The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has raised alarm over the university authorities’ penchant in gradually turning Nigerian universities into havens of lawlessness. The National President of ASUU, Dr. Nasir F. Isa while speaking to reporters on Monday at the ASUU secretariat in Bayero University Kano (BUK) called on President Goodluck Jonathan to urgently intervene in the crisis-ridden universities so as to protect the future of the Nigerian youth.
Among issues raised by ASUU include killing of students at Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), leadership crisis at Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), disregard for court orders at University of Ilorin, release of White Paper on President Goodluck Jonathan’s special visitation to University of Abuja and the need for reconstitution of Governing Councils for Federal Universities in the country.
The ASUU leadership called for a full-scale investigation on the killing of two students at NSUK with a bid to bringing culprits to justice. According to Isa, while two students are already dead as a fall out of the NSUK crisis, over 20 students received varying degrees of injuries, pointing out that experience over the years has shown that recourse to military intervention in civil matters like students’ unrest is unfortunate.
“The questions begging for answers, however, are: why would the authorities of NSU Keffi refuse to provide basic boreholes that can sufficiently meet the water needs of their students?
“Why would they refuse to respond to the entreaties and eventual warnings of the students before February 25th? Why did the authorities of NSUK ignore the students’ lecture boycott of February 25th? Who invited the military to quell students’ peaceful protest? Who ordered for the shootings and killings of University students?
“We are requesting the visitor to NSUK to institute an inquiry into the killings of our students. We are warning that unless the immediate and remote causes of the killings are identified and appropriate punitive measures taken against the killers of our innocent students. Our union will leave no stone unturned in our pursuance of justice to all the victims of this madness.
Never again shall we fold our arms and watch as trigger-happy soldiers and/or police officers murder or students in cold blood. Never again shall we allow such murderers to go unpunished andbe unleashed to another set of innocent citizens, to kill again,” Ali stated.
The ASUU national leadership also condemns the action of the Rivers State Governor, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi for allegedly imposing Prof. B.B. Fakaye for second-term as Vice Chancellor of RSUST without due process.
“Contrary to Governor Amaechi’s promise to our members and other staffers at RSUST, the visitor connived with the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of Council, Hon. Justice A.G.Karibi-Whyte (rtd) to re-appoint Prof. Fakaye initially as Acting Vice-Chancellor and subsequently confirmed him as substantive in utter violation of the laid down procedures.”
ASUU further accused the National University Commission (NUC) for taking side in the RSUST crisis, for its inability, “to critically and objectively investigate the unhealthy university governance process at RSUST.”
ASUU also frowned at the non-payment of salaries and entitlement to her members at University of Illorin who were ordered to be recalled by a Supreme Court judgment, pointing out that, “The continued disregard for law and legal authorities at Unilorin will not serve the overall interest of the University and the country.
“The President and visitor to the University of Illorin should impress it on the managers of the University to embrace openness and democratic ethos by implmenting court judgments to the letter and allow its staffers to exercise their rights to unionize without let or hindrance.”
Isa, however, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to as a matter of urgency release the White-Paper on the visitation report to University of Abuja and cause the implementation of the recommendations without delay.
The ASUU national president also called on the Federal Government to respect its promise not to allow a vacuum in the governance of universities by reconstituting and inaugurating Governing Councils for all Federal University as at when due.