Prof. Biodun Ogunyemi, the President of Academic Staff Union of Universities, has called on the Federal Government to close the gap between the rich and the poor to reduce the high rate of insecurity.
Ogunyemi told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that continued kidnapping of its members was worrisome, adding that this had led to apprehension on the campuses.
Gideon Okedayo, a professor in the Department of Mathematical Science, Ondo State University of Science and Technology, Okitipupa, Ondo State, was kidnapped by gunmen recently and later died in captivity.
Okedayo and his driver were kidnapped on their way to Igara in Edo but the driver was later released after which he reported to the police.
According to Ogunyemi, ASUU has written to express its worries, coming out from its 41st National Executive Committee meeting as it affects its members specifically.
He said: “It has led to a general feeling of insecurity on many campuses; recently, we had one of our colleagues abducted and eventually killed; that was a professor of Mathematics from Ondo State University of Science and Technology.
“ASUU believes that you cannot get the problem resolved until and unless we address the socioeconomic problems in the country.
“Our belief is that the gap between the rich and the poor has continued to expand and it’s almost coming to a point whereby the rich will not be able to sleep, when the poor are hungry, because they say a hungry man is an angry man.
“We have seen people travelling on commercial vehicles and they were waylaid. That is to say that if that happens, it could be anybody.”
Ogunyemi urged all tiers of government to take a comprehensive look at the general social economic problems bedevilling the country.
He said the union had called for a socialist democracy where resources would be distributed.
According to him, there is a need for a new model of development that is people-oriented which also ensures social economic justice.
He said: “What we have in the country today is chronic capitalism and in which case, you can have everything while others have nothing, and that doesn’t work for any society.
“What we have in this country now is injustice in all spheres of life, education, health, housing and transportation have been priced out of the reach of the poor and can hardly be afforded.
“Until we are prepared to drop this model of development that does not allow for popular participation in the ownership and control of the means and production of wealth distribution, we cannot have lasting peace.”