Friday, 19 April 2013


We Call on The Government To Meet All Demands Now!
Give concrete solidarity to Polytechnic strike!

We of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) support the on-going strike action embarked upon by the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics (SSANIP). SSANIP is demanding payment of the CONTISS 15 salary structure and adequate funding of education among other demands.

The CONTISS 15 is a right due to SSANIP members and we demand its immediate implementation across board. We also call for the adequate funding of education by both the federal and the state governments. We wish to note that members of SANNIP have taken this option of strike due to the federal and state governments' refusal to implement the agreements reached with the union since 2009. 

We urge SSANIP and its members not to relent in this struggle. We also urge them not to limit this struggle to a sit-at-home strike action but to commence mobilisation of members in mass protest on their respective campuses across the country. This to us is the best way to give publicity to the cause the union is fighting for and also to win the support of students and parents whose right to quality education this strike is meant to defend.

We call on Students' Unions in Polytechnics across the country as well as the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) to give concrete solidarity and support to this strike by commencing immediate mobilisation of students to protest in solidarity with SSANIP and its members. We also call on the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) and their affiliates to commence solidarity actions in support of the strike.

We hold strongly that this kind of struggle deserves concrete and practical intervention of the central labour leadership. It is a fact that the ongoing struggle is ultimately a struggle for better educational system and therefore a struggle for all working class people. Labour and pro–masses' organizations should specifically support the industrial action with picketing, rallies, press statement, solidarity actions etc., so as to ensure that their demands are met by both the federal and state governments.

While workers that toil endlessly earn very meagre wages that could barely cater for their basic necessities, several billions of naira is being stolen by politicians and government officials who also inflate contracts to enrich themselves.

Notwithstanding the stupendous resources at the disposal of government at all levels, public education is being grossly underfunded while basic learning facilities remain obsolete or non-existent. 

The ERC calls on SSANIP, other staff unions and students' unions in the education sector to collaborate to build a united movement that can begin to organise joint strikes, protests and mass demonstrations to force the government to use Nigeria's resources to fund education adequately.

Dimeji Macaulay
ERC Niger State



Appeal for protest letters and solidarity

By Kola Ibrahim

Consequent upon the mass pressure from students to restore the union and a planned April 12 Congress of students to actualize this, the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, immediately set in motion the process of victimizing activists who have been at the forefront of the campaign for the restoration of the students' union. A day after a April 3 symposium organised by the Students' Union Transition Committee (SUTC) where the April 12 congress was agreed to, 15 activists and supporters of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) (4 of whom are members in the Democratic Socialist Movement - DSM) were served letters inviting them to a vindictive disciplinary panel. The 4 DSM members are: Adebale Kehinde (Secretary DSM OAU), Olubanji Oluwole (Secretary ERC OAU), Eniayekan Odunayo and Ibirogba Samuel. (see: OAU ADMINISTRATION MOVE TO VICTIMISESTUDENT ACTIVISTS)

No doubt, the invitation to the panel was a desperate attempt of the university administration to intimidate the activists and ensure that the planned congress was not held and ultimately the students' union is not restored. The management correctly fear what could happen if the congress was held. Such is the anger of the mass of students at the continued ban of the union as well as the deteriorating welfare conditions that such a congress could make the restoration of the Students Union irreversible. It was to avert this fate that the management hurriedly dragged the leading activists of the campaign to restore the union before a disciplinary panel. 

Contained in the letters were frivolous allegations which read thus:

"(1) that on the 1st December, 2012 against the express directive of the University, did organise or took part in a symposium organized by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC), an unregistered association on campus
(2) that on 5th December, 2012 at about 0830hours, with some other persons, attempted to chase other students away from lecture halls thereby disrupting academic and social activities on the university campus
(3) in the early hours of the morning of December 2, 2012 broke into floor "O" of the University hall on the campus , destroyed window panes and physically assaulted Mr. A.V. Adeyemo, one of the security men on duty at the time"
A 4th allegation similar to the 1st was also slammed at some:
"(4) that against the express directive of the University not to partake in any activity organised by the Democratic Socialist Movement, not being a registered association in the University, did participate in a meeting held by the said association on the 26th and 27th March, 2013 respectively, at the Faculty of Administration Basement"

