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FG HAS THE CAPACITY TO PAY ALL OUR ARREARS AT ONCE – ASUU PRESIDENT SPEAKS

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The national president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Emmanuel Osodeke, has emphasized that the federal government has the capacity to clear the approximately eight months’ salary arrears owed to lecturers in one fell swoop, thereby initiating a fresh financial start with the Union.

Osodeke urged the government to establish tangible strategies for settling the salary arrears, emphasizing that the recent payment of two months salaries to lecturers out of the nearly eight months owed does not warrant celebration.

He spoke to The Nation on the sideline of a three-day long ‘University-wide Seminar themed: The Demands of Scholarship in the 21st Century’ which entered its final day today, Thursday, February 22 at the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) Ago Iwoye, Ogun state.

The programme was organised by the ASUU national body and OOU-ASUU local branch under the auspices of the Centre For Popular Education (CEPED) to sanitize members to understand that the ASUU struggle is not about salaries only but about quality university education for an egalitarian society, quality outputs, better funding and better Nigeria.

No fewer than 12 indigent students of OOU received scholarship grants from the ASUU national body and OOU ASUU branch to cushion the effects of the current economic hardship in the country. While the ASUU gave grants of N200,000 each to two students, OOU – ASUU awarded N100,000 grants to each of 10 indigent students.

He said the government had received more monies from FAAC in recent times and advised that part of it should be channelled towards paying the lecturers’ salary arrears.

Osodeke said: “The government has the capacity to pay. This is a new government, the government is supposed to pay the backlog and start on a clean slate. We are academics, we see more than all Nigerians. Nigeria has the money to pay if you look at July 2023, the government realised 1.9 trillion Naira to be shared by FAAC among states and local governments.

“The government only shared one trillion and kept N900bn somewhere. We did the calculation, and the whole money (being owed to our members) is not more than N100 billion. Why can’t the government take that and settle us once and for all or decide that every two months we are going to take 10 or 20 billion to pay one month and that way the whole money would be paid.”

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He however warned members against making the Union struggle look like a fight for salary and welfare only at the expense of better public universities and Nigeria generally.

Osodeke reminded ASUU members that unions which made members’ salaries and welfare as the only and focal points of their struggles when they should have fought tenaciously for the survival, and efficiency of public institutions and systems, lost their jobs and welfare at the end of the day when those institutions collapsed.

Citing some workers’ unions of moribund Nigeria Rail Ways, National Electric Power Authority (NEPA), and Nigeria Airways among others, the ASUU President said the workers lost their jobs as those public institutions buckled and collapsed, stressing that the unions in such places fought for the survival and preservation of the public institutions, they would have still been standing till today as national assets and employers of labour.

He expressed concern over the practicability of the federal government students’ loan scheme to work in favour of ordinary Nigerians from modest backgrounds, saying given the stringent conditions for accessing the scheme, it is certain that it would end up serving the interest of children from already wealthy families.

He said the requirement stipulating that a guarantor of such a credit scheme must be a level 12 officer, takes it away from the reach of poor students in public higher institutions across the country.

He stated: “We need to educate our members we need to let them know why we are struggling and to let them know about the union. We also need to bring them up to the principle of the union. They need to know why we take some actions like strikes because we have some new members among us.

In my opening remarks, I said that look, immediately you start struggling for your salaries alone and the system dies, then you have no job again and that is why today, those things that we there in the 60s and 70s, were not there again. For instance, we used to have Nigeria Railways. Nigeria Railways is the best in Africa, but the workers left the system and were fighting for themselves and their salaries alone and today no railway again and they have lost their jobs but if they had been fighting for the system, fought to have Railways working from Calabar to Port Harcourt, Benin – Lagos, Kano Maiduguri and others working, their jobs would still be working and the union, would still be stronger.

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“Nigeria Airways too used to have a strong union but what do you have now and also see NEPA. NEPA left the institution and was fighting for themselves, today NEPA is no more. The same thing is happening to the Nigeria Union of Teachers NUT, the public primary schools and secondary schools are dead while private ones have taken over and when they are private, they do not unionise.

“Go to private universities. None of the private universities in Nigeria are unionized. They are not unionised. Go to private universities and see what the lecturers are facing because they are not unionised. They are suffering but they cannot speak out. In fact, if you see what lecturers in private universities are facing, you will be shocked. That is why we are left to speak for the institution.

All our hospitals are going the same way. In fact, go to our government hospitals, they are not what you can be proud of. That is why when you have some level of commitment, we must struggle for the system. That is why we talk of TETFUND and today, we have public universities and they account for more than 95 percent of the university population.

“We still have the public universities working because of the fees and because of the environment where you are free to express yourself freely unlike when you still have to go to one church where the owner of the university that you must be a member of that church, where you must pay it and that is the difference.”

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Education

1ST NIGERIAN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS CONFERENCE ON UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (SDGS) ESSAY COMPETITION

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The 1st Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Conference on UN SDGs presents the SDG Youth Essay Competition, offering undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions a chance to contribute to the discussion on achieving SDG4, Quality Education.

Competition Overview:

1st Nigerian Tertiary Institutions Conference on UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Essay Competition

The SDG Youth Essay Competition offers a grand prize of N1 million for the top three winners, along with free sponsorship to attend the 1st Nigeria Tertiary Institution Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in April 2024 in Abuja.

Competition Requirements:

1. Eligibility:

   – Open exclusively to undergraduates in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

2. Entry Guidelines:

   – Topic:The Role of Students in Attainment of SDG4

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   – length: Essays should be 1500 words.

