Schools reopening: Tertiary institution unions in Lagos state insist on payment of minimum wage



Academic and Non-academic unions of tertiary institutions in Lagos State have  said that  they will only begin academic  activities if  the state government pays them the new national minimum wage.

Mr Olugbenga Salami,one of the union leaders and the  Vice-Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, LASPOTECH chapter , said that  his  union would not relent in its efforts to ensure the implementation of the new  national minimum wage.

According to him, other civil servants in Lagos state have since  been enjoying the new national minimum wage.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Lagos State tertiary institutions include: the Lagos State University (LASU),Ojo, the  Lagos State Polytechnic (LASPOTECH),Ikorodu and  the Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education (AOCOED), Ijanikin.

NAN also reports that President Muhammadu Buhari assented to the N 30,000  new National Minimum Wage bill which became  a law on April 18, 2019.

Salami added, “All the representatives of all the unions in all the tertiary institutions in Lagos State had a  meeting with the Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Labour,Mr Babatunde Williams, on Sept.8.

Also, the meeting was attended  by  representatives from the office of Special Adviser to the Governor on Education,and  Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

“The agenda of the meeting was the implementation of  the new minimum wage to workers in tertiary institutions.

“After the meeting, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Labour assured them  that the new national minimum wage and the consequential adjustment would  be implemented but he added he could not say exactly when,” he said.

Salami said that the unions backed by the state  chapter of the NLC,thereafter, resolved that no tertiary institutions in the state should open until the government begins to implement the  new minimum wage.

“The three unions in LASPOTECH will abide by this decision.

“We, therefore, appeal to  our members to stay away from their campuses from Sept.14 and awaits further directives from their unions,” he said.

Mr Ige Ajayi; the Chairman, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU) AOCOED chapter; however,  said that their members would resume  work on Sept.14 because of their peculiar situation.

Ajayi said that their peculiar situation was that AOCOED students had begun their examination before the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.

“We had  congress meeting with our members yesterday and there we agreed  that we  should tarry a while because of our peculiar situation.

“We all know that we are in school because of the students, we are considering them because they had been home for more than five months.

“We want them to complete writing their examinations and move on to the next level.

AOCOED academic board has directed that students should resume on Sept. 14 and  that their examinations will start  on Sept. 21,”he said.

Ajayi  said that their union were part of the agitation and demands for the implementation  of the new minimum wage in all tertiary institutions in Lagos state.

Mr Moruf Sanni, the Chairman of the Non-Academic Staff Union,LASU chapter, said that their decision after their  virtual  congress was “no minimum wage ,no resumption until government  implements the new  minimum wage”.

 Sanni said that students and staff members would not be allowed onto the campus on Sept.14.

“There is no sincerity from the government concerning the payment of minimum wage to all its staff in the  tertiary institutions in the state.

“We do not have any issue with LASU management but we want government to pay our minimum wage,” he said.

Mr Saheed Oseni, the Chairman of the Senior Staff Union of Universities,LASU chapter,  said that they would meet with their members before declaring their next step.

Oseni said that they would be having their congress meeting on Sept.14 for decisions on  the new  minimum wage.

On  her part, Funmi Sessi, the Chairman of the  NLC in the state , urged the  government to do the needful by implementing and paying all its workers in  tertiary institutions the new  national minimum wage.

Sessi said that the  NLC would support  every decision reached by the unions in  the tertiary institutions.

“Payment of the new minimum wage is long over due because other states had started paying their tertiary institutions their salaries.

“Government should stop delaying the payment of minimum wage  because it is only the  workers in tertiary institutions that have not received payment.

NLC and all unions in all tertiary institutions had a meeting with the  Special Adviser on Labour yesterday and he said we should give them time,”she said.

Sessi  also advised that government should not rush in  reopening schools, especially in Lagos state where they had more cases of COVID-19 pandemic.

“I do not know why  the government is rushing to reopen schools. I  pray there will not be the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic after school resumption in the country.

“Even, the  Federal Government is still taking its time to put  everything is in place before school resumption.

ASUU also made governments know that schools should not be reopened until the coast is  clear,” she said.

Sessi advised government at all levels to focus more on improving virtual learning for students in the state instead of  rushing to reopen schools.

Edited By: Shittu Obassa/Peter Dada
Source: NAN

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AbdulRazaq updates Buhari on Kwara flood disaster, seeks FG support  



Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara has updated President Muhammadu Buhari on the havoc wreaked by flood in the state, saying over 15,000 people had been displaced as a result of the disaster.

Speaking to State House correspondents on his mission to the Villa, on Tuesday in Abuja, the governor said he met with the president to request for Federal Government assistance for the victims of the disaster.

He, therefore, urged the federal government to come to the aid of the displaced persons, saying property and farm products worth about N10billion had been damaged or destroyed as a result of the disaster.

The governor expressed the hope that the assistance if granted would help to ameliorate the sufferings of the people of state, who are victims of flood disasters this year.

“I came to see the president, among other things, to discuss ecological and developmental issues.

“Over the weekend, we had huge rainstorm that destroyed about 5,000 houses in the State capital. We had huge flooding in Kwara North and the bank of River Niger.

“There are a lot of internally displaced people in the State capital. The State needs assistance to abate the crisis.

