The Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, has invited the Minister of Labour and productivity Chris Ngige, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Head of Civil service of the Federation, Accountant General of the Federation, Director General, Salaries, Income And Wages Commission, Director General Budget Office, among others to appear before the lawmakers next week Thursday.
The Speaker disclosed this on Thursday at the resumed fact finding meeting on strike embarked upon by ASUU.
In continuation of the efforts to find solutions to the lingering strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the Speaker of the House of Representatives alongside his deputy Rep. Ahmed Idris Wase and other leaders of the House on Thursday met with the Head of Service of the Federation (HoS), Mrs Folashade Yemi-Esan, the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, among other government officials.
The meeting was a follow up to an earlier one the Speaker held with ASUU officials on Tuesday, where issues related to the strike were discussed.
The outcome of Tuesday’s meeting led the House leadership to invite the Head of Service, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, the Accountant General of the Federation, among others.
At Thursday’s meeting, NITDA told the House leadership that the Integrated Payroll Personnel Information System (IPPIS), the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) and the University Peculiar Personnel and Payroll System (U3PS) failed its integrity tests regarding the university payroll, which the agency conducted between March and JUNE this year.
A NITDA official at the meeting told the House leadership that the government directed the agency to test UTAS in October, 2020, and that the platform failed the two integrity tests conducted on it.
He said following the first test, ASUU was asked to go back and review, which it did. Yet, the platform did not meet NITDA’s requirements the second time.
For the third time, NITDA was then asked to conduct tests on UTAS, IPPIS and U3PS, which the official said all the three platforms failed its requirements regarding the payroll system of universities.
Not satisfied with the explanation, Speaker Gbajabiamila asked if NITDA advised the government to take action on the lapses found on IPPIS, which has been in operation by the government since 2011. But the NITDA official said they were not in a position to do that.
Gbajabiamila also asked if NITDA queried the IPPIS platform, to which the official responded in the affirmative.
The Deputy Speaker Wase also expressed reservations at NITDA’s action, saying it ought to have advised government on the appropriate action to take in view of its discovery on IPPIS.
However, the Head of Service, in her explanation, said the ministry of communications and digital economy wrote her office following NITDA’s observations about IPPIS on the need to take a holistic look at the platform and that a committee was empaneled to carry out the assignment.
She also noted that IPPIS is not just a payment platform but that it also has a human resource component, which all government agencies have been directed to activate, noting that all those directly under her purview have since complied.
Also, the chairman of the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission, Mr Nta, told the House leadership that in view of the general agitation in the tertiary education sector, the agency advised the government to look at the possibility of increasing the salaries of the staff in the entire sector, comprising universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.
He said, however, that at the end of the day, the government decided to increase the salaries of lecturers in the universities by a certain percentage, while professors were considered for a higher percentage.
He said he was not aware of any agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU for salary increment.
Also speaking at the meeting, the acting Accountant General of the Federation, Mr. Sylva Okolieaboh, said under no circumstance should employees dictate to their employers how they should be paid, faulting ASUU’s insistence on UTAS.
After hours of deliberations, the Speaker suggested that a further follow-up meeting with ASUU officials be held on Thursday next week, which the stakeholders subscribed to. The meeting was, therefore, adjourned to Thursday next week.
NANS threatens to disrupt political campaigns
The leadership of the Lagos axis of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has threatened to disrupt political campaigns and make the coming weeks ugly for Nigerian politicians until the Federal Government puts an end to the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The chairman of Lagos axis of NANS, Olusesi Tolulope, said on Friday that resolving the strike has already become an ego fight between the Federal Government and ASUU, saying students were the ones paying the price.
He said the students were at the receiving end of their inability to resolve all issues around the seven-month, warning that if the ruling of the National Industrial Court, which ordered the lecturers back to work was not complied with, and the Federal Government also refuses to do the needful, the society would be sitting on a time bomb.
Tolulope stressed that students could not be rendered ‘useless’ while campaigns for the 2023 general election progress.
“Our lives also count, and we won’t be afraid to make the next few weeks ugly for those politicians too,” he warned.
He pleaded with ASUU to return back to class or at least suspend the strike while negotiations with the Federal Government continue.
“Actually, Nigerian students through NANS have been more supportive of ASUU due to some of their demands, which we found logical enough and appealing to our interest. Nevertheless, there is no agreement between NANS and ASUU on putting an end to the strike,” he said.
He added that NANS expects ASUU to address Nigerian students and the general public on their position on the court ruling, which has mandated them to return to class.
“We are hoping to hear from them in the next 24 hours,” he noted.
Tolulope appealed to Lagosians to treat the rumoured impending protests on the Third Mainland Bridge and Apapa as fake news, saying NANS does not intend to organise further protests in the state.
