Delta State Government has called on the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to concentrate on how tertiary institutions in the country could commence academic activities rather than maligning them to score cheap political points.
The Commissioner for Higher Education in the state, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, made the call while reacting to some allegations levelled against the state government on some issues in the education sector by President of ASUU, Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke.
Addressing a news conference in Asaba, Muoboghare described the allegations credited to Osodeke as unfounded and uncharitable, stressing that staff of DELSU were enjoying a very robust pension scheme outside the one endorsed by ASUU.
“The allegation that Delta State University, Abraka, does not have a pension scheme is a lie from the pit of hell. There is a pension scheme in Abraka but they are not on the ASUU pension company because they are on the old pension scheme.
“They receive their pensions immediately they retire while their gratuities are paid as soon as they are compiled and verified by the Ministry of Higher Education.
“As we speak, there is no person who has retired from DELSU, Abraka that is not on pension and as for death benefits and gratuities the university compiles it immediately. The last one we did was on the 22nd March, 2022 for N395 million.
“For the National President of ASUU who is a Deltan to deliberately misinform the general public is, to say the least, most uncharitable.
The Commissioner said no meaningful project of TETFUND was in DELSU pointing out that all faculties and departmental projects were conceptualised, funded and executed by the Delta State Government.
“In the University, we recognise faculties and I will sponsor his trip to Delta State University, Abraka, if he can point any faculty project funded by TETFUND.
“All our faculty buildings including the Faculty of Arts that will be inaugurated on Saturday by Governor Ifeanyi Okowa were conceptualised and built by the state government.
“So where are the TETFUND projects he queried?
“He has not been home in Delta State and so he is relying on what people are telling him. Delta gets far less than it gets from its contributions to TETFUND and whatever am saying here is provable and you can go and check,” Muoboghare said.
He explained that the three new universities were measures to provide a platform for Deltans to enjoy quality and affordable tertiary education.
On the allegation that Delta State shouldn’t have established the new universities because a University in Egypt has over 500,000 students, the Commissioner said Prof. Osodeke displayed ignorance on why the universities were established.
He said that they were established to meet the yearnings of numerous Deltans who qualify for admission on yearly basis.
“The University of Ibadan was established in 1948 and it doesn’t have up to 100,000 students yet other universities including Federal University of Agriculture, Umudike were established?
“In Delta we have over 500 public secondary schools and more than that number of private schools churning out brilliant students.
Further justifying the establishment of the three new universities, Muoboghare said over 25,000 qualified Deltans chose the Delta State University, Abraka as first choice while the university could only admit 7,000 students.
“This year Delta State University, Abraka was able to admit 7,000 students, University of Delta, Agbor, 2,016 students, Delta State University of Science and Technology, Ozoro, 2,000 students and Dennis Osadebey University admitted 600.
“If we had not established these three universities, where would these students had gone to?
“Delta state has no apologies for establishing these universities and if the need be in the future, we will establish more because Deltans would always seek space for admission in our tertiary institutions,” he said.
On the allegation that staff of Delta State University were suffering, Muoboghare chided the ASUU boss saying that it was not just laughable but incomparable.
Prof. Muoboghare said staff and lecturers in state-owned Tertiary institutions were earning more than their counterparts in Federal Universities and advised the president of ASUU to carry out a thorough investigation before misinforming Nigerians about the giant strides of the State in the educational Sub-sector.
On the ongoing industrial action by ASUU, Prof. Muoboghare said Academic Staff Union members in DELSU have no concrete reasons to join because the state government has done the needful.
He added that the state government has paid N395 million naira as death benefit and gratuity of retirees in DELSU in March this year.
“It is very very laughable to say that staff of Delta State University are suffering, a Professor at the bar at Delta State University earns N633,000 monthly more than professors at other universities who earn N550,000 including Federal University of Agriculture Umudike were the ASUU President teaches.
On Earned Academic Allowances, Prof. Muoboghare said that as soon as ASUU signed the agreement with the Federal Government in 2009, the Delta State Government started paying the lecturers in Delta State University, Abraka.
“After signing the 2009 agreement with ASUU, the Federal Government refused to pay but as soon as it was approved, Delta State started paying its lecturers.
“So because lecturers in other universities are not earning it, you want us to escort you to fight your battle?
“I refer to all these attacks as mere jealousy and I advise ASUU to use Delta State as a model to run other universities.
“The staff of Delsu enjoy a very robust pension scheme, before the man in Umudike’s list is compiled and sent to Abuja for approval, the man in Abraka would have gotten his money.
“How many universities in Nigeria get N500m per month as salary subvention?
“You cannot fill any vacancy without approval from Abuja but here in Delta, they have express approval to replace any staff because they have their monthly salary subvention.
“Federal universities have lost their autonomy but Delta State University is building on autonomy.
“The University of Ibadan cannot recruit even a graduate assistant without going to Abuja to seek approval, but Delta State University recruits without coming to Asaba to get approval because their salary subvention is sent to them monthly,”
He said projects amenities of international standard were on ground for academic activities stressing that the time had come for other states and Federal government to key into the model being used by the Okowa-led administration to run her tertiary institutions.
“I challenge you to visit our four universities to carry out an independent assessment of whether we should be called a University or not,” he stated.