20 December 2012

Nigeria: Tertiary Institutions' Workers Accuse Nasarawa Govt of Insensitivity to Education

Lafia — As the strike embarked upon by the Joint Union of Tertiary Institutions in Nasarawa State enters its fourth week, the Chairman of the union, Comrade Umar Bako Wednesday accused the state government for being responsible for the collapse of education in tertiary institutions in the state.

Bako said government's insensitivity to issues affecting education led to the grounding of academic activities in the affected institutions, which include Nasarawa State Polytechnic, College of Agriculture and College of Education Akwanga.

According to him, the three institutions had not issued certificates to their graduands in the last 18 years even as the Nasarawa State Polytechnics has not held any convocation since inceptions.

He said Governor Umaru Al-makura had promised during his campaign in 2011 elections to address non-payment of staff entitlements which had accumulated for 18 months in the tertiary institutions and asked the union to suspend its indefinite strike only to renege on his promises after winning the election.

His words, "The Governor has refused to keep to his words and instead, started to give excuses that there is no money. After all avenues were exploited by the union to convince the government on the need to comply and pay the staff the 18months arrears failed we embarked on strike. The state government has never erected any structure at the Nasarawa state Polytechnic since inception and the same situation obtains at the other two other institutions.

"The governor keeps telling us there is no money when the same allowances we are striking for have been paid to staff of the state university. We even waived 10 months for the government to reduce the burden on it, but all we keep hearing is no money! No money! This government is inflicting hardship on us and our families. We will not go back until we are paid."

Bako further said the union had met with government twice since the strike commenced on November 26, 2012, but all ended in deadlock.

He said due to lack of interest in the problems of the institutions and the affected staff the government had refused to appoint governing council to address issues affecting their day to day running.

"Each time we table the issue of convocation to the government for approval, they will ask us to go back and prepare the cost and when we do that, nothing would be heard about it again.That has been the situation till now, and we are fed up with this attitude of the government of the day," he added.

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