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JAMB Remits N5bn to FG

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) remitted N5 billion to the federal government’s coffers after the conduct of its 2019 unified tertiary matriculation examination (UTME).

Fa bian Benjamin, JAMB’s head of media and information, disclosed this in the board’s weekly bulletin, tagged “JAMBULLETIN”.

Benjamin later explained that out of the N5 billion returned to the federal government, N2 billion was given back to the board to enhance its operation.

“Technically, the board returned N5 billion to the federal government but out of that amount, the board was handed N2 billion to further enhance its operation,” he said.

Last year, his first in running the board as the registrar, Ishaq Oloyede remitted N7.8 billion to the treasury, as against the N50 million remitted by his predecessor from 2010-2016.

Following the huge amount recorded from the last UTME, the federal government ordered a reduction in examination fees from N5000 to N3,500.

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Strike: FG, ASUU Meeting Adjourned Till Thursday

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The meeting between the Federal Government and the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has been adjourned till Thursday (February 7, 2019).

Today’s meeting makes it the 9th time the striking lecturers are meeting with the minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige to resolve the industrial action which has lingered for almost three months.

The lecturers proceeded on strike on November 4, 2018, in protest of what they described as poor welfare, university revitalization among other demands.

Speaking to journalists at the end of the meeting, the labour minister, as well as the ASUU President, noted that they are making progress.

Both parties, however, refused to give any specific details, stating that the press will be briefed after next Thursday’smeeting

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ASUU, FG to Resume Talks on Monday

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government are to resume talks Monday (tomorrow) on how to resolve the impasse over the two-month-old strike embarked upon by lecturers.

National President of ASUU, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, confirmed the development in a telephone interview with SUNDAY PUNCH, in Abuja, on Friday.

He, however, said the union was not optimistic about the prospects of an early resolution of the industrial dispute.

In response to a question on whether there had been any fresh development with regard to the resolution of the dispute, Ogunyemi said, “I’ am afraid nothing new. I understand they will be meeting us on Monday. Let’s wait and see if they take a reasonable step; it will determine our next line of action. Until then, let’s wait and see.”

The ASUU president had in an exclusive interview last week said members of the union were tired of government’s failed promises.

He said, “Last year, they promised to release the funds but they did not until November when the strike began. Our members are saying they do not want promises again; what they want is action, implementation or disbursement of funds.

“The government must act in a way to convince the union that the agreement has not been set aside. To show that the government has not set aside the agreement, they should release one tranche.”

He explained that in order to forestall a situation where ASUU and the government would restart negotiations on arrears of earned academic allowances, both sides had agreed that “it would be mainstreamed into the 2019 budget.”

Ogunyemi also said, “We are going to have a discussion on when to commence renegotiation because there are still grey areas. If the government can substantially address these issues, we will be more confident to face our members on the way forward. For now, the signals we are getting is that our members do not actually want to accept this government proposal from us.”

Members of ASUU went on strike on November 4, 2018 to demand for improved funding of universities and implementation of previous agreements with the government.

The union is also seeking the implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreements, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU; 2012 and 2013) and Memorandum of Action (MoA, 2017), among others.

The union is also asking the Federal Government to expedite action on the release of funds to revitalise public universities in accordance with the FGN-ASUU MoU of 2012, 2013 and the MoA of 2017.

The university teachers are also demanding the release of the operational licence of the Nigerian University Employees Pension Company.

The Director of Press at the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Samuel Olowookere, could not be reached when one of our correspondents tried to get the reaction of the Federal Government on the issue

But a source in the ministry, who spoke on condition of anonymity said ASUU should be blamed for the delay in reopening the universities.

The source added that the FG had showed commitment to the ASUU’s demands and that it was better to start from what the FG had offered than to halt negotiation.

“The Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, had told the leadership of ASUU that the FG would accept many of their demands but flexibility is needed to implement the rest. They left the meeting happy and said they would discuss the progress with their other organs. But they had delayed in moving forward. The blame is no longer in on the FG. ASUU should come forward with what they think of the FG’s commitment so far.”

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No Salary For Striking ASUU Lecturers – FG

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The Federal Government has directed the vice-chancellors of public universities and inter-varsity centers to enforce the no-work-no-pay rule on the lecturers who are on strike.

The directive was communicated to universities in a memo by the National Universities Commission to universities’ VCs.

The memo, which was signed by the Director, Research, Information, and Technology, Dr. S. B Ramon-Yusuf, stated that payment of salaries from any other sources would be viewed as a violation of extant rules and government’s directive.

It partly read, “In view of the current Industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Federal Government has directed that there shall be no payment of any form of salaries and allowances to the staff on strike in federal and inter-varsity centers.

“Consequently, I am to direct vice-chancellors to apply the “No-work-no-pay” rule. However, universities and inter-varsity centers are to pay salaries and allowances to non-teaching staff. All Vice-Chancellors and Directors of Centers should note that the salaries to staff on strike from whatever source of funds shall be viewed as a violation of extant rules and directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

Reacting to the memo, Chairman of the University of Ibadan chapter of ASUU, Dr. Deji Omole, said it was shameful for the Federal Government to owe lecturers seven years of unpaid salaries and allowances and still want them to continue to work while the Presidency and the National Assembly members feed fat on the wealth of the nation.

He said a government that prides itself as having integrity should honor agreements reached with the union instead of resulting to harassment and intimidation of union members on a patriotic struggle to save public education in the country.

Omole noted that the directive would fuel the struggle, adding that the union members had resolved to get a proper education for the children of average Nigerians.

He said military government tried unsuccessfully to intimidate the collective will of Nigerian masses, adding that members of the union had resolved to fight for the future of the country.

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