Sunday, 14 August 2016

ERC CONDEMNS UNILAG AUTHORITIES FOR RUSTICATING STUDENTS’ UNION LEADERS


We demand immediate and unconditional recall of students’ leaders, restoration of independent students’ unionism and halt to all attacks on the democratic rights of students

Press Statement
·         
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the rustication of students’ union leaders at the University of Lagos (UNILAG) for their role in leading fellow students to protest on April 6 and 7, 2016 against the deplorable welfare situation, epileptic power and water supply and high cost of living on campus.

We call on UNILAG students not to take this attack on their democratic rights lying low. The right to peacefully protest is a fundamental human right. When this is taken away, then students would be no  more than slaves. Therefore students should rise up in mass protest and demonstration to demand the immediate and unconditional recall of their rusticated leaders and lifting of the suspension placed on Students Union activities since the April protest.

The President, Mohammed Olaniyan and the Speaker, Adeonipekun Adeyanju of the University of Lagos Students’ Union (ULSU) along with several other activists were rusticated for between two (2) and four (4) semesters each. This is on the heels of the suspension of Union activities, ban of meetings and gatherings and other attacks on the democratic rights of students since April 2016.

No doubt, the rustication is an attempt by the authorities to claw back the right to students’ unionism which UNILAG students just won back less than 2 years ago after a decade of proscription. In carrying out the rustication, the University relied heavily on contrived and concocted allegations, many of which that had no bearing to the triple issues of poor welfare conditions, epileptic power and water supply and high cost of living for which the mass of Unilag students trooped out in protest on April 6 and 7, 2016. Against this background, we call on students to reject the rustication with protests, boycotts and demonstrations.

As far as we are concerned, all of the steps taken to violate students’ democratic rights since the April 6 and 7 protest only go to portray the Prof. Rahman Bello-led management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) as an intolerant and despotic authority.

By rusticating students’ leaders for demanding better welfare conditions, UNILAG is sending a clear message that it considers students as no more than slaves who must not dare to speak up when oppressed and exploited. At this rate, and if the authorities are not challenged, very soon students would lose all fundamental rights accorded by the 1999 constitution (As amended). And where students are successfully enslaved, very soon workers would lose their own freedom as well. This is why the silence of the staff unions in the face of the creeping dictatorship of the UNILAG authorities is dangerous because once the authorities are able to cow students; they could visit similar attacks on academic and non-academic staff anytime they demand their rights.

We therefore call on ASUU, SSANU, NASU and NAAT to speak up in condemnation of the rustication of the students union leaders. As experience has shown, it is the collective mobilization and uprising of students supported by workers that can reverse this despotic situation developing at the University of Lagos.


                                                                                          
Hassan Taiwo Soweto                                            Michael Ogundele                          
National Coordinator (07033697259)                 National Secretary          

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Oyo State School of Hygiene is Fraud




Oyo State Ministry of Health Must Be Investigated
For participation of School of Hygiene Graduates in NYSC

I think it is high time I finally show my discontentment over the long-term fraud of the Oyo State Government and the Oyo State Ministry of Health over School of Hygiene Eleyele, Ibadan.

In 2012 and 2014 respectively, I wrote against the deplorable state of the School of Hygiene and the undemocratic attack of the Oyo State Government, Oyo State Ministry of Health and the Management of the Oyo State School of Hygiene on the students of the institution. This was based on the undemocratic decision of the School Management to deny the students body in the school the right to hold a public symposium to discuss the plight of the students which ranged from lack of conducive living and learning environment, the nook and cranny of the campus and halls of residence are in a disgraceful and deplorable state, toilets are archaic and an eyesore, drainages are blocked and no reliable sources of water supply and when water is occasionally supplied, it is often not hygienic and safe for consumption. This then explain why students are always exposed to water borne diseases which affect their academic output.

Also I explained how the Oyo State government and the school management forced students from poor working class background to pay outrageous and exorbitant fees. To be clear, the exorbitant fees is a graphic reflection of the anti-poor disposition of the Ajimobi government - a government which has attacked the human rights of the working people many times and which cannot afford to pay just common eighteen thousand (#18,000) minimum wage. And despite all these exorbitant charges by the Oyo State government, graduates of the department of environmental health, School of Hygiene Eleyele Ibadan who spent four years on campus are not mobilized for NYSC. This state of affairs has been a huge challenge on the side of the graduates who spent years without anything to show for it. I happen to be one of the graduates.

Most painful is that graduates from the department of Environmental Health are being denied employment in every sector because they were not mobilized for NYSC. After I released the articles in 2012 and 2014, they were published by major news papers. HoweverHow instead of the state government to find a lasting solution to the problem on this campus, the state government sent for the arrest and detention of the person who wrote the article. The state government and some elements paid the then union president to refute the article published and lied that the government had done everything to improve the standard of school of hygiene.

Afterward, the so-called exclusion letter of NYSC was given to the students of the department of Environmental Health. This is just a gimmick that makes no difference or makes no meaning. Thus I want to make clear that only this year, because of the issue of NYSC, I have been denied of two empowerment loans and four different job opportunities, and this is also applicable to other graduates of the department of Environmental Health in School of Hygiene.

The ex-students of the School Hygiene must not resign to fate; we must fight for our rights in order to secure our future. The current students of the school of hygiene are incoming victims of this career-killing policy. So, I call on them to join the ex-students of the school in a campaign to demand the participation in the NYSC. The school management and Oyo state Ministry of Health are only interested in collecting outrageous fees from students without bothering about the future and careers of the students. It would require this campaign to force them to act and justify collection of huge fees collected and certificates awarded to us.    

