By Ushang Ewa
Staff of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) celebrated the Easter holiday in an uncharacteristic low note as they are owed salary for the month of March with the management not doling out gifts as has been the tradition in the recent past.
Also, the management of the institution also communicated the Senate’s decision to suspend students who owe more than 1 semester school fees, thereby barring them from participating in any academic grading activity.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that the non payment of March salaries despite April being midway stems from the running battle between the management and the governing council which has seen the Varsity lose financial autonomy with the Commissioner for Education, Godwin Ettah becoming the financial head and making every approval after clearance from the management.
The Governing Council chairman, Emil Inyang had questioned the sincerity of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Owan Enoh in handling the finances of the institution when he (Owan) failed to provide the budget of the institution and reduced his approval limit from NGN2.5million to NGN500,000 following allegations that he may have squandered over NGN1 billion given by TETFUND for infrastructural development.
Also, Emil’s council had directed that the management convenes a governing council meeting every month before approving the payment of salaries, a situation which led to an open fiasco with Professor Owan allegedly storming out of a meeting with the council.
The running battle saw Emil reject a Ford Edge vehicle purchased by management for him and the result was the Education Ministry overseeing the institution’s finances with every approval for the release of funds emanating from the commissioner’s desk after following the necessary bureaucratic protocol in the institution.
Ettah is reported to have said that the state pays salaries of all MDAs before considering CRUTECH, a situation which has seeing staff of the varsity receive their salaries last and which leads to them being owed up to two months before being paid.
Sources in the Varsity told our correspondent that the inability of the VC to approve fund disbursement made them not receive the traditional gifts from the management which is usually rice and tomatoes.
Meanwhile, the management in a release on Monday reminded students of the Senate’s decision to suspend all students who owe a session school fees (NGN74,000) or more; thereby barring them from writing examinations.
“Only students who are not indebted or who owe not more than a semester’s fees (NGN37,000) are eligible to sit for the forthcoming examination,” the statement read and said the management will publish the indebtedness of students today (Wednesday) on the state owned Nigerian Chronicle and the Varsity’s website.
But, a visit to the site; www.crutech.edu.ng showed the list has not been published with the varsity’s public Relations Office, one Mr. Onen terminating prematurely, a telephone conversation between our correspondent and him.
The statement however said: “Students are therefore given up to May 12, 2017 to pay all outstanding fees or lose their studentship. Such students can only be readmitted upon re-application and payment of all outstanding fees.”
In a related development, the Academic Staff Union of Universities, CRUTECH Branch met yesterday (Tuesday) to discuss its warning strike which elapsed last week with a view to force management to pay imprest to Heads of Departments (HODs), re-issue letters of appointment bearing the tenure to the HODs, the reversal of appointment of Deans of faculties as they should be selected through election as stipulated in the CRUTECH law and the implementation of the ASUU – federal government agreement which the institution is yet to implement any.
As at press time, CrossRiverWatch could not get comments from the varsity’s management as a senate meeting was ongoing.