PLASU's Vice Chancellor clarifies matters regarding tuition hikes, ASUU strike, and other concerns.

 Prof. Bernard Matur, the Vice Chancellor of Plateau State University, Bokkos, reassures his dedication to improving the welfare of both faculty and students.

Addressing the ongoing strike by 110 out of 258 academic staff since November last year, Prof. Matur stated on Rhythm 93.7FM Jos, Tuesday, “As management, we’ve addressed most of their demands.”

He acknowledged challenges like staff quarters and road network, emphasizing, “These are long-term projects dependent on resources.”

Prof. Matur highlighted the State Governor’s approval for a 5km road network within the university, signaling progress. Despite the strike, he noted, the university initiated dialogue efforts with the lecturers well before November 9.

“When I assumed office in June 2023, the University staff and students presented their demands, with a significant focus on the outstanding Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) dating back to 2016. I promptly addressed EAA payments up to the last examination in 2020,” explained Prof. Matur.

Lecturers’ Entitlements Cleared

Highlighting the unresolved EAA for the 2020/2021 session, he clarified, “The lecturers haven’t submitted results, a prerequisite for verification and subsequent payment. A committee chaired by the bursar was set up for verification, but during discussions, ASUU staged a walkout, disputing the presented template.”

Matur detailed numerous failed attempts to engage ASUU, expressing regret for their refusal to attend meetings.

“On the day they began the strike after a meeting on November 9th at Plateau State Polytechnic in Jos despite lacking a quorum and no prior warning strike, contrary to ASUU tradition, the university council meeting was ongoing. We tried to call and text them for a meeting, but they refused. Subsequent invitations on November 11th, 13th, 19th, 22nd, and 25th were all declined. Even on December 5th, when another invitation was extended, they still refused. The Plateau House of Assembly speaker, also an alumnus, invited us and ASUU for a meeting at the old government house, and they refused until he invited us again along with the commissioner of higher education. Reluctantly, they attended, maintaining claims on already addressed issues,” Matur explained.

“Before my tenure, the academic staff union had a three-month strike, with the federal government still owing salary arrears. I convinced former Governor Lalong to pay three months, and when the new administration led by Governor Caleb Mutfwang took over, all salary arrears were cleared for both academic and non-academic staff. PLASU is the only university among 220+ in Nigeria without staff salary arrears, except for those currently on strike.

148 out of 258 Lecturers Still Working

“Out of 258 academic staff, 146 deemed the strike illegal and baseless, urging patience for the new administration to settle in. I, as VC, requested time to continue at the pace I began, but they haven’t granted me that opportunity, despite other achievements within six months,” he lamented

Campus Security

On the lecturers’ security concerns, the VC said “The first thing I did in the first week of June 2023 when I officially took over as VC was to write to the IGP and personally delivered the letter to his office requesting for a functional police station within the vicinity of the university. The IGP immediately signaled the CP to set up a police station and that is active now. We equally contacted the STF and they set up a base in the vicinity of the university. Recently we got the NSCDC to deploy ten personnel to add to the existing securities in the university,” he detailed, noting security was his first priority.

“As a university, we’ve recruited 27 professional hunters and purchased six motorcycles to enable our internal security effectively patrol the university. For effective communication purposes, the university purchased 37 walkie-talkie to the university security and vigilantes in the host community to effectively safeguard the university,” he said.

Academic Expansion

“Academic expansion is my number two priority. The expansion of the university is long overdue. This is a university that started in 2005 Bauchi State university, Veritas universities, Godfrey Okoye university, IBB university Lapai and Nasarawa State University all started at the same time but have more than 20 faculties and have been running PG programs for over 15 years. Immediately I took over, I went to the NUC with the necessary documentations, and today the university has grown from a four faculty university with 16 programs to 11 faculties and the school of post graduate studies. We have as well introduced programs in the education training sector. PLASU now has 45 academic programs including in law, medical and nursing sciences, Environmental sciences and building engineering among others,” he explained.


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