As a two-week ultimatum given to a lecturer of the Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Dr. Yemanain T. Puyate expires Monday next week, Rivers State Police Command, State Security Services (SSS) and the University’s Security Department say they have beefed up adequate security around the university don.
Dr. Puyate of the Department of Chemical/Petrochemical Engineering in the institution, had alleged that a gun-trotting gang broke into his office on Monday, 29th of August and handed him a two-week ultimatum to withdraw a court case he instituted against the university authority and to also free a certain Ph.D student (names withheld) who, the gang alleged the lecturer had stopped from graduating, failing which, he would be killed and the ultimatum expires in the next 72 hours.
Consequent upon the threat to his life, Dr. Puyate had written to the security department, the SSS and the Commissioner of Police in the state intimating them of the development and appealed to the security agents to come to his aid as his life is in danger.
In his complain letter to the SSS Director dated 30th August 2011 titled “Attempt to Assassinate me in my office”, the lecturer said he suspects that some evil members of staff of his department were collaborating with some members of the institution’s authority to free the said Ph.D. student who he said lied against him with the intent of sacking him from the university.
Police Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Police Command, Mr. Uguegbulam Benjamin (DSP) confirmed the assassination attempt on Dr. Puyate and explained that the said lecturer had been invited to the command headquarters where he gave useful details and also said that the police was on top of the issue adding that security around Dr. Puyate had been beefed up.
He also told our reporter that investigation on the matter was on with the aim of arresting the gangsters.
Meanwhile, Dr. Puyate had sort for interim injunction from a Port Harcourt High Court (Suit No. PHC/1581/2011) restraining authorities of RSUST and its agents from implementing a letter of reprimand against him.
He urged the court to also quash the Defendant’s (RSUST authority) letter of reprimand dated 13th April 2011 which he said was malicious, unconstitutional and against natural justice.
In his statement of claims, Dr. Puyate had amongst other things stated that the reprimand letter was sequel to an investigative panel set upon him over alleged extortion from students in his department.
But a letter signed by 105 final year students of Petroleum Engineering (2008-2010) session which copy were made available to The Tide exonerated Dr. Puyate as according to the letter, the money in question was voluntarily collected by the students to cater for the logistics, accommodation and feeding of an external examiner who had refused to examine their projects because the examiner rejected the amount stipulated by the school authority.
The students letter further explained that they had only few days to conclude and would not want the issue of external examiner to hold them down. The students maintained that Dr. Puyate had nothing to do with the money in question.