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ASUP Commences Nationwide Strike Come April 6

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The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has said it will commence a nationwide indefinite strike beginning April 6, 2021, in all the nation’s polytechnics over unresolved issues between its members and the federal and some state governments.

The union also advocated the immediate reconstitution of governing councils for federal and state-owned polytechnics and full implementation of the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics Act as well as its domestication in Adamawa, Sokoto, Niger and other non-compliant states.

The ASUP President, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, while reading the communiqué at the end of the National Executive Council meeting of the union held in Katsina, said the strike became necessary following the inability of the government to implement agreements reached with the union.

He listed the issues in contention to include failure to implement the 2014 NEEDS Assessment Report on government-owned polytechnics and the non-implementation of 65 years retirement age for academic staff in some state-owned polytechnics.

Other outstanding issues, according to Ezeibe, included the non-payment of promotion arrears in federal polytechnics and non-payment of annual increments in some states of the federation.

He said: “In view of the unresolved issues in our previous communications and after extensive deliberations, the union resolved to withdraw the services of its members across the nation in a comprehensive industrial action from the 6th of April, 2021.

“The industrial action is to draw the attention of the government on the need to release the 10 months arrears of the new minimum wage owed our members in federal polytechnics and the implementation of same in states yet to implement the new minimum wage.

“Release owned staff salaries in Abia, Ogun, Osun, Benue, Plateau, Edo and the Cross Rives States and implement full salary payments in Sokoto, Kaduna, Adamawa and other institutions with such reports.”

He urged the government to, as a matter of urgency, withdraw what he termed a letter containing spurious, incoherent and unsubstantiated claims of pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) tax liabilities in 19 federal polytechnics across the country.

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Polytechnics Remain Shut as FG, ASUP’s Hits Wall

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ASUP had declared an indefinite strike last Tuesday over alleged poor funding and neglect of the institutions.

However, the union has kicked against the appointment of principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics.

When THISDAY sought for an update on the ongoing strike, the President of ASUP, Mr. Anderson Ezeibe, said the union had not been invited for negotiations by the federal government.

He said since the last meeting they held on Tuesday with the Federal Ministry of Education, which yielded no positive outcome, the union had not been invited for talks again.

“You know we held a meeting with the Federal Ministry of Education last Tuesday but since that time, all we have been hearing was that there will be meeting but we are yet to get an invitation,” he added.

Also, it was gathered from a source at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment that the ministry can only wade into the matter if the Ministry of Education refers the issue to it for conciliation.

However, the dispute has deepened as ASUP has kicked against the appointments of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics, saying it did not meet the required standards.

In a statement by Ezeibe, the union said: “Our union’s attention has been drawn to a recent press statement from the Federal Ministry of Education announcing the appointment of rectors and other principal officers for the six new federal polytechnics situated in Enugu, Oyo, Cross River, Plateau, Borno and Benue states.”

The union stated that the appointments violated provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019, adding that five out of the six new rectors were not qualified for the position having fallen short of the requirements captured in Section 8, 2 (a) (i )of the Act.

Ezeibe said the profiles of the appointees showed that five out of the six persons did not fit into the requirements of the law for the appointment of rectors in federal polytechnics.

According to him, these beneficiaries include the appointees for federal polytechnics Ohodo (Enugu), Ugep (Cross River), Shendam (Plateau), Monguno (Borno), and Wannune (Benue) .

“It is regrettable that the government, through officials of the Federal Ministry of Education has become principal violators of the laws governing the operations of Nigerian polytechnics.

“This latest assault is despite the contents of a recent ruling of the National Industrial Court in Abuja where the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics (Amendment) Act, 2019 was affirmed by the court and the Federal Ministry of Education and her officials undertaking to observe the provisions in totality.

“Despite the contents of the judgment of the court in NICN/ABJ/12/2020 involving our union and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Minister for Education and five others in a similar issue, our union had drawn the attention of the Federal Ministry of Education on the need to adhere to the provisions of the law in this appointment process more than a month before this recent naked display of impunity,” he added.

Ezeibe said part of the union’s current engagement with the government was to reverse the trend of administering polytechnics outside extant laws and regulations.

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2021 WASSCE To Hold August/ September

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The West African Examinations Council, Nigeria, says the 2021 West African Senior School Certificate Examination will commence in August and not May.

WAEC also debunked reports by some news platforms that it postponed the examination.

In a statement on Friday, Acting Head, Public Affairs, WAEC, Nigeria, Demianus Ojijeogu, said WAEC Nigeria Head, Patrick Areghan, was quoted out of context at a briefing on Tuesday when he announced the release of results of WASSCE for private candidate

According to Ojijeogu, Areghan said the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic has distorted the academic calendars of schools, hence, it will be impossible for candidates to sit for the examination in May because most of the schools are still in their first term

The statement was titled, ‘Conduct Of WASSCE For School Candidates, 2021 In Nigeria’.

The statement said Areghan had at the Tuesday briefing said, “Let me also use this opportunity to dispel rumours being peddled about by some people regarding the conduct of WASSCE for School Candidates, 2021. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still very much felt in the education sector

“The academic calendar has been distorted. It will, therefore, not be possible to have the examination in May/June this year. A convenient International Timetable for the conduct of the examination will soon be released.”

The statement added, “The arrangement is in line with the current academic calendar and was done in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Education

“Consequently, the Council wishes to inform schools, candidates and the general public that the examination will hold from August 16, 2021 to September 30, 2021. The International timetable for the conduct of the examination will be released in due course.”

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JAMB Puts 2021 UTME/DE Registration on Hold

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) said the registration for the 2021 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) and Direct Entry (DE), which was initially slated to commence on Thursday, April 8, 2022, has been put on hold.

JAMB’s head of media and protocol, Dr. Fabian Benjamim, said the shift was to ensure finishing touches on PIN vending processes before the take-off of the exercise.

“The Board’s registration exercise was to begin today 8th April,2021. To be sure all processes are completed before the commencement, the Board didn’t placed its advertorial as we are yet to complete the process of a smooth PIN vending and candidate access to the registration app for the 2021 UTME/DE.

“The advertisement is the surest indication of the beginning of the exercise as it has all the step by step process that candidates are required to follow.

“The delay is caused by some unforeseen circumstances occasioned by our determined effort to have a NIN integration. This challenge is being resolved and once that is done, all processes shall commence.

“Candidates are, therefore, requested to exercise some patience.

“The process shall be up and running shortly for our advertisement to be rollout so that candidates can begin the creation of profile,” he added.

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