Group condemns rustication of UNILAG’s student leaders
Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has strongly criticised authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for the rustication of 11 executive members of the school’s Students’ Union Government (SUG), including its president, Muhammed Olaniyan, over the April 2016 protest.
The affected students were rusticated for between two and four semesters, and it takes effect from the second semester of the 2015/2016 academic session.
Those serving two-semester penalty were informed to apply for readmission at the beginning of second semester of the 2016/2017 academic session, while those that are out for four semesters are advised to reapply in the second semester of 2017/2018 academic session.
The ERC, according to its national coordinator, Hassan Taiwo Soweto, is of the view that the school acted in bad faith.
Soweto in a chat with The Guardian, therefore, called on the school’s management to urgently revoke its verdict and allow the affected students continue with their respective programmes.
He said, “The management has acted in bad faith because there is no valid evidence that the protest, which resulted in the current suspension was violent. Students were protesting for genuine reasons, and making demands that bother on issues of welfare. Our basic demand is that the suspension should be reversed. We are calling on UNILAG students not to take this new attack kindly, because it is an affront on the collective rights of the students.
“We consider all steps taken by the UNILAG authorities so far, since the April protest leading to the rustication of the union leaders as crude, draconian and undemocratic violations of the fundamental rights of students to independent unionism. By going further to rusticate the union leaders despite appeals from different quarters and in a process that falls foul of the basic tenets of natural justice, the university has committed a grave injustice not just against the individual leaders but against the collective interests of the students.”
Management of the school last week suspended 11 executive members of the SUG, who participated actively in the Thursday and Friday, April 7 and 8, 2016, protest.
It thereafter in a statement said, “The students were duly investigated for specific acts of social misconduct, which they carried out. They were individually investigated for instances of wrongdoing in breach of the Social Misconduct and Penalties Regulations of the University of Lagos.”
The ULSU president, Olaniyan informed The Guardian that some of them were punished for their involvement in the protest, while others were punished for the articles they wrote on the protest.”
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