Democratic Socialist Movement

For Struggle, Solidarity and Socialism in Nigeria

By - DSM


Education Rights Campaign (ERC)

Press Statement



We call for a democratic and independent probe panel to investigate Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat’s death and bring all culpable university officials to trial

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns the untimely death of Miss Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat, a 300 level female Banking and Finance student of Lagos State University on Monday, May 7, 2012. Miss Oluwafunmike – just like Elvis Abu Paul, a 300 level computer science student of Ajayi Crowther University who also died in similar circumstances on February 5, 2012 – has also fallen victim of the infrastructural decay and poor health services characteristic of our education system.

We attribute Oluwafunmike’s death to the carelessness of the University Medical Staff and the callous arrangement recently instituted by the new LASU Vice Chancellor Prof. John Obafunwa whereby the University’s health centre which hitherto ran a 24 hour service now closes 4pm every day.

We call for the setting up of a democratic and independent probe panel composed of elected representatives of students and staff to investigate the circumstances surrounding Miss Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat’s death and identify culpable university officials.

According to reports from friends and colleagues, Oluwafunmike had complained of illness and went to the university’s health centre where she was placed on drip and oxygen. However when the appointed time (4pm) for closure came, the University medical staff were alleged to have removed the Oxygen Machine being used on her because they do not work overnight. Instead they decided to transfer her to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH). However, Miss Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat died on the way there. From all indications she would not have died if treatment had not been discontinued on her.

The ERC places the responsibility for Miss Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat’s death on the University management and the Lagos state government. It was not just negligence at the medical centre that caused her death. The medical staff had acted in obedience to the Vice-Chancellors’ directive that the medical centre should operate for 8 hours as against the usual 24 hours as a cost-saving measure.

It is highly unacceptable and repugnant that a university with a 500-capacity female hostel and a staff quarters could not ensure 24 hour health care service. What would be the fate of students resident in these apartments if there are health emergencies in the night?

Last year, fees in LASU was hiked by 725% to between N193, 750 and N348, 750 as against the old fee of N25, 000. In the heat of the students’ struggle against the outrageous fee increment, the university management had also suspended the Students’ Union. The argument of the Lagos State government was that this was necessary to upgrade and improve facilities in the University. However since the increment, there has been no fundamental improvement in the studying and living conditions of students. Rather than improving the lots of students, the university management has embarked upon a number of cost-saving measures which deny students access to adequate learning, research, sports and medical facilities. One of such measure is the rationing of the usage of alternative power supply (generating set).

Again Miss Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat’s unfortunate death provides an insight into how government’s anti-poor policies of education underfunding and hiking of fees is costing society not just access to quality education but also the life of young people. Under the guise of saving cost, the standard and quality of essential facilities for teaching, accommodation and healthcare of students are compromised. Meanwhile the real places where costs should be saved is the over bloated and unearned salaries of political office holders including the ACN millionaire-politicians ruling Lagos state.

Also the unfortunate death of Oluwafunmike highlights the importance of the Lagos State government to urgently reverse its draconian sack of over 788 striking medical doctors in Lagos State and to meet their demands. The doctors are on strike for implementation of CONMESS – a collectively agreed wage structure for medical doctors across the country. It is not an accident that the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) where several of the sacked doctors are employed is an affiliate of the Lagos State University.

Where existing health facilities are way too meager and substandard to meet the health care needs of Lagos residents, including students, the action of the Lagos State government in sacking the doctors will only worsen the situation to the detriment of ordinary people.

We hold the management of Lagos State University and the State government responsible for Oluwafunmike’s death. In the light of the above, the ERC make the following demands as immediate and long-term measures to ensure justice is served:

1. The ERC calls for the setting up of a democratic and independent probe panel to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of Hassan Oluwafunmike Monsurat and all University officials found culpable should be brought to book. The committee should comprise of representatives of Lagos State University’s staff and students as well as representatives of civil society, labour unions and security agencies in the state.
2. Adequate compensation to the family of the deceased.
3. Immediate overhaul and improvement in health facilities on campus including provision of standard ambulances and for the University health centre to return to 24 hour service delivery.
4. Reversal of hiked fees and immediate reinstatement of Lagos State University Students’ Union
5. Improved teaching and welfare infrastructures in Lagos State University and other Lagos State-owned tertiary institutions.
6. Adequate funding of education up to 26% of annual budget to public education as a step towards provision of free and functional education at all levels.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto
National Coordinator
May 9, 2012