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100 lecturers, others desert poly over poor pay

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Over 100 lecturers and non teaching staff of Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria in Kaduna State have left the institution for greener pasture in the last three years, local union officials said on Wednesday.

Comrade Aliyu Musa-Kofa, Chairman, Academic Staff Union of the polytechnic, told newsmen in Zaria that the lecturers left due to poor pay package.

According to him, the Kaduna State Government, which owns the institution has not fully implemented the Consolidated Tertiary Institutions’ Salary Structure (CONTISS).

“From 2016 to date more than 100 academic and non-academic members of staff have left the institution to Federal College of Education (FCE) Zaria, Kaduna State University (KASU) and other state polytechnics with higher package,” the union leader said.

He said,  while the union commend the state governor for implementing the new national minimum wage, it was important to draw his attention to the plight of workers in the state-owned tertiary institutions.

“We also want to use this medium to draw his attention to some lingering issues that have been seriously devastating the growth of our great institution.

“The most central lingering issue is the remaining 20 per cent of our salary structure, that is CONTISS,” he said.

Musa-Kofa recalled that in 2010 a joint forum consisting of all unions of state owned tertiary institutions signed an MoU with the State Government on implementation of CONTISS.

“After thorough engagements and deliberations, the unions agreed that in view of the financial status of the state as at then, we accepted 50 per cent.

“In 2014 also, after a long agitation, we also signed another MoU where the then government agreed to give additional 30 per cent to the initial 50, cumulatively making 80 per cent.

“So, as I am addressing you now, our staff here are enjoying 80 per cent of the CONTISS which is below the national benchmark of salary structure for tertiary institutions,” the Chairman noted.

He said that the issue of retirement age was also constituting a serious setback not only to the development of the institution but also to the growth of education in general.

Musa-Kofa therefore urged the government to implement the remaining 20 per cent of the CONTISS, to stop brain drain not only in the Polytechnic, but also other tertiary institutions across the state with the exception of KASU.

The ASUP chairman observed that medical doctors, nurses, judiciary and health workers were all enjoying their full consolidated salary structure.

According to him, other institutions with shortfall in salaries are the state College of Education, Shehu Idris College of Health Science Technology and College of Nursing.

“All these aforementioned institutions are enjoying 80 per cent of their salary structure.

“Remember, the quality of students depends on the morale of both the academic and non-academic staff.

“It is also important to note that quality of the students is assessed by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) through accreditation.

“In view of the fact that our salary is not up to standard of national benchmark, you will find that the institutions are grossly lacking senior cadre academics.

“You can find a department here in Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic without a senior lecturer and such development is a minus to that particular department during accreditation,” the chairman said.

Musa-Kofa also identified issue of 65 years retirement age as another constraint, adding that experience remained one of the most important aspects in the profession.

“As we grow older in the system the more we gain experience, the more the perfection and the more we impact positively on the entire society.

“By the time one reaches the peak of such experience, it’s the time he will leave the system.

“So, we urge government to look into these two issues of implementing the remaining 20 per cent as well as 65 years retirement age.

“Promotion is another welfare package for the staff, happily, we get our promotion every year but our grievances is the implementation of the promotion.

“Kaduna State Government had since abolished the issue of arrears. So, you will be promoted but you will not get the financial implementation, of course, this is another serious issue,” he noted.

The chairman said due to the low package, senior academics have been leaving because other institutions offer them more.

“The brain drain is at the senior level, the moment somebody gets promoted to senior cadre, that is when he will apply to somewhere else and he will be offered the national benchmark and that is when he is going to leave.

“The institution is now being made as a transit or training ground, many have already left while some are on their way leaving the campus,” he said. (NAN)


KLM/MZA

Edited by Maharazu Ahmed

Metro

Woman dies in Anambra road accident 

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A crash at Egbebele, along Abatete-Oraukwu road, in Orumba North, Anambra, has left one person dead and two others injured.

Mr Andrew Kumapayi, the Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) in Anambra, confirmed the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria in Awka on Thursday.

Kumapayi said the accident, which occurred at about 3:04p.m., could be attributed to the driver losing control of the vehicle due to excessive speed.

“Three victims were involved: two male adults and one female adult. They were in a Toyota Hiace bus with registration number AKD 758 FR.

“The driver lost control of the vehicle due to overspeeding and crashed into the bush.

“The victims were rushed to Iyi-Enu Hospital, where the female victim was confirmed dead and the corpse deposited at the morgue of the same hospital.

Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and NIgeria Security and Civil Defence Corps were instrumental in the rescue operation,” he said.

According to an earlier report, another accident, involving four male adults, occurred at about 10:25.a.m. under the River Niger Bridge in Onitsha.

Kumapayi said the crash involved a Toyota Dyna, with registration number GDD 551 YE and a Suzuki vehicle, with registration number GDD 841ZP.

“The crash was caused by loss of control, with one person sustaining serious injury, while three others sustained minor injuries.

“The victims were rushed to Toronto Hospital Onitsha by the FRSC rescue team from Onitsha Unit Command,” he said.

While condoling with the family of the dead, the sector commander warned motorists against speed limit violation.


Edited By: Moses Solanke/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Foreign

Somalia set to resume domestic flights

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Somali government announced on Thursday that domestic flights which were suspended due to COVID-19 pandemic will resume operations on June 8.

The Ministry of Transport and Aviation of Somalia said it has reached an agreement with aviation companies to resume local flights with strict guidelines from the Health Ministry.

Mohamed Omar, Somali Minister for Transport and Aviation said the Ministry of Health will offer personal protective equipment and other medical supplies to help curb the spread of respiratory disease.

The ban has been in place for the past two months as part of a raft of measures imposed by Somalia to help contain the spread of the pandemic.

Omar said in a meeting attended by aviation stakeholders that all passengers will be screened before entering the airport and after to ensure adherence to health guidelines.

He said passengers and flight staff will be required to follow instructions on the prevention of coronavirus issued by the Ministry of Health.

The minister said the government has put all mechanisms in place to ensure the smooth resumption of local flights but with strict rules which will apply to all aviation players.

The ease of restrictions in the aviation sector comes amid a surge in COVID-19 cases in Somalia which has so far reported 2,204 cases amid concern the cases are largely due to community transmission.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Lagos govt. reopens religious centres June 19

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The Lagos State Government has announced the reopening of religious centres at 40 per cent capacity, effective June 19.

Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that congregational worship with 40 per cent capacity would resume for Muslims on Friday, June 19, while Christians would resume on Sunday, June 21.

Sanwo-Olu announced this at State House, Marina, during a media briefing on the update of the management of Coronavirus and the second phase of the gradual easing of C0VID-19 lockdown in the state.

He said that the religious houses were only to run Sunday services for churches and Friday Jumat for Muslims, but barred from vigils and other weekly services.

”As we all know, mass gathering during COVID-19 pandemic can be of serious public health consequences. And there are documented evidence that mass gathering can increase the spread of the virus.

”That is why we will from 14 days time, precisely from the 19th of June for our Muslim worshippers, from the 21st of June, for our Christian worshipers, be allowing all of our religious bodies to open at the maximum of 40 per cent of their capacity.

”We know that these places of worship have different sizes, but even if your 40 per cent capacity is really so large, you cannot have beyond 500, and keeping that 40% maximum capacity is really, really so, so important.

”We will be encouraging people to have more than one service and to ensure that they keep their premises clean, disinfect before another round of worship can take place,” the governor said.

Sanwo-Olu also said those below 15 years of age and above 65 years old would not be allowed into places of worship, due to their vulnerability to the virus.

He also urged all religious houses to adhere strictly to safety measures like fumigating and keeping the premises clean, making sure worshipers wear face mask before entering, use of sanitiser, among others.

Sanwo-Olu said that the Lagos State Safety Commission would not only register but would be going round to check level of compliance.

According to him, the state government has the discretion to stop or restrict worship where there is no compliance.

Hotels and hospitality businesses are also free to open, while restaurants will open for take-away services only.

However, gyms, spas, cinema, event centers, night clubs and all other such services remain closed and inter-state journeys remain banned.

Sanwo-Olu said primary and secondary schools would remain shut because the government was still consulting with all stakeholders in the sector.

He added that the government would come up with guidelines for their re-opening in two weeks time, and that the on-line classes for tertiary institutions continued.

Sanwo-Olu said that from Monday, June 8, civil servants on levels 13-14 would resume with their senior colleagues on level 15 and above, while levels 1-12 were still to work from home.

All other guidelines are as announced by Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Monday, June 1 and they include: curfew from 10p.m.-4a.m., full re-opening of banks and other financial institutions, offices and business places to operate from 7a.m.-6p.m.

He added that manufacturing companies were permitted to do night shift but to make arrangement for movement of staff.

The governor admonished residents to wear face mask always as the level of compliance on wearing of face mask was not encouraging.

