By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—STAFF and students of the Edo State owned College of Agriculture, Iguoriakhi, in Ovia North East Local Government Area of the state, yesterday took to the streets of Benin City, protestig the non-payment of one year salaries arrears as well as the closure of the institution for over six months.
Spokesperson for the students, Mr Kenneth Esiri told journalists at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Secretariat in Benin City, that students of the College have been at home idly away since the institution was closed for one year contrary to the promise made to them by Governor Godwin Obaseki that the institution would be revamped within three months.
He said, “It will be recalled that when Governor Obaseki visited our College on August 7, 2017, he said he was going to revamp it within three months and that whatever decision taken will be in the student’s interest.
“He told us that he will place the students on a three months industrial attachment to enable them acquire practical experience and at the end of the training, they will be paid N20,000 monthly stipend each. But none of these happened.”
“But it has been over one year and the students have been at home idly away without focus. Our demand is that we want to go back to school to continue with our studies.
“We have spent three years pursuing a two year National Diploma and Higher National Diploma programmes. We appealed to the governor to reopen the school and pay us the three arrears of Industrial Training stipends.”
On the part of the staff, National Vice Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of the institution, Mr F. E. Otabor denied the statement credited to the governor that staff of the College were not qualified.
He also denied the governor’s statement that he paid all the entitlement of the sacked staff.
Attempt made to reach the State Commissioner of Agriculture, Mr Monday Osaigbovo for his reaction failed as he could not be reached.