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Sen. Andy Uba’s move to establish University in Uga gets a boost

Recent move by Senator Andy Uba for the establishment of a Federal University in Uga, Anambra state, has gotten a boost as the Senate has committed the bill to Public Hearing.

The Senate’s Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND, chaired by Sen. Barau Jibrin, on Tuesday, held a public hearing on to establish Federal University, Uga.

Barau who commended Sen. Uba for the move, said that the University would go a long way to boost tertiary education in Uga and the whole of Anambra state.

Addressing members of the committee during the hearing, Sen. Uba said that the university will further advance Nigeria’s body of knowledge through research.

Senator Andy Uba with some members of his Uga Community after the public hearing to establish a Federal University

“One of the yearnings of the people of Anambra state especially my Senatorial District, is to have increased access to quality tertiary education. This bill is crafted specifically to cater to that need.

“The establishment of this institution is informed by the imperative to create greater access to university education in view of a large number of qualified candidates who are annually stranded in their failed attempts to gain admission into universities in Nigeria.

“Our economy has very high potentials and requires high level scientific and technical skills to drive it. The establishment of this university will go a long way into achieving those targets.

“The bill is well organized for its very own purpose of a modern academic and research institution,” he said.

The senator argued that the establishment of the University will further advance Nigeria’s body of knowledge through research as well as nurture unique innovations, entrepreneurship, vocational training and wealth management.

The bill if passed into law will bring to five the number of federal universities in South East Nigeria.

Lagos students disrupt activities at Ambode’s office over unpaid N683m bursary

By News desk

Hundreds of National Union of Lagos State Students, NULASS, yesterday stormed office of the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, lamenting over unpaid N683 million bursary.

The protest came two months after the governor told the students that the funds has been released and that payments would be made immediately to ensure their academic pursuit does not encounter any hitches.

The students, who were armed with several placards to express their displeasure over continued withhold of the fund, alleging that the state government action was frustrating their academic pursuit.

Speaking on behalf of the aggrieved students, NULASS General Secretary, Padonu Mathew, lamented that the officials at the ministry of education have allegedly been tossing them around.

Matthew said: “Since announcing the release of the funds, we have been asking the state government officials when will the funds be paid. But they have not been able to give us any concrete date. Rather, they kept appealing for more time to effect payment.”

Addressing the students, Special Adviser to the Governor, Obafela Bank-Olemoh, urged the protesting students to exercise patients, saying, in few days, the payment would be sorted out.

SSANU begins three-day protest over N8b unpaid allowance, retrenchment

By News desk

The Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) has commenced a three-day nationwide protest over alleged refusal of the Federal Government to obey a court judgment on staff schools and honour agreements on earned allowance.

SSANU, in a statement by its National President, Samson Ugwoke, and National Public Relations Officer, Abdussobur Salaam, said the National Industrial Court, Abuja, had two years ago,  ruled that teachers in university staff schools that were sacked by government be reinstated.

The resolution to embark on the protest, according to the association, was reached at its 35th regular National Executive Council meeting held at the Enugu State University of Science and Technology.

The union accused the Federal Government of refusing to honour the judgment by failing to recall the sacked teachers of staff schools.

Ugwoke further stated that the government had not released the N8bn earned allowance it promised.

The statement reads, “The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, as part of the resolution reached at a conciliation meeting on March 13, 2018, had announced that the Federal Government would pay the three (groups of) non-teaching staff (National Association of Academic Technologists, Non Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities and SSANU) the N8bn as their earned allowance.

“But several months after the agreement was reached, the money has yet to be released. The delay in the payment has become a source of discomfort and agitation by members of the three unions and has also become a source of embarrassment to the leadership.”

Nigerian teacher, 49 others jostle for $1m Global Prize

By Newsdesk

After examining his contribution to education development in Nigeria, a global organization, Varkey Foundation, has shotlisted a Nigerian teacher among 50 top teachers worldwide to vie for its $1 million Global Teacher Prize.

The Nigerian teacher, Soji Megbowon, teaches Mathematics and Computer Science at Jakande Comprehensive Senior College, Abesan, Lagos.

Megbowon’s nomination as a finalist was announced by the Varkey Foundation yesterday, saying, it scoured the four corners of the world to pick the finalists.

