UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON DSM MEMBERS BY AUTHORITIES-SPONSORED STUDENTS’ UNION OFFICIALS AND THUGS OF THE
UNPROVOKED ATTACK ON DSM MEMBERS BY AUTHORITIES-SPONSORED STUDENTS’ UNION OFFICIALS AND THUGS OF THE OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY (OAU)
We Cry for Justice
Ajibola Alex – photo Socialist Nigeria
Text of a press conference held by the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) on Friday 23 July 2010 at the Press Chapel, Osogbo Osun State on the unprovoked attack on DSM members at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife by authorities-sponsored Students union leaders and hoodlums. 12 media organisations attended the press conference.
The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) condemns in strong terms the unprovoked attacks on our members by Authority-sponsored Student Union officials and thugs of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) Ile-Ife. These attacks which started on Monday 12 July 2010, but peaked on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 July 2010, led to physical attacks and hospitalization of five of our members including female member, illegal detention of 10 of our members and the looting and burning of the branch Secretariat of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM). Properties worth hundreds of thousands of Naira (belonging to the DSM, Education Rights Campaign and their members) were burnt, destroyed and looted. Many of our members, who are having their examinations, are being denied the right to enter the campus no thanks to continuous harassment by both university security unit and the students’ union officers and their thugs. Already, many of them have lost one examination or the other.
Broken door of DSM branch secretariat. – photo Socialist Nigeria
May we put it on record here that this carnage occurred under the watchful eyes and willful collaboration of the university security and principal officers of the university management like Prof. J. A. Fabayo who is the Chairman of the University’s Security Committee, Dr. (Mrs.) Lateefat M. Durosinmi (the Dean of Student Affairs), the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Administration, Professor Adesanya and Mr. Yinka Salami the Chief Security Officer (CSO).
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE CRISIS
On the night of Monday 12 July 2010 at around 8pm, the president of the Students’ Union, Alaje Paul Alaba (a.k.a Prof.) led a mob to the room of one of our members (Adeleke Olorunwa Emmanuel a.k.a Goddey) in Fajuyi hall. The President claimed our members were harbouring one Meroyi Segun Mathew a.k.a Bombata who was alleged to have used a hot pressing iron to burn another student who stole N4, 500 from a Post-UME candidate. This Meroyi Segun Mathew is not a member of the DSM and could not have been harboured by our comrades. Even though the individual they were looking for was not found in the room, the mob together with the President broke open the room of our comrades, destroyed and looted properties. In the process, our own member Adeleke Olorunwa Emmanuel (Goddey) was beaten, slumped and was rushed to the hospital. Goddey was our candidate for president at the last Students’ Union election. Since the election, he has been a major figure of opposition to anti-student policies of the management and has been critical of the pro-management Students’ Union which does not have capacity to defend students’ interests for a good welfare condition and enabling atmosphere for quality learning on the campus.
Taiwo Hassan Soweto
The President of the Students’ Union was also alleged to have been injured and rushed to the hospital. Instead of finding means to resolve the issues, the rest of the Union executives went around campus spreading lies that our members had used a “charm” to beat the Union president. They cleverly kept the fact that they had beaten one of our members to stupor and destroyed properties belonging to our comrades away from students. It is even more appalling and disturbing that such primitive and mystical belief in charms could thrive in a university community that should be bedrock of scientific thinking. This unintelligent allegation of charms was also parroted by some Professors including J. A. Fabayo who deployed authorities’ storm troopers to unleash attack on our comrades. As socialists we do not believe in charms let alone using it.
