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Sports festival: UNIBEN students protest union’s suspension, hostel eviction order

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Some students of the University of Benin on Tuesday protested against the suspension of their union by the management of the institution.

Our correspondent gathered that the students trooped out in their numbers after the news of the suspension of their union broke.

Earlier, The PUNCH reported that UNIBEN management suspended the institution’s students’ union for allegedly rejecting moves to evict students from their halls of residence on April 1.

Though the management blamed the suspension of the students’ union on the instigation of protest over a shift in the school’s academic calendar, our correspondent reliably gathered that the union was suspended over students’ refusal to vacate their hostels ahead of the National Sports Festival.

The school management had asked students to vacate hostels immediately after their exams on April 1 for athletes participating in NSF, which is expected to hold between April 2 to 14.

However, some of the students rejected the management’s order, stating that they are expected to vacate the hostels after their second-semester examinations.

Also Read: NIN: Court bars FG from blocking SIM cards

During the protest, the students chanted anti-oppression songs and described the eviction order as a violation of students’ academic rights.

One of them, who doubles as the Public Relations Officer of the students’ Union, Destiny Uanzekin, said, “It is indeed shocking that the school management would make an attempt to depose a legitimate students’ body, rather than accommodate, or come to a compromise, on our just and reasonable demands.

“The Golden Age Executives were elected by the students, and have sworn to protect the interest of the students at all times. Our legitimacy is rooted in student consensus.

“We are a government of the people (students) and by the people (students), therefore only the people (students) through a Students Representative Parliament, can remove Union Executives from office, pursuant to Section 38 (Pg. 40) of the Students Union Constitution.

“Despite the infamous and incessant, almost biennial nationwide strikes of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Federal Government of Nigeria cannot disband the leadership of the Staff Union, as this contravenes the fundamental human right to association, as ratified by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in Paris, France, 1948, and as adopted by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“Despite this new development, we will not be deterred in our commitment to student solidarity and general welfare. The age-old management tactic of encroaching on our fundamental human right to freedom of association (this time done preemptively) anytime there is a contrast of opinions between both parties, does not correspond with the tenets of a democratic society

“We hereby ask the management to do the right thing and engage the Students’ Union in talks, and reach a compromise, as we have previously promoted.

“We urge all students to remain vigilant, unfazed, and unperturbed, in the face of yet another challenge, as the Union continues to work round the clock, advocating and promoting the common interest of all UNIBEN students.”

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Education

SS2 girl missing in Abuja school after permission to fix uniform

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A15-year-old student of the Ceder International College, Abuja, Nimota Olatunde, has gone missing while trying to repair her torn school uniform.

It was gathered that the disappearance of the student had caused panic among her family members and friends.

Olatunde’s mother, Juliana Olajide, who lives in Jos, said on Thursday that her daughter had not been seen since the past one week after she took permission to fix her torn skirt by the school gate.

She said, “It is now eight days since we last saw my 15-year-old daughter, Nimota Olatunde, who is in SS 2 class at Ceder International College, Abuja.

“She was last seen in her school on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.

“According to the school authorities, she went to sew her torn school skirt just by the school gate.

“According to them, she was permitted to go through the primary section gate instead of the main entrance gate because of the way the skirt was torn.

“Since then, no one has seen her. The school tailor also said that my daughter was not seen at the shop that day.

“So, we don’t know what has happened to her.”

Read Also: Prolonged cough could lead to tuberculosis, says expert

The school principal, Olukotun Segun, said the case was already being investigated by the police.

In another development, 13-year-old Treasure Ofunya, who went missing on April 28 while returning from her school, New Era Model School, Jakpa, Effurun, Delta State, has been found.

“I got a call this morning from the Oghara Divisional Police Officer that Treasure was with them.

“I quickly rushed to Oghara, which is near Sapele, and brought her back to Ekpan Police Divisional Headquarters for official documentation,” an elated member of the family, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told our correspondent.

The victim’s elder brother, Merville, also confirmed the development.

The Acting Police Public Relations Officer, Delta State, DSP Bright Edafe, said the victim had been reunited with her family.

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Education

FUOYE council found ex-registrar wanting – VC

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The Vice-Chancellor, Federal University Oye-Ekiti, Prof. Abayomi Fasina, on Sunday said he had nothing to do with the sacking of the institution’s former registrar, Mr Olatunbosun Odusanya.

He added that Odusanya was sacked by the university’s Governing Council.

Fasina advised Odusanya “to stop misleading the public over events leading to the termination of his appointment by the FUOYE Governing Council headed by Dr Mohammad Yahuza.”

Recall that the registrar was  suspended from office on April 20, 2021, to pave the way for investigations into allegations of misconduct levelled against.

Odusanya, in his reaction to the sacking, had accused the VC of being behind his predicament.

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But the VC, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media Matters, Wole Balogun, titled, ‘I am not responsible for your misfortune, VC replies sacked Registrar’, said, “What happened to Odusanya leading to the termination of his appointment was simply a clear case of gross misconduct that bothered on his flagrant violation of the rules and regulations of the university regarding recruitment of staff.

“The authority that found him wanting is the Governing Council of the university ably chaired by Dr Yahuza. The governing council is above me as the highest authority of the university. It was the council that constituted the probe panel that investigated Odusanya’s misconduct.”

He added, “Attributing the consequences of his inactions to vendetta against him from me clearly amounts to character assassination and defamation on his part against my person. I advise him to desist from such unnecessary and fruitless voyage.”

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Education

CONUA demands refund, says members’ dues paid to ASUU

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The leadership of the Congress of University Academics has alleged that check off dues deducted from its members’ salaries were remitted to the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

A statement by the CONUA National Coordinator, Dr Niyi Sunmonu, on Sunday said members of the group complained that dues deducted from their salaries were remitted to ASUU, a union they did not belong to.

Sunmonu urged the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure the refund of what had been deducted from CONUA members, saying it was against the tenets of the law to deduct check off dues of CONUA members for ASUU.

He said CONUA had also requested a stoppage of the remittance of CONUA members’ check off dues to ASUU, and expressed hope that the matter would be urgently addressed.

Also Read: PASAN insists on MoU, others before suspending strike

The statement read in parts, “The leadership of ASUU through its president unilaterally withdrew money running into millions of naira in 2017 from the account of the OAU branch. This illegal act necessitated the request to stop check off dues deduction.

“I urge the Accountant General of the Federation to ensure the refund of what had been deducted from CONUA members. It is inappropriate and against the tenets of the law to deduct check off dues of CONUA members for a union they do not belong to

“CONUA is an independent academic staff union in Nigerian universities. Hence, remitting CONUA members’ dues to another union is tantamount to an attempt to financially strangulate it.”

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