The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) branch and the National Strike Coordinating Committee (NSCC), have bemoaned the university governing council and state government’s refusal to address the arbitrary breach and abuse of procedure in the appointment of the current vice-chancellor, as well as the undue administrative impunity at the institution.
The groups said at the end of a congress meeting recently, that the administrative impunity, which led to the nine-week-old strike, has continued to grow by the day and would become a whirlwind if not quickly arrested.
They expressed concern that the university administration conducted end-of-semester examination after only five weeks of lectures before the strike and under conditions that negated the senate examination rules and National Universities Commission (NUC) regulations.
“Old and mutilated question papers were forcefully administered to students; non-teaching staff, students and policemen were used as invigilators; acting Heads of Departments (HODs) and some persons outside RSUST were hired to set examination questions on behalf of the ccourse lecturers on strike; students were allowed to cheat/use unapproved materials (textbooks, notes, palmtops, phones, etc) in the examinations, as well as other irregularities.”
The associations regretted that the university had in a memo Ref: RSUST/REG/1/VOL.31/162, dated October 8, 2012, prohibited staff, students and unions from expressing their opinions in the mass media and warned that such actions would be construed as “misconduct.”
“In another memo, Ref: RSUST/REG/1/VOL.31/163, dated October 8, 2012, the university prohibited staff from ‘heading to court’ and warned that ‘any staff who infringes on this regulation will have his full emolument stopped’.
“On Tuesday, October 15, 2012, the university administration issued another memo, Ref: RSUST/REG/21/VOL.10/182 that ‘the university’s facilities such as classrooms, halls, theatres, laboratories, etc are not allowed for staff associations and unions to hold meetings without the express permission of the vice-chancellor.”
While describing the developments as condemnable and contrary to the requisite provisions in the university’s law and conditions of service of academic staff.
as well as the fundamental human rights of staff and students at the university, as enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the groups called on government to as a matter of urgency, resolve the issues that led to the on-going strike, and called on the institution to cancel the “kangaroo exams” it conducted. “This is necessary to restore standards in the administration of the university.”
They also called for the withdrawal of the above draconian memos, as they violate the university’s law, fundamental human rights of Nigerian citizens and the right to lawful assembly of duly registered staff and student unions and associations on campus.