The Vice Chancellor of the Bayelsa Medical University (BMU), Professor Ebitimitula Etebu, has exonerated the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri of any involvement in the decision by the institution to disengage 198 persons improperly absorbed in 2019 during the last administration.
He claimed their engagement was improper and violated the employment rules of the institution.
According to Etebu, the Institution had reverted to status quo due to the intervention of the leadership of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) and the State Commissioner of Education, Gentle Emela.
He said the embattled 198 persons were on casual workers allowances while awaiting the proper employment procedure but the Institution decided to disengage them due to the repeated restive nature of the affected workers and demands for new lecturers needed for the several accredited courses of the Institution.
Prof. Ebitimitula Etebu, told DAILY POST while reacting to claims that Governor Douye Diri was responsible for the sack, that the administration of Governor Douye Diri has nothing to do with the decision to disengage the embattled workers of the Institution.
He added that “The current Governor has nothing to do with anything. I am the Vice Chancellor, I told them because they were trying to destabilize the institution. Every time they were threatening, saying they are going to do this and that. And I told them, I said, look, you have no use to us, you don’t even come to work and if you ask very well, because of the hard times, we have tolerated them for all this while, but the thing that, they are now trying to take advantage of that fact.”
“People are telling them,’ they have kept you people, as casual workers for this period, you are now entitled to be employed and they have also taken that hook line and sinker. And threatening the management of the university. They go out and tell lies. These are the ones you are hearing. They go and write on Facebook and collude with the opposition. They use it to malign this current administration just to score cheap points for political gains. The institution decides to step them down due to constant security reports of their threats/restiveness to go on protest and make the University unmanageable.”
“Aside from that, in this last quarter of the year, we are going to be embarking on a flurry of advisory visits from over 13 Regulatory bodies and the NUC. This is a ritual in a specialized University like ours. Those outside the system do not understand these dynamics. We need professional lecturers, technologists, technicians etc. Now, all that is in the minds of our people is employment for our “young graduates” irrespective of our specialized requirements. These casual staff were foisted on us with a promise to provide emoluments for their salaries which never came. The University has a regulation of employing 3 academic staff to 1 non-academic staff. Currently, as things stand, our ratio is the reverse. We will implode if we continue in this manner. We don’t want a reenactment of the ugly incident that occurred a few years back in the NDU. Abinitio, BMU advertised & employed its academic, on-academic & principal officers following these due diligence principles.”
“The Governor has nothing to do with this particular situation. I, as the Vice Chancellor, spoke to them and said, I was going to step them down because we have programs that have been approved for us and we were supposed to run those programs, we were supposed to get lecturers to run those programs. So, it is not their employment that is important to us, because we don’t need them in the first place, but because we are in a State where there are no industries, everything is the Civil Service, and the cronies have been able to leverage people who have an appointment to foster them on us, they are now thinking it is their right to get employed. The times are hard, even the government is finding it difficult to pay salaries and all that”.
“They are 198, so when you are quoting me, quote me exactly the way I am telling you, so, I said, I am going to step them down, I didn’t consult the government or anybody, because I am the one running the place. They have been very restive, threatening to go on a protest, I said, okay if you are daring us, I will step you people down, and then we are going to go through the rules of engagement because for every staff that we have employed before they came in, we did advert and employed people.”
Etebu, who, however, pointed out that instead of the institution re-enacting the 2018 sad incident at the State-owned Niger Delta University, Ammassoma where the sack of some workers led to protest and deaths, said the institution had to discontinue the pattern set for the institution by politicians at inception and follow the guidelines laid out by the National University Commission (NUC) on employment of workers with the university system having dual employment, one for the lecturer and one for the non-academic staff, and one for the professional in the health profession.