Polls: VCs, ASUU disagree as FG shuts varsities
The Academic Staff Union of Universities has condemned the directive of the National Universities Commissions to the Committee of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities that universities should be shut to enable students to participate in the forthcoming general elections.
The NUC gave the directive in a letter on Tuesday addressed to vice-chancellors of all universities and Directors of Inter-university Centres.
The commission noted that the directive was based on the instruction of the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu.
The letter partly read, “As Vice-Chancellors of all Universities and Directors/Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres, we are quite aware the 2023 general elections have been scheduled to hold on Saturday, February 25, 2023, for the presidential and National Assembly election and Saturday, March 1, 2023, for the governorship and states Houses of Assembly elections.
“In view of the foregoing and concerns expressed about the security of staff, students, and properties of our respective institutions, the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has, following extensive consultations with the relevant security agencies, directed that all universities and Inter-University Centres be shut down and academic activities be suspended between February 22 and March 14, 2023.
“As a result, Vice-Chancellors and Chief Executives of Inter-University Centres are requested by this circular to close their respective institutions from Wednesday, February 22, 2023, to Tuesday, March 14, 2023.”
However, in an interview with The PUNCH, the National President, ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke, explained that universities had never been shut down because of elections, saying that the closure and opening of universities were the prerogative of universities’ Senates.
He said, “Vice-Chancellors do not have the right to close universities. It is purely the prerogative of the universities’ Senates to either open or close universities.
“Things have gone so bad in this country that they are citing security and for this reason, we, as a union, had to look on. In all the past elections, have we ever closed the universities, polytechnics? So, what has gone wrong? Why the desperation? Why are they punishing Nigerians? We need to ask Nigerian leaders questions because we are trying to meet up with lost time and here you are shutting down universities.”
But the Secretary-General, CVCNU, Prof. Yakubu Ochefu, disagreed with the ASUU President, saying Nigeria had always closed universities during elections.
He said, “It is nothing new, most public universities get closed during elections because many of them housed polling units and universities and their communities always vote on campuses.
“Two reasons why universities are shut down during elections are so as not to disenfranchise the people and to give opportunity to those who registered away from the university to be able to vote. It is something universities have been doing as far as I can remember; so this is not new.
“The directive is coming from our regulatory body, NUC; it is for universities to see how they can manage it and it is the VCs that will internalise it.”
Also speaking, the National President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Mr Anderson Ezeibe, said the polytechnics regulatory body, National Board for Technical Education, had yet to come up with any directive.
However, he maintained that the closure and opening of institutions were decisions to be taken by institutions’ Senates.
“We are waiting for our regulatory body but they have not made any pronouncement. For NUC, they cited security and they are in the best position to tell us the security information they have. But I still hold the view that the Senate of the universities are to take the decision of closure or no closure, not NUC.”
On his part, the President, National Association of Nigerian Students, Usman Barambu, said the directive by the NUC was welcome.
He said, “That directive is a product of our efforts. We met with the Minister of Education when the speculations were spreading that schools would be opened during the election period. The minister assured us that schools would not be opened and told us that directives would be issued to relevant agencies.
“It is not only universities that would be shut, polytechnic, Colleges of Education and all tertiary institutions of learning would not be opened. Very soon, you would begin to hear from them.”
Gov’t closes schools for election in Bauchi
The Government of Bauchi State, has closed down schools for the elections.The government, on Thursday, declared a two-day break for all public schools ahead of Saturday’s presidential and National Assembly elections.This was disclosed by the state Commissioner for Education, Hajiya Jamila Dahiru, during a news conference in Bauchi.The commissioner further informed that there would also be a two-day break for all public schools in the state for the March 11 gubernatorial and the state House of Assembly elections.According to Hajiya Dahiru, public schools in Bauchi State will be closed on Friday, 24th February and Monday, 27th February 2023, while academic activities resume on Tuesday, 28th February.Similarly, the schools would not open on Friday, 10th March and Monday, 13th March 2023.She, however, said the closure only affected day students, while boarding students would remain in their respective schools during closures.“Students of day schools should remain at home on Friday, 24th, and Monday, 27th, February 2023, for the presidential elections, and school activities are to resume on Tuesday, 28th February 2023.“For the gubernatorial elections, day students are to remain at home on Friday, 10th and Monday, 13th March 2023.“School activities are to resume on Tuesday, 14th March, 2023 while all boarding school students are to remain in their respective schools during the break,” the commissioner informed.According to her, the school closure was to enable public school teachers and parents actively participate in the general elections.The commissioner added that the state government is aware that some public school students may travel with their parents to their respective local government areas to vote in the elections.“We are also conscious of the fact that some of our teachers do participate in the electioneering and so we want to give them the opportunity to prepare ahead,” Dahiru added.She, however, reiterated the state government’s commitment to not only the quality of education in the state but also to students’ welfare for the betterment of all.
BREAKING: NECO releases 2022 SSCE external results
The National Examinations Council on Thursday announced the release of the result of the November/December 2022 Senior School Certificate Examination.
The Registrar of NECO, Prof Dantani Ibrahim Wushishi, made the announcement in Minna, Niger state.
According to the NECO boss, a total of 59,124 candidates sat for the examination, with 31,316 males, representing 52.96 per cent while 27,808, representing 47.03 per cent were female.
Wushishi added that the number of candidates that sat for English Language is 58,012 out of which 44,162, representing 76.13 per cent got Credit and above, while the number of candidates that sat for Mathematics is 57,700, out of which 43,096, representing 74.69 per cent got Credit and above.
He further disclosed that the number of Candidates who got five Credits and above, including English Language and Mathematics is 33,914 representing 57.36 per cent.
“Also 46,825 candidates, representing 79.20% got five Credits and above irrespective of English Language and Mathematics,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of examination malpractice, he said, “11,419 candidates were booked for various forms of malpractice is , as against 4,454 in 2021, which shows a sharp rise in the number of malpractice cases”.
According to him, this is largely due to the improvement in the strategy and technique adopted by the monitoring officers.
“This led to the blacklisting of four supervisors, one each from Rivers and Plateau States and two from Ogun State for aiding and abetting as well as poor supervision,” he said.
According to report, the 2022 Senior School Certificate Examination, External was conducted by NECO from 21 November to 21 December 2022 and is being released 57 days today after.
Speaking further on the examination, Wushishi said, a total of 29 subjects were examined as was done in 2021.
Whitney: Protesters besiege Chrisland as govt orders inquest
The Lagos State Government on Monday ordered a coroner’s inquest to establish the cause of death of a 12-year-old student of Chrisland School, Whitney Adeniran, who died during the school’s inter-house sports at Agege Stadium, in the Agege area of the state.
PUNCH Metro confirmed the development in a statement by the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), who noted that a thorough investigation would be carried out to ascertain Whitney’s cause of death.
“A Coroner’s Inquest has immediately been requested in line with Sections 14 and 15 of the Coroners’ Systems Law, Laws of Lagos State 2015, to determine the cause and circumstances of death.
“By Section 14(1) (d) of the Coroners’ System Law of the State, report of death shall be made to any of the agencies for the report of death or the office of the Coroner and be subject to post-mortem examination where there is reasonable cause to believe that the cause of death was violent, unnatural or suspicious.
“Section 15(1) and (9) further enjoins the Coroner to hold an inquest whenever he or she is informed that the death of the deceased person was in a violent, unnatural or suspicious situation or believes an inquest is desirable following the report of a reportable death,” Onigbanjo said.
Onigbanjo explained that as a government, the security and well-being of citizens were of utmost importance, as he assured the public that everything would be done to ensure that the cause of death was made public.
“The findings of this investigation will be made public in due course and appropriate sanctions meted out to anyone found culpable,” he added.
However, reports gathered that there was a mild drama on Monday when some persons believed to be relations of the late student staged a demonstration around the premises of the school.
The protesters were heard complaining that a section of the school was opened and demanded that the whole school be shut down.
Policemen were also sighted close to the entrance of the school.
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