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2020 WAEC: Reps, minister to seek audience with Buhari, govs

…House Committee on Basic Education to engage govs forum – Prof. Ihonvbere

The House of Representatives Committee on Basic Education and Services, the Ministry of Education and West African Examination Council (WAEC), Nigeria on Thursday met in Abuja and resolved to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and governors on the WAEC examination, CAMPUS GIST reports.

CAMPUS GIST reports that the stakeholders in a meeting convened by the House of Representatives, however, agreed that if they were to make the September date for the examination a reality, there was the need to get Buhari and the Governors’ Forum involved in order to arrive at a timely and effective decision.

They agreed that in the interest of the 1.6 million candidates registered for the 2020 WAEC examination, there was a need to agree on a date for the regional examination as time was running out for the country.

One of the options was to find a date acceptable as the head of WAEC national office in Nigeria, Patrick Areghan, revealed that it would take quite a while to print question papers and that other convoluted logistic considerations might come into play.

Areghan said that Ghana had wanted to have the examination in June, but had to shelve it because of its election this year.

He also revealed that it took a presidential directive for the Gambia to shelve its desire to have the examination before now.

According to him, Nigeria should decide if it wants to give its candidates what he called a COVID-19 exam certificate or a WAEC certificate in concert with the other countries.

“Getting parents to pay another set of fees might be difficult if the September date is missed. If the November option is considered, someone has to pick the bills,” he said.

The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Education, Sonny Echono said that WAEC was one of the institutions that espouses regional cooperation and having a standalone examination will defeat the element of unity it portrays.

He further noted that if there was adequate funding, it should not take more than a week to get the examination ready logistically for the 19,000 examination centres across the country.

In his contribution, Rep. Nnolim Nnaji wondered why that should be a problem pointing out that the Ministry of Humanitarian Affair spent over N13 billion as palliative for the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba reminded the members and all present that the decision they were to make was for examination date and not the resumption of schools in the country.

The members deliberated on if Nigeria could use its power as a provider of about 60 per cent of the finances in WAEC to dictate a date of its liking.

But stakeholders present eventually agreed that it was better to be democratic in arriving at a decision.

The chairman of the Committee, Rep. Julius Ihonvbere ruled that the committee would approach the state governors via the Nigeria Governors’ Forum so as to be on the same page and get President Muhammadu Buhari to assist in the diplomatic effort to get the other regional countries on Nigeria’s side concerning the yet-to-be-agreed examination date.

From L: Hon. Prof. Ihonvbere
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UNIBEN Professor, Emoghene, Dies

A lecturer at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Professor Alexander Ochuko Emoghene, is dead.

CAMPUS GIST gathered that Professor Emoghene died on Saturday morning after a brief illness.

A close friend of the professor, who craved anonymity, confirmed the report to CAMPUS GIST on Sunday.

Until his death, Emoghene was a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Life Sciences.

He was also a two-time Head of the Department of Microbiology, in the same faculty.

Emoghene was billed to deliver a lecture at the UNIBEN regular inaugural lecture series in April but was postponed owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

He was yet to deliver same [lecture] until his demise.

Professor Emoghene studied at the University of Benin, in Edo state, graduating with a second class (upper division) degree (Hons) in Botany, in the year 1987.

He also obtained a Master of Science (MSc) in Microbiology from same UNIBEN, 1989 and later a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Plant Pathogenic Microbiology/Phytopathology, 1996.

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[PROFILE] UNIBEN Professor Appointed Adviser To Pope Francis

A Nigerian professor at the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Kokunre Agbontaen-Eghafona, has been named an adviser to Pope Francis, CAMPUS GIST reports. Francis is head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State.

CAMPUS GIST reports that Professor Agbontaen-Eghafona is among the only three persons appointed as Ordinary Members of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (PASS), on Friday.

The two others, according to a report by the Vatican News, are Pedro Morandé Court, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical University of Chile, from Chile; and Mario Draghi, former European Central Bank chief, from Italy.

The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences was established by Pope John Paul II on 1 January 1994, with the aim of “promoting the study and progress of the social sciences, primarily economics, sociology, law and political science.”

The Academy helps offer the Church “those elements which she can use in the development of her social doctrine, and reflects on the application of that doctrine in contemporary society.”

The Academy holds regular international symposiums on subjects of social concern such as human trafficking, modern slavery and debt relief, and produces reports which the pope can use to guide him on non-religious issues.

PROFILE

Professor Agbontaen-Eghafona

Professor Kokunre Adetokunbo Agbontaen-Eghafona was born in London on 1 October 1959. She studied at the University of Benin, in Edo state, graduating with an undergraduate degree and later a Master of Arts in History. She also obtained a Master of Science in Archaeology and Anthropology from the University of Ibadan.

