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Reply to LAUTECH ASUU: University Accounts And Forensic Audit: Setting The Records Straight.

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THE Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Professor Adeniyi Olowofela has reacted to the recent statement credited to the Academic Staff Union of Nigerian Universities, ASUU, LAUTECH CHAPTER over the lingering imbroglio rocking the citadel of learning as regards the problem of funding of the University and owner state governments response to the issues.
Excerpts:
ISSUE : Our Union, ASUU, is aware of the persistent claim by the Oyo state Commissioner for Education, Prof. ‘Niyi Olowofela, on the operation of alleged 97 bank accounts by the LAUTECH and the release of N13.63 billion by the owner states between 2011 – 2016. Olowofela also claimed that members of staff Unions were the ones preventing the audit firm, KPMG, from carrying out the forensic exercise, on which the owner states premised their decision not to release funds to the University.

REACTION: For ease of reference, I want to draw the attention of ASUU to page 72 and 73 Visitation Panel’s report:

The Panel observed that the University opened ninety-seven different bank accounts in almost all the commercial banks in the country. Some of the banks have closed shop, due to either restructuring, merger or outright de-listment by the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Panel felt concerned about the monies in some of the banks that are no longer active and the possibility of the recovery in future. The banks include but not limited to, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank and Enterprise Bank, just to mention a few. The implication of having funds in any of the banks that are in this category is that some of them might not be in a position to make good to the University, such sums of money standing to the credit of the Institution, if and when a demand is made for them).

ISSUE : Our Union is disturbed but not surprised, about this deliberate misinformation and manipulation of facts about issues on ground. While ASUU is NOT a mouthpiece for the University administration, it is strange that the governments which put LAUTECH administration in place cannot demand accountability from the same appointees. The prefer to confuse issues by putting blames on the door-step of the workers of the University and putting the lives and careers of about 30,000 students in jeopardy. The operation of the accounts solely lies with the University administration and it must be held responsible for any infractions thereof.

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REACTION : See page 39 Visitation Panel report for ease of reference: At the inaugural meeting of the Panel, the above documents were requested from the Bursar, who in turn made a qualified promise to make them available – the qualification being to the effect that not all of the documents/records could be made available as the (Bursary) was still working on them. The Panel was told that the arrears of work was as a result of the non-computerization of the Bursary Department’s operations, and that there were lots of arrears when the Bursar assumed the acting headship of the Bursary in 2013.

The findings in summary confirmed that the Panel got only the audited accounts for 2010/11 and 2011/12, while the ones for 2012/13, 9 months ended 2013, 2014 and 2015 were still being prepared, as at the time of the inaugural meeting. There was no Bank Reconciliation for the period and there was no standard Fixed Assets Register in place for the University since its inception, as well as an Accounting manual.

With the above situation being that which the Panel met on ground, the Panel was able to formulate an issue to be resolved for the University, which is “ineffective, inefficient and untimely record keeping of the accounting operations, resulting in inability to authenticate the accuracy and completeness of the accounting records of the University).

ISSUE : The wage bill of LAUTECH is about N365 million per month; this amounts to N4.38 billion per year. Therefore for 2011-2016, the total wage bill expected as subvention from the owner governments stood at N26.28 billion. This amount does not include allowances, gratuities and pensions that accrued. It is also necessary to note that the University administration used Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) and reserves to offset salaries for 18 months.

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The IGR is derived essentially from fees paid by different categories of students. Therefore, it is appalling that the Commissioner for Education who is also a University Professor will be peddling lies alleging that N13.63 billion will pay EVEN salaries of members of staff for 6 years! During this period (2011-2016).

REACTION: I never talked about using subventions for payment of salaries, and you did not refute the fact that the owner states paid the said amount, I wonder why ASUU will abandon the truth on the table of exigencies, to have said I lied is indecorous, cantankerous and perfidious).

ISSUE: There was no release of capital grant and overheads to LAUTECH. Regarding capital development, infrastructure, acquisition of equipment and staff training, LAUTECH has barely managed to be credible as a university through ASUU-inspired Federal Government intervention programmes such as TetFund and NEEDs Assessment. It is particularly regrettable that the level of indebtedness of the owner states to the University succinctly captured by the Olanipekun Visitation Panel is being down-played by the Commissioner just to pursue the shadow they call “forensic audit”.

The locus of financial policy and the repository of the financial documents of LAUTECH are the University Council and administration which are the appropriate organs to be asked to account. Our Union, ASUU, should not be dragged into the encumbrances surrounding the financial auditing by KPMG and this should not be linked with non-payment of salaries.

