The in-house unions of the Lagos State University (LASU), Ojo, on Monday locked the institution’s gate, preventing its management, staff and students from entering into the institution’s premises.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that representatives of the unions said that their action was to protest the delay in the payment of the new minimum wage to the staff of Lagos State tertiary institutions by the state government.
The unions comprise: the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Non-Academic Staff of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU).
The unions told the management of LASU to resume duty at the Ministry of Education, Alausa, Lagos.
NAN reports that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had, during the 17th update on the management of the Coronavirus pandemic in Lagos State on Aug.29, asked the state-owned tertiary institutions to reopen on Sept. 14.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari signed the N30,000 new National Minimum Wage Act into law, effective April 18, 2019, thus repealing the Minimum Wage Act of 2011.
Dr Ibrahim Bakare, said that the school would remain shut if the new minimum wage was not paid to its staff.
Bakare said that the members of staff of all the tertiary institutions in Lagos State had resolved to prevent the institutions from reopening, if the state government did not begin to implement their minimum wage.
“On this issue, we have to comply with the directives of the joint tertiary institutions in Lagos State that, as from today, if the minimum wages of our members are not paid, then we will commence an indefinite strike.
“We believe that the state government will take the appropriate decision in terms of implementing the minimum wage and its arrears.
“Other workers from state parastatal agencies started enjoying the minimum wage increment 18 months ago. I do not understand why tertiary institutions should be an exemption.
“We had met with the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour and with other education stakeholders. But, there seems to be no readiness to commence the implementation of the new minimum wage,” the ASUU chairman said.
Bakare said that their members hoped that the government would implement and start paying their minimum wage by the end of this month.
Oseni said that they had continued working for 18 months since the implementation of the new minimum wage by the Federal Government; adding that they had not received anything from the state government.
“We thought the state government will do the needful but to our surprise the government is yet to commence the implementation of minimum wage.
“Other workers in the state have started receiving their minimum wages, yet we are all working for the same state.
“We are still getting the same salary as when a bag of rice was N7,000; and a dollar was N169 to a dollar.
“This is not just or fair, we want everybody to know that we have tried and waited long enough for the state government to implement the minimum wage,” he said.
Oseni added that it was the hard work and commitment of staff, which made LASU one of the best universities in the nation, adding that government needed to compensate them.
“The problem is not with our management but our government. The government needs to rise up and do the needful,” the SSANU chairman said.
Mr Moruf Sanni, Chairman, NASU, LASU chapter, threatened that even, if the staff and students stayed outside the school gate till the next day, they would not allow anybody to enter into the school premises.
Sanni said that government did not appreciate their services and work so they needed to acknowledge government’s actions with corresponding action of their own.
Fagbohun said that every state in the country was challenged due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic which had affected a lot of things, especially, the state’s finances.
“We will continue to dialogue with the unions until we are able to have an amicable resolution.
“We assure our students that there will not be any problem regarding resumption, LASU has resumed academic activities but we will resolve every issue with the unions,” the Vice-Chancellor said.
Abdulbasit Ashade, President of Lagos State Students Union, said that the management and unions had been sacrificing a lot in order for the students to be able to resume peacefully.
Ashade said that it was unfortunate that students got to the campus gate this morning to find that the unions were refusing students, staff and management access into the institution.
“We hope they will allow the students to have access to school because they should realise that students have stayed long enough in their homes.
“We need to start lectures and write our examinations very soon.
“We want the government to attend to the unions. Since the state government had implemented the new minimum wage for other categories of workers, they should also do the same in all tertiary institutions in the state,” he said.
Edited By: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Dada
Sanusi calls for diversification of economy to address poverty, inequality
Former Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, has said that Nigeria must diversify its economy in order to address the high rate of poverty and inequality in the country.
He also said governments at all levels must invest on human capital development and create enabling environment for investments, instead of borrowing to finance development.
Sanusi gave the advice in a presentation during the virtual Kaduna Economic and Investment Summit, on Tuesday.
The former Governor of the Central Bank, however, said the Federal Government has minimal role to play in rejigging the economy.
“While everyone looks to the federal government for solutions, the truth is that its role in the economy is small – both in absolute and relative terms.’’
Sanusi noted that the nation’s economy has not been diversified, years after the discovery of oil.
