Bayelsa State Governor,
Henry Seriake Dickson has called on the state-owned Niger Delta University (NDU) to be more resourceful and innovative, in terms of revenue generation.
According to him, his administration can no longer sustain the existing funding system owing to the present poor financial standing of the state.
The Governor stated this during a meeting with the Governing Council and principal officers of NDU in Government House, Yenagoa.
He described a situation where the state government’s monthly subvention of about 480 million naira was spent only on the university’s recurrent expenditure, as unsustainable.
Going down memory lane, the Governor said, he had expressed concern over the bogus wage bill of the university and the need for the university 25 leadership to be prudent in the use of the funds, which his administration religiously provided until January this year, with a view to enabling the institution gain some degree of financial autonomy.
Commenting on the ongoing industrial action embarked upon by the state chapter of the Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, Governor Dickson appealed to the striking lecturers to call off their action and join hands with the government in proffering solutions to the issue of unpaid salaries caused by the sharp drop in the state revenues.
While empathizing with the staff and students of the institution over the development, he, however, reaffirmed his commitment to measures that would help in cutting down the wage bill of the university, in such a way that would not affect its status as a centre of excellence and research.
To this end, the governor called on the management of the university to work closely with the government to arrive at a much more feasible funding arrangement that would cater for the salaries of all academic staff and appropriate number of non-teaching staff.
Describing the current non-academic staff strength of 2,502 as unacceptable, Governor Dickson frowned at the practice, where the university asserts its autonomy only in the area of employment, but passes all salary obligations to the state government.
His words, “At the inauguration of the NDU Governing Council four years ago, we laid out our vision of what our University should be. We realized that it was going to be unsustainable to have the situation we met, hereby the university with its very high recurrent wage bill will be drawing its salaries on a monthly basis from the government.
A situation where the university will employ as they wish and then transfer the salaries to the state government can no longer be sustained.
“Our vision, moving forward, is for an NDU that is properly organised and run as a university that can stand the test of time irrespective of the economic vicissitudes that may afflict our state.
Diri Charges Security Agencies On Intelligence Gathering
Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State has urged security agencies to invest more time and resources in intelligence gathering in their effort to overcome banditry, insurgency and other securty challenges confronting the country.
He made the call at a retirement party organized by the state government in honour of the outgoing state Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, in Yenagoa.
Represented by his deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, the Governor emphasized the need for security agencies to adopt a holistic approach that will encourage the active participation of civilians in their campaign against insecurity.
According to Senator Diri, until security is seen as everyone’s business in society, the use of kinetic approach to addressing security challenges will yield little or no meaningful result.
While calling on the police and other security outfits to be above board in the performance of their duties, he urged people of the state to always volunteer information that could lead to the arrest and prosecution of criminals in the state.
“Security is everybody’s business, but more often than not it is seen as nobody’s responsibility. Sometimes we want somebody to do something about security, and nobody does anything about it, and at the end of the day security is not taken seriously.
“But somebody has to do something about security. We should all do something about security so that our state can be safe.I will like our security agencies to be more proactive and preemptive in carrying out their duties because it is cheaper to be preventive. They have to make more effort in the area of intelligence gathering from the civil populace”, he said.
Describing CP Mike Okoli as a refined product with an unblemished record throughout his service in the Nigeria Police, Governor Diri said society had a lot to learn from the wealth of experience of the retiring Commissioner of Police.
He acknowledged the sacrifices being made by security personnel, noting that some of them get killed or become paralyzed in the course of securing lives and property, and therefore, must be appreciated in society.
“We need to learn a lot from the experiences of CP Mike Okoli. He had good cooperation with his colleagues in the state. No wonder, Bayelsa State had a decline in crime during their service in this state. As a government, we are very grateful. We know what these people (security agents) pass through. As civilians, we sleep at the risk of their breath, spine and throat.
“When you are sleeping and a crime is being committed, the Commissioner of Police and other service commanders would rush out because there is something going on.We are praying for CP Mike Okoli that as you are going into your retirement… from the Nigerian Police, we thank God on your behalf for being who you are and who you are going to be”, he added.
Earlier in their separate goodwill messages, the Amanyanabo of Twon-Brass, His Royal Majesty King Alfred Diete-Spiff, and the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, Assistant Inspector General, Don Awunah, acknowledged CP Okoli’s contributions to the relative peace and security in the state.
They described him as an outstanding and accomplished officer with an unblemished track record in the Nigerian Police and wished him the best in his future endeavours.
Responding, the Bayelsa State Commissioner of Police, CP Mike Okoli, thanked Governor Douye Diri, and his Deputy, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, for honouring him by hosting his retirement thanksgiving reception.
Okoli also thanked the service commanders and everyone who made out time to attend the event, especially the Commandant of Police Staff College, Jos, A.I.G Don Awunah, and prayed God to bless them.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Delta Commissioner Urges Students To Study Hard
Commissioner for Secondary Education in Delta State, Mrs Rose Ezewu, has urged Nigerian students to always study hard to excel in their examinations to become productive adults.
Ezewu made the plea yesterday, while monitoring the ongoing third term promotion examinations in some schools across the state.
According to her, this is one way for students to broaden their minds, knowledge and become successful individuals, problem solvers, employers and wealth creators in the society.
The commissioner described teachers as critical stakeholders in the development of any society, especially in the area of building and shaping the orientation of children.
“Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration is committed to transforming the education sector by ensuring a conducive teaching and learning environment for students and teachers in the state.
“Teachers should reciprocate government’s huge investment in the education sector by being more committed to their duties,’’ she said.
Some of the schools monitored by the commissioner and her team included Okeme Secondary School, Okuokoko in Okpe Local Government Area and Ogbe Secondary School, Effurun.
Others are Alegbon Secondary School, Ekpan, both in Uvwie Local Government Area, and Edjeba College in Warri South Local Government Area.
Don Advocates Balance Between Demand, Supply Of Teachers
Prof. Ebele Egwunyenga of the Delta State University, Abraka, yesterday advocated an equilibrium between the demand for and supply of teachers in the school system
Egwunyenga made the assertion in a paper she presented at the 7th Quadrennial 8th State Delegates Conference of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Delta State Chapter, in Asaba.
She said that adequate personnel is essential in the sustainability of Nigeria’s educational system.
According to her, adequacy is not limited to the number of personnel as it includes equitable distribution of teachers according to areas of specialisation.
“I recommend that government should ensure that there is equilibrium between teachers’ demand and supply in the school system.
“Government should improve on social amenities, particularly in rural areas. This will encourage teachers posted to the area.
“Government should provide modern technology for both teaching and learning. School facilities should be made attractive by government such that teachers would wish to be in school daily.”
Egwunyenga, who underscored the importance of education in nation building, said that education remained the vehicle for sustainable socio-economic development of any nation.
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