Tony Osauzo, Benin
Some member of Academic Staff Union Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, reportedly sustained injuries after they were allegedly attacked by students of the university.
The ASUU members were said to be holding a meeting on Tuesday when the students attacked their gathering, inflicting injuries on them. The injured among them were reportedly rushed to a private clinic in Ekpoma town.
The students were said to have disrupted the meeting after news filtered to them that ASUU was holding a congress to call for a strike at a time the non-academic staff workers are on a warning strike.
Eye witnesses said the students threw stones, broken bottles and pebbles into the venue of the meeting while chanting solidarity songs such as “We no go gree ooo”, “No more meetings leading to strike”, “We are tired of staying at home due to strike action.”
Following the incident, the ASUU held another congress at another venue outside the school premises.
Speaking shortly after the meeting, Chairman of ASUU-AAU chapter, Prof. Monday Igbafen, said the students almost burnt them alive inside the hall, explaining that they were discussing issues bordering on the vice-chancellor’s wife who took the union to court when the students attacked them.
He accused the vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, of orchestrating the attack.
“It was God that saved us. Security has collapsed inside the school. The VC cannot guarantee security.
“We are now crying to the government and the council that our lives are in danger and lectures cannot hold in an insecure environment,” Igbafen said.
But a spokesman for the university, Mr. Edward Aihevba, said it was wrong for the leadership of ASUU to always paint the vice-chancellor black whenever any situation arose, explaining that it was the students who violently disrupted the ASUU meeting.
He said the school management had begun an investigation into the incident and assured that anybody found liable would be brought to book.
“The university management received a report that some students violently disrupted a meeting of the academic staff at about 1 pm on Tuesday, August 20, 2019.
“The management condemns the action of the students for whatever reasons and in whatever guise. The students have no right to disrupt any approved meeting.
“We appeal to academic staff to go about their duties in the assurances of peace and calmness in the university,” Aihevba.