Saturday, 30 April 2016



Over the past three weeks, students have risen up on several campuses to protest against fees, poor welfare conditions etc. These protests have occurred in UNILAG, BSU, UNIPORT, AAUA, Ogun State College of Health Tech and now UI. At least 3 of these campuses have been closed while two students were, reportedly, shot dead by police in UNIPORT.

In a latest development, the University of Ibadan (UI) was shut on Tuesday 26 April 2016 after students protested against poor electricity supply and the suspension of a student for participating in a protest a semester ago.

In a certain way, this growing uprising is beginning to have the feature of a nationwide movement. As soon as one campus is closed, another seems to pick up the gauntlet. In many ways, the issues against which students are angry are similar. The connecting dot is that the socio-economic crisis ravaging the country under the Buhari government is impacting negatively on students as working class parents are getting poorer and unable to meet the rising cost of education. Also the fuel scarcity and national electricity crisis is further worsening the already terrible conditions of living and study on campuses. This is also combined with the corruption of the management of higher institutions who in their bid to cut cost ration electricity supply even when it is available from the DISCOs and also limit the use of generator to provide relief at period of power outage. Unfortunately, the Buhari capitalist government has no real solutions to any of these problems.

What is missing however is a coordinated response and a plan to unite this uprising into a nationwide movement that can begin to challenge the terrible conditions of living on campuses and the rising cost of education, linking this with a demand for increase funding for public education. A golden opportunity to do this was missed on Saturday April 16 2016 when the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) held its pre-convention at the University of Jos (UNIJOS). Not a single resolution was passed in favour of NANS organizing actions in solidarity with students in UNILAG and UNIPORT both of which had been shut at the time. In the glorious days of NANS, the pre-convention would have been used to declare solidarity actions, more so, that two students were shot dead at UNIPORT. By now, a nationwide lecture boycott would be raging on campuses in solidarity with UNILAG, UNIPORT, AAUA and BSU such that the authorities of UNILAG would not have had the temerity to go on to dissolve the Students Union as it has now done. Unfortunately this was not done.

If students in individual campuses are left to fight alone and get closed down, very soon no tertiary institution would be left opened. More so, all the issues causing the recent protests are similar from campus to campus. This means there is a concrete basis for us to unite the protests into a united nationwide movement. As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers.

On this basis, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls for the following actions which students’ activists and union leaders can work towards in their respective areas to begin to build the uprising breaking out into a nationwide movement that can win demands:

(1) The ERC calls on students unions and activists to turn the forthcoming May Day celebration into a day of protest to kick against the closure of campuses and demand that all students’ demands against fees and for improved welfare conditions must be met. The May Day is workers day celebration. It is a day of the oppressed and it is not in doubt that workers and students are being oppressed! Students Unions, JCCs and students activists should mobilize to May Day venues to march alongside workers with their placards demanding that the government intervenes in the crises on the campuses with a view to meeting all the demands.

(2) Most of the students’ protests and campus closures have occurred in the South west. We therefore call for an emergency congress of the NANS Zone D to discuss how the students’ movement in the zone should respond to the crisis. This congress should be used to bring together all students unions and organizations within the zone with a view to discuss and agree to a plan of action.

(3) Also the NANS Zone D and unions should begin to mount pressure on the national leadership of NANS to call a similar congress to allow for a discussion of a plan for a nationwide action.

(4) For a one-day lecture boycott and mass protest to solidarize with students in UNILAG, UI, UNIPORT, AAUA, BSU etc and demand adequate funding of education.


Hassan Taiwo Soweto
 ERC National Coordinator

Michael Ogundele
 ERC National Secretary

Tuesday, 26 April 2016


By Eko John Nicholas

The students of Ogun state College of Health Technology, Ilese, took to the streets of Ijebu Ode to protest lack of power supply in the institution and the surrounding communities, where majority of the students reside, and the worsening conditions of learning in the institution. The protest took place on 20th April, 2016.

The Students’ Union leadership which was initially vacillating was forced into action by pressures from the mass of the students. This was aided by the intervention of the Education Rights Campaign, whose member paid a visit to the institution, the previous day. The ERC member had met with the president of the union, and impressed on him the needs for mass actions against the hardship faced by students of the institution due to lack of power supply and worsening conditions of learning in the school.

At a congress organized by the union leadership prior to the protest match, to seek approval for the action, overwhelming numbers of students supported the protest and urged that the students proceed on protest match without further ado to Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC) office at ijebu ode. This notwithstanding, the leadership still seeks clearance from the school authorities. The management as expected declined to approve the action. Insisting that lack of power supply was general and not peculiar to the institution. It prevailed on the union to shelve the planned protest, saying its execution would embarrass the governor, who would not take kindly to it.

The chief security officer was instructed to shut the gate and prevent the students from leaving the institution. This provoked massive agitations amongst students, who insisted they were adults in higher institution of learning, and would not succumb to be treated as school pupils. The management fearing threats to law and orders in the institution occasioned by rising passions and tempers, backed down, and the gate was thrown open.

The protest match saw the students and a member of ERC trekking about two kilometer to the Ijebu Ode office of Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), located at Fidipote, along Folagbade road in the heart of Ijebu Ode township. Instructively, before the arrival of the students, numbering about 300, the staffs had deserted the premises, and armed police men and civil defense corps had manned the gate and adjoining streets to prevent access to the office.
The mass agitations of the students, who insisted they should be given reason(s) for lack of power supply to their institution yielded result. The business manager for Ijebu Ode zone came out to address the students. He mouthed the usual refrain: that it was a national problem, that IBEDC was just the distribution component in the long chain of electricity supply, and that it only distributes what is assigned to it by the generating and transmitting companies, therefore couldn’t give what it doesn’t possess.

