Nollywood @20 Target 2billion viewers

 Mnet Africa
Organisers of Nollywood at 20 have said that the activities marking the 20th Anniversary of Africa’s largest film industry, Nollywood will attract two billion viewers across the world.
This was disclosed by the President of the Association of Movie Producers (AMP), Zik Zulu Okafor at a media briefing held in Lagos to unveil the month of celebration.
The celebration will kick off with Nollywood Celebrity Glam Night which will hold on November 2, 2013 at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos.
In addition, the Chairman of the Workshop and Training Committee, Francis Onwochei revealed that there will be master-classes and coaching clinics in conjunction with the Nigerian Communications Commission and Mnet Africa.
According to him, the master classes, on the one hand are designed for the professionals in the industry to polish their skills and fine-tune their creative, technical and marketing competencies.
Okafor remarked that the celebration which will end on November 27 with the Nollywood @ 20 Grand Awards Night will be an eye-opener as the world will have a taste of ‘the untold stories of Nollywood’.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

New single from Elia- Koboko

Hip-Rap musician Elia Stephen popularly known as Elia has come out with a new  single titled ‘Koboko’ featuring Jaywon.
Koboko which is a Dancehall party song is now circulating among radio stations and DJs and gaining huge airplay.
Elia said that true to her promise, She has brought ‘Koboko’ to flog away any form of sadness or sorrow from her fans and make them happy and dancing,“ Koboko  is a hippy dance song that will keep you dancing  and entertained.
Life is too short for you to spend some of the time worrying, do what you have to do that is right and leave the rest to God and be happy, dance!” she said excitedly. Sam Chuks  Uba who is the CEO of Bigshow Entertainment, the Record  Label and management company of Elia said “ Koboko is another sensational hit from Elia and proof that, apart from been beautiful and sexy, She has great stage presence and performs greatly.
Elia’s Video “Who’s That” is also currently having good airplay on broadcast stations and information from Bigshow Entertainment is that the video for Koboko will hit the  airwaves soon.

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First Lady with a difference!

