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Business

The real reason ASUU and FG meetings have stalled

ASUU said there was no way workers whose salaries have been withheld for months could return to work without being paid.

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ASUU gives conditions to call off its nationwide strike action

The recent meeting between ASUU and the Federal Government to end the lingering strike action was stalled because the Federal government unilaterally refused to pay the withheld salaries through other legitimate means than Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

From the onset, ASUU had vehemently opposed the use of IPPIS which was approved by the government. During the meeting with the FG, represented by the Minister of Labour, Dr. Chris Ngige, there was deadlock on reaching a mutual agreement on how to pay the outstanding salaries owed the lecturers, as most lecturers are yet to be on the IPPIS platform.

According to the National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, there was no way workers whose salaries have been withheld for months could be convinced to return to work without being paid. In his words,

“The first step to resolving the impasse is for the government to pay the withheld salaries of our members. It is between four and eight months. You cannot tell a person whose salaries have been seized unjustifiably to go back to work. Moreover, the salaries must be paid through the normal channel,”

As most members of the ASUU members are not yet on the IPPIS platform, the ASUU boss said the government should know better how to handle them.

According to him, “Doing that would help in resolving other issues and make things return to normal. But for the government to insist on IPPIS, there may be trouble still. They are yet to enroll over 70 percent of our members on IPPIS.

“It will take them between three to six months to do so. They are setting a booby trap saying we should enroll on IPPIS first and then they will migrate us to our own University Transparency and Accountability System – UTAS; that is even uneconomical when UTAS can be used to enroll us in a very short time”

What you should know

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ASUU has been on strike since March 2020 over some issues such as:

  • Payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAE).
  • Revitalization of the university system
  • setting up Visitation Panels to universities.
  • Fulfilling conditions included in the 2004 agreement reached between the two sides amongst others.

ASUU and the FG have held several meetings which have always been deadlocked, as a result of disagreement over the payment channel for the ASUU members.

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It is believed that the large turn-out witnessed at the hijacked #EndSARS protests across the country was made possible as a result of the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU).

Johnson is a risk management professional and banker with unbridled passion for research and writing. He graduated top of the class with B.sc Statistics from the University of Nigeria and an MBA degree with specialization in Finance from Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma, with fellowships from the Association of Enterprise Risk management Professionals(FERP) and Institute of Credit and Collections management of Nigeria (FICCM). He is currently pursuing his PhD in Risk management in one of the top-rated universities in the UK.

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    Business

    JAMB bans use of email by candidates for UTME, DE registration

    JAMB has announced that candidates for the UTME and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

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    The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) has announced that candidates for the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry will no longer be required to provide their email addresses at the point of registration.

    The new adjustment is to protect candidates from various forms of manipulation and distortion of their personal details by some fraudulent cyber café operators.

    The Registrar of JAMB, Prof. Is-haq Oloyede, who made the disclosure while addressing newsmen at the board’s headquarters on Wednesday in Bwari, Abuja, said the change, would take effect from Thursday, April 15, 2021.

    What the JAMB Registrar is saying

    Oloyede said, “They gain access to profiles of these candidates under the pretense of creating an email address for them. Then they change and block the candidates from receiving messages from the board. They also extort them after they change their passwords.

    In view of this, the board has come up with adjustments to our operations. The first decision is that beginning from Thursday, April 15, candidates would no longer be required to provide any email address during registration from this year onwards.

    It is by going to these cyber cafes to open emails that these candidates are open to abuse and stealing of their personal data,’’ he said.

    He said that the board now had a mobile app that would allow candidates to deal directly with the board with their smartphones or via SMS to ‘55019’ code option.

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    The code option, he explained, would allow candidates to check admission status as well as all other verifications via SMS.

    He said, “Printing of examination slips, results notification or raising tickets can be done anywhere by using candidates’ registration number only. However, at the close of registration every year, we would need the email addresses of the candidates so we can have access to as many of them as possible.

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    At the conclusion of registration, candidates are expected to send their email addresses through the mobile app or text message to the 55019 code twice, for validation. This is to update their profile with JAMB as the email will no longer be used as access to their profile, but rather as a communication tool with candidates.’

    While advising candidates to guard their phones with utmost care as it was the weapon for all transactions, Oloyede said that henceforth, all JAMB owned Computer-Based Tests (CBT) centres across the country, would only allow candidates with ATM cards into its centres.

