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Universities to remain shut despite ASUU strike suspension, says NUC



Despite suspension of ASUU strike, university students won’t resume soon following NUC directive
The NUC directs universities to suspend academic activities.

Students in Nigerian public universities who were hoping to resume academic work after the Yuletide following the suspension of a strike by lecturers will have to wait longer.

This is because the National Universities Commission (NUC) has issued a directive to all universities to suspend academic activities due to the spread of COVID-19.

Nigeria is currently experiencing its second wave of COVID-19, with the country experiencing more new cases than ever. The over 5,000 new cases recoded last week was the highest weekly figure ever.

SunriseNigeria reported how lecturers in public universities, ASUU, on Wednesday, suspended their nine months strike after an agreement with the government on university funding and other matters.

ASUU also said its members were ready to work as soon as the government puts COVID-19 protocols in place in the universities.

“As far as we are concerned, we are ready to resume work. Let the government do what is needed to ensure safety. We insist that the COVID-19 protocol should be observed,” ASUU president Biodun Ogunyemi said.

While the government has not spelt out clear COVID-19 protocols for the universities, it had announced that all schools should remain shut till at least January 18.

The latest directive stopping physical academic activities, including in private universities not affected by the ASUU strike, thus means that until a counter directive by the NUC, universities will not resume academic activities.

The NUC called on vice-chancellors of universities not to allow any form of academic activities involving large crowds to be organized or hosted on their campuses.

Nasarawa State University, Keffi

Details of the NUC directive was contained in a circular by Chris Maiyaki, Deputy Executive Secretary (Administration), and obtained by a news agency, PRNigeria.

According to PRNigeria, the NUC said classrooms, hostel accommodation, conferences and seminars should be suspended.

It further directed that universities should remain closed during this intervening period, pending further directives by the Federal Government on the reopening of schools.

“Vice-Chancellors are to please note that the directive is part of the measures approved by Mr. President to mitigate the second wave of Coronavirus infections in the country.
The affected officers are expected to perform their duties from home while those on GL 13 and above should strictly adhere to the extant preventive measures, including maintenance of physical distancing, regular washing of hands and/or sanitizing of hands, wearing of face masks and reducing the number of visitors to offices,” it said

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Rumours of Deaths on Campus: Fear Grips Bingham University Students, Parents



* Parents Call for Closer Collaboration with University Leadership

Parents and students of Bingham University located at Auta Balefi, along the Keffi-Abuja Highway have been gripped with palpable anxiety and fear since rumours of discovery of dead bodies in the citadel of learning broke out this week.

According to inside sources, there have also been unconfirmed rumours of some missing students within the campus of the University which is owned by the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) mission.

The sources said that students woke up in the night of Monday week to the sounds of ambulance sirens which until now, have not been properly explained by the authorities of the University.
The following morning, the campus became awash with the rumours that some unidentified dead bodies were found in one of the uncompleted structures on the campus and were clandestinely evacuated by the authorities in the night.

As a result of the lack of communication by the authorities to either deny or confirm the widespread rumours, students are reaching out to their parents to express their feelings of lack of safety and security.

The sources further confirmed to our correspondent that the only semblance of communication to the students was a statement by the Students Representative Council which only said that the rumour was “not true”.

Most of the students and parents spoken to are of the opinion that the University authorities are hiding something regarding the security situation in the institution. They link this to a recent policy introduced to the effect that parents can only visit their wards three times in a semester.

Another policy introduced by the institution which has also raised suspicions about transparency and accountability of the administration is that banning the use of android phones by students.

One of the parents who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “I think there is something the school authority is trying to hide, why the sudden decision to make visiting thrice in a semester? Our children are not in a military school and this is a University for crying out loud….I am of the opinion that because we have not started our grievance in clear terms that is why they choose to treat our children in this way…we did not just dump our children in the school.. they are there to study and become independent and useful adults tomorrow. I pray that as they walked into the school with their legs they will also walk out of the school after their studies with their legs in Jesus name”.

