· * Demands immediate reinstatement of the affected persons
· *Time for staff and students unions to fight back
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) Ondo State Chapter condemns the suspension of 25 students and 6 members of the staff of the Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba Akoko by the university management. The 25 students were suspended after the riot at the university which occurred on the 11th day of April, 2016.
It can be recalled that the students of AAUA protested the death of one of their colleagues who was knocked down by a vehicle. It was reported that the student’s death was as a result of the delay caused by the university’s health center to send Ambulance to convey the affected student. Hence, she was deprived of immediate medical attention. The management’s response to the protest which later turned into riot was the closure of the university for months
As condition for reopening the school students were directed to pay a whopping sum of N25,000 each before it was reduced to N15,000 