By: Sam Ibok
A few months ago, the media was awash with the report that the Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries (MFM) has completed its university Mountain Top University. This is somewhat cheery news for Nigeria, especially the Christian population. The burgeoning youth population is in urgent need of more institutions to satisfy the desire to acquire tertiary education.
It is often argued that many faith-based universities are better equipped than public institutions. Backed by churches with deep pockets and sincere commitment to improving the society, no expense is spared in the bid to acquire state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for the universities. The efforts have paid off as some universities are now ranked higher than many government-owned schools.
Faith-based universities are also unique from another perspective. They profess to focus on the simultaneous development of the mental, spiritual, moral and physical make up of students setting themselves apart from secular universities, which have no business catering for spiritual needs of their students.
However, in the long run, this emphasis on spiritual training may prove to be their undoing. Public universities are training schools in moral and mutual respect. Apart from providing academic training, students many of whom have lived with their parents all their lives are brought in close contact with people from diverse backgrounds and belief systems.
Sharing rooms and bunks with Christian northerners and Muslim southerners, for instance, facilitate a better appreciation of the diversity that exists in Nigeria. It creates room for respect and integration of people with strict backgrounds into society.
Students in public schools are exposed to the many challenges of time and finance management, which help them to see how their choices directly affect the quality of their lives and how their choices affect their grades.
However, this, to a large extent, is not the case in many faith-based universities. In a bid to ensure spiritual and moral development, the administrators of these institutions have taken over the business of making personal choices for their students. Young adults, who should ordinarily be left to decide how to spend their time and to take responsibility for their choices are made to live regimented life.
Students in some of these universities only have access to school-controlled phone lines; they do not dare to be seen talking to ladies or holding hands in public. Exit from school premises is strictly controlled, and some of them attend up to seven services a week.
This, in my opinion, defeats the very purpose of university education. University graduates are expected to have learned some wisdom by themselves in order to live independently in society. They must be balanced people, who can tolerate and live with people of different backgrounds and beliefs. They must be responsible people, who can make informed choices and live with the consequences.
There is a need to strike a balance. The desire to provide faith-based qualitative education must be balanced with a healthy appreciation of the need to train responsible and tolerant graduates. Until this balance is reached, faith-based institutions will continue to contribute to the imbalance in the society.

By: Sam Ibok
Sam Ibok
It is about that time of the year again when fresh graduates nationwide begin another phase of struggle after passing through stress to get higher certificates. They are preparing to be mobilised for the mandatory National Youth Service. In the next couple of weeks, the graduates will be in different camps of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).
Now, I am not against the scheme as the headline of this article may suggest. I just feel that the programme is losing its relevance and perhaps living on borrowed time. I have my reasons for holding this opinion.
The average Nigerian student goes to school and spends, at least, four years – that is if he is not an engineering, law or medical student who should complete his studies between 5 – 7 years. But in the academic years, periods of lecturers’ strike and their non-teaching counterparts are calculated and factored, which can make a four-year course to take five or six years for completion.
After spending at least five years, one graduates from school with its attendant stress, struggle and all other forms suffering. Then, he is mobilised for another round of stress for a year in the service of the nation. By then, a graduate would be reaching an age that employers don’t like?
In years past, NYSC was seen as a scheme that fostered unity and encourage understanding among tribes that make up Nigeria. It also allowed interaction and union (in the form of marriage) of people who never had history of meeting. It was designed to make the youths contribute to development of the nation.
The sad reality of it is that, these days, no one believes in the values listed above. First, a fresh graduate thinks of how he can fit in to the society quick enough to pay back his parents’ investments on him throughout his school days. He has siblings that depend on him for various domestic help but then, the nation is saying he should go to a far-flung community to serve.
What is the essence of rendering a service to the nation? Why should youths give their time to serve a nation that cannot guarantee give them shelter and ensure their safety and future? Has anyone ever wondered why we have square pegs in round holes in various organisations?
Many of our graduates fresh from school with little or no working experience are thrust on various sectors – schools, banks and local government councils among other – during their service year. Now you have a graduate of engineering posted to a bank as a cashier, what happens? In that one year, he forgets most of his engineering mathematics and studies banking principles to fit into his new job.
He gets used to banking and is then offered a full time job there on completion of his service. Because he realises that getting jobs in the country is harder than fetching water with a sieve, he decides to take the offer and thus ends up stuck in that sector for a long while. The same goes with other disciplines and eventually, the trend goes on and on.
Given the spate of violence being reported each day in the country and with little protection for Corps members, they will be targets of violent criminals who see them as strangers and easy prey. Government has no plan for their safety; when bad things happen and Corps members are killed, we start hearing empty threats and promises. But it is the parents that will lose in the end.
Why then should anyone serve? Service to a nation that does not have our interests at heart is effort in futility. These days, it is commonplace to see graduates influencing their postings to preferable states because they value their lives and desire something profitable.
Since the original reasons for creating NYSC have proven to be of no use today, can people be allowed to move on with their lives after graduation? Can they be allowed to pursue their dreams and desires rather than being sent to a prison called NYSC camps? Can they serve their nation with their talents? Questions will continue to be asked and debates will rage on until Nigeria realises that it has held back and derailed many youths through this scheme. To the prospective Corps members, may God be with you.

