Unknown persons had on Monday blocked the entrance gate of the Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, in Mkpat Enin local government area of the state with a coffin and traditional injunction.
Recall that the Academic Staff Union of the University, the Non-Academic Staff Union and the National Association of Academic Technologies had since declared a strike over unsettled issues bordering on unpaid salaries in line with the directives of
the Joint Action Committee.
But the management of the institution had condemned the action of the unknown persons describing it as a sabotage to the efforts of the government to settle outstanding arrears of workers.
In a video clip obtained by our correspondent, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor Administration, Professor Idongesit Isaac was heard saying, “It’s unfortunate that after the state government promised that within 31 days it will settle three months arrears and at the end of January it will clear all arrears of salaries and government has done its part but some people are not happy.”
Speaking in the same vein, a community leader, Mr Joe Akpan condemned the action adding that the host communities have expressed their anger over the incident.
“How can people block a citadel of learning with a coffin? the host communities condemn it. I have spoken with the clan heads of all the villages and they are angry about it.” He said.
The chairman, one of the factions of ASUU in the institution Mr. Ime Okop said he was at Abuja to attend ASUU meeting when the incident occurred.
“I have heard what happened. I was at Abuja for the ASUU NEC meeting, so I have not really been there but I was told that is what happened” Okop stated.
Professor OtoAbasi Akpan who is the chairman of another faction of ASUU said investigations are still going on to unravel those behind the action.
“Some groups of persons under the Joint Action Committee declared for strike sometime and for the strike to work the legal instrument of the strike all the unions have to participate. In our case, we have only three unions–ASUU, NASU and NAAT. That was the problem. So as they declared the strike they locked the gate. We don’t know who locked the gate. An investigation is still going on but for now, we don’t know who locked the gate. But if you draw inference from the action you should know who locked the gate because the Academic Staff Union of the university has since opted out of the strike” he said.