It has been revealed to www.calitown.com that unless the Cross River State Government resolves to pay striking university lecturers in the state owned Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH,their outstanding salaries and allowances, the lecturers will not return back to work. Arising from their congress yesterday, the union decried the harsh conditions members were passing through and wondered why government is not showing any sensitivity to the plight of staff and students of the institution.
On the line from his base in Calabar, Secretary-General of the CRUTECH chapter of ASUU, Sonny Eworo further told www.calitown.com that, “…our congress had not much to say about any resumption of academic activities because government has not responded to our demands. The last message we got from the chairman of the CRS Traditional Rulers Council is that the governor is still busy with the elections and may only attend to the matter thereafter”.
Asked if no middle ground can be reached on this matter with government, Eworo was emphatic that that middle ground can only be reached if government fulfills her financial obligations to them. “You know we also have children, we need to feed our children and send them to school. Unfortunately for us,most of our children have been thrown out of school and it is very embarrassing that you have an associate professor in CRUTECH and they are throwing his ward(s) out of school at the Unical International Secondary School. You cannot convince the teachers that an associate professor cannot pay his children’s school fess. That is the situation we are passing through, tell me if this is right?”.
Outside the salaries and allowances the lecturers are being owed, investigations also show that the lecturers want the state government to commit more funds to the development of relevant infrastructure in the institution. Eworo again pointed out that, “there are some departments in CRUTECH that do not have a single classroom and this school is 12 years old. The structures you see in the school are either built by donor agencies or by The Educational Trust Fund, TETFUND. Government has not built one structure in CRUTECH worth N10 million or above, to say it is a structure we have put there to help the school commence academic activities”. He faults the establishment of the new Institute of Technology and Management, ITM, Ugep “…with school fess of between N100, 000 to N200, 000. How many Cross Rivetians can afford the fees? In CRUTECH the fee is N70, 000 and students are finding it extremely difficult to pay because their parents have not been paid salaries”.
Hostel accommodation is also an issue on the front burner. The Sec-Gen position is, “…we have 12,000 students and the hostel facilities are for 700; and this is only in Calabar. The Obubra, Ogoja and Okuku campuses have no hostel facilities. Isn’t it an unfair situation that most of these students are going to school with no facilities to enhance learning and assimilation. It is very unfortunate”, he concluded.
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