By: Sam Ibok
University of Calabar hall 6 hostel

One of the warning signs that triggered the last strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) was the disheartening state of facilities in public universities. Aggrieved lecturers who couldn’t endure the distress in their working environment, shut down schools for six months, as they threw punches at the government.

According to ASUU, “this attitude on the part of government has given critics the impression that perhaps government is more comfortable with the uneducated class than it is with the educated one.” Looking at the University of Lagos (UNILAG), which prides herself as the “University of First Choice and the Nation’s Pride,” one can’t believe that the 52-year-old institution is still battling with the teething problem of providing sufficient accommodation for her students. These include freshers and final year students who should automatically be given hostels. With 40, 291 students’ population, the university can only boast of 8500 available bed spaces. It has only 15 hostels scattered across the campus, where overcrowding is prevalent, coupled with dirty rooms, stinking toilets and waterlogged bathrooms.

As the first university in Nigeria established by an Act of Parliament in 1962, the university occupies 362.22 hectares of land. Sadly, over 60 per cent of this landscape is wetland and not readily available for infrastructural development. Above all, the restriction order by the government barring universities from developing physical structures with their federal allocation has left these institutions in a quandary. From year to year, accommodation crisis continues to worsen in the face of large number of students seeking admission into these institutions.

The Vice Chancellor, UNILAG, Prof Rahmon Bello, confirmed the accommodation crisis rocking the institution, noting that the university has a current student population of 40,291 students, comprising 27, 224 undergraduates and 12, 967 postgraduate students. This teeming population excludes those on Distance Learning and part-time modes of about 16,055. The full-time equivalent students, according to the Vice Chancellor, consist of 22, 247 and 17, 934 female students.
“This means that the 40, 291 eligible students vie for only 8500 bed spaces. An attempt to increase the number of bed spaces through BOT arrangements has only yielded extra 280 bed spaces over the years. This puts a great pressure on available spaces,” he said.
Dearth of bed spaces in UNILAG forces thousands of students studying in the school to become ‘illegal squatters’, occupying every available space in the overcrowded hostels. Investigation by Education Review revealed that about eight students occupy a room in the hostel initially meant for two, while a room meant for four students now has over 10 occupants. Others who couldn’t get a living space on campus, rent private apartments in the city often at exorbitant rates. Investigation by Education Review revealed that two-bed room within the Akoka area cost N450,000 per annum, thereby bringing additional burden on parents and guardians. The peculiarity of UNILAG, in an urban setting, makes it difficult for the students, as accommodation is not readily available in the vicinity of the university.