Speaking above a Whisper by Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, Amandla Consulting, Ibadan 2013.
First Ladies in Nigeria are almost always nobodies until their husbands become landlords in state houses. And once in government as the unofficial second-in-command, they become the most fawned-over women. Some go so far as to be addressed as “Her Excellency”, complete with office and staff to match that unmerited title. Except for a few, rarely are they heard of or known for any outstanding accomplishment or worthy cause prior to becoming the first female citizen of their respective states. But Mrs. Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, wife of Ekiti State governor, is a First Lady with a difference.
Her life pre-government house in Ado Ekiti is the subject of a recent publication, Speaking above a Whisper, and written by none other than Bisi herself. The title was unconsciously provided by a “sister” in mourning. The bereaved told Bisi who had gone to comfort her that her deceased aunt was such a nice person she never spoke above a whisper. Bisi appropriated it for a yet-to-be-written book. Now published to mark her 50th birthday, Speaking above a Whisper is the author’s way of giving voice to the voiceless, particularly women in difficult situations. Besides, the title is just as fitting as a set of lovely pearls on a classical neck.
Books like hers are usually ghost-written for people in her position. She politely declined two offers to write her biography because, in her words, “I never could have allowed anyone to tell my story for me. I wanted to write my story.”
It is a story well told, starting from her birth in Liverpool, through nursery education in England to primary, secondary and university education in Nigeria, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife. Life as a young adult in Lagos and Aba in Abia State where she served as a youth corps member are not glossed over. What readers will find most fascinating however is her work as a woman activist, which started in earnest in England but whose seeds were sown in Nigeria.
Bisi was young in Lagos and was privy to the constant abuses some of her female relations were subjected to. They were dehumanising, psychologically and physically. To young Bisi, it was pitiable. She was appalled and infuriated but it was an impotent rage. She also witnessed variants of it as a youth corps member in Aba where she taught in a girl’s school. Lecherous teachers serially took advantage of hapless female students angling for better grades. One of the teachers was pluckier than the rest. He formed a habit of deliberately jugging female teacher’s breast and palming their behinds. One day, he made passes at Bisi. She tried to parry him but ended up hitting him in the face. The teacher stopped his amorous advances altogether from that day.
Bisi was simply unstoppable once she started her activism. From her early career as a volunteer activist to female inmates of African origin in UK jails, she showed an uncommon commitment that you find in those with genuine concern for women. Her capacity to source funds or mobilise women for a particular cause was simply astonishing. She met with world leaders and prominent feminists in her campaign to empower women in Africa.
There was Mrs. Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, Liberian president, Mrs. Graca Machel, wife of Dr. Nelson Mandela and Mrs. Joyce Banda of Malawi. (The accompanying photographs compliment the autobiography). There were other women activists, too, whom Bisi’s relationship with has lasted to this day:  Hilda Tadria and Joana Forster, co-founders of African Women Development Fund; diva Miatta Fahnbulleh and Ms Joyce Mends-Cole. There was Dr. Patricia McFadden whom she calls a mentor but later fell out with over a project, African Feminist Congress, the latter scuttled.
But such was Bisi’s devotion to women issues that there was hardly any feminist organisation or non-governmental organisation concerning African women she did not actively participate in or was not involved in its founding. There was Akina Mama waAfrica (AMwA), African Women’s Development Fund AWDF), and African Women Leadership Institute (AWLI). There were also her mentors and colleagues, from foremost feminists like Abena Busia to Jerusha Arothe-Vaughan, Jane Goldsmith and Micheline Ravololonarisoa. There was also Olga Heaven of African Prisoners Scheme and Women in Prison, not to mention rewarding meetings with Ford Foundation and similar organisations around the world.
Bisi was born on June 11, 1963, a day her father, Engineer Emmanuel Akinola Adeleye, was to be interviewed for a job but opted to stay with his wife, Emily Olufunke, in hospital. Bisi’s naïve infancy and rebellious adolescence are laid bare for readers, as her eagerness to learn by constantly pestering her father with questions. She was one of two black students in nursery school in Liverpool, and so was the subject of frequent racist taunts by other white students.
The bullying continued at Abeokuta Girls Grammar School where Bisi began her secondary education at 10. University was a lot more fun where she was simultaneously a Kegite and member of an elite social club. She found more time to gyrate with fellow Kegites than the snobbish and class-conscious club.  She was financial secretary to two or three chiefs of Kegites Club and adviser to several more. The impression you get is of somebody who is proud to have been a member of a fraternity others would hastily put down. For Bisi, it was “the place where I learnt all my leadership qualities,” qualities that would come handy when she began as a woman activist.
As she recounts, Bisi had been to more than 60 countries of the world in nearly all the continents in pursuit of women matter, how to better their lot, how to empower them and give them equal status as men. For instance, she actively participated in the groundbreaking Beijing Plus meeting for women in 1995. When the subject of her husband, Kayode Fayemi, becoming a governorship candidate for Alliance for Democracy in Ekiti State was bruited to her in 2005 shortly after his 40th birthday, Bisi objected initially. But she personally nominated a woman, the late Mrs. Funmilayo Adunni Olayinka, to be his running mate.
The former-banker-turned-politician had an enduring relationship with Bisi, whom she called Ochiorah, till she died after battling cancer in Europe and Nigeria. Bisi in turn called her the Moremi of Ekiti. In one of the most moving sections of the book, Bisi tells graphically the ordeal her friend and erstwhile deputy governor endured during her illness. It was shared suffering for both women, thus evoking what D.H. Lawrence calls “the unaccountable flows and ebbs of sympathy that exist between people.”
The author and her husband, fondly called JK by her, were two soul mates whose paths crossed in university, in the library. JK’s comportment and gap-toothed smile bowled her over and courtship followed. They later re-united and married in England. Both suffered deprivation at some point. For instance, they lacked proper accommodation for a newly-wed. Bisi worked two shifts to make ends meet. JK drove a cab and was mugged once. The muggers made off with his watch, wedding ring and a sum of 20 pounds – his earning for the day.
To compound it all, a child was long in coming, partly deliberately because of work. Friends and relations misunderstood their childlessness and began to worry needlessly on their behalf. By the time a son came, he arrived on Tuesday, October 29, 1994 a day voting rights was granted to all South Africans irrespective of race – little wonder Folajimi’s second name Amandla. Overjoyed to no end, Bisi has written that “all the years of waiting, of dashed hope and agonizing faded away when I gazed at his beautiful face.”
Another source of early apprehension for the author was the 2009 governorship election which JK contested. Robbed and denied and upheld by courts and tribunals, victory came finally in 2011 when Segun Oni, candidate of PDP, was removed for electoral fraud. For their roles in the election saga, Professor Maurice Iwu, chairman of INEC, gets rapped while his successor, Professor Attahiru Jega, comes off well.
Speaking above a Whisper is a first for a First Lady. It is commendable. But the shortcoming of writing one’s story is all too glaring. First, her account of events might be written to suit herself. After all, hers is the only voice we hear. A biographer would not only have interviewed her but subjected her recollections to veracity by confirming with others mentioned in the book. This is not so, so readers are left with accounts as told by the author.
There are avoidable errors, too, which any gimlet-eyed editor would certainly not have overlooked. There is no English word like “corper”. It is a Nigerian coinage. Chest-thumping in the prologue that “I have always had a very good memory, and have always had the power of recollection” sounds rather immodest. Innate or acquired qualities are better left for others to say.
Even so, Speaking above a Whisper sets the author apart from the common perception of First ladies around here: a previously unknown underachiever now made famous as a prominent appendage of a successful politician or military appointee.

Posted by SirVic for wetopup(News Laboratry)

ASUU gets an open cheque

The House of Representatives has  brought a new dimension to the protracted strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal  gave the union a blank cheque  when he  indicated  that the National Assembly was  disposed to approving  extra- budgetary expenses for the Federal Government if that would break the stalemate in the trade dispute.
But there is nothing much to cheer about in this offer because it is highly hypothetical.
It is however encouraging that there are still people in government who still want to give ASUU another opportunity to exit this dark stage.
Tambuwal may mean well in his mediation but should know that  the matter has gone beyond printing more  money and throwing them at problems. Let reason prevail above any other thing in breaking this deadlock.

