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Education

Indefinite strike: ASUU chairman sues FUOYE over suspension

Gabriel Omonijo, Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), has dragged the institution’s management before the National Industrial Court in Akure over his indefinite suspension.

NAN reports that Omonijo in a suit filed on April 29 by Funmi Falana and Taiwo Olawanle from Falana and Falana’s Chambers, averred that his indefinite suspension without pay by the university was illegal and violated the provisions of the Trade Union Act.

He argued that his suspension did not follow due process as stipulated in the university’s Conditions of Service which was an embodiment of the Acts that established the institution.

The union leader said the investigative panel that recommended his suspension to the university was biased based on its prejudiced composition.

Omonijo said that his suspension without pay by the university was “wrong and unjust’’, claiming that he was only invited in respect of the allegations made in the petition by ASUU to the Minister of Education.

He stated further that the investigative panel saddled with the responsibility of investigating the allegations made in the petition to the minister turned round to place him on suspension without pay due to his position as the Chairman of ASUU in the institution.

The claimant, however, engaged the services of Falana and Falana’s Chambers, which wrote the university vide a letter dated March 11, 2019, informing it of the illegality of the constitution of the investigative panel, among others.

He said that the university responded vide a letter dated March 15, and signed by the Acting Registrar, Mrs Olayinka Ajayi, stating that the issues raised in the said letter were receiving attention of the university authorities.

The union leader said that the university was yet to recall him from the suspension since February 14, 2019, despite several efforts made to resolve the issues that led to his “hasty suspension.’’

Omonijo, however, sought the declaration of the court that his suspension without pay by the university authorities in letters dated February 14 and February 15, 2019, as null and void.

He urged the court to order/direct the university authorities to reinstate him to his status as Senior Lecturer and to pay his “salaries, allowances and entitlements from February 2019 till judgment is given in this suit.’’

He also sought an order restraining the university from further interfering with his rights, privileges and performance of his duties as the Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Federal University Oye-Ekiti branches

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Crime

Police confirm killing of Igbinedion varsity lecturer in Edo

The Edo Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed DanMallam, on Sunday confirmed the killing of a lecturer with the Igbinedion University, Okada, near Benin, by suspected kidnappers.

DanMallam said the lecturer, Kelvin Izebeokhai, was killed in an attempted escape bid when the victims were being marched into the forest by the kidnappers.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) gathered that the gunmen were said to be operating near Okada junction along the Benin-Lagos highway.

It was learnt that the gunmen abducted Izebeokhai and other passengers in the bus they were traveling in.

The driver of the mini bus was said to have rushed into the bush along with four other passengers.

“Unfortunately, one of the passengers who tried to escape during the abduction was killed by the gunmen.

“The police went after the kidnappers in the bush and succeeded in rescuing the victims.”

He said the police were working on a new strategy which entails taking the war to the kidnappers’ den in the jungle, adding that it is the best way to tackle the scourge.

Spokesman for the university, Mr Jide Ilugbo, who confirmed the killing described it as “babaric.”

İlugbo said late Izebeokhai was a First Class graduate and was employed in the university in 2016.

He said it was now dangerous to travel on the Benin-Lagos highway due to frequent attacks by armed robbers and kidnappers.

The official said it was unfortunate he ran into hoodlums, saying that the trailer parked before Okada Junction is a hideout for criminals.

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Education

Uniuyo student drowns in hotel swimming pool

A 100 level student of the University of Uyo, identified as Kingsley Etim, reportedly drowned in the swimming pool of De Vegas Paradise Hotel in Uyo, on Saturday during a pool party.

Confirming the incident to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday, Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Akwa Ibom, SP Odiko Macdon, described the incident as unfortunate.

He said that the Command had commenced preliminary investigation into the matter to unravel more facts concerning the incident, as the police did not foreclose a foul play.

He said that the corpse had been deposited in a mortuary as investigation continued to establish more facts.

An eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said the incident occurred about 9.00 p.m. on Saturday, adding that the deceased was found when one of his colleagues spotted the body after others had left the pool.

“When my friends and I were about leaving the venue of the party to catch up with time before they lock our hostel, we heard someone had drowned in the pool.

