While the students of the University of Lagos have been anticipating the management announcement on the reopening of the school for academic activities, the announcement of UNILAG resumption which came barely two weeks after the activities shut down was accompanied by other notices and directives that has since been receiving copious criticisms from all spheres especially the student populace.
First is the suspension of the union which has left a lot of people in shock coupled with several inexplicable questions such as; on which basis was the union suspended? For staging a protest which was largely peaceful or because of the fallacies that has been spread? Whichever way, it is better that the management come clean on this matter or be laid to disrepute. Throwing the water away with the child is not the solution, it only complicates issues.
The second is the balderdash agenda of the management to silent the students by demanding that students must sign an undertaking before they will be reabsorbed back into the system. The questions students are asking are, were they suspended? Why do they need to be readopted? What’s the rationale behind the filling and signing of forms they don’t know its intent? Is it to keep them silence amidst suffering? Is it to make them comply with any rules that will be made without questioning even when it is found wanting?
These and many more are questions raised by students, not forgetting the fact that they have been directed to do all these within a week, the week that precedes their examination. This is also an irony to students’ welfare.
At this point, it is worthy to note that the management have chosen to keep mute on the salient issues that led to the protest. The issues of Shodeinde hall, hike in price of commodities, scarcity of sachet water, issue of pre-requisite and more. Instead of the UNILAG management to address these issues, they have injudiciously decided to thread the appalling path of subjugation.
In line with the aforementioned, The Press Club, UNILAG hereby seize this medium to implore the management to do the needful, instead of the despotic approach which will only complicate issues, they should rather employ dialogue. This can only be achieved by the following:
- Restore the Union as the suspension of the union is an infringement to our voice and our Freedom of Association. The union will in turn through the Student legislative council amend the constitution to include conflict resolution mechanisms such as establishment of judicial arm and financial guidelines as spelt out in the recommendation of the committees set up by the management.
- No union member or student should be subjected to victimization of any sort on account of the protest
- Address the issues bothering on the welfare of students that were presented and give adequate solutions
- Address the issue of undertaking which have been widely criticized and unacceptable to the students; directing them to fill and sign a form by compulsion without understanding the raison d’être behind it is nothing but tyranny, our orientation of the undertaking is that it is to silent the students and bar them from exhibiting their freedom of expression, if our orientation is therefore wrong then we plead that the management do the needful by publishing the rationale of what the oath stands for.Except this is done, let the management know that asking students to sign with the threat of not allowing them write exams and their studentship is signing under duress if they do sign, thus an infringement on their fundamental human rights which makes it not binding.
We hope that the managements will review their resolution and resort to a more student friendly approach which is what is expected of them.
President The Press Club
University of Lagos