ERC CONDEMNS THE SHUTDOWN OF OBAFEMI AWOLOWO UNIVERSITY
THE SHUTDOWN IS AN ATTEMPT TO EVADE THE MEETING OF THE DEMANDS OF STUDENTS AND COVER-UP THE ISSUES SURROUNDING THE DEATH OF ADESINA AISHAT
STUDENTS MUST CONDEMN THIS SHUTDOWN AND DEMAND JUSTICE FOR THE DEAD STUDENTS
FOR AN IMMEDIATE CONGRESS OF STUDENTS NOW!
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), OAU chapter, outrightly condemns the shutdown of the institution by the university management as needless, ill-advised and without any justification whatsoever. This closure will affect ongoing examinations and disrupt the academic calendar. We hold that there is no justification for the closure of the institution, especially when it is obvious that the few hours of protest embarked on by students was peaceful.
In our view, the closure is itself a violation of the extant university rules which only considers closure as an option when a protest or disturbance last more than 48 hours. Meanwhile, the students protest called in response to the unfortunate demise of a female student due to negligence and age long disrepair of the university’s Health Centre has not gone beyond 24 hours thereby making the closure completely unwarranted. But more telling is that fact that the protest held on Friday October 1st, the Independence Day public holiday, thereby without causing any disruption to academic or administrative activities while it lasted.
We therefore are compelled by the facts above to consider this closure to be a ploy by the university management to avoid meeting the demands of students and to impose collective punishment on students for having the temerity to challenge the authorities. Over the years, the university management has always employed the vindictive act of shutting down the institution to clamp down on the agitations of students without meeting their demands. In fact, in most cases, it is to prepare the ground to victimize radical students.
The protest staged by students was to drive home their demand for justice on the death of Adesina Aishat who met an untimely death due to the age-long collapse of the university Health Center. For us in the ERC, there is no connection between the peaceful protest of students and the decision of the school management to shut down the school.
We call on students of OAU to condemn this shutdown and begin to discuss the next step in the struggle for justice. In fact with this closure which is an attempt to intimidate students, the demands for an overhaul of the health centre facilities, open and democratic investigation into the death of Adesina Aishat, better welfare conditions for students and staff must be restated and fought with renewed vigour.
The new leadership of the union must immediately summon a congress of students to condemn the closure of the school and map out programmes to resist any attack on students as well as attacks on the union and radical students. We believe that a congress is long overdue and ought to have been called even before embarking on a protest. But now given the closure, a well mobilised congress of students can help provide a democratic avenue to discuss the next steps to take the struggle forward and in the event that the closure is successfully enforced, to begin a mass campaign for reopening of the institution. This can involve protest and demonstration to media houses in Osogbo, Ibadan and Lagos, online protests as well as other activities to expose the authorities to the world.
We urge the union leadership and students to learn from the recent heroic struggle of University of Benin (UNIBEN) students who resisted the closure of their school and ensured that their demands were met by the university. The protest today has demonstrated that similar victory can be achieved by students depending on the balance of forces and if the path of struggle is followed.
Comrade Amethyst ERC-OAU
ERC email: [email protected]