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FG Tells ASUU Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) is A Must

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With or Without UTAS, ASUU Must Adopt IPPIS System, Says FG

Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said the Federal Government had tried its best to meet the demands of ASUU.

He explained: “As we are now, the Visitation Panels for all the universities have been approved and it is in the Federal Ministry of Education for gazetting. The gazetting will make for the announcement of the lists and swearing in. All the panels will go to their various universities and work for six weeks. Hopefully, the list will be announced this week.

“Also, the renegotiation team will be named this week. Since Dr. Wale Babalakin (SAN) is out as the chairman of the negotiating committee.

“ASUU leaders wrote to the government that they have developed their UTAS and it is ready for testing. The Federal Government wrote to the agency that can do testing, which is the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), to accept from them their system and subject it to test without fear or favour or bias and as quickly as possible.

“It was only last week Thursday that ASUU passed on the documents on UTAS and everything for transmission to NITDA. Just last week.

“But the government still insisted that they must be on IPPIS because whether you like it or not, even with UTAS developed, you must have a handshake with IPPIS.”

” Again other unions in the universities claimed that they have developed their own system too. These are National Association of Technologists, SSANU and NASU.

“They said they have developed a system which they gave another name too. They said they will never be part of UTAS; they said they should be counted out of UTAS.”

Ngige claimed that only three key issues needed to be resolved.

“The first issue is that ASUU is insisting that the Revitalization offer of N20billion for universities is unacceptable. They said they can only take N110billion. The government is saying we do not have N110billion to give you, it can only afford N20billion.

“Secondly, they said N30billion for Earned Allowances is for ASUU members only. The government says no, it is for all the unions in the universities because that is the agreement we reached earlier before we went into subsequent negotiation with these other unions and made offer to them.

“Thirdly with all these agreements, what is the mode of payment if we are going to pay you all these salaries and allowances tomorrow? In the meanwhile, you said you should be exempted from payment portal. The GIFMIS portal for universities has been dismantled, it does not exist anymore.

“The government is saying ASUU should get on to IPPIS, whenever your portal is ready, you migrate back to UTAS. That is where we are. Those are the three issues for determination.”

ASUU President, Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, in a statement on Sunday, said the rumor that the GIFMIS platform was used in paying ASUU members’ salaries before been dismantled should be completely ignored. He claimed that some of its members received part of their withheld salaries last week despite not been registered on the IPPIS platform.

According to him, the union has reduced demand on its outstanding revitalization fund of one tranche, N220 billion by 50%.

“For instance, our members have reduced their demand of one tranche (N220b) of the outstanding revitalization fund by 50%. The Union has also agreed that N30b out of the so far verified arrears of N40b of the earned academic allowances (EAA) be paid to our members while the balance of N10b could be spread over the next two tranches.”

The ASUU president confirmed that progress has been made on certain issues but the main bone of contention is the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

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Staff Assured of Job Security After Dissolution of LAUTECH Joint Ownership

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After the dissolution of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) by the National University Commission (NUC), the staffs of the institutions have been assured of job Security by Osun State Government “indigenes of Oyo and Osun State working in either of the two entities will retain all their rights and obligations stipulated in their letters of engagement.”

On Saturday Mrs. Funke Egbemonde, Osun State Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation disclosed in a statement she made available to the media that, “Osun Students will not be subjected to fees or admission differentials. They will pay the same tuition fees as their Oyo counterparts”.

She said, “Government of Osun wishes to assure its citizens that the dissolution of its joint ownership of LAUTECH, following new terms of management spelled out by the National University Commission (NUC), is in no way skewed against the state.

“All workers of Osun extraction either in the College of Health Sciences and LAUTECH ceded to Osun or those in Ogbomoso are assured of job security. There will be no intimidation or discrimination against them in the discharge of their duties.

“The agreement states that indigenes of Oyo and Osun State working in either of the two entities will retain all their rights and obligations stipulated in their letters of engagements, therefore the State Government of Osun wishes to inform citizens that there is no need to fret about the dissolution, as all workers of Osun extraction are assured of the security of their jobs.

“Both Osun and Oyo states have mutually agreed that the joint ownership of LAUTECH be formally dissolved following extensive mediation by the National Universities Commission (NUC), on the need to restore tranquillity and conducive learning environment in both institutions. The decision became necessary as a result of governance and management challenges”.

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Sanwo-olu Was Misinformed; Nobody Died At The Toll Gate – Brig.-Gen Taiwo

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During the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Enquiry and Restitution for Victims of SARS abuse and other related matters on Saturday, Brig. Gen. Taiwo said that Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State was misinformed about the number of casualties recorded at the protest ground.

“Sanwo-Olu misinformed; nobody died at toll-gate,” he said

This was in contradiction to the statement credited to Lagos state governor that two protesters died at Lekki toll-gate.

According to the General, the supposed death did not happen at the protest ground.

“On 20th October 2020, at about 6.30 pm, while we tried to speak with the protesters and negotiate with them, they pelted stones at us and we had to fire blank bullets at protesters”.

