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Wike approves N16.6b for Rivers varsity upgrade

Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has approved N16.6 billion to upgrade facilities at the state’s University and College of Medical Sciences.

According to the Commissioner for Information and Communications in the state, Paulinus Nsirim, N9 billion of the amount would be used as take-off grant for the university’s three new campuses at Ahoada, Emohua and Etche.

Each campus would get N3 billion for faculty building, hostels, offices, libraries, auditorium, lecture halls and other relevant requirements.

Nsirim described the development as landmark in the history of the institution, which he said had maintained one campus since its establishment in October 1980.

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The commissioner added that N7.6 billion had been released to the College of Medical Sciences to establish the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences and erect the Pathology Building.

He said, “With the establishment of the three new campuses, the host communities will be opened up for consequential development and economic activities. This is in addition to creating employment.

The approval will also properly position the College of Medical Sciences to fully begin the Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS). It will give the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) the required facilities to strengthen accredited departments and those that are due for accreditation.”

The Coalition of activists groups in Rivers State, under the aegis of Rivers Civil Society Organisations (RIVSCO), has given Governor Wike one month to clear the five years’ unpaid salaries of teachers of demonstration schools or face unending protests.

The group gave the ultimatum yesterday at a news conference organised on behalf of the over 250 affected teachers.

A statement by an executive of RIVSCO, Enefaa Georgewill, said Wike, five years ago, sanctioned members of some schools’ academic union for allegedly flouting the government’s no-school-fee order. According to him, the governor directed that the teachers be delisted from the salary voucher.

Georgewill added that Wike also directed that the teachers would pay themselves from the fees they collect every term. The directive however excluded the non-academic staff members of the schools, as they had been then received their salaries.

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RIVSCO explained that efforts by the affected workers to seek the governor’s forgiveness failed. He added that Wike also refused to obey two court judgments.

The activists appealed to Governor Wike to tamper justice with mercy and release the teachers’ salary. They gave him from February 8 till March to pay up.

The statement reads, “We join the over 250 teachers, who are government workers, to plead with Governor Wike to revisit the decision on their salaries and pay up their five years’ unpaid salaries.

“These workers have suffered great hardship and death while their punishment lasted. These are Rivets people, the fees they allegedly collected were not given to them. They have families, children and spouses, most of them are the breadwinners and some are widows.

“We give the government until the middle of March to pay them their arrears or we mobilise civil society organisations to a peaceful demonstration and remain there until he pays them.”