Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers in Berlin on Saturday called on the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to take his government to court if it was convinced that it breached the law.
He also vowed to withhold the salary of any member of the Union in the state-owned university who goes on strike to protest the reappointment of Prof. Barineme Fakae as vice-chancellor of Rivers States University of Science and Technology (RSUST).
Mr. Amaechi made the call in reaction to the one-day warning strike by ASUU over the re-appointment of Mr. Fakae.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that RSUST was governed by a state law and could not be dictated to by ASSU´s national leadership with regard to the appointment of its vice-chancellor.
“There is a difference between the federal law which the president had signed which governs federal universities and the state law.
“They (ASUU) want me to disobey the law that sets up RSUST. I wish them luck but this will not happen within the period that I am governor of Rivers State.
“There is what is called the rule of law and true federalism, unitary system should not be applied in a state.
“The law setting up RSUST allows its vice-chancellor to run for three years second term after the expiration of his first term.´´ Amaechi said.
He expressed regret that professors in the university, who were members of the governing council, stepped out of the council and made themselves candidates for vice-chancellor.
“This action is improper,’’ he said.
Mr. Amaechi said he re-appointed the university vice-chancellor in acting capacity at the end of his first tenure based on law, pending the nomination of another candidate by the university council.
“ASSU in Rivers state wants to take up the position of a governor to appoint the vice-chancellor. There has to be discipline and there has to be implementation of law and order,” he said.
The governor vowed that he would ensure that salary was not paid to any lecturer who failed to report for duty.
He said that it was unfortunate that lecturers in RSUST who were the highest paid in Nigeria, were in the habit of blackmailing his administration.