The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, who recently obtained a nomination and expression of intent forms for 100million naira has stated that it does not make sense for members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to continue to earn salaries while on strike.
He noted that ASUU began one month warning strike on February 14, 2022 and since then has not suspended its industrial action, yet they are at home or doing their other businesses and still be receiving their salaries as lecturers.
Speaking in an interview, Nwajiuba said, “The lecturers have continued to earn salaries while on strike; it doesn’t make sense to earn salaries when you have refused to work.
“If you refuse to even pay them, by the time they call off the strike, they will still come back to fight for the payment of the period they refused to work.
“You can air your grievances, come to the negotiation table without refusing to work. The issue of the strike has become a thing of concern. I have four children; two have graduated, while the other two are still in public universities. I feel for them, I feel for other students who are at home. I feel the same way other parents feel, but can I bring money from my house and give it to ASUU?
“The Ministry of Education isn’t the employer of the lecturers, we are a supervisory body, and there is no way we can fire or hire someone.
“Universities have governing councils that supervise the activities that go on, our job as in the ministry is to supervise, we can’t meddle in.
“On the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), I am also paid via the IPPIS, it is owned by the government, there is no way you can tell the government to throw away its platform and pay you with another platform,” the education minister added.
Meanwhile, the President of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), Mohammed Ibrahim, has accused the Federal Government of focusing on frivolous things and neglecting the education sector and the youths.
Speaking during the 2022 May Day celebration in Abuja, Ibrahim said the universities were forced to shut down due to government insincerity, adding that the standard of education had continued to go down.
According to him, “Our universities have been forced to shut down due to the insincerity of the government to keep to its promises. The standard of education continues to go down due to the insensitivity of the government and the inability to provide a good teaching, learning and work environment through lack of basic facilities that will make them compete favourably with their peers in other parts of the world.
“The morale of university workers is dampened by the poor pay package and the government appears to be paying lip service to education. It is very clear that government pays more attention to frivolous things and has neglected youths that are said to be the leaders of tomorrow.
The SSANU President lamented the condition of Nigerian workers whom he said were going through perilous times in form of insecurity, economic hardship and other challenges.
He noted, “This year’s Workers Day comes when Nigerian workers are passing through perilous and dangerous times. Nigerian workers and indeed members of our great union are confronted with diverse challenges like rising spate of armed banditry, kidnappings, insurgency, economic hardship and worst of all, the inability of the government to keep to agreements it entered into with all the university-based unions in 2009.
“Our members have been denied payment of new Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment arrears and backlog of earned allowances in addition to other violations of our rights and privileges. Our universities have been forced to shut down due to the insincerity of Nothe government to keep to its promises.”
He admonished the government to resolve the ongoing strike by university workers and also tackle the challenges facing the country.
“Toying with the future of our children will spell doom for our dear country. I call on the government to look into the demands of all the university-based unions and take urgent steps to address them so that our children will go back to school,’’ the union urged.
CSO To Support Implementation Of $700m W/Bank Water Project In Nigeria
Society for Water and Sanitation (NEWSAN) has pledged to support the World Bank in the implementation of the Sustainable Urban and Rural Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (SURWASH) programme in Nigeria.
NEWSAN National Coordinator, Mr Benson Attah, made the pledge when he led his members on a courtesy visit to the SURWASH Programme Implementation Office in Abuja.
Tide source reports that the 700 million U.S. dollars programme is being implemented in seven states of Delta, Ekiti, Gombe, Imo, Kaduna, Katsina and Plateau.
SURWASH will provide six million people with basic drinking water services and 1.4 million people access to improved sanitation services and improve WASH services to 2,000 schools and health care facilities.
Attah noted that NEWSAN works to support the Federal Government in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target of scaling up access to potable water and sanitation.
He commended FG’s efforts in meeting the SDGs, saying such was reflected in its various intervention programmes.
“We are optimistic that this new project which rests on the theme of programme for results will be different from other projects, as we have seen its objective to include effective monitoring and evaluation.
“NEWSAN has a huge role to play in achieving stated objectives of the SURWASH project, and our partnership would go a long way in advocacy and encourage community partnership for sustainability,” he said.
SURWASH National Programme Coordinator, Mr Abdulhamid Gwaram, said CSOs play a critical role in project implementation and could serve as watchdogs.
According to him, the civil societies will serve as a medium for passing the right information towards reducing misinformation and disinformation.
Gwaram added that SURWASH programme was part of interventions to support the implementation of the National WASH action plan.
The national coordinator said that the role of continuous orientation of all partners towards ensuring community ownership and sustainability was paramount.
He, however, said that the six-year programme had made huge impact within its first year, saying this was made possible through the support and commitment of the Federal ministry of Water Resources.
Use Art and Craft To Curb Plastic Pollution …Experts Tell Government
Some experts in the art and craft sector are calling on the government to use the sector to check plastic pollution in the country.
They said this at the launching of the book , Drift wood And plastic: A medium for Experimental Expressions”written by Dr Benjamin Ejiohuo and and Art exhibition in port Harcourt.
Some of the respondents including Prof. Pamela Egware of the university of port Harcourt and Woko Aguru President Rivers indigenous Visual Artists said since Artists now rely on plastic and wood for their work, encouraging the sector will reduce plastic pollution and create employment opportunities.