At the University of Benin, she has been a Lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology since 1992; Senior Lecturer in 1996, Associate Professor in 2003, and full Professor in 2008.

She has also held a number of administrative positions including Head of the Department of Sociology (2009-2013) and Director of part-time programs (2016).

A sustainable development champion, she was responsible for sustainable development within the UN’s Sustainable Development Solutions Network from 2012 to 2017.

Professor Agbontaen-Eghafona is the author of numerous academic publications. Her current scientific activities include measures to combat human trafficking in Nigeria, with focus on Benin City, Edo state.

Research Works

Some of her research works include “examination of the role of the family in the trafficking of girls and women in the Benin society (2008/2009)”; and “prevailing perception of trafficking, prevention, and anti-trafficking activities among communities in Edo State (2012).”

Awards

A professor of cultural anthropology, Agbontaen-Eghafona has won numerous awards as “best lecturer” and “excellent lecturer” at UNIBEN including: “Best Lecturer in Sociology and Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, UNIBEN Award, 1999/2000; SOSSA (Social Science Students Association) Award for Excellent Lecturer – Students Relation and Exemplary Life Style in the Academia, June 2002;…

“Best Lecturer in Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Benin. Vice Chancellor’s Award 2006/2007; Best Lecturer in Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Benin. Vice Chancellor’s Award 2006/2007; SOSSA (Social Science Students Association) Award for Excellent Lecturer. September 2014.”

Membership Union

Professor Agbontaen-Eghafona is a member of various prestigious societies including the Archaeological Association of Nigeria; Nigerian Field Society; International Society for Benin Studies; Nigerian National Museum Society; West African Archaeological Association; Society for International Relations Awareness; Ethics Committee of College of Medical Sciences, University of Benin.

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Reverse Your Decision On 2020 WAEC, House Of Reps Tell FG

The House Committee on Basic Education and Services on Friday said the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (WASSCE) should not be cancelled in Nigeria.

The Chairman of the committee, Julius Ihonvbere (APC-Edo), made the committee’s position known in a statement in Abuja.

Mr Ihonvbere, a professor, said the committee was amazed at the announcement by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, where he stated that Nigerian students would not be participating in the 2020 WASSCE.

The lawmaker said the minister did not inform the country if the position was in agreement with other West African leaders or in consultation with the examination bodies, the state governments and other stakeholders in the education sector.

Mr Ihonvbere said he recalled that the minister of state for education had on several occasions during live press conferences by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, assured Nigerians that all steps were being taken to ensure full compliance with all COVID-19 protocols in schools.

“This sudden policy reversal is not good for the country; it is bound to create further confusion in the education sector, create disappointment and suspicion among parents, and frustrate the students.

“It would show our development partners and Nigerians that the distortions and disarticulations in the sector are only getting worse.

“The reversal also shows that our policy makers may just be adopting a laid-back approach to the need to confront the novel coronavirus rather than taking proactive and creative steps to manage and contain it,” he said.

The lawmaker disagreed with the minister, saying that a reconsideration was urgently needed to save the educational system in the country.

“Nigeria is not the only country expected to write the examination in the midst of COVID-19; Nigeria should insist that the examination be based exclusively on the already covered syllabus of schools.

“The Federal Ministry should not chicken out of its responsibilities, but take charge, provide policy direction, engage the states and other stakeholders.

“We recommend that WAEC quadruple its invigilators and use all classrooms and event centres to conduct the examination and comply with COVID-19 protocols.

“The Ministry of Science and Technology as well as the Ministries of Environment and Health should immediately work out an agenda to fumigate all classrooms, provide handwashing buckets with soap and water, and facemasks to all students.

“Students should come from home, write the paper and disperse immediately,” he said.

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to direct all ministers to return to their states to work with the governors to ensure smooth implementation of the policy and conduct of the examination.

According to the legislator, “we are parents just like the minister and no Nigerian parent would want to delay, distort, even terminate the progress of any child.”

He said that the committee was convinced that if the recommendations were implemented, the WASSCE could be conducted with ease and with no repercussions.

(NAN)

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WAEC: Cancellation Puts Nigeria At More Risk, Atiku Opposes FG

Former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has opposed Federal Government’s decision that Nigerian students won’t partake in this year’s examinations of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) in order to protect the students from contracting COVID-19.

In a statement he personally signed on Friday and made available to Campus Gist, Atiku, Founder of American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, in Adamawa state, said not taking part in the examinations will put Nigeria at more risk.

Campus Gist recalls that the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, had on Wednesday declared that Nigerian students won’t participate in this year’s WAEC examination already scheduled by the exam body for August to September.

