The Benue State University (BSU) chapter of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has appealed to the state government 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 had been at home for over two months as a result of the unmet demands of BSU union who have consequently embarked on strike.
The Protem Coordinator of ERC, BSU chapter, Mr. Oko Owi Ocho, in a statement, condemned the anti-poor government of Samuel Ortom-led administration for refusing to meet the demands of ASUU.
â€œThese 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 members, among others.â€
He said the lecturers in the university have not been placed on pension scheme by the state government, adding, â€œthis 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 percent tax, 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.â€
He however called on students and the striking lecturers to begin to organise mass protests and demonstrations to mount pressure on the state government so as to resolve the impasse.
â€œWe 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 workersâ€™ salary is on the verge of collapsing the state, â€œOcho said
He demanded a reversal of the exorbitant school fees that undergraduates are paying in the institution, noting that Benue state is dominated by poor peasant farmers who mainly do their farming with crude farming tools.
â€œWe urge the government to urgently reverse the astronomical fees in order to curb the growing rate of dropouts in the institution as a result of the difficulty faced by poor working class and peasant parents to pay the fees.â€