The Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia state Chapter was yesterday stopped from successfully holding a peaceful rally to enlighten the public on the ASUU/FGN 2009 Agreement and MOU of January 24th 2012, which has remained the issue behind the lingering strike.
Scores of policemen stormed the university campus, venue of the rally and stopped the lecturers from carrying the rally outside the campus.
They barricaded the main gate of the university with a number of their vans and prevented anybody from moving into and out of the university.
Reacting to the action of the police, ASUU Co-ordinator for Calabar Zone, Dr. Charles Ononuju described it as “unfortunate”.
“Unfortunately and sad the security agents prevented the lecturers from expressing their views to the public.
“Thousands of police men and women with their vehicles and guns barricaded the university gate. It is very ridiculous that in a democratic dispensation lecturers were denied their freedom for peaceful rally.
“The union is asking the government to implement the agreement it entered freely with the union in 2009.
“It must be stated again that our struggle has nothing to do with politics or religion as has been canvassed by government agents.
“When the agreement was signed there was no politics and also when the MOU of 2012 was signed, there was no politics but now the union is asking for implementation, politics has come in but those who are saying that our struggle has been politicized, are enemies of this country.
“Threat, blackmail and intimidation will not and cannot resolve this problem. We call on the country to jettison this idea and resolve the issues. The union cannot be blackmailed to suspend the action until the ASUU/FGN 2009 agreement and MOU of January 24th 2012, which is the road map to revitalize the public university system, is implemented”, Ononuju said.
Police have recently been disrupting rallies and protests by the union.