General Taiwo alleged that most of the pictures posted on social media were not taken on the said date.

“Any picture that you (lawyers) want to present here must be submitted for forensic test.

“No protester sustained injury or died. The two people Governor Sanwo-Olu mentioned did not die at the scene; one died on Admiralty Way, which is three kilometers away from the Lekki Toll Gate, the second person was shot at Yaba,” Taiwo said.

When asked if the General was aware of the news about the protest on any foreign media, he claimed to have seen the news from BBC and CNN but not from Al-Jazeera

“Most of the videos in play have been manipulated,” Gen Taiwo said.

“Two people fainted, not died”

When asked about the presence of Omata at Lekki toll-gate on the day of the shooting, Gen. Taiwo said Omata and Bello were assigned to secure the Lekki-Epe corridor and were supposed to meet and be on their way before the Lekki incident occurred.

Taiwo explained that the exercise was led by two senior officers Lieutenant Colonel S. O. Bello who is the Commanding Officer of 65 Division, and Brigadier General Francis Omata.

When asked by Olumide-Fusika about the purpose of General Omata joining Lieutenant Colonel Bello at the toll gate, General Taiwo said it was operational.

But the #EndSARS protesters’ lawyer disagreed.

He said: “Are you aware that Gen Omata came later to stop your men from shooting?

The officer replied: “He didn’t. He was there after the shooting had occurred. He was there to employ the non-kinetic (non-violent) measures”.

Taiwo said: “The General Officer Commanding was not in town. I called Gen Omata, he was already on ground”.

Ogunlana: “You also called Bello, why?”

Taiwo: “I was getting conflicting reports from social media and the internet. I wanted to find out what happened.

“On the internet, we were seeing videos being streamed purportedly of shootings on the ground; people screaming ‘they are killing us’ videos to that effect, so I called him.

“When the first report came in, I dismissed it. I knew nobody sent anyone to the Toll Gate….I asked him if he was anywhere near the toll gate and he said they had been stoned by hoodlums and he released some shots into the air.

“I also asked him if anybody had died as it was being reported on the internet, he replied in the negative. He had only seen two people who had fainted and they had been revived”.

As regards the shootings, the general responded to a question from Mr. Bernard Oniga, a representative of the NBA, he said that the army fired in response to the stones thrown at them.

“We shoot if pelted with stones”

“If you are being pelted with stones, the only option is gunshot. You can’t expect us to throw stones back”.

The panel ruled that following Ogunlana’s request, the facility might soon become the subject of forensic and ballistic analysis. The parties were given two weeks to conclude all analysis.

However, Mr. Olumide-Fusika claimed that there was evidence of shootings on the facilities at the toll plaza.

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Amidst Festivities, Africans Should Be On High Alert To Avoid Surge in COVID-19 Cases – WHO

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COVID-19 Vaccine

In light of the festive period, the World Health Organisation (WHO) urges African countries to be on high alert for a possible surge in COVID-19 cases this season.

The health organisation stated, in a new report, that nearly 20 countries in the African region have experienced an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

While the first wave of COVID-19 cases was triggered by hotspots in Southern Africa, the latest increase is likely to be driven by the North African Region where temperatures are already falling.

Despite reports of a downward trend in the plateau, COVID-19 cases have been increasing since early October in Africa.

The World Health Organisation statement revealed that out of the 47 countries in the WHO African Region, 19 countries have reported over a 20 percent increase in new cases in the past 28 days compared with the previous four weeks.

However, there has been a 20 percent decline in the number of new cases in 17 countries over the past 28 days, compared with the previous four weeks.

The report also states that there have been increasing records of health worker infections and deaths, particularly the experienced health workers.

WHO has identified that Large group gatherings and mobility are high-risk factors that increase the spread of COVID-19 and the approaching festive/holiday season can promote these risks, which might lead to super spreader events.

According to WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, he said “As we near the time of year when people get on the move to spend their holidays together, there is a bigger risk of COVID-19 transmission”

“New clusters of cases can emerge in places that have so far been unaffected as people travel or gather for festivities. But we can lower the risks by wearing masks, limiting the numbers of people who come together, observing physical distancing and practicing good hand hygiene. We can celebrate yet do so safely”. He explained.

WHO emplored member states to conduct risk assessment at all levels, ensure all safety measures and precautions are put in place.

In an effort to re-energize key public health measures, WHO is launching the “Mask Up, Not Down”. The campaign aims to reach over 40 million young people in Africa with positive messages on the correct use of masks through social media and to combat complacency, fatigue and misunderstanding around COVID-19 prevention measures.

Dr. Moeti said “In the face of COVID-19, complacency can be dangerous”.

“At this critical moment as Africa begins to see an uptick in cases, we need to re-energize and recommit to wearing masks. I know many are finding the public health measures cumbersome, but without action from everyone, Africa risks a new surge in COVID-19 cases”. He added.

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