He added that though Nigeria has generated an increase in wealth from $345 in 1985 to $2,655 in 2015 GDP per capita, but there has been no structural transformation in what the country actually produce.
According to him, though the economy is growing, but its non diversification has resulted to the high rate of poverty and high level of inequality in the country.
He explained that the difference between African countries and those in Asia is that they have diversified from primary to secondary and tertiary sectors of the global economy.
“The major difference is that they have moved on but we have not,’’ he lamented.
Sanusi pointed out that Malaysia has the same factors that Nigeria has been using as an excuse for having not developed, adding that both countries are multi-ethnic and have fought wars.
The former Emir lamented that Nigeria is still a consumer nation instead of being a producer, by seizing on the investments that the government has done in technology.
“Africa’s failure has been in not leveraging on the underlying infrastructure – towers and under sea cables- to catalyse the development of other and new industries,’’ he said.
‘’If you use your smart phone which is made in China and order shoes from France and they are delivered to you at home, what have you actually gained? You are just a consumer,’’ he added.
The ex-CBN Governor argued that the same phone can be put to productive use, when it is used to shoot a Nollywood movie and the film clip is distributed.
Sanusi noted that the success of Nigeria’s pre-oil economy was based on the dynamism of its trading sector and the diversity of its export base, which ‘’meant that it was less vulnerable to terms of trade shock driven by any one export.”
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed
Food Council to ensure reduction in fertiliser price – Gov. Bagudu
The National Food Security Council says it will ensure the reduction on the cost of NPK fertiliser from N5,500 to N5,000 per bag as earlier ordered by President Muhammadu Buhari in April to boost food production in the country.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the National Food Security Council, disclosed this when he, alongside Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, briefed State House correspondents at the end of the meeting of the National Food Security Council at the State House, Abuja, on Tuesday.
Bagudu explained that the implementation of the president’s directive was informed by the fact that production of the commodity had been normalized in the country following the reopening of Indorama plant in Rivers.
He said the plant was closed because of COVID-19 related deaths.
The governor also expressed optimism that prices of food items and goods would soon be coming down judging by the data obtained and made available to him.
He explained: “Yes, I said food prices for crops have started coming down. That was from data collated and made available to me in my state and from a pre-meeting with all the commodity association and farmer groups prior to the National Food Security Council meeting.
“I have been going round my state in the last one week and have seen further drops in prices and it makes sense and is self-explanatory. Harvest is coming in, harvests of millets, maize and of rice.
“Yes, we had a lot of devastating floods that affected the rice crop but again, there is upland rice that is being harvested that has not been affected by flood.’’
The governor attributed the increase in the prices of foodstuff to bulk purchase of food commodities for distribution as COVID-19 palliatives by the three tiers of government and wealthy individuals.
“The CACOVID was buying food items for the coronavirus pandemic response in bulk at a peak of the beginning of the season, at a time when demands are not high. So, it contributed to the high cost.
“The global lockdown also contributed because of lack of movement of food items. But now, harvests are coming in and it is good.
“Yes, there are some states that experienced huge draught but that has been overcome by the food coming from elsewhere.”
Bagudu assured that despite the flood disasters in parts of the country this year, which he said was worst that previous ones, “there won’t be food crisis’’.
He added: “Is there going to be goods crisis? No, by God’s grace. Yes, flooding is devastating. Unfortunately, that is part of life. We have a good eco-system where immediately after flooding we can plant again.
“In fact, the farmers are more confident because the risk of flooding has reduced.
“So, what is important is for us to mobilise and ensure we time properly and is part of the reason Mr President has been working very hard because that is what bothers him most, how to deliver to Nigerians.
“That is why since last week and a week earlier, the challenge has been ‘come up with how we can intervene so that farmers, fishermen and those in husbandry can resume economic activities as quickly as possible.’
“In fact, one of the key initiatives as the very first intervention of the national food security council, was to recognize how to support people to resume economic activity following the disaster.
“That is why in 2018, N23 billion was spent to support farmers in 14 states as well as another N8 billion to support some states that were affected by conflict and the need for people to resume economic activity.’’