Investigation by our reporter revealed that the accommodation crisis in the university affected many final year students who couldn’t secure a living space on campus to prepare for their final examination. One of the students told our reporter that the situation was so bad that the school adopted balloting method, where thousands of desperate students picked ‘yes’ or ‘no’ papers squeezed and scattered on the table, to decide few lucky winners.

One of the affected students told our reporter that hundreds of final year students, who lost out in the balloting, are on the warpath with the management of the university. According to her, it is unfortunate that the university has denied them the deserved priority in the allocation policy, a situation that threatens their performance in final exam.

Further investigation revealed that the allocation of some of the bed spaces fell short of due process, as some students buy their way to halls of residence, only to trade off the alloted spaces at extortionate prices. Also some individuals utilise the opportunity to corner spaces for their cronies, and later sell them off to rich students at a wide profit margin.

This crisis is not peculiar to the University of Lagos (UNILAG), despite its location in a state that has an estimated population of 18 million people.  The survey of other public universities in the country revealed more shocking details of accommodation crisis. At the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), 34,000 students have only 3,000 available bed spaces to share. The university, on its website, gave further insight on this nagging problem in the area. “The university has limited number of bed spaces for both male and female students in the 2012/2013 academic session. Students who have to arrange their accommodation off campus are hereby advised to ensure they secure accommodation in areas that are decent, safe and not isolated, and to be good ambassadors of the university wherever they reside.”

UNILORIN Vice-Chancellor, AbdulGaniyu Ambali, was quoted as saying, “accommodation of students is one of our priority areas. The government has given us the go-ahead to encourage the public to come and partner us under the Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement. Right now, we are talking with almost three developers who are ready to invest within the university. I am sure that before the end of the session or early next session, we will have more accommodation for our undergraduate and postgraduate students. I know that we are still going to encourage people because right now, the university has a population of about 34, 000 students but the facilities we have on campus can only accommodate just 3, 000. You can imagine the gap between the needs and the available facilities. So, we are still going to encourage and partner with the public to build more hostels within the campus because it is better and safer for the students to be on campus than to be renting houses outside.”

It is the same tale of woes at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife. Students perpetually live in worries over bed spaces, which could barely serve 30 percent of the population. It is worrisome that many of the students cannot boast of a bed space on campus to lay their heads. Several male and female students resort to squatting, a coinage used by students to describe the communal life arising from having illegal occupants in the over-crowded hostels.

In male hostels like Awolowo Hall and Fajuyi Hall, it is the survival of the fittest, as 12 students occupy a room originally meant for six. When a new occupant is allocated a room, especially the main blocks, the former occupants (squatters) do not move, but create space for the legal occupant. The legal occupants have no effrontery to scare these unwanted neighbours. At the Angola and Mozambique halls, cases of squatting and loss of items are no longer news.

Another dimension to the squatting on OAU campus is ‘Floating’. Even squatters earn more respect than these sets of students, who often do not have accommodation at all but put up their things with friends and sleep on desks in empty classrooms on campus. Some final year students, who have no accommodation on campus, float about and sleep in the common room throughout the semester. Statistical analysis of final year students’ accommodation for 2012/2013 academic session released by the Vice Dean, Students affairs, Dr. Yinka Adesina, shows that while the total number of  final year students is 5, 241, the total number of bed spaces is 3, 417 and distributed as follows: Fajuyi Hall: 811; Moremi -726; Awolowo -1, 060; ETF -259; Akintola – 373; Alumni -188.”

While the old students groan, new students face similar challenge. During the 2012/2013 academic session, the total number of bed spaces was less than 9600 for all the students. With teeming population on campus, the agonies of these students continue to worsen.

Although the management considers squatting as an offence, not a few students are guilty. Left with no option, they break the rule to have a shelter over their heads. There were cases of students punished for selling bed spaces at exorbitant rates. Not even the desperate buyers were spared.  The question now is; how do students survive amid these hurdles?

