Don’t Embark on Industrial Action, Kwara APC Begs Teachers
THE All Progressives Congress, APC, in Kwara State has appealed to the leadership of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in the state to suspend its plan to embark on industrial strike action over non-payment of salaries.
In a statement signed by the State Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari, the party said the contending issue is not really about non-payment of teachers’ salaries but non-availability of funds to pay salaries which requires collective efforts to address rather than strike action.
“As a party, we wish to state that we feel the concerns and share in the pains of primary school teachers in Kwara State. Quite unfortunate, this issue is chiefly caused by the dwindling allocation from the federation account.
“Therefore, In actual sense, it is not about non-payment of teachers’ salaries but non-availability of funds to pay salaries. It requires collective efforts to address rather than stike action, If the resources are available today, the Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed-led Kwara State Government will pay all teachers like it has always done in the past 5 years.
“Given the cordial relationship between Kwara State Government and Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) with mention to the fact that the union, not too long ago, acknowledged the outstanding performance of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed in the sector with its national merit award. We wish to say the record of the state government is clear and the will to pay teachers’ salaries by the Kwara State Government is undoubtful.
“Since it is about non-availability of resources, the planned industrial action would be counterproductive and it lacks the capacity to solve the contending issues. “In the light of the above, we hereby appeal to leadership of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Kwara State to suspend its plan to embark on industrial action.
“Finally, we wish to assure the people of Kwara State and our dear teachers that the Kwara State Government is not helpless in this financial quagmire. That is why the government has embarked on aggressive revenue generation drive by repositioning the Kwara State Internal Revenue Service for more effectiveness in the discharge of its roles as the revenue generating agency of the government, the statement read.
Share, Tsaragi: 40 lives lost in Kwara recurring land battle
One of the buildings of the schools burnt down during the clash Share and Tsaragi are two neighbouring communities in Kwara State that have recently been in bloody fights over land, leading to no less than 40 deaths. Share, the hometown of Governor Abdufattah Ahmed, in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State and Tsaragi? in Edu Local Government Area of the state are two proximate communities that have been engaged in a bitter land battle for a while now. The land clash, according to Daily Trust on Sunday findings, has left no fewer than 40 people dead while many houses, shops, cars and schools have been razed.
The nearness of the two communities leaves one in doubt of where to request information from as both communities are only demarcated by a footpath. The cause of the crisis to many is an issue that could be settled amicably and requires both communities to make collaborative efforts to move their environment forward, but it has not been he case. A victim who was shot in the leg and whose house was burnt in the course of the latest acts of violence, narrated how it started when three primary schools serving both communities were burnt down allegedly by Tsaragi people. The schools are Community School, Share (former Native Authority School), Muslim Community School, Share, and UMCA Primary School, Share.
Many buildings in Share were burnt down while properties were looted. The victim who craved anonymity, said, "The people of Share were not aware of the crisis until we started hearing gunshots on December 19, 2015. Unfortunately, the crisis degenerated to a bigger on the next day when the Tsaragi people reinforced from other Nupe-speaking neighbouring communities like Lapai, Agai, Bida and Patigi after which they started burning down properties in Share. In fact, we were in battlefield before soldiers were deployed on December 20 that calmed the environment."
Share and Tsaragi people, our correspondent learnt, have been together for over 60 years and have interrelated through marriage, schooling and other avenues. Elemosho of Share land, Alhaji Elemosho Lawal who is the owner of the disputed land, said the crisis was the devil's handwork because he already told people of Tsaragi to approach him anytime they want to use the land for farming but that they refused and continue to lay claims on the land. He said, "We have been living together with the Tsaragi people for more than 60 years. The land dispute between both communities is the work of the devil because as neighbours we are not supposed to be fighting. My father who bequeathed the land to me learnt Quran in Tsaragi because we have interrelated to the extent of marrying each other, attending the same schools and doing everything together. The disputed land belongs to Elemosho of Share which is our family.
