As the state branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities join their counterparts nationwide on strike today,the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi says the state government is preparing to go to court against the state branch of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) for embarking on an unnecessary strike.
Governor Amaechi, who disclosed this Monday in Port Harcourt during an interactive meeting with youths, as part of activities marking the third anniversary of his administration, said the lecturers are employees of the state government and should not compare themselves to workers of federal universities. The governor remarked that whatever agreement that may have been reached between the Federal Government and teachers in federal institutions could not be binding on the state government since the state was not part of the discussion.
He explained that lecturers of the State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and the University of Education in Rivers State had a meeting with him where the issues were raised, and he pleaded with them to wait for the Secretary to the Government, who was outside the country, to return to enable them address the issues, but rather they chose to embark on strike.
The State Chief Executive said the incessant industrial dispute embarked upon by the University Lecturers in Rivers State some on sympathy with Federal workers was not in the interest of the students.
According to the governor, â€œASUU Rivers State branch has never gone on strike to protest poor funding, research materials or non-availability of working equipment, but the teachers are prepared to shutdown the school on the slightest welfare issue, without considering the effect on their studentsâ€.
Governor Amaechi said the state government has decided to go to Court to determine if it was proper for the teachers to go on strike when they worked for the state government, and still see themselves as eligible to benefit from decision with the federal government.
He appealed to the students of the state owned institutions, to bear with the government and await the outcome of the resolution of the issues, to enable them have a stable academic programme rather than the present situation where the lecturers take undue advantage of students and the public.
The governor, who described the lecturers as unpatriotic also hinted that the principle of no work, no pay would be applied, as their salaries would be paid when they return to the classrooms to perform the duties for which salaries are paid to them.
Meanwhile Amaechi says the era when budgets passed by the State House of Assembly were put in the drawer of Governors was over in the state.
Governor Amaechi stated this today while addressing members of the State House of Assembly at the Assembly Complex, Port Harcourt, as part of activities marking the third year anniversary of his administration.
The governor, who thanked members of the State Legislature for the support he has enjoyed from them, noted that they have passed a lot of laws that have helped in the effective administration of the state.
He promised that he would implement all the laws passed by the state assembly to ensure sanity in the state.
The Speaker, Rivers State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Tonye Harry said the House having passed a vote of confidence on Governor Amaechi earlier, was urging him to declare his intention to run for the 2011 Governorship Election, assuring him of their support.
â€”Okafor Ofiebor/Â Â Â Port Harcourt