March 26, 2012 was a day of violent confrontation between students of the Federal Polytechnic Oko and youths of the host community. Some students living in the community clashed with masquerades celebrating the Ifu Olu festival, heralding the planting season.

According to the report, no fewer than eight students were injured, while an expectant mother, also a student of the polytechnic, lost her three months old pregnancy. The school alleged that three female students were raped by the youths. Another horrific incident happened the same year at the University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) when four students were clubbed to death and burnt by youths of Aluu community in Rivers State.  The victims, Ugona Kelechi Obuzor, year two Geology student, Biringa Chiadika Lordson, year two Theatre Arts, Mike Lloyd Toku, year two Civil Engineering,  and Tekena Erikena were stripped naked and murdered for allegedly stealing a mobile phone. The footage of this act of untrammeled barbarism revealed a sad commentary in the current Nigerian state, where death is cheap and ubiquitous.
In its reaction to the incident, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) attributed the killing of the four students to inadequate hostel facilities on the campus, insisting that this had been responsible for violence on campuses in Nigerian Universities. According to the group, some of the incidents that consume the lives of students could have been prevented with the provision of sufficient bed spaces in public universities in the country.

NANS, in a statement by the Zone B Coordinator, Mr. Obasi Chinonso, said over 75 per cent of university students in the country were living off-campus. The students called on the Federal Government and management of the University of Port Harcourt to provide more hostel facilities on campus to avoid a recurrence and to put a stop to a situation where majority of its students reside off-campus.

At the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, a former Public Relations Officer of the Students Union Government, Comrade Agu David, said about 80 per cent of the students living in off-campus hostels built by private individuals are exposed to various security challenges. Aside the risk of attacks by hoodlums, house rents are usually set sky-high by avaricious landlords.

“Today, the cheapest you can get a room in any of the UNIZIK off-campus hostels is N100, 000 per annum. Some other rooms cost as much as N160, 000 per annum. There is an unimpeachable case of extortion of students by businessmen who now see the students as the fastest means to enrich themselves. A lot of students are homeless today as a result of this,” he said.

Aside paying high rents for off campus hostels, the occupants have bitter experiences. Some of them become scapegoats in community crisis, while incidences of rape of married and single ladies are said to be rampant. Agu, who lives in one of the private houses, recalled how he and his colleagues starve themselves to pay the exorbitant rents demanded by landlords.

“One may not really blame the landlords because like when I was in the union we called the landlords for a meeting to see if we could resolve the situation; to see how rent could come down to an affordable rate for the students. The landlords retorted asking us to first of all attend to the one happening inside our campus before we could disturb the private individuals building hostels around the university premise. Their argument was that they are being encouraged by the school management because you find a situation where the rent for the university hostel is also high. The landlords now see that as an encouragement for them to keep extorting the students and considering the fact that the school does not have enough accommodation for the students, over 80% of the students now live off campus and that has now led to the situation whereby building hostels off campus has now become the most profitable business in Awka. People come from across the world to build hostels here. Building of hostels is the in-thing now, it is the new ‘oil boom’ in Awka. And as soon as the hostels are completed, a small tiny room, students rush to occupy them.”

One of the students living in the school hostel, Comrade Nwokeoma Ibendiogwu, former Rep of Law IV in SUG, disclosed that they pay N75,000 each in a room shared by three students.

It is the same situation at the University of Calabar, after 39 years of existence.  The institution which was formally a campus of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, as at 1973/74 academic session became an autonomous university on October 1, 1975 under degree No 80 as part of Third National Development Plan that established seven new institutions under the Federal Military Government. The institution started with three faculties and 154 students but today, it has over 10 faculties, four institutes and over 30,000 students.

