Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

Victory For Ex-Unilorin Student Activist

Victory For Ex-Unilorin Student Activist

Victory again came the way of former student activist of University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Lanre Akinola, when on June 8, 2007, the Court of Appeal sitting in Ilorin unanimously upheld the Judgment of the Federal High Court, Ilorin, which had earlier declared illegal and unconstitutional the withholding of Akniola’s academic record and degree. It also ordered the immediate release of the academic record and degree and awarded Seven Million Naira (N7, 000,000) as damages against the University.

Lanre Akinola, who is a member of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), had successfully completed his course of study since 1999 but the University is withholding his academic record and degree over his involvement in the Students’ Unionism and by extension, campaign for better welfare conditions on campus. Lanre Akinola is also being victimized due to his opposition to the despotic and dictatorial University Administration under the leadership of Professor Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem.

The Court of Appeal in its lead Judgement delivered by Justice Tijjani Abdullahi stated that the trial court’s (Federal High Court) exercise of jurisdiction in the Akniola’s case is unassailable and that the University breached the constitutional rights of Akinola. The Court stated thus “I am also of further view that the court found that the defendant and its functionaries had, under the guise of carrying out the functions of the University, breached the constitutional rights of the plaintiff, especially to fair hearing, and that this creates a situation which leaves the Court with no option than to dabble into the matter so as to secure the plaintiff’s enjoyment of those rights”.

The implication of the Court of Appeal’s Judgement is that the University of Ilorin must, without further delay comply with the Judgement of the Federal High Court which ordered on June 21, 2006, that Akinola’s academic record and degree should be released and that the sum of Seven Million Naira (N7,000,000) be paid to him as damages. Characteristically, the recalcitrant authorities of UNILORIN have appealed against the Judgement of the Court of Appeal to the highest court of the land (Supreme Court) in an attempt to further delay the release of Akniola’s degree and certificate. But it is settled in law that an appeal against the decision of a lower court to a higher court is not a license or an excuse to disobey the orders of the lower court.

It is noteworthy that the order of the Federal High Court on June 21, 2006 that Akniola’s academic record and degree be released to him has not been put on hold (stayed) by any court of the land and it is on this basis we are calling on UNILORIN authorities to release Akniola’s academic record and degree without further delay. We also called on UNILORIN authorities to channel the public funds in its disposal to improve the welfare conditions of both students and staff on campus instead of wasting such funds to pursue unnecessary appeal to the Supreme Court in order to satisfy the interest of the tiny cabal including the former Vice-chancellor, Professor Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem who are desperate to ruin the academic career of Akinola for opposing the tyrannical administration of Professor AbdulRaheem while on campus.

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal in Ilorin will on September 18, 2007 hear the sister case involving another former student activist of the University, Rasheedat Adesina. Rasheedat Adesina, like Lanre Akinola, had earlier won her case at the Federal High Court, Ilorin, which had ordered that her academic records and degree should be released and the sum of Five Million Naira (N5,000,000) be paid to her by the University authorities as damages.