We Acted Legally – Govt
Dr. Nasir Fagge, National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, has accused Edo State Governor Adams Oshiomhole of forceful takeover of property belonging to the University of Benin and selling such to “some powerful individuals in the state”. Fagge, in a statement, on Monday, alleged that agents of the statement “On December 23, 2014 … mercilessly beat up and forcefully threw out our members, who occupied two property of the university under litigation”. The university don alleged that a similar treatment was meted to its members, including professors on January 5 and 6 of this year. He stated that the affected lecturers were beaten for daring to visit the site of the destroyed houses. Lost in the debris were the lecturers’ books and certificates, according to Faggae. “We believe that ours is a civilised society, where the rule of law should be allowed to prevail rather than substituting it with the crude doctrine of ‘might is right’. It is very sad that a government that should provide accommodation for its citizens so crudely preoccupied itself with the destruction of their houses,” Faggae stated. He wondered why the ‘peoples’ governor, as Oshiomhole is being called, and “a beneficiary of the rule of law and a former President of the Nigerian Labour Congress, should be behind rendering Nigerians homeless.” Kassim Afegbua, the special adviser to Governor Oshiomhole on media and communication, debunked the allegations. Afegbua held the state government’s action as legal while accusing ASUU and the university of blackmail. “What we did was according to the rule of law and not the rule of man as being presently sensationalised by the UNIBEN community. We will not be intimidated as government, neither are we going to succumb to blackmail”, the spokesman said. Afegbua advised the lecturers’ union to “get proper briefing and interface with government before jumping to the easiest blackmail of threat to their members.” Afegbua affirmed that his principal understands “the dynamics of unionism and the limits of same” being a unionist, too. He explained that the government only recovered its assets sited around the Government House in GRA, contrary to ASUU’s allegation.