“We have about 5,000 houses and thousands of hectares of farmland that are under water. Close to about 10,000 to 15,000 people are already displaced so far. So, it’s straining the State’s economy.

The governor, however, expressed the hope that the state would witness bumper harvest this farming season in spite of the reported flood in the state.

He said: “Luckily for us, we did two cycles of rice farming in the affected areas. We are hoping to do three cycles. Yes, there is huge impact.

“We are expecting bumper harvest this season, especially with the federal government’s intervention in the agricultural sector.”

Edited By: Felix Ajide
Source: NAN
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UN commends FG on improvement of humanitarian access in North-East



The United Nations has commended the Federal Government’s efforts at improving humanitarian support in the North-East region of the country, saying the Buhari Administration “has taken important steps to improve access to people in need.”

A statement in Abuja on Tuesday by Mr Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, said the commendation came amidst international concerns on the activities of terrorists and violent extreme groups in the region.

Lately, some international humanitarian Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have expressed worry on their inability to operate effectively and distribute relief materials in parts of the North-East because of security concerns, especially in some remote areas of Borno.

“In a bid to reverse the trend and ensure effective access to vital food supplies, the Humanitarian Affairs Minister, the National Security Adviser and members of the National Humanitarian Coordination Committee, escalated the matter to the Presidency.

“The President then mandated the Vice President to work with the Committee, Governors in the region and relevant MDAs, including service chiefs to resolve the matter in conjunction with international NGOs and multilateral agencies operating in the region.

“The Vice President then held series of meetings, bringing together the governors, all the relevant government agencies and representatives of international agencies and INGOs.

“This intervention by the Presidency has led to a renewed and coordinated effort of providing a new template that supports the activities of the INGOs and offers a more secured access to the areas in question,’’ the presidential aide maintained.

In reaction to this intervention and new arrangement, Adesina quoted the United Nations Secretariat in a briefing last week by the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock to the UN Security Council to have said:

“I am pleased to report we have had constructive engagements in recent days with the Nigerian authorities, and the Government has taken important steps to improve access to people in need, which we look forward to building on further.”

Lowcock had indicated earlier that “In North-East Nigeria, as we told you…violence by extremist non-state armed groups is largely responsible for driving up humanitarian need.”

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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8 states yet to implement new minimum wage – TUC



The Trade Union Congress (TUC), has said that eight states are yet to commence the payment of the new minimum wage and its consequential adjustments.

Its President, Mr Quadri Olaleye, and Secretary General, Mr Musa-Lawal Ozigi, in a statement on Tuesday in Lagos, said that the union had written to the governors and also engaged them in dialogue, but without any success.

The leaders, while expressing deep concern, said that the union had decided to collaborate with its sister union, the Nigeria Labour Congress, to carry out its planned protest formerly scheduled for Sept. 23, but now shifted to Sept. 28.

“There is no need for the pains we bear; it is a needless one. They asked us to tighten our belts while they loosen theirs.

“Services are not rendered, yet we are compelled to pay estimated bills.

“You will recall that this government spoke a lot on subsidy and even promised to build refineries.

“We depend a lot on oil, so any hike in fuel price will automatically have adverse effects, but successive governments have consistently done that,” the union leaders fumed.

The duo vowed that the union would protest against social ills, urging governments at all levels to act quickly to forestall such action in the interest of the general public.

Edited By: Josephine Obute and Ephraims Sheyin
Source: NAN
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COVID-19: We’ve flattened the curve, says Gov. Ganduje



Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje says Kano State has flattened the curve of the spread of COVID-19 following the N5billion intervention fund made available to it by the Federal Government.

Ganduje made this known to State House correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja on Tuesday.

He stated that he was in the Presidential Villa to thank President Buhari over the federal government assistance of the five billion naira to tackle the pandemic.

He further explained that the massive testing which yielded negative results was confirmation that the curve has been flattened in Kano.

He said: “On COVID-19, I came to thank the President for assisting Kano State with N5 billion to fight the pandemic. That has assisted the state. We have opened five testing centres which are functional, the curve is now flattened.

“We carried out testing maximally but at the same time the positivity ratio is very low. So, it (COVID-19) is dying down almost on a daily basis. So, I came to thank the President for that assistance.”

The governor said he updated the President on the security situation in the state, especially the millitary training facility provided by the state government at the Falgore Forest at the cost of over N500 million.

“We are providing infrastructure for military training in the Falgore Forest in order to prevent the bandits from colonising that particular environment.

“The infrastructure will include auditorium, houses, dining hall, kitchen, shooting range and many other amenities to enable the military train continuously,’’ he added.

Ganduje announced that his administration had embarked on the construction of a Ruga settlement in the forest, as well as a dam, to halt the movement of the nomadic Fulani from one place to the other.

“A modern system of animal husbandry will also be in place at the forest, for which 75 sons and daughters of Fulani herdsmen have been trained in Turkey for artificial insemination.

“Once the Ruga is completed, they will be settled there and then modern animal husbandry will be practiced,” he said.

Ganduje added that he also updated the President on the blasphemy case in Kano.

He explained that the house of the father of the accused was burnt by locals but the boy was secured, charged to court and sentenced to death.

“The boy can appeal the judgement and he has since done so,” he said.

Edited By: Wale Ojetimi
Source: NAN
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