Chidiebube Okeoma, Owerri
The crisis at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, took a serious turn on Friday after two lecturers at the college were attacked while trying to stop a faction of the Joint Action Committee from conducting first semester examinations while the school was on strike.
The lecturers, identified as Elvis Opara and Steven Duru, were members of a committee set up by JAC to ensure that no examination was allowed in the school until the protesting lecturers called off their industrial action.
The lecturers had penultimate week downed tools, saying the acting Provost of the institution, Dan Anyanwu, should resign if he must contest for the post of the substantive provost of the college.
The enraged lecturers said it was against known laws of the college for an acting provost to contest for the substantive position while in office, claiming that he would unduly manipulate the process.
But a faction of the four unions that made up JAC which supported the acting provost claimed that there was no known law which was against an acting provost being in office and vying for the post of a substantive provost of the college.
The group pointed out that a letter written to the college by the minister of education stated that the acting provost could be in office while he sought to become a substantive provost.
But speaking to PUNCH Metro on Sunday, one of the injured lecturers, Opara, said the only crime he committed was that he was a member of a JAC committee mandated to ensure that sanity and order was maintained while the strike lasted.
Opara told our correspondent that while he and other committee members were ensuring that no examination was conducted in the college, hoodlums allegedly imported by those opposed to the JAC’s position on the crisis attacked them.
He said while he was severely injured, his colleague’s head was broken by the hoodlums, who were about 15 in number.
“They used bottles, stones and other sharp objects to attack us. Blood gushed out; our colleagues, who scampered to safety, rushed us to a hospital. I was discharged the next day, but Duru spent three days in the hospital,” he added.
Opara, who is the state chairman, Senior Staff Union in the Colleges of Education in Nigeria, said he spent 24 hours at the hospital, while his colleague, who had a deeper cut, spent three days in the hospital.
He regretted that the security men on the campus could not do much to save them from their attackers.
However, a lecturer, Emeka Obi, who said that he was not in support of the strike, said no hoodlum attacked the lecturers.
According to Obi, students who were angry with the victims for coming into the examination halls to tear their scripts, attacked the lecturers.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Andrew Enwerem, told our correspondent that no lecturer at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education reported any case of attack by hoodlums to the police.
He said, “There is no such case in our record. No case of attack on lecturers at the Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, by hoodlums was reported to us.”
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