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UNICAL RAMPAGE: ASUU, COUNCIL SET UP PANEL OF ENQUIRY

By NBF News
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Piqued by the high level of destruction and vandalisation of school property as well as lecturers' vehicles by students in last Friday's rampage, the authorities of the University of Calabar and Academic Staff Union of Universities, UNICAL branch, have set up separate panels.

The panels, among other things, are expected to look into the remote causes of the unprecedented carnage, ascertain the level of destruction; those behind it and make recommendations to appropriate authourities on what next to be done. Students of the institution, over the weekend went on rampage destroying cars and school property worth hundreds of millions of naira, leading to the closure of the school.

Investigations revealed that all vehicles at sight had their windscreens smashed while the vice chancellor's office, UnICal Micro-Finance Bank, UNICAL Press, Samuel Imoke Medical Centre, proposed Senate Building, Unical Pharmacy and transport office had their glass windows and doors broken. The destruction was extended to lecturers' official residents but surprisingly, the lecture halls were avoided.

The rampage was said to have been sparked off by allegations making the rounds that the school authorities had concluded arrangement to de-register some students who failed to meet up registration deadline of August 26.

Briefing newsmen shortly after its extraordinary meeting held yesterday, the Chairman of ASUU-UCB, Dr. James Okpiliya, disclosed that ASUU had set up its own panel and would submit its report in a week's time, adding that the panel's report would be implemented to the letter as nobody would go unpunished if found guilty. Okpiliya condemned in totality the actions of the students, saying, 'we cannot find any connection between their grievances, if any, with the administration and the mayhem unleashed on our members who are their parents at this time and age when there are modern ways of resolving issues.'

Looking visibly angry, the chairman said, 'ASUU is very angry that lecturers' homes were forcefully entered into and their 61 cars destroyed; we have been traumatised and are unhappy with the high level of inglorious execution and magnitude of destruction by students.' Explaining further, he stated unequivocally that, 'it is not our intention to breed irresponsible and criminally-minded students. We, therefore, implore students to explore peaceful and civilised avenues of resolving their grievances in line with the rich culture of the University of Calabar.'

The union, however, regreted the reluctance of police auhtourities to intervene despite repeated appeals by the university authourities as such moves would have salvaged the situation.'The union notes with regret that the repeat incident of Saturday, August 27, would have been averted if police had responded to the university's appeal,' he said.