He urged Lagosians to self-regulate or government would regulate them.


Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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Foreign

Roundup: Kenyans ready for partial lifting of COVID-19 restrictions

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A cloud of expectation hangs over Kenya as citizens are ready for the easing of some restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19.

Private businesses, places of worship and government offices are among entities that are gearing up for the resumption of operations after June 6, the day when current restrictions end and President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to review the measures.

Kenyatta hinted that the government will loosen some of the restrictions, noting that lockdowns and curfews are unsustainable in the long term.

He noted that once the restrictions are partially lifted, citizens will be expected to remain responsible by wearing masks, washing hands and maintaining social distancing to curb the spread of the disease.

Kenya imposed a partial lockdown in the capital Nairobi and four other counties some 70 days ago and imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew across the country, which are the restrictions lauded for slowing down infections.

But they have affected business for schools, gyms, bars and hotels, among others, with up to 1.2 million people losing jobs, according to the Labor Ministry of Kenya.

It is these businesses that are ready to reopen by installing handwashing and sanitation points and measures to enforce social distancing.

At a hotel along Moi Avenue in the central business district in Nairobi on Thursday, a worker was busy fumigating the facility.

In a separate section, another was remodeling chairs and tables to comply with measures to curb the spread of the disease in anticipation of the partial reopening of the country.

And at the entrance, a handwashing point was prominently installed as well as sanitizers at various points.

Like many other such facilities, all its workers would be expected to take COVID-19 tests and get certificates to show they are free of the disease.

“We were not offering to take away services or did not open earlier because it did not make sense to reopen when workers are still at home. But we believe this is the right time when the government is expected to loosen some restrictions,” said a worker introduced as Martin Kinuthia.

Places of worship are also instituting measures to allow the resumption of services.

Among the new protocols, they are taking the use of thermo guns, having shorter services, ensuring all worshippers sanitize by washing hands and installation of sanitation booths and everyone must wear face masks.

“As we wait for the presidential directive, it has been agreed upon by the government and religious leaders that the following measures must be taken. There shall be a sitting plan with markings on the floor where chairs will be placed observing the 1.5 meter rule in all directions,” said John Kitula, the administrative secretary of the African Inland Church.

Other places of worship, including mosques, will follow the same protocols to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Karanja Kibicho, Interior Principal Secretary of Kenya, said on Wednesday that the government has found itself in a tight spot since the outbreak of the disease, whose cases have taken an upward trajectory, clocking 2,340 on Thursday.

“We cannot stay in a lockdown forever, as a government we make money from taxes but most people are currently not working. We must reopen the economy but under strict guidelines,” said Kibicho.

But as the cloud of optimism hangs over Kenya amid the rise in infections, health experts have warned that most citizens are throwing caution to the wind by resuming old behavior that does not help to curb the spread of the virus.

Health Secretary Mutahi Kagwe on Thursday acknowledged that the government would ease some of the restrictions as it moves to adopt a home-care approach, but COVID-19 remains a huge threat to the east African nation.

(XINHUA)

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Politics

Edo Gov. Poll: Rep Chinda chairs PDP screening committee

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Rep Kingsley Chinda, Obio/Akpor Constituency, Rivers, is to chair the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) screening committee for aspirants in its primaries for Edo governorship,  scheduled for Thursday.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the party’s  National Organising Secretary, Col. Austin Akobundu (rtd) on Thursday in Abuja.

The National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP approved the list of the screening committee.

Members of the screening committee are: Chief Oladimeji Fabiyi, Sen. Joy Emordi, Hajiya Aishat Hasindu, and Hon. Boyele Debekeme as Secretary.

Akobundu said  the screening exercise would hold at the NWC HALL, Wadata Plaza from 10 a.m.

The three aspirants that obtained the party’s nomination and expression of interest forms for the primaries were, Mr Kenneth Imansuangbon, Mr Omoregie-Ogbeide Ihama and Mr Gideon Ikhine.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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Environment

LAWMA reaffirms collaboration with Environment Ministry, stakeholders for cleaner Lagos

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The Lagos State Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) has reaffirmed its collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and other stakeholders to achieve a cleaner Lagos.

Its Acting Managing Director, Mr Ibrahim Odumboni, made the disclosure at a media parley in Lagos on Thursday.

Odumboni said the authority had been having continuous dialogue with the Private Sector Participation (PSP) to enable them to achieve the minimum standards.

According to him, they are engaging the PSP on capacity building programmes on agreeable minimum standards before informing Lagos residents.

