By Jonathan Ugbal
Graduates of various departments and batches of the Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH) today braved the rains to protest their non mobilization for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and blocked the main gate of the institution in Calabar.
The protest which lasted a little over 100 minutes saw students who had passed out from the immediate past batch 2010 to far back as 2007 under the rains demanding mobilization for the next batch of the NYSC scheme as according to one of the protesters who doesn’t want his name in print “far less than half of the eligible students were mobilized with Biochemistry students in Chemical Sciences department, Virtual Arts and Technology the worst hit as non were mobilized”.
The Vice Chancellor of the institution, Professor Owan Enoh after over an hour of protests came in company of the Students Union Government President, Omang Idiege and a handful other staff to address the students blaming what he called “the process” for the controversy.
“There is a process for the entire thing, school fees payment is only one requirement. The fact is that results must pass through a process of approval. We are all witnesses to the fact that since January this year, this University has been in turmoil, either one form of strike or the other and we are even grateful that today we are even writing examinations and you are even here to talk about NYSC. If we had a full blown strike, no lecturer would have been here to even attend to you”.
Owan said the lecturers refused working because “they said rightly or wrongly that they have no salaries” with the window for working only 48 hours when the issues were resolved.
“Most staff were leaving here by 2a.m. We even gave light till about 3a.m. to ensure that they work. In that hurry they were bound to be mistakes” he said.
He further explained that several procedures were not followed to ensure that a few joined for the next batch of the scheme, adding that “Blame nobody for this process, blame the entire state, blame the entire process that because the lecturers were expressing their grievances they were not able to come to work”.
Sighs and hisses filled the air when he said “I have called Abuja and they told me that the portal is closed. I have called UNICAL and they told me the portal is closed. It is programmed”.
He later engaged them in a question and answer session were he promised that those whose certificates are ready will receive them regardless of whether they have been mobilized for and or concluded the NYSC scheme.
The protest caused traffic snarl within the institution and a rush hour scene from the Ekpo Abasi junction to CRUTECH gate with officers of the Nigeria Police, Efut Division dispatched to control the situation as they were stationed outside the gate.
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