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World Teachers’ Day: Atiku Calls for Improved Investment in Education

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Atiku Abubakar
PDP Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar
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World Teachers’ Day: Atiku Calls for Improved Investment in Education

*Decries Prolonged ASUU Strike, Owing of Teachers’ Salaries

Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and former Vice President of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar has reiterated the call on government at all levels to place improved attention to the management of the education sector in the country.

The former Vice President made this remark in commemoration of World Teachers’ Day, which is celebrated yearly on the 5th of October.

Atiku, who spoke during the commissioning of the S.H.E Initiative office in Abuja on Wednesday, said that it was regrettable that education is not getting the proper attention it deserves from all stakeholders.

The Security Health and Education (S.H.E) Initiative is the brainchild of Atiku’s wife, Hajiya Titi Amina Abubakar.

According to the former Vice President, the poor management of the education sector, which is manifested in poor remuneration of teachers and the attendant consequence of prolonged industrial strike action by teachers, cannot engender the kind of progress and development that we desire as a country.

Atiku said further that, “with the increasing expansion of the poverty line across all age demographics, the smartest direction to go is to invest in education. When people are educated, it becomes a lot easier for them to create wealth and make personal decisions that will promote a good lifestyle for their families and the society.

“The current practice whereby education takes the last rung of our investment priorities is not only self-sabotaging, it is indeed a threat to national security.

“Most of the challenges that face us today in the name of security issues are concerns that started from illiteracy and later grew to economic disempowerment, which soon grew into national security concerns.”

He said that notwithstanding the poor working conditions of teachers in many states, they have continued to contribute their quota to nation building.

The Waziri of Adamawa reminded that as globally attested to “No Nation can grow higher than the quality of its education system and no education system can grow higher than the quality of its teachers”.

To this end, he affirmed that progress and development may continue to elude us as a nation unless and until we have trained and well-motivated teachers.

He described as unacceptable a situation where some states owe teachers’ salaries for months, noting that it is counterproductive for our development initiatives.

He expressed a firm commitment to address the plight of teachers and indeed of the entire education sector working in collaboration with the state governments if elected as president in next year’s election.

Also speaking at the event, wife of the former Vice President, Hajiya Abubakar noted that the S.H.E Initiative is borne out of a genuine concern to reverse the trend of the ugly socio-economic realities in Nigeria that has pushed many people, especially women to the receiving end of economic hardship.

“Through the vehicle of the S.H.E Initiative, Nigerian women will be setting the agenda to reverse the spiral decline in their socio-economic lives, as well as that of youth and people living with disabilities”, she said.

Hajiya Abubakar, who is also the founder of the Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF), encourages all Nigerians of goodwill to join in her campaign in driving home the objectives of the initiative.

Education

Education: Reps To Make N170bn Provision For ASUU In 2023 Budget

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Federal House of Representatives
House of Representatives at plenary
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The House of Representatives is making arrangements for a N170 billion fund for the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in the 2023 budget.

Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, disclosed this in a statement on Monday, saying the move will provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers.

According to him, efforts were ongoing to find lasting solutions to all the issues raised by ASUU. He stated that the budget included an additional N300 billion revitalization fund to improve the infrastructure and operations of the federal universities.

“We are currently working on the 2023 Appropriations Bill, which includes the sum of one hundred and seventy billion naira (N170,000,000,000.00) to provide a level of increment in the welfare package of university lecturers,” the statement read.

“The Bill also includes an additional three hundred billion naira (N300,000,000,000.00) in revitalization funds to improve the infrastructure and operations of federal universities.”

The Speaker explained that President Muhammadu is interested in looking into the latest issues and concerns raised by the varsity teachers.

The ‘no work no pay’ policy embarked on by the Federal Government during the period of strike, Gbajabiamila said, is premised on the law.

He said the decision is based on the government’s legitimate interest in preventing moral hazard and discouraging disruptive industrial actions.

“Nonetheless, interventions have been made to explore the possibility of partial payments to the lecturers. We look forward to a favourable consideration by His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR who has manifested his desire to what is prudent and necessary to resolve all outstanding issues.

“Implementing meaningful change takes time, especially when appropriations and modifications to systems such as IPPIS are required.

“Therefore, I urge all parties to be patient and grant each other the presumption of goodwill to the extent necessary to achieve our shared objectives. This is not a time for political brinkmanship.

“There is no more pressing objective than to preclude the possibility of further disruptions to the academic calendar of the universities. We must prevent this possibility by all means, as these disruptions risk the promise and potential of our nation’s youth,” he added

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Education

Education: Appeal Court Orders ASUU To Resume Work Immediately

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The Court of Appeal, Abuja, has ordered members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to resume work with immediate effect.

The appellate court gave the order in a ruling on an application by the ASUU seeking permission for it to appeal against the order of the National Industrial Court which asked the striking lecturers to resume duty.

The Court also granted ASUU “conditional leave to appeal the order of the Industrial Court, while insisting that ASUU must obey the order of the lower court with effect from today, October 7.

The 3-man panel led by Justice Hamman Barka, said for ASUU to file it’s notice of appeal within 7 days, it must show evidence that it’s members have resumed work immediately.

The panel held that failure to adhere to the order, will make the appeal incompetent before Court of Appeal.

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ASUU Sets To Appeal Court Order Directing Lecturers To Call Off Strike

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) will appeal the ruling of the National Industrial Court which ordered the lecturers to call off their ongoing strike.

Mr Femi Falana, who is the counsel to the union, confirmed this to Channels Television on Wednesday hours after the ruling of the court, saying he was preparing the grounds of appeal at the time of this report.

The industrial action by ASUU has continued to take a toll on the nation’s education, especially the tertiary sector as academic activities in most government-owned universities have been halted for over seven months.

The lecturers downed tools on February 14 over the controversy on the adoption of the Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS) of the government as the payment system in the university sector, among other issues.

They had also condemned the poor funding of universities, non-payment of salaries and allowances of some of their colleagues, as well as the inability of the government to pay earned academic allowance to lecturers.

But efforts to get the academics back to class have failed until now as several negotiations between the union and the government have failed.

Amid outcry over the effect of the industrial action and after seemingly exploring all available options, the government decided to take legal action against the union.

The government, through its lead counsel, Mr James Igwe, had filed an application for an interlocutory injunction, seeking an order of the court restraining ASUU from further continuing with the strike.

Delivering a ruling on the government’s application, Justice Polycarp Hamman restrained ASUU from continuing with the industrial action, pending the determination of the suit.

He ordered that the case file should be returned to the president of the Industrial Court for reassignment to another judge, as he is a vacation judge.

According to the judge, the strike is detrimental to public university students who cannot afford to attend private tertiary institutions.

He added that the Trade Dispute Act mandates workers not to embark on strike once an issue has been referred to the industrial court.

Justice Hamman upheld the application of the government, saying it was meritorious and granted, but refused to fine the government as demanded by ASUU.

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