By Peter Duru
MAKURDI â€” THE Benue State government has described the ongoing strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Benue State University chapter as illegal and mischievous.
The government noted that the striking university lecturers had no basis for their action given the huge resources that are yearly devoted to the running of the institution and the payment of wages of both the academic and non academic staff of the school.
The governmentâ€™s position on the lingering crisis was made known by Governor Gabriel Suswam of the state while playing host to the leadership of the Student Union Government of the institution in Makurdi.
He regretted that the striking university teachers had persistently turned down invitations by the management of the institution to dialogue, adding that the position of ASUU-BSU to renege on dialogue casts doubt on the genuineness of the demands of the lecturers.
Represented by his Deputy, Chief Steven Lawani, the governor said: â€œThe Vice Chancellor of the institution through a letter signed by the Registrar has severally invited members of ASUU to a meeting but they refused to honour the invitation.
â€œBy refusing to honour the invitations to dialogue, it became clear to government that there is more to the strike action than the demand for salary increment.
â€œThe government has expended so much money in that institution which of course led to the university receiving the award of the best state-owned institution in the country some time ago.
â€œThat is why it is difficult to understand why, if there is a problem, we cannot sit down and talk to sort out the issues.”
The governor further said the state government was forced to close down the institution on the premise of a security report that indicated that it was not safe to keep the institution open.
Earlier in his remark, President of the Benue State University, Studentsâ€™ Union Government, Mr. Jeremiah Iyoh, pleaded with the state government to intervene in the institutionâ€™s lingering crisis with ASUU.
Iyoh said the latest development in BSU and the subsequent closure of the institution was likely to force students of the school to taking to anti-social vices.