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ERC marks ‘Day of the African Child,’ seeks freedom for Nigerian pupils

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To mark this year’s “Day of the African Child,” members of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) have called for immediate reinstatement of students union leaders allegedly dismissed for fighting for their rights and entitlements in their various campuses.

The group in a statement issued to The Guardian and jointly signed by its National Coordinator, Hassan Taiwo Soweto and National Secretary, Omole Ibukun, regretted that student leaders in the country’s institutions of higher learning suffer gross abuse of human and democratic rights, urging university management across the country to learn to respect students right.

They therefore maintained that without respect to democratic rights, freedom of speech and association, the goal of education would not be achieved.

The group also called for improved funding, provision of free, functional and democratically managed public education at all levels and respect of democratic rights in all education institutions.

“We are using this occasion to demand the immediate and unconditional reinstatement of all politically victimised students in tertiary institutions across Nigeria particularly Omole Ibukun and others at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Kunle Adebajo of the University of Ibadan (UI) who was suspended for writing an article on facebook etc.

We also demand restoration of banned students and workers unions, a firm policy against sexism and respect of democratic rights on campuses.

“Ibukun and three other student leaders have been placed on suspension over spurious charges, which were leveled against them due to the radical roles they played in the struggles of students on that campus.

OAU is not alone in this culture of repression among school authorities.

When UI increased hostel fees earlier this year from N14, 000 to N40, 000, the authorities responded to the protest of the medical students that this policy affected by closing down its college of medicine.

Couple of days ago, the same management suspended a student journalist, Kunle Adebajo, for an article he wrote as far back as 2016 which was critical of the policies of the university.


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