The land is located at Ifeagida and Fejewe. I don't expect the land to cause this much problem because as the owner of the land, I have already told my people in Tsaragi to come and take permission from me if they want to farm on the land which, I promised to give to them without charging a dime but they refused and claimed ownership of the land." What is in a name? In many African cultures, there is a belief that the meaning of a name always has strong influence on whoever or whatever is given. The disputed land between Share and Tsaragi is located in Ifeagida and Fejewe (Fejewe in Yourba connotes bath with blood), for which reason many have suggested should be renamed to stop the bloodshed. During our correspondent's visit to the warring communities, Chief Magaji Aare of Share, Alhaji Abdulrrahman Jimoh who spoke on behalf of the Olufako of Share, Alhaji Abubakar Garba, said what led to the clash was an effort to keep their environment safe from kidnappers. The Magaji Aare narrated, "Where our youths were working that caused this crisis is Share's land and not Tsaragi's and the school where our youths were cutting trees is the one we all attended, including the Tsaragi people. We decided to clear the land and cut the trees because kidnappers and ritualists had been on the increase lately and they use the bushy area of the schools as hideout. In order to protect our children from being kidnapped we sent the youths to go and clear the bush and cut the trees which didn't go beyond our boundary.
"Tsaragi people called Balogun that our youths were cutting mango trees on their land. Balogun in turn called and informed me. We all went there but surprisingly there were no mango trees among the ones they cut. We then called the Tsaragi leader to come and see the trees our youths cut but he said he was on his way to Lafiagi. When we called him about three times and he didn't show up, I and other Chiefs left there when Tsaragi youths started throwing stones and cutlasses at us. They later entered the school, burnt down the three schools and started shooting, which we reported to our King." He said they didn't retaliate because they wanted peace and did not want it to escalate, adding that many of their properties were looted or destroyed. On efforts made so far to ensure settlement of their differences, Jimoh said they had reported to the government because they discovered that it is every eight years that Tsaragi usually attack them over the same issue. He said, "We don't know what the Tsaragi leader is doing with our blood because it has become a fight of every eight years.
Apart from reporting to the government, we have taken the case to court before and the judgment is in our favour and we were given a white paper on it but Tsaragi people didn't accept it. We are in support of the commission of inquiry and we want people to come and see the level of damage done to our community by the Tsaragi because we want a peaceful life." It was hard to get explanation on the crisis from the Etsu Tsaragi, Alhaji Abdullahi Aliyu, as he directed our correspondent who visited the communities to the Government House in Ilorin for information, but it can be recalled that the Tsaragi elders recently addressed a press conference in Ilorin where they rejected the judicial commission of inquiry set up by Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed , which was led by one Alhaji Abdullahi Idris. Idris recalled that the federal government, following the state and local government creation of 1976 constituted Justice Mamman Nasir Boundary Adjustment Commission. The commission visited the two communities and its recommendations were accepted by the federal government.
A white paper was issued on the report by Kwara state government. In 1995/96, the federal government again set up Justice Mbanefo Panel. The panel visited Kwara state and at its public sitting, Share Community requested the panel to review Mamman Nasir commissioon recommendations. And Justice Mbanefo replied categorically that the earlier concluded boundary adjustment issues remained closed and done with. Mbanefo panel's refusal to review the aforesaid report resulted in another communal disturbance between the two communities in 2002. They also explained that the Kwara state government under the administration of Governor Muhammed Lawal, set up Deacon Sayomi panel to look into the crisis and a report was issued which was also rejected by Share community. In 2008, there was yet another violent disturbance between the two communities. The state government under the leadership of Governor Bukola Saraki responded by constituting Justice Mahmud Abdulgafar commission of inquiry.
The commission came out with various recommendations which were accepted by the government. They pointed out that at the public hearing before Hon. Justice. Mahmud Abdulgafar's commission of inquiry, Share community specifically made a case for the setting aside of Justice Mamman Nasir report which was again rejected while the two white papers issued by the Kwara state government following Justice Mahmudd Abdulgafar commission report was also rejected by the Share community which challenged same in the High Court of justice of Kwara state. But court ruled that the white papers were duly made. They appealed to the court of appeal Ilorin and the judgment of the high court was affirmed.
