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A student hold carries a placard during a protest in Oyo State on May 16, 2022.

Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Monday blocked major roads in some cities in Oyo, Edo, and Ondo States.

This was done in protest against the prolonged industrial action by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) as a result of several failed negotiations with the Federal Government.

While protesting students of the University of Ibadan blocked the school’s entrance in the state capital, those from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH) barricaded the major road along where the institution is situated in Ogbomoso. 

The students also called on the state governor, Seyi Makinde, to ensure public universities in the state back out of ASUU just as it was done in some states for academic activities to resume.

Students stage a protest in Oyo State on May 16, 2022.

LAUTECH, according to them, has been through a series of industrial crises in the past and should not be made to face more hardship.

As the protest continued in Ogbomoso, the South West wing of NANS vowed to shut down the Iwo Road end of Ibadan. 

In Edo, students of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) cordoned off the Benin-Auchi-Ramat Park axis of the state capital.

Students block a major road during a protest in Benin City, Edo State capital on May 16, 2022.

They later proceeded to the Federal Secretariat in Benin City to present their case to the government, where they breached the gate.

At the secretariat, they were received by the director, Jeremiah Abu, whom they told to take their displeasure with the prolonged strike to the government.

Abu, in his remark, assured the students of his support and to act accordingly. He, however, asked them to let their conduct remain peaceful.

Students stage a protest in Benin City, Edo State capital on May 16, 2022.

In Ondo, students of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) barricaded the Akure-Ilesa Highway to condemn the lingering strike by the lecturers.

The demonstrations came a week after NANS leadership declared a mass action tagged ‘Operation Test Run’ in all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It had directed all its structures and organs to block all federal roads in protest against the continued shutdown of public universities in the country since February.
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Chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema

The Chairman of Air Peace, Barrister Allen Onyema, has called for an increase in funding for Nigeria’s universities, stressings that Nigerians should be proud of their institutions.

 Onyema made this call while inaugurating an imposing guest house named after him at the University of Ibadan(UI) as an alumnus of the institution.

The building was constructed under the auspices of the University of Ibadan Alumni Association (UIAA), which he is a member.

The unveiling took place at a special ceremony organised by the UIAA at the University at the weekend and attended by the Sultan of Sokoto and Chancellor of the University, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, Chairman of the University Governing Council, Chief John Odigie, Vice-chancellor of the University and chief host, Professor Kayode Adebowale and the executive members of the UIAA.

He said: “We need to be proud of Nigerian universities. That’s how it was in the good old days. We need to rediscover those days”, he stated.

The Air Peace boss, who was recognised with the Alumnus of the Year Award by the University in 2019, used the medium to plead with the Academic Staff Union of Universities( ASUU), to call off their strike for the sake of the nation and the future of the students.

He said: “It pains me that our children have been at home for several months. For the sake of our nation, which is passing through trying times and for the sake of the wellbeing of our children, ASUU should, please, call off the strike.” 

“He said the Federal Government and the Union should reach an amicable decision to end the crisis in the country’s university system.”

Explaining how the Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) suspended its planned shutdown of operations last Sunday, the Air Peace chairman stated that the operators made sacrifices to give room for the government to solve the issue and it had done that. He asked ASUU to take a cue from what the airlines did by sacrificing for the wellbeing of Nigerian students.

He said there is the need for Nigerians to leverage their diversity for national development.

“Nigeria has the potential. Let’s explore this potential. The bigger Nigeria is, the stronger we should be because there’s strength in diversity,” he said.

He implored well-meaning Nigerians to inculcate the culture of giving back to their alma mater and be involved in its development.

Commending the UIAA President, Professor Elsie Adewoye, for her hard work in bringing to fruition the new guest house , Onyema added that people like her should be recognised by Nigerian government. He challenged her to make good use of the influence of personalities like the Sultan and John Odigie to attract more investments to the University.

In her speech, Professor Adewoye, narrated how Onyema emerged as the Alumnus of the Year in 2019, and donated handsomely to the Ransome Kuti Hall where he stayed during his days at the institution.

She said: “As we commission this N110 million project today, my joy knows no bounds. Onyema is simply a blessing to humanity, a blessing to Nigeria, a blessing to UI, and no wonder you were rewarded recently with the National Productivity

Order of Merit Award by President Muhammadu Buhari. Thank you most exceedingly”.

