JUST IN: Buhari approves special salary for Nigerian teachers

In commemoration of the World Teachers Day on October 5, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a special salary scale for teachers in the country

He also increased the number of years of service from 35 to 40.

Mr Buhari said this in Abuja on Monday during the celebration of the 2020 World Teachers Day.

The education minister, Adamu Adamu, who represented President Buhari, said the implementation of the new salary scheme is to encourage teachers in delivering better service.

The 2020 theme of the World Teachers’ Day is Teachers: leading in crisis, reimagining the future.

The World Teachers’ Day has been held annually on October 5 since 1994 to commemorate the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 ILO/UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers.

We spent N1b on over 500, 000 families, says COVID-19 task force

Victim Support Fund (VSF) COVID-19 Task Force has indicated that it spent N1b on 500 000 families across the country to help them to cushion the effects of the pandemic.

Speaking while delivering some of the support items that included computers to the Federal Ministry of Health yesterday, the Chairperson of the task force, Toyon Akerele-Ogunsiji, said they calculated that an average Nigerian would have a father, mother and four children, hence they provided food that would last them for at least a month.

According to her, the spread of coronavirus could have peaked between March and April, but for the task force that provided families food to the tune of N1b.

“In Abuja, we spent about 20 per cent out of the preliminary N1b and in Lagos 20 per cent. Yobe, Adamawa and Ogun got 10 percent each,” Akerele-Ogunsiji said.

“People were able to feed, we were giving out drugs because we priortised the immunity of Nigerians at that time. We had multivitamins, pain medicines and we bought about 300. 000 pieces of tablet soaps.” She said the task force would combat COVID-19 beyond drugs and medicals to human capacity development as well as provision of technical support for the Federal Ministry of Health.

Akerele-Ogunsiji said the quality of human capacity would determine to a very large extent the successes the ministry would achieve in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The group added that it would support the ministry by renovating its elevators.

Pandemonium was let loose in Akure metropolis, the headquarters of Akure South Local Council of Ondo State between supporters of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The supporters of both parties, mainly youths, engaged themselves in violent attacks at Obanla junction yesterday with three persons reportedly killed while several others were injured.

However, the Spokesperson of Akeredolu/Aiyedatiwa Campaign Organisation, Olabode Olatunde, condemned the attack and blamed PDP for incessant attacks on APC members across the state.

He also accused the House of Representatives member, representing Akure South/North Federal Constituency, Adedayo Omolafe, as sponsor of the fracas at the weekend.

But the Spokesman of Eyitayo Jegede Campaign Organisation, Gbenga Akinmoyo, said that it was APC thugs that turned “Akure into city of gunfire.”

He said: “We believe this deliberate attack given that Akure South Local Council is a stronghold of Eyitayo Jegede and it is aimed at creating major voter apathy among the determined electorate by creating fear of endangering their lives if they go out to vote on Saturday.”

MEANWHILE, the PDP has charged President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore pressure to manipulate and compromise Saturday’s governorship election in Ondo State.

It equally asked the President to prevail on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to insist on a very transparent election as witnessed in the Edo governorship election.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, at a press conference, at the weekend, alleged that the leadership of the APC in collaboration with the governor had resorted to violence, threats, hate comments, as well as desperation to manipulate government institutions to work against the people and rig the election for them.

The party, therefore, urged Buhari to adopt the same Edo stance to ensure a free, fair and credible election in Ondo without regard to partisan consideration.

Also, the PDP Governors’ Forum has reiterated its commitment towards working for the emergence of Jegede in Saturday’s election.

It dismissed as untrue report that PDP governors had become terribly divided over the Ondo election campaign for Jegede.

A statement signed by the Director-General of the forum, C.I.D. Maduabum, said: “The PDP governors just rose from a virtual meeting few days ago with a firm resolve and commitment to make sure that all hands are on deck to support and deliver the PDP candidate.”

IN the meantime, Yiaga Africa said it had trained 646 observers for the Ondo State governorship election.

Yiaga’s Executive Director, Samson Itodo, who disclosed this, yesterday, said that the training was held in 47 centres spread across the 18 local councils in the state.

SSANU, NASU begin warning strike

The Non-Academic Staff Union of Educational and Associated Institutions (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU) will commence a 14-day warning strike on Monday.

Their decision was contained in a letter dated 28th September 2020, and jointly signed by the General-Secretary of NASU, Peters Adeyemi and SSANU President, Samson Ugwoke, and addressed to branch Chairmen of NASU and SSANU.

The unions said the decision to embark on a 14-day warning strike was a fulfillment of their threat to begin the industrial action as soon as the Federal Government directs universities to resume academic activities.

The letter reads: “Kindly recall earlier information on the above subject matter wherein it was conveyed that the Joint Action Committee of NASU and SSANU would embark on a 14-day Industrial action immediately universities resume following the COVID-19 lockdown.

“Following the recent directives from the National Universities Commission (NUC) to Vice-Chancellors for the immediate resumption/safe reopening of universities, you are hereby directed to commence a 14-day warning strike effective from 5th to 19th October 2020.”

The unions said the warning strike could snowballs into full-blown industrial action if their grievances are not addressed by the Federal Government.

Some of their grievances included inconsistencies in the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS) in the payment of salaries of its members; non-payment of arrears of earned allowances being owed NASU and SSANU members despite various memoranda of understanding; non-payment of arrears of national minimum wage to its members and non-payment of retirement benefits to outgone members.

The non-academic staff unions also said lack of seriousness and delays by the government in the re-negotiation of the 2009 FGN/NASU and SSANU agreements; usurpation of the headship of non-teaching units by academic staff in clear violation of conditions of service and establishment procedures; neglect and poor funding of state universities; corruption in the university system and non-constitution of visitation panels for the universities in line with the laws as other developments that are impacting negatively on their members are reasons they are going on 14-day warning strike after which they will embark on full-blown indefinite industrial action.

“Please note that this warning strike is the prelude to a full-blown, total, and indefinite industrial action if the grievances highlighted above are not properly addressed. JAC congresses are to be held in all branches on or before Friday, 2nd October 2020 to sensitise members and ensure the full mobilisation and compliance for the success of the warning strike.

“Further directive shall be conveyed as matters progress,” the letter added.