There have been four commissions/panels on Share/Tsaragi boundary dispute according to Tsaragi people since 1976, reports of all of which were rejected by Share community, according to the Tsaragi people who added that they resorted to the use of force when they failed to achieve their mission through lawful means and sometimes invaded Nupe villages with armed youths and order the villagers to leave or admit being part of Share District. They said the acts of lawlessness on the part of Share youths led to the crisis of 19-20 December 2015. They therefore demanded to know the extent to which Governor Ahmed, who is an indigene of Share, is impartial in the matter. He said, "Everything points to Governor Ahmed as the stumbling block towards the resolution of the crisis. We observed at the meetings attended by the Tsaragi community with the governor at the Government House Ilorin that Governor Ahmed asked questions and provided the answers at the same time while addressing salient issues. We have also observed that the governor asserted that no community owns land. He threatened land owners to adopt give and take approach.
This cannot be the stance of a neutral governor and the chief security officer of the state. "In the light of the one-sided disposition openly displayed by Governor Ahmed, the Nupes of Tsaragi community have no reason whatsoever to participate in another inquiry, more so when the recommendations of all the previous commissions/panels on the crisis which have been adopted by the government of Kwara state have not been implemented. The Nupes in general are peaceful and law abiding people. We have therefore instituted an action in court to challenge the governor's action. The Nupes of Tsaragi community and its environs are committed to peaceful coexistence with our Share Igbomina neighbours." The state governor has so far reacted since the beginning of the clash by first deploying soldiers to the troubled area and imposing 24 hours curfew which was relaxed after normalcy returned to the communities. He also met with the elders of both communities separately at the Government House Ilorin where they all promised to live together harmoniously. He has as well constituted panels to find the root cause of the problem and proffer lasting solution. He has therefore described Tsaragi people's allegation as shocking, unfair and inappropriate representation of what transpired during peace meetings he had with the people of the community.
The governor has been quoted as saying, "I swore to an oath of Office as the governor of the state to be impartial to all, irrespective of ethnic, religious beliefs and other persuasions. I can therefore not take sides on the matter at hand. The fact that I am from Share by birth cannot in any way influence my decision on matters of the state, especially security related matters. On my advice that all shades of views on how to resolve the recurring crisis between Share and Tsaragi, including, if need be, the application of the concept of 'give and take', it is painful that such advice is seen by some party in the dispute as threatening land owners when in fact I expressed the same view when I had peace talks with the people of Share after the session with the people of Tsaragi." It is on record that the leader of the Tsaragi delegation, Dr Muhammed Haruna, in public glare said to the effect that both communities must live together in peace. This is taken to mean that he is on the same page with the position of Gov. Ahmed.
The commission of inquiry set up by Kwara state Governor, Dr. Abdulfattah Ahmed, on Wednesday visited the disputed communities to inspect the areas causing rift between the two. The commission which was led by Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu Gambari and other traditional rulers in the state inspected the disputed areas to ascertain facts and suggest solution to the state government. The report of the commission is expected to be ready in few weeks' time after which a panel of reconciliation is expected to be constituted to settle the rift.
HE National President of Omo Ibile Igbomina, Engineer Timothy Adebayo has said efforts were on for the smooth take-off of Igbomina Radio in Kwara State.
This said he said would serve as veritable platform to promoting cultures and values of Igbominaland.
He spoke when the newly inaugurated National Executive Council of the socio-cultural paid a visit to State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed in Ilorin.
Adebayo called on the state government to develop tourist sites in Igbominaland through adequate infrastructure to facilitate development.
In his address, Ahmed urged community associations to always set agenda for sustainable development and promote peace and unity in their respective communities for the development of the state.
The Governor advised cultural groups in the state to transmit right cultural values to the coming generations through writings to avoid information distortion.
Ahmed, who assured the Group of his government’s readiness to complete all ongoing projects, said five million naira each would soon be disbursed to all wards for Community Development Projects based on the need of each community.
The governor called for tolerance and peaceful co-existence among various communities in order to bring accelerated development to the state.