These allegations are frivolous and flagrant infringement of their democratic rights which includes the right to freedom of association as provided for in the 1999 constitution. The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM), affiliated to the Committee for a Workers International (CWI), is a socialist organisation of workers, poor masses, youth and the oppressed strata of the society that fights for collective and democratic ownership and control of the economy by the working masses in order to ensure the judicious use for the provision of basic needs such as free education, free health care, decent jobs, etc. The DSM has been in existence for nearly 30 years and has been at the forefront of the struggle of the working people against military rule and since 1999 has been playing crucial role in the general strikes and mass struggles against capitalist anti-poor policies in the workplaces, communities and campuses. The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) was formed by the DSM in 2004 to deepen the struggle against fee hikes and other capitalist anti-poor education policies.

Our socialist ideas including the leading roles we play in campaigns against anti-poor education policies of the government and school management naturally attracts change-seeking elements including workers, students and youths to us which as far as we are concerned is within the remit of their democratic rights. We find it unacceptable that a university, an academic environment that should serve as a fertile ground for democratic debates of ideas with a view to changing society, is being run like a maximum security prison where the most basic democratic rights are crushed. 

That the administration raises eyebrows at gatherings of students under the ERC and DSM shows that it is undemocratic and despotic and its clear hatred for dissenting views. The DSM and ERC have over time argued for the democratization of the decision making structures of the University to include elected representatives of staff, students and other stakeholders within the university community.

Fifteen (15) young people exercising their rights to freedom of association and expression are being hounded before a disciplinary panel with the aim of expelling them from school. We demand immediate withdrawal of the allegations against the 15 student activists and immediate restoration of the students' union with immediate conduct of elections 
We also call on all sections of the CWI, trade unions, staff unions, students unions and activists nationally and internationally to join in condemning this vicious attack on democratic rights.

Protest letters can be forwarded to the following:

Email addresses:

You can also call or send text messages to the following numbers:
Vice-Chancellor – 08037211502; Registrar – 08034970823; Vice Dean, Students' Affairs - 08066066540; Secretary, Disciplinary Panel - 08139348466


Call for Protest Letters and Solidarity

By Abbey Trotsky

Michael Ogundele victimised by UI management

The Management of the University of Ibadan (UI) has continued its notoriety of victimizing student activists who lead students to challenge its highhandedness and demand improvement in welfare condition. The latest attack is the recent rustication for one academic session of a student activist, Comrade Michael Ogundele. Michael, who is the Secretary of University of Ibadan branch of the Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and leading member of Education Rights Campaign (ERC), was victimized on the basis of a false allegation.

This rustication is part of politically-motivated plan to attack the DSM and its members for mobilizing and leading students in struggle against management's anti-poor, neo-liberal education policies.
We therefore call on organizations and individuals including trade unions, human rights groups, staff unions in universities, students unions, youth groups, activists and socialists, locally and internationally, to demand end to the brutal attack on student activists in University of Ibadan, and immediate and unconditional recall of Michael Ogundele. 

It all started on January 7, 2013, when Comrade Michael was given a query letter over an allegation of misconduct to the effect that he was found in Tedder Hall, one of the halls of residence within the university, on January 2 in "defiance" of the university directive that all students must vacate all halls of residence on or before December 24, 2012.

It is instructive to state that the query was issued exactly a week after a massive and spontaneous student protest in which members of DSM, including comrade Michael, played a leading role and which forced the University management to retract some of its anti-student policies like hike in accommodation fees.
However, in both his response to the query letter and physical appearance at the panel constituted by the school management, Comrade Michael pleaded not guilty to the allegation of misconduct. As a matter of fact, Comrade Michael was on Industrial Training (IT) from December 12, 2012 to January 12, 2013 when theuniversity actually opened for the new academic calendar. It was within the period of this IT that the university management gave the directive that all students should vacate the hall of residence on or before December 24, 2012 while those on IT should register for a temporary accommodation. 