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ASUU’s ‘arm twisting agreement’

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) is gradually losing sympathy from the general public. Reason: The union’s perceived “un-implementable” agreement with the Federal Government in 2009, which has ground operations in the nation’s universities since July 1 is causing ripples. Last week, the Senate expressed grave concern on the protracted strike by ASUU and urged the university lecturers to return to the classroom while effort is being made to meet their demands.
However, a number of Nigerians were angered last week by the revelation of details of ASUU’s agreement with the government in 2009. For many, the demands were not only outrageous but that such demands were neither made nor paid to lecturers in any part of the world. It was alleged that those who negotiated and signed the agreement on behalf of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s government at the time had thought that it would be immediately implemented and hoped to benefit from it.
Otherwise, it has been alleged that hardly would anyone in his right senses agree to such demands. Against this background, Senate President David Mark expressed shock on the content of the agreement during a motion on the strike on Wednesday. According to him, those who signed that agreement with ASUU were not only unfair to the nation but were also a bunch of ignorant persons, “who did not know their right from their left.”
Details of ASUU demands as contained in the agreement and read on the floor of the Senate last Wednesday showed that the lecturers were asking for maternity leave, housing loan, sick leave, injury pension, vehicle loan/car refurbishing loan, postgraduate supervision allowance, teaching practice/industrial supervision/ field trip allowances and honoraria for external moderation of undergraduate and postgraduate examinations.
Other demands were postgraduate study grants, external assessment of readers or professors, call duty/clinical hazard, responsibility allowance, excess workload allowance, staff schools, provision of office accommodation and facilities, pension of academic staff, compulsory retirement age, formation of university pension fund administrator, National Health Insurance Scheme and funding of the universities.
In all, ASUU demanded for a whopping N1.5 trillion expected to be paid within three years of 2009 to 2011. A breakdown of the proposed payment plan is as follows: N472,031,575,919 in 2009; N497,331,778,701 in 2010 and N548,768,190,681 in 2011. ASUU also demanded that each state university shall require N3,680,018 per student for the period between 2009 and 2011.
To underscore the level of the perceived outrageous demand, Senator Sola Adeyeye (Osun Central), who is also a former lecturer, said he almost wept when he saw the agreement signed by the Federal Government with ASUU, saying there is nowhere in the world where such allowances demanded are paid to lecturers.
Adeyeye, a professor of Molecular Biology and senator on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), who ordinarily was expected to be sentimental in his submission, having been a one-time member of ASUU and simultaneously an opposition lawmaker, opted to put sentiment aside and hit the nail on the head. According to him, there is nowhere in the world where the central government is asked to fund state universities. He also added that it was whimsical for professors to be asking for allowances before supervising postgraduate students.
“I asked ASUU during one of our meetings: is there any nation where any of such allowances is paid according to international standard? A typical teacher teaches two courses in a semester for three hours a week. You are paid salaries, why should you be paid again for these other things? Where in the world are lecturers paid examination allowances? Where is a professor paid allowances for supervising postgraduate students? Why is he a professor in the first place? What you cannot ask for in other spheres ought not be asked for here. 
“The standard practice in the United States is that if you go on sabbatical, you ‘ll be paid for six months; if you spend more than that, you have to fund it yourself. Where in the world do you say the Federal Government should be involved in the funding of state universities?” Adeyeye queried.
Still expressing shock on the content of the agreement, Mark said: “I was really wondering whether this was signed or it was just a proposal. But when he concluded, he said it was signed. It only shows the level of people the executive sent to go and negotiate on its behalf because ab initio, people must be told the truth, what can be accomplished and what cannot be accomplished…ASUU took advantage of the ignorance of those who were sent and simply just allowed this agreement to go on because it is obvious that this is going to be a very difficult piece of paper to implement.” 
At any rate, a number of people have argued that if the quality of education will improve upon the implementation of the agreement, the federal government would have been encouraged to shift ground. But some educational consultants have alleged high level of negligence of duty by ASUU and submitted that the demand is in contrast with what obtains in the universities as there are allegations that lecturers are absent in most classes and busy consulting for foreign organisations while project supervision is haphazardly done. The end result –half-baked graduates are produced.

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Counting the cost of ASUU strike

