The Academic Staff Union of Universities on Friday accused the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, of recruiting holders of the Nigeria Certificate in Education to replace about 150 lecturers dismissed from the Kogi State University.
The Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Owerri Zone, Prof. Ike Odimegwu, stated this at a press conference in Awka, Anambra State.
ASUU, Owerri Zone comprises Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli; Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Imo State University, Owerri; Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike and Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.
Odimegwu said the governor’s action was capable of destroying Nigerian university education and ridiculing its certificates in the global community.
Odimegwu said, “This arrogant display of power and abuse of office by Mr. Yahaya Bello speaks volume about the extent to which some political office holders could go to crush perceived opposition to fulfil their ambition towards destroying the public education system.
“After the sacking of over 150 seasoned lecturers, Mr. Bello resorted to the recruitment of unqualified individuals, such as laboratory attendants, members of the National Youth Service Corps, NCE holders and even undergraduate students, to replace them.
“These actions amount to gross violation of International Labour Law, the Constitution of Nigeria and all known best practices in the university system.”
Describing the crisis in the Kogi State University as a recurring incident, Odimegwu alleged that it was caused by inadequate funding and erosion of university autonomy.
He said, “In July 2017, the governor, who is the Visitor to Kogi State University, Anyigba – announced the proscription of all ASUU activities in the university. This was followed by the sacking of over 150 academic staff members, who were on a lawful struggle to press for the payment of the backlog of their salaries running into several months.
“These lawless actions are clear manifestations of arrogance and very high level of ignorance on the side of Mr. Bello vis-a-vis the limits of his power as the state governor and failure of appreciation of the essence of a university.”
He accused the governor of humiliating ASUU member, and using students to threaten their lives.
He said those were clear indications of the deplorable state of affairs and mismanagement of the state-owned universities.
The union also accused the Vice Chancellor of the Lagos State University of victimisation of ASUU members in the university, calling on the Lagos State Governor, Akinwumi Ambode, to intervene and save the university from impunity and dictatorship.