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Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index


REINSTATE OAU 4 NOW !

The authorities of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, on Tuesday, 27th May, 2003, suspended four student activists of the university for one session for leading mass protests against increment in school fees.

The activists, who have been suspended for one academic session are Akinwumi Olawoyin (president of the students' union), Ekundayo Fadugba (public relations officer of the students' union), Hassan Abass (speaker of the students' union parliament), and Olugbenga Adewale, the chairman of Awo Hall. Ekundayo Fadugba is a key member of the OAU branch of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM).

Though a statement signed by the university's registrar, Mrs. Bola Iluyomade, claimed that "a group of students led by the president of the students union, Mr. Akinwumi Olawoyin attempted to violently disrupt the screening procedure for fresh students", the real reason for the suspension was because they were organising resistance to newly charged fees introduced by the university. On Monday, 26th May and Tuesday, 27th May, there were mass protests by students against the increment in school fees.

The suspension of the activists was a blatant act of gross injustice. No formal charges were preferred against them and they were not given any opportunity to defend themselves.

The authorities of OAU has an unenviable record of victimising student activists. In 1995, about 16 student activists, many of them DSM members, were rusticated by the authorities because of their roles in the struggles against military rule in Nigeria at the time. Many of them were not reinstated back to school until 2001. on 10th July, 1999, authorities-backed cult groups attacked student activists, killing four students including George Iwilade, who was the secretary-general of the students' union and Tunde Oke, a DSM member.

The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) calls for international solidarity from student groups, trade unions, socialist organisations human rights groups and individuals in support of these victimised activists. Letters of protests should be forwarded to:

 

(i) The Vice Chancellor,

Obafemi Awolowo University,

Ile-Ife,

Nigeria.

Email: rogerm@oauife.edu.ng

 

(ii) The Minister of Education,

Federal Ministry of Education,

FCT,Abuja,

Nigeria.

 

Copies to: dsmcentre@hotmail.com

 

The letters should demand:

(i) immediate recall of the suspended student activists

(ii) an end to victimisation of student activists in the university

(iii) an end to hike in school fees and commercialisation of education

 

 

 

 

Socialist Democracy July - August 2003 Index