Sunday, January 23

Anxiety in Ojukwu varsity as armed anti-cult security men disperse ASUU members

By: Awesome Ekene

There was palpable tension at the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State following disruption of meeting of a faction of the Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) of the institution.

Members of the group had converged at the ASUU Secretariat of the institution for what they termed reconciliatory meeting when a splinter faction of the union stormed the meeting venue, insisting the meeting alleged to be on strike plans should not hold.

The faction had held their meeting at another venue in the institution before storming the venue being used by the other faction.

Addressing reporters shortly after the crisis, Chairperson of ASUU, Comrade Okechukwu Aniebo expressed disappointment over the incident, describing it as animalistic.

He accused the parallel faction of working for the Vice Chancellor, refuting that their meeting had anything to do with strike as alleged.

He said, “We convened the branch congress to reconcile ourselves and be one body following the misunderstanding we had during the past administration. Some left the union and as a result, it was difficult to demand for our rights while divided.

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“We’ve seen our members dying. No staff of the university, dead or retired has received one naira as pension benefits from the state government.

“Surprisingly, some persons from the management went to the internet to reject our peaceful move. But since majority responded to the invitation and expressed their joy, we mobilized our members for the meeting.

“After seeing our publication, they scheduled their own meeting. But to avoid anybody claiming we wanted to disrupt their meeting, we decided to make use of our Secretariat, despite its limited space.

“But as colanuts were being presented, the two deputy VCs of the institution stormed our meeting with armed anti-cult security men. It’s so disappointing that the DVC brought his office so low to snatch my chair and table from me.

“One of the security officers held one of us on the shirt and dragged his phone from him. We simply showed them maturity because we can’t operate at their levels.

“I’ve not seen anywhere in the world a DVC is a leader of trade union. Its absurdity. Just because they want to impress their paymaster. What manifested today is animalistic behavior.”

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Reacting, Progressives chairman, Prof. Osita Chiaghanam accused the parallel group of plans to join in the looming ASUU strike, describing them as trouble makers with the aim of blackmailing the management and trauncating smooth running of the university.

He said, “All the lecturers resolved not to join any strike action, whether local or national because we don’t have any issues with the university management. We’re not being owed, while we’re still discussing with the management on any other gray areas, including pension.

“We also resolved to continue to deliver our mandate so as not to miss any academic calendar. It’s unfortunate that just about 10 of them decide to forment trouble and blackmail the university management with the aim of trauncating the smooth running of the university.

“But we say we can’t fold our arms and watch the university being dragged the mud by few individuals. If they have any grouse they should feel free to approach the VC who has a listening ear.”

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