From Esther Akaa, Lafia
The Nasarawa State Government has agreed to take over payment of salaries of staff of Nasarawa State University Keffi (NSUK) beginning from August 2022.
Governor Abdullahi Sule disclosed this on Thursday at the State Executive Council meeting, held at the Government House, Lafia.
According to him, the decision of his administration to takeover the payment of salaries at NSUK, was one of the key demands of the local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), paving way for possible resumption of academic activities.
Sule explained that, so far, the management of the university, as well as the non teaching unions namely; Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) have all agreed to resume academic activities at the university for the benefits of the students and the entire people of the state.
“One of the conditions they gave to us, the most important condition, is to ensure that we take over the full payment of salaries of all the staff, so that they don’t have to use their IGR.
“As far as we are concerned, we looked at our finances and we strongly believe that, based on the cashflow we have available to us and also because of the importance we attach to education, that we should be able to start that from this month.
“That is what we are looking forward to do. We are also hoping they will compliment by the moment we start the payment hopefully by Thursday or Friday, then we are hoping to see them also returning to their classes,” he said.
Meanwhile, the ASUU NSUK chapter says it will not pull out of the ongoing strike embarked by the national body of the union.
The Chairman of ASUU in NSUK, Dr Samuel Alu, who disclosed this in a telephone interview with The Voice on Thursday said the taking over of salaries payment by the state government was internal, thus the association will not pull out of the ongoing strike action embarked by ASUU.
He said “the issue of payment of the university staff salaries in full by the state government has been what we agitated for since last year August. If the state government has agreed to pay, it has not solved the national struggle that we are in now.
“We have just finished our congress and we are going to write to management to tell them that we are on an indefinite strike as it has been declared by the National body of our association.”
In another development, the governor disclosed that, following his recent visit to the Federal Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, the agency of the ministry, the National Communication Commission (NCC), through the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has donated ICT gadgets to the College of Education in Akwanga.
“They have supplied all the ICT gadgets from the NCC similar to what they did for us at the Isa Mustapha Agwai Polytechnic Lafia. The advantage COE Akwanga is having is that two servers will be installed, as part of their contribution to education in the state” he said.
He, therefore, appreciated to the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Ali Isa Pantami for the support, as well as the NCC and NITDA for their support to the state.
On the health sector, Sule said that the state recently received two awards in the area of COVID-19 treatment and vaccination, with the state emerging not only the best in the North Central but the overall best performing state in COVID-19 vaccination across the country.
The governor, however, pointed out that COVID-19 was still around, with the state recording cumulative cases of 2278 with 49 deaths which Karu, Keffi and Lafia constitute 80 percent of the cases recorded.
Other health challenges confronting the state include monkey pox, with 3 outbreaks, chickenpox, 13 outbreaks and smallpox 8, mostly around Lafia and Keffi.
On the aspect of security, the governor recalled his recent visit to the office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) in Abuja, where he sought the support of the military to address security challenges mostly around the borders between Nasarawa and Kaduna, as well as Nasarawa and Taraba States.
He, therefore, said that based on the request, the COAS has accepted to set up two military super camps in Awe and Karu Local Government Areas of the state.