another systematic murder of over forty persons, majority of them students in another higher institution of learning in Mubi Adamawa state, and less than two weeks to another shooting within the University of Jos, this situation could flare up across the country and escalate out of control if not properly diagnosed, treated and contained,” Mr Eze said.

Senators were unanimous in calling on security agencies to ensure that those behind the killings are brought to book.

The Senate President said arresting the killers would serve as a deterrent to others.

“Crimes happen everywhere, here and abroad. But the difference between crimes elsewhere and crimes in Nigeria is that outside this country, the perpetrators are arrested as early as possible and they are also brought to book. The reason why people don’t want to commit crime in other climes is the fear of punishment,” he said.

The Senators said the time is ripe for Nigerians to revisit the structure of security organizations in the country.

Reps summons IGP

The House of Representatives in a separate resolution condemned the killing of students in Mubi and Aluu and called on the inspector general of police to ensure that the perpetrators are arrested and prosecuted.

The lawmakers debated the issue after it was presented as a motion of urgent national importance by Abubakar Wambai, who called on the house to send a delegation to the affected areas.

Though the motion focused on the Mubi killings, lawmakers said the killings are similar to the killings in Aluu and the security agencies should be held responsible.

The lawmakers also summoned the Inspector General of police, Mohammed Abubakar to brief the house committee on police affairs over the two incidents in the next one week

M.I composes poem for murdered UNIPORT students

Nigeria’s talent rapper Jude Abaga popularly known as M.I has condemned the killings of the 4 University of Port-Hacourt students who were beaten and burnt alive in front of a crowd.

The young men were accused of stealing laptops and mobile phones before being burnt to death.
In reaction to this, M.I wrote the poem below:

The hope is the worst part of it.

The way they lay there, beaten and broken, battered and bruised. Knowing their end had come for certain. Knowing that the crowd meant to see this through to the end. And yet, in the midst of all this certainty, in some small corner of their hearts, hoping. That something would happen, some miracle perhaps.

I am speaking of course, of the #Aluu4, students of University of Port Harcourt who were beaten and set ablaze last week.

I’d heard the news sometime last week and devoted all of 10 seconds of thought to it. I wondered briefly who the students were, and what could possibly have driven them to steal. I briefly wondered if they were really guilty but my mind quickly shied away from where that road could lead. I remembered all the stories I grew up hearing about thieves and the instant justice meted out to them, and mentally shook my head.

That would have been all, I suppose, but for the video. It is probably the most gruesome thing I have ever seen, and the worst I ever hope to see.
Hope.

There, I’ve said it again. Somehow it seems there is no escaping it.

Because when things like this happen, it seems our default reaction is to hope it will never happen to us or any one we know or love. Then we hope that our religion and hard work and luck will exempt us from senseless suffering. Sometimes we hope that right thing will be done, the wrong doers brought to book, and the victims receive some sort of justice.

Every day we hope the country we live in will be a better place for us and for our children.
And that is the problem with hope.

That we have allowed it to cripple us and render us inactive.

You , me, all of us who sit by hoping and doing nothing to change.

The question is not whether or not the 4 boys stole anything. That is quite besides the point.

Let us ask instead: What do I need to ensure my children do not grow up hearing stories like these?

What would it cost to make this country and are we willing to pay the price?

Because if I were there that day, would I have spoken up and done my best to put a stop to it? Or silently stood by, condemning the actions in my heart, but doing nothing? Would I have been seized by the bloodlust and fear and anger myself, and spurred them on with my shouts, and cries for blood, maybe tossed in a rock or two for good measure.

The society is a mirror of each of us. It is sad and sickening that this was allowed to happen. It shows us all what we are capable of, what w will each do given the right set of circumstances.

These 4 murdered men, their deaths should not be in vain. If anything good could come out of a mess so sordid, let it be that every Nigerian begins to think about the problem and what to do to solve it. Let it be that we understand the problem is ourselves and our failure to take a stand against injustice and lawlessness over the years. Let it be that we promise ourselves never to let this happen again. Not on our land. Not as long as we’re alive.

I hope this time we get it right.

13 arrested over killing of four UNIPORT students for stealing

Thirteen persons, including the Chief of the Omokere Aluu community, in River State, have been arrested in connection with the killings of four students of the University of Port Harcourt, who were accused of stealing.

The Nigerian cyber world is currently frenzying over a video allegedly from Omokere Aluu community in Rivers state, showing a mob action that led to beating, killing and burning of four young men, allegedly for stealing.

The gory video which was published on various websites, late Saturday night, showed how the crowd lynched the four naked men who were eventually set ablaze after three of them went unconscious.

The victims of the mob action have been identified as Lloyd, Tekena, Ugonna and Chidiaka. They were said to be students of the University of Port Harcourt.

The Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers state, Mr. Ben Ugwuegbulam, who confirmed the arrest stated that some arrests were made in Aluu, adding that any person found not culpable would be released.

“The Rivers state police command is strongly opposed to such barbaric conduct, and has commenced diligent investigation into the matter,” he said.

He added that the video was forming part of the investigation.

Conflicting reports trail the reason behind the jungle justice meted on the unfortunate victims.

While some said the victims were robbers and stole blackberry phones and laptops, another report said they were on a debt recovery mission before they were mistaken for robbers.

However, Nigerians have taken to different social media platforms to express their outrage at the killings, calling for a quick investigation and arrest of identified members of the mob.