The next morning of Tuesday 13 July 2010, the Union executives mobilized mobs to the secretariat of the DSM. They burnt all the properties in it, including textbooks, certificates, identity cards and lecture notes of our members worth hundreds of thousands of naira, organizational intellectual materials, souvenirs, campaign materials, files and documents, clothes and personal effects of our members, three computer laptops while personal money and phones were stolen by the rampaging mob. In fact the doors, windows, partitions and ceiling fans in the secretariat were all destroyed. As if this was not enough, they started rounding up members of the DSM and other political organizations like the Congress of Progressive Youths (COPY) who also had their rooms and properties destroyed by these hoodlums. All members rounded up were seriously brutalized. For instance, Dairo Olatunde (a former PRO of the Students’ Union) was thrown down from the third floor of a building in Fajuyi hall. It took hours before doctors at the emergency section of the Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital could revive him.
Meanwhile, the President of the students union, who claimed to have been charmed, on that Tuesday gathered some mob and called it a congress where he proclaimed the proscription of ideological organizations â€“ socialist and left organizations like DSM – on the campus. This purported ban, which has been ofcourse disregarded by the generality of students, is in blatant violation of the Nigerian Constitution.
UNIVERSITY MANAGEMENT’S DIRECT INVOLVEMENT IN THE VIOLENCE AGAINST DSM
Some of burnt properties of DSM – photo Socialist Nigeria
After brutalizing our members, they were taken to the university security post at the Senate building. All this while, Prof. Fabayo, Dr. L.M. Durosinmi, the CSO and the Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Administration looked on with glee as the hoodlums were brutalizing our comrades. At the security post, Prof. Fabayo asked the security men to chain our brutalized members (who were reeking in pain) to a stake, while kicking them and running threats on them. He even allowed some of the hoodlums including the speaker of the student union parliament, one Adama Joshua to again physically attack our comrades at the security post. He later ordered the university security operatives to forcefully remove the comrades in hospital beds and return them to university detention camp where they spent almost 48 hours without access to medical treatment.
From the security post, our members were taken to the Moore Police Station where the Management, apparently holding brief for the Union officials and hoodlums, told the police that our brutalized members were suspects who allegedly assaulted the union president. The management, in a covering letter signed by the Registrar of the University, Mr. A.O Ogunruku without any official probe claimed that the president of the student union was assaulted. This is a disgrace to the university. He also claimed that Meroyi Segun Mathew, who allegedly used a hot pressing iron to burn another student, is a member of the DSM. This is a blatant and shameless lie. It shows to what shameful extent the OAU Management would go in crushing the genuine voices of opposition on the campus.
Funny enough, Meroyi Segun Mathew eventually came out of hiding on Wednesday 14 July 2010 and in his oral and written statement to the police, he denied being a member of the DSM and claimed that he did not go to Adeleke Olorunwa’s room or the rooms of any of our members. In his words before the police at SCID in Osogbo Osun State: “I was never a member of the DSM, I never went to Goddey’s room. I was actually coming from the speaker of the student union Jadamz and the PRO Bobby’s rooms to report myself and they both told me to disappear immediately so as not to create any problem for me. I turned myself in because I am surprised that my issue has caused these entire crisis and so many assaults on innocent people” (Excerpts of Meroyi Segun Mathew a.k.a Bombata’s oral statement at SCID Osogbo)
All this clearly shows the involvement of the university management in the whole crisis. It is on note that while many of our comrades were attacked and their properties destroyed, none of those who organised the massive violence against our comrades were apprehended nor questioned by the university management. In fact, many of our members who were subsequently kidnapped by these hoodlums were made to realise that the university management approved of the kidnap. While our members were disallowed to enter campus, despite having examinations, all the hoodlums were given special treatment and moral support by the Dr. Durosinmi, Prof. Fabayo, Prof. Adesanya and the CSO, Yinka Salami.
WHAT LED TO THE UNPROVOKED ATTACKS
Tunde Dairo (Barryblacky) – photo Socialist Nigeria
Members of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) were attacked because of our socialist ideas and agitation for a transformation of society from the present unjust capitalist exploitation where a few people own the means of production to a free and egalitarian socialist society where resources shall be jointly owned and controlled by the working masses for the benefit of all. Our members were also attacked for openly criticizing the current student union leadership over their non-performance and inability to fight uncompromisingly for students’ interests in the area of welfare conditions, reinstatement of victimized activists and education funding. Right from the beginning of the first semester, our comrades have been active at parliamentary meetings, congresses and other forum criticizing and articulating programmes and activities for the union that are for students’ interests.
