Posted by News Express | 28 April 2016 | 2,820 times
The University of Lagos Students Union (ULSU) has rejected, in strong terms, conditions attached to their resumption, while it described the reaction of the management to the recent peaceful protest by students as illegal, cruel and extremely severe. They challenged the university authority to provide evidence of facilities of the school damaged in the course of the peaceful protest.
The union leadership opined that it was unfortunate to have suspended the University of Lagos Students’ Union “on the basis that we peacefully agitated for our rights as provided for in section 40 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), which grants the right to peaceful assembly and association.”
The students who expressed their feeling during a media briefing yesterday, addressed by the ULSU President, Muhammed Olaniyan, reiterated that they must stand for what is right on behalf of the student populace of the University of Lagos, “even in the face of gross victimisation.”
Olaniyan noted that ULSU invited the media to update the public and parents on the cause of their struggle. He then recalled happenings on the campus that led to the closure of the university, suspension of the students’ union and eventual re-opening of the campus to undergraduate students, which he described as obnoxious and conditional.
His words: “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 to a panel of inquiry, led by Prof Olukayode Amund, 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. We, therefore, find the management’s assertion that the union was suspended because of violence that erupted out of the peaceful protest, unacceptably misleading.”
The union president regretted that the resumption of students back to school was ridiculously conditional. “It is laughable that students are being coerced into signing certain preposterous undertaking forms, while already frustrated parents are equally being left with no option as they sign the indemnity forms. We understand the plight of our parents and we want to, at this juncture, reassure them that this struggle is in the best interest of their children/wards.”
He noted that no student was expelled, suspended or rusticated because of their 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.”
In a deliberate appeal for public understanding of their plight, the union leader philophised that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. He reasoned that the problem of human rights violation in Nigeria could be captured in the immortal words of
Howard Zion: “Our problem as a nation is not civil disobedience, but the fact that we are to be obedient in the face of slavery, injustice and stupidity.”
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