Wednesday, 29 June 2016




The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) OAU Branch strongly condemns the decision of the authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) to close the campus following weeks of strikes and protests by workers unions.

The announcement of the closure was made on the 21st of June 2016 following another round of protests by members of the University’s chapters of the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) and the Non Academic Staff Union of Universities (NASU). The workers’ unions, among other things, are protesting non-payment of over 76 months earned allowance, nonpayment of over 6 months salaries, and the undemocratic process of the appointment the next Vice Chancellor.

As far as we are concerned, this is one closure too many. We consider the decision to close the University ill-advised, unjustifiable and a calculated attempt to prolong the academic session to the detriment of students while at the same time avoiding the legitimate demands of the workers unions. We therefore demand the immediate opening of the University so that stale and fresh students can resume for academic activities. We also call on the authorities to immediately meet the demands of the University’s chapters of the Non-Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) in order to ensure that normal activities return to the campus.

On the 21st of June 2016, the management of Obafemi Awolowo University announced the closure of the institution. The reasons behind this were not clearly stated. But it will be recalled, that for some weeks back the Non Academic Staff Union (NASU) and the Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Universities (SSANU) had embarked on protest actions to press home their demands of non-payments of over 76 months earned allowance, nonpayment of over 6 months salaries, and the demand for the democratic process of appointing the Vice Chancellor. Recall that some months ago NASU embarked on industrial action on the non-payment of 64 months earned allowance which was later suspended based on different factors including the intervention of the late Ooni of Ife Oba Okunade Sijuwade to solve the crisis. The struggle has been intensified by also incorporating the demand for the democratic process on the appointment of the Vice Chancellor.

Both NASU and SSANU have also initiated a legal action at the Federal High Court Osogbo, Osun state to challenge the undemocratic process of the appointment of the VC. The matter has been adjourned to July 6, 2016.  However, we find it condemnable, that despite the order of the court that the process of appointment should be suspended pending the verdict, the management undemocratically appointed Prof. Ayobami Salami-the immediate past Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC) Academics - as the new VC. This is obviously a contempt of court and we urge the court to do the needful in punishing the respondents for flouting its orders.

We condemn the management’s archaic method of resolving crisis which does not meet the requirement of the contemporary era of 21st century especially in a “democratic” dispensation. Instead, the management should accede to the demands of the protesting staff unions. Not tackling the root of the crisis will further aggravate the workers and the students protest against the highhandedness of the institution which will continue to render the institution ungovernable. Of course the students will also bear the brunt of the effect, as presently evidenced in the way parents who are members of the unions find it hard or even impossible to pay the school fees of the children and to meet their basic needs. Ironically, the management which always warns the students to always avoid any action that can lead to the elongation of their academic session has continued to implement action of elongating their stay by persistent closure. While we cannot also gloss over the negativity of this management action, it also bring to the fore the death risk that possibly be encountered by students traveling up and down under the deplorable state of Nigerian roads. As evidence, it has presently been reported that two of our students have been killed in an auto crash along their way home as a result of the forceful closure of the institution.

We advise the management to desist from this ineffective tactic of closure of the institution which in no way solves the fundamental problem. At the same time we call for the re-opening of the institution for the academic activities to commence. Management should not continue to destroy the destiny of the students by this unnecessary elongation of their academic year.

The ERC joins the workers in solidarity to demand the payment of their earned allowance, salaries and for the democratic process of the appointment of a new Vice Chancellor. Historically, it has been proven that only a concerted effort of both the students and workers can expedite the success of any struggle against the common enemy which is the university authority.

We call on  the students to join forces with the protesting unions by also linking the struggle with students demands for better welfare condition, reversal of the astronomical fee hike of 2014, reinstatement of the Olawale Owolabi (Ogunruku) who has been on suspension since 2011, the probe of the out gone Vice Chancellor Bamitale Omole. To ensure probity and accountability in University administration and avoid the usual rancor that often attends the appointment of Vice Chancellors, the ERC demands the democratization of the decision making organs of the university to comprise the elected representatives of staff and students unions.

Adabale Olamide                                                            Omole Ibukun
Coordinator                                                                     Secretary


 Press statement

 The authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have commenced a vicious agenda to victimize over 22 students leaders for their roles in the students protest of April 6 and 7, 2016. Some of these students have already been invited to appear before a Senate Disciplinary Panel over sundry allegations of misdemeanor.

The 48-hour protest was called by the University of Lagos Students Union (ULSU) last April over complaints of inadequate electricity and water supply to hostels and academic areas and the high cost of living on campus.

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls on the University authorities to desist from following this ruinous path of victimizing a few leaders over a protest in which thousands of students participated in livid anger over the deterioration of their living and studying conditions. As examples of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) and other crisis-ridden academic institutions show, this sort of vindictive “slash and burn” approach will further worsen the crisis as it will completely break down whatever relationship still exist between the administration and the students community. Without a healthy relationship between the students populace and the administration, the stage is set for a recurring decimal of conflict.

