By Mike Odiegwu, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike is not at ease with the incentives announced for teachers by President Muhammadu Buhari during anniversary of the World Teachers’ Day on October 5.
He accused the Federal Government of imposing fresh financial burdens on states and creating crisis for the nation’s educational system through the announcement of incentives for teachers, including a new salary scheme.
But the governor admitted that the teachers welfare was ripe for a review going by the key roles they play in the society.
According to the governor, the new salary scale and the incentives were announced by the President without interfacing with states that have for long been pushing for a new revenue formula.
He, however, admitted in a statement by his Information Commissioner Paulinus Nsirim, that there was a need for a review of teachers’ welfare in view of their critical roles.
“The Federal Government has not been willing to come up with a new revenue formula. Instead, it is imposing a new financial burden on the states without consulting them. While it is good to give teachers a new salary scale, it is also important not to politicise such a sensitive issue,” the statement quoted Wike as saying.
According to it, the governor spoke when the board of the College of Medical Sciences of the state’s university visited him at Government House, Port Harcourt.
Wike promised that his administration would provide basic infrastructure to make the college one of the best in the country.
He said that government would ensure that students admitted into the college enjoyed uninterrupted academic activities.
Wike added: “The students will not be stagnated because the school will be made fully functional with both infrastructure and learning equipment. We are setting up the basic foundation for you to build on. The Medical College is my dream and I will provide everything required to make sure it is fully functional.
“It is very expensive to run a medical college but we are not deterred. We shall build the hostels as requested as soon as we get the designs. We are making ashes to ashes mortuary to be available for the training of pathologists. The Dental and Maxilo-Facial Hospital will also be part of the college.
“The Mother and Child Hospital is the best health facility now. It will not be run like the regular government hospital. It will be privately managed but will be available to students for their training.”
Wike noted that the call for university autonomy should also include how to generate funds internally to administer the institutions.
He said that university managements would not be asking government for assistance all the time if they managed their internally generated revenue properly.
Pro-chancellor and Chairman of the Governing Council of the Rivers State University, Justice Iche Ndu, thanked the governor for his support to the institution.
He noted that with the approval by the governor, the College of Medical Sciences employed qualified staff to provide training for students.
Justice Ndu said: “I commend you for solving the problems of staffing. We now have 14 professors, three Readers, 30 senior lecturers, 106 lecturers and 74 technicians.”
The institution’s Vice Chancellor, Prof Nlerum Okogbule, said the recent academic rating ranked varsity the sixth in the country.