The president of the University of Lagos Students’ Union, Mohammed Olaniyan has lamented that the students of the University of Lagos are only existing but not living due to the living conditions they have been subjected to.
The president stated this on Monday at a press conference organized by the union at the International Press Center, Ogba. Olaniyan revealed that the union was invited by the management to a truce meeting on the 13th of April, 2016 which however to their dismay transmuted into a panel.
“Before we proceed, we deem it expedient to inform you that we received a notice on the 12th of April, 2016, requesting our presence at a truce meeting with the management on the 13th of April, 2016, at the Senate Building. To our utter dismay and disbelief, the supposed meeting transmuted into a panel of inquiry led by Professor Olukayode Amund, the immediate past Dean of Students Affairs. At the panel, certain prepared questions were thrown at the unprepared students’ representatives. Apparently, the panelists were afore-prepared to throw their guests off guard. It is our innocent assumption, that it is not the responsibility of a panel of inquiry to indict or apportion blames to parties. Therefore, that the purported and unpopular suspension of the University of Lagos Students’ Union, was a fallout of the inquiry, is atavistic, and consequently, retrogressive”.
The students also condemn the action of the management that students should sign an oath and an indemnity form to be signed by the parents before the students could be reabsorbed, according to them the student were never suspended, so the directive to sign a form of re-absorption is undemocratic.
“Let us state unequivocally that no student was expelled, suspended or rusticated as a consequence of our peaceful protest. Hence, we find it shocking that the school management has decided to re-absorb/re-admit already matriculated students. Besides, it is truism that an agreement entered into under duress and undue influence is voidable at the instance of the influenced party. We, therefore, reject in strong terms the terms and conditions attached to our resumption”
The students also noted that the management are bent on silencing the students through the signing of oath and what he described as the undemocratic suspension of the union as the protest was peaceful and the assertion of the management that the protest was violence has no element of truth.
“As students and social engineers who have been taught by professors, Ph.D. holders and a plethora of intelligent academics, we find it illegal and draconian that the University of Lagos management would suspend the University of Lagos Students’ Union on the basis that we peacefully agitated for our rights. Quite succinctly, section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) grants the right to peaceful assembly and association. We, therefore, find the management’s assertion that the union was suspended because of violence that erupted out of the peaceful protest, unacceptably misleading.
We challenge the management to show to the world what facilities of the school were damaged in the course of the peaceful protest. Without mincing words, we reiterate that we stand for what is right on behalf of the student populace of the University of Lagos, even in the face of gross victimization.”
The students while appreciating those who have intervened in their cause also implored the general public to for the sake of justice support their cause.
“To the entire public, we must resonate that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. Today, the gross injustice that we suffer from the hands of the University of Lagos Management is a threat to the entire public. Very sadly and unfortunately, the, University of Lagos, being an Ivory Tower is hellbent on churning out insufficiently equipped graduates.
To this end, we want to appreciate everybody including individuals, press houses, lawyers and other statesmen who have intervened since this struggle began. Your support has been invaluable. We equally want to reach out to members of the public, who are undecided yet on the purport of our struggle, to reason objectively along the lines of democracy, rule of law and fundamental human rights.”
You will recall that the University of Lagos was shut down by the management after a two days protest by the student.