We therefore demand a halt to the on-going disciplinary process especially because it violates all known principles of natural justice. For instance, prior to their invitation to the Senate Disciplinary panel on recent students protest, there is no evidence that any of the union leaders and activists were invited to a fact-finding panel. This omission shows that this process is merely a witch hunt to go after perceived enemies of the authorities amongst students.

We equally demand a halt to all other actions, many of which are plainly illegal, that the University has taken since April 28 to impose an atmosphere of fear and trepidation on campus and diminish the democratic rights of students. Some of these actions include forcing students and their parents to sign an indemnity and undertaken form as a condition for re-opening of the University in May, ban on students gathering, suspension of the Students Union, ejection of union leaders from their official accommodation days to examination.

Despite efforts by University officials to blackmail the last April’s protest by claiming that union leaders had other motive, the reality is that issues of poor welfare conditions and high cost of living were the uppermost in the minds of the thousands of students that trooped out on April 6 and 7. Unfortunately, none of these demands has been met till this very day. Electricity and water supply in hostel and academic areas are still inadequate, costs of basic items are still beyond the means of poor students while the University has failed to provide answers to enquiries as to the whereabouts of the two additional generators the University is meant to have. Instead, the university is more interested in going after students leaders and their union.

Especially for a University that barely more than a year ago had taken the salutary step of restoring students unionism after a decade of proscription, this unfolding situation is not only unacceptable, it will also have far-reaching implication for the image of the University. Unless the authorities desist, further attacks on the students populace and their right to independent unionism will only portray the administration of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Rahman Bello as an intolerant one.

We call on all students to prepare to defend their affected leaders. We also call  on civil society organizations and staff unions in the university to openly condemn the planned attacks on the democratic rights of the affected students and be prepared to organize solidarity actions.

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

Thursday, 23 June 2016


Press Statement

The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) University of Lagos (UNILAG) branch write to bring the attention of the public and the entire mass of the students population to an attempt to unjustly victimize student leaders and activists for participating in a peaceful protest against poor welfare conditions. 

Recently, the university management set up a panel called "SPECIAL SENATE DISCIPLINARY PANEL ON THE RECENT STUDENTS PROTEST". Several students leaders and activists were invited to face the panel without being told their offense so as to enable them prepare their defense. This manner and nature of invitation clearly shows that the Prof Rahman Bello led administration is up to something fishy. Some of the students invited to face the panel are: Afolabi Emmanuel (Faculty of Arts), Ilesanmi Samson (Faculty of Arts), Adebayo Emmanuel (Faculty of Sciences), Muhammad Olaniyan - President, University of Lagos Students Union (UNILAG) amongst others.

The Education Rights Campaign(ERC) strongly condemn this despotic violation of human rights being perpetrated by the university management against UNILAG students. We demand a halt to the attempt to victimize the students leaders and withdrawal of the trumped up charges. We also demand restoration of the Students Union and respect of students’ democratic right to freedom of association and expression. 

It will be recalled that the students of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) went on protest on the 6th and 7th of April 2016 to protest against hike in prices of commodities on campus, epileptic power supply despite the use of  diesel powered generators, lack of sachet water, lack of regular and portable water supply, non-availability of adequate bed spaces, amongst other welfare and academic issues. It is no news that the management blackmailed these legitimate demands of students and as was expected, it led to the undemocratic suspension of the union (ULSU) and the enslavement warrant called undertaking and indemnity form which students were forced to sign before they gained entrance into examination halls and halls of residence. Uptill now, none of the issues for which students protested have been resolved. 

It is unfortunate that despite all of this injustice already perpetrated against UNILAG students, the management has again concluded plans to further punish and victimize students leaders and activists that participated in the peaceful protest. It is regrettable that the alleged accusations against this students leaders are laughable and baseless.

In a letter addressed to one of the student leaders by the university management as a reply to his letter asking for the reason for which he was invited to face the disciplinary panel, it is laughable that the university management will invite a student to face a panel for declaring a protest that was not approved by the congress. The congress in question is up till now yet to be inaugurated by the VC.
We in the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) view all of these as executive rascality and a reckless and arbitrary display of power. This clearly shows that the university management led by Prof Rahman Bello is incapable of heading a citadel of learning. Given his undemocratic and despotic inclinations, he is best suited for the military.

Hence, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) calls on ASUU, SSANU, NASU, the NLC and the entire students population to intervene against this injustice meted to UNILAG students. We also bring the attention of concerned individuals, human rights activists to this apparent disregard for human rights and untold victimization that the students are forced to suffer. While UNILAG prides itself as the university of first choice, the University is in decay and nothing to write home about. Several atrocities and abuses of human rights are currently going on in the university under the watch of the vice chancellor, Prof. Rahman Bello.

