From Benjamin Babine, Abuja
The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has petitioned the Nigerian Air Force, over the alleged killing of one Mr. Steve Nduka Okonye, a lecturer at Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo state.
In the petition signed by the president of ASUP, Comrade Anderson Ezeibe, the union demanded the relocation of the Air Force base in Naze, because of incessant complaints by the Polytechnic community about excesses and violence from soldiers in the environment.
Mr. Nduka who was a lecturer in the Computer Science Department of the Polytechnic was killed along with his friend on Monday January 25, 2021 allegedly by men in military attire, suspected to be from the 211 Regiment Group of Nigeria Air Force located in Naze, Owerri, Imo State.
The ASUP president expressed regret that days after the incident, no statement from the Air Force hierarchy had been informed. He explained that it has left the Polytechnic community in a tense mood, living staff and students very fearful.
The petition which was addressed to the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Isiaka Amao, reads in part: “Reports of different levels of molestation of staff (including our members) and students of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede have been received by our Union in the recent past since the establishment of the 211 REGIMENT BASE in Naze, a community of close proximity to the Federal Polytechnic Nekede.
“The location of accommodation facilities for the force’s men in NEKEDE, the host community of the Polytechnic where they cohabit with staff and students of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede has led to different levels of molestation of staff and students by the force men.
“It is the conviction of our Union that the location of the base (particularly its accommodation facility) within the densely populated Polytechnic host community is offensive to several regional and international protocols, instruments and military manuals.
“We are also of the belief that the provisions of the Nigerian Military Manual (1994) does not support the current location of the 211 REGIMENT BASE and its accommodation facility.
“We are therefore bringing this to the knowledge of the Nation’s Chief of Army Staff to enable an unfettered investigation into the matter with a view to bringing the killers of Mr. Steve Nduka Okonye and his friend to book.
“Adequate compensation to the families of the deceased, and Relocation of the accommodation facilities of men of the Nigerian Air Force from the Polytechnic host community to avoid the frequent molestation of staff and students of the Polytechnic.”