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Vexed by the controversies rocking Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST), the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has declared today, 30th August 2012 a nationwide strike in solidarity with its members in that institution even as the union indicted the Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi over what it described as gross academic misconduct and unconstitutional involvement in the university.
Briefing newsmen at its national secretariat in Abuja, the National President of ASUU, Dr Nasir Isa, regretted that Governor Amechi who is supposed be an advocate of rule of law and constitutionalism, had contrary to the laws establishing the institution, smuggled into office Prof B.B Fakae as acting vice- chancellor after the expiration of his four years tenure
The ASUU boss noted that "the governor and visitor to the university knew that the appointment of Prof Fakae in 2008 did not follow due process as spelt out in the university's law and when this was challenged, he set aside all protocols and attended the congress of ASUU where he pleaded that the matter be allowed to rest and assured the university community that the vice- chancellor's stay would not be extended by a day on completion of his term, adding that the governor's involvement in the selection of the vice-chancellor of the university was unconstitutional.
"However, to the dismay of the congress, Fakae was reappointed on acting capacity with the support of the Pro-chancellor and chairman of the council, Justice Adolphus Karibi-Whyte who rationalised and justified the re-appointment of Fakae.
"Fakae was equally shortlisted and interviewed alongside four professors for the seat he was expected to have vacated."
Dr Isa disclosed that the governor in exercising his power expressly directed the secretary to the state government to announce Prof Fakae as the acting vice- chancellor which has led to the incessant harassment and intimidation of members of the university community who are unwilling to fall for their cheap blackmail.
He revealed that two days after the union had media briefing in UNN on Wednesday, 15th august, 2012 over the RSUST issue, the university authorities disrupted the congress of our union using armed mobile police men and students' which led to a former student of the institution to attack the chairperson of ASUU-RSUST chapter.
According to him, "following the misconduct of the state government and the university authorities, the union have declared that Thursday, 30th August 2012 will be set aside 'as a day of solidarity' with members of the union and we enjoined all our members across the country to abstain from work.
"We call on all good people of River state and Nigeria to prevail on governor Amechi to restore the rule of law and decency in the governance of the River State University of Science and Technology. This is the only part of honour. It is the only sure way of restoring peace and normalcy in the university on a sustainable basis", he added.
The union also called on the Inspector General of police to institute an urgent investigation into the incidence at RSUST on the 15th of August, particularly in the role played by the police and students on the assault of the institution's ASUU members.
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