As the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) continues to bite hard, Damilola Oyedele and Adebiyi Adedapo examine the implications for students and other stakeholders, with focus on University of Abuja
Adejumoke Oluwalope has finished her final year second semester examination at the University of Abuja. But like many of her fellow students, she has not been mobilized to participate in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). The marking of their papers are being delayed by the ongoing strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
She gained admission into the Faculty of Agricultural Science in 2007, and has now spent six years for a supposedly five year programme. If the strike is called off this year, she may be mobilized in 2014 but by then, she would have spent seven years in the university.
Ibrahim Iliyasu’s story is the same and his future is being affected by the industrial action. This is because, coming from a military family background, he had hoped to join in the Short Service programme of the National Defence Academy (NDA). But at 29, unless he is ready to falsify his birth certificate, he is likely to have exceeded the age limit by the time he finally concluded the NYSC which he has also missed this year.
“I came to the University of Abuja because by the time I started school, NDA was not yet a university, if not I would have gone to NDA. Now I am already 29 years. For Short Service, one must not exceed 30. That means by the time I serve next year (hopefully) I cannot be accepted into the SS program because I would be almost 31 or already 31. I cannot engage in birth certificate falsification,” he said.
Investigations revealed that the second semester results of these and other students have not been sent by their lecturers to the Senate of the university for approval. An official of the university who spoke off record said only students who had carried over courses in the first semester were mobilized for the NYSC.
“It also effectively means students who had second semester carry overs cannot also be mobilized. This is almost two years of their lives wasted,” she said.
The national strike started on July 1, 2013 after series of warning strikes by the members of ASUU over the non-implementation of the 2009 FGN/ASUU agreement. Their demands, amidst other demands, are the rehabilitation and provision of infrastructure in the nation’s universities and the payment of earned allowances.
Sources gathered that N57 billion out of the N92 billion being canvassed for by the union as earned allowances actually belongs to the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU). While the government has handed over N30 billion to be disbursed as earned allowances, the lecturers are insisting on N92 billion.
The Chairman of the NEEDS Assessment Implementation Committee, Governor Gabriel Suswan, during a meeting with executives of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), had explained that the government handed over N30 billion for disbursement in the first instance after the calculation of the duly earned allowances.
The government also provided N100 for infrastructure in the universities. The criteria for the disbursement, was drawn up in collaboration with ASUU, Suswan said.
“What we said is that after calculations of earned allowances, if the N30 billion is not enough, we would give more,” he said.
An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it was not right for the striking lecturers to insist that all N92 billion must be handed over to them.
“Earned allowances are earned; part of it is hazard allowance, so a lecturer who does not work in a hazard prone environment, for instance, a laboratory, cannot benefit from this one. Some receive allowances for the uniforms of special gear they wear for work. So it differs. For the lecturers to insist that government must give them all N92 billion, it’s like they want a windfall they can just share among themselves, deserving or not,” he lamented.
But the National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir Fagge, said the N100 billion being disbursed to the universities was not part of the 2009 Agreement or the 2012 Memorandum of Understanding. He described the release of the money as employing half hearted measures to the problems of the education system in the country.
He explained that the 2009 agreement stipulates that within three years, the government would make available the sum of N1.5 trillion to federal universities amounting to about N500 billion per annum.
In the 2012 MoU, it was negotiated that the government would make available N1.3 trillion in four years for federal and state universities after the government said it was having difficulties implementing the earlier agreement, Fagge clarified, adding that ASUU reluctantly accepted the MoU.
“So this N100billion, which aspect of all these dialogue and issues which were documented is being implemented? Is it the agreement, the MoU, or the NEEDS assessment report? That is what we should be asking. We are asking them to implement the agreement, and they are doing something else which is not in it.” he queried.
Several interventions by neutral parties have failed. The unions shunned the pleadings of the Catholic Bishops of Nigeria and the Sultan of Sokoto to meet the government halfway. Several groups have also protested the prolonged strike.
NANS raised the alarm that crime rate and prostitution levels have increased with the lingering strike due to the level of idleness among students. Several chapters of the student body have protested in various parts of the country.
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) however blamed the government for the spate of strike in the tertiary education sector.
Speaking, the Acting General Secretary of the NLC, Comrade Chris Uyot, blamed the spate of strikes by ASUU and other unions in the tertiary education sector on the failure of the government to honour its agreements.
“The essence of negotiations for collective bargaining to bring about an agreement is to ensure that there is peace and harmony in the workplace, to bring about better understanding between employers and employees. So if we decide to manipulate agreements, agreements that have come through mutual negotiations, we are distorting the very concept of industrial relations which is the foundation of peace and harmony and stability in the workplace. It means we are trying to distort our own laws that guide these things,” he said in a telephone conversation.
The Secretary General of NASU, Comrade Peters Adeyemi, shared the same view. But the biggest indictment of the Federal Government came from a former Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Prof. Muzanli Jibril, for the incessant strikes embarked on by ASUU.
Jibril said successive governments had ignored a document of funding by the NUC stating that the universities only get 34 per cent of what they need and are therefore ‘chronically underfunded’.
Jibril, who was ES between 1996 and 2001, said ASUU had been able to link significant improvement in funding to strikes translating to “one ASUU strike, one major increment”.
“The success of every ASUU President is measured by the amount of increment he gets out of the Federal Government. So what are you telling ASUU: if you want more money, go on strike. The union does not just embark on strike, they give notice, and they embark on warning strikes. Once an ASUU strike is on, you cannot easily get them to call off,” he said.
Government, he said, does not listen to its own agencies as the NUC had appeared before several committees on the need for proper funding of the universities adding that government enters into negotiations with ASUU unprepared by not engaging former academicians who hold or have held positions in government to better understand ASUU strike and its strategies.
Meanwhile as this impasse lingers, students continue to suffer.
Many would not forget the crises that accompanied the quest for accreditation for the Medical College and Engineering Faculty of the University of Abuja. Several times in the past years, the affected students shut done the institution. Late last year, the affected students again barred their counterparts in other faculties from sitting for their second semester examinations resulting in a shut-down that lasted almost four months.
In June 2013, the Medical College finally secured the approval and accreditation of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria (MDCN). The students were overjoyed, but their joy was short-lived as the ASUU strike commenced.
Abdul Oloruntoba is a 300 level medical student at UniAbuja. Now he and others cannot take their Medical Board (MB) exams organised by the MDCN because some of their lecturers are part of the examiners who prepare the questions and mark the answers.
“Our fate is the most painful, because after the long struggle, we were finally accredited by MDCN. The accreditation is here and now we are facing another stumbling block. If the strike was not on, the first and the second set would probably have written their MB examination, I would also have been preparing for mine. This school in particular has lost a year. Remember we had this issue of internal ASUU strike for about four months and just as we resumed, this national ASUU strike started again, so it is like a year gone by in our lives” he lamented.
The lost time on the academic calendar is not his only loss. Toba like many others reside in private hostels and accommodation off campus. He pays a rent of N100, 000 per annum. Their annual rent continues to run whether or not school is in session. 
Students are not the only victims bearing the brunt of this industrial action. Campus businesses have severely been affected by the strike. When visited the normally bubbling and lively SUG area at the Mini campus of UniAbuja, it was a picture of quiet and despair.
A restaurateur, Mrs. Akin George, lamented that sales had drastically dropped with the continued shutdown of institutions by the union. When visited, she was seen sitting with a neighbour and just chatting. There was no customer during the duration of the visit.
“This strike has really affected us; we just pray that the Federal Government will do something about it, because our businesses depend on students. I am here alone with my neighbour, there are no customers, and everywhere is just dry. We do not even make three-quarter of our regular sales, we only make sales of about N2000 daily as against the over N15,000 regular sales when the students were around, and I do not have any other business elsewhere,” she said.
Another shop owner, Mr. Onah Emeka, who sells soft drinks, snacks and provision, did not even bother to open his own store.
“My shop is locked because the students are not around, they are my major customers. Opening the shop without them is just a waste of time. I have been running the shop since 2005, if students were to be around, I make sales of over N20,000 daily. But at the moment, I hardly make sales of N1000. That is why I had to close the shop, and that is why most of the shops are locked.”

