Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has accused Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. David Umahi of harassing and victimising its leaders and members in the state’s tertiary institutions.
ASUU’s Coordinator, Calabar Zone, Dr. Aniekan Brown made the allegation at a news conference he addressed in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital yesterday, warning against violation of the rights of its members.
The Calabar Zone comprises seven universities across four states including Abia State University, Akwa Ibom State University, Cross River University of Technology, University of Calabar, Ebonyi State University, Alex Ekwueme University and University of Uyo.
Brown alleged that Umahi had directed the acting Chairperson of Ebonyi State University, Comrade Ikechukwu Igwenyi to resign and to leave the state.
He alleged that the governor gave the threat message “to their colleague on Christmas Eve when political stakeholders from his area paid him a visit.
“During the visit, the governor was said to have accused our members of being the ones that have made the state not to see peace, an allegation he has not been able to prove or substantiate.
“It became a cause of concern to ASUU that as political stakeholders in Ohaozara, led by Chairman of Local Government Area, Ms. Nkechi Iyioku and Commissioner for Local Government & Chieftaincy Matters, Mr. Samuel Okoronkwo visited Umahi at his country home in Uburu on
December 28, 2020, the outcome was a threat to mobilise youths and traditional rulers from the area to occupy Igwenyi’s family house.”
ASUU’s zonal leader, also, said similar instruction was given to youths, technical advisers and faculty presidents in EBSU on December 29, 2020 when they paid a Christmas visit to the governor.
He said: “Umahi, who is the Chief Security Officer of the state with a primary obligation of protecting lives and properties of the citizens stated that Igwenyi is the reason there is no peace in the state and in the university.
“Umahi urged the people of Ohaozara Local Government Area to raise 1000 youths and occupy the residence of Comrade Igwenyi at Abakaliki for seven days, apprehend his parents in their family home at Okposi and occupy the place for another seven days.”
He added that the traditional rulers had been directed “to initiate plans to ostracise the Igwenyi family from Okposi Community if he fails to leave the seat as ASUU Chairperson and resign his appointment from the university, stating that his APC government would not tolerate any perceived enemy of the party and would knock any perceived opposition in the mouth to paralysis.”
ASUU expressed surprise on how a lecturer in a state university could be the one to make a whole state not to see peace, noting that, to its knowledge, the perceived ‘sin’ of its chairperson by the governor was the union insistent that, workers welfare in the university should be given adequate attention.
He called on the people of the state and Nigerians at large “to hold Umahi responsible if anything happens to any ASUU member in the state.
“As political allies to the governor in Ohaozara are planning to mobilise youths to Comrade Igwenyi’s home and expel his family through the Traditional Rulers Council, one pertinent
question is: how Igwenyi has become a threat to peace
in Ebonyi State?
“Igwenyi is simply advocating for workers welfare and Umahi is ordering such an illustrious son to leave his appointment and employment in EBSU in his own interest or face the consequences.
“Has he done any other thing than represent the interest of EBSU staff that he serves diligently and vowed to represent their interest satisfactorily?
“On this note, it has become imperative that the lives of Igwenyi and his family are under intense threat and Nigerians should take note and save the situation before it gets out of control,” he said.