FUPRE workers defy govt, continue strike

23 November 2011, Sweetcrude, Warri – The Academic staff of the Federal University of Petroleum Resources (FUPRE), Ugbomro, Delta State, have vowed to continue with their strike despite an order by the Federal Government that they resume work immediately.
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), FUPRE chapter, who are protesting the role of the Federal Ministry of Education in the crisis rocking the institution. said in a statement after its congress, that it would continue with the strike until the recall of the vice chancellor of the university by the Minister of Education was voided and the university autonomy restored.

The statement, which was jointly signed by the Chairman, Dr. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, and the Secretary, Dr. Duke Okoro, declared that though the union would work closely with the Prof. Alhassan Bichi panel, sent in by the Federal Government, it would not bow to the order of the government to resume work or be sanctioned.

The union said in the statement, “After reviewing the current state of affairs in the university as it affects the ongoing crisis which culminated in the militarisation of the campus with mobile policemen and private security outfits with dogs patrolling everywhere, we resolve as follows:

“We are prepared to work closely with the peace team headed by Prof. Bichi, which has addressed the staff and all stakeholders on the FUPRE crisis. Congress also resolved that EXCO should develop the memorandum with input from members to be submitted to the peace team sent by the Nigeria Universities Commission.”

The situation in the institution had degenerated when the Governing Council, purportedly dissolved a day earlier by the government, suspended the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Babatunde Alabi, alongside the registrar and the bursar. But the Minister of Education, Prof Rukkayat Rufa’i, had upturned the action, ordering their reinstatement.

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