Also speaking, the Sultan of Sokoto, His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Muhammad Abubakar, charged the school management to never let the school down. “Government cannot do it all. We need to come in and help our universities and that’s why what Allen has done is commendable.  We’re here to celebrate Allen for this wonderful edifice. Allen, once in a while, come in and see how the guesthouse is doing. Let’s continue to excel and commit ourselves to excellence”, he added.

Similarly, Chief John Odigie, Chairman of the University Governing Council said: ‘’Allen, we’re glad to have you as an alumnus of UI. May God bless you. If we come knocking again, please listen to us as we are already looking at having a new Senate facility”.

He further emphasised that the recurrent crisis in Nigeria’s university system must come to an end.

In the same vein, the Vice-chancellor of UI, Professor Kayode Adebowale, noted that the event was significant in many ways. “Today’s event is significant and outstanding in many ways. A testimony to the generous heart of Allen Onyema. We stand here today to commission a N110million building by a worthy alumnus of this institution. No condition makes a true giver unable to give.

“Barrister Onyema has proven this. Even with the harsh realities of the economy, he has been generous. Today, we are witnesses to his generosity”, he stated. Thanking Onyema for being so outstanding, Adebowale cited how he deployed his aircraft to rescue stranded Nigerians from South Africa in 2019 amidst the xenophobic onslaught and how he offered his aircraft to airlift Nigerians a couple of months back from different European countries, as the Russia-Ukraine war thickened. He also called on Onyema to consider setting up a Centre for Aviation Studies in UI.

The immediate past president of the UIAA, Dr Kemi Emina, also commended Onyema for his consistent support and cooperation.

The Air Peace boss is a proud alumnus of the University of Ibadan where he bagged an LLB Degree and has never ceased to identify with the initiatives and activities of the institution, especially through funding of specific projects. This newly commissioned building, named ‘Allen Onyema Edifice’, is a modern multiple-room guesthouse at the centre of the University.
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Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba

Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba, former minister of state for education, has apologised to Nigerian students over the protracted strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU.

The union recently extended the industrial action by another 12 weeks, citing a lack of readiness by concerned officials to resolve the crisis.

Addressing the issue, the presidential hopeful of the All Progressives Congress, APC, said all his children attended public universities, and that two of them are also affected by the strike.

The ex-minister spoke yesterday, while being interviewed on Politics Today, a Channels Television programme.

Nwajiuba said he shares in the responsibility for the situation, but noted that strikes are not the best approach for ASUU to address its grievances.

He said: “I do apologise to Nigerian students because as their minister, I will take responsibility. But also, on behalf of the federal government, I would say ‘please understand what the issues are’.

“All my four children have passed through Nigerian universities. I still have two who are at home now, because they are all in public universities.”

Nwajiuba said he is also a product of public universities, hence, he empathises with ASUU.

He said: “My position has not been that ASUU is talking rubbish. ASUU has a case, they are not making a case for themselves alone. ASUU is making a case for the entire university system.“

“The only point of departure is that we have asked ASUU that strikes can’t cure the problem.

“We need them in class, we need our children back in school. It hurts parents. It hurts us. Like I keep saying, my children are here, I don’t have children in private universities. My wife and them are battling it at home.”

Nwajiuba also appealed to ASUU to “consider leaving the option of strike and work with the government”, adding that the issues cannot be solved “at once”.

“This government has done more than any other government to meet ASUU. We are going to resolve the issue. All the matrixes for it to be resolved are already before Mr President,” he added.
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The Joint Administrations and Matriculation Board, JAMB,has released result of the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, UTME.

The board in a statement, Saturday,directed candidates who sat for the examination to check their results by texting “Send UTMERESULT (one word) to 55019″ to have their results.”

“To check the 2022 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) result, all a candidate needs to do is to simply send UTMERESULT to 55019 using the same phone number that he/she had used for registration and the result would be returned as a text message,” the statement read.

It read further: “This is the only process of checking the 2022 UTME results for now as the Board has not uploaded it on its website for obvious reasons.

“In addition, candidates are forewarned that they would, as usual, receive all kinds of messages from desperate fraudsters on how to check their results different from the aforementioned one. Hence, the Board urge all candidates to ignore all such messages on how to check their 2022 UTME results as they are all products of deceit aimed at misleading them.

“The Board, in line with its desire to adhere to the ease of doing business protocol of the government, has emplaced this user-friendly and simplified process of checking UTME results.

“Furthermore, this simplified process would also serve to preclude the unconscionable exploitation of candidates by shylock business centres and cybercafes which often take advantage of hapless candidates.

The 2022 UTME began on Friday, 6th May, 2022 and ended on Friday 13th May, 2022.”
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Some of the striking lecturers at the meeting on May 12, 2022.

