The Academic staff union of universities ASUU plateau state University Bokkos about four (4) days ago declared a total strike. The strike started on Friday 15/01/2020. The union Chairperson who spoke to VPN revealed that for over three (3) years the Union has been trying to engage government on sundry issues that bother on the quality assurance of the institution.
The branch chairperson also insist that ASUU have written several letters “We have enough letters numbering more than ten Including the one written by our Comrade President on behalf of NEC to warn the plateau State Government”
While students were anxious for a solution to enable them to go back to class after one year of a National Strike, the governor of Plateau state Rt. Hon SB Lalong, on the 18th Jan 2021 visited the university where he claimed that indeed the government had invested tremendously, governor lalong says:
“Since assuming office in 2015, the Rescue Administration restored activities at the Plateau State University and has continued to pay attention to its development.
- We carried out the construction of over 13km of tarred dual carriageway within the University
- Over 27km of street lights have been put on the campus
- To ensure that academic activities are based on a solid foundation, the Government released 279 million nairas which secured accreditation of 14 programmes
- Besides, three new faculties have been approved (Law, Health Sciences & Agriculture)
- Government also approved the remodelling of the multi-purpose hall to serve as Law Auditorium
- Following the decision to set up a College of Health Sciences, we approved the construction of Teaching Hospital at Shendam which is ongoing
- I am very happy with the tremendous transformation of the University which is as a result of the from the joint partnership between the State & Federal Governments through TETFUND.
VPN contacted the ASUU branch chairperson who confirms that government is not ready for negotiation, says “As we speak, there has been no official contact for negotiation. So, commitment has been shown. Lastly, the Government should do something about our impending strike issues which they are conversant with instead of resulting to Mischief & Politicking with sensitive issues that boarders a critical sector such as University education.
On the other issues raised by the governor while on the special visit, ASUU sees it as a political strategy to shy away from the responsibility of providing a conducive learning environment for the students. The claimed tarred dual carriage road is less than 1 Km. & not 13Km, street lights on campus are less than 2Km & not 27Km and all the claimed new faculties are proposed to be undertaken by Tetfund, it’s only an approval, meaning no release of funds in that regard has been made. Contrary to the governors claim that the state is in partnership with Tetfund. Again we sought to clarify from stakeholders in other universities who testify that Tetfund itself is a brainchild of ASUU and it does not go into partnership with the state government, these stakeholders explain that currently, ASUU is demanding that governors contribute to the development of their state university as many establish universities without funding mechanism…
ASUU is challenging the governor to come up with the amount he paid to Tetfund for the claimed partnership the union insist that “It is not a partnership, we all know Tetfund are sole sponsors. Can the government tell us how much or what % they had or are contributing?
On the issue of the teaching hospital, VPN gathered that it is a legacy project that has been converted to a teaching Hospital. The host community in Bokkos are not happy with the move to take it shendam.
Again, the union calls on the government of plateau state to own up and invest in the institution as “Direct intervention is grossly inadequate” there is no need to play politics because ASUU is not a political party many stakeholders added.
Some alumni of the institution are calling on the governor to do the right thing by protecting the students as the environment is no longer safe due to herdsmen and other criminal activities. The alumni agree (most of them) that there is grossly shortage of academic staff in the university and there is no single facility build by the Lalong led administration of the government of plateau state except the chapel build by J.C Dariye.
A onetime student union president in PLASU, comrade Nankin D. syays “I think on an objective ground, Lalong has given more attention to the institution compared to Jang but the claim that he has invested massively is an incomplete deviation to the principle of existence itself. I think the man has another meaning to “massive investment”. If he had invested massively, I am sure his daughter would have been schooling in his institution of massive investment. Comrade, I am sure you should know that at the sight of the institution you will know that the statement is the zenith of falsification and no one should deceive himself that the content of the institution is not at nadir line unless if we have no intention of attaining the acme potentials of the institution as birthed by its founding fathers. Even the attention I said he has paid more than Jang is just political attention which gives less output compared to practically result-oriented attention.”
Students of the institution are planning a mass demonstration if the strike is not called off, the coming weeks shall reveal itself.