Liberia: NU Administration Calls for Calm in Wake Faculty Protest
.... Since last year the faculty of the institution has been complaining about the low budgetary allotment from the national budget, threatening to lay down chalk if the government fails to address their plights.
The administration of Nimba University College is appealing to the faculty of the institution to halt their strike action and return to classes in the interest of the students.
In a press release, the administration said while it is true that the issue of the low salaries continues to escalate the economic burdens of the faculty and staff as a result of the low budgetary allotment, “the administration is also cognizant about the plight, as has been evidenced by numerous trips to Monrovia, reaching the main political actors for an amicable solution.
“We were assured that the institution’s budget will be augmented upon passage.”
The administration also admonished the students to remain resolute/calm as the administration is applying all efforts to bring the situation to an amicable solution at the soonest possible time.
On Saturday, the faculty of the newly endorsed university staged a violent protest in Sanniquellie City, blocking the main road in demand for salary increment as well as the budgetary increment of the university. The roadblock caused local businesses to immediately shut their doors to avoid escalation into violence.
The faculty had alleged that the institution received the lowest budgetary allotment in the national budget among all the universities and colleges in Liberia, which resulted in them taking low salaries as compared to other faculty colleagues at other institutions.
The protest sparked security concerns, leading to the deployment of armed police officers from the Regional Hub in Gbarnga to bring the situation under control.
Since last year the faculty of the institution has been complaining about the low budgetary allotment from the national budget, threatening to lay down chalk if the government fails to address their plights.
“The low salary we are reviving is because of the low budgetary allotment from the national government to the university,” one of the staff told the Daily Observer via mobile phone.
They alleged that the low salary is hampering their individual salaries which, according to them, is not commensurate with their qualifications as well as the salaries received by other staff in different institutions with the same qualifications. The Daily Observer could not independently verify the faculty’s claims.
However, the University’s administration is calling on the authorities to promptly intervene to avoid more embarrassment and further escalation.
“The administration of the Nimba University is therefore requesting the timely intervention of local government officials, as well as the County's 54th Legislative Caucus, to join the university as we continue our negotiation with the relevant stable holders for possible redress to the plights of the faculty and the university in general,” said Alastair Z. Zorh, Director of Communications and Public Relations.
The call for the intervention of the local authorities and county legislative caucus may likely be futile. Since the Nimba victory in the recently ended County Sports Meet, most of the local authorities are yet to resume full administrative duty. Instead, they are on a victory tour with the county sports team, which arrived in the county late on Friday, January 27.
The demonstration is said to have even obstructed the County Team from proceeding to Sanniquellie as scheduled, according to the itinerary.