Julius Samuel(Prakash)
ERC UNILAG Branch coordinator

Sunday, 19 June 2016



40 years ago, on the morning of 16 June 1976, thousands of high school students from the black township of Soweto began a protest against the Bantu education system and the decision of the South African Apartheid government to impose Afrikaans as a language of instruction in public schools. In response, the racist Apartheid police opened fire on them, killing hundreds of young black school children. The first casualty, Hector Pieterson, was no more than 13 years old. This singular action of the Apartheid government detonated a powerful movement of students and workers that eventually led to the dismantling of the racist and oppressive Apartheid system (a system for the perpetuation of white supremacist minority rule) in South Africa.
To commemorate the history of this struggle and draw useful lessons, three branches of the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) organized a series of events and activities on Thursday 16 June 2016 at the Lagos State University (LASU), among public secondary school students in Ajegunle (a poor community in Lagos state) and at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) where non-academic workers have been taking actions against the corruption of the immediate-past Vice Chancellor of the University and his desperate moves to usurp democratic process in the selection of the next Vice Chancellor in order to cover his tracks. We present below brief reports and pictures:

Members of ERC Ajegunle yesterday intervened in the June 16 day of action in secondary schools in Ajegunle, precisely at Tolu complex. June 16 marks the date in history that the Soweto uprising occurred in 1976 in South Africa, a struggle which brought students and black South African workers together in a united struggle against the brutal apartheid regime in South Africa, which succeeded 14 years after, despite bloody repression to bring a glorious end to apartheid in South Africa. In commemorating this heroic struggle, the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) chose June 16 as a day of intervention in the crisis plaguing the Nigerian education sector, crisis of government underfunding, inadequate and dilapidated infrastructures, overcrowding, shortage of qualified teachers, very poor remuneration package for teachers and low morale. All of these over the years have led to poor standards in education and mass failure in WAEC, NECO and JAMB. It is in the face of this crisis and in the face of the inability of the APC led government to find a workable and lasting solution that the ERC Ajegunle branch went on a mass sensitization campaign to public secondary schools in Ajegunle. Armed with leaflets and placards we reached out to hundreds of students and a few teachers that we met with the ideas of the need for teachers and students to come together in united struggle against the government’s neo-liberal anti-poor capitalist policies aimed at the commercialization and privatization of education in Nigeria as APC governors in Oyo, Osun etc have recently attempted to do. Apart from the fact that these states governors are also owing workers 5 to 6 months salaries, which had sparked off a united mass action of workers and students against these wicked austerity/neo-liberal policies. 
The example of the Soweto uprising shows that only a united and consistent struggle of workers, students and the poor masses can win victory. However, 22 years after the fall of Apartheid, black South Africans still suffer from poverty and exclusion from education, housing, jobs and opportunities. The lesson here is that winning democratic or political right is not enough; there is a need to build a movement to defeat capitalism and enthrone a democratic socialist alternative. Drawing lessons from this, students and workers must organize to defeat the neo-liberal capitalist regime in Nigeria that is bent on making education the exclusive preserve of the rich.

Nearly 80 students turned up today at a public meeting organized by the Education Rights Campaign (ERC) - LASU Chapter at the Lagos State University (LASU) to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the June 16 Soweto uprising. Held under the theme "The Soweto Uprising and its Relevance for the Struggle to Save Public Education in Nigeria", the public meeting offered students the opportunity of reconnecting with this important aspect of the history of struggles on the African continent and how the echo of the magnificent movement of high school students in South Africa found deep resonation in the "Ali Must Go" students boycott and mass protest here in Nigeria two years after in 1978 which was organized by the Segun Okeowo-led National Union of Nigerian Students(NUNS). In taking account of the lessons, the meeting noted the similarity of the issues that led to the uprising in SA and neo-liberal policies and terrible conditions under which students learn in Nigeria. Were it not for mass struggle of students and staff from 2011 to 2015, LASU would have continued to be the most expensive public university thus leading to the exclusion students from poor background. As the examples of 1976 in SA, 1978, 1984 and 1990 here in Nigeria show, organization is vital; so also is the restoration of radical and revolutionary socialist ideas back in the students’ movement. Unfortunately, this no more the case with NANS. The meeting resolved on the need to rebuild the students movement here in Nigeria and link students struggles to the working class movement with a view to ending capitalism which is ultimately the source of the crisis public education and society at large face. We thank comrade Tony Dansu - Secretary Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU LASU), Ambode of LASU, the president of the Faculty of Education and other activists for accepting to speak at the event. 7 students (one male and 6 female) joined the ERC LASU branch immediately with a promise to begin to attend branch meetings starting from Friday June 24. We urge all other change-seeking students to join us. From tomorrow, the ERC train will move to Adeniran Ogunsanya College of Education Ijanikin (AOCOED) and from there to other campuses in Lagos to propagate the message of struggle to students and staff. The ERC will continue to raise the banner of free and democratically-managed public education high until it becomes a roaring and unstoppable mass movement.

The ERC OAU June 16 Public Meeting was attended by more than 26 Great Ife Students, even while Stalelites were yet to resume. Despite the number, the quality of the discussions was exceptional, while the intellectual resolutions reached on the salient issues discussed were stainless. Watch out for the Communiqué of the Public Meeting.