Our union wants to point out the unexplained and unacceptable silence of the University administration on the claims highlighted above; a pointer to either the acceptance or connivance with the owner state governments to destroy LAUTECH.

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REACTION: (While on Fresh FM radio, Ibadan,  I asked, the ASUU and SSANU presidents, are you aware that Oyo-State Government has paid the 25 % subvention for January and February to LAUTECH? The SSANU president said, it’s a lie and I told him that, you should have used the world “I am not aware, I said asked your Bursar).

For your information the sum of 147.9 Million Naira for the month of January and February has been credited to LAUTECH by Oyo-State Government.

Furthermore, the ASUU President, asked me whether I am aware that Council tenure has expired, I ignored the question because I knew it was not true, when I asked him to confirm the expiration of council is July, he said Union will respond.

So the response, is to disparage the truth?

The position of Government is to solve the issue of LAUTECH permanently,  this campaign of calumny will soon fizzle away.

LAUTECH will rise again.
Stronger and better.

But Forensic Audit must be done.

 

Long live ASUU. Long Live Oyo and Osun States.

 

Professor J. A. Olowofela.

Commissioner for Education, Science & Technology, Oyo State.

 

 

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29 million babies born into conflict in 2018 – UNICEF

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More than 29 million babies were born into conflict-affected areas in 2018, UNICEF said today.

Armed violence across countries including Afghanistan, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen meant that, throughout last year, more than 1 in 5 babies globally spent their earliest moments in communities affected by the chaos of conflict, often in deeply unsafe, and highly stressful environments.

“Every parent should be able to cherish their baby’s first moments, but for the millions of families living through conflict, the reality is far bleaker,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “In countries around the world, violent conflict has severely limited access to essential services for parents and their babies. Millions of families lack access to nutritious food, safe water, sanitation, or a secure and healthy environment to grow and bond. Along with the immediate, obvious dangers, the long-term impacts of such a start in life are potentially catastrophic.”

When young children experience prolonged or repeated adverse and traumatic events, the brain’s stress management system is activated without relief causing ‘toxic stress’. Over time, stress chemicals break down existing neural connections and inhibit new ones from forming, leading to lasting consequences for children’s learning, behaviour, and physical and mental health.

Examples of the impact of conflict on babies and young children – given by UNICEF staff working in conflict zones – include:

  • “Some of the young children we see shake with fear, uncontrollably, for hours on end. They don’t sleep. You can hear them whimpering, it’s not a usual cry but a cold, weak whimper. Others are so malnourished and traumatized they detach emotionally from the world and people around them, causing them to become vacant and making it impossible for them to interact with their families,” UNICEF worker in Yemen.
  • “My son, five-year-old Heraab, finds himself in a community where he is constantly exposed to the sounds of explosions, smell of smoke, accompanied by the regular shrieking of sirens, be it police or ambulance, or the persistent honking of cars and motorbikes rushing the injured to hospital.  He shudders and wakes up at night if a truck passes by with speed, sometimes shaking the windows of our house, thinking it must be another attack,” UNICEF worker in Afghanistan.
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  • “Some of the children are scared and look very anxious, others are very aggressive. They are frightened of visitors and flee when they see visiting vehicles coming. The cars remind them of fighting, war weaponry they need to flee from,” UNICEF worker in Somalia.

 

  • “I’ve travelled to the hardest to reach areas of South Sudan to help provide humanitarian assistance to children who have been forced to flee their villages because of violence. With no basic services, no health facilities, poor sanitation, no food, and deep-set trauma, families struggle to survive. I see despair in the eyes of the children I meet. The conflict has taken away their childhood,” UNICEF worker in South Sudan.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the landmark Convention on the Rights of the Child, in which, among other things, governments pledged to protect and care for children affected by conflict. Yet today, more countries are embroiled in internal or international conflict than at any other time in the past three decades, threatening the safety and wellbeing of millions of children. Hospitals, health centres and child friendly spaces – all of which provide critical services to parents and babies – have come under attack in conflicts around the world in recent years.

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Providing safe spaces for families and their young children living through conflict – where children can use play and early learning as outlets for some of the trauma they have experienced; and providing psychosocial support to children – and their families – are critical parts of UNICEF’s humanitarian response.

When caregivers are given the support they need to cope with and process trauma, they have the best possible chance of providing their young children with the nurturing care needed for healthy brain development – acting as a ‘buffer’ from the chaos around them.