The Federal Government on Thursday met with the striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other unions.

The meeting was chaired by the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari and had in attendance the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige, the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar, the President of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Samson Ayokunle.

It was held at the banquet hall of the State House in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Others present were the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, ASUU President, Professor Emmanuel Osedeke, Presidents of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non-Academic Staff of Union of Universities among others.

The meeting was aimed at addressing the lingering industrial action by ASUU and other pressing issues of industrial actions in the tertiary institutions.

The Chief of Staff informed the gathering that the meeting was under the directive of President Muhammadu Buhari who he says is concerned about the strike action and its impact on the Nigerian students.

While appealing to the lecturers to call off the strike, Gambari reiterated the Federal Government’s resolve to address the issues affecting the striking ASUU members.

The meeting was held few hours after President Buhari appealed to ASUU to consider the plight of students and call off its ongoing strike.

He made the appeal at the 19th National productivity day and conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit award held on Thursday.

The President equally urged students in public tertiary institutions to exercise patience as the Federal Government is striving to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of available resources.

Buhari’s appeal came two days after the union extended its industrial action, accusing the government of unwillingness to address its demands.
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A photo combination of the ASUP emblem and the union’s leaders at a press conference in Abuja.

Another setback looms in the nation’s education sector as members of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) prepare to embark on a warning strike.

ASUP President, Anderson Ezeibe, made the announcement on Wednesday, two days after the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) extended its ongoing strike which began in mid-February by another 12 weeks.

He stated that the polytechnic lecturers would withdraw their services in a two-week industrial action with effect from Monday next week.

Ezeibe explained that the decision was reached at the emergency meeting of the union’s National Executive Council to review the response of the Federal Government to its ultimatum.

He added that ASUP had suspended its initial strike in June 2021 following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the government which contained a clear path to a sustainable resolution of the issues in dispute with timelines attached to each of them.

The ASUP president said while the suspension of the industrial action was for a period of three months, the government refused to address the issues raised.

As a result, he stated, the union issues an ultimatum which expired on May 4, but the situation has remained the same with no concrete effort on the government’s part.

Ezeibe stressed that the warning strike was to appeal to Nigerians to prevail on the government to do the needful within the two weeks so as to avoid an indefinite shut down of the sector.

Read the full statement below:

ACADEMIC STAFF UNION OF POLYTECHNICS (ASUP)

11th May 2022

STATUS UPDATE OF THE ASUP/ FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA ENGAGEMENT; AND RESOLUTIONS OF THE EMERGENCY NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL (NEC) MEETING OF ASUP HELD ON THE 11th OF MAY, 2022

Esteemed members of the press,

Our Union suspended its industrial action declared on the 6th of April 2021 on the 10th of June 2021 following the signing of a Memorandum of Action (MoA) with the government. The signed MoA contained a clear path to a sustainable resolution of the issues in dispute with timelines attached to each of the items in dispute.

The suspension of the industrial action was for a period of three months to enable the government conclude processes already initiated in the direction of fulfilment of the items in the MoA which are process-led.

Nine months after the suspension of the industrial action and six months after the expiration of the three-month period of suspension, our Union’s NEC met in its 102nd meeting in Federal Polytechnic Mubi and after reviewing the report of the implementation of the MoA, resolved to issue a 1-month ultimatum to the government effective 4th April 2022 to address the outstanding items in the MoA and other emergent issues or face the reality of another trade dispute with our Union.

Our Union’s ultimatum expired on the 4th of May, 2022 and as is the norm, the Union’s NEC reconvened today, 11th of May, 2022 to review the response of the government to the ultimatum, particularly as it affects relevant agencies/functionaries of government.

Within the period of the ultimatum, the Union met with the National Board for Technical Education to review the grievances with a view to resolution. Another meeting fixed at the instance of the Honorable Minister of Education (after the expiration of the ultimatum) failed to meet basic requirements for collective bargaining. Our Union stayed away from the meeting as it was not structured to address the issues in dispute. The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment only acknowledged receipt of the union’s ultimatum and made no attempts at conciliation.

Spirited efforts were also made by the Chairman of Chairmen of Governing Councils of Polytechnics in Nigeria and some members of the National Assembly in the direction of a resolution.

The status of the items in dispute as of today is captured below:

1   Non-release of the approved revitalization fund for the sector: Approved N15bn yet to be released 11 months after approval by the President.

