<<< By Terver Akase >>>
Governor Samuel Ortom has assured the academic and non-academic staff of tertiary institutions in Benue State, that the Government will address their demands as soon as finances of the state improve. He has therefore urged them to call off their strike to save the future of the students.
Governor Ortom who made the call when he met with officials of unions in the state tertiary institutions, said the State Government was worried about the non-payment of allowances owed staff of the tertiary institutions, attributing the delay to unavailability of funds.
He assured the striking staff of tertiary institutions that his administration would pay their allowances once the economy of the state gets better, pointing out that his administration inherited the demands being made by the unions but moved quickly to find a solution.
Governor Ortom appealed to the workers to end their strike in the interest of the entire state, emphasising that the dwindling economic fortunes of the country had made it extremely difficult for the state to clear the allowances in good time.
He said the demands of the striking workers of tertiary institutions would be discussed in the State Executive Council meeting and a decision made soon. He stressed that the welfare of workers of the state at all levels remains his priority.
The Governor said one of the measures his administration had embarked upon was to improve on the internally generated revenue of the state.
Earlier, the Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Tertiary Institutions, Comrade Torseer Haa Orpin, commended the decision of Governor Ortom to personally meet with the unions, saying that the current steps towards dialogue would lead to amicable resolution of the matter.
Others who spoke during the meeting included the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Tertiary Institutions in Benue State, Comrade Ijime Akuhwa, as well as that of the Non-Academic Staff Union, Comrade Teryima Kaaie.
Governor Samuel had set up a technical committee to look into the strike embarked upon by staff of the state-owned tertiary institutions. Among the demands the unions presented to Governor Samuel Ortom during the meeting were ten per cent medical allowances owed them between 2013, 2014 and 2915. The unions are also demanding for increase in the retirement age of members, hazard allowances among other demands.