by Stanley Azuakola
A university professor, Haruna Kaita, who took an unpopular and potentially dangerous position, now says that he is the victim of consistent intimidation and arrest attempts by men of the State Security Services (SSS).
Kaita, who is a professor of Pharmacy at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, argues that polio vaccines are harmful. He says his position is borne, not out of religious dogmatisim, but based on several researches which he has conducted.
But considering how touchy that subject is in the North, and the violence and deaths it has unleashed in the past, the professor’s position has kept him in the radar of the SSS and the police, who have repeatedly invited him for questioning.
Now, Prof. Kaita says that the SSS has been intimidating and attempting to arrest him over a lecture he made in the institution. He drew the attention of the university’s ASUU to it, and it has prompted the president of union, Dr. Nasiru Isa Fage to decry the “continuous harassment” in a public statement.
“The Union has received complaint from one of our members, Professor Haruna Kaita of the department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, on several failed attempts by the SSS to arrest and intimidate him over a lecture he delivered as an academic in the University recently,” said the statement.
The ASUU chairman cautioned the SSS to respect people’s right to free speech on issues of national interest. He said that this is the standard all over the world where opinions can be voiced without intimidation.
ASUU’s position is that as long as the free speech does not pose any iota of threat to national security and corporate existence of the country as a sovereign entity.
Besides, Prof. Kaita has challenged the SSS to come with their team of scientists so they could sit down and publically discredit his claims, warning that “no harassment can make me to change my stance on the polio vaccine being administered on our innocent children.”
He said that resorting to harassment shows that the government agents have a hidden agenda.
Meanwhile the ASUU chairman said that: “Our members are the most patriotic Nigerians whose entire efforts and activities are geared towards making our country a better society, opined that no group of Nigerians symbolizes the Unity of this country and demonstrate their love to her than members of our Union.
“We would not fold our hands to watch anybody molest or intimidate our members in any part of the country or in any University. ASUU is prepared to take any step to defend the right of its members in their efforts to discharge their academic and social responsibility role in the country.”