2   Non-release of arrears of the new minimum wage: The owed 10 months arrears for the Polytechnics is yet to be released. The composite amount covering all Federal Tertiary Institutions to the approximate figure of N19Bn currently exists as an AIE in the Accountant Generals Office.

3  Non-release of the reviewed normative instruments for institution/management and programs accreditation: The document is currently awaiting approval from the Management of NBTE. This document is expected to provide a framework to address non-payment of salaries in state-owned institutions, non-compliance with approved retirement age, non-deployment of approved salary structures, poor governance structure as well as other issues affecting standards, particularly in state-owned Polytechnics. As a consequence, our members in Abia, Ogun, Edo, Benue, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Plateau, and Osun states are owed salaries while they also continue to suffer from different levels of deprivation including non-release of promotions and non-deployment of appropriate retirement age. Such deprivations are also evident in Adamawa, Niger, Sokoto, and Delta States where the government has resolved to disrupt the hitherto timely payment of salaries with a subvention-styled funding regime.

4    Sustained infractions in implementation of the provisions of the Federal Polytechnics Act as amended in 2019: This issue is currently typified by the arbitrary removal of deputy rectors in Auchi Polytechnic, and the existence of multiple templates for the appointment of principal officers with provisions at variance with the provisions of the Act.

5     Delay in the appointment of rectors: The appointment process in Kaduna Polytechnic, Federal Polytechnic Mubi, Federal Polytechnic Offa, and Federal Polytechnic Ekowe continues to linger.

6   Non Release of Arrears of CONTISS 15 Migration for the Lower Cadre: This issue remains at the committee level and even in chapters like NILEST, Zaria implementation is yet to commence.

7 Non-release of the scheme of service for Polytechnics: Since 2017, the sector has been struggling with a review process for the scheme of service and conditions of service in use in the sector.

8   Continued Victimisation of Union Officers: Our officials in IMT Enugu and Rufus Giwa Polytechnic Owo still remain out of job.

9   Continued Arm twisting of Members in Colleges of Agriculture By the ARCN: This has continued as our members in these institutions continue to experience intimidation.

Following exhaustive deliberations, on the update as outlined above, the emergency meeting of the Union’s National Executive Council has resolved that members should withdraw their services in a 2 weeks industrial action with effect from Monday, 16th of May 2022.

We are deploying this medium to equally appeal to members of the public to prevail on the government to do the needful within the 2 weeks period so as to avoid an indefinite shut down of the sector.

Thank you.

Anderson U. Ezeibe

(President)
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Senate President Ahmad Lawan

Senate President Ahmad Lawan on Tuesday said the upper chamber will wade into the ongoing strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

Speaking with officials of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Lawan faulted the 2009 agreement between the Federal Government and ASUU.

He said the agreement should not have been signed by both sides because there’s no way government will provide the kind of resources agreed to in the document.

Senator Lawan appealed to the students to avoid confrontation and not disrupt political activities.

NANS has threatened to shut down all federal roads in protest against the strike.

ASUU on Monday said it was extending its strike for another three months.

ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.

On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.

The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.

One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.

But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The agreement was reportedly struck in 2009.

Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).

The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
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Prof. Ishaq Oloyede

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board had yet to commence releasing the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination because of some internal appraisal, its Registrar/Chief Executive, Prof. Ishaq Oloyede, said on Tuesday.

According to him, JAMB wouldn’t want to release results because it had asked people to submit reports, particularly of malpractices.

Oloyede stated these in an interview with The PUNCH in Abuja during a meeting of the National Youth Service Corps management and with Registrars of Corps Producing Institutions in Nigeria.

He said, “Yes, we have no reason not to release the results but we are also doing some internal appraisal. One, we don’t want this situation where you release results and you start to withdraw some; so we have asked people to submit reports, particularly of malpractices.

“And for the first day after the result was ready, we now scrutinized and we saw that about 40 per cent of the report were not in. So, why release 60 per cent and create confusion? We have insisted that this year, we will not release the results until we have all the reports of examination malpractices.

“So, the issue of releasing results and now coming, they will be very few rather than the large number that we had. The results are ready but we believe we need to have all the reports; we have about 70 per cent of reports now updated but we want 100 per cent.

“The result will be out; for instance, I was told that the exam of Saturday is completed now. The results are in; when I get to the office today I will append my signature and it will go out.”

The JAMB CEO also spoke about those people who could not write the UTME based on technical challenges in some CBT centres.

“I don’t know those schools. There are no technical hitches because those you called BVN matters we have reassigned all of them from yesterday (Monday) for today (Tuesday). We created four sections to clear all of them because it is not the fault of the candidate.