According to a lecturer in the university, the ban on the use of android phones by students is a great departure from education aligning with technology to make learning easier. “How can you ban students from using android phones when we encourage them to do research for which the Internet is the greatest resource? We cannot express this openly for fear of being labelled anti-establishment, but the fact is that many of us are against some of these policies which are inimical to to the creation of a safe and secure learning environment “.

With the current security situation in the country, especially around educational institutions, both the students and parents say they expect the University authorities at the highest level to rise up to the occasion and clear the air on their safety and security.
They also appeal for the review of the policies regarding the use of ICT gadgets by students, as well as the restriction on visits by parents.

Most of them also express the need for a closer relationship between the university authorities and parents to put them on the same page as critical stakeholders.

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Nile University Law Students Win 2023 National ICRC International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Court Competition



By Ojone Grace Odaudu

Three students of the Faculty of Law at Nile University of Nigeria have emerged as National winners of the 12th Annual ICRC International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Moot Competition.

The Nile University team, comprising three students namely: Mustapha Shuaibu, Chisom Okoh, and Rukkayya Saka Ahmad, demonstrated their expertise and prowess in the field of law as they went head-to-head with teams from renowned universities across Nigeria. Throughout the competition, these students displayed their exceptional legal skills, profound knowledge of international humanitarian law, and persuasive capabilities.

The competition, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), aims to promote and enhance knowledge and understanding of International Humanitarian Law among law students across Africa.

The competition was divided into several rounds, where teams presented oral arguments and responded to questions from a panel of expert judges. The Nile University team’s performance was outstanding, showcasing their exceptional legal research, analytical thinking, and ability to apply legal principles to complex real-life scenarios.

Their final argument delivered a compelling and well-supported rationale, which impressed the Judges both in substance and presentation. The students’ dedication, commitment, and hard work truly paid off as they were able to outshine their competitors and secure the victory.

Speaking on their experience, the National champions of the IHL competition stated, “In retrospect, It was all of the pre-competition activities and struggles to keep up with our approaching semester exams that made this win even more rewarding. If we had been told at the time that we could still participate and possibly win, we would have been skeptical. The tremendous support we received from our Dean, Dr. Fatima Alkali, and other faculty members kept us motivated throughout the entire phase of the competition.”

A statement on the University’s website says that “This achievement of the Nile University Law students in winning the national competition and earning the opportunity to represent Nigeria at the All Africa IHL Moot Court Competition is a testament to the excellent legal education provided by Nile University. It showcases the institution’s commitment to academic excellence, practical training, and instilling in its students a deep understanding and appreciation for International Humanitarian law”.

The Nile University team is now gearing up for the Africa regional finals of the competition scheduled for 14 – 25 November 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania.

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BREAKING: Court Orders ASUU To Suspend Strike



The National Industrial Court has ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to suspend the ongoing strike.

The court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday gave the order following an application for an interlocutory injunction filed by the Nigerian government to force ASUU to suspend the seven-month-old strike.

Recall that the Federal Government through the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige had filed a suit in the National Industrial Court, challenging the action of the university academic union.

The court had in its previous sitting on Monday, after listening to the argument on the application by the counsel to federal government, James Igwe, fixed the ruling on Wednesday (today).

Igwe had argued that it would be proper for the strike to be called off pending the determination of the suit, to enable students to return to school.

Justice Polycarp Hamman, in his ruling, granted the government’s application.

The judge also dismissed the argument by counsel to ASUU, Femi Falana (SAN) that the interlocutory injunction should be dismissed and the court should instead grant an accelerated hearing for the referral earlier filed by Ngige.

ASUU embarked on the nationwide strike on February 14, 2022 over inability of the federal government to meet their demands some of which include release of the University Revitalisation Fund, adoption of the University Transparency and Accountability System (UTAS) payment platform instead of the IPPIS created by the federal government, release of the White Paper on Government Visitation Panel to public universities, and increase of salaries of lecturers.

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