The Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), University of Abuja chapter, Dr Kasim Umaru, has said the union has no regret for disrupting anti-corruption event in the institution.
The New Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the union led by Umaru prevented Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, former Head of State, Gen. Yakubu Gowon (rtd), and former Education Minister, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili from speaking at the event.
The ASUU Chairman told NAN in a telephone interview yesterday that the union disrupted the programme because of the ongoing strike.
He said such magnitude of programme could not hold in the institution because lecturers were also involved in the event.
“Those eminent personalities for the programme are all aware of our plight and did nothing; we disrupted the event because we are on strike,” he said.
The convener of the event and National Coordinator of African Initiative Against Corruption and Exam Malpractice AFICEM, Dr Francis Abioye, regretted the action of the ASUU, saying they erred by disrupting the event.
Abioye said the management of the university had earlier approved the institution’s auditorium as venue for the anti- corruption programme.
He said the programme was not an academic event, but was organised to educate Nigerians, especially students against corruption and related cases.
Abioye, who is also the General Manager, Zoology Garden in Owerri, Imo State, urged the federal government to fund education, saying that Nigeria could not progress without a stable educational system.
In his remarks, the university Student Union Government (SUG), President, Mr. Chizurum Anabaronye, said the development was regrettable and disappointing.
“It is unfortunate because students would have benefited immensely in the programme considering the personalities involved in the programme.
“Wole Soyinka is a person every student wants to see and the only opportunity to hear him speak was disrupted; we mobilised the students for the event but later communicated to them on the development,” he said.
One of the facilitators and Osun High Court Judge, Justice Oloyode Folahanmi, who also spoke to NAN, said AFICEM planned to celebrate the 2018 anti-corruption day with a lecture on the `Benefits of Examination Ethics,’ which was disrupted.
“The Noble Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka, other eminent persons and myself were to speak to Nigerian students on the need to abide by the rules guiding examination ethics.
“We are partners in progress; we feel the plight of ASUU and we want to fix Nigerian problem; so, it was wrong to disrupt the programme.
While calling on federal government to address the demands of ASUU, Folahanmi said the reason for targeting students was because of the belief that quest for societal regeneration must begin with the youths.