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FG will resolve crisis with ASUU – Wike

As the strike action embarked on by Academic Staff Union of Universities   persists, Minister of State for Education, Mr. Nyesom  Wike has expressed optimism that the contending issues would be resolved amicably.
This is as an attempt by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike, Abia State to go into town to protest their grievances against the federal government was Thursday thwarted by the police, who confined them inside the campus.
Also, a royal father, the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti, Oba Rufus Adeyemo Adejugbe, Aladesanmi III yesterday lent his voice to the numerous appeals to end the strike and urged the striking lecturers to shift ground and return to negation table with federal government.
Wike equally noted with pains, the effect of the strike action was having on both students of higher institutions, as well as their parents, adding that President Goodluck Jonathan has been doing everything possible to bring sanity to the sector.
The minister dropped the hint in an exclusive interview in Abuja.
Debunking the claims that Jonathan administration had been having image crisis, he said, ‘’the government does not have any image crisis talk less of worsening any image crisis. Jonathan administration does not have image crisis but one would say that it is quite unfortunate that the ASUU strike has been prolonged this far but the truth of the matter is that it is clear that whatever ASUU is agitating for today I would not say that it is selfish but also that it is not an agreement that was reached with this government,  mind you ASUU claimed this agreement was reached since 2009 when the former President late Musa Yar’ Adua was in office but of course government is all about continuity.”
‘’So when this government took over, first of all you should give credit to Mr. President that this is the first time a president in Nigeria will say go and assess the level of fraud, the level of decay in the tertiary institutions in the country. If the President has no good intention he wouldn’t have said we should go and do this.  He directed the minister of education and the National University Commission to go and do the assessment. This assessment was done and the report was presented at the Federal Executive Council meeting, everybody that was in the Federal Executive Council meeting were touched with the level of decay and Mr. President said this assessment we did is for only federal universities but what about the state universities.’’
‘’Since governors are not members of the Federal Executive Council but they are members of the National Economic Council which is presided over by the President and there is also the need to present this report to the National Economic Council.
He directed the minister of education, NUC to present the report before the state minister for education and state governors and everybody were disturbed with the level of decay in the tertiary education sector. That now made us set up a technical committee which was headed by governor of Anambra State.
‘’ So what ASUU is talking about is that we had an agreement with the government that every year government is suppose to release N400billion as infrastructure development, I am not disputing that fact, however the point we are making counters every issue, for government to release 400billion.
and not only that, the 400billion did not concern or affect the regular intervention by Tertiary Education Fund or the regular budgetary allocation. They said that aside from the money from the fund and the budgetary allocation the 400billion will be for the universities.
‘’So, government said this 400billion in three years will be 1.2trillion to revitalise our public institutions or our universities. This thing they are talking about federal government cannot afford it, it is not practicable and it is not done in the sense that government revenue does not come like that it trickles in; you don’t just expect the government to carry 400billion and keep somewhere that with 100billion yearly and the regular intervention of TERFUND which is not less than 100billion to the universities. So assuming that they collected 100billion from TERFUND and another 100billion from government intervention making 200billion to develop the universities but the question we ask is that does this institution have the capacity? Look at TERFUND money, we are still having issues with it. There is no image crisis this government is having and it is not that the federal government is happy about the ASUU strike and we are still committed to solve the problem at hand.’’
While saying the government will resolve the problem it is having with ASUU, the minister also disclosed that the government was passionate about education and as such not happy with what was going on.
‘’Parents are not happy even our children are tired of sitting down at home; to say the fact government is doing everything it can to resolve this issue. I respect ASUU agitation, I respect them but we are still talking to ensure we have a lasting solution to the problem at hand. We have had series of meetings but I believe that very soon we are going to resolve this issue’’ Wike said.
Pleading with ASUU to call off the strike, the minister also said the federal government was always committed to ensure that all her institutions were well cared for.  He added that  ‘’sometimes when you say some certain things it may compound the existing problem or crisis so to speak but I think that we must also understand that no government has all the resources to solve all the problems at the same time. In as much as education is key to the transformation agenda of Mr. President but it can be very difficult for him to say that he will not attend to other pressing issues in the country. We do know education is key but we cannot just ignore some pressing issues that equally needed attention in the country.’’
The MOU university teachers, all clad in black attires had gathered inside the university chanting solidarity songs with placards expressing their frustrations and marching towards the gate of the university with the aim of going into the town.
But on reaching the gate there was no road. The huge iron gates were all locked with a detachment of armed policemen stationed on the other side to make sure the protesting dons were kept inside the campus.  All the howling and solidarity songs could not swing the gates open.

