The Union of Academic Staff of Universities has advised the federal government to protect the University of Jos from attacks and killings of its staff and students before the school next reopens.
The Union made the request in a statement on Sunday following a breach of security in Jos and other parts of Plateau state resulting in the murder of some students, a development that forced the University to close the institution until further notice.
The declaration which was signed by the President of ASUU, University of Jos, Dr Lazarus Maigoro,
observed that some of the University’s immediate environments have become hostile to the University community, that students and staff are targeted and killed rather than shielded from thugs.
The ASUU President said: “Our union continues to rack its brains to understand how the university community is still the target of the crisis in Jos. Despite all the provocations, we have continued to provide community services to everyone, whatever their religion, culture and tribe.
“Over the years, the university administration has made overtures to neighboring communities in terms of undergraduate admissions and staff employment, but our students and staff are being killed at the slightest provocation, no matter what. or the distance between the epicenter of the crisis and the university.
The most recent is the crisis that occurred on Saturday August 15, 2021 and spread to other parts of Jos. The University is a citadel of learning where each category of individuals works regardless of ethnic and religious affiliations and, therefore, whenever there is a security breach in the city, this citadel of knowledge should not in any way. case be affected.
“But unfortunately, as soon as the crisis situation erupts in any part of the city, the students and staff of the University suddenly become the target of assassinations and butchers by residents of the immediate environment.
“It is rather unfortunate to note that some of these attacks on the university community come from residents of encroached university grounds, from operators of Keke Napep and others who besiege the university arena to sell their goods and are sponsored by the same staff and students as their economic livelihood, but turn around and kill them at the slightest chance.
“As I speak now I can say with authority that three students have lost their lives, two more are admitted to Bingham University Hospital due to injuries sustained when they were attacked and there is no guarantee that we will not will not be faced with more statistics as the days go by.
“The current exams were suspended and the students were invited to return home, thus brutally destabilizing the semester and the academic session in general. It also means a longer stay at school for the students in the face of the harsh economic realities of the country. As teachers of these students, our hearts bleed because they are our children and no father would want his child killed because he went to college to get a degree.
“ASUU is a union that cares about the safety of the lives of its students and staff to ensure confidence in the performance of their duties. We lack words strong enough to condemn this barbaric act.
“The responsibility to protect lives and property rests squarely on the shoulders of government. This is very closely linked to justice and we call on the government to ensure that justice is served to all communities that have been affected. Failure to do so will only lead us to a vicious cycle of violence through retaliatory attacks.
“We also call on the government to ensure a very strong security presence around the community of the University of Jos and the roads leading to the University, because when the same thing happened in 2018, where we lost some staff and two students, our union raised concerns and we were told that adequate security measures would be in place to mitigate further events, but ALAS here we are again, with more lives lost.
“It is clear that the security personnel did not show at all the kind of swift response that we witnessed when arresting some suspects in the Rukuba road attack in relation to the situation in the University of Jos. We would like to remind the government that ALL LIVES COUNT. Whenever these security breaches occur and the lives of University of Jos staff and students are lost, no one is ever arrested.
“In conclusion, we would like to ask a few questions that must be answered to avoid further events: why did the government and the security services not prepare when it was clear that the burials of the massacred people were on the scene? point to take place? Why haven’t the authorities ensured the safety of our staff and students? What assurances do we have that the idea of the University’s “city and dress” will be preserved? Clearly addressing these issues is essential for academic activities at the university to resume in peace and unity.