Nigeria’s Academic Staff Union of University, ASUU, Monday in Kano, raised alarm over what it described as high-handedness of Federal and state governments in the handling of issues concerning the welfare and security of students and lecturers in the country.
ASUU leadership expressed concern over the inability of university authorities across the country to ensure conducive environment for learning and as well qualitative education to Nigerian undergraduates and their tutors, coupled with flagrant disobedience to Court Orders.
ASUU National President, Dr. Nasir F. Isa told journalists at ASUU secretariat, Bayero University Kano, BUK, that if the disposition towards arbitrary and illegal conduct among management of some Universities are not checked, more campus autocrats and lawless university managers are likely to emerge.
Nasir called on President Goodluck Jonathan and state governors to urgently intervene in the crisis-ridden universities so as to protect their integrity and save the already battered education sector.
Cases cited by the academic pressure group include the 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 lamented the wanton killing of students at NSUK on Monday, 25 February and wondered why a genuine and peaceful demonstration by students over lack of water and electricity supply could result into such barbaric attacks and killings.
“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?
“The recourse to military intervention in civil matters like student unrest is unfortunate. A more informed university leadership should have known that there is no love lost between students and the armed security services. The killing of Kunle Adepeju at the University of Ibadan in 1971 and the Ali Must Go crisis of 1978 which claimed scores of students’ lives are quick reminders of how worse a militarist strategy to handling students’ riot could go.
“It was this realization that led to the outlawing of police posts on our university campuses in the late 1970s. And this is why it beats our imagination that, under a civilian dispensation, we saw a re-invention of militarism at a young but promising University in Nasarawa.
“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 and be unleashed to another set of innocent citizens, to kill again,” Ali noted.