Aside him, there were seven other finalists from Africa, with Kenya’s Maina Gioko, from Aga Khan Academy in Mombassa and Peter Tabichi from Keriko Secondary School in Nakuru, taking two slots.

Other African teachers vying for the prize were Assane Ndiaye from Senegal, Chifuniro M’manga Kamwendo(Malawi), James Linville(Somalia), Robert Gbari Gariba(Ghana) and the only woman Thejane Malakane from Maseru, Lesotho.

Megbowon, from Ondo State, apart from teaching in the state school in Lagos, runs a non-for-profit enterprise and is a social innovator in edutech.

He became a Tony Elumelu Foundation entrepreneur in 2016, with his Calculus EduAIDS, which he founded in 2015, to research and develop inclusive curriculum-based educational aids that bridge the learning gaps created by large class sizes.

With help from the foundation, he also developed TEENPRENEURS HUB, a leadership incubation, STEM education and entrepreneurship centre that trains and empower teenagers and other young people from his host community – Abesan, Lagos, Nigeria, to become transformational leaders and solution providers through our holistic education mode.

Through his classroom practices and the introduction of curriculum-based learning aids, he has recorded and maintained a 20% improvement in academic performance in the past two years. Over 50 students from other schools who have attended his organised student leadership programme are now leaders in their respective institutions.

In 2017, Megbowon was one of the local trainers selected for AFRICA CODE week to train over 500 teachers in Ondo State. He has also received the Lagos State Education District commendation, the Creative and Innovative Teacher award, and a commendation from the Vice-President of Nigeria.

The Guild gathered that there were over 10,000 nominations from 179 countries, out of which 50 finalists were selected from 39 countries.

In its fifth year, the prize was awarded to an exceptional teacher who made an outstanding contribution to their profession.

“Our top 50 finalists include teachers developing peace-building skills and advocates for inclusivity to teachers changing curriculum’s in their countries and integrating migrants into classrooms – they are all champions for change and are inspiring students and communities around them”, the foundation said.

If awarded the Global Teacher Prize, Megbowon said he would use 30% of the funds to acquire equipment to distribute 30,000 free copies of his curriculum-based learning aids; 40% would be used to distribute 15,000 free copies of his newly invented “letters and digits” board games that teach literacy and numeracy; and 30% would be used to start a mobile technology hub to bridge technology gaps affecting people in rural and underserved communities.

Australia bans mobile phones in schools

By News desk

Worried by fall in students academic performance, New South Wales State (NSW) Government in Australia has concluded plans to ban mobile phones and any smart devices in schools next year,

According to the Government, the ban would assist to further quell the rising number of online bullying cases.

Justifying reasons for the ban, NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, in a statement on Thursday, said: “Distraction and bullying have always been issues for schools to deal with but mobile phones present a new challenge for schools, teachers, parents and students.

“We want to ensure mobile phones and other smart devices complement students’ learning, and are handled at school in an age-appropriate way.

“These changes will provide clear boundaries in our schools to ensure technology remains an enabler, not a detractor.”

While the ban will be in full effect in the state’s primary schools for children aged between 5-12, high schools will be given the option to opt in or “introduce measures to more tightly restrict the use of devices during school hours.”

The move comes on the back of an independent review commissioned by the NSW government in June.

This is where renowned child psychologist Michael Carr-Gregg and his team examined 14,000 survey responses to measure the impact that mobile phones are having on educational outcomes and child development in schools.

“We’ll work with schools to implement the changes recommended in the report, helping them manage the risks and rewards of using mobile phones inside the school gates,” NSW Education Minister, Rob Stokes, said.

“These changes are about keeping our schools safe and protecting the welfare of our students when they’re in our care.”

The ban will come into effect from the beginning of 2019.

Atiku not comfortable with Minimum wage, ASUU strike-PDP

By news desk

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says its presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar was deeply worried by the lingering industrial crises between the Federal Government and some labour unions in the country.

PDP Spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement yesterday hinted that Abubakar was particularly anxious about the deadlock between the Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

He said Abubakar was worried that the lingering crisis was capable of affecting the future of Nigerian undergraduate youths and put their families under undue pressure.

He said Abubakar offered hope to the striking lecturers and other agitating fronts, having already set out templates to handle all labour related issues and ensure an end to incessant industrial crises.

He said the candidate would ensure industrial harmony and greater productivity in all sectors, if elected into office as president.