“I was shocked because there was no sign of such and everyone had left the pool a long time before then.

“No one noticed he was drowned. Maybe because it was already dark and there was loud music. When he was brought out, people tried to revive him but it was all in vain,” she said.

“t was gathered that the deceased was later rushed to the University of Uyo Health Centre where he was confirmed dead.

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Education

Students flee Imo hotels over alleged police crackdown, extortion

A relentless police crackdown on students residing in hostels at Umuoma, Umuerim and Umuokomochi communities, near Owerri, is forcing students to flee their hostels, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The three communities are in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo, which is home to several tertiary institutions.

The police are said to have turned the hostels into goldmines, allegedly extorting money from `captured’ students and owners of students’ hostels after each raid.

The development is said to have been affecting businesses adversely in the communities, with many students seeking abode elsewhere to avoid being arrested by the rampaging police operatives, “who always come in mufti attires’’.

NAN learnt that students of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede are planning to embark on a peaceful demonstration to get government to rein in on the police authorities in Nekede communities.

Speaking in an interview with NAN at Nekede on Sunday, a cross-section of the students said that policemen had made life unbearable for students residing in hostels in the town.

A final year student in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Mr Nkem Ubani, lamented “incessant harassment of students in the communities.’’

He said that the situation had become increasingly unbearable.

“We are worried over incessant police arrests at our various hostels without reason. Each time the policemen arrest students, they take money from them and set them free.

“The police authorities should look into the activities of their men in Nekede to prevent an imminent breakdown of law and order because it has reached crisis point.

“They are extorting students, hurting them and ruining businesses of innocent people making their living in the communities.

“I don’t want to mention the name of my hostel. I live in Umuoma and I have been a victim of police arrest severally. Each time they arrested me, they demanded money for me to secure my release.

“Nekede is not the only community having students’ hostels in Nigeria.

“Why has the police descended on this community over the years? Are they saying that every student in Nekede is a criminal?

“How many of such criminals have they tried over the years and for what offences? Let them make their findings public.’’

Ubani affirmed that students in the communities were planning to stage a protest to the office of the rector of the polytechnic and to the Police Divisional Headquarters at Ihiagwa, to voice their frustrations.

Another student, Mr Kelvin Osondu, lamented also that policemen in the Ihiagwa division had turned students into their `ATM` with allegations each time that the students were suspected criminals.

“Yes we have some bad boys around but our problem is that each time the police want to arrest anyone, they will use the opportunity to raid the area and arrest innocent students.

“Why I get worried is that for all the arrests they make, they have never prosecuted any student because most of the arrests are unjust and illegal.

“So we are mobilizing for a peaceful demonstration,’’ he stated.

A caretaker at one of the hostels in Umuerim community, Mrs Blessing Iweajunwa, confirmed the incessant arrests of students in Nekede communities.

She, however, told the police not to victimize innocent students in their bid to arrest suspected criminals.

“Am the lawyer, managing Fairland Hostel in Umuerim community. Since I took over management of the hostel, policemen have been coming to make unwarranted arrests.

“I think the police authorities should caution their men,” she said.

Speaking on the development, the Chief Security of Nekede Polytechnic, Mr Kunle Ade, told NAN that the rector and other management staff had earlier met with the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of the area on the issue.

“He said that authorities of the institution would be on the alert on the planned protest of the students over extortions by the police.

“Bbut the issue is that we have a lot of bad boys, who claim to be students but they are not.

“Remember that when police want to arrest such people they will raid the area.

“But the good thing now is that we have a new DPO who does not detain or collect money from any student proven to be innocent after arrest,” Ade said.

The Police Public Relations Officer, SP. Orlando Ikeoku, told NAN that students were entitle to peaceful demonstrations.

He, however, described the allegations of extortion and incessant harassment by policemen in Nekede communities as baseless.

Ikeoku conceded, however, that innocent people could be arrested during police raids, explaining that “when such people are identified they will be released unconditionally while offenders will be prosecuted’’.

The spokesman said that the new Commissioner of Police in Imo, Mr Rabiu Ladodo, would never shade erring officers.

He advised students to report cases of extortions, harassments and unlawful arrests to the police authorities in the state.

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