PORT HARCOURTâ€”TO ensure government heeded to calls for the relocation of ex-militants from their rehabilitation camp at Aluu, four unions of the University of Port Harcourt yesterday withdrew their services from the institution.
Rising from a meeting of the schoolâ€™s branch of the various unions on Tuesday evening, the unions said the action of the ex-militants last Monday had made the area very uncomfortable for their operations. The unions are the Academic Staff Union of Universities, (ASUU), National Association of Technology, (NAT), Non-Academic Staff of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Universities (SSANU)
Ex-militants had last Monday embarked on a violent protest over non-payment of their allowances by the Federal Government and were alleged to have looted valuables belonging to staff and students of the university as well as residents of communities around the university.
The universityâ€™s branch Chairman of ASUU, Dr Andrew Efemini, said in a telephone chat with Vanguard that the decision of the unions was a necessary step.
According to him, staff and students of the university should not be victims of government policy to quarter the ex-militants at Aluu.
He said no fewer than fifteen lecturers suffered losses during the rampage by the ex-militants. According to him, some had their laptops and other valuables stolen, while others had their vehicle windscreens smashed by the rampaging ex-militants.
Efemini said lecturers in the university would only resume workÂ after government had taken inventories of losses suffered by them and paid compensation.
â€œWithout this, we canâ€™t go back to work because we have no money to lose to anybody,â€ Efemini said .
Contacted for comment on the action of the unions, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Dr William Wordi, said the university was still in session.
According to him, only the senate of a university has powers to close an institution.
â€œThe University of Port Harcourt remains open. I am not in a position to speak for the unions. The Senate of the university is the only organ with powers to close the school and it has not done so. So we remain open,â€ Wordi said.
Some students who spoke to the Vanguard, said lectures did not hold in the school yesterday.
According to them, though some offices were opened, few lecturers were seen attending to thesis, post-graduate and final year students.
Students of the university had last Tuesday stormed Government House, Port Harcourt, where they called on the state government to immediately relocate the ex-militants from Aluu to any other place that would be very far from the university.