On her part pamela who is the Head of Department of Fine Art University of Port Harcourt said Artiste should be involved in waste recycling to create wealth.
She said a policy on waste recycling is urgently needed in the country.
“We need a policy on waste recycling. By so doing jobs will be created and restiveness will be checked”
She also decried the non regard for Artists by some states in the south south.
According to her “it is only Akwa Ibom state that is engaging Artists to beautify their cities.
She said Dr.Ejiohuo is teaching the society to explore and to expand their horizon.
“He is teaching us that wood is not only meant for tables and chairs.His work is to help reduce trash in the environment,” she said.
Pamela said ,using plastic and wood to create fine works of art , the Artist is simply transforming waste to wealth.
Also speaking woko Aguru of the Rives indigenous Visual Artist said the situation has shown that Artists can turn waste to wealth
He described Nigeria as a country that is too wasteful.
“The country is so wasteful that plastic waste is littering everywhere.
“If we look at this angle,you discover that plastic waste is a huge resource that can be transform into wealth.
“If people are employed to exchange the plastic waste,the economy will grow”he said.
Chairman of the occasion Kingsley Eguma said society should appreciate what the Artists are doing for it.
He also advised Artists to be consistent with their work despite the neglect by the society.
Dr Ejiohuo told journalists that the book is about the use of plastic and driftwood to produce Art work.
“I draw,I paint and use drift wood and plastic to express myself”
Ejiohuo also called on his fellow Artists to use resources within their envelope for their work.
“The message is that use what you have in your environment to do what you want to do”.
By: John Bibor
NCF Wants Reduction Of Light Pollution To Conserve Migratory Birds
The Nigerian Conservation Foundation (NCF) and some conservationists have called for the eradication of light pollution to conserve migratory birds.
This is contained in a statement issued by the NCF on Wednesday at the end of an event hosted to mark the World Migratory Bird Day in Lagos.
The Tide source reports that the statement was signed by the NCF Head of Communications, Mr Oladapo Soneye.
The World Migratory Bird Day is an annual event used to raise awareness on bird migration and the importance of protecting the flyways and habitats utilised by birds during this seasonal experience.
Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate.
Light pollution is a significant and growing threat to wildlife including many species of migratory birds.
Every year, light pollution contributes to the death of millions of birds. It alters the natural patterns of light and dark in ecosystems. It can change birds migration patterns, foraging behaviours, and vocal communication.
The statement quoted the Director-General of NCF, Dr Muhtari Aminu-Kano, as saying that Nigerians should participate jointly in bird conservation by eradicating light pollution.
Aminu-Kano expressed concern on the challenges the birds were facing, especially migratory birds challenges, such as, but not limited to loss of habitat, persecution, famine and pollution.
He said that this year’s theme: “Light Pollution: Dim the light for birds at night,” was a clarion call to action for all to jointly participate in bird conservation.
According to him, research shows that birds do have accident flying at night because of illumination from cities.
“When we switch off light bulbs that are not so useful, we help to reduce the chances of the birds having head-on-collision with buildings, trees, and other infrastructures,” Aminu-Kano said.
Dr Soladoye Iwajomo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Zoology, University of Lagos, defined light pollution as the introduction of artificial light, either directly or indirectly, into the natural environment.
Iwajomo said that light pollution results in the alteration of the natural pattern of light and dark in ecosystems.
According to him, light pollution is often caused by the way the light is emitted from lighting equipment.
He said that choosing proper equipment and carefully mounting and aiming would make a significant difference.
Also speaking, Mr Abdulmalik Ogizi, who represented the Federal Ministry of Environment, said that migratory birds fly hundreds of thousand kilometres to find the best ecological conditions and habitats for feeding, breeding, and raising their young ones.
“When conditions at breeding sites become unfavourable, it is time to fly to regions where conditions are better.
“The phenomenon is accompanied by several anthropogenic, political, and environmental challenges on the migratory bird’s survival and conservation,” Ogizi said.
He said that the 2022 campaign highlights the impacts of the increasing but underestimated threat of light pollution on migratory birds.
Ogizi noted that artificial light was increasing globally by at least two per cent per year with adverse effect on bird species.
He said that light pollution was a significant threat to migratory birds, causing disorientation when they fly at night, leading to collisions with buildings, increasing their vulnerability as prey to other animals perturbing their internal clocks, or interfering with their ability to undertake long distance migrations.
The NCF’s Species Programme Lead, Dr Stella Egbe, said that, the world comes together to celebrate and raise awareness on the beauty and threats of migratory birds twice every year.
Egbe described migration as the seasonal movements of birds between their breeding and wintering sites.
She said that the seasonal activity is an important event that ensures the survival of lots of bird species.
“Every year, ornithologists, and conservation biologists study birds in all types of environments globally, monitoring their numbers and diversity.
“In recent years, it has been observed that species are declining rapidly, driving species to the brink of extinction.
“From habitat loss, indiscriminate killing and trade in birds, plastic pollution, birds are increasingly exposed to factors within the environment that they have not adapted to.
“It has been discovered that some adult birds are being harvested, which will prevent reproduction.
This will cause general decline in the population of birds,” Egbe said.
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