ASUU Strike: Ondo Police threatens lecturers over planned rally

ASUU insists it will proceed with the rally on Thursday.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko chapter and the police in Ondo State are at loggerhead over a planned protest by the union. The protest is scheduled for Thursday in Akungba-Akoko by the university teachers.

The teachers’ protest is to demonstrate their support for the ongoing nationwide strike by ASUU. The strike is in its fourth month with the lecturers demanding the full implementation of a 2009 agreement it had with the federal government.

A detachment of anti-riot policemen has been drafted to various parts of Akungba-Akoko and the main gate of the university to disrupt the protest.

An Armoured Personnel Carrier was also reportedly stationed at the university gate to curtail the rally.

But ASUU Chairman, Busuyi Mekusi, insisted that the protest would proceed in spite of invasion of the university community by the police,

He stressed that they had on October 14 wrote a letter to the police commissioner informing him of the planned protest; saying the police boss did not respond.

The Ondo Police spokesperson, Wole Ogodo, said the rally was illegal, stressing that the rally could lead to breakdown of law and order.

A statement issued in Akure, the state capital, by the counsel to ASUU, Titiloye Charles, condemned the ”undemocratic” use of the police by the Federal Government to restrict and prevent street rallies organised by the union.

He said the protest was organised to sensitise Nigerians on the need to support the struggle to revamp public universities across the country.

He said that while the federal government actively provided security protection for anti-ASUU protesters nationwide, it had given instructions to police formations nationwide to disallow the lecturers from holding public rallies.

Mr. Titiloye said he noted ‘with great concern’ the threat issued by the Divisional Police Officer of police in Akungba-Akoko to use force to deal with the lecturers if they proceed with the rally.

He noted that ASUU’s letter to the Commissioner of Police in Ondo State was not to obtain permission from the police for the union to exercise its fundamental human rights to associate and assemble; but to ask the police to provide security for the rally.

The lawyer said the police commissioner was yet to reply to the letter.

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