By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN -Â ACTIVITIES at the University of Benin, UNIBEN was Wednesday paralysed following the kidnapping of a lecturer of the institution, Dr. Emmanuel Aigbokhan of the Department of Agriculture on Saturday by unknown gunmen.
Following this development, the Academic Staff Union of Universities,ASUU,Â UNIBEN branch has suspended further teaching of their students until his abductors released their colleague.
It would be recalled that barely two months ago,Â medical activities were paralysed at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, UBTH as a result of protest strike embarked upon by medical and paramedical personnel of the health institution over the kidnapped chief medical director, Michael Badin.
The protest by UNIBEN lecturers was also followed by that of the students of the Western Boys School, Benin City who on Tuesday protestedÂ the kidnapped of their Physics teacher, Stella Akhabue while returning from Church service on Sunday by unknown gunmen.
Reacting to the incident, Kashetu Ilabavre, ASUU chairman of UNIBEN who led the protesting lecturers, demanded for the unconditional release of the kidnapped lecturer, saying that they would boycott academic activities if his abductors did not release the kidnapped lecturer unconditionally.
Ilabavre however stated that the abductors of the lecturer are demanding for N25 million ransom noting that neither the lecturer nor any member of his family would pay the said amount.
The lecturers however frowned at the spate of kidnapping in the state, just as they called on the security operatives to be alive to their responsibility in curbing crimes in the state.
The also decried what they called the â€˜civil mannerâ€™ in which the problem of kidnapping is being handled by security operatives in the state, and however called for a change of approach.
According to ASUU chairman, â€œwe are protesting today because of the spate of kidnapping in the state is getting too much and the insensitivity of security agencies in the state to handle the situation. One of our colleagues has just being kidnapped, Dr. Emmanuel Agbokhan right in the university campus while going about his research work. He was abducted on Saturday and they were demanding for N25 million ransomâ€
â€œWe are here to draw the attention of Nigerians and those who are supposed to protect us who are collecting money from the tax payers, who are collecting money from Nigerians to do their job we are saying that we are fed up we are being picked up like snail and we are not snail for God sake.”
” Let the security agencies in this state do something about it and I am sorry to say that we are beginning to suspect that there is high level conspiracy among these kidnappers and these security agenciesâ€.
â€œWe are very convinced that there is high level conspiracy and we want them to prove that there is none. Let them come out to say there is none and so they should do their job. We are also appealing to our traditional rulers, our royal fathers we believed that if they make very strong statement about it there would be an end to itâ€
â€œ We cannot go anywhere at the moment. We are not safeÂ bothÂ inÂ the office and at home .Â The state government should do something about it. We are not afraid to say that we donâ€™t have money to pay as ransom. We want the unconditional release of our colleague. Until our colleague is released unconditionally we wonâ€™t go to the class.”