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Use of LG funds for new Confluence Varsity negates NFIU guidelines- Okai

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Use of LG funds for new Confluence Varsity negates NFIU guidelines- Okai

Kogi-born activist, Comrade Usman Okai Austin has faulted the Kogi State House of Assembly for passing a bill for the establishment of Confluence University of Science and Technology without recourse to laid down guidelines.

In a statement he issued in Abuja on Wednesday, Okai said the lawmakers merely trampled on the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) guidelines.

The social critic said he was at a lost as to how the state government planned to fund a new university when the existing State University’s teaching hospital remained underfunded and abandoned. “Current lawmakers in the Kogi state House Assembly are mere rubber stamp legislators. Posterity will judge them accordingly. The action of the state assembly members was hinged on criminal motive.

“It is illegal for the state to deduct 5% from local government allocation to fund a state project. The state government is only interested in how to divert local government funds.

“It is sad that Kogi State House of Assembly members are archaic and out of tune with current realities. NFIU guidelines reinforced the existence of local government councils as an independent tier of government established by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The amended NFIU  guidelines prevents state governments from making withdrawals from local governments’ funds.
“It is unfortunate that this is coming at a time people are clamouring for local government autonomy.  “The government’s action is only designed and  aimed at achieving political gains,” he said.
Okai stated that the decision of the state lawmakers is “completely reckless and subservient to the whims and caprices of the unpopular leadership in Kogi state in the last four and half years.”  “This is a state that had witnessed exodus of notable and highly recognised academic staff from it’s own University over issues related to non payment of salaries but choose to embark on the gigantic project for political reasons.  “Currently, state and local government workers are on percentage salaries, yet we want to embark on a new university for selfish reasons.” He described those who mooted the idea of a new university as “enemies of Kogi state”, adding that the new university will not stand the test of time.

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Education

Dream for Kabba varsity inches close to reality, as bill scales second reading

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Dream for Kabba varsity inches close to reality, as bill scales second reading

Hope rises for the establishment of full fledged Federal University of Agric Kabba as bill seeking to give it legal backing scaled second reading on the floor of the senate during plenary on Wednesday. 
The piece of legislation sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC – Kogi West), among others seeks to develop and enable the institution to offer academic and professional programs; and train agriculturists with capabilities of exploiting existing Agro infrastructure and improve on it to develop new ones. 

The bill after scaling second reading was referred to the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND, chaired by Senator Ahmad Baba-Kaita (APC – Katsina North). 

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Education

Kogi Poly inaugurates 7 committees for hostels renovation

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Kogi Poly inaugurates 7 committees for hostels renovation

By Friday Idachaba

Rector of Kogi State Polytechnic, Dr Salisu Usman Ogbo has inaugurated seven committees to handle renovation of students’ hostels to address the acute shortage of campus accommodation in the institution.

Inaugurating the committees on Tuesday in Lokoja, the Rector said the management had embarked on the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the dilapidated hostel blocks as part of efforts to reposition the instruction for academic and all-round excellence..

He said the renovation of the hostels was sequel to approval by the state government for the Polytechnic to access a credit facility of about N268 million from Zenith Bank PLC.

Ogbo said that as one of the pioneer students of the institution, on assumption of of duty as Rector on 7th April, this year, he set up a committee on 13th of April with recommendation for it to adopt Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.

In line with the directive, he said that the committee approached Zenith Bank to access a N350 million facility for the renovation projects and sought approval of the State Government.

The Governor subsequently approved the sum of N268 million and urged that direct labour model be deployed rather than contract award.

The Rector pointed out that the governor’s approval would put an end to the suffering, humiliation, harrassment, robbery and incessant attacks on off-campus students by landlords, hoodlums and cultists.

Ogbo held that the Polytechnic had highly committed and competent experts to handle the renovation projects to turn the sorry story of students’ accommodation in the institution to a thing of the past.

The Rector said that execution of the projects would run simultaneously and assured of the completion of the hostel projects within one month.

The work of the committees, according to him, Includes: structural and engineering works, roofings, fencing, construction of drainages and painting amongst others.

He pointed that the student body was represented on each of the seven committees saying, “Our students must be involved in this project to see what is happening.”

On the recent discovery of Exam Magic Centres and arrest of some students, the Rector said “The Police are handling the case. A young man admitted that they had been printing our answer booklets and receipts.

“I apologize to members of staff who were wrongly accused but this notwithstanding, one or two persons found to have been involved will surely face our laws.

“Instead of punishing an innocent person unjustly, I will allow a criminal to go free. I urge lecturers and staff who fraternize with bad students to refrain to avoid being drawn into the mud with them”, he advised.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the committees inaugurated include: Male Hostel 1-2 blocks; Mary Ajayi Hostel 1-4; London Hostel 3 – 4; London Hostel 1 – 2; Afakariya 1, 2 & 3 Hostel; Wada Hostel 1 and 2 and the Central Monitoring Committee headed by the Rector himself. (NAN)

FDJ/

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Hope for Universities reopening rises as ASUU/FG align towards agreement 

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Hope for Universities reopening rises as ASUU/FG align towards agreement

The impasse between the academic staff Union of Universities and the Federal Government may be gradually coming to fruitful end as Friday meeting offered some hope for reopening of the Ivory towers soon.

This was as Government has agreed to make some concessions to university lecturers (ASUU).
The Government offered N65 billion to Nigerian universities to address some of the lecturers’ demands.
The government also agreed to pay the lecturers their outstanding salaries using an older payment platform, GIFMIS, different from the controversial IPPIS.
The N65 billion is meant to address the issue of earned allowances and ”revitalisation of universities”.
The minister of labour, Chris Ngige, who gave a breakdown of the N65 billion after a meeting between both parties,
said the Accountant General of the Federation has offered to release N40 billion “or in the alternative, N35 billion to be shared by all the registered trade unions in the universities after providing necessary evidence of having earned the allowance.”
“The FG reiterated that her offer of N40 billion or N35 billion, whichever is accepted by ASUU, was for all the universities’ unions.
ASUU had proposed that N40 billion be paid immediately for all unions,” he said.

According to the minister, both parties held fruitful discussions and “government moved from their initial N20 billion for revitalization fund and 30 billion is now for earned allowances in the university system.”
“We have moved and brought on the table N15 extra billion and by that, a proposal in one basket for N25 billion Revitalization and N40 billion Earned Allowances for all the unions in the universities,” he said.
“While the second basket offer is the issue of revitalization getting N30 billion and Earned Allowances getting N35 billion. So the offer has been made, it is in this document and ASUU is supposed to come back to the government with acceptance on either or one of the offers,” he said.
He said the government has shifted its position as demanded by ASUU on the funds for the revitalization of public universities and the earned academic allowances; as well as on the payment of outstanding salary arrears.

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