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Reps offer to okay funds for ASUU, probe nation’s finances • Jonathan wants N’Assembly to approve $600m loan for Lagos

UNLIKE the Senate which has dismissed the agreement between the Federal Government and the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as unrealistic, the House of Representatives is ready to approve a budgetary intervention to end the dispute.
During a debate on the strike in the upper legislative chamber on Wednesday, Senate President David Mark said that government officials who approved the agreement to meet ASUU’s demands were ignorant.
The Speaker, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was briefed by the Aminu Suleiman-led House Committee on Education tasked to investigate the conflict, specifically appealed to both parties to consider the interest of the students and the educational future of the nation above all other considerations.
He said the parliament was willing to approve a request for funds for ASUU with a view to speedily resolving the crisis which, according to him, has dragged on for too long.
His words: “Let me use this opportunity to appeal to both the Executive arm and the authorities of ASUU to please quickly resolve the problem. And if there is need for any appropriation, the House will expeditiously assent to it in the interest of our students and the nation.”
The chamber also mandated its Committees on Police Affairs, Federal Road Safety, and Justice to investigate the desirability or otherwise of the Biometric Central Motor Registration (BCMR) by the Nigeria Police.
The police last month announced the introduction of BCRMR, which they claimed would help them to fight terrorism, kidnapping and car theft. For this, motorists, tricycle and motorbike owners would be made to pay N3,500 into the coffers of the Nigeria Police.
But, adopting the prayers of a motion on the matter introduced on the floor by Hassan Saleh and 26 other lawmakers, the House expressed concern that the police were seeking to duplicate what the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) was already doing.
While noting the idea as laudable, especially in the wake of the high rate of crime in the country, the parliament, however, said the police could not use the claim to justify the scheme that they were seeking to implement, as the FRSC was already capturing the biometric data of all motorists in the country.
Saleh had while introducing the motion pointed out that “ordinarily, any measure that will enhance security of lives and property ought to be welcomed,” but that the venture by the police was unnecessary.
According to him, government owes Nigerians the sacred duty of protecting them from any form of exploitation.
“While Nigerians are grappling with how to come to terms with the high cost of obtaining the new driver’s licence and renew their old number plates whose cost is on the high side, the police pretend to be unaware that the FRSC is presently collating biometric details of all motorists in the country,” he said.
The House mandated its committees on Finance, Appropriation, Loans and Aid to conduct a one-day public hearing where the minister of finance, heads of revenue agencies, Debt Management Office (DMO) and related organisations will appear and present to Nigerians the full status of the country’s account.
The chamber expressed worry that in the past three to four months, there had been a disagreement between the minister of finance and state governors over partial releases of the amounts due to the states.
Moving a motion on the need for full disclosure of the state of account of the federation and economic situation of the country, Bimbo Daramola told the parliament that some state governments were already unable to meet their statutory responsibilities such as the payment of salaries, thereby inflicting pains on the people.
The House expressed dismay at the recurrence of oil spills and other forms of environmental degradation in the country, particularly in the Niger Delta region.
Consequently, the chamber, which adopted a motion brought by Pronen Maurice representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency of Rivers State, directed its Committee on Environment to investigate the matter and report to the House within three weeks for a further legislative action.
It urged the Federal Government, relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) whose duty it is to oversee and check oil spills and environmental pollution to be alive to their responsibilities and take immediate remedial measures to cushion the effects of the Baraobara/Nonwa Tai oil spill.
Meanwhile, President Goodluck Jonathan has requested the approval of the National Assembly to incorporate a $600 million loan for Lagos State Development Policy Operation 11 (Budget Support) into the 2012-2014 Medium Term Borrowing Plan.
In a letter titled “Request for Inclusion of Lagos State Development Policy Operation 11 (DPO) into the 2012-2014 Medium Term Borrowing Plan of the Federal Government,” Jonathan said the admission would enable the state to consolidate the gains of the first tranche of the operation.
He, however, explained that the inclusion would not affect the borrowing plan since the $200 million had earlier been approved in 2010.
In the letter, Jonathan explained that the World Bank had approved a Development Policy Operation (Budget Support) for $600 million to Lagos in the 2010 appropriation to be implemented in three tranches of $200 million each.
The first tranche of $200 million was earlier approved by the National Assembly in the 2010 Borrowing Plan while the Development Policy Operation One was implemented in 2011.
Jonathan noted that the second phase of the project was not captured in the 2012-2014 Medium Term Borrowing Plan.
“However, given the importance of the second tranche to the success and sustainability of the first tranche, I wish to submit it for your consideration for inclusion in the current borrowing plan but with no additional request”, Jonathan said.
He added that the World Bank-supported Public Private Partnership (PPP) project, which was approved by the National Assembly (NASS) in the 2010 Borrowing Plan with a total credit amount of $315 million, had only disbursed $15 million after about two years of project implementation.
“The World Bank has therefore embarked on restructuring of the project in the face of current realities in a manner that would release $200 million for allocation to Lagos Development Policy Operation 11.”
Jonathan said the $200 million would enable the state to complete some critical projects, including an ultra-modern burns centre and cardiac and renal centre at Gbagada General Hospital, a 27-kilometre light rail along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway corridor to Marina as well as the completion of the 70-million gallon per day Adiyan water facility.