He said that Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu had been working toward empowering PSP to ensure that there was sustainability in environmental management to avoid pandemic in the future.

“We are repositioning the Blue Box Initiative of Gov. Sanwo-Olu’s administration to have an in-depth spread of sorting waste from the source before getting to the recyclers.

“At the moment, we have 20 registered recyclers in 57 Local Governments and Local Council Development Areas (LGDAs).

“Presently, PSP operation is known in 11 LCDAs, and to cover all the local governments, the authority has decentralised its operation into Central, East and West to move closer to people in the community.

Before the end of August, we should be able to have recycling presence, at least two each, in all the 57 LCDAs,” Odumboni said.

While urging residents to sort their wastes from homes, he pleaded with local government chairmen to create space for recyclable wastes in their communities to enable recyclers to pick them up for usage.

Odumboni said the authority would improve on its mandate to ensure cleaner environment as from 6.00a.m, adding that anyone who noticed any infraction, should contact the Customers Service on 0805990660 and 07080601020.

He said LAWMA would participate more in ensuring that regulation of PSP were done,.

The acting managing director said that the authority would partner with Kick Against Indiscipline, Health Sanitation and others to sanction environmental offenders.

Odumboni appealed to residents to stop patronising cart pushers and endeavour to pay their bills to sustain the operation of PSP.

He commended the state government for providing excellent rehabilitation of the three dump sites.

Odumboni said that the land field had improved from 11 to 20, and increased the turnaround time of truck.

According to him, a total of 500 trips are made daily by the PSP, while the authority is working toward increasing the trips to 850.

He said that the authority would also engage farmers and medical facilities to ensure they complied with the separation of their wastes to avoid epidemic outbreak.


Edited By: Moses Solanke/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)

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Foreign

Oman reports 778 new COVID-19 cases, 14,316 in total

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The Omani health ministry announced on Thursday 778 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number in the country to 14,316.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, all new cases, including 265 Omanis, are related to community contact.

Meanwhile, 606 more have recovered from the disease, bringing the total recoveries to 3,451.

The ministry called on people to observe the procedures for quarantine, avoid public places or places of worship, and ensure public hygiene.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Around 5.2 pct of Spanish population infected by coronavirus: study

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Around 5.21 percent of the Spanish population has been infected by the novel coronavirus, according to the second part of a major study into the prevalence of the virus which was published on Thursday by the Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare.

The finding is only slightly different from the results in the first stage of the investigation, which were published on May 13 and showed 5 percent of those tested had been infected by COVID-19.

Blood samples were taken from a representative sample of 63,564 people of all ages from every region of Spain between May 18 and June 2 in order to look for antibodies of the coronavirus and determine the proportion of the population that has developed immunity.

The study once again showed that the different parts of Spain have been affected differently by the virus, with a much greater proportion of the population infected in central Spain than other parts of the country.

About 11.4 percent of those tested in the Madrid region showed the presence of antibodies, while the levels were even higher in the provinces of Segovia (12.6 percent), Cuenca (14.2 percent), and Soria (14.7 percent).

Meanwhile, Huelva in the southwest of Spain had a prevalence of just 1.2 percent, the Balearic Islands 1.5 percent, and the northern region of Asturias 1.6 percent.

In the press conference where the data was presented, the Director of the National Center of Epidemiology Marina Pollan said the results were “expected,” adding that “a third of the infected people do not have symptoms.”

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Albanian parliament OKs 650-mln-euro Eurobond

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The parliament of Albania approved on Thursday the bill on the issuance of a 650-million-euro (735-million-United States dollar) Eurobond by the Ministry of Finance and Economy, a press release of the ministry said.

Speaking in front of the lawmakers on Thursday, Minister of Finance and Economy Anila Denaj said that the issuance of the Eurobond in 2020 is foreseen in the Medium Term Debt Management Strategy, approved by the Albanian government and presented to the Parliament during the discussions on the 2020 Budget.

The ministry plans to issue the Eurobond with a maturity of seven to 10 years.

Denaj stated that this is the most opportune time to issue the Eurobond “as the financial markets are showing stability after the high volatility encountered after the spread of COVID-19.”

The Bank of Albania has confirmed that the issuance of Eurobond does not affect the country’s monetary policy and has a positive effect on foreign exchange reserves and macroeconomic stability in the short and medium term.

This is the fourth time for Albania to issue a Eurobond in the international financial markets, after the issuance in 2010, 2015 and 2018.

(XINHUA)

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