Kwara Government Threatens to Shut Down Illegal Schools
THE kwara sate government has threatened to clamp down on mushrooms schools springing up in some parts of the state. The sate Commissioner for Education Science and Technology, Alhaji Musa Yeketi handed down the warning in an interview KwaraNews in Ilorin.
He said that some operators of private schools in the state failed to meet the required criteria before setting up the schools. ‘‘Very soon, they will all varmus, we will closed them down, I have noticed that myself and I have informed his Excellency about them .We can only allow those who meet up with the criteria because there are criteria for establishment of schools both private and public school
‘‘Any private individual that meet up the criteria will be asked to pay required sum of money, those mushroom schools don’t even have any reason to apply in the first place because one of the criteria for establishment of school is a clearance by the health authority and you cannot tell me that running a school from an uncompleted building is healthy. We cannot take that risk’’, he said.
On teachers strike, the commissioner appealed to the striking workers to resume work for sake of the masses. He said the ongoing strike by the teachers has been preventing the government from carrying out laudable programmes in the sector.
The commissioner said the state government has concluded plan to float a health insurance scheme for primary school pupils which could not take off because of the ongoing strike. Yeketi said the state government was working to sanitize the education system and re-positioned the sector to ensure delivery of qualitative service.
He lamented that some teachers who were supposed to be in the class rooms were deployed to ministries where they have been rendered idled.
Post by colonial pikin on Jan 25, 2016 4:52:55 GMT
Kwara denies alleged plan to sell state-owned media outfits
Kwara State government has said that its decision to restructure the state media houses is not to sell the entities, but to improve their efficiency in service delivery, grant them autonomy, as well as increase their revenue generation capacity.
The government believed that the development was mooted to align with modern trend in media management system.
The Sole Administrator of the state media houses, Dr. Muyideen Akorede, said yesterday in Ilorin, that the state government would work with a panel of renowned media experts on the process.
Akorede refuted allegations that the state government was planning to sell the media houses, adding that workers in the organisations will not be retrenched in the restructuring process, which will instead see an expansion in the work force.
“The state government understands how important these media organisations are to Kwara and its people, and as such cannot dispose them off to private individuals,” he stressed.
According to him, the media houses were established by law, which prohibits their sale.
He explained that the objective of overhauling the media houses, comprising Kwara TV, Radio Kwara and Herald newspapers, was to ensure efficient and effective service delivery.
He said the exercise would cover training of the work force, provision of modern equipment and infrastructure, as well as an improvement in the editorial content of the outfits.
OPINION: Analysing the necessity for Kwara's N20b bond. By Bolaji Alabi
The current economic crisis facing Nigeria, which has led to a drastic shortfall in the revenue base of the country and subsequent decline in the allocations that accrue to states and local councils of the federation, has hampered the ability of many state and local governments to meet some of their obligations. States are finding it difficult to meet all of their recurrent expenditure, not to talk of executing capital projects for infrastructural development.
To bridge the infrastructural gap that has been created by the paucity of funds, it becomes imperative for states to seek alternative funding means to effectively run the states and execute developmental projects for the benefits of their people. It is on this premise that the present administration in Kwara State is seeking to obtain a N20b bond from the capital market to revive stalled capital projects and also kick start new ones across the State. Incidentally, the decision of the state government to access this bond has generated a lot of mixed reactions from within and outside the state, with many expressing fear over the ability of the state to repay the bond, while some expressed doubt over the sincerity of the government to use the bond for reasons it was sought for.
The main opposition party in the State, the PDP, has accused the state government of not being sincere with its spending over the years, including the N17b bond taken by previous administration of Dr. Bukola Saraki. However, the Kwara State government has on various occasions offered explanation to the public on the necessity for the bond, which according to it, will be used for developmental projects that will have direct impacts on the people and also attract potential investors to the state.
