The protest took place just as the Inspector-General of Police, Solomon Arase, promised to dispatch a rapid response squad to check kidnappings in the state.
But the protesting EKSU teachers, who gave a five-day ultimatum to the state government to secure the release of their colleagues from the kidnappers’ den , vowed to go on an indefinite strike if their call was not heeded.
They said that five of their colleagues were kidnapped at various locations in the state within two weeks out of which two had been freed to go and look for N210m ransom for the release of the others.
A lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Femi Omisore; Folasade Alade of EKSU and Kikelomo Adegun, wife of the former Chief Medical Director of the EKSU Teaching Hospital, Ado Ekiti are those in the kidnappers’ den.
The protesting university teachers carried placards with various inscriptions like “ASUU say no to kidnapping,” “Kidnapping is a crime against humanity,” “ASUU demands unconditional release of its members “ and “Ensure safety of lives and property.”
They started the protest from the EKSU Teaching Hospital before moving to the palace of the Ewi of Ado-Ekiti where they were addressed by Oba Rufus Adejugbe and members of his council.
The lecturers were led by the Chairman of the EKSU chapter of ASUU , Olufayo Olu-Olu; the chairman OAU chapter, Caleb Aborisade and the chairman of the Federal University of Technology, Akure chapter, Bola Oniya.
After being addressed at the palace, they moved to the Governor’s office where they were received by the Deputy Governor, Kolapo Olusola.
At the governor’s office, they expressed worry that kidnappers had been making them and health workers their targets.
The lecturers urged the government to do all within its powers to rescue the state from sliding into anarchy.
Olu-Olu said, “This is the same way Boko Haram started in the North. It started like a child’s play but today, a visit to the North would show the level of callousness and damage the sect has done to the system.
“On this premise, the government must act fast and stop this nonsense.
“These kidnappers erroneously think our members are rich; but they do not know that we have not received salaries in EKSU since March, 2015. Three of our members are still being held and they are demanding for N70m on each of them.
“Our fear is that, immediately these people realise that we are not rich, they may decide to waste those that they are still holding.
“We are therefore pleading with Governor (Ayodele) Fayose to act fast because it seems the police and the DSS have no clue to how the victims can be saved.”
The deputy governor told the protesters that Fayose had gone to Abuja to meet Arase over the development.
He engaged them in an open prayer for the release of those still being held by the kidnappers.
Olusola said, “It is very unfortunate that this is happening at this critical time. This issue is not whether those that were kidnapped were rich or poor, kidnapping is a crime to a society. This singular act is capable of scaring away investors from Ekiti State.
“Fayose’s government has written to the IG to intervene in this matter. Mr. Governor himself has gone to Abuja to meet him personally to discuss this issue.
“We appeal to you not to withdraw your services because such may heighten the tension that had already mounted. But all we need now is for all of us to turn ourselves into security experts by extracting every useful information that we can give to the security agencies to be able to arrest the situation.”
After the protest, Fayose’s Chief Press Secretary, Idowu Adelusi, said that Arase had promised to deploy a special team in Ekiti and Kogi states within the next 48 hours to curb kidnappings in the two states.
Adelusi, in a statement, said the governor congratulated the IG on his elevation and informed him that about eight people had been kidnapped in the last three weeks in the state.
According to the statement, Fayose told Arase that Ekiti residents were becoming agitated and that his government was very much concerned.