“Knowing the importance of education and youth development to national cohesion, stability, development and economic prosperity, Abubakar has already articulated a clear and practical roadmap towards resolving all issues hampering education in Nigeria in his policy document.”

The policy document according to him embodies the aspiration and wishes of all Nigerians in their overall productive ventures.

“Our candidate has made ample provisions for enhanced welfare packages, research grants, better teaching and learning environment as well as a strong synergy between the union and government towards a harmonious working environment.

“The PPCO therefore urges Nigerians not to despair but to continue to rally behind Atiku Abubakar in the all-important mission of rescuing our nation,’’ he said.

ASUU: Students Call For An End To Strike As 11 Students Die In Auto Accident

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Friday expressed sadness over the death of 11 students of University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) in an auto accident on Tuesday.

A total of 11 students of UNIMAID died in the accident on Nov. 20 on their way to Damaturu from Maiduguri following the ASUU strike.

The National Public Relations Officer of NANS, Mr Best Okereafor, gave the condolence in a statement issued in Enugu on Friday.

He stated that “NANS mourns the fallen Nigerian students and in same vain attribute the demise to the ongoing Academic Staff Unions of Universities (ASUU) strike.

“NANS believes that if the strike was not ongoing; the students would have been in school, studying.

“NANS is calling on the Federal Government to save our future and consider the souls of these fallen innocent Nigerian students often told that they are the leaders of tomorrow. Can we lead in grave?

“In as much as we believe in the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, NANS is on this sad note, calling on Federal Government to make students happy by meeting the demands of the striking ASUU and Colleges of Education lecturers without further delay.”

According to him, ASUU should not politicise the industrial action but consider the lives of Nigerian students by shifting grounds.

“We appreciate the ASUU agitations as some are students oriented and we are part of the struggle as we are most affected as well.”

Barber’s daughter emerges Lagos one-day Governor

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah

A 14-year-old daughter of a barber, Miss. Gloria Ajala of Lafiaji Senior High School, Lagos has emerged as One-day Governor after winning the 2018 Spelling Bee competition.

Gloria, on Tuesday, defeated Ikhariale Grace of Tin Can Island Senior High School, Tolu and Akinbodewa Oluwatosin of Iworo Ajido Senior Secondary School, Olorunda to the second and third positions respectively.

Later in the year, the State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, will swear-in the barber’s daughter, Gloria, and vacate his seat for her on that day.

In an interview with newsmen, the teenager described her victory as reward for hard work and commitment, saying, I read several books to prepare myself for the competition.

Congratulating the winners and other finalist, the Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Idiat Adebule, promised that as it was the practice, the One Day Governor would be awarded Lagos State Government scholarship to pursue any course her interest in any university in the country.

The deputy governor added that her ‘cabinet’, other finalist, would attend a cultural exchange program in Finland.

Adebule noted that the competition has experienced improvement in the areas of presentation and vocabulary development.

 

The improvements according to her was the result of the various policies and programmes put in place by the Administration to encourage learning and the spirit of competitiveness which has led to the winning many awards and laurels in various competitions.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Adebunmi Adekanye, hinted that the prestige and privileges that accompany winning the contest was responsible for motivating the students.

She added that the competition has helped to improve the spelling skills, Oral and written English of pupils, students and spectators alike.

Unilag to screen new intakes for drug abuse

By News Desk,

The University of Lagos is to screen its newly-admitted students for hard drugs, an official said on Wednesday in Lagos.

The university’s Principal Assistant Registrar, Communication Unit, Taiwo Oloyede, warned  that the university would not hesitate to withdraw admission of  new students who would test positive to hard drugs.

According to her, the screening  is  to ensure a drug-free academic community as well as promote peaceful co-existence.

She said that all newly-admitted students would undergo the screening  before registration.

“This test is compulsory and will be administered on new students before they are allowed to go ahead with registration.

“Admission of any newly-admitted students who test positive to drug use shall be withdrawn.

“Our students must be seen to be good products not only of the institution, but the larger society.

“We want to ensure that we get students who will be willing to maintain peace, show leadership qualities and be law-abiding,” she said.

Oloyede said that preparations for registration of new students admitted on merit had been concluded.

According to her, the registration  will begin on Oct. 22 and end on  Nov. 9.

The official said that the institution would admit no fewer than 6,000 students into its undergraduate programmes for the 2018/2019 academic year.

