About 10 hours after the Nigerian government gave one week ultimatum to striking university lecturers to call off their strike, the police announced it was deploying more officers to university campuses nationwide.
The Acting Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, had told journalists on Thursday morning that the lecturers, ASUU, had until December 4 to resume. In the evening, the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar, through the police spokesperson, Frank Mba, released a statement announcing the increased deployment of personnel to the campuses.
“This is designed to help secure life and property in the Ivory Towers and provide enabling environment for lecturers, students, academic and non-academic staff to go about their lawful businesses without let or hindrance,” the statement said.
The police boss also said the directive is a proactive and confidence-boosting measure designed to ensure that nothing untoward happens in the academic communities. He directed all Command Commissioners of Police to personally oversee the intensification of surveillance activities around universities within their State Commands.
The police commissioners are also required to take all necessary security measures needed to provide for the safety and security of staff and students as well as property within the various campuses.
Mr. Mba advised lecturers, students and all Nigerians within the Institutions to remain law abiding and go about their legitimate businesses without fear of molestation or intimidation from any quarters.
The minister’s statement followed by that of the police appear an indication the government is finally ready literarily force the lecturers resume work.
ASUU has been on a nationwide strike since July 1, demanding the government implements a 2009 agreement it had with the union.
The lecturers had last week, at the end of the ASUU NEC meeting, resolved to take a definite position on the government’s offer, and the strike, after meeting President Goodluck Jonathan this week. The meeting, a follow up to an earlier one held with the president, was yet to hold before government’s threat on Thursday.
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