Activities at both the Nsukka and Enugu campuses of the University of Nigeria, UNN, were paralysed yesterday as over 1000 members of the university community abandoned their offices and converged on Nsukka campus to protest the suspension of the institution’s Pro-Chancellor, Dr. Emeka Enejere by the Federal Government. They said that they would not open their offices for academic activities until the government brought the council chairman.
The aggrieved workers comprising members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, and the Non-Academic Staff of Universities, NASU and National Association of Academic Technologists NAAT, among others, demanded for the immediate reinstatement of Enejere.
The joint trade union of the university noted with dismay that the Supervising Minister for Education, Mr Nyeson Wike and the Executive Secretary, National Universities Commission Prof. Julius Okojie were bundles of intrigue, maladministration and abuse of office at the detriment of Nigeria universities.
The workers further explained that the two officers had been meddling into affairs of universities through ”unconstitutional, uncivilized and outlandish strategies to frustrate universities,” and then demanded the immediate removal of the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Barth Okolo, whom they accused of masterminding the suspension of Dr. Enejere, who had prevented some fraudulent activities by the present administration on campus.
Enejere was suspended on Tuesday by the Supervising Minster of Education, Nyeson Wike for yet to be disclosed reasons.
The workers, who carried placards with different inscriptions including “Pro-Chancellor must come back”, “Enejere must come back”, “Batho must go” during the protest which lasted for hours, chanted anti- Bartho Okolo slogans, demanding that he must be urgently removed to prevent the collapse of the institution.
Vanguard observed that the workers shut their offices and joined the protest in solidarity with the suspended Pro-Chancellor who had been championing their course since the inauguration of the council through his anti-corruption crusade.
Briefing newsmen after the protest, the Spokesmen for the unions including Dr Ifeanyi Abada and Comrades Godfrey Ugwu and Onwu decried the leadership style of Prof Okolo and made a strong case for his immediate removal.
“We have to reiterate that the UNN under the leadership of Prof Batho Okolo is in ruins. The history of the University today is the history of maladministration, financial impropriety and recklessness, contract splitting and money laundering,” they alleged.
The union leaders asked Minister Wike to explain the justification for the suspension of Dr Enejere while allegedly shielding and encouraging the Vice Chancellor, whom they accused of engaging in acts capable of ruining the university.
“We challenge the supervising minister of education and his partner/adviser in chief and collaborator, Prof Okojie to explain the following: Why he hastily suspended a council chairman without any form of query.
“Why he is encouraging corruption in the universities. Why he is shielding and encouraging corrupt Vice Chancellors and tainted officers in his ministry.”
They vowed to paralyze every activities on campus if Dr Enejere was not reinstated immediately.
“In view of the foregoing the unions demand the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of Dr. Emeka Enejere as the chairman of UNN Governing Council.
“We have had enough of this impunity, we request Mr. President to intervene and call the minister to order”, they said.
According to the joint trade unions “we have reiterate that the UNN under the leadership of Prof. Bartho Okolo is in ruins.
The history of the University today is the history of maladministration financial impropriety and recklessness, contract splitting and money laundering, closed administration, falsehood and unbridled corruption; terrorism and dictatorship”.
In a communiqué jointly signed by Okey Emeter NASU Chairman, Ouwu Authority NAAT chairman and Dr. IFeanyi Abada, ASUU chairperson demanded unreserved apology from the federal government for the unwarranted and satanic embarrassment to the university community and alleged show of same.
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