   – Entry Period: Thursday, February 1, 2024 – Thursday, February 29, 2024

   – Referencing: APA Style (6th Edition).

   – Font: Times New Roman, 12-point font size.

   – Documentation: Typed in 1.5 line spacing, MS Word format only.

   – Plagiarism: Only original content is accepted; plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

Benefits:

– Prizes:

  – 1st Prize: N500,000

  – 2nd Prize: N300,000

  – 3rd Prize: N200,000

– Winners will also receive free sponsorship to attend the 1st Nigeria Tertiary Institution Conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in April 2024 in Abuja.

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Required Documents:

– Student’s Institution ID Card

– Copy of Student’s Admission Letter

– One recent passport-size photograph

– WhatsApp telephone number and email address

Application Procedure:

– All entries and submissions (essay and required documents) should be scanned and sent to nigeriaessay@sdgyouth.org before the deadline.

For Further Inquiries:

– Call: 08068931151, 08133846739, 07067772964

– Email: nigeriaessay@sdgyouth.org

Deadline: February 29th, 2024

Don’t miss this opportunity to contribute to achieving SDG4 and win exciting prizes. Submit your entry and required documents before the deadline. For any inquiries, feel free to contact them via phone or email.

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Education

PENTAGON PARTNERS NATIONAL ESSAY COMPETITION FOR UNDERGRADUATE LAW STUDENTS

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Are you an undergraduate law student in Nigeria eager to explore the intersection of law and Artificial Intelligence (AI)? Pentagon Partners presents a unique opportunity for 400-level and 500-level undergraduate law students to participate in the National Essay Competition.

Competition Overview:

Pentagon Partners National Essay Competition for Undergraduate Law Students

The National Essay Competition invites undergraduate law students to showcase their expertise and contribute to the discourse on AI, privacy, and data protection. In addition to cash prizes, participants have the chance to intern with Pentagon Partners, gaining valuable hands-on experience.

Competition Requirements:

1. Eligibility:

   – The competition is open to 400-level and 500-level undergraduate law students in Nigerian universities.

2. Essay Requirements:

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   – Length: Essays should not exceed 1500 words.

   – Format: Double spaced, 12pt Times New Roman font.

   – References: OSCOLA format for citations with 10pt font size for footnotes and endnotes.

   – Submission Format: Essays must be submitted in PDF format.

   – Entrant Details: Include full names, school, level, phone number, and email address in both the body of the email and on the last page of the essay.

   – Single Entry: Each entrant is allowed only one submission.

   – Originality: Plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification.

Competition Benefits and Timeline:

1. Prizes:

   – Winner: N200,000

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   – 1st Runner Up: N150,000

   – 2nd Runner Up: N100,000

2. Internship Opportunity:

   – In addition to cash prizes, winners have the exclusive opportunity to intern with Pentagon Partners, enhancing their career prospects.

Application Procedure:

– Interested participants should submit their essays to essay@pentagonpartnerslp.com during the submission period.

– The subject of the email should be the Essay topic

For additional information and updates, visit www.pentagonpartnerslp.com.

Deadline: March 22nd, 2024

Don’t miss this chance to showcase your legal expertise, contribute to important discussions on AI and law, and vie for enticing cash prizes. Pentagon Partners looks forward to receiving your submissions.

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Education

SYSTEMSPECS CHILDREN’S DAY ESSAY COMPETITION (CDEC), 2024

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The SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition (CDEC) is an annual event aimed at fostering innovative thinking among primary and secondary school students in Nigeria. It provides a platform for young minds to propose technological solutions to national challenges.

Purpose:
Inaugurated in 2020, the CDEC is part of SystemSpecs’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitment to promoting capacity development in the Nigerian ICT industry. By encouraging young Nigerians to tackle everyday issues, the competition contributes to intellectual growth and societal progress.

SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition (CDEC), 2024

Topic:
The theme for the 2024 competition is “Protecting the Nigerian Child from the Dangers of Online Technology.” Participants are tasked with exploring strategies to safeguard children in an increasingly digital world.

Eligibility:
– Open to primary and secondary school students in Nigeria aged 9 to 16.

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– Junior category (ages 9 to 12) essays must not exceed 1,000 words.

– Senior category (ages 13 to 16) essays must not exceed 1,500 words.

Prizes:

– Winners will receive generous rewards, including a high-capacity laptop, premium headphones, a portable laptop stand, a smart wristwatch, and one year of internet data, among other items.

– Consolation prizes will be awarded to other participants.

Application Process:

– Interested candidates should access the application page 

– Essays must be written in English and reflect original thought.

– Each participant is limited to one entry.

– Entries must be endorsed by an accredited school official, parent, or legal guardian.

– Deadline for submissions is April 12, 2024.

Submission Guidelines:

– All submissions must be in PDF format and include the student’s name, home and school addresses, email address, and contact phone number.

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– Double entries will result in automatic disqualification.

– Submissions must be received by March 15, 2024, at 5:00 p.m.

Notification of Winners:

– Successful students and schools will be contacted in the second quarter of the year.

– Updates on winners will be announced on @nercng social media platforms.

The SystemSpecs Children’s Day Essay Competition offers a unique opportunity for Nigerian students to demonstrate their creativity and problem-solving skills. By addressing the theme of online child protection, participants contribute to building a safer and more secure digital environment for all. We encourage eligible students to seize this opportunity and showcase their talent and ingenuity.

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