The University of Benin chapter of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), has commended the people of Ikpeshi, in Akoko-Edo local government area of Edo State, for the heroic role they played in the release of lectures and students of the institution who were abducted on their way from field work by suspected herdsmen.
The Union gave the commendation in a statement signed by its Chairman and Secretary, Prof. Monday Omoregie and Dr. Fabian Chukwugozie Amaechina respectively, titled, Re: Abduction of University of Benin students and staff on Geological field work – A demonstration of failed national security.
It noted that the swift response of the people what would have been a tale of woes for the University.
“We place on record the heroic role played by the Ikpeshi Community who rose to the challenge by responding in a way that resulted in the rescue of the abducted students and their lecturers.
“We salute the community’s courage and patriotism and recommend their action to other besieged communities.
“Their reaction only proves that we are stronger together. But for their role and support, it would have been a tale of woes,” the statement said.
The UNIBEN ASUU noted that the abduction of staff and students of Nigerian universities has become a trend, as similar thing has happened in time past, when staff of the institution went for field work and were kidnapped, but were later released after the payment of ransom.
It added that the one that happened when staff of the Geological Department of the University of Maiduguri were kidnapped by Boko Haram members and some of the kidnapped victims eventually died in their custody and the recent one that just happened in the University of Benin, are enough reasons for the government of the day to do something about the ugly security challenges in the country.
It noted that a situation whereby lecturers and students have become soft target in the country has the possibility of hindering research, which is at the heart of development.
It described the situation as a virus that needs to be exterminated because of the negative multiplier effect it can have on education and the larger development of the nation adding that if researches and field works cannot go on because of the challenge of insecurity, then the educational sector and the whole concept of national development will be on borrowed time.
Meanwhile, the management of UNIBEN says it has placed a temporary suspension on all forms of excursions outside Benin City by its students.
The University in a statement by its Public Relations Officer, Dr. (Mrs.) Benedicta Ehanire, said the directive came against the backdrop of the recent abduction of lecturers and students of the University of Benin by suspected kidnappers in Akoko-Edo Local Government Area of Edo State on their to fieldwork.
The statement noted that where excursions become unavoidable, suitable security arrangement would be made, including engagement of security escorts.