By Abena Atesko Tanimu -The Benue State students under the umbrella of Benue State Tertiary Institutions Students Forum on 9th March 2018 passed a vote of no confidence on Gov. Ortom led administration for poorly handling the educational sector in the state.
The forum in a statement signed and released by its president and general secretary, Comr. Orseer Mnzughulga and Clement Inalegwu respectively frowned at the incessant strike in the state by the Academic Staff Unions Of Tertiary Institutions in Benue State ASUTIBS following the prolonged inability of the government to take the welfare of lecturers seriously by implementing the 2016 agreement reached with the Union and other matters, the situation they said, it has been keeping the Benue Children at home on several occasions since the administration’s inception.
Comr. Mnzughulga Maintained that the state government’s negligence in the proper handling of state-owned higher institutions has become worrisome, noting that despite the hike in tuition fees of over N20,000 after a defaulted pledge of free education during electioneering, the government is still finding it difficult to pay her lecturers. It equally expressed her dissatisfaction with the state commissioner of Education, Science and technology, Prof. Dennis Ityavyar for his inability to find a lasting solution to the day – in-day out strike saying, the ongoing indefinite strike by ASUTIBS wouldn’t have taken a serious dimension.
The President was quoted as saying, “Since His Excellency Gov Samuel Ortom was enthroned, the “Benue Child” hardly receives the full measure of the four corners of education for a year without strike interruption. We are suffering because of the state government’s insensitivity. Tertiary Institutions are in a moribund state now. We are pained by the insensitivity of the state government in addressing the incessant strike by ASUTIBS. The present indefinite strike which started late February this year wouldn’t have taken place if timely and proactive measures were taken because the aggrieved Union released a notice of strike resumption almost a week before it was finally activated. The government could not call her for a roundtable, there was no communication from the government, a clear and transparent display of insensitivity and total negligence of duty as well as the abandonment of Tertiary education.”
He also added saying “I sense Benue State government consciously is breeding half-baked graduates who will in no doubt find it unfavourable to compete with students in other states and the world at large.
We call on the state government to fulfil its obligatory role by paying the ASUTIBS her entitlement for the state children to learn under a peaceful atmosphere without strike interruption”.
It would be recalled that governor Ortom in 2016 in an agreement with ASUTIBS pledged to take the welfare of the Union his top priority, by settling her 3 years of medical allowances and others. The situation which has taken another angle with now over 6 months of unpaid salary, the latest in January 2018 with the payment that was characterised with half and quarter payment of salaries. Five Tertiary Institutions In Benue State are currently on strike without a positive reaction from the government.