The Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society, on Monday, expressed support for the strike threat by the Academic Staff Union of Universities if the Federal Government did not ensure the release of lecturers and oil workers kidnapped by Boko Haram fight in Borno State.
The NMGS consists of the Nigerian Petroleum and Explorations Association, the Nigerian Association of Private Geologists, Nigerian Mining Engineers Society and other unions in the energy sector.
Also, the Coalition Against Injustice, has appealed to acting President Yemi Osinbajo, to deploy all possible resources towards the prompt rescue of the University of Maiduguri lecturers who were abducted by the Boko Haram sect during an oil exploration mission to the Lake Chad Basin.
The President, NMGS, Prof. Silas Dada, during a media briefing in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, also urged the Federal Government to intensify negotiation for the release of the captives.
He stated that out of the nine members of staff of UNIMAID involved in the attack, five were geologists, out of which two, had been killed, two abducted and one still missing.
Dada recalled that two of the geologists – Dr. Yusuf Ibrahim and Dr. Solomon Yusu – who are lecturers in the Geology Department of the university along with a driver of the varsity, Mr. Idris Jodi, were seen in a video released by the insurgents and sent to a television station.
The NMGS boss identified the deceased members of staff of UNIMAID as Dr. Militus Joseph, Dr. Manager Uba of the Geology Department; Dr. Daniel Birman and Mohammed Kamfo of the Soil Science Department.
He also aligned with the decision of the Federal Government, as announced by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, to stop oil exploration in the area pending the improvement of security.
Dada stated, “They are our members, including the minister himself. They will only go back when the security is assured; that is the position of the FG and he pronounced it. That is also emanating from us.
“We have lost lives already, there are many in captivity, so you cannot continue exploration unless security is assured.
“ASUU is a trade union. That is the position of ASUU. Many of our members too are members of ASUU and the demand it is making is to put pressure on the Federal Government to make sure that the people who are in captivity are released and we are not saying anything contrary to that.
“We believe that if the FG goes ahead and holds good negotiation, our people will be released and then, eventually, if they can get good words from Boko Haram that it is ready to cooperate and make sure the area is secured, then, exploration can continue. These are the conditions under which we operate.”
The CAI in a letter dated July 30, 2017 by its Patron, Prof. Adetayo Adeyemi, and addressed to the acting President, said there was the need to see to the prompt rescue of the lecturers, who were abducted while on a national assignment and away from their comfort zones.
It noted that the lecturers were breadwinners of their different families, adding that they should be rescued promptly to enable them to go back to their duty post in the university.
The letter read in part, “We wish to appeal for the urgent intervention of your office in order to deploy all available resources, as a matter of urgency, to rescuing these members of the academia who have unfortunately fallen victim of insurgency.
“We wish to state that they were exposed to this unfortunate incident away from their academic duties and responsibilities, therefore, the onus rests on the Federal Government to take responsibility for their rescue in the shortest possible time, in order for them to resume their academic duties and be in the safety of their homes to fulfill their responsibilities to their respective families.”