Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday told lecturers and other staff of the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) that government could not continue to fund the payment of their salaries, following the current economic realities.
Dickson, who spoke during the submission of the interim report on the NDU to him by the Chairman of the Committee, Professor Stephen Odiowei at the Government House, Yenagoa, urged the university to find alternative sources of funding.
However, the governor noted that in terms of infrastructure, he was ready to continue to sustain and improve on the facilities in the university situated in Amassoma, Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.
“Government does not consider it sustainable to be paying salaries of lecturers and other staff, as the NDU has potential for self sustainability through internally generated revenue to meet their demands,” the governor argued.
But he pledged the government’s commitment to inject funds for the infrastructural and manpower development of the NDU, “to attract reputable lecturers and students to the institution.”
The governor noted that the NDU possesses the potential for self sustainability, adding that the challenge for the government was how to raise funds to close the gap on the neglect the institution suffered in the past by investing to raise the capacity of the university.
While also pledging to support the committee to ensure that it formulates a development plan for the school, Governor Dickson promised to study the interim report, with a view to taking the most appropriate decisions that will impact positively on the institution.
He restated the government’s stand on the issue of subvention for the running of tertiary institutions, owned by the state, stressing that subvention was a sustainable means to reduce the cost of running and encourage infrastructural development.
“Government’s position on the issue of subvention is well known and we will encourage it because it is sustainable during this period of economic recession, as well as fast track infrastructural development,” he said.
While presenting the committee’s interim report, the Chairman, Professor Odiowei, disclosed that the NDU has 12 faculties, 63 departments and 91 programmes.
He added that 18 departments have been granted interim accreditation, 27 unaccredited and nine denied accreditations.
Summarising their findings and observations, Professor Odiowei said inadequate funding and power supply, poor service delivery, delay in salary payment, among others, were some of the factors militating against the development of the institution
The committee recommended the provision of a 1,000kva generating set to serve both the new and old campuses, financial support to the school’s agricultural farm and prompt and regular payment of salaries.
It also called for the engagement of professors and senior lecturers so as to enhance the smooth running of the university.