The Academic Staff Union
of Universities (ASUU), Niger Delta University (NDU), chapter, has urged Gov. Seriake Dickson to fund the institution adequately.
The Chairman of the union, Dr Stanley Ogoun, made the call at a news conference in Yenagoa.
The union said the call became necessary as the government was establishing another university in partnership with private investors despite owing lecturers salaries and under-funding NDU.
Ogoun said that instead of establishing a African International University, the governor should fund the NDU properly.
Our correspondent reports that NDU lecturers have been on strike for more than two months over non-payment of their salaries for the past six months.
The ASUU chairman said the passage of the Bill to establish the university was an attempt to destroy the state-owned university.
Ogoun wondered why a government that was unable to adequately fund the NDU could be tinkering with the idea of establishing a new university.
He said the proposed university would come on stream via counterpart funding.
“Who truly owns this African International University? Who are the private promoters?
“Why is the Governor of Bayelsa State, the Visitor to a supposedly private-sector driven university? Why are the supposed investors faceless?
“What is the percentage of equity holding by the Bayelsa State Government and that of the supposed investors in the private-public arrangement?
The ASUU Chairman sought to know why the investors in the PPP arrangement could not obtain a licence from the National Universities Commission.
Ogoun also wondered why the state Assembly passed the bill setting up the institution “within 24 hours, without a public hearing as required of bills of such nature.”
He said the bill was simply a prototype of the NDU Law 2000 as amended in 2004, alleging that the NDU Law 2000 was plagiarised.
He, therefore, called on Bayelsa people, the Ijaw nation and the general public to be vigilant and stand up against any fraudulent intent that would enslave the masses.
But Bayelsa Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Jonathan Obuebite said “Dickson is not the owner of the university.’’
Obuebite said the new university was an idea conceived by private investors who desired the state partnership in the project.
“We announced the intention of the State Government to engage the private sector to float a new university to be named the African International University.
“Shortly after the announcement, as expected, the social media was awash with different tales of the idea behind the university and the real intention.
“Some accused us of going to open a new university when we have said we cannot continue to fund the Niger Delta University.
“This wrong notion and interpretation of our move is sad but we thank them for displaying their folly and mischief and commend them also for giving their paymaster a reason to believe they are working”, Obuebite said.
The Academic Staff Union