    He said that in order to cut down on the activities of fraudsters who hijack candidates to extort money from them, the centres would no longer allow candidates go outside the centres to pay for their e-pins and other cash transactions.

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    The JAMB Registrar said, “Only candidates with ATM cards will be allowed into all JAMB owned CBT centres, it can be that of their parents as long as they have the pin for the transaction.

    “Those without ATM cards can go to other privately owned CBT centres where they can pay cash to register but we will not take cash or transact outside our centres.’’

    What you should know

    Meanwhile, in a related development, JAMB had said that the board lost over N10 million in 2020 to activities of fraudsters who penetrated their payment portal for ad-hoc staff.

    The JAMB Registrar said that the money, which was meant to pay JAMB ad-hoc staff from the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), was hijacked by the suspected fraudsters.

    JAMB had a few days ago confirmed the commencement of registration for the 2021 UTME/DE examinations after the initial hiccup.

    It stated that applicants must provide NIN at the point of registration with the registration by Direct Entry candidates to run concurrently with that of UTME candidates.

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    Business

    FG grants 8 barge operations licenses as cargo movement to Onitsha port, others set to commence

    The government is likely to generate billions of naira in revenue from the movement of cargo from Lagos ports to other inland ports across the country.

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    We don’t have $1 billion hidden account – NPA

    The Federal Government has issued operating licences to about 8 barge operators to move containers from Lagos Ports to Onitsha River Port and other inland ports through the country’s inland waterways.

    This is as the government is likely to generate billions of naira in revenue with the planned movement of cargo from Lagos ports to Onitsha River Port and other inland ports across the country.

    According to a report from Thisday, the Federal Government would likely generate as much as N30 billion annually from that operation if well managed, although the Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) is yet to make the estimated revenue from the effort public so as not to jeopardize the project.

    This is coming after some government officials had in August 2020, announced that some government maritime agencies are working on modalities for the commencement of transportation of containers from Lagos ports to Onitsha River port through barges.

    The Managing Director of NIWA, George Moghalu, at a meeting with the stakeholders in Lagos, said that moving cargoes by waters through barges would be cheaper than roads adding that the initiative was part of ongoing efforts to solve the gridlock in Lagos ports.

    What the Managing Director of NIWA is saying

    He said that NIWA management decided to have a meeting with the barge operators that it has already licensed to fashion out ways to make the project successful.

    Moghalu specifically said, “So it is all about moving cargo between Lagos and Onitsha and other inland ports. We have licensed about eight barge operators. A lot of people have applied but we are being very careful because we have the Standard Operating manual, which we strictly insist that you have to meet all the requirements. At the same time also we do not lose sight of the fact that NPA also licenses barge operators. We try to synergise our operations so standards are not compromised.”

    He said the use of the nation’s waterways would save the country’s decaying infrastructure and the money spent on repairing and rebuilding them and increase revenue generated by the government.

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    On the security of cargo, the NIWA boss said: “Even on the road, there are security challenges. So, there are security challenges everywhere and there is no way we would discuss the movement of cargoes without looking at the security challenges. There’s a case of getting everybody involved, the Navy, Police, the NIWA Police, Marine Police and even the local communities because security is everybody’s concern and we all have to address it.”

    He pointed out that the charges for using the waterways would be cheaper than moving cargoes by road as the modalities for moving cargoes from Lagos to Onitsha is being worked out.

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    He said, “People are creating unnecessary fear about insecurity, when I came into the office and made up my mind to explore the possibility of using our inland waterways, everybody discouraged me. Then we did a trial run using Onne to Onitsha and it worked.

    It is about identifying the channel, and surveys on a regular basis. We have our report guiding those that are going to use it and they will use it. I don’t want to be discouraged and I don’t want anything to dampen my enthusiasm like the enthusiasm of those working with us, the channels are navigable and the consignment will move.”

    In case you missed it

    The National Inland Water Ways Authority had last month, made public its intention to move 1000 containers per trip from Lagos ports to Onitsha river port within a maximum duration of 4 days.

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    It said that the idea of hauling containers from Lagos ports via Burutu Ports to Onitsha River Port is to deliberately avoid the two small bridges of Gbarekolo and Bumandi, which are too tiny and shallow for sea-moving badges or vessels to ply.

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