The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has called on the Edo State Government to ensure payment of about 16 months salary arrears to lecturers of Ambrose Ali University (AAU), Edo State.
The students have also urged the state government to improve on budgetary allocation to the University and other tertiary institutions in the state, saying hungry and frustrated staff could not reach the students effectively.
Chairman, NANS Joint Campus Committee (JCC) Edo State Axis, Comrade Moses Emmanuel, in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, added that learning is at its “worst in AAU Ekpoma because lecturers and non-academic staffs are being owed over 16 months salary arrears and other deductions running into billions”.
He also lamented that the Cooperative society which used to be the financial lifeline for many of the staff when needs arose has been crippled.
The statement read in part: “It has become imperative and important to publicly call the attention of the Governor of Edo State, his Excellency Godwin Obaseki to the fast dwindling state of all the State-owned tertiary institutions in Edo, mostly AAU Ekpoma which is one of the foremost and reputable State-owned citadel of learning in Nigeria.
“Ambrose Alli University Ekpoma has in the past two years become a toxic arena where love, peace and tranquillity among staffs and students have been bastardized courtesy of the bad policies and decision of the Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration.
“The Governor Godwin Obaseki led administration has not started and completed a single project that NANS is aware of in Ambrose Alli University, College of Education Igueben, Edo Poly Usen or even School of Health Benin City. He met AAU Ekpoma monthly subvention at 250M and reduced it to 41M, Edo Poly Usen 55M to 10M for no publicly justified reason.
“College of medicine AAU Ekpoma is on the verge of total collapse due to lack of infrastructural and facility development. In fact, medical students are now been asked to pay 100k each to fund a hostel project needed for accreditation for which they will still be required to pay to occupy.
“Till date the Governor is yet to release the AAU Ekpoma visitation panel report that was set up and funded at the expense of taxpayers in Edo. The essence of that panel was to ascertain the financial strength and sustainability of the university and we wonder why the Gov has decided to keep the report to himself months after submission.
“Learning is at its worst in AAU Ekpoma because lecturers and non-academic staffs are being owed over 16 months salary arrears and other deductions running into billions.
“Yet the Governor expects hungry and angry lecturers to teach frustrated and depressed students who have suddenly become victims of circumstances resulting from bad governmental policies and failures.
“Tertiary Education is at its worst currently in Edo since the inception of democracy.
“Gov. Obaseki in his first tenure closed down College of Agriculture Iguoriakhi under the guise that he wants to speedily upgrade it to a world-class college.
“Today the pace of work being done in that place is not only slow, the projects being executed does not in any way justify the closing down of the School for over 4 years and still counting and it will be a shock if Obaseki is able to call the students of that campus who are still at home frustrated back to campus to resume their academic work before 2024 when he is expected to finish his second tenure.
“The Staff are still being owed salary of the period for which they worked before the School was closed down. College of Education Ekiadolor workers has become street beggars because the Governor has refused to pay them theirs over 20 months salary owed even after tactically terminating their appointments.
“Why NANS will reserve her comment for now as regard the Edo best programme and its implementation level across the State, we are calling on the Governor of Edo State to revert back the monthly subvention to all the State-owned tertiary institutions in the State back to how he met it if he cannot afford to increase it or cannot publicly tell the public why he is starving the various institutions financially to the point of total collapse,” the student body said.
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