When a member of ERC pointed out that there were communities in ijebu ode that enjoy almost uninterrupted power supply, and demanded that the Business Manager gave a definite time for the restoration of power to the institution, he demurred, but said power would be restored within 24hrs. He appealed to the students to be peaceful and patient while they work to restore power.

The students proceeded to the Nigerian Television Authority, ijebu ode. At NTA, rather than give video coverage and interview the students, the NTA invited police men to disperse the students, who insisted on video coverage. The DPO Igbeba police station came with two police vans, and addressed the students. He said he was not aware of the protest, saying the students ought to have notified the police before embarking on protest. That he would have given police protection to the students. When the students pointed out that such protection was superfluous and that the protest has been peaceful, he appealed that he should allow to hold consultations with the staffs of the NTA. After waiting for about 45 minutes without words from the NTA, the students left the TV station and returned the school.

This action is commendable and inspiring, although poorly planned. There is need for more of such actions, against the worsening conditions of learning in Ogun state tertiary institutions. Therefore, there is need to reach out to other schools for joint action by ogun state students. To this effect, a day lecture boycotts to protest the harsh living and learning conditions in the state in particular and Nigeria in general would serve as a warning signal to the APC-led government in the state and the federal government. The ERC is prepared to be active in collaborating and organizing with the students as they begin their journey towards struggle in the coming periods. 3 copies of SD were sold on the campus a day before the protest, and 3 contacts, who showed interest to join the ERC, were made during the protest.

Monday, 25 April 2016



UNILAG authorities’ actions are draconian and despotic

Press Statement

 The decision of the Senate of the University of Lagos to dissolve the executive and legislative arms of the University of Lagos Students’ Union (ULSU) for leading students’ protests against poor welfare conditions and high cost of goods and services of campus is draconian and despotic.

This decision is an assault on the freedom of association and other democratic rights. That the University of Lagos is dissolving ULSU less than 2 years after it was restored following over one decade of proscription is a sign that intolerance has continued to rule the hearts and minds of members of the University management.

The ERC hereby demands the immediate restoration of Students Union activities and a halt to every other attack on the democratic rights of students.

We also condemn the decision to make all students and their parents sign undertaking and indemnity forms which are meant to frighten students from ever daring to fight for their rights. On the undertaking form, there is what is called a “re-absorption oath” which students must sign and get notarized as preconditions for admittance into halls of residence and examination venues. Through the Parents indemnity form, parents and guardians are to be held liable for whatever supposed misdemeanor is committed by their students. We demand an immediate reversal of these draconian measures.

Meanwhile, all of these crude measures only go to show how lawless the University is. For instance, the word “re-absorption” is unknown to University laws. A student resumes into a University after an holiday or a break. If a student was expelled or rusticated, after careful consideration of his/her appeals by the Senate, he or she could be reinstated. Nor is there anything called a “re-absorption oath” in the University system. All undergraduate and postgraduate students of Universities and other tertiary institutions are required to swear upon admission is a matriculation oath. After this, there is no other oath that students are required to swear in the course of their academic programmes.

All what the university is doing is simply to manufacture all kinds of quasi-legal measures to keep students enslaved and unable to defend themselves against the university’s anti-poor polices. Such draconian clampdown on freedom of expression was the hallmark of military despotism in Nigeria. They have failed before and will fail again.

We call on staff unions in the University to oppose all of the draconian measures being taken by the University to clampdown on students. Otherwise, once the University authorities are through with students, it would soon pounce on staff unions. Indeed all UNILAG alumni and Nigerians who cherish freedom and democratic rights must rise up to condemn these despotic decisions.

Instead of clamping down on students, we call on the University to address the legitimate demands of the students.

Lest we forget, these issues which caused the students’ protest of the 6th and 7th April 2016 were the extremely difficult conditions of learning to which students were subjected as a result of poor electricity and water supply, academic injustice ranging and high cost of goods and services which has earned UNILAG the toga of the most expensive campus in terms of cost of living. Indeed these are issues for which members of the Prof. Rahamon Bello-led management of the University of Lagos should be investigated for dereliction of duty and incompetence.

But the University of Lagos is a University that has absolutely no regard for its students. Rather than respect for divergent views and due process, impunity, exploitation and oppression are the hallmarks of the University. Recall how a couple of months ago the same University arbitrarily denied over 100 pre-medical students from proceeding to the College of Medicine. Now without making any attempt to address students’ demands, the management has declared open the University and fixed commencement of examinations for the 9th of May, 2016. Up till now, questions raised by students during the protests as to the whereabouts of the additional two diesel-powered generators remain unanswered. Instead, the University says on its website that it could only “endeavor to provide electricity in the various halls of residence between the hours of 7.00 pm and 7.00 am daily. The boreholes in the hostels would continue to provide water supply to the hostels until normal supply from the Lagos State Water Corporation resumes”.

This means students will have to write examinations under conditions unfit for learning. This is a recipe for mass failure. We charge the institution’s Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other staff unions not to allow a situation where students are coerced to write examinations in conditions that will definitely cause mass failure.

This is the time for the unions to come together in solidarity with students by organizing actions like strikes and protest to demand that basic municipal services are functioning adequately and for the dissolution of ULSU and other undemocratic attacks to be reversed.

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