The national leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has vowed to resist all forms of intimidation and assaults on its members across all universities in Nigeria.
ASUU President, Nasir Isa Fagge, made the disclosure at a press briefing in Akure, the Ondo State capital. He said his union would not tolerate any form of hatred and character assassination and militaristic intimidation of its members by any university sole administrator.
Mr. Fagge spoke against the backdrop of recent intimidation, assaults and attacks on its members at Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA) by agents of the university’s security outfit called “Sheriff Deputies.” The ASUU leader accused the university’s Vice Chancellor, Femi Mimiko, of adopting an anti-union posture, adding that ASUU would not succumb to such tactics.
He described Mr. Mimiko’s order to the security outfit to attack ASUU members and thwart their effort to hold a meeting within the university as disturbing.
“It is unimaginable that a Vice Chancellor of a state-owned university in a Labor Party-controlled state would unashamedly canvass for the castration of labor activists,” said the ASUU leader. “Viewed from both angles, therefore, the possibility of deliberate mischief on the part of the VC cannot be ruled out.”
He added that Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA), which is now headed by Mr. Mimiko, has benefited strongly in the aftermath of ASUU’s legendary struggle for a globally competitive university education in Nigeria.
“He pretends not to know that about 70 percent of [the] physical structures on the AAUA campus today, including the VC’s office, were financed with the ETF/TET Funds grant [of] which the 1992 ASUU nationwide strike action sowed the seed.
“Again, Professor Mimiko appears not to recognize that the 2013 national struggle of the union fetched his university an initial N1.05 billion with the promise of an additional significant sum in the second tranche of the 2013 revitalization fund,” the ASUU leader added.
The union decried the violation of the constitutional rights of the ASUU members as well as members of other trade unions on the AAUA campus as inhuman.
He recalled the attacks on a delegation of the National Executive Council (NEC) of ASUU, led by the union’s Vice President, Biodun Oguyemi, at the Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko (AAUA). Mr. Fagge said the union strongly objected to any vice chancellor attempting to ‘surreptitiously’ curtail freedom of movement in a public space like the university.
“We condemn in strong terms Professor Mimiko’s alleged directives against the presence of ASUU vehicles on the campus of AAUA and will use all legal means available to the union to resist it,” he stated.
“The vice chancellor of AAUA’s declared war to crush ASUU is not new. The military waged it and failed. A civilian president tried it and failed. Professor Mimiko will also fail because [the] union will defend itself, its branch at AAUA and its members,” said Mr. Fagge.
The union called on Ondo State Governor, Olusegun Mimiko, who is an elder brother to the vice chancellor, to intervene and ensure that a competent University Governing Council was constituted.
“The absence of a properly constituted Governing Council for more than seven months has given Professor Mimiko the leverage to assume a larger than life posture in the university,” the ASUU leader alleged.
He pledged unceasing support to ASUU members at AAUA, vowing to take all legitimate steps to prevent whatever “sinister motives [were] behind Professor Mimiko’s unbridled arrogance and administrative malfeasance.” He asked the people of the state, who are the true owners of the university, to prevail on the VC to respect democratic principles.
ASUU leaders from other universities, including Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye (OOUA), Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti (EKSU), University of Ibadan (UI), attended the press conference. They offered support to their embattled colleagues at AAUA.