There was pandemonium on Thursday at the University of Ibadan, UI, as the non-teaching staff unleashed terror on students and academic staff who were attending classes saying, “We are declaring war against the academic staff”.
The aggrieved staff is reacting to the congress held yesterday by ASUU where it was resolved that the institution’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka should order the bursar to pay the Earned Academic Allowance which the Federal Government disbursed to the institution and failure to effect the payment should earn him query.
The protesting staff who were armed with canes, sticks and other items marched round the campus from one faculty to the other to disrupt academic activities. As they were protesting, they were singing abusive songs against the academic staff, calling them robbers.
As the aggrieved staff stormed the faculties, both students and lecturers scampered for safety.
Earlier, the non-teaching staff, who started assembling in front of the office of the Vice Chancellor, Professor Abel Idowu Olayinka sfrom around 7am blocked the road leading to the VC’s office and the road leading to the Arts Theatre with cars and other things.
At about 8am, they started the protest with prayers to God to wipe out all the academic staff from the surface of the earth demanding from God to destroy all that is standing in their way from getting fair share of the Earned Allowance. “God, drain their blood alive”, “God, visit our enemies with different problems”, were among the prayer points they offered to God. Leading the prayer points were “pastors”.
Addressing his colleagues, the Chairman of Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities, SSANU, Wale Akinremi, noted, “They think that we are playing with them but by the time we are through with them, they will know that we are not of the same level”.
Pointing out that they were battle ready to fight the academic staff, Akinremi said, “The Earned Allowance the academic staff are happy about will not be shared until our case is resolved. The academic staff are mad. You think you can ridicule our bursar, you are wrong. The most important office in this university is bursar. War will start now. You are bastards if you do not compel the VC to give query to bursar.
“You are dignifying yourselves by calling yourself lecturers but you are teachers. Whether a tutor, a lecturer, or an instructor, all of them are teachers. The brain of academic staff is under their feet. A battle line is drawn now between us and the academic staff. They are academic illiterates who are intellectually insane. If they are sane as they claim, how can they write a letter to the VC to compel the bursar to share the Earned Academic Allowance or get query? VC does not have the power to query the bursar. Because the VC, the bursar and the registrar are all principal officers, the VC lacks the power to query any of them”.
According to Akinremi, the letter forwarded to the VC asking him to query the bursar should be immediately withdrawn and the academic staff should tender apology to the bursar, otherwise, “We will declare war against ASUU. Let me say this, both VC and bursar are only accountable and answerable to the council that employed them.”
Reacting, the Vice Chancellor, who was away to the National Assembly in Abuja for official assignment said, “Report reaching me from Ibadan is to the effect that leaders and members of the University of Ibadan Branch of Joint Action Congress (SSANU, NAAT and NASU) who are on a national strike have been going round the Campus threatening to kill members of the academic staff. They have been extremely busy disrupting academic and social activities on the Campus.
“The law enforcement agencies in Oyo State have been put on notice concerning the unsavoury activities of the past nine days. They have promised to take urgent action to prevent a complete breakdown of law and order in a supposed civilised community. Staff and students are enjoined to go about their normal activities and not to yield to all manners of intimidation and harassment”.
As at the time of filing this report, there is an uneasy calm on the campus, as students and other members of staff are unsure of what the next few days hold for the institution.