In the wake of abductions of staff and students on university campuses, varsity workers under the aegis of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities are proposing to write to the National Assembly, seeking gun licence for security officers at the various universities across the country.
The association said it would push all the right buttons to ensure gun licence for security teams was obtained to protect its members, students, as well as communities surrounding most universities.
SSANU said it believed if the universities’ security teams were allowed to carry arms, bandits and kidnappers would not be having a field day attacking campuses and kidnapping lecturers and students.
The association had recently called for arms possession by security men protecting universities in light of attacks on campuses by bandits.
Also, the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Prof Eyitope Ogunbodede, in a recent interview told Sunday PUNCH that at this point in time, universities’ security officers must be allowed to carry guns.
Asked if the association would write the National Assembly to seek gun licence for security men guarding university campuses to push forward their demand, SSANU National President, Mr Mohammed Ibrahim, said it was something they were working on.
He said, “Yes, it is something that is on our table. As a union with a large membership, our members have remained the constant targets of bandits and kidnappers, and we know how their families and the union were involved in ensuring the release of those kidnapped in the past.
“So we have started putting documents together; we are consulting because it is something that has to do with the law. But because getting to change a law is a herculean task in Nigeria, it’s not all going to be in writing. You have to lobby and knock at strategic doors.
“At the end of the day, it’s not only our members that are going to benefit from the law. Other members of the community are also going to benefit. So we are not going to leave anything to chance. We will push all the (right) buttons that we need to push to ensure this is done to protect our members, the students, and surrounding communities at the universities.
“You know, most of the universities are not within towns. They are mostly built on the outskirts of communities and most are not properly fenced. The universities are porous and criminality-minded people can go in and wreck any havoc. So having our security officers licensed to carry guns will do a lot to deter criminals from attacking our campuses.”
When Ibrahim was asked when SSANU would tender the request at the National Assembly, he said it would be “in the next few weeks.”
He said, “We are spread all over the country and our membership cuts across all universities. Also, we have the different arms of the union such as the National Executive Council and National Administrative Council.
“Both of them have considered the option but we need to dot the i’s and cross the t’s before we present the ideas. So in the next few weeks, we should be able to come up with something reasonable.”