Sunday, February 25, 2024

‘I feel hurt my colleagues abandoned me’, ‘suspended’ ASUU chairman laments

… accuses varsity of ignoring court order

BY AGNES NWORIE, ABAKALIKI

The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki chapter, Prof. Ikechukwu Igwenyi, who was suspended by the institution, has accused the management of shunning the reinstatement order of the court.

Igwenyi had been suspended by the management of the university via a radio announcement on November 18, 2021 and banned from entering the campus while his salaries were said to have been withheld and the union’s office sealed for alleged factionalisation.

After two years of legal fireworks, the National Industrial Court, sitting in Abakaliki, last month, declared the university’s actions as unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

Presided over by Justice Arowosegbe Oluwakayode, the court ordered the immediate reinstatement of the suspended EBSU ASUU chairman, Igwenyi, and other members, as well as the unsealing of ASUU’s Secretariat at the CAS campus; emphasising that university officials lacked the authority to prohibit ASUU’s activities.

Lamenting the refusal of the university management to obey the court order and reinstate him, Igwenyi, in an exclusive interview with The Point in Abakaliki, said he suffered deprivation, humiliation, psychological torment, financial difficulty, threats to life among other inhumane treatments meted on him and his family members in the course of the suit.

He expressed disappointment at the conduct of members of the academic union, saying that many of his colleagues had abandoned him in the face of trials.

“I felt hurt above all by even the people I am leading, people who said I should take that position. The same persons abandoned their leader and continued to go to work. They kept mute and never uttered a word.

“Some of them have even formed themselves into a political group called Divine Mandate Professors and Lecturers,” he said.

Expressing concern over the lack of response from university officials and the state governor, he noted that the university management was guilty of contempt of court.

“Our lawyer had to go the extra mile to hear from the Vice Chancellor with complaints that his clients had not been recalled. There was no response. Already, it is a contempt of court, it is now beyond what anybody has said, the court has stated, it has two options, either execute the order of the court or challenge it and they have a seven-day window to challenge it. The seven days have long elapsed and there is no appeal,” Igwenyi stated.

When contacted for comments about the accusation, the Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof. Chigozie Ogbu said, “I have no remarks or comments on that issue.”

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