“We have a technical hitch from one of our service providers and where they were supposed to use one character they used another and it created some problems for the candidates. But we have addressed that by reassigning them and all of them without exception at the end of tomorrow, we are putting them fourth section.

“You know the third section finishes at around 3:30 pm, so we deliberately created a fourth section to make sure we clear them by tomorrow because we have no time.”
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The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has directed all its structures and organs to block all federal roads in protest against the continued shutdown of public universities in the country.

Against the backdrop of the extension of the warning strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), NANS asked the students to ensure the roads are blocked daily for at least three hours until the Federal Government resolves its impasse with the aggrieved lecturers.

NANS National Public Relations Officer, Victor Ezenagu, declared the mass action tagged ‘Operation Test Run’ on Tuesday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily.

“We are poised at ensuring that our campuses are reopened and as such, the instruction has gone out to all the 36 states and the FCT calling on all our structures to begin (the mass action) immediately, starting from today, by barricading and blocking every federal road, every road leading to the airports, and ensuring they remain on the street for at least three hours every day until the Federal Government does something as regards to settling their impasse with ASUU for us to return to our campuses,” he said during the breakfast programme.

Academic activities have been grounded in public universities across the country following a warning strike by ASUU in February.

Some of the issues that led to the industrial action include renegotiations of the 2009 agreement, payment system for members, and revitalisation of the nation’s universities, among others.

Following several negotiations between the government and ASUU that ended in a deadlock, the union on Monday extended the strike by another 12 weeks.

This further worsens the plight of students whose hopes of returning to the classroom have been dashed again, despite staying away from campus for almost three months.

NANS, in its reaction, said ‘Operation Test Run’ would be a precursor to a total shutdown that would be decided during its Senate meeting/pre-convention on Saturday, May 14.

While the ASUU strike persists, according to the union, students will continue to occupy roads leading to airports and might be forced to disrupt political activities, including parties’ primaries to elect candidates for the 2023 general elections.

“There shall be no primaries, there shall be no political activities if our future is not resolved, if our future is not decided well, if the issue concerning the Nigerian students is not resolved, because we cannot be talking about next elections, we should be talking about next generation,” Ezenagu stated.

“If we are only concerned about elections, then what happens to the next generation? Education is the only thing that can ensure and ascertain the existence of Nigeria and make Nigeria a better place. We cannot sit back and watch our fathers who are almost in their dying age toy with our future; we will not allow that.

“There shall be no primaries, there shall be no political activities in Nigeria except the ASUU strike is resolved. We are not deterred, we are formidable; we are coming to shock Nigerians, we are coming to shock the government, we are coming to shock everybody.”
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Executive Chairman, OYOSUBEB teaching pupils of St. Stephen Basic Sch. Alegongo

…distributes over 4, 950 History textbooks to schools  

The Oyo State Government has directed all public primary schools in the State to immediately implement the teaching of History as an independent subject starting from this term (3rd term) of the 2021/2022 academic session.

The Executive Chairman, Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Dr. Nureni Aderemi Adeniran disclosed this today, while monitoring schools' resumption in Ibadan.

Dr. Adeniran who applauded the massive turnout of pupils in public primary schools, said reintroduction of History is in line with the new education policy of the State Government. 

He applauded the leadership of Universal Basic Education Commission, Abuja for the technical support received, as well as the supply of textbooks.

Dr. Adeniran said over Four Thousand, Nine Hundred and fifty (4,950) history textbooks are being distributed to public primary schools state-wide, adding that this will give pupils a proper understanding of the Nation's history.

He hinted that the curriculum would enable pupils to appreciate history as an instrument of national integration, adding that it would allow students to know the history of the country.

Adeniran, an Education expert, who dazzled OYOSUBEB staff members and teachers by teaching pupils, said he was optimistic that the curriculum would equip the younger generations with the knowledge of the past.

The OYOSUBEB Boss said that the importance of history to nation building, patriotism and human development could not be overemphasized.

Meanwhile, he equally appreciated the Heads of Public Primary schools across the State who have commenced academic activities immediately, saying idleness of teachers or pupils would not be tolerated.

Adeniran, who continued the monitoring exercise alongside other members of the board expressed satisfaction with the situation they met at some schools visited, compared to the turnout of pupils last week.

The Chairman, however, called on other parents, whose children are yet to return to schools to kindly ensure they do so without hesitation, as academic activities have commenced.

The Executive Chairman and his team monitored schools across Local Governments in Ibadan and Ibadan less city.