Students of the Taraba State University, Jalingo, blocked some of the major entry points into the city centre, demanding the payment of 10-month salary arrears owed to staff of the university by the Taraba State government.
The protest followed the decision of all the university unions including the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Non-Academic Staff Union and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities not to continue with the examination scheduled to commence on Monday, January 9.
This followed the decision of the unions had on Monday morning locked examination halls over nonpayment of their entitlements as students who prepared for the examination were left stranded.
Angered by the inability of the university management and the state government to pay the staff their entitlements for 10 months, the students matched to the Vice Chancellor’s office to register their grievances, but could not find him on seat, they thereby proceeded to block the nearby Jalingo-Bali federal highway in protest.
The protesting students also burnt tyres around the school carrying placards with inscriptions which read, “Governor Ishaku pay our lecturers, they have families,” “Don’t stampede our future,” and “you don’t mean well for Taraba” among others.
A 300-level student of Education Administration and Planning, Musa Adi, and Umar Abdullahi of Chemistry department told The Punch that the failure of Governor Darius Ishaku to pay the lecturers further demonstrated his lack of capacity to govern the state.
“Instead of addressing our demands and secure our future, the governor ordered police to teargas us on our way to the Government House to register our protest,” Adi said.
Workers of the university have last week protested over nonpayment of their salaries and threatened the “No salary No exams” action.
The Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Sunday Bako, and the University Public Relations Officer could not be reached, but the vice-chancellor had while addressing the protesting staff members last week assured them that the university management and the government were working hard to meet the workers’ legitimate demands.
On his part, Mr. Bala Dan-Abu, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Governor Ishaku, said payment of salaries had been the priority of the administration and the governor would do everything possible to address the claim of the protesting staff members.