It was simple this that made the union leadership to consider the DSM as an organization to destroy. The management too endorsed this carnage because right from time, the DSM has always constituted obstacle to the anti-poor and anti-students policies of the University Management to increase fees and attacks students’ welfare conditions. For instance, the university management had had in the pipeline for years a plan to increase fees. Yet, it has not been able to do this even though the current union leadership is its yes-men and lickspittles.
The OAU branch of the organization has been in existence for over 30 years and has produced radical leadership for the OAU Students’ Union at most times and have always participated in the struggles of OAU students for adequate welfare conditions, improvement in learning facilities and condition of living and for adequate funding of education. We also intervene in the struggle of workers and trade unions within and outside the university for improved living and working conditions as well as against neo-liberal attacks. For instance, through the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) we played central roles in mobilizing the mass support of students, youths and general public for the last struggle of ASUU and other staff unions in the university.
Even ceiling fan was not spared – photo Socialist Nigeria
Lanre Arogundade, the former Lagos State Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists and a member of DSM, was the Secretary General of the Students Union in 1983 and later became the President of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS). Yours truly, Alfred Adegoke was Secretary General of the students union in 1988. In 1989, Adeola Soetan was the President of the Students’ Union. In 1995, Anthony Fashayo was the President of the Union. In 1999, Lanre Adeleke was the president of the Union. In 2001, Dayo Fadugba was the Public Relations Officer of the Union while in 2007; Dairo Olatunde Barryblacky was the Public Relations Officer of the Union. It is on record that those periods that our comrades held positions in the Students’ Union are the most radical periods in the annals of the OAU Students’ Union.
The agenda of the Management therefore, is to use their agents in the leadership of the Students’ Union to crush the DSM in order to have full and total control over the Union and to have the leeway to implement anti-student policies like the planned fees increment. From the beginning of the tenure of the current union leadership, the management has been propagandizing against our organization. It was the same management that try to stop our organization and the platform we participate in like the Education Rights Campaign to have public programmes like educative symposium on campus, that will provide moral support for those organizations organizing parties, gambling and fraudulent entrepreneurship programmes.
Vandalized secreteriat – photo Socialist Nigeria
(1) Immediate arrest and prosecution by Police of the following people for attempted murder, assault, battery and arson: Alaje Paul, Adelu James, Adama Joshua, Taiwo Thompson, Falekulo Azeez, Askin, Eluku, Henry, Saheed, Seyi Legend, Emperor Amah, Tunji Ayeni-Akeke, Akinwunmi Zainab, Omotosho Wasiu, Oyelami Fatimah, one Ibrahim (a.k.a Ibro, a member of the parliament who actually set the properties in our secretariat on fire in the full glare of others) and a host of other persons.
(2) Immediate removal of Prof. Fabayo as the Chairman of the University Security Committee, the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. (Mrs.) L.M. Durosinmi, the CSO, Yinka Salami and the DVC Administration Prof. Adesanya for their roles in aiding and abetting the violence. We also demand their interrogation by the university management and the security agencies.
(3) Immediate compensation for personal and organizational properties burnt by these hoodlums by the university management, which supported the violence against us.
(4) Immediate steps to be taken by the Management to enable some of the victims who missed examinations to do the examinations without leading to carryover or extra year.
(5) Setting up of a democratic probe panel having representatives of staff unions, Alumni, parents, civil society and students to look into the remote and immediate cause of the crisis, identify the culpability of individuals, investigate the roles of the University Management and its officials like Prof. Fabayo and others who supported the violence, assess the loss of the victims, recommend compensation and ways to prevent the future occurrence.