Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Full Story of the Protest in UNN on 2nd December,2013 (With Pictures)

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In what appears to be a mother-of-all protests, about three thousand indigenes of two host communities of the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, stormed the University on Monday and held workers hostage for over 7 hours.
The protesters from Owere-Eze Orba and Ajuonu Obukpa communities blocked every entrance to the administrative building of the UNN.Some youths from Owerre-Eze Orba had last two weeks protested the disconnection of the community from power supply by the university.

However, sensing that the earlier protest was not yielding any result, elderly men and women, accompanied by several youths from the two communities made it impossible for any visitor or staff to gain entrance into the admin block, housing the office of the Vice Chancellor, Prof Bartho Okolo.

The leader of the group, who addressed journalists, Mr. Ndukwe Agbo said that for the past eight months, the university disconnected their light, and that every attempt by the community for the light to be restored ended on empty promises.

“For over eight months, we have been in darkness. The university disconnected us on the excuse that with our light, the university would experience low voltage; they said we should buy our own transformers.We have done that, but reconnecting us has remained a problem”, he said.

“This problem started since Prof Bartho Okolo became VC; previous vicechancellors did no such thing.

“We have decided to sleep here unless the university immediately reconnects our electricity. We cannot continue to stay in darkness”, he added.

Also speaking, the leader of the women, Mrs Nwachukwu Eze said that it was unfortunate that the university had refused to keep the agreement it entered with host communities.

“I don’t know what we have done to the present VC that he is unleashing wickedness on the communities that donated land freely to the university. We will stay here until the university tells us when our light will be restored.

“The university has failed in all the issues contained in the pact, no water, no employment to our people”, she lamented.

Efforts by the Deputy Vice Chancellor Administration, Prof Malachy Okwueze to calm the protesters down failed as they continued shouting “we don’t want any talk, go and reconnected the light”.

The tense situation later attracted the attention of the chairman of Nsukka Local Government Area, Mr. Tony Ugwu and his counterpart from Udenu Mr Godwin Abonyi.

Addressing journalists after a meeting with the UNN management, which lasted about three hours, Abonyi described the situation as unfortunate.

According to him, “I believe that the VC is being mis-informed. The director of works said re-connecting the communities will result in low voltage”.

Abonyi said that he would contact the state government on the issue, adding that the state rural electrification board might be involved to connect the transformers of the communities, if UNN finally to do so.

“We have discussed with the UNN management; the Udenu Council Area would ensure the problem is resolved soon”, he assured.

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