As Nigerian public universities grapple with inadequate bed spaces for students, most private universities have recorded over 80 per cent students’ residency status. For instance, at the Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State, undergraduate students must live on campus for effective supervision and effective academic work. About 96 per cent students’ residency status has been achieved within the short span of its existence, not minding that the 67 degree programmes being offered in the institution coupled with large number of students at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

At Covenant University, there are full residential facilities for all students to ensure that they live a life of dignity which is void of unnecessary challenges. At present, there are 10 Residential Halls in the university, comprising of  five male halls and five female halls. The students’ hostel facility can effectively accommodate 9,150 students.
While students in public varsities take up every available space, Covenant students have enough space, such that in each of the ten halls of residence, there are ancillary spaces such as Common Rooms, Butteries, Tuck Shops, Telephone Rooms, Beauty Salons, Hall Offices and Administrative Offices. Above all, the university emphasizes one man – one bed space philosophy, not tolerating squatting or swapping of bed spaces.

To alleviate the sufferings of students, some public universities have introduced a BOT arrangement for the construction of more hostel facilities by private developers, who are allowed to collect the rent for an agreed period of time, sometimes extending up to 25 years. Not minding this arrangement, most private developers refuse to invest in the project for fear of losing their investment to systemic fraud in these academic institutions.

Recently, the Parents Forum of the University of Lagos took a giant step by laying the foundation stone of a 15-storey building that would provide additional 1500 bed spaces for female students. The project named after Nigeria’s First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan would cost an estimated N3 billion. All parents of the university have so far been levied additional N10, 000 for the project.

While commending the UNILAG Parents Forum for initiating the project, the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Prof Jerry Gana, said most observers of the education sector in Nigeria are familiar with the usual problems associated with campus accommodation for students and staff in universities.

“Hostel life is part and parcel of a normal university education. Perhaps, that is why in England, both Oxford and Cambridge universities are purely residential. Indeed, there are several universities in North America that are completely residential and do not admit day scholars,” he said.
Aside the relative comfort of learning that campus hostels provide for students, Prof Gana said the facility provides a robust platform for mutual interaction that would be of benefit to the students.

“Indeed, bookworms, who live secluded lives without the company of fellow students miss the main purpose of education. Real learning and originality come from the impact of one mind upon another. Hostel life, therefore, is the surest way of eliciting the best in a young mind.”
University of Calabar hall 4 hostel

However, some of the parents, who spoke with Education Review in confidence, were furious with the N10,000 levy imposed on them by the forum. According to them, the university lacked moral justification to burden them with additional levy, since it will collect hostel fee from students on completion of the project. Rather than put the burden on parents, they advised the government to allow private developers to build halls of residence and rent them out to students at highly subsidized rates.

Sam Ibok, reporting.

By Pascaline Sinachi Adinnu

Cross River State University of Technology - CRUTECH, Ogoja campus came alive today as many dignitaries troop into the campus to watch their cultural display as part of  the activities to mark their student week. More picture soon........

Photo Credit: Pascaline Sinachi Adinnu
100 level Business Admin.

One of the groups entertaining the crowd

Display by the masquerades
The audience enjoying the cultural display
Goodluck Okoro of the Department of Radiography and Radiological Science, University of Calabar (UNICAL) was the cynosure of all eyes at the 10th induction and oath-taking ceremony held last week at the University International Conference Centre. He bagged all the academic awards and honour at the ceremony. He had over 10 distinctions.
Goodluck graduated with a First Class, beating 57 others to become the overall best graduating student. With a Cumulative Grade Point Average(CGPA) of 4.51, he emerged a valedictorian.
The success story of Goodluck's five years academic sojourn, which saw him bagging Bsc in Imaging Science otherwise known as Radiography started in September, 2010.
Of the 83 students admitted into the department five years ago, 58 were lucky to complete the programme while one other student came from University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus.
Of the 59 tear rubber Radiographers inducted into the Radiography Registration Board of Nigeria (RRBN), Uchegbu Johnfranklin Chukwudifu was among the lucky graduands.
“I was busy with school runs in Gwagwalada when I got a frantic call reporting the attempted rape of a first year University of Abuja(UniAbuja) student by another first year student of Biological Sciences called Monday.

