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UNIVERSITY LECTURERS, ASUU LAMENTS 15 YEARS STAGNATED SALARIES, DEMANDS TINUBU’S URGENT INTERVENTION

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The union who said this on Monday in a communiqué signed by their Owerri Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Dennis Aribodor, and made available to journalists during a press conference held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik-ASUU) complex in Awka, Anambra State capital, noted that their members had been earning the same salary since 2009.

Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Owerri Zone, have lamented that university staff salaries have remained stagnant for 15 years, while calling on President Bola Tinubu to urgently intervene on the welfare of their members amidst the current hardship and high cost of living in the country.
 
The union who said this on Monday in a communiqué signed by their Owerri Zonal Coordinator, Prof. Dennis Aribodor, and made available to journalists during a press conference held at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (Unizik-ASUU) complex in Awka, Anambra State capital, noted that their members had been earning the same salary since 2009.
 
The university staff pleaded with the President not to allow politicians to commercialise the university system in Nigeria.
 
“The focus of this press conference is the state of our union’s engagements with the federal and various state governments on how to reposition our public universities for national development as a sequel to the FGN-ASUU Agreement of 2009.
 
“The Union is worried that both the Buhari and the Tinubu-led administrations have jettisoned the main elements of the 2009 agreement and other lingering issues that led to the nationwide strike action of February–October 2022.
 
“This conference is intended to update Nigerians on developments since the suspension of our last national strike action on Friday, October 14, 2022, and our engagements with the current administration since its inception.
 
“ASUU is a patriotic organisation committed to national development and should be taken very seriously when she talks,” the union said.
 
On renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU 2009 Agreement, the union said that “The renegotiation of the FGN/ASUU Agreement of 2009 has dragged on for seven years since 2017.
 
“The reluctance of the Federal Government to conclude the renegotiation is the reason why the government committee has had three chairmen, from Wale Babalakin through Munzali Jibril to Nimi Briggs. This means that academic staff in our universities have been on the same salary structure for 15 years.”
 
According to the ASUU, “We urge the Bola Tinubu administration to speedily put a final closure to the renegotiation by directing the upward review in view of current economic realities and signing the draft agreement reached with the Nimi Briggs committee.
 
“The most obvious implication of the truncation of the renegotiation of the agreement is that university teachers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the value of the naira to the dollar was N120 as against N1800 today. 
The most obvious implication of the truncation of the renegotiation of the agreement is that university teachers in Nigeria have been on the same salary regime since 2009 when the value of the naira to the dollar was N120 as against N1800 today. 
 
“The signing of the Nimi Briggs draft agreement will be a concrete step towards restoring the dignity of academia and ensuring industrial harmony and peace on our campuses.”
 
On withholding member salaries, ASUU argued, “The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions guarantee the right of trade unions to use strike action as a means of pressing for their demands as a last resort. 
 
“The immediate past Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige, in pursuance of his personal animus towards ASUU, engaged in the weaponization of hunger and poverty by withholding the “seven and a half months” salaries of academic staff in federal universities.
 
“Some visitors to state universities were disappointed, leading to the withholding of varying months of salaries for academic staff at state universities.
 
“The most ignoble act of the then Minister of Labour was the pro rata salaries paid to academic staff in October 2022, subsequent to the suspension of the strike. The step taken by the Tinubu administration to pay four months of the withheld salaries is a step in the right direction.
 
“Consequently, we urge the Tinubu administration to put an end to the agitations surrounding the withheld salaries by clearing the remaining three and a half months. That struggle by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, instigated by the failure of the government to honour agreements, was, after all, in the national interest.
 
“Meeting ASUU’s demand in this regard is a panacea for industrial peace in our universities.
 
“Compatriots of the press, the Union also draws your attention to the fact that the Federal Government has lately been evasive on its commitment to the payment of the backlog of the Earned Academic Allowances (EAA), part of which was captured in the 2023 National Budget for Federal Universities.”
 
The union further stated that “The Memorandum of Action (MoA) of December 2020 between FGN and ASUU captured the mainstreaming of the earned academic allowances into the salaries of lecturers with effect from 2022, while the arrears were to be cleared prior to the mainstreaming.
 
“The scheduled payment of the arrears was aborted, while the mainstreaming of the earned academic allowances, which was supposed to commence in 2022, has remained a mirage in both federal and most state universities. A stitch in time, they say, saves nine.
 
“On the illegal dissolution of governing councils, the union said the governing council is the highest decision-making body of the university, charged with the general control of the institution, its affairs, and its functions, including finances and property. 
 
“The illegal dissolution of the governing councils of federal universities and some state universities since June 2023 (over 8 months) constitutes an unbridled attack on and the erosion of the autonomy of the universities in violation of the existing laws of the universities. 
 
“It has caused a major setback in the administration of universities, with serious adverse consequences. Without governing councils, universities are hamstrung and at the mercy of unscrupulous vice-chancellors and their cohorts in the Federal and State Ministries of Education, who illegally assume the function of the administration of the universities by awarding contracts, approving promotions, and recruiting. These anomalies and aberrations are abominable and totally unacceptable to our union.
The Union, therefore, calls on federal and state governments to immediately reverse the dissolution of governing councils where they were dissolved without serving out their tenures and to, without further delay, reconstitute governing councils whose tenures have expired.”
 
On the issue of Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), ASUU said, “The President Tinubu administration has announced the exit of tertiary institutions from the Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS), a corrupt salary payment system imposed on federal universities by the Buhari administration. 
 
“Our union consistently rejected the payment platform because it grossly eroded the autonomy of our universities. However, our union is worried that some elements inside and outside the ambiguity that currently surrounds the transition out of IPPIS to the so-called “new IPPIS,” with which January salaries were paid a few days ago. 
 
“Our position is that the government should revert to quarterly releases of university funds to the various universities to enable them to design and implement their salary payment plans. In addition, the government should release the promotion arrears of academic staff in various universities dating as far back as 2013 and defray the outstanding salaries of all academics who were unjustly denied their salaries arising from the obnoxious imposition of IPPIS.
 
“We also note with serious concern the efforts by the National Universities Commission, which is currently taking over the responsibilities of the senates of our universities with the imposition of the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standard (CCMAS) with effect from the 2022–2023 academic session. 
 
“Consequently, we urge all our university senates to resist the surreptitious moves by NUC to erode the powers of our senates over academic programmes in our respective universities. The NUC cannot and should not regulate itself.” 
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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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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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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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