The Academic Staff Union of Universities, Port Harcourt Zone, has demanded the immediate declaration of a state of emergency in Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University, Amassoma.
The lecturers’ union also lamented about four months unpaid salaries and decaying infrastructure in the university, stressing that the Visitor of the school, Governor Seriake Dickson, has not added any value to the institution.
The ASUU, at a press conference in Yenagoa on Saturday, anchored by its zonal head, Prof. Beke Sese, noted that “no responsible government”, would treat the issue of non-payment of salaries and dilapidated infrastructure at the NDU with ‘’levity and nonchalance’’.
Accompanied by the NDU ASUU chairman, Dr. Stanley Ogoun, Dr. Austin Sadoh and Dr. Puyate Suobere of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Sese described the governor’s attitude to education as condemnable.
According to him, since this year, the government has not paid the salaries of lecturers and other academic staff.
Sese alleged that the workers in the university were now unable to foot accommodation, feeding, medical and mobility bills.
He decried the poor funding of state-owned universities in the zone, vowing not to let the hardship inflicted by the government on university workers in the area to continue unchallenged.
He said, “The Bayelsa State Government must make genuine efforts to come up with an infrastructural development plan and fund the NDU with a view to making the university rank among the best in the country.
“We hereby call on governments at all levels to declare a state of emergency in the education sector, especially the Bayelsa State government that had earlier made such pronouncements to match the declaration with appropriate action.”
Sese noted that the needs assessment carried out at the NDU revealed deficiencies in infrastructure, including classrooms, laboratories, libraries and online resources, buildings, student hostels and staff quarters.
“The present level of funding in the Niger Delta University is simply appalling. The staff-student ratio in several academic departments is far below levels recommended by the National Universities Commission. Research grants are almost non-existent. It is beyond doubt that the university is one of the least funded in the world,” he stated.
The ASUU zonal coordinator also said the union was opposed to the withdrawal of funding for University Staff Schools by both the federal and state governments.
He argued that university staff schools were part of welfare schemes provided for the benefit of university staff, affirming that the withdrawal of financial support would lead to industrial crisis in the various universities.
Source: The Punch