The Joint Action Front (JAF) has condemned the arrest of eight union leaders of the Lagos State Polytechnic, Ikorodu, Lagos, by the Police on the orders of Samuel Sogunro, Rector of the polytechnic.

The union leaders were arrested on Monday while continuing with their demand for the reversal of the de-migration of their salary structure.

They were also alleged to have attacked staff of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) during the mock exercise.

Those arrested, who are members of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU), Senior Staff Association of Nigeria Polytechnics (SSANIP) and Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), are Salami Olugbenga, Seye Ero-Phillips, Muinat Ogunbmbi-Ibrahim, Alawada Abimbola, Semiu Fasasi, Abiodun Awoyemi, Tobi Oremule and Ayanda Rauf.

Describing the arrest as an act of "intimidation and brutality", Oladipo Fashina, JAF Chairperson, said the institution is bent on punishing the uncooperating members of the unions.

He maintained that the university management had been using security agencies to attack union members, the latest being the case where an “armed Task Force stormed the institution at night to cart away all the staff union buses to their premises and deflated their tyres".

Fashina said: “We hold that a tertiary institution environment should ideally run as an administration. 

“The aberration of authority and management paradigms are alien to academic culture, hence the urgent necessity for the Lagos Government to act now to end the unacceptable reign of authoritarian rectors and vice chancellors in the tertiary institutions where the Governor statutorily should be the Visitor and should do his duties as such.”

He also demanded the immediate release of the eight union leaders arrested, stating that “holding them on framed-up charges in order to keep them out of circulation and undermine their struggle for justice on issues of their rights to collective bargaining and defence of collective agreements, will not stand”.

Fashina urged the Lagos State Government to call LASPOTECH management to order, and also urged the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to intervene and ensure the institution respects the rights of every staff member.

“We demand that the Lagos Government has a responsibility to arrest the degenerating violent reign of terrors in LASPOTECH now before more staff and students become victims of framed up attacks," he said. 

“We urge the Nigeria Labour Congress and all workers to rise in defence of the 8 union leaders and the three unions in LASPOTECH.”

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