“Parents who interact with their babies can help shield them from the negative neurological effects of conflict. Yet, in times of conflict, parents are frequently overwhelmed,” said Fore. “Ultimately what these families need is peace, but until then they desperately need more support to help them and their children cope with the devastation they face – 29 million new lives and futures depend on it.”

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Wanted Rwandan warlord killed by DR Congo troops

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A Rwandan Hutu rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crime charges has been shot dead by the Congolese army, DRC military spokesperson said on Wednesday in what Kigali described as “good news for peace”.

Sylvestre Mudacumura, commander of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), was “definitively neutralised” in DRC’s North Kivu province on Tuesday night, General Leon-Richard Kasonga said.

Mudacumura, wanted for charges including rape, torture, and pillage, was killed about 60 kilometres (37 miles) from the capital of the province Goma.

Neighbouring Rwanda welcomed the news, saying it proved DRC President Felix Tshisekedi’s commitment to fighting “negative forces”.

“The death of Sylvestre Mudacumura is good news for peace and security in the region,” Rwandan state minister for regional affairs Olivier Nduhungirehe told AFP.

“With his genocide group, the FDLR, he was destabilising DRC, killing Congolese and Rwandans.”

The FDLR was created by Rwandan Hutu refugees in eastern DRC after the genocide of Tutsis by majority Hutus in Rwanda in 1994.

According to the United Nations, the force numbers between 500 and 600 active fighters.

They are scattered across the mineral-rich eastern Congolese provinces of North and South Kivu as well as in southern Katanga, and the group is regularly accused of committing atrocities against civilians in the zones it controls.

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“His death confirms the commitment of President Felix Tshisekedi in fighting negative forces and will open a new era of good and peaceful cooperation between DRC and countries in the region,” Nduhungirehe said.

The FDLR, opposed to the current Rwandan government, has not launched any large-scale offensive in Rwanda since 2001.

– Warning to other warlords –
Eastern DRC has been torn for more than two decades by armed conflicts fed by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of a wealth of mineral resources and regional rivalries.

Mudacumura’s death “is a strong signal for other rebels,” said General Richard Kasonga, spokesman of the Congolese army, calling it a “big step” in the fight against insecurity and terrorism.

He called on “all armed groups to lay down their arms, or face the same fate as Mudacumura.”

During a visit to the region early this month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also called on the rebels to disarm.

US researcher Jason Stearn said the death was “an extremely important event”, telling AFP that the FDLR is “one of the biggest armed groups in the region, even if they have diminished in capacity.”

However, Stearn, of New York University’s Congo Research Group, held out little hope for peace in a region where around 130 armed groups remain active.

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“We have seen a lot of commanders die without the groups necessarily disappearing or diminishing in force,” he said.

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Japan: OPU prominent member needs  ¥20 million for kidney transplant, seeks financial assistance

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Oodua Progressive Union (OPU), Japan chapter has disclosed that ailing member,  Mr Segun Tope Sharafa  needs ¥20 million (20,000,000 Japanese yen) to undergo kidney transplant.

The group coordinator,  Comrade Ige Rowland James in a chat with our reporter  disclosed this on Tuesday.

Comrade Ige, who betrayed emotion further described the ex-President, Yoruba Association, Japan,  Mr Sharafa as a prominent member, saying “its so sad for this kind of health challenge news of our respected member , the Baba Oodua of  Japan”.

Speaking further, he said “although Oodua Progressive Union (OPU),  Japan is new among others but  we stand like others and we never envisaged to encounter the health challenge that is facing  one of our prominent members and the union. But we decided to face the challenge as it comes because our main goal is service to  humanity which is the best work of life.

“Baba Oodua is critically ill and it has become obvious that he cannot provide the required funds to have the necessary medical attention.

“At this point, we are calling all our leaders, union, friends and family across the globe to stand by us and let show the real love and unity within us”, Ige appealed.

Mega Icon Magazine reliably gathered that Mr Sharafa is currently hospitalised in Japan due to kidney-related ailment, and urgently needed to be taken to Indian for transplant that will gulp ¥20 million.

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Also,  the OPU is organising a fund raising event on behalf of its ailing member billed for Sunday October 27th, 2019 at Arashi party room, Shinjuku, Tokyo.

 

For any enquiry or support, please contact the Coordinator or the following executives. 

Oodua Progressive Union, Japan National Coordinator, Com Ige James +81-80-5036-3437. 

Comrade Odanibe lucky 81-70-1421-1414 

Comrade Busari Jelly 81-80-5037-4712 

Comrade Adeniyi  Taiwo 81-70-7051-8154 

Comrade Akadi Micheal 81-80-4478-0665. 

 

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