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Striking NASU leaders protest arrest of members in UNILAG

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VC Exonerates Self, Urges Self-Restraint

Striking members of the Non- Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU), University of Lagos (UNILAG) chapter yesterday protested arrest of their members allegedly on the orders of the vice chancellor, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe.But Ogundipe while appealing for calm exonerated himself saying he didn’t order the arrest of the striking workers.
 
The national leadership of NASU had embarked on strike over non-payment of earned allowances. The aggrieved workers who accused government of insensitivity had moved to disrupt the forthcoming convocation of the institution billed to commence on Monday.The striking workers had moved to shut down the generator while also refusing to pump water for the use of the university community.The action was said to have free the ire of the management, which led to the arrest of some of the workers.

But Ogundipe, while addressing the protesting workers at the Matriculation ceremony of new students yesterday pleaded with them to embrace peace.Ogundipe described as unfortunate, instances where some persons were already indicting him as being solely responsible for the arrest.

 
“It is your right to demand what rightfully is yours. But at the same time, let us not destroy the structure because this strike will come and go and if we destroy the structure at thus time that we are on strike, then when we come out of it there will be no structure to fall back on.
 
“The strike is a national one and not a local one so it also behoves on us to think globally and act locally. This will be for the benefit of all,” he said.
Ogundipe said the university management shared in the pains of the striking workers adding that he has always urged the Federal government at every given opportunity, to address the vexed issues.
 
“But I am no longer comfortable with the way the entire thing is turning out as your actions sometimes are capable of inciting our students.“Let us try and show some respect for each other because the way you are going about this whole thing, such as locking up of the medical centre and other of your activities are mounting pressure on management.

“Be that as it may, I want to assure you that none of your members will be intimidated as long as this strike lasts.“I shall be going down to Shangisha where your members are being detained for their immediate and unconditional release,” Ogundipe said.

Responding, leaders of the striking workers assured the vice-chancellor of their support for his administration adding that the struggle had nothing to do with him nor his management team.Chairman, National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Sulaiman Lawal described as unfortunate the various incidences that have been happening within the campus recently while the strike was on.
 
“We need not pretend that all is well when it is not. Or how else can we describe a situation where a student on a live television programne said the impact of our strike was not being felt?
 
“That singular action indicted the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the institution which made the national body to send some members to monitor and ensure total compliance with the industrial action.
 
On his part, the NASU chairman, Kehinde Ajibade urged the police to stop intimidating their members, as they have been civil in their protests.According to Ajibade, members though striking, are also mindful of the need to maintain law and order.“We are part of the system and we do not think we will want to do anything that will collapse it totally. 


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