- WE DEMAND IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF MR. OLAREWAJU FROM THE POST OF UNIVERSITY'S PRO
- STUDENTS MUST DEMAND AND ORGANISE AN INDEPENDENT UNION TO END FURTHER ATTACKS, AND ABUSES OF THEIR PERSONS
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns in the strongest terms the assault by Mr. Abiodun Olarewaju, the university's PRO, against a student during the candle light procession of late Akorede Omolola.
It should be recalled that the late Akorede Omolola, in the first place, died an avoidable death, fast-tracked by the poorly equipped university health centre. Despite the effort of the university to spin the event as a case of natural death, the lack of capacity to administer oxygen to the deceased student shows that every effort was not employed to save the life of this brilliant and promising star. The ERC mourns Mr. Akorede Omolola, and we place the blame for his death at the doorstep of the OAU authorities.
It is particularly distasteful that it was during the candlelight procession of Mr. Akorede Omolola that an agent of the university management, the school's PRO, Mr Abiodun Olarewaju, would choose to showcase another brazenness. Mr. Olarewaju slapped a student, who was having a civilised engagement with him. This action reflect some level of emotional deficiency, for another student to be assaulted at the burial programme of a colleague who has been hastened to his grave by the incompetence of one of the university's agencies. No action of disapprobation would serve than for the management to immediately disengage Mr. Olarewaju, and therefore prove that such inhumane treatment of students is not a university policy. The ERC defends the clauses of fundamental human rights in the Nigerian Constitution that confer dignified treatment on every Nigerian citizen; clauses the university has to abide by.
The attacks on students, from both university staff and non-university actors, have increased ever since the so-called suspension of union activities. Just as the ERC had warned, the absence of a students' union has rendered students defenseless in the face of unprecedented attacks on and off campus. The management's objective for suspending the Union was to browbeat students to submission, and stifle complaints about the waning welfare conditions on campus. Mr. Olarewaju's unwholesome conduct was therefore only an unconscious progression (a form of Freudian slip) from the university's central policy – to dehumanise students to such a degree they become incapable of protest or complaint. The ERC condemns this turn of event because it is not only morally unacceptable, it tramples on the fundamental rights of students as citizen of this country deserving of dignity, self respect, freedom of association and speech.
Mr. Olarewaju is just one out of the forbearers of recurring assaults on students' rights and sensibilities. This same university was forced to discipline Professor Akinyemi, after public outcry over his sexual abuse of a female student. As long as the union remains proscribed, and students lack the platform to defend their humanity, there is bound to emerge similar cases in future. Even now, some victims of sexual abuse are afraid to come forward with allegations because of the absence of a union to protect their anonymity. More reason Great Ife students must obey the clarion call to place demand on their management to immediately and unconditionally restore the union as a first step towards safeguarding their dignity and self respect.
The ERC, as it is traditional with us, is committed to be at the forefront of the campaign for restoration of the Students' Union, and protection of the radical values that make us Great Ife. We call on courageous students who understand the historical importance of the moment to join the campaign for restoration of the Students' Union by joining the Education Rights' Campaign. We can be contacted by students willing to report similar cases of abuse of their persons or rights through the following mobile numbers: 0903 443 1719; 081-370-51249