By DAYO JOHNSON
AKURE — POLICE in Ondo State, yesterday, disrupted a rally organised by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA, to educate the public on their four-month-old industrial action.
Also, the ASUU chapter in Ondo State owned Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko, were not granted permission to hold a rally slated for yesterday.
No fewer than 30 policemen including Mobile officers with an Amoured Personnel Carrier, APC, barricaded the main gate leading to the university, yesterday.
The ASUU members who had planned to move to the streets with their placards were ambushed and stopped from moving to the streets of Akure metropolis.
Some of the lacards displayed by the protesting lecturers had the following inscriptions, ‘Transformation witout education is zero,’ ‘ASUU says no to destruction of Public Universities.”
Others include: ‘Agreement is agreement, Federal Government do the right thing,’ ‘ASUU is the real Nigeria Patriots,’ ‘Okonjo is Wahala,’ ‘Jonathan Stop Playing Politics with Education,’ amongst others.
Addressing newsmen, the FUTA chapter chairman, Dr. Alex Odiyi expressed disgust about the disruption by police despite a letter to the police command since October 17.
Dr. Odiyi said in a copy of the letter made available to newsmen in Akure that the rally was meant to enlighten the citizenry on the motive for the strike.
The rally, according to the letter signed by the chairman and the secretary, Dr. K. S. Adegbie was to begin from the university gate to the Akure Central Market.
Also speaking, the Zonal Coordinator of ASUU, Ilorin Zone, Dr. Ayun Adeleke said that the strike action was as a result of government’s refusal to honour a 2009 agreement.
Adeleke said that it was agreed then that federal universities required N1.5 trillion to be spread over three years (2009-2011) to address the rot and decay in the system.
Addressing the ASUU members, a police officer who led the team that stopped the protest, Adekunle Omisakin appealed to them to remain within their campus to avoid miscreants from hijacking the action to loot and cause harm.
On the failure to give permission, the chairman of the Adekunle Ajasin University chapter Dr Busuyi Mekusi alleged that police in the town have threatened to deal with them ruthlessly if they hold the rally.