Staff and Students of the Alvan Ikoku Federal University of Education, Owerri, yesterday took to the streets, protesting against the purported downgrading of the institution to its former status as a College of Education.
The protesting students and staff incessantly chanted scornful songs against the Federal Government with placards bearing such inscription as: “Mr. President, don’t take away our University from us”, “Nigerians, plead with Mr. President”, “University we want”.
“A College – No, University –Yes” “forward ever but backward never”, “Change should be Positive” They barricaded the university main entrance gate and the adjacent Owerri-Orlu road before trooping to the town where they aggressively impeded vehicular movements.
The Chairman of the Academic Staff Union (ASUU) of the institution – Mrs. Ukachi Wachukwu who later briefed newsmen said that the action of the staff and students was in response to available information that the Presidency had concluded plans to revert the institution to its original position as a College of Education.
Wachukwu, who is also the Chairman of the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of the institution added that the protest was the nip the alleged plan in the bud even as she dismissed those behind the plan as selfseeking individuals who do not mean well for the nation’s education sector.
While pledging the continued support of the staff and students to the federal government, the ASUU boss vowed that all trade unions in the school including students and staff would resist the down grading with the last drop of their blood if it is true.
The President of the Students Union Government (SUG) in the university, Comrade Solomon T.W.U Okafor wondered why the federal government should embark on such a retrogressive measure after elevating the College to a degree awarding institution. Okafor who equally denounced the action as grossly inimical to the Education Sector pleaded with the Presidency to quickly rescind the decision before it is too late.
-Damian Duruiheoma, Owerri