Also, Gov. Abubakar Badaru of Jigawa, expressed confidence that the prices of food items would come down as harvest season has begun and more commodities are arriving markets across the country.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Runsewe urges youths to uphold cultural values
Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, the Director-General, National Council for Art and Culture, on Tuesday called on Nigerian youths to uphold cultural values to reduce social vices.
Runsewe made the call in Abuja during a cultural roundtable on social values with the theme: “Morality, Culture and the Nigerian Youths’’.
He said that the programme was aimed at reawakening the consciousness of Nigerian youths on those cultural and social values that had gone into extinction.
Runsewe described social values as admirable attitudes such as hope, sense of duty, acceptable standards of right and wrong, hard work, accountability and other humane qualities.
He said that these values were acquired through cultural traditions and transmitted from one generation to another.
Runsewe said that these cultural values guaranteed peace, orderliness and harmonious society, however, expressed worry that these values had been truncated by present generation.
“The high rate of immorality and moral decadence posed a palpable threat to the peace, social cohesion, mutual trust and respect for which our society is build.
“We have the patriotic duty of probing deeper into these challenges that so brazenly threaten our peaceful co-existence and begin to fashion out modalities to solve them,” he said.
The director noted that the forum would provide a veritable platform to collectively direct the reproductive efforts toward using cultural norms and values in solving the current national challenges such as insecurity, poverty and moral decadence.
The Chairperson of the occasion, Mrs Hajo Sani, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Women Affairs and Administration, said that the social vices had eaten deep into the society, especially among our youths.
Sani said that the society had become bad as “we try to overlook the cultural heritage that binds us.’’
“Culture is the people’s way of life and we have to cherish and judiciously guide our cultural values, transmit same to young people to ensure sound moral in them.
“Women are the agent of socialisation and they should inculcate the moral upbringing to their children,” she said.
Sani, therefore, urged the director to ensure that the initiative was taken to the grassroots, schools, churches and mosques to sensitise them on cultural values.
The Managing Director, African Independent Television, Mrs Tosin Dokpesi, described morality and cultural norms as the principles of good behaviour, acceptable manner and conduct “which are opposite of what we see today’’.
Dokpesi said that this was a time when national life was at risk, when citizens pursue wealth without knowledge, without character, pleasure without conscience, commerce without morality and polity without principles.
“Today some Nigerians have cultivated the culture of immorality and we see where we are today.
”In the past, it was wrong to see a young person wear tattoos without sending ill signal to the society but today it is common without anyone frowning at it,” she said.
Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/ Grace Yussuf
Spurs’ League Cup match called off due to COVID-19 cases at Orient
Tuesday’s League Cup third round match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur has been postponed after a number of Orient players tested positive for COVID-19, the Football League has said.
Orient announced on Monday that some of their players had tested positive and that its Breyer Group Stadium and training ground facilities would be closed until further notice.
“Tonight’s (Tuesday night’s) Carabao Cup match between Leyton Orient and Tottenham Hotspur is not taking place this (Tuesday) evening as scheduled,” an EFL statement said.
“Discussions are ongoing between the relevant stakeholders with regard to the implications of the decision not to play tonight’s game and a further update will be provided in due course.”
Tottenham also confirmed the match was off.
It was not clear whether Tottenham had been awarded victory by default or whether the match would be re-scheduled.
Orient, who play in the English football league’s fourth-tier had also informed Mansfield Town, Plymouth Argyle and Oldham Athletic prior to the public release of the information.
They are three of their most recent opponents.
It is a bitter blow to Orient who would have been looking forward to a 150,000 pound (190,935 dollars) windfall with the game scheduled to be screened live on Sky Sports.
Orient owner Nigel Travis said they had been looking forward to a welcome financial boost.
This is because the coronavirus pandemic ended last season early and continues to rob small clubs of matchday revenue with fans not permitted to attend games.
“The coronavirus has added 1.5 million pounds to our losses and this game would have contributed about 150,000 pounds to offset those losses. So, this is a big blow,” he said.
“We think the appropriate action is for this game to take place,” he added.
“If we don’t play the game and are forced to forfeit, it’s a demonstration that doing the right thing doesn’t work. It would be an incentive not to test.”
Tottenham actually paid for the COVID-19 testing of Orient’s players and staff which produced a significant number of positives, Travis confirmed.
“We are working with the EFL to see how it happened and the possible cause,” Travis said.
Edited By: Olawale Alabi)