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Wednesday, 13 November 2013


 The four month-long strike of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, yesterday took the life of a former president of the union, Professor Festus Iyayi of the University of Benin.
Iyayi, who died in a car accident on his way to the National Executive Council meeting of the union in Kano. The NEC meeting was to decide whether to call off or continue the strike after ratifying the decisions of the 61 chapters of the union.

The accident which happened at about 11 am at Banda village along the Lokoja-Abuja highway involved a vehicle in the convoy of the Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada.
With his death, hope of the suspension of the four month strike appears dim as the news shocked his friends and allies in the labour movement.
Prof. Iyayi
Also in the ASUU bus conveying the late Professor were Dr. Ngozi Ilo, National Welfare Officer of ASUU who was said to be in critical condition; the Chairman of ASUU branch of UNIBEN, Dr. Anthony Monye Emina, who was reported to be in stable condition and the driver of the vehicle, whose identity was not known at the time of this report.
It was gathered from the KogiStateSpecialistHospital that the female lecturer who sustained fracture in her left arm, and the male passenger who sustained bruises all over his body were receiving treatment at the hospital.
An eyewitness said the accident involved a rear vehicle in the convoy of the Kogi State Governor and a Toyota Hilux with number plate ED 357 USL belonging to ASUU, UNIBEN branch.
The eyewitness who took part in the rescue operation said the rear vehicle in the governor’s convoy pulled out to overtake the other vehicles in the convoy and in the process rammed into the ASUU bus coming from the Lokoja end of the road. He added that the ASUU vehicle veered off the road, and somersaulted three times before hitting a tree in the nearby bush, killing Professor Iyayi instantly and injuring the two others.
Vanguardalso gathered that seven security aides of the governor, who were in the vehicle that hit Iyayi’s vehicle also sustained injuries and are receiving treatment at the government house clinic, Lokoja.
Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Olakunle Motajo who confirmed the accident said, preliminary investigation revealed that there was wrongful overtaking on the part of the governor’s vehicle, saying that proper investigation has commenced.
Olakunle confirmed that Professor Iyayi’s corpse has been deposited at the hospital morgue where the injured ones are receiving treatment.
Meanwhile, Governor Wada later visited the emergency unit of the hospital to sympathise with the victims and also the mortuary to see the remains of late Prof. Iyayi, saying he was shocked over the incident.
As at 5 p.m. yesterday, lecturers, students, commissioners of the Edo State Government were at Professor Iyayi’s residence in Benin to console his wife, Grace and their four children.
On the current ASUU strike, the late Professor Iyayi had, in an interview with theWorkermagazine, said: “We do not believe that government has no money. As we told Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala, we are a union of intellectuals, we have economists, experts in economics, and so we have access to the figures that government itself produces in relation to its revenue string.
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