In compliance with this directive, Michael was among the first few set of IT students who on December 6, 2012, actually registered for a temporary accommodation with the Industrial Training Coordinating Centre (ITCC) as directed. This was with an expectation that the application would be processed with an immediate allocation of temporary accommodation to all registered IT students before December 24, 2012, the deadline the University management set for all students to vacate the halls of residence. 
Given the fact that the motive behind forcing students out of the hall of residence by the school management was just to perfect the strategies and tactics to impose the hiked accommodation fees and other anti-students policies like prohibition of cooking in halls on students upon resumption, the question of immediate provision of alternative accommodation for those who were compelled to stay behind on campus for one academic purpose or another was not on the priority list of the university management.

This explains why up till late hours of January 2, 2013, no allocation for temporary accommodation was assigned. It is this unwarranted delay in the processing of the application for the temporary accommodation due to the negligence on the part of the university management that created the condition why many students upon their return to campus on January 2, 2013 after the yuletide break fell victims to a lack of place to lay their head.

In the midst of all this situation, Comrade Michael was able to meet a student with a similar problem who offered him a temporary place to stay in his uncle's place off-campus pending the time all issues connected with the temporary accommodation would be resolved. With the temporary accommodation, Michael, decided to go to his former room to move out his luggage, without any intention whatsoever, to continue to stay in the room. In less than three minutes in the room, he was accosted, arrested and detained for almost 15 hours at the university security post.

Comrade Michael was able to prove that the negligence on the side of the university management to allocate temporary accommodation to all registered IT students before December 24, 2012- the deadline set for all students to vacate the halls of residence - was the cause of his presence in the said room. Hence, the university management had to cook-up another false allegation to justify their original plan which is the victimization of Michael for his leading role in the struggle of students.

The university management on March 26, 2013, over a month after he had appeared before Central Students Disciplinary Committee (CSDC), handed him a letter of rustication from the university dated February 28, 2013. Curiously, the first paragraph of the reads, "the Central Student Disciplinary Committee at the meeting held on Wednesday, 27 February, 2013, considered the allegation of Examination Misconduct leveled against you to the effect that you were found in Tedder Hall on Wednesday, January 2, 2013, about 21.50hours, in defiance of the directive of the University Management that all students must vacate the halls of residence latest by 6.00pm on Monday 24th December, 2012."

Taking a look at the above-stated allegation, there are a lot of discrepancies and contradictions between the query letter dated January 7 2013 and the letter of rustication dated February 28 2013 upon which the decision of the committee was predicated.

First of all, there was never a time Michael was alleged of examination misconduct. As a matter of fact, the title of the query letter issued to him on January 7, 2013 was Allegation of Gross Misconduct, not Examination Misconduct. How the committee suddenly changed this original allegation to Examination Misconduct is quite surprising.

Again, how the claim of "illegal" presence in Tedder Hall on the above-stated day became examination misconduct is quite baffling, more so that no examination was taking place in the hall of residence on that date. 

According to (1b), page 50 of Student Information Handbook for 2008/2009 session (28) different offences classified as Examination Misconduct and their respective sanctions are clearly outlined. Interestingly, none of these is "illegal presence of students in the hall of residence at any stipulated time".
In the same Student information handbook, the procedure for handling cases of examination misconduct is also described in (1a) on page 50 as a process emanating from the Faculty to the CSDC for the final determination.

As a 300L student of department of Zoology, Faculty of science, there has never been any time Michael received any letter of invitation to face any disciplinary committee at either department or faculty level in any case related to examination misconduct.

But these contradictions are not surprising or accidental. As we have pointed the entire purpose is to attack Michael and thereby hit the DSM for our political role in students' struggles.

In line with the last paragraph of the letter of rustication, which stipulates the right to appeal through the Registrar to the University Governing Council within (14) days of receipt of the letter in case of dissatisfaction with the decision of the committee, Comrade Michael has already appealed the decision of the committee where he called for the reversal of the decision with immediate restoration of his studentship.

We therefore call for protest letters, locally and internationally, to the management through the e-mail addresses below demanding the immediate and unconditional recall of Michael Ogundele, and an end to victimization of student activists and attack on democratic rights. Phone calls and text messages can also be sent to the phone numbers.

Office of Registrar
University of Ibadan
Phone: (+234) (2) 8750260, (+234) (2) 8750261

Dean of Student Affairs
Phone: (+234) 8023291617, (+234) 8054848778

Vice Chancellor
Phone: (+234) 8033299153

Please also copy: