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Confusion In AAU As News Of Mass Sack Of Workers Hits University Community

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Joseph Ebi Kanjo, Benin

The crisis rocking the Edo State Government-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma has deepened as news filtered in that the Executive Governor of Edo State and Visitor to the University, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has allegedly directed immediate sack of unspecified number of workers of the University over the recently conducted inconclusive staff biometrics verification exercise in the University.

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The affected workers in the alleged gale of sack, according to the report, include the staff allegedly accused of disobedience and refusal to participate in the biometrics verification exercise, the staff who participated in the exercise but denied printout and the workers who participated in the recently suspended strike of ASUU, NASU, SSANU among others in the university.

The Special Intervention Team (SIT) of the University which disclosed this at a meeting of the SIT/Principal Officers of the University and all staff of the University on the state of affairs of the University on Thursday, 12th January, 2023 at Ekpoma was said to have announced that all the workers in this category are no longer staff of the University

It was gathered that Mr. Austin Osakue, a member of the SIT, who presided over the alleged rowdy and tension-soaked meeting, revealed that the SIT has directed the issuance of sack letters to the affected staff.

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He was said to have specifically disclosed that all staff with alleged multiple ages or conflicting affidavits of age declaration will be sent to the University’s Staff Disciplinary Committee without further delay.

READ ALSO: AAU Industrial Crisis: Our Members, Others Being Owe N4 Trillion, ASUU Laments

Mr. Osakue, who was said to have read the riot act to all staff of the University, also threatened tough measures in the following weeks in the University, just as he was also said to have insisted that the meeting was not met to “massage the ego of anybody”,

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Mr. Osakue allegedly vowed that certain category of staff whom he described as “agents of darkness” would be sent parking from the University in the coming weeks.

He was also alleged to have hinted that the State Government has no intension to review upward the present paltry 41 million naira monthly subvention to the University and disclosed SIT’s plan to hike school fees payable by students in the university to enable the university run without government monthly subvention.

According to him, the University’s College of Medicine and Faculty of Law have been identified by SIT as “centres of excellence” where students would pay school fees of more than N2 million per academic session with effect from next academic session.

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Report further had it that workers who attended the meeting expressed shock over the attitude, character and behavior of Mr. Osakue who was said to have stood in for the Chairman of SIT at the meeting.

They described attitude of Mr. Osakue as a flagrant display of ignorance, coarseness, tyranny, oppression and suppression.

Reports also have it that many staff were not allowed to air their views on the critical issues or make suggestions on how to resolve the problems.

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Rather, Mr. Osakue was said to have allegedly embarked on bullying, intimidation and humiliation of staff, including Professors that attended the meeting.

The reports said that the meeting ended abruptly and in fiasco as a result of workers reaction to the outburst of Mr. Osakue.

The workers described Mr. Osakue claims that SIT was on top of the problem of unpaid salaries in the university as a hoax, alleging that the vast majority of workers have not been paid salaries for several months.

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READ ALSO: Management Of AAU, Ekpoma Proposed Salaries Slash, ASUU Kicks

Investigation revealed that no fewer than 350 staff of the university have had their salaries stopped on the arbitrary order or directive of the University’s SIT without any form of query or existing disciplinary action against the affected staff.

It was also discovered that no specific reason or explanation has been offered to the affected individual staff for the sudden stoppage of their salaries since January, 2022 and till date this category of staff are being owed 12 months salaries.

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It was revealed that during the meeting, SIT did not sympathize with workers denied salaries by the University Administration for twelve (12) months or showed any commitment towards resolving the matter justly and amicably.

Rather, Mr. Osakue was said to have stated that the state government has terminated the appointments of staff who participated in the recently suspended university unions strike and/or biometrics verification exercise issues.

Mr. Osakue allegedly described the issues of unpaid salaries and biometrics verification exercise as “no go areas” at the meeting against the expectation of workers that the meeting was designed to resolve the myriad problems and issue bedeviling the smooth administration, industrial harmony and progress of the University.

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But in a swift reaction, ASUU, AAU, condemned in strong terms the “outburst, intimidation and humiliation of workers of the University by Mr. Osakue.”

A statement signed by Dr. Cyril Oziegbe Onogbosele and Dr. William Odion, Chairperson and Assistant Secretary respectively, ASUU said by his “unguided utterances, action and behaviour, he had reduced the university to “a banana republic” where there are no laws, rules, and regulations. ”

The Union expressed concern and fear that if the university is allowed to remain in its present situation, the University cannot experience meaningful learning and research, and may not deliver on its mandates to the people of Edo State and Nigerians.

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The Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, which is one of the first state universities in Nigeria, has been drowning in avoidable crises allegedly caused by the attitude, policies and actions by authorities saddled with the responsibility of managing the university.

In addition to the visible aberration in the administrative structure of the university causing the institution to take the form of a rudderless ship, the deliberate refusal and failure of the University Administration to pay the salaries of the vast majority of staff of the University for twelve (12) months (January 2022 – December 2022) for no justifiable reasons has provoked uneasiness in the University.

READ ALSO: AAU, Ekpoma Crisis: Alumni Rejects Special Intervention Power Law

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The University’s indebtedness of unremitted check-off dues and sundry deductions to the various staff unions and workers’ cooperative bodies in the University is in millions of naira.

Investigation also revealed that the pain, anger, hunger and demoralization of workers and the administrative profligacy in the University have placed the University on the precipice of total collapse.

Many stakeholders and concerned persons have expressed fear that if the university is allowed to remain in the hands of the SIT, the University will metamorphose to a glorified high school.

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JAMB Speaks On Extension Of 2023 UTME Registration Deadline

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The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) says it would not extend deadline for the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) registration.

According to NAN, Ishaq Oloyede, JAMB registrar, gave the warning after monitoring the registration exercise in Kano state on Wednesday.

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Registration for this year’s UTME started on January 14 and is scheduled to end on February 14.

The exam is billed to commence on April 29 and end on May 12.

Speaking on the registration exercise, Oloyede said JAMB’s target for the year is to register 1.8 million candidates.

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He also revealed that the board has so far registered a total of 500,000 candidates across the country.

The JAMB registrar called on applicants to register for UTME within the stipulated deadline as there will be no extension.

We do not expect any extension as about 500,000 candidates have registered out of the 1.8 million candidates that we are expecting,” he said.

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READ ALSO: JAMB To Prosecute 34 Students, Six Centres For Exam Registration Malpractice

The development comes as the board said it has apprehended six operators of computer based test (CBT) centres in Kano over alleged illicit registration of candidates for UTME.

Oloyede said the arrested operators allegedly compromised the registration process, adding that they would be handed over to security operatives for prosecution.

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JAMB To Prosecute 34 Students, Six Centres For Exam Registration Malpractice

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The Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, has uncovered 34 prospective candidates who connived with Computer Based Test Centres for the purpose of exam malpractice.

The candidates who were registering for the examination allegedly allowed the CBT centre staff to thumbprint forms for them.

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One of those apprehended includes a level 5 Law student of the Bayero University, BUK, Kano, who was said to have thumb printed for 14 prospective candidates who plan to sit for the examination.

READ ALSO: 2023 UTME: 445,081 Register As JAMB Targets 1.8m Candidates

Another candidate at the same centre was also caught thumbprinting for 14 students while a third suspect, who was arrested personally by the JAMB Register, Professor Ishaq Oloyede registered for six students.

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Professor Ishaq Oloyede who was in Kano to monitor the UTME Registration exercise and supervised about six JAMB centres said he would ensure that those arrested are prosecuted because malpractice begins at the point of registration.

The JAMB Registrar said the Law insists that every student must thumbprint by themselves, using their ten fingers when registering for the UTME and where a candidate has problems with some of the fingers, the official registering him will simply indicate the finger as “Bad”.

But instead of strictly flowing the rules, some Ad-hoc staff for the UTME who are employed by the Computer Based Test Centrs are now conniving with the candidates to thumbprint for them, this is indeed done to coerce female students to sleep with them or to get extra money from them”.

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He said the exam board had also uncovered a similar case in Abuja where somebody doing the UTME Registration Exercise wanted to sleep with a student but she refused and reported to them and quickly they discovered the place and dealt with the suspect.

“This is what they are doing to enjoy extra gains from the students that is why we commenced this supervision across Nigeria to arrest the ugly situation by punishing anybody found wanting.”

Professor Oloyede hinted that the board has no problems with its staff and CBT centres but that the problems are with the private CBT centres, who though have written an indemnity with the board to do the right thing are still found wanting.

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And if they refuse to produce anybody found wanting, they will now take the blames, for example, this person reading Law what sort of Lawyer are you producing for the country who has now engaged in fraud conniving with students to cheat the nation”.

READ ALSO: JAMB Announces 2023 Registration Date

Oloyede informed that the 34 students found conniving with the suspects would not be allowed to even sit for the examination this year and if they do by any means their papers would be cancelled.

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The Registrar appealed to students to be guided by the UTME registration guidelines and not allow anyone to Thumbprint forms for them because doing that would cost them their chances and they would also be prosecuted for fraud.

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2023 UTME: 445,081 Register As JAMB Targets 1.8m Candidates

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The Registrar of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board, Prof Ishaq Oloyede, has revealed that 445,081 candidates have registered for the 2023 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination.

Oloyede who disclosed this while monitoring the registration exercise in Ilorin, Kwara State capital on Monday, said that JAMB’s target this year is 1.8 million adding that there will not be an extension.

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He further revealed that JAMB is planning to build a multi-million naira zonal office for Kwara which has been captured in its budget.

READ ALSO: JAMB Adopts E-naira For Payment Of UTME Registration, Gives Guideline

The registrar said, “We do not expect any extension. As of Sunday, 445,081 people have registered out of the 1.8 million candidates that we are expecting.

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“We have gone halfway but you know some of our people will come at the last hour. But there is no room for an extension because we have made provisions for the registration of 100,000 candidates per day and we are doing 60,000 daily now.

“So the candidates are the ones not turning up well enough. For those who want to write a mock, the space is almost filled and when that happens, we don’t want to turn the mock into another examination. When the numbers are up to a quarter of the candidates, we will stop it. Now, we have about 144,000 who have indicated interest to write the mock,” he added.

Oloyede said, “I have discovered that in one of the centres, instead of buying enough cameras to capture the students, the owner bought just one with the possibility of missing the pictures with the names of the candidates. That is very detrimental to the candidates and we have to suspend the centre from registration or conduct of the exams until the proper thing is done.

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“Elsewhere, we had to make a few corrections but overall, it has been excellent because there has not been a single case of extortion. That is very gladdening to us as the purpose is to ensure that candidates have confidence in the system. We won’t allow any individual to pervert or divert the system.”

READ ALSO: Steps On How UTME Candidates Can Self-generate Profile Codes – JAMB

“We don’t need to appeal to any centre because they know we don’t have any sacred cows. Once they cross the line, they will be dealt with.

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“We have been fair to them and that is why we on our own raised the fee of registration point from N700 to N1000 because of the price of diesel and we collect it on their behalf including the mock fee and pay the centres which amount to about N100m. We will continue to make the business profitable for the CBT centres but will not allow them to exploit the candidates,” Oloyede said.

JAMB boss noted that the inspection is to ensure that the rules and regulations for registration are complied with and convince everyone that there’s no need to cut corners.

 

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