The State governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, during the last edition of his regular interactive session on radio, tagged "Governor Explains", noted that the state government is seeking the N20b bond from the capital market to finance developmental projects that have been stalled due to sustained shortfall in federal allocation accruing to the state. Explaining further, the governor said that the current federal allocation to the State cannot adequately cover its recurrent expenditure, not to talk of executing capital projects, adding that no significant developmental projects could be done without recourse to the capital market for funding, in the face of the current financial crisis affecting both the federal, state and local governments in the country. "Any system of government that intends to develop its people infrastructure must come out with a funding arrangement that will be able to firstly, develop human capital and of course, create infrastructure in the system. "Infrastructure is usually funded after recurrent expenditure has been met. Now, we have inflow coming from the allocation that has dwindled such that it can only barely cover salaries, not even all recurrent expenditure.
So, if we want to carry out capital projects, we must look for money elsewhere outside the federal allocation," Governor Ahmed stated. On the repayment of the bond, the governor assured that state government was capable of servicing the bond, as it had taken measures to ensure its repayment without posing financial burden on the state government. He noted that one best way governments can access money to do capital projects is through the capital market, which he said, provides a soft window and long term for repayment with a very low rate.
In view of the consistent decline in federal allocation, Governor Ahmed said the state government had put in place measures to expand its internally generated revenue to augment its finances. He averred that the state revenue service is positioned to ensure that loopholes are blocked, taxes are properly collected and remitted, which will be channeled into provision of infrastructural development.
"We have reformed the revenue generating process by changing the people, process and technologies for the collection, management and distribution of internal revenue, and this is coming with a new target system that will ensure loopholes are bridged, taxes properly collected and remitted, which will be used for developmental projects. "Within the first quarter of this year, we will witness a remarkable change in the inflow of our revenues. Our objective is to sustain the economic growth and development of the state while insulating her from the turbulence of global crude oil prices," the governor enthused.
The Governor assured that his administration will continue to put in place necessary infrastructure to attract potential investors and create employment opportunities for the teeming unemployed people, which according to him, will ensure economic growth and development.
A Non-Governmental Organisation, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) in collaboration with Kwara State Government is to train 400 teachers in the employment of the State Government on 21st century teaching skills to boost quality of education at secondary school levels in the state.
The training of the 400 permanent teachers in the State which will take off next month will also see the provision of fully equipped mobile workshops as well as the training of entrepreneurial skills to the people of the State.
These facts emerged when the Voluntary Services Overseas led by the Head of Programmes, Mr Ananb Kishore Das paid a courtesy call on the state governor, Dr Abdulfatah Ahmed at the Government House, Ilorin.
Governor Ahmed said the slow pace of development in Nigeria could be attributed to the deficit in human capital development ,hence the need to bridge the deficit in all sectors.
The governor, who noted that one of the challenges in the teaching sector is getting the right teachers to get things done, said his administration has reviewed school curricular with emphasis on human capital developmental and skilled workforce.
The Head of Programmes, Voluntary Services Overseas, Mr Ananb Kishore-Das in his remarks said the organization currently operates in 25 schools in two local government areas of the state with emphasis on Mathematics and Science subjects.
Dr Das who said VSO will soon increase the number of schools where it operates to 35 for better results, commended the state government for its commitment to the provision of qualitative education in the State.
Aregbesola Commends Unilorin For Adopting Osun’s Opon Imo
Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the state of Osun has commended the management of the University of Ilorin for adopting the state’s initiative of Opon-Imo.
The Ogbeni also commended UNILORIN for developing “a seamless strategy for a stable academic calendar” in the institution, just as the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, praised the existing love and harmony among the University staff, which he identified as the reason behind its consistent progress.
The duo made the observations last Friday (January 22, 2016) when the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. AbdulGaniyu Ambali (OON), led top officials of the University on separate visits to the Osun State Governor’s Office, Osogbo, and the Enuwa Palace, Ile-Ife, respectively.
The University’s management team, which included the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (RTI), Prof. Gabriel Olatunji; the Registrar, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi; and the University Librarian, Dr. Joseph Omoniyi, was in Osun State to felicitate with the new Ooni on his recent appointment and installation as well as to thank the Governor for honoring the University’s invitation to its recent 40th anniversary and 31st convocation ceremonies.
Governor Aregbesola, who described the University of Ilorin as “the only public university in Nigeria that has escaped the customary breaks in academic calendar”, noted that “the University is doing very well”. He said, “When a student enters your school, the fear of not completing his/her education on time is totally eliminated”.
