The Benue State University (BSU) chapter of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls on the Governor Samuel Ortom-led government of Benue State to immediately meet the demands of striking members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that students can resume academic activities.
The students of Benue State University have been at home for over two months as a result of the unmet demands of BSU ASUU who have consequently embarked on strike. This is unacceptable.
We condemn the anti-poor government of Samuel Ortom and his All Progressive Congress (APC)-led government for refusing to meet the demands of ASUU. These demands range from unpaid Earned Academic Allowance (EAA), absence of an Insurance Policy for members, Pension Scheme, Appointment of Principal Officers in the University by the government and delayed payment of staff salaries, payment of death benefits to its members.
The lecturers of Benue State University are made not to be entitled to pension scheme by the state government. This means that after years of meritorious service, they will have nothing to survive on with their families. The lamentable side of the whole issue is the fact that lecturers are charged so much tax that they can barely afford decent living standards. The lecturers in BSU are charged about 34℅ tax and yet they are not being paid allowances. While the politicians collect fat salaries and allowances for doing nothing, the lecturers are deprived their earned allowances.
ERC is demanding that the Governor Samuel Ortom-led APC should meet the demands of ASUU and allow the undergraduates return back to the classroom. We call on students and the striking lecturers to begin to organize joint actions like mass protests and demonstrations to pile pressure on the state government to resolve the impasse.
We also demand free, quality and democratically-managed public education in Benue State. Benue is one of the most backward states when it comes to education. The state primary and secondary schools are in a total mess due to poor funding. The irresponsibility of the government towards education, health, public infrastructures and payment of workers’ salary is on the verge of collapsing the State.
The ERC is also demanding a reversal of the exorbitant school fees that undergraduates are paying, knowing fully well that Benue state is dominated by poor peasant farmers who mainly do their farming with crude farming tools. We urge the government to urgently reverse the astronomical fees in order to curb the growing rate of drop out in the institution as a result of the difficulty faced by poor working class and peasant parents to pay the fees.
Oko Owi Ocho