The Kogi State Government has condemned a publication credited to the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) accusing the state government of insensitivity to the plight of students in the state.
A statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by the stae government stated that “it is incredulously ridiculous to insinuate that Gov. Yahaya Bello is not sensitive to the plight of the students at the state-owned university which has been on strike for months.’’
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, who issued the statement said the “government is working hard to make state-owned tertiary institutions world class citadels of learning.’’
The statement recalled that shortly after his inauguration, the governor assured authorities of various higher institutions in the state of his determination to reposition tertiary education in the state.
“The Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) told the whole world that they were going on strike because of unpaid salary arrears owed by the previous government.
“But, out of commitment to the need to prioritise education, Gov. Yahaya Bello has paid six months salaries to the university staff since assuming office on January 27.
“The latest being the four months salaries paid even as he awaited the final report of the staff verification exercise.
“The state government negotiating team has continued to engage ASUU on the need to resolve the industrial dispute and reopen the university,’’ the statement said.
The state government, therefore, in the statement insisted that NANS ought to have directed its anger at the lecturers, who it said had not reciprocated the good gesture of government.
It stated that directing an outburst at the government, in spite of its efforts, was “the height of irresponsible activism and misplaced intervention.
“NANS should have been properly informed about the real reasons why salaries were delayed; hundreds of millions of state resources have been going into ghost pockets.’’
The state government further explained that in a bid to tackle corruption, the government called for a scientific and holistic staff verification exercise which its reports had been astonishing.
“We expect the student body to commend the government for blocking the leakages which have been depriving the students their bursary and improved facilities on campuses.
“Since the completion of the staff verification exercise, salary payments have been ongoing as over 80 per cent of the workforce has received their salaries.
“The present administration has restored credibility to the civil service, overseeing the ongoing Lokoja township road project, ensured a cleaner environment through proactive measures and set the state on progress,’’ the statement said.
The statement, therefore, urged NANS to get right its facts before accepting and publishing misleading notions