The Federal Government specifically told Nigerian states that have already fixed dates for the resumption of students for the purpose of the WAEC exams to have a rethink and cancel it.

But Atiku in the statement on Thursday said cancelling the senior secondary school examination abruptly was not in the nation’s best interest, as it will further create chaos in the public education system and cause setback for the youths.

The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, therefore, urged the Buhari-led administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk by its actions.

The statement reads, “As a parent and investor in the education sector, I wish to register the fact that the Nigerian government’s policy of unilaterally cancelling the West African Senior School Certificate Examination, held annually by the West African Examinations Council, is not in Nigeria’s best interest.

“At a time of the global COVID19 pandemic, it is understandable that an abundance of caution be put in place to save lives. However, caution, without consultation, and thoughtful action, may be counter productive.

“1.5 million Nigerian youths write the West African Senior School Certificate Examination annually. To abruptly cancel this examination is to set back our nation’s youth, and place them behind their contemporaries in other West African nations. This is perilous, because Foreign Direct Investments and other economic indicators, are tied to the educational indexes of nations.

“Already, Nigeria lags behind other African nations in crucial indices, like school enrolment, pass rates, and out of school children. This action, will further create chaos in the public education system and exacerbate an already bad situation.

“Rather than cancellation, there are better ways to protect the health of Nigerians and prevent the pandemic from escalating. We could mobilise all available public and private infrastructures including primary schools, stadia, and cinemas, for the examinations. In the alternative, the Federal Government can prevail on WAEC to have a staggered examinations with a different set of questions for each shift. Doing so will allow WAEC Nigeria implement social distancing and achieve the goal of carrying out the examinations. A win-win scenario.

“I urge this administration to take into account that the lives they are trying to save will be further put at risk, because if this policy is not reversed, tens of thousands, and possibly hundreds of thousands of Nigerians, will breach social distancing rules to cross over to neighbouring West African nations to write their WASSCE, rather than miss a year.”

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TETFund Flags Off Construction Of International Hostel At UNIBEN (Photos)

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has flagged off the construction of a 28-executive-room international hostel at the University of Benin (UNIBEN).

This was disclosed by the Institution’s Public Relations Officer (PRO), Benedicta Ehanire, Ph.D, in a statement made available to Campus Gist, on Friday.

The Vice Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami, who supervised the ground-breaking ceremony of the hostel complex, said the proposed edifice is symbolic, as it marks the first of many major projects to be executed during her tenure.

Campus Gist reports that the hostel project is expected to be completed within 42 weeks.

Established as an intervention agency under the TETFund ACT 2011, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is charged with the responsibility of managing, disbursing and monitoring the education tax to public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

To enable the TETFund achieve the said objectives, TETFund ACT, 2011 imposes a 2 percent (2%) Education Tax on the assessable profit of all registered companies in Nigeria. The Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) is empowered by the Act to assess and collect Education Tax. The Fund administers the tax imposed by the Act and disburses the amount to tertiary educational institutions at Federal and State levels.

It also monitors the projects executed with the funds allocated to the beneficiaries.

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NANS 2020: Oguche Divine Campaign Train Hits Kogi (Photos)

The campaign train of Comrade Oguche Divine Omale, frontline aspirant for the position of National Public Relations Officer in the forthcoming National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) election was on Thursday, in Kogi state.

In a statement made available to Campus Gist Thursday night by the Oguche Divine Omale Campaign Organisation (ODOCO), it said the visit was in continuation of the campaign process for the NANS national election.

ODOCO said although schools have been shut nationwide owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was, however, need to establish and strengthen relationship with students’ leaders in the state.

Highlight of the visit was a meeting with the newly appointed Rector of the Kogi State Polytechnic, Dr. Usman Ogbo, where the team congratulated him on his emergence as the administrator of the institution, and also eulogised him on his “landslide achievement in infrastructural and administrative capabilities.”

The visibly elated rector who received members of the campaign organisation with open arms, thanked the ODOCO team for coming and wished them success in their political engagements.

He also assured Comrade Oguche Divine Omale, an indigene of Kogi State, of his full support in his aspirations and pursuit to cling on to the NANS National PRO position.

“In the overall interest of Nigerian students, we discussed about the need to reopen tertiary institutions in the country and we were informed that plans are already on ground pending directives from the federal government in the shortest possible time.

“As we resume campaign, we assure every Nigerian students through our meeting with the students leaders in every tertiary institution and in different states across the federation, that the paramount interest of Oguche Divine Omale upon emergence as the NANS National PRO is to serve the students community,” a statement from ODOCO added.

Comrade Oguche Divine
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Special Adviser On Students’ Matter To Anambra Governor, Sheriff, Dies

The Special Assistant on Students Matter to Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State, Comrade Sheriff Emeka Eboh Zadok, is dead.