Pointing out that “this is Unilorin’s most important contribution to sustaining a credible academic environment in the country”, the Governor told the Vice-Chancellor, “We commend those who have developed this seamless strategy and we also commend those of you who are sustaining it”.
The Governor also commended the University’s “commitment to modernisation and knowledge tradition” with the distribution of i-Pad tablets to all its students. He said, “I am very much impressed by your adoption of the latest easy-to-carry-about and easy-to-use IT device”.
Ogbeni Aregbesola further noted, “That you have introduced and made compulsory the acquisition of this modern IT device by your students is a feat that must be seriously commended by those who genuinely want our nation to be at par with the best practices all over the world”.
The Governor also commended the University for its successful migration to STM 4, which is the latest technology in internet access, saying, “With this, the University has broken the digital divide between the developed and developing world and I am enthused by your leap in that direction.”
The Governor also expressed happiness that indigenes of Osun State constitute a substantial percentage of the staff and student population of the University.
Earlier, the Vice-Chancellor had congratulated the Governor on his re-election for a second term in office, saying this was a clear evidence of the people’s confidence in him.
Prof. Ambali disclosed that about 1, 400 of the newly admitted students of the institution are indigenes of Osun State. Pointing out that the state is also well represented on the University’s staff list, he said, “In fact, one of my Deputy Vice-Chancellors, Prof. Olatunji, is a proud son of Osun State.”
The Vice-Chancellor acknowledged Governor Aregbesola’s contributions to educational development, especially the “Opon Imo” (i-Pad) initiative for secondary school students in the state.
Prof. Ambali then reeled out some of the achievements of the University, which include the one-student-one-iPad initiative; the upgrade of the University’s classrooms to be IT compliant; upgrading of the internet connectivity on campus with the recent migration from STM 1 to STM 4; the operation of a paperless Senate; and a massive development of sundry plantations for teaching and research and for raising the University’s internally generated revenue (IGR) base.
Earlier at the Enuwa Palace of the Ooni of Ife, the royal father had commended the love and unity among the staff of the University of Ilorin, saying this was responsible for the stable academic calendar being enjoyed by the institution.
Oba Ogunwusi said, “I see love from Ife spreading to Ilorin and among University of Ilorin staff. You are working as a family and your oneness is the reason behind your progress” .
While thanking the Vice-Chancellor and the management team for the visit, Oba Ogunwusi promised to support the University of Ilorin in the area of the provision of hostel accomodation for the students.
The royal father said, “I am in discussion on the accommodation problem. I am deeply concerned about the need and I will work with you”.
He described Ife as a land of love, stressing that it is the love that makes descendants of the town to be playing critical role in the development of the University of Ilorin.
Oba Ogunwusi added that the Yorubas are a people blessed with rich tradition and culture. He thanked God for the wave of Unity among the Yoruba people, describing this as “a good development”.
In a show of his commitment to the provision of adequate hostel accommodation for students of the University of Ilorin, Oba Ogunwusi introduced one of his foreign friends, Mr. Laresh, an Indian and Managing Director of ML Construction Company to the Vice-Chancellor and his team. ML is a leading supplier of building materials in Nigeria.
In his own address, the Vice-Chancellor congratulated the royal father on his ascension to the throne of his forefathers, praying that God will help him to achieve all his good plans for the Kingdom.
Prof. Ambali explained that the purpose of the visit was to rejoice with the king on his recent installation, adding that it was also to show that the University of Ilorin greatly cherishes the monarch.
“We cannot talk about University of Ilorin without talking about the language we speak. We appreciate you and we want you to continue to think of Ilorin as one of your brothers in diaspora”, Prof. Ambali submitted.
Other top officials of the University on the Vice-Chancellor’s entourage included the Deputy Bursar, Mr. Munirudeen Dere; the Director of the Advancement Centre, Dr. Jeleel Ojuade; the Deputy Director of the Advancement Centre, Dr. Lateef Onireti; and the Deputy Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Kunle Akogun.