She said that 36,218 candidates, who applied for admission in the university, scored 200 and above in the 2018 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

According to her, of the figure, 30,201 sat for the university’s post UTME test.

She said that commencement of academic activities for the session had been tentatively fixed for Nov.19

Shittu sues APC over NYSC certificate

By News Desk,

Minister of Communications,  Adebayo Shittu has sued the All Progressives Congress(APC)  for disqualifying him as a governorship aspirant in Oyo state on account of not presenting  the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme discharge certificate.

He claimed  it was wrong for APC to disqualify him from the governorship primary election  for not presenting the certificate.

He asked the court to declare  that the submission/presentation of NYSC Discharge Certificate to APC is not part of the requirements for him to participate in the primary election for Nomination of Governorship candidate of the party in Oyo State for the 2019 General Election.

He insisted that he went through the screening and security checks and was certified fit and qualified to be appointed as a minister.

He said participation in NYSC Scheme is not a condition precedent to be satisfied before he was appointed a minister.

He faulted the NYSC for not mobilising him for the scheme.

In the writ by his counsel, Mr. A.U. Mustapha( SAN), the embattled minister asked the court to determine five issues. They are:

*”whether by the provision of Section 2(1) of the National Youth Service Corps Decree No. 24 of 1973 and/or any other provision of the Decree being the law in force as at 1978 when the Plaintiff graduated at the University of Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) he was under any legal obligation to have warranted the plaintiff’s participation in the National Youth Service Corps in the absence of a call-up instrument duly served on the Plaintiff by the National Youth Service Corps.

*”whether, by the combined reading of Sections 176-183 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria [as Amended] and Article 20(iii) & (iv) of the Constitution of the All Progressive Congress; it is a condition that the gubernatorial aspirant of the 1st Defendant (APC) and/or any political party for that matter in Nigeria must present the National Youth Service Corps Discharge/Exemption Certificate;

*”Whether it is ultra vires the powers of the 1st defendant to have disqualified the plaintiff from participating in its primary election for nomination of the governorship candidate of the 1st defendant in Oyo State for the 2019 General Election on the ground that the plaintiff does not possess National Youth Service Corps Discharge/Exemption Certificate;

*”Whether it does not amount to denial of fair hearing as enshrined in Section 36(1) of the 1999 Constitution of as amended for the 1st defendant to have purportedly disqualified the Plaintiff from contesting for governorship election in Oyo State under the platform of the 1st defendant without availing the Plaintiff an opportunity to be heard on the allegations that the plaintiff avoided the National Youth Service Scheme; and

*”whether by the combined reading of the provisions of Sections 147(5), 65(1)(b) & (2), 66 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) and Section 12 of the National Youth Service Corps Act, Cap N84 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, the plaintiff was qualified to have been appointed as a Minister capable of holding the office, and/or any other governmental office at any level notwithstanding the fact that he did not participate in the National Youth Service Corps Scheme.”

In an affidavit which he personally swore to, the 65-year old minister said: “I was liable but not obligated to have participated in the National Youth Service Corps Scheme both at the time I graduated from the said University and as at the time I was called to the Nigerian Bar.

“ I know as a fact that no “call-up instrument” was served on me as at 1978 when I graduated from the said University by the National Youth Service Corps to have warranted my participation in the scheme.

“I know as a fact that I was also not served any Notice or notified in any manner to proceed to participate in the National Youth Service Corps Scheme.

“I know as a fact that participation in the National Youth Service Corps programme is not one of the requirements to be satisfied under the 1st Defendant’s constitution to enable me participate in the primary election for Nominating the party flag bearer for the office of Governor of Oyo State in the 2019 General Election. A copy of the Constitution of the 1st Defendant is hereby attached and marked as “Exhibit SHITTU 8”.

“I also know as a fact that under the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (As Amended) it is not a requirement for me to have participated in National Youth Service Corps Scheme to be eligible for participation in the 1st Defendant’s primary election for Nomination of its flag bearer in Oyo State for the 2019 General election.

“ I know also as a fact that the Electoral Act 2010 [as Amended] did not make participation in the National Youth Service Corps Scheme a condition precedent for contesting any elective office whatsoever.

“I know also that participation in NYSC Scheme is not one of the requirements to enable me take part in primary election for Nomination of the 1st Defendant’s flag bearer for the office of Governor of Oyo State in the 2019 General election.”