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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Prof. Festus Iyayi's Death: NLC Blames Federal Government and Kogi State Governor



President of the Nigeria labour Congress, Abdulwaheed Omar, has attributed the death of former President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities ASUU, Prof Festus Iyayi on federal government’s act of criminal negligence on the one hand and executive lawlessness and impunity on the part of the Kogi State Governor, Idris Wada.



It would be recalled that the fatal  car crash which led to the death of Prof. Iyayi occurred at the Abuja-Lokoja highway, Tuesday morning, when a Police escort truck in the convoy of the Kogi state Governor  rammed into the car he was traveling on, en route Kano to attend the National Executive Council meeting of ASUU

In a statement captioned IYAYI DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE,  Omar said the Kogi state Governor is fast acquiring an accident-prone reputation.



He wondered why the dualisation project of the Lokoja-Abuja highway which is arguably one of the busiest in the country awarded about ten years ago to ease vehicular movement as well as reduce carnage on the road has still not been completed.



Omar said the Nigeria labour movement holds the federal government and the Kogi State Government accountable for the death of the eminent scholar and several other Nigerians and non-Nigerian citizens who have perished on the road.

Below is the full statement...



                                              Press Statement
                            IYAYI DID NOT DESERVE TO DIE

The Nigeria Labour Congress wishes to join other Nigerians in mourning the painful and tragic death of one of our own, Professor Festus Iyayi. Professor Iyayi was killed yesterday in a road crash involving the convoy of the Governor of Kogi State, Captain Wada Idris along Lokoja-Abuja road.
Iyayi died on his way to Kano to attend a meeting as part of the process of finding an enduring solution to ASUU strike. Others who were traveling with him are lying critically ill at the hospital.
Professor Iyayi’s death is not only a blow to ASUU and the Congress; it is a blow to the entire country to which he committed his entire life. He was a great scholar who bestrode virtually all the disciplines like a colossus. Although he was a Management Science Scholar, Iyayi picked with remarkable ease reputable awards for his novels which were a standard read for Literary students in universities across the world. Iyayi was similarly a leading authority in Industrial Relations.
Iyayi was an activist to the core, often deploying his prodigious energy and intellectual prowess to the cause. As President of the Academic Staff Union in 1986, he set the tone and pace of ASUU protests, in spite of the overbearing military government.  It certainly must be in appreciation of this that the executive of ASUU, had always thought if fit to involve him in negotiations.
His passion for activism knew no bounds.  This found expression in several ways but we particularly take note of the years of his sabbatical with the Nigeria Labour Congress when he impacted most positively on the activities of the Congress.
Iyayi’s death leaves a sour taste in the mouth and is totally avoidable. It is blameable on federal government’s act of criminal negligence on the one hand and executive lawlessness/impunity on the part of the Kogi State Governor who is fast acquiring for himself an accident-prone reputation.
The Lokoja-Abuja stretch of road is arguably one of the busiest in the country.  The contract for its dualistion was awarded about ten years ago to ease vehicular movement as well as reduce carnage on the road. Quite sadly and unfortunately, no appreciable work has been done, thus turning the stretch of the road into a slaughter slab.
In the light of the foregoing, the Congress holds the federal government and the Kogi State Government accountable for the death of this eminent scholar and patriot. Several other Nigerians and non-Nigerian citizens have perished on this road too.
Congress holds the view that there is no justification for leaving this road, and indeed other critical roads undone.  Nigerians are keen to know the facts of this contract. Government will be doing very little to help itself if it shields the criminals responsible for the non-completion of this road instead of prosecuting them.
Congress similarly calls on all siren-blowing and terror-dealing convoys to exercise utmost caution as well as have regard for other road users. No one has monopoly of the use of public roads or thoroughfares. The Federal Road Safety Corps and the Nigeria Police are invited to diligently prosecute these executive lawlessness.
But beside this, Congress also urges the National Assembly to criminalise fatal road crashes as part of the process of bringing accountability to road use.
Professor Festus Iyayi was an eminent scholar, a great activist, an uncommon patriot, a loving father and husband and a humble friend. He will be sorely missed.  He deserves to be immortalised

Abdulwahed I. Omar
President

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