By PETER OKUTU
ABAKALIKI— OVER 100 armed policemen dispatched under the directive of the State Commissioner of Police, Maigari Dikko, yesterday, prevented members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Ebonyi State University, EBSU, Abakaliki chapter from peacefully protesting against Federal government’s inability to address critical issues surrounding the education sector in the country.
Apart from the armed policemen, some officials of other security agencies including the Department of State Services, DSS, were also, deployed at strategic corners in the institution to stop the protest.
The policemen who were armed with AK 47 rifles, cannisters of tear gas among others, closed the gate leading to the College of Agricultural Science, CAS, Campus of the university, thereby obstructing members of the union from matching through the streets of Abakaliki, the state capital.
Vanguard gathered that the policemen were also drafted to both Ishieke and Presco campuses of the university under the guise that the rally might be hijacked by hoodlums in the state.
The EBSU-ASUU members who walked round the university campus carried placards with the inscriptions: “FG: Save University Education,” “FG: Do not kill University education,”
“FG: Agreement is Agreement;” “Poor university education makes every sector fake,” “Nigeria: “Fight poor education.”, “FG-ASUU Agreement! FG has reneged,’’ and ‘’Say no to Beggarcracy” among others as they chanted solidarity songs.
This was even as the anti-riot policemen apparently, embarked on stop-and-search at the gate of the campus as they tried to confiscate all the placards and flyers from the protesters.
Prof Ndubuisi speaks
Addressing newsmen at the Campus Gate, the Chairman of the union in EBSU, Prof. Ndubuisi Idenyi accused the Federal Government of playing politics with the future of Nigerians by
not fulfilling the agreement it reached with ASUU in 2009.
Idenyi who stressed that the union would not relent in its effort to ensure that the education sector was fully funded and condition of service of lecturers improved upon by the government added that no amount of intimidation from any quarter would deter them from pursuing their objectives.
“In a democratic setting, people should have their right of association and movements; I think it is wrong for the Nigeria Police to restrict our movements. It is even more pathetic that we were locked inside our campus as we were not allowed to move out of the gate.
’’I asked whether our gate was locked by our university security personnel and the information we got was that it was the police that ordered their men to lock it.
“They should be more civil-friendly because the issues we are talking about borders on education and they have their children in our schools while some of them are our students.”