Campus Gist reports that Comrade Zadok died after a brief illness on Tuesday, July 7, 2020.

He died at the Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu University Teaching Hospital, Amaku, Awka, in Anambra state.

He was appointed Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Students’ Matters in the year 2017.

Zadok was a known student leader and a frontline member of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS).

Campus Gist recalls that Zadok, in 2016, vied for the National President position of NANS but lost to the immediate past president, Aruna Kadiri.

Zadok was a participatory member of the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN), Association of South-East Youth Community Leaders (ASEYC) and Nigeria’s Representative at the West African Student’s Union (WASU).

He is survived by his immediate family and lovely wife. Comrade Zadok is from Abia State and was President, Umuobasi Youth Association.

In a statement made available to Campus Gist by the Anambra Stakeholders Forum and NANS Zone ‘B’ stakeholders, they resolved to give the late students’ leader a befitting burial.

They also ordered that a condolence register be opened at his immediate constituency, NANS Zone ‘B’ Transport Welfare Office at UNIZIK bus stand temporary site Awka, Anambra State from the 10th to 21st of July, 2020.

The statement announced the formation of a Central Planning Committee and subcommittees to handle all preparations for his burial. The committee has Comrade Chika Nzelu as Chairman and Comrade Chuks Obele as Secretary.

A tentative burial date of July 22 was announced, while the central planning committee is to liaise with the immediate family of the deceased and also carry the family along in every planning/preparation of his funeral rites.

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Sex-For-Marks: Senate Rules Out “Mutual Consent” From Sexual Harassment Bill

The Senate, on Tuesday, ruled out “mutual consent” as defence by randy lecturers, while passing the Sexual Harassment Bill meant to checkmate sexual harassment in the nation’s higher institutions.

Campus Gist reports that the bill christened: “An Act to Prevent, Prohibit and Redress Sexual Harassment of Students in Tertiary Educational Institutions”, seeks to stop sexual abuse of female students.

It was sponsored by Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and co-sponsored by 105 other Senators.

The bill proposes up to 14 years jail term, with a minimum of 5 years, without an option of fine for any educator who commits sexual offences in tertiary institutions.

The bill was passed following the consideration of a report of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters presented by the Chairman, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele Opeyemi (APC, Ekiti Central).

In his presentation, Senator Bamidele said sexual harassment has been made an offence by removing mutual consent as a defence in prosecution of sexual harassment cases.

The bill, he said, seeks to maintain the relationship that exists between educators and students with the aim of making tertiary institutions conducive centres of learning.

According to Campus Gist, Senator Bamidele maintained that it was immoral and illegal for an educator or a lecturer to keep or maintain sexual relationship with a student.

“This bill seeks to tame the hydra-headed monster in the name of sexual harassment which has become a pandemic in our tertiary institutions.”

In his remark, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said the bill is an important and landmark legislation that the ninth Senate has passed.

“We have to protect our daughters, sisters, mothers from sexual predators. From the recommendations, we wanted a fair means of offence that somebody is accused of.

“We want tertiary institutions to be safe and peaceful learning environment for everyone,” he said.

The bill will be transmitted to the House of Representatives for concurrence and then sent to the president, Muhammadu Buhari for assent.

*The sexual offences identified in the Sexual Harassment Bill include;

•sexual intercourse with a student

•demands for sex from a student or a prospective student

•intimidating or creating a hostile or offensive environment for the student by soliciting for sex or making sexual advances

•grabbing, hugging, kissing, rubbing, stroking, touching, pinching the breasts or hair or lips or hips or buttocks or any other sensual part of the body of a student

•sending by hand or courier or electronic or any other means naked or sexually explicit pictures or videos or sex related objects to a student

•whistling or winking at a student or screaming, exclaiming, joking or making sexually complimentary or uncomplimentary remarks about a student’s physique or stalking a student

If signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, sex offenders in Nigeria’s higher institutions risk 14-years jail term, with a minimum of 5 years, without an option of fine.

Source: Campus Gist

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BREAKING: Nigeria Boycotts 2020 WAEC Exams

The federal government on Wednesday said Nigerian final year secondary school (SS3) students won’t participate in the forthcoming West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, while addressing State House Correspondents after the virtual meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), in Abuja.

The Minister argued that WAEC as a body cannot determine the resumption date of schools in Nigeria.

He said he would prefer that Nigerian students lose an academic year than to expose them to dangers posed by COVID-19.

Adamu declared that Nigerian schools will not reopen any time soon until it is safe to do so because of the coronavirus pandemic.

He, therefore, called on governors that have announced the resumption of school in their states to reconsider their position so as not to jeopardize the lives of the students.

Details later…

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