By Nwafor Okafor
Factional members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities of the Odumegwu-Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Anambra State on Tuesday engaged in free-for-all over looming strike in the Ivory tower.
It was gathered that a faction of the lecturers had converged on the ASUU Secretariat of the University for what they called reconciliatory meeting when they were attacked, resulting in confusion as the lecturers scampered for safety.
Some of the lecturers sustained injuries while others left the meeting venue with torn dresses.
Addressing Journalists , the university’s ASUU chairperson, Okechukwu Aniebo expressed disappointment over the incident, describing it as animalistic.
He said the attackers were working for the Vice Chancellor of the University, stating that their meeting had nothing to do with the looming strike in Nigerian universities.
He said, “We convened the branch’s congress to reconcile ourselves and be one body following the misunderstanding we had during the past administration. Some left the union and as a result, it was difficult to demand for our rights while divided.
“We’ve seen our members dying. No staff of the university, dead or retired had received one naira as pension benefits from the state government.
“Surprisingly, some persons from the management went to the internet to reject our peaceful move. But since majority responded to the invitation and expressed their joy, we mobilized our members for the meeting.
“After seeing our publication, they scheduled their own meeting. But to avoid anybody claiming we wanted to disrupt their meeting, we decided to make use of our secretariat, despite its limited space.
“But as kolanuts were being presented, some persons stormed our meeting with armed anti-cult security men.
“One of the security officers held one of us on the shirt and dragged his phone from him. We simply showed them maturity because we can’t operate at their levels.
“I’ve not seen anywhere in the world a DVC is a leader of trade union. Its absurdity. Just because they want to impress their paymaster. What manifested today is animalistic behavior.”
Reacting, ASUU factional leader in the University, Prof.Osita Chiaghanam accused the Aniebo ASUU faction of planing to join in the looming strike, describing them as trouble makers with the aim of blackmailing the management and trauncating smooth running of the university.
Chiaghanam said “All the lecturers resolved not to join any strike action, whether local or national because we don’t have any issues with the university management. We’re not being owed, while we’re still discussing with the management on any other grey areas, including pension.
“We also resolved to continue to deliver our mandate so as not to miss any academic calendar. It’s unfortunate that just about 10 of them decided to foment trouble and blackmail the university management with the aim of trauncating the smooth running of the university.
“But we say we can’t fold our arms and watch the university being dragged the mud by few individuals. If they have any grouse they should feel free to approach the VC who has a listening ear.”