ERC Welcomes the Supreme Court Judgment
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) welcomes the judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered by Justice Mary Odili which on July 11, 2014 ordered the management of University of Ilorin to forthwith release the final statement of results of Comrade Lanre Akinola and pay him damages as awarded by the lower courts.
The university challenged the June 8 2007 ruling of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin which had upheld the judgment of the Federal High Court Ilorin delivered by Late Justice Chukwura Nnamani on June 21, 2006 in favour of the former student activist.
Lanre Akinola, a leading member of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) and (ERC) has completed his academic program for the award of Bachelor of Science in Statistics since 1999 but his final year results were withheld by the management of UNILORIN for his leading role in a protest of students for an improved welfare condition on the campus in 1998 and defence of rights and interests of students in general
The apex court has earlier on June 6 given the same order against the university in a related case involving Rasheedat Adesina, a former Assistant General Secretary of the university Students’ Union and currently the Assistant Secretary of Joint Action Front (JAF). Rasheedat has completed her studies for the award of degree in Industrial Chemistry since 2001.
The university under the administration of Prof Shuaib Oba AbdulRaheem witnessed vicious attacks on the democratic rights of students and staffs, especially members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). Most of these attacks were challenged by the victims in courts, and university utilized the resources of the university to purse the legal warfare against activists to the apex court after losing at the lower courts.
We recall the victory of the 49 academics sacked by the university at the Supreme Court. Also, one of the highlights of administration of Prof. AbdulRaheem was the callous detention of some student activists at Oke-Kura Prison Ilorin for about 3 months over a protest against hike in school fees by the university in 1999.
Great commendation must be given to Messers Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika and Adeniyi Adewumi of the law firm Citipoint Chambers for their selfless free legal representation for the former student leaders.
Equally, strong commendation must be given to the DSM, which Lanre Akinola belongs to and genuine progressive forces including the ASUU who stood tenaciously in support of the formers student leaders. We of the ERC are proud to equally share in this victory based on our consistent campaign on behalf of these student leaders and democratic rights of education workers and students in general.
However, there is no other time than now to build a wider mass movement against the repression of democratic rights of students and education workers in the wake of fresh wave of fee hike and introduction of tuition. The ERC would play a serious role in linking fresh struggle in defence of democratic rights of students and s breaking out on campuses nationally into a nationwide struggle against commercialization of education and repression of students’ rights.