​Varsity awards N478.8M scholarships to students in 7 years

A legal luminary and founder of the Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babakoka, SAN, said on Friday that the university had spent N476.8 million as financial rewards to outstanding students.

The Head, Corporate Affairs of the university, Mr Tunde Olofintila who disclosed this in a statement made available to newsmen in Ado Ekiti, quoted Babalola while addressing a special session of the Senate.

The rewards, according to the ABUAD founder and visitor, represented the total amount that he spent so far on scholarships for students who excelled in their various courses in the last seven years.

Babalola further disclosed that as from next session, he would start awarding scholarships to two students in each of the university’s five undergraduate colleges.

He stated that the two students would include the poorest and best students, amongst the freshmen, making a total of ten students to start with, explaining that the scholarship package would include, free tuition and $5,000.

“This is in addition to the annual prizes, which we instituted as far back as 2013. Under that scheme, we have been giving out annual prizes in various categories.
“The categories include any student who scored 4.5 GPA, 4.8 GPA and 5.0 GPA, each goes home with N100,000, N250,000 and N500,000, respectively.

On the salary increase, also announced at the session, Babalola said, “the University is interested in staff welfare, as hence why we analysed and collated salaries of teachers at all levels in private, state and federal universities.
“We have thus decided to increase ours by five per cent, over and above the highest”.

He also listed other staff benefits to include: pension scheme, reliable insurance scheme, payment for Journal articles, study leave with pay, as well as annual teaching methodology workshops.

Babalola thanked the staff, especially the Senate, for sacrificing their holidays, to make up for the COVID-19 pandemic losses, which, he said, enabled students to stay in school.

“With all of these, I hope and pray that the 2020/2021 Academic Session will end by mid-July and we will commence the 2021/2022 Academic Session by late August, this year.

“In essence, we will be the first university in Nigeria to cover the lost grounds post COVID-19”, he said.

He congratulated all outgoing provosts of the institution whose tenure just ended, saying that their positions were not a permanent one, but only for a period of term, while urging their replacements to appreciate that they would also serve for a specified term.

He called on them to be innovative and original in their ideas by surpassing their predecessors’ records in areas of students’ punctuality, enforcement of dress code, class attendance, maintaining the attendance register and a clean environment.

“The new Provosts and their teachers should also ensure that the issue of sex and money, now common in some public universities, does not creep into ABUAD”, Babalola said.

He regretted that although the NUC was established about 60 years ago, the same curriculum that it introduced since then remained what most of the universities in the country were still running till today.

“But, we have a different story to tell. Ours is the only University in Nigeria which has introduced five new programmes that have been approved and adopted by NUC.

“The programmes are, Mechatronics, Intelligence and Security Studies, Social Justice, Human Biology and Dietetics, Tourism and Event Management,” he said.

Babalola added: “In the first 10 years, ABUAD has overshot its expectations in all the Colleges, winning many National and International awards, accolades and recognitions.

“Because we cannot afford to rest on our oars, where do we want to be in the next 10 years? In the next 10 years, our plan is to be among the first 100 universities in the world,” Babalola said.

​FG to striking doctors: We’ll invoke ‘no work no pay clause

Chris Ngige, minister of labour, says he will invoke “weapons in the labour laws” on resident doctors, if they refuse to back down on the ongoing strike — after government meets some of their demands.

On Thursday, the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) embarked on an indefinite strike over salary arrears and owed allowances.

Speaking on Friday, when he featured on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme, Ngige said employers of the resident doctors can invoke the no-work-no-pay rule.

“By Tuesday, I will invite them back (referring to NARD). If they become recalcitrant, there are things I can do,” he said.

“There are weapons in the labour laws I will invoke. There is ‘no work, no pay’. Their employers have a role also to keep their businesses afloat, to keep patients alive. They can employ local doctors.”

He noted that he is optimistic that the matter will be resolved within a few days, as meetings have been arranged to clear the backlog of owed salaries and allowances.

Ngige, however, maintained that government will not hesitate to invoke relevant sections of the law on labour against the resident doctors if they refuse to resume work.

“We won’t get there. If we are going to get there, we’ll use that stick,” he added.

​Tanker Drivers Threaten To Withdraw Services Over Safety Valves

The Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) Branch of the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) has threatened to withdraw its services if the installation of safety valve is not made mandatory in petroleum trucks with effect from May 1.

The union’s chairperson, Akanni Oladiti, stated this in a statement the branch issued on Sunday, following its Executive Meeting held on March 27 in Ibadan, Oyo State.

Mr Oladiti said the decision was because the union members were usually the first casualties in any situation of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks.

According to him, the safety valves, if installed, will go a long way in reducing the rate of fire accidents involving petroleum trucks and therefore save precious lives and property.

“The council in session noted with deep concerns, the inability to fully enforce the compulsory installation of safety valves in all petroleum trucks to protect the inflammable contents of the trucks from spilling over in a situation of road mishaps.

“These fire accidents are becoming too many but definitely avoidable.

“The branch executive council in session is not unmindful of the pains and discomforts our decisions and intending actions will have on the general public.

“However, these are hard and difficult decisions we must take for the sake of our members and even the general public, ” the chairman said.

He said also that the union issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Nigeria Association of Road Transport Owners (NARTO) to negotiate the renewal of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for new working conditions for tanker drivers.

He said the expiring CBA had been in operation for the past six years despite the fact that the country had been experiencing spiral inflationary trend that was further complicated by the COVID -19 pandemic.

“The counci in session expresses deep worries that petroleum tanker drivers have been going through harrowing financial situations.

“This is so, even, while rendering selfless national services to ensure delivery of petroleum products to homes and factories in every nookmand cranny of this country, day and nights, in good and bad weathers and on highly deplorable highways, ” Mr Oladiti said.

​Edo 2020: SWAN urges to Soar High

The Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), Taraba State Chapter, has tasked the State contingent to this year’s National Sports Festival to soar high in Edo State in view of the many talents that abound in the team.

In a statement jointly signed by the Chairman, Joachim Dangana and Secretary, Sani Suleiman says Taraba State is a hub of talents in badminton, football and handball among others, hence the need for them not to be complacent.

The Statement advised State Officials to this year’s festival to ensure that what rightfully belongs to the athletes reaches them so as to boost their morale.

It applauded Governor Darius Ishaku for releasing fund for the festival.