Group condemns arrest of OOU students

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Education Rights Campaign (ERC), a group fighting for the betterment of students in Nigeria, has condemned the forced closure of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) by the Ibikunle Amosun administration.

In a statement issued in Lagos recently by its National Secretary, Michael Ogundele, the group described the closure as a direct attack on the democratic rights of students. It therefore called on all students and student bodies in the country to remain firm and resolute against all attacks. The group equally added that they were opposed to militarisation of the campuses by the state government, which it said was meant to demoralise and demobilise the mass of students from organizing further planned mass actions against fee hikes.

 “We hold that the forced closure of the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) is a direct attack on the democratic rights of the mass of students. We call on the mass of students to remain resolute and dogged in spite of all these attacks.”

In support of the students’ struggle and the demands of OOU students, the group said “We demand the reversal of the closure of the university and for the Ibikunle Amosun regime to meet the demands of the mass of students.

“We call on the leadership of the Students' union in the university to provide virile leadership to the mass of students by organizing mass meetings of students in main cities such as Abeokuta, Ago Iwoye, Ijebu-Ode and Lagos where the mass of students are concentrated.

They added that they shall support OOU students until the anti-poor and dictatorial Ibikunle Amosun-led government of Ogun State bows to the people's will just as they did during the Fashola anti-poor government fee hike in Lagos State University (LASU).

The group demanded an immediate reopening of the University and the meeting of all demands of students for substantial reduction in their hiked fees and improved funding of the University.

An earlier report from the authorities had it that the closure was to forestall breakdown of law and order but the group denied the report saying that the argument is ridiculous and a mockery of democracy.

They said by the closure, the message the state government was passing across was that once students disagree with a government policy; the consequence would be to be labeled as threat to peace of the state, and then there would be of campuses and the disruption of the academics and the academic calender.

On the contrary, the argued that the real reason the State government closed down the University was to avoid meeting the demands of students for substantial reduction in their hiked fees to an amount not higher than N50, 000.

In order to achieve this, the group stated, “the State government is trying to criminalize the students and prepare the ground for police arrests and other forms of victimization … We like to remind the Ogun State Police Command that this is a democracy and the use of police to harass students and ordinary Nigerians fighting for their legitimate right will not be tolerated. The ERC shall resist attempts by the Police to arrest, detain or victimise OOU students and their leaders in any way”

 

 

Source Eberechi Obinagwam

Posted on August, 30 2014

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