By OMOLOLA SODUNKE
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) and coalition of other student bodies have threatened to besiege the University of Lagos continuously if the 11 students of the university rusticated for various offences are not readmitted into the University.
The Union and its counterparts, who came from different states of the country, staged a protest at the University gate Monday. The protesters who were gathered at the gate of the University as early as 9 am and withstood the heavy rain, chanted solidarity songs, vowing to remain if it meant for days. They were prevented from entering into the University compound by a combined effort of the Nigerian police, the University’s security unit and the Civil Defence corps.
Speaking to Unilag TV, one of the protesters said the Judiciary system has been compromised, laying claims to the fact that a recent suit instituted against the University by them was thrown out of court as the Judge cited technical reasons – though he did not give any evidence of his said corruption.
The protesters who say they were there to deliver their request to the management declined to leave until they were attended to by a management staff of the University.
The Nigerian police led by the Area ‘C’ Commander, Mr Wale Abbas, thanked the students for keeping the protest peaceful, assured them that he understood what they were agitating for and calmed them. He assured them that he was going to speak to the University on their behalf and get a member of the management team to whom they could air their views, and he subsequently did.
The protesters demanded that the -students of the university who were rusticated, be readmitted. They asked that the Students Union be unbanned and reinstated. They also requested the University to nullify the indemnity form that students were made to sign “under duress” They argued that if the University would not allow the students their constitutional rights, then their education can be likened to “slavery”. Finally the speaker asked that post graduate hostel fees be reversed to its original price.
The Dean of Student’s Affairs University of Lagos, Professor Ademola Adeleke, received the protesters, listened to their verbal presentation and requested a sequel in written communication to the University. He assured the Unions that their demands will be echoed to the Vice Chancellor and the Management team.
Taiwo Hassan aka “Soweto” the convener of the protest, asked the University to be an institution that lays foundation for future leaders
“I will appeal to you to ensure that this University becomes a set platform that nurtures Nigerians that will contribute to the society.”
He further thanked all participants from all supporting universities, and also the Nigerian police for their professionalism “today” as the protest did not escalate into a confrontational and violent one. He further assured the DSA that they will not be deterred in fighting for the rights of their colleagues and will continue to besiege the University, until their demands are met.
The protest was largely peaceful, with just pockets of rancour as the protesters prevented students and passersby from crossing the assembly point of the protest.