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Senate Wades into ASUU-FG. Face-off, Laments Lopsided Agreement •Committee discloses N1.05tn demand by union •Jonathan admonishes lecturers to allow nation, students’ interest prevail •Lecturers: Support union not govt

Indication that the four-month old strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) over the ASUU/FG 2009 agreement emerged Wednesday, with the Senate mandating its President, Senator David Mark, to engage both the federal government and ASUU with a view to ending the strike.
The senators, who urged the striking lecturers to return to the classroom to prevent what they described as further devaluation of the country’s educational fortunes, also mandated the committee on education to liase with the Federal Ministry of Education, National Universities Commission (NUC) and all other relevant stakeholders to proffer lasting solution to the crisis.
However, President Goodluck Jonathan, for the second time in a week, yesterday admonished the striking lecturers to let the interest of the nation and students be the basis in calling off the strike.
He said the step would go a long way in assisting the government systematically to continue to address the challenges facing the nation’s university system.
Dissatisfied with the president’s admonition, Chairman of ASUU-University of Uyo (UNIUYO)  branch, Dr. Nwachukwu Ayim, also urged Nigerians not to be sympathetic with the federal government over the prolonged strike, but said Nigerians should appreciate the position of the union in moving the educational sector forward.
Incidentally, the Senate’s resolution, which followed a motion sponsored by 107 senators and presented by Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, recalled that ASUU had been on strike since July 1 in protest of federal government’s alleged failure to implement the 2009 agreement signed with lecturers for proper funding of the nation’s universities.
According to him, the Senate noted with concern that the strike had paralysed academic activities in the universities and consequently rendered the institutions redundant, stressing that several negotiations between the striking lecturers and the federal government along with the intervention of some prominent Nigerians have failed to produce the desired results.
Ndoma-Egba also revealed that despite the release of N100 billion for infrastructural development to the universities as well as additional N30 billion as accumulated allowances by the federal government, the lecturers have refused to be pacified, regretting that a situation where ASUU is on strike, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) is also on strike and the College of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) also recently embarking on seven days of warning strike is worrisome.
However, the presentation of the details of ASUU demands as contained in the 2009 agreement with the federal government by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Education, Senator Uche Chukwumerije, shocked his colleagues as a number of the demands were either perceived to be bizarre or absolutely unnecessary.
Such demands include maternity leave allowance, sick leave allowance, injury allowance, car allowance, postgraduate (PG) grants for the supervision of PG students, external excess workload allowance, sabbatical leave allowance, teaching practice and industrial training allowance as well as funding of the state and federal universities.
Chukwumerije, who also disclosed that the total sum of the demands by ASUU in figure amounted to N1,05 trillion, added that it was agreed that N5 billion would be released in 2009, another N5 billion in 2010, among others.
In his remarks, Mark, who implored ASUU to return to the classroom on behalf of the Senate, said he thought details of the agreement when being read by Chukwumerije were mere proposals in view of the degree of triviality involved.
According to him, the nature of the agreement showed that those who represented the federal government at the negotiation table where it was signed, were people who did not know their right from their left. He described the action as unfair to the nation.
Speaking at the 29th convocation ceremony of the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), where he was represented by the supervising Minister of Education, Mr. Nyesom Wike, President Jonathan called on the university teachers to join hands with government in turning the country’s universities to centres of excellent.
He noted that his administration had allocated the sum of N55.74 billion to the university sub-sector this year alone, while also maintaining that: “Apart from establishing 12 new federal universities, government has also increased the carrying capacities of existing universities to address the issue of access to higher education, government has also increased the budget of education progressively from N234.8 billion in 2010 to N426.5 billion in 2013 with N55.74 billion allocated to university sub-sector alone.”
According to him, “It is on this premise, that I wish to once again call on ASUU to allow reason to prevail by immediately calling-off their ongoing strike action in the interest of the nation and our children while government systematically continues to address the myriad of challenges facing our university system.
Meanwhile, Ayim, who addressed journalists yesterday, after a public awareness road walk, hinted that about 52 letters had be written to the federal government reminding of the agreement reached with the union since 2009.
He argued that contrary to government propaganda and misinformation by its agents, the strike was in the interest of university education in the country.
“We wish to remind the general public about the reason for our strike, which is, the refusal of the federal government of Nigeria to implement the agreement it freely entered into with ASUU in 2009. This patience notwithstanding, ASUU had to additionally enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with government on the strategy of implementation of the said agreement in 2012, all to no avail, as government only paid lip-service to its commitment with the union.

