Lalong slams ASUU over Plateau varsity strike
Governor Simon Lalong of Plateau State has described the reasons given by the Academic Staff Union of Universities to embark on strike in the state-owned university as ridiculous and out of place
Lecturers in the Plateau State University, Bokkos had on January 16 embarked on an indefinite strike.
Chairman of ASUU in the institution, Dr Bentse Pamson, while declaring the strike, had accused the government of abandoning the university without any capital project except the ones being undertaken through TETFUND. He also accused the government of refusing to reconstitute the governing council after the tenure of the last officials expired, leaving the university without direction, among others, and vowed that his members would not return to the classrooms until their demands were met.
But Lalong who spoke in Jos on Friday described ASUU’s reasons for the strike as trivial and an attempt to ridicule his administration.
The Governor who recalled that Plateau State University was shut down when he came into office in 2015 insisted that he had done a lot to reposition the institution because of his passion for education and wondered why the ASUU would turn round to accuse him of abandoning the university and use it as a reason for their strike.
Lalong said, “When I came into office as Governor, the Plateau State University, Bokkos was virtually shut down and comatose. Because of my passion for education and the fact that I was instrumental in passing the bill that established it while I was Speaker, we moved quickly to remove all barriers to ensure that the school reopens.
“Today, the University has blossomed and is fast growing. Not only did we ensure that the first-ever Convocation Ceremony of the University was held in 2017 but followed up with preparation for the 3rd, 4th & 5th combined Convocation Ceremony of the University which was held virtually in August 2020 due to COVID-19.
“Apart from ensuring the accreditation of over 14 courses, three new faculties have been approved including Law, Health Sciences and Environmental Science with the fourth, Agriculture soon to be introduced.
“While the State Government continues to approve funds for infrastructural development of the University, including remodelling of the multi-purpose hall to serve as Law Auditorium as well as the construction of Teaching Hospital for the new faculty of health sciences in Shendam, we have successfully lobbied for various gigantic projects being executed by TETFUND.
“That is why I was taken aback when the Academic Staff Union of PLASU claimed that they were going on strike because the State Government does not have any project in the school. This is rather most unfortunate and to say the least incorrect, ridiculous and uncharitable.
“Besides trying to trivialize the matter and ridicule the Government and the University, the damage that such wild insinuation does on the prospects for future benefit from such funding is unimaginable. While others are envying Plateau State for accessing such huge projects, some people who are direct beneficiaries are not showing appreciation.”
The Governor said he had since set up a 7-man Committee to interface with ASUU, address their demands and appealed to them to call off their strike to enable the students to return to school.