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NIGERIA

Reopening: Private polytechnics’ proprietors disagree with ASUU, ASUP

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Proprietors of Private Polytechnics in Nigeria on Thursday disagreed with lecturers that tertiary institutions should remain closed to activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that they were not sincere.

Lecturers under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Universities and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics had declared that schools in the country should not be reopened.

According to them, the population of students in public tertiary institutions was too large to be allowed for social distancing in line with COVID-19 management protocols.

But the Association of Proprietors of Private Polytechnics in Nigeria appealed to the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, reopen polytechnics shut down in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They called on the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, to announce a date within the current phase of COVID-19 lockdown for the resumption of polytechnics.

The appeal came a few weeks after the Pro-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Afe Babalola (SAN), made similar demand to the Federal Government that private universities should be reopened if public Universities were not ready.

While maintaining that it had put measures in place for the safe return of students to campus, the proprietors said the return of students to campus would help polytechnics contribute towards combating the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the National President of APPPN, Dr. Moses Adeyemi, disagreed saying he doubted their sincerity.

“APPPN doubts the sincerity of ASUU and ASUP in this regard,” he said, adding that COVID-19 has exposed admission fraud in public tertiary institutions.

Adeyemi said, “The regulatory bodies, National University Commission and National Board for Technical Education access facilities before granting approval to offer a program and do not also authorize admission above the carrying capacity of the institutions based on its facilities.

“Admissions into Nigerian tertiary institutions are also regulated by Joint Admission and Matriculation Board which do not allow admission above carrying capacity approved by NUC or NBTE. The question now is: how did these institutions come about the extra-large classes?

“We don’t believe that there are different standards for private institutions. Private Polytechnic admits within its capacity and most of us don’t have enough students because the public institutions hoard the students during JAMB admission. The number of students in private polytechnics allows for social distancing.”

He said it was because of profit that public schools “over-admit” students and do so outside the laws, outside the approval of NUC and NBTE, and without the clear knowledge of JAMB.

“If not for profit why should public schools be having students in regular programs, evening programs, weekend programs, consultancy programs, etc. Are these programmes not profit-oriented?” APPPN asked.

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NIGERIA

Edo guber: Don’t compromise standard, INEC warns staff

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The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has read the riot act to the Commission’s regular and Adhoc staff participating in Saturday’s Edo State governorship election, warning them not to compromise standard.

In the message he sent to them ahead of the crucial poll, the INEC boss reminded them that the eyes of both Nigerians and the international community are on the Commission to conduct a free, fair, and credible poll.

He further challenged them to ensure that no party or candidate is accorded any undue advantage over the other, promising that the management will continue to improve their welfare and conditions of service within available resources.

While charging them to be neutral and stick strictly to the Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality, he said: “As we begin the final countdown to the Edo governorship election, it is clear that all eyes are on INEC to deliver a free, fair and credible process.”

According to him, “I have no doubt that our staff members will rise to the occasion. We have done it several times before and we can do it again. The Commission deeply appreciates the never-ending sacrifices made by our staff at all times, often beyond the call of duty, to ensure that we carry out our mandate.

“The management will continue to improve the welfare and conditions of service of staff within the available resources. Let me appeal to all of you to remain steadfast and committed to the ideals of the Commission Nigerians and the international community expect so much from us.

“They are watching. It is important that we all remain above board in the performance of our respective duties. We must ensure that no political party or candidate is accorded any advantage over the other.

“We must be neutral at all times and stick strictly to our Code of Conduct and Oath of Neutrality to which we have all subscribed. For, at the end of the day, we would have all contributed to the sustenance of democracy and a strong electoral process that all Nigerians can trust.”

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NIGERIA

Nigeria records 221 new cases of COVID-19, total now 56,956

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According to a tweet from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control, NCDC, 48,305 patients have now been discharged, with 1,094 patients losing their lives to Coronavirus.

The tweet revealed that Lagos State had the highest number of infections on Friday night with 59 cases, with Abia State following with 46 cases. The Federal Capital Territory was next, recording 22 cases

Other states recorded as follows:

Gombe-20 Plateau-17 Rivers-11 Bauchi-7 Benue-6 Ekiti-6 Imo-6 Kaduna-4 Kwara-4 Ondo-4 Ogun-3 Osun-3 Bayelsa-1 Edo-1 Kano-1

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NIGERIA

FBI uncovers fresh evidence against Hushpuppi

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The tide seems to be rising in the United States against suspected internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, popularly called Hushpuppi, after the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) unveiled how he allegedly laundered unemployment benefits of Americans.

Abbas was arrested in Dubai last June and immediately flown to the US to face a four-count charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering conspiracies, international money laundering, and engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specified unlawful activity.

The Nigerian pleaded not guilty to the charges during his initial court appearance in Chicago in July.

He has since been transferred to California with October 13 set for his trial.

The FBI, in an affidavit filed on September 14, with the United States District Court, Central District of California, alleged that Hushpuppi using his email address, registered on a website whizzlog.com (“Whizzlog”) which is a marketplace for buying US Bank Logs to perpetrate fraud.

The FBI said it found in Abbas’ email address “registration contamination from Whizz Log.”

Also found therein were “numerous confirmations and receipts of bank logs he purchased.”

One of the messages cited by the agency read “Your order was successful. You have purchased (the “Financial Institution”) bank log with a balance of $9,839.44. Purchase Price: $955. The bank log details are in your account. Login to your Whizz Log account to view.”

He allegedly bought a “bank log with a balance of over S9,000 for as low as $900.”

If convicted of conspiracy to engage in money laundering, Abbas would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.

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