Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Benin zone, has attributed the declining academic standard in universities to what it described as undue interference from governments, particularly state governors.
The union alerted to what it called a reign of terror being allegedly unleashed on its members by the authorities of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), in collaboration with the state governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, following their disagreement over the selection process in the re-appointment of the incumbent vice chancellor of the university, Professor B. B. Fakae.
It lamented the situation in Edo State, where it said the vice chancellor, the registrar and the bursar of the state-owned Ambrose Alli University (AAU), Ekpoma, had been on suspension and some persons had been appointed in acting capacities in the three positions for many months now on the orders of the state governor.
Coordinator of ASUU, Benin zone, Dr Sunday Ighalo, during a press conference at the weekend in Benin City, added that the situation in RSUST was precarious, because of the high handedness of the university authorities in the wake of a strike the union embarked upon on August 13 to demand the correction of irregularities in the reappointment of Professor Fakae.
“As we speak, the union cannot hold meetings on the campus anymore. The senior staff club has been shut indefinitely by the authorities and members are harassed by men of the university’s security division on a daily basis,” he alleged.
According to Dr Ighalo, “the Benin zone of ASUU views as very unfortunate, the clear unwillingness on the part of the visitor to address the lingering problem.
“If Governor Amaechi wanted to give Professor Fakae a position for life, there could have been some other ways of doing that without flagrantly disobeying the laws of the university,” he added.
He further said, “The impunity with which the Visitor imposes his will on the university must stop. The people of Rivers State should call Amaechi to order. We call on the good people of Rivers State to prevail on Governor Amaechi to restore the rule of law and decency in the governance of RSUST.
The Benin zone of ASUU also said it would support and participate in any action or actions, including a national strike that might compel the authorities of RSUST to tread the path of honour, just as it pointed out that it would resist any attempt to arm-twist, blackmail and intimidate its members in the university in an ensuing struggle to call the bluff of the Rivers State government and its agents and make RSUST an appendage of Government House.