A faction of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Ilorin chapter, on Thursday accused some officials of the Department of State Services, Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps and the university’s security guards of assaulting them.
The group in a statement by the chairman of the faction, Dr. Kayode Afolayan; and his Secretary, Dr. Solomon Oyelekan, on Thursday said the meeting initially was to take place at the university’s open air Amphitheatre, but was shifted to one of the side sitters of the walkway.
It added that the meeting had barely begun when the incident occurred.
The faction said it had informed the university management of its meeting and further alleged that usually, the authorities would deploy campus security personnel to take up positions to prevent academic staff from attending the meeting and to intimidate those who do.
It accused the university of not obeying court orders.
It said, “However, a new dimension was added on Wednesday when men of the DSS and Civil Defence accompanied campus securitymen to assault the academic staff at the meeting.
“The files and papers being used by the chairperson of the Union, Dr. Kayode Afolayan, were forcibly taken away, while he was assaulted.
The iPad of another member, Mr. Felix Akinsipe, was forcibly taken away; the shirt of Dr. Femi Dunmade was torn, etc.
“The situation nearly went out of hand before the head of campus security, one Alhaji Tijani, decided to lead the DSS and Civil Defence away from wherever he brought them from.
“The authorities have repeatedly made it clear that they are unwilling to uphold the tenets of democracy by allowing the freedom of association and freedom of expression that are enshrined in the Constitution.
“The Director of DSS in Kwara, Mr. Abdullahi Shinkafi, informed the Union that the Directorate did not send its men into the campus, and that the culprits would be dealt with, having handed over the iPad and other items seized from the academic staff.
“While the union appreciates this stance on the part of the Director, we maintain that there is no way the DSS men could have gone to harass academic staff with guns inside a university campus without the connivance of the university administration.”
When contacted, Shinkafi asked our correspondent to come to his office for a response. He was speaking when the network became bad. He did not respond to subsequent calls.
But the Head, Corporate Affairs, Unilorin, Mr. Kunle Akogun, said the university’s management was not aware of any DSS invasion of the campus.
He stated that the allegation by Afolayan was news to them, adding that the university authority was not aware of any meeting by any group outside the one held by the Kwara State Police Commissioner, Mr. Olusola Amore, with members of all campus unions (staff and students) in the university auditorium on Wednesday.
He said the meeting with the CP, which he said was also attended by members of the Private Hostel Association and Tanke community leaders, was conveyed to foster the security of lives and property of the university community and its adjoining communities.
Akogun said, “Members of the Executive Council of Unilorin ASUU, led by Dr. Usman Raheem, were fully represented at the meeting and they made useful contributions to its proceedings.
“Whatever happened between the Kayode Afolayan group and the DSS, as alleged, is not known to the university management.
The state Public Relations Officer, NSCDC, Mr. Bilesanmi Henry, said the matter was an issue of misinformation. He stated that they were invited to the campus, adding that his officers had only tried to maintain the peace.