Daniel Oluwafiayokemi Akande, member of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), writes from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. He can be reached through 08034730340 and tdandses@yahoo.com

Monday, 1 August 2016

ERC COMMENCES 2016 FREE HOLIDAY COACHING IN AJEGUNLE



The ERC FREE COACHING, being the eleventh edition, commenced on25 July, 2016 at in Anglican Primary School, Ajegunle by 09:00am while members of DSM/ERC and volunteer teachers had been available around 07:45am to tidy up the classrooms .

About one hundred students from different public and private schools in the community were in attendance. All of the students  registered their names and schools in the DAILY ATTENDANT REGISTER as they walked in the school premise, which has been a routine in the lesson.
Also, parents, residents and passers-by who came around to acquire about the program for their children to attend, did appreciate the effort put in place by the Education Rights Campaign for organizing such a program in the community.

Subjects like Mathematics, English Language, and Biology etc. were all taken; with a total number of six periods being the opening day of the lesson. The numbers of Volunteer Teachers including members of DSM/ERC in the opening day of the coaching were ten in number.

Around 12:15pm there was an interactive session with the one hundred students in a classroom about what ERC is all about and the purpose of why the lesson was initiated by ERC to prove free quality education is possible in Nigeria and why it is their right to aceess free and quality education was put forward by comrades and  Volunteer Teachers respectively who support the philosophy of the campaign for free and quality education in Nigeria.

It was also stated to the students the objective of the coaching is to serve as a platform to highlight challenges confronting the educational sector and campaign for adequate investment in public education

Still in the interactive session, students were also persuaded to take their studies seriously at all-time most especially when preparing for an exam. Some of the Volunteer Teachers who spoke did re-emphasis the need why students attending this year free coaching

The objective of the Education Rights Campaign and the purpose of the coaching were made known to students and the role of ERC in students struggle against the underfunding of public education by the government. Students were also advised to be disciplined in the whole weeks the lesson will last

Sunday, 31 July 2016

APPOINTMENT OF ACTING VICE CHANCELLOR FOR OAU


Not Yet Uhuru until all Demands of Workers and Students are Met

Press Statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) welcomes the appointment by the ObafemiAwolowo University (OAU) Senate of an acting Vice Chancellor to pilot the affairs of the University until a substantive one is appointed. The acting VC is Prof. Anthony Elujoba.

We call on the acting Vice Chancellor to immediately set in motion the process for the reopening of the University. We wish to say that normalcy can only return to the University when the monumental injustice committed by the past administration is addressed and demands of workers and students met. These demands include probe of the Prof. Tale Omole administration, payment of all salaries and allowances owed to different categories of workers, lifting of ban placed on independent students’ unionism so that a new election can be conducted and the reinstatement of OlawaleOwolabi (Ogunruku).

Prof. Elujoba’s appointment is following on the heels of the workers’ protest that engulfed the University in opposition to an attempt by the University’s Governing Council to impose Prof. Ayobami Salami as the substantive Vice Chancellor after the expiration of the tenure of Prof. Tale Omole. The strikes and protests of the University workers under the aegis of SSANU and NASU was so powerful that the government was forced to terminate the appointment of Prof Ayobami Salami and dissolve the undemocratic and corrupt council.

This development has again shown the power and efficacy of mass struggle. Were it not for workers strike, persistent mass protest and occupation of the Senate building, not only would the entrenched interests in the University have successfully imposed Prof. Ayobami salami as the substantive Vice Chancellor in contravention of the lawful procedure, but by so doing they would also have obtained a guarantee that all the misdeeds, injustice and corruption of the administration under Prof. Tale Omole would be swept under the carpet. We therefore congratulate the Unions (NASU and SSANU) for their consistency and relentless effort towards the struggle.

However, we call on workers not to be lost in the euphoria of victory. The reality is that under this system that promotes underfunding and commercialization of public education, no Vice Chancellor can be trusted to take the side of workers and students.At the initial stage, Prof. Elujoba may try to create the impression that he is pro-worker and pro-student, the reality however is that the honeymoon will not last. When the chips are down, he will take the side of the government. The tenure of Prof. Rogers Makanjuola who for a period enjoyed immense popularity among workers and students due to the circumstances of his emergence as VC is a testimony to this. At the end of the day, Prof. Rogers Makanjuolanot only attacked students’ interests by increasing fees, he also attacked workers interests and victimized activists.

More importantly, the Unions must not forget that the struggle was not only premised upon the undemocratic appointment process of the then Ayobami Salami but likewise on the nonpayment of over 84 months of the earned allowance and the six month salariesof members of NASU and SSANU respectively. Also the struggle was based on demands for probe of the past administration. Obviously the Omole administration was marred with unimaginable embezzlement and gross financial misappropriation. Fallout of this among others was the deterioration in the welfare condition of the students hostel and lecture theaters continue to be congested and deplorable. Tale Omole’s administration was also full of implementation of anti-students policies ranging from increment in the school fee, suspension of students activists and “proscription of the students union” among others. It could also be recalled at a point that the out gone VC was invited over the embezzlement and the financial misappropriation of the University fundby theNigerian Senate some months ago, but such development was not followed by the Unions. This could be one of the reasons he scaled through.

However, the ERC calls on students to place before the Acting VC their demands for better welfare condition, renovation and the building of more hostels and lecture theatres, well equipped laboratories and more importantly for the conduct of the Students Union election to usher in a new democratic and responsible students’ leadership. Unequivocally, we once again state that the students should not rest on their oars but consistently fight for their collective demands.



Signed                                                                                                                                    
Adabale Olamide                                                                    Omole Ibukun
Coordinator                                                                             Secretary