ASUU kicks over Edo’s demolition of UNIBEN staff quarters

University of Benin (UNIBEN)

University of Benin (UNIBEN)

The recent demolition of a section of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) staff quarters by the Edo State government has drawn the ire of university teachers under the aegis of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).

In a statement issued in Calabar, the union described the state government’s action as “shocking and highly condemnable.”

In the statement jointly signed by the Zonal Coordinator of the union, Dr. Nsing Ogar, and branch chairmen in the zone including Dr. Tony Eyang of University of Calabar (UNICAL); Dr. Aniekan Brown of University of Uyo (UNIYO); Dr. Stephen Ochang of Cross River State University of Technology (CRUTECH); Dr. Ime Okop of Akwa Ibom State University as well as Ochi Ejimofor of Abia State University, the teachers expressed fears that the demolition of the staff residential quarters “is capable of triggering serious unrest in Edo State.”

They also alleged that the state government flouted a subsisting court order restraining it from encroaching on the land, noting that the state governor “must be reminded of the consequence of taking laws into his hands as he is presently doing in UNIBEN.”

The university teachers lamented that many academic staff of the institution were now homeless following the demolition of their residential quarters, an act they described as not only regrettable, but portends grave danger to the UNIBEN community.

The ASUU zonal leaders recalled that while the dust raised by the first wave of demolition was yet to settle, the state government embarked on another round of demolition “causing further distress and sufferings to lecturers occupying the property.”

The union therefore called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Education, Mr. Adamu Adamu, to urgently wade into the matter and call the Edo State government to order.

They cautioned the state government against further demolition of property belonging to the university, while also urging them to ensure that no portion of land belonging to UNIBEN was illegally seized.

Last week, the Owerri Zone of ASUU also condemned in very strong terms, the demolition of the residential facility.

At a press briefing at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Anambra State, the zonal coordinator of the zone, Professor Ike Odimegwu said, “ASUU finds his action repulsive and an affront on orderliness in the land. As a stakeholder in the university system, ASUU will not take kindly to this regrettable development unexpected from a public figure.”

Others present at the press briefing were the chairpersons of Asuu in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Dr Ikenna Nwachukwu; that of Imo State University, Owerri, Dr Chidi Nwadiaro; Dr U.A.U,Onyebinama of Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike; Dr Dennis Aribodor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, and Emeka Nwabunnia of Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli.

The union, which demanded that the governor should show respect for the laws of the land said, “This inhuman conduct attracted condemnation from well-meaning individuals, and Oshiomhole made seeming overtures to compensate those staff who suffered losses. He equally promised to allow all settlement process to run its course”.

“Surprisingly, last week, the governor not only reneged on his promises, but directed the complete demolition of the remaining part of the structures belonging to the university. This action is condemnable. It is the height of lawlessness and irresponsibility for one who swore to uphold respect for the rule of law. It is not accepted.

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