Over 2000 CRUTECH students hold VC, staff, others ‘hostage’ for hours

The students of the Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH numbering over two thousand, Thursday prevented the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Anthony Owan Enoh, management staff, and lecturers from leaving the campus of the University along Ekpo Abasi junction.

Investigations carried out by DAILY POST revealed that the students’ aim was to prevent the Academic Staff Union of the University (ASUU) CRUTECH Chapter from embarking on a proposed strike.

For over six hours, the students, our findings revealed, had their ways as they prevented the VC and other lecturers from going out while others were also stopped from coming into the campus.

The University that has only one official gate experienced tensed situation as the students sang all kinds of solidarity songs and beat several drums and danced in jubilation. However, the gate of the University was left open at about six pm and the Vice Chancellor and others were allowed to go.

Meanwhile, the ASUU has commenced indefinite strike in the University, citing failure of government to give room for dialogue.

In its bulletin, the union said, “Finally, it has become imperative that we meet with the Visitor, and discuss CRUTECH, to avert its impending collapse.

“In search of solutions to the lingering issues militating against progressive academic activities, ASUU CRUTECH Expanded Executive Council met with CRUTECH Management on August 26, 2016. Far reaching resolutions were made and signed by both parties.

“To strengthen the resolutions and other issues raised, a visitation team sent by ASUU NEC to CRUTECH met with the Governing Council and Management of CRUTECH on September 23, 2016. The Governing Council promised to implement the resolutions, with deadlines provided. Regrettably, deadlines have long lapsed and key aspects of the resolutions are not met.

“Recall that ASUU CRUTECH has written series of letters, seeking audience with the Visitor, Cross River University of Technology, Sen. Prof Ben Ayade, to address the issues bedevilling CRUTECH. Surprisingly, none of these letters were responded to, nor any official invitation extended to the Union for a meeting.

“As a proactive Union that believes in amicable conflict resolution, ASUU CRUTECH requested the assistance of ASUU NEC in their quest to meet with the Visitor. NEC in her wisdom, granted the request, and consequently wrote a letter, dated 19th August, 2017, to the Visitor, seeking audience for discussions on how to find solution to issues affecting CRUTECH.

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“Again, the Visitor (Prof Ben Ayade, Governor of Cross River) neither acknowledged receipt of the letter nor responded to the letter by extending an invitation to the NEC Team. Still in search of an amicable way of conflict resolution, the Union wrote the Chairman of Council on September 20, 2017, informing him that we may not guarantee industrial peace if these issues are not adequately addressed still nothing was done.”

The key outstanding issues in the Bulletin include: Inadequate funding of the University for infrastructural development, Non-implementation/Payment of Earned Academic Allowances (EAA) and the arrears, Non-remittance of check off dues and ASUU Cooperative Society deductions, Non-payment of arrears of Teaching Practice Allowances, Economic Rent and Promotion arrears.

Others issues are failure to grant Tax Rebate to CRUTECH Staff, Non-payment of 1% Local Government deductions to the University, Amendment of the University law in line with the University Miscellaneous Amendment ACT to reflect the proper tenures of the Registrar, Bursar and University Librarian and Non-remittance of National Housing Fund deductions, Insecurity and encroachment on University land as well as Infringement on CRUTECH Autonomy

It added that “at the ASUU CRUTECH Congress of November 8, 2017, Congress deliberated exhaustively on these lingering issues which led to the strike action earlier suspended by the Union, as they have put our members in difficult circumstances and negatively affected their service delivery.

“In order to rescue CRUTECH from impending collapse, Congress was left with no other option, than to resume its strike action earlier suspended on May 6, 2015. For the avoidance of doubt, the strike is total, comprehensive and indefinite, with effect from 12.01am, November 9, 2017.” \

When DAILY POST correspondent made efforts to speak with the Commissioner for Education, Mr Goddy Etta, the workers prevented him saying the Commissioner was a busy man and would not want to see the correspondent.

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