By the time I got there, the Chief Security Officer was just beginning to interview both parties, starting from the boy, Monday.

He told of how he made his ‘intentions’ known to her and she said she would ‘think about it’ but he according to him, he didn’t understand why shy couldn’t give a straight answer, so he began making moves at ‘romancing’ her and feigns ignorance of her claims that from the moment he started, she told him to stop.

He claims he only noticed her seriousness ‘when he crossed the boundary’.

He is upset that he had sent her 400 naira recharge card before and doesn’t get why she will reject him.

The young lady insists she came by at all because he said he was not well.

By the time she got in, he was playing loud music, so from the moment he began trying to have sex, she was shouting but the loud music drowned her voice.

She insists he pinned her to the mattress and she tried strangling him with his necklace till it cut.

After that, she reached for the laptop as a weapon and ripping it out turned off all the music then he released her because she could now be heard. She ran out and called for help.

She got help and retrieved her phone and slippers and purse. Then she began reporting to their mutual friends and people she trusts. She insisted she injured him to.

On demand, he took off his shirt and everyone saw injuries she gave him and more.

I got upset that the attitude towards gathering evidence is zero. There seemed to be a majority notion that as long as there was eventually no penetration, it is not so grievous a crime.

All I insisted was to document all that could be seen as evidence before any statements are taken etc.

I applaud the lady for speaking up. We need ensure the students and security men understand sexual harassment in its entirety and be sure whatever responses are in place take into cognizance victim needs.

I was very agitated when it seemed people were upset that ‘she was trying to make a lot out of something very small.

More people need to understand what sexual violence is and legal provisions for victims and offenders.

More details tomorrow. These pictures were finally taken at the crime scene. More shocking experiences tomorrow morning.

Many are trying to use victim blaming and shaming to force her to drop the case.

Please, let us change the narrative and share this widely to punish the perpetrator, not the victim. …Ambassador Dorothy Njemanze”
Whether your closet is a mess or not, when it comes to new clothes there’s a universal spot that everybody puts them in the closet: the top of the pile. Most of the time, we don’t wait more than one day to wear them and show to the entire world how cool we are now..

However, you should calm down a bit next time you go shopping and wash your new clothes (at least) once before wearing them. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “but they are new, why should I?” Well, there are several (and not so banal) reasons why you should wash your brand new clothes.

They might contain potential chemicals
Your average clothing comes from several different countries – each with a different set of ‘safety requirements’ regarding production. Sometimes to prevent clothes from growing bacteria or wrinkles, they are sprayed with formaldehyde resin. Do you know what formaldehyde is used for, other than clothes? To preserve bodies during funerals.

If a person is seriously allergic to formaldehyde, it can cause red, itchy, scaly rashes especially in the areas where our body sweat the most, such as the waist, neck and thighs or around the armpits. That’s not the only chemical on it – clothes are sometimes dyed with azo-aniline dyes which also cause rashes. Surely red rashes don’t fit with your new t-shirt or new pair of jeans, anyway.

100% natural materials? Not completely true
To produce your 100% cotton t-shirt, things are not as easy as they seem. To grow cheap cotton, pesticides are commonly used. Once the item arrives in the store, it might still retain the substances used on it before.

So, washing your brand new clothes once or twice before wearing them won’t reduce their organic nature and it will just be safer for you!