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Delta, Bayelsa Govs Plead with ASUU to Call off Strike •UNILORIN VC appeals for dialogue

The four-month old industrial action embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) took the centre stage at the N25 billion fundraising for the Edwin Clark University of Technology with the Delta State Governor, Emmanuel  Uduaghan and his Bayelsa State counterpart, Seriake Dickson, berating the union for the continued strike.
Also, former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, restated the need for dialogue in resolving the crisis facing Nigeria as a nation.
While Gowon, in his appeal, admonished politicians against overheating the polity, Clark reiterated his support for the national dialogue, stating that it would not in any way lead to the dismemberment of Nigeria as a nation.
Speaking at the N25 billion fundraising for the Edwin Clark University of Technology (ECUT), Uduaghan wondered how the state universities should join in the strike by federal universities, saying, “those of us in the states are wondering how this strike in the federal universities concerns the state universities.
“We are appealing to ASUU to call off this strike and henceforth in Delta State, we shall apply the no-work-no-pay rules, as far as this ASUU strike is concerned.”
Also speaking, Dickson wondered how ASUU should be on strike for an upward of four months, which he said is almost a semester. This, he said, is quite unbecoming, as Nigeria cannot be considered to be a serious nation with the tertiary education almost grounded.
Accordingly, he called on ASUU to call off the strike as he put it, “enough is enough, call off the strike in the interest o the nation”.
Also, Gowon, who was the chairman of the occasion, appealed to Nigerian politicians to stop overheating the polity, urging them to sheathe their sword in the overall interest of the country.
The former Head of State, who spoke as the chairman of the fund-raising ceremony, also used the occasion to commend Clark for the defence, pain and humiliation he suffered in 1976 when his administration was overthrown by the Murtala/Obasanjo regime.
According to him, “Love your country above anything.  This bickering must stop. You must replace this bickering with love, patriotism and loyalty. Shower our fatherland with love and strength.
“Let us look at the future; there is greater room for all of us. There is no country we have than Nigeria. I am an apolitical soldier. I don’t get involved in politics, I have the love and loyalty of all.”
The former Head of State, who described Clark as a man with a great reconciliatory spirit said he played tremendous role in ensuring reconciliation of the country after the 1967/1970 civil war, explaining that it was as a result of his reconciliatory role that the Ijaw elder statesman contributed in the rebuilding of some classrooms in the University of Nigeria Nsukka and the Queens College in Enugu.
Gowon said it was because of Clark’s love for education that made him to contribute in the setting up of the University of Benin, stating that he was not surprised that he was planning the setting up the Edwin Clark University of Technology.
In his comments at the fund raising, Clark said the proposed national dialogue should be seen as an opportunity for all Nigerians to sit and discuss issues as it affects them, insisting the national conference would by no way affect the unity of Nigeria as a nation.
According to him, “The Yorubas support the call for a national dialogue. It will not divide Nigeria. It is only the likes of Bola Tinubu of this world that are opposing the national conference. There is nothing wrong for us to sit down as a nation to discuss issues that affect us. This national conference will not divide us and it will not affect the unity of Nigeria”.
In his speech, President Jonathan described Clark as an unrepentant patriot and a foremost educationist who believes in education as a tool for national development. The president said his administration appreciates the value of education and warned that it should not be used as a profitable venture. He said history would be kind to Clark for his quest for education for national development.
Over N910 million was realised with Arthur Eze and Jim Ovia, donating N200 million each.
President Jonathan, Gowon, American Civil Right activist, Rev. Jesse Jackson,  Uduaghan and Dickson with the Ministers of Petroleum, Women Affairs, Health and Special Duties attending the fund raising among other prominent Nigerians.
Meanwhile, the Vice-Chancellor of University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Professor Abdulganiyu Ambali, has appealed to the federal government and striking members of ASUU to have a change of mind by  putting the interests of the students first and embrace dialogue so as to put an end to  the ongoing national strike.
Ambali, who made the appeal yesterday, in his convocation address  titled: “Victory at last,” noted that the need to adopt dialogue became necessary because the interest of the students should always be put first.
According to him, “We should always put the interest of the students first and do all things necessary to ensure that they are not left idle even for a minute.”
He said: “It is said that an idle mind is a devil’s workshop and it is possible that students not in school may become vulnerable to anti social thoughts and actions.”
The vice-chancellor explained that there was a difference between truth and reality, “we should seek and pursue the truth and be realistic in such pursuits. It is my hope that it shall be victory at last for all the parties involved in the current challenges facing many Nigerian universities.”
Ambali assured Nigerians and even beyond that the graduating students were well behaved and that he would continue to be proud of them for making excellence their watchword and shunning cultism and all other anti-social behaviour that are found elsewhere.

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