Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM

LASU: Scrap Killer Campus Marshals On Our Campus Now!

LASU: Scrap Killer Campus Marshals On Our Campus Now!

By James Foluso

The creation of storm troopers popularly called campus marshals on Nigerian campuses remains a major concern for students. These marshals have abandoned their responsibilities of “upholding security” to harassing and brutalizing students, especially, student activists on their demand for independent unionism to protect the living and academic rights of students.

According to the university authorities, the growing activities of cultists have necessitated the action of the school authorities to employ the services of these marshals, in the first place. Of recent, these highly armed marshals have turned their guns against the students who they were employed to protect. The emergence of cultism in our campuses is largely due to repression and suppression of student unionism in our campuses by the management.

The excesses of these marshals degenerated into an uproar at Lagos State University on Tuesday 4th of February 2008. The head of the marshal popularly called ‘Capo’, Captain Femi Adeyinka, forcefully entered the Students’ Union Building to request the release of a Motorcycle seized by the union officials. The rider of this motorcycle, disobeying traffic rules, had initially knocked down a student.. The injured student had to be hospitalized to regain consciousness. In his desperate effort to release the bike from the students’ union custody to the rider while the injured student was still receiving treatment at the hospital, Captain Femi Adeyinka shot sporadically to the air to scare students away and in the process shot the Social Director of the students’ union and brutalized other union officials.

However, the students rose up to this blood-thirsty security man who eventually absconded. The union President led a protest to the Vice Chancellor’s office seeking for the arrest and sacking of ‘Capo’. The VC sued for peace in the interest of the forthcoming convocation ceremony and promised to address the issue later. In the spirit of justice and respect for human right, the anti-student marshal must face the full wrath of the law for threading on human right and attempting to murder the peace-loving Lasuites.

In the first instance, the emergence of cultism on our campuses which is used as the basis for recruitment of these marshals was mainly a resultant effect of the high-handedness of the university authorities to repress and suppress students unionism. Student unionism was systematically strangulated over the years because of students agitation for better welfare and academic environment. This they did by repeatedly banning the union, rusticating and expelling student leaders, criminalizing them and incarcerating them for several periods in prison custody especially during the military rule and even now under the so-called civil rule.

In order to create a better academic environment in LASU, independent student unionism needs to be allowed and the union should embrace holistic measures in protecting the interests and the rights of Lasuites. The union should therefore demand independent unionism and seek for unarming of the marshals to create a less tension environment in LASU.