New doesn’t mean clean
Have you ever thought about all the people that have tried that t-shirt before you? Well, whether you  believe that  or not, it’s the truth. A study has found out that new clothes can be heavily contaminated with staph bacteria and a stomach virus (norovirus, which causes diarrhea). Also, some clothes were found with traces of vaginal organisms, skin flora and (yuck) fecal flora. Remember, no matter how clean they look, dressing rooms are breeding grounds for bacteria, lice, and fungus.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get sick because of this, but a quick jump into the washing machine doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, next time you come back home after a shopping session, follow these instructions: calm down, take a deep breath and put everything into the washing machine. Waiting one day more to wear your cool new clothes will just be better, promise!

by Marta Ciaraglia
A group of five students representing more than one thousand others have dragged the Attorney General and Ministry of Health to Court seeking an injunction to restrain the ministry from enforcing the new “Uganda Medical Internship Guidelines.”

The students also want an interim order directing the ministry to post them immediately for practical training in accordance with the old policy. Supervised practical training is mandatory before the medical interns can be registered, enrolled, certified and licensed as qualified health professionals.

The lawsuit was precipitated by the sudden reversal of the old internship policy and introduction of new internship Guidelines as announced by the Minister of Health Dr. Ruth Aceng while appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Health to explain the unusual delay in posting these students to their respective places of attachment. The students were supposed to have reported for practical training in August.

The new Guidelines drastically reduce the number of medical doctors, dental surgeons, pharmacists and nurses who will be admitted for the internship programme; vary the terms and conditions of the original conditions of service for interns, including reducing their allowances; and introduce a pre-internship exam, among others.

For interns who studied on Government Scholarship at University, the new Guidelines impose on them an obligation to work in Government health facilities for two years immediately after their internship.

The main gravamen of the students regarding the new Guidelines is that they were not consulted or sensitized before the old policy was drastically reversed and a new policy unexpectedly communicated in its stead yet the new policy has the effect of varying the terms of the old service agreement to their detriment.

Led by Emma Amadriyo, the five litigants state that they urgently need the interim injunction to safeguard their right to be heard and maintain an unbroken supply of medical interns to service the health sector (which has been crippled by the delay to post medical interns to the various Government health facilities in the country) as the main suit challenging the new guidelines is still pending disposal before Justice Lydia Mugambe of the High Court.

His Worship Alex Ajiji, Registrar of the High Court (Civil Division), will hear the medical interns’ application next week on Thursday 29th September 2016 at 10:00a.m.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has no plans to commence an interim strike on October 2, an official has said.

The Chairman of the University of Abuja chapter of ASUU, Ben Ugheoke, told PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday that he was wrongly quoted on a planned strike.

The News Agency of Nigeria had quoted Mr. Ugheoke on Tuesday as saying the lecturers’ strike would commence next month.
In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Wednesday, Mr. Ugheoke said he never gave such statement to the NAN reporter.
“A certain reporter in NAN is responsible for this damage,” he said. “As a result of this falsified report, I am facing a panel later tonight from ASUU National body.”
The university don said he had asked for a rebuttal of the story since it was published.
“I have reached out to the NAN reporter and he told me it was a mix-up. He also begged me to save his job,” he said.

In the report widely circulated by Nigerian media, the government news agency quoted the don as saying ASUU was to embark on a one-week warning strike from October 2.
The report also said a full blown strike was planned for November if the federal government failed to meet the demands from its negotiations with ASUU in 2009 and 2013.

The report also highlighted that the federal government was yet to provide funds for the Universities NEEDS Assessment and the facilitation of the registration of the Nigerian Universities Pension Management Company, NUPEMCO.

Speaking on ASUU, Mr. Ugheoke said the union had been sensitizing the public on its stance on national issues and university education.

“We have had zonal press conferences. Abuja zone had its own on August 31, 2016. Although I was present, the event was anchored by the zonal coordinator, Theophilus Lagi,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.“During the event, we listed all the things we have been trying to get the federal government to look into.

“This we did so that the general public can be made aware of what we are doing and the current state of things between ASUU and the federal government.

“We have never given a date for any form of strike, whether warning strike or full blown strike. There was nothing like a date fixed for a strike,” he said.