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Emeka Nwajiuba

The Federal Government has indicated that it might introduce morning and afternoon classes for primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions in the country ahead of school reopening.

 The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, announced this on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, during a briefing by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 in Abuja.

 He said students won’t be allowed to return to schools until their safety is guaranteed, adding that the Ministry of Education will soon publish a guideline on school reopening.

 He said, “Until we are sure these children can go to school, return safely and not bring up with them COVID-19 and infect people who are more susceptible than they are, then we are running a huge risk and God forbid, in our hurry, something happens to our children, I am not sure how anybody will be able to retrieve what has been lost.

 “We are going to publish a specification on what we expect COVID-19 or post-COVID-19 reopening to look like. We are not talking about coping with COVID-19 but in spite of COVID-19, we expect that we will adapt”.

 The Minister dismissed the report that schools would resume on Monday, June 8, and advised private schools authorities to subscribe to the guidelines to enable the children to return to classes.

 He said, “For a country that has over 115,000 primary schools, you will understand that 35,000 of these who are private must agree to set up the same standard in other to allow children to go in.

 “We may have classes in the morning and classes in the afternoon so that we will have the whole of the infrastructure divided, provided they can serve us.

“I am not sure we will have classes at night. But we can do with morning and afternoon for now.”

 Nwajiuba also said the Federal Government will consult experts and the World Health Organisation (WHO) before it reopens schools across the country.

 

 

The President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Abiodun Ogunyemi, has advised members of the union to be prudent in spending their paid salaries, saying the payment was not an indication that the disagreement with the government was over.

He said members should not misconstrue the payment of withheld salaries as a favour done them by the federal government, adding that they were entitled to their wages as paid by their employers.

The president wrote; “Trustees, POs (principal officers) and ZCs (zonal coordinators): Good evening comrades. A number of our colleagues have called or sent messages to make enquiries about payment of the withheld February and March 2020 salaries of our comrades in federal universities through the rejected IPPIS platform.

“It’s clear that what government paid was rightfully earned by our members, not anything special or doing us a favour. Therefore, ASUU members have no apologies withdrawing from their accounts as appropriate.”

The president added in his message that the crisis was not yet over and that members should be prepared for continued opposition to the deployment of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) for the payment of their wages.

He also said the resolution of all outstanding issues in the 2019 FGN/ASUU memoranda of action will continue to be pursued to a logical conclusion.

However, comrades are strongly advised to be prudent as the struggle for the rejection of IPPIS and resolution of outstanding issues in the February 2019 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) is far from over. The struggle continues! He said.

Recall that President Muhammadu Buhari recently approved the payment of the February and March 2020 withheld salaries of lecturers in federal universities, who had not registered in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System -IPPIS

The President also directed the Hon. Minister of Finance, Budget and Planning, and the Accountant General of the Federation to effect the payment urgently by all means to cushion the effects of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period on lecturers and members of their family.

 

 

 

 

 

At least 179 law students and new lawyers of Kwara State origin have each been paid N100,000 scholarship after online application processes and verification that lasted weeks, a government statement said on Saturday.

The payment, made straight to beneficiaries’ accounts, was done in two batches after thorough screenings of the applicants, according to the statement by Honourable Commissioner for Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Hajia Sa’adatu Modibbo-Kawu.

The statement said the first batch comprised 68 backlog students who are still in the law school out of the 89 who applied, while the second batch involved 111 lawyers of Kwara state origin that were called to bar last year November.

“The verification process in the first batch saved the government N2.1million as 21 of the original 89 applicants were screened out on various grounds. Some of them have graduated from law schools, some are non- Kwarans and about 7 of them are neither Kwarans nor in law schools. The successful applicants were paid late December, 2019,” the statement said.

“Yesterday, Friday 10 January, 2020, the government concluded the second batch by paying (N100,000 each) to 111 law school graduates who were recently called to bar after online and physical verification duly monitored by all the stakeholders.”

The government also saved N5.8million as only 111 of the 169 on the approved list survived the screening exercise.

The government had in November paid N5000 bursary each to 8,304 final year students in all the Government-owned (state and federal) tertiary institutions across the country.

Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, meanwhile, has commended one Barrister Yunusa AbdulMutallab, one of the beneficiaries, who was twice credited during the exercise due to network glitches but voluntarily returned the extra payment of N100,000 to the Ministry.

“His action is quite inspiring and reassuring that this state has a bright future. The Governor hereby commends this fine learned gentleman for his honesty and contentment. We are in fact proud of him and wish him success in all of his endeavours,” according to the statement.

 

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says the date for the sales of its registration documents for the 2020 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) still stands, despite the suspension of the NIN.

The Board’s Head, Media and Information, Dr Fabian Benjamin, who disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, said that the process for the acquisition of the PIN remained the same.

He said aside the now suspended use of National Identification Number (NIN) by the board’s management, all other process remain the same.

According to him, no other new process had been introduced by the board as being speculated by some sections of the public.

He emphasised that candidates desirous to sit for the examination should send their surname, first and middle names in that order to 55019 for their UTME PIN and profile code.

He said portal for the registration was expected to be activated on Monday, Jan. 13, the day for the commencement of the sales of the documents.

“Candidates are advised to use one unique telephone number that will be tied to him or her. Those who have also registered for the examination before now should still use the same telephone number to get their UTME PIN.

“We are looking forward to a seemless registration excercise as all logistics to ensure its success have been fully deployed to the various registration centres.

“We will stick to the registration window or calendar as agreed by other examination bodies because they equally have their own examination schedules and will not want a clash.

“To this end, therefore, we also want to implore candidates for Directed Entry to commence the process same day as those for the UTME, as it will close the same day,” he said.

Meanwhile, Benjamin stated that it has come to the notice of the board that a large number of candidates who had been offered admission for the 2019 UTME were yet to accept it.

“We also discovered that some candidates are mistaking such acceptance as being the one put in place by their universities of choice.

“We want to make it clear that clicking ‘accept’ on JAMB’s portal does not attract any fee.

“It is free. Just go to profile on the admission menu and click ‘accept’ and then go ahead to print your admission letter.

“We therefore call on all candidates that have been offered these admissions to do the needful as we round off the process for the 2019 admission on Feb. 17,” he said. 

The Federal Government has assured all staff of Federal Universities that the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) will efficiently address all genuine concerns and peculiarities in the institutions.

The Accountant General of the Federation (AGF), Mr Ahmed Idris, stated this in a statement signed by Mr Henshaw Ogubike, the Deputy Director (Press and Public Relations), of the agency on Tuesday in Abuja.

Idris was responding to concerns raised by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities, when they visited him.

He gave an assurance that all rules and peculiarities in the universities that were recognised by the government would be accommodated and implemented through IPPIS.

“All the peculiarities shall be stated; all the rules of engagement shall equally be stated; we are ready to go by the rules of engagement.

“All the rules that are recognised by the government in the universities, we will go by these rules, none will be set aside,” he said.

Idris said the objection by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to  IPPIS was unfounded as the Federal Government had, during many meetings with the universities, assured them that IPPIS was not to take away the autonomy of the institutions.

He said the aim was “to make the management of personnel more efficient”.

He said the practice where universities recruited staff not minding whether their budget would accommodate such employment was responsible for the issue of shortfall in personnel revenue.

Idris explained that IPPIS would help the universities solve the problem of shortfall in personnel revenue as the recruitment and remuneration of staff would be more efficient.

The accountant-general said that at the end of the last enrollment of university personnel on IPPIS, a total of 8, 146 academic and 86, 844 non-academic staff enrolled.

He said the figures represented more than 70 per cent of the staff of federal universities.

Idris, however, commended the vice-chancellors for the initiative to reach out to the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation on the contentious issue of enrollment of university staff on IPPIS.

He solicited the cooperation of the vice-chancellors with the government as the implementation of IPPIS and other financial reform initiatives aimed at entrenching probity and transparency in the system had come to stay.

Earlier, Prof. Muhammad Bello, the Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Vice-Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, observed that the just concluded enrollment raised some issues and requested that the AGF accountant to help resolve them. (NAN)