From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
In response to the nationwide protest rally called by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), workers in Benue State on Tuesday trooped out in large numbers to join their counterparts across the country to demand an end to the strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The development led to the closure of public institutions and businesses within the state capital city except for primary and post-primary schools.
It was gathered that the NLC had commenced a peaceful across major streets within the Makurdi metropolis as early as 7:30 am, a development which made civil servants who were resuming work at the State Secretariat along Otukpo road take to their heels.
The protesting workers while chanting solidarity songs moved through the busy Kashim Ibrahim Road and terminated the procession at the Government House Makurdi.
Speaking at the Government House, State NLC Chairman, Godwin Anya disclosed that the two-day protest was part of activities lined up to compel the federal government to meet the agreement it entered into with ASUU.
Related: ASUU Strike : Ekiti NLC barricades major roads, protests against FG’s unconcerned attitude to lecturers’ demands
Responding, the State Governor, Samuel Ortom while receiving the protesting workers at the gate of Government House, appealed to the federal government to honour its agreement with ASUU.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof. Tony Ijohor (SAN), the Governor lamented the lack of seriousness on the part of the federal government towards addressing the issues at stake to resolve the five months old strike.
“I wish to commend the NLC for embarking on the solidarity protest. For over five months, our children have been home and since the federal government is not doing anything about it, Benue State Government is fully in support of your action and we will communicate to the federal government.
“As far as we are concerned, this strike is uncalled for. If you entered into an agreement with somebody go and honour the agreement. If they (FG) have issues, please discuss it among them.
“We can’t have a situation whereby we lock up our Universities for going to six months now. This is unacceptable.
“Let me call on the federal government that this issue of no work no pay should be revisited. It doesn’t make sense. This ASUU strike is not about salary, they have so many issues. So, go and address the issues.
“We are different from the federal government because, despite the fact that our state varsity is on sympathy strike, we are still paying them. Let FG borrow from Benue State, you cannot just stop their salary,” the governor reiterated.