Pandemonium ensued at the Distance Learning Centre of the University of Ibadan as the joint members of the Non-Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU) and Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU), UI Branch on Wednesday afternoon cruelly beat up the Distance Learning students of The University of Ibadan with canes during their display of disapproval for ongoing academic activity at the centre.
Our reporter gathered that the unions arrived at Sasa Centre of the University holding canes and Fulani-sticks in order to force-stop academic activities as a way to enforce the newly sanctioned strike action.
As they were forcing some staff to enter NASU and SSANU buses by threatening them with canes, a student (names withheld) who was amazed at the brazen, uncivil manner in which the action was carried out decided to video-record the event. The student was caught in the process and consequently, the members of the unions descended on him and he was beaten mercilessly. Also, some students at the scene were also beaten. “They even beat a pregnant woman for that matter” an eye witness said.
During the cause of interviewing students who were victims of this incident, one of them stated that “If how they are threatening the DLC staff is legal, why won’t they want it in the media? Why won’t they want the event recorded or the videos to be shared with media houses?”
The student further emphasized that “On what ground should they attack students! Are we part of their struggle?”
“Imagine, we were flogged like a baby, we were flogged like a kindergarten kid! They even flogged females! In a civilized society! This is too bad.” Another anonymous lamented out.
One of the victims said that “If not because of the respect for the present Director (of DLC), whom I hold in very high esteem, I would have opposed them very vehemently, but I have to respect him because he is the one in charge here.”
“The unions are pardoned from being molested not for anything but because of our respected director. If not for that, their busses might have been razed by now! Do they take us for kids? Or don’t they know that we are also adults like them?”, a student who was injured on his head by one of the union members expressed.
“What happened today is highly barbaric and is unacceptable in the society. I was flogged like a thief without stealing a dime. I was just coming from exam hall and I saw them beating a friend of mine. I moved closer to enquire what happened, all I could see was that they descended on me too and continued flogging me. I was beaten beyond what I can think of. Something should be done!”, another victim lamented.
An eye witness at the scene shared his opinion that the action displayed by the unions is not expected in a university setting and especially from the supposed leaders who should live exemplary life.
“I imagine how they deal with their wives at home. In fact, I doubt if their wives are not their punching bags” another eye witness stated.
All the efforts of hearing the side of the unions on the spot proved abortive as they did not give room for any reporter to interview them.
After beating the students, they boarded their busses and drove recklessly out of the centre.
It should be noted that members of NAAT, NASU, and SSANU have announced the resumption of the strike in a joint statement on Thursday night. They said the strike will resume on Monday, December 3.
The statement was signed by the national presidents of NAAT, Sani Sulaimon; NASU, Chris Ani; and SSANU, Samson Ugwoke.
It was gathered that the workers rejected the mode of sharing the recent financial allocation to universities.
“We wrote a letter to the federal ministry of education to explain the criteria for the allocation and we gave them seven days notice to do the needful. But the date has elapsed without a response from the Federal Government,” they said.