Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma chapter, narrowly escaped death yesterday when students of the university attacked the venue of their meeting.
The rampaging students were said to have disrupted the meeting after news filtered to them that the lecturers were holding congress to call for strike at a time the non-academic workers are on warning strike.
Witnesses said the students allegedly threw stones, broken bottles and bricks into the venue of the meeting, injuring some lecturers who were later rushed to a private hospital in Ekpoma for treatment.
The students were said to have also chanted solidarity songs that: ‘No more meetings leading to strike’. ‘We are tired of staying at home due to strike’.
A student who pleaded anonymity said the disruption was to stop the lecturers from calling for an industrial action.
But while reacting to the issue on the phone, Chairman of ASUU-AAU chapter, Professor Monday Igbafen, said the students almost burnt them alive inside the hall.
Igbafen said they were discussing issues about the vice chancellor’s wife who took the Union to court for the attack by the students.
He accused the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo, of orchestrating the students’ attack.
According to him, “It was God Who saved us. Security has collapsed in the school as the VC cannot guarantee security anymore.
“We are crying to the government and the governing council that our lives are in danger, as lecture cannot hold in an unsecured environment.”
Spokesman for the university, Mr. Edward Aihevba, said it was wrong for the leadership of ASUU to always paint the VC black whenever any ugly situation arises.
Aihevba said it was students who violently disrupted the ASUU meeting, saying the school management has begun investigation into the incident and vowed that anybody found liable would be brought to book.
According to him, “The university management received a report that some students violently disrupted the meeting of academic staff at about 1p.m. last Tuesday.
“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 the academic staff to go about their duties with the assurances of peace and calmness in the university.”