Name names, v-cs ordered

August 16, 1996

Nigerian vice chancellors are under orders to name all staff involved in the five-month-old university strike, according to the academics' union.

The union has discovered a secret memo from Munzali Jibril, new head of the National Universities Commission, instructing vice chancellors to compile lists that include addresses and university property in the staff's possession.

He called the activists a "vocal and militant minority" who were preventing the "silent majority" from going back to work.

The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) quickly tabled the matter at its weekly teacher meeting, where strike-related issues are discussed.

The meeting at the University of Ibadan, the oldest and one of the biggest university centres in Nigeria, greeted the directive with indignation. Academics recalled that Nigeria's former military dictators used similar tactics.

People on such lists had been sacked unlawfully and ejected from university housing. Zwahu Bonat, ASUU chairman at the northern university of Ahmadu Bello, said: "It is tragic for an academic of the standing of Professor Jibril to have made these hasty and unfounded claims less than a month after taking office as executive secretary.

"Having bought the false claims of the vice chancellors that the majority of academic staff in their universities are ready to abandon the strike, he is now using these false claims to invoke state violence on the academic staff," he added.

Academics reminded Professor Jibril that as chairman of the ASUU Bayero University Kano branch he was one of the organisers of the successful ASUU national strike of 1981.

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