He added that “feelings of fear, frustration and resentment should not be created in the minds of Lagos residents out of this volatile information.”
Tolulope appreciated the Lagos State government for its understanding, tolerance and provision of security during the peaceful protest that was held on Monday, September 19, 2022.
Obey court ruling first – FG tells lecturers
The federal government has told the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to obey the National Industrial Court ruling and call off its seven-month strike.
The Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, gave the advice while fielding questions from journalists on the margins of the 77th United Nations General Assembly, UNGA, and the Official Launch of the Nigeria Integrated National Financing Framework Report (NIFF).
The industrial court on Wednesday, ordered ASUU to call off its ongoing nationwide strike, pending the determination of a suit filed by the Federal Government.
The federal government had dragged the lecturers to court in a bid to end the strike.
“I’m not ASUU but the maximum in law is that when there is a court judgment or ruling or order you must first obey and then we can apply for an appeal if you so desire or apply for stay that is stay of execution.
“So the maximum in law, jurisprudence and everything about the law, is that you obey the court’s ruling, judgment or order, no matter how bad. The qualifying thing is that no matter how bad and no matter how you disagree with it, you first obey. Like the military people say, obey before complain.
“So we expect them to get back to the classrooms but that doesn’t foreclose negotiations, the negotiations should be on as a matter of fact, it will be on officially and non officially.
“For example, the House of Representatives had invited us to come and brief them. And together, they are stakeholders. You heard Mr President said to the committee of Pro-Chancellors when they visited him, that he would do consultation as per the two request on putting an icing on the cake on the government offer to ASUU members and the issue of resettlement fund to cushion the effect of the “no work no pay” situation they found themselves in.
“So, President will look at it, the House of Reps are stakeholders, Ministers we are not only stakeholders, we are advisers to Mr. President by the provisions of the Constitution, Section 5 of the Constitution and 147, that appoints ministers one from each state of the Federation, and we hold regular meetings with him, so we are his chief advisers.
“So, we will interface with the House of Representatives and all of us collectively will advise Mr. President,” Ngige said.
FUTMinna council appoints Prof Kuta as new VC
The governing council of the Federal University of Technology, (FUT) Minna has announced the appointment of Professor Faruk Adamu Kuta, a professor of microbiology as the 8th substantive vice-chancellor of the Institution.
Professor Kuta whose appointment was announced on Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 by the chairman of council, Prof. Olu Obafemi, NMON, was born on the 26th October 1972 at Kuta in Shiroro local government area of Niger State.
He attended Government Science Teachers College Wushishi, in Wushishi LGA of Niger State from 1981 to 1986, the Federal College of Education, Kontangora, from 1989 to 1993 before proceeding to the prestigious Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto in 1994 from where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science (BSc. Honours) in microbiology in 1998.
At the end of the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme in the year 2000, he enrolled on a master of technology (MTech) degree programme in pharmaceutical microbiology at F.U.T Minna and he successfully completed the programme in 2004 with outstanding grades in all courses taken.
Thereafter in 2005, he was offered a teaching position as lecturer II in the Department of Microbiology at FUT, Minna from where he pursued a PhD research programme in medical microbiology at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, (ATBU)Bauchi, in Bauchi State which he completed in 2012.
He thereafter moved gradually through the academic ranks to the position of professor of microbiology in October 2018. Prof. Faruk Adamu Kuta finally capped the attainment of the status of a full professor in FUTMinna on the 14th of April, 2021 when he delivered the 77th Inaugural lecture of the University titled “Knowing the Molecular Heterogeneity of Human Pathogenic Viruses: My Concern and Your Hope”.
A thoroughbred professional through and through, Prof. Faruk Adamu Kuta has a vast range of administrative and managerial experience within and outside the university system.
He has held varied executive positions in clubs, societies and local community associations in Niger State, and has served the university in various capacities, including membership in over 30 committees and as chair of over 10 of them.
He has also served as deputy dean of the School of Natural and Applied Sciences, deputy dean of the School of Life Sciences, deputy director, Academic Planning Unit of the university, Head of Department of Microbiology, director, Academic Planning Unit before he became the deputy vice-chancellor (Academic); a position he held before his appointment as vice-chancellor.
Prof. Kuta is well exposed internationally having attended a number of international conferences and published in reputable international Journals. He has supervised and mentored a wide array of MTech and PhD students to date. He has also demonstrated over the years, the ability to attract research grants and other resources to the university.
He is a member of some professional and civil society organisations including the Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria (TRCN), Biotechnology Society of Nigeria (BSN) and the Nigerian Society of Microbiology (NSM)
Professor Faruk Adamu Kuta who succeeds Professor Abdullahi Bala as vice-chancellor is expected to assume office officially effective from Saturday, the 3rd of December, 2022.
The appointment is for a single term of five years.
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