Mayhem broke out on Monday afternoon, at the Vice Chancellor’s Office Complex of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, in Ondo State, as protesting non-academic workers gathered around the magnificent structure and sang solidarity songs for hours holding the compelling the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Olufemi Mimiko and his management team to remain indoors helplessly for hours.
The distressed workers had had expressed their anger in a protest which began last week with a three-day protest over what they described as poor condition of service provided by the the school authority.
The protest continued to get more complicated as the workers threw missiles in form of stones and other dangerous weapons at the building where VC and his management team had just ended a meeting inconclusively with the leaders of the union over payment of arrears of hazard allowance as stipulated in the 2009 FGN-Unions agreement.
The workers had stood their grounds and all attempt by the VC to leave the premises after the meeting was frustrated as the protesters led by Messrs Ayo Falade (JAC-3), Akingbesote (SSANU), Giwa (NASU) and Aguda (NAAT) continued with their protest songs, holding him within the walls of his ffice.
The VC’s had managed to escaped after a long hostage by the effort of some top officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) who, reportedly, had been around all day to dampen the spirit of the striking workers from taking any action that could further complicate the delicate peace in the state.
Just few days ago, the ruling Labour Party had in a press statement accused opposition parties of planning to course crisis in the campus just to create the impression that the state cannot be managed by the present leadership in the state.
An aide to the VC who insisted on speaking only on condition of anonymity after the VC had been spirited out of the Complex decried the development which he said was unfair.
His words: “It was a horrible experience and to think that some workers could go to this extent to pursue arrears of a package that more than 90% of universities in this country have not even started implementing at all is quite unfortunate. I just thank God for the presence of the State Security people. The situation would have degenerated. Indeed, anything could have happened”. All attempts to get the VC to make a statement yielded no result as he was hastily driven past the mob.
In his earlier address to the striking workers, the JAC-3 Chairman, Ayo Falade, had indicated that his members would not spare anything while ensuring that the arrears are being paid , noting that contrary to the claim by the University management, his union, (SSANU), indeed had the approval of its national executive to embark on the three-day rally.
However, the students who were busy with their lectures were unaware that the VC’s office was besieged by the protesting staff. However, some of them who spoke after their classes affirmed that they were aware that protest was on, but could not come out due to their lectures.