‘Why we are going on strike’
Lecturers of the Bayelsa State-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) in Amassoma, who yesterday proceeded on an indefinite strike over their four months unpaid salaries, have given their reason why they decided to take the action.
Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Port-Harcourt zone, Prof Beke Select, said the state government owes the lecturers and non-academic staff of the university since January.
He stated that the decision to proceed on what he described as work-to-rule action was taken on Thursday when all entreaties to the government for their salaries to be paid fell on deaf ears.
“Yes, the work-to-rule action was ratified by the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU. The national visitation team came to the university and spent three days and we met with Deputy Governor John Jonah.
“They also met with the Vice Chancellor and the Congress. When they come like this, before they give permission to the branch to embark on an action, they will carry out a comprehensive assessment of the situation and then ensure that strike is inevitable or can be averted.
“They make efforts to see if they can resolve the situation, and all that they did. But all the deputy governor said was that we could go and that the government can only pay our salaries when the economy improves.
“The question is: These are people that have been working for four months without salaries and look at the circumstance of the NDU, where more than 90 per cent of the lecturers and non-academic staff live in Yenagoa, about 90 kilometres from Amassoma, without salaries.
“Worst of all, at a time when most of the period we are buying fuel for more than N200 per litre, this matter becomes unbearable. You cannot imagine the hardship members have been going through.
“In spite of all these, we continued, even when there was so much agitation by members that we should down tool. We took so many things into consideration- the students, children, among others. But now, we got to is the end of the road because we just cannot continue.”
The don said when they met the deputy governor, even though it was the Governor Seriake Dickson they wanted to meet, they were told the governor was not around.
He stated: “After all our discussions, we met with our team. The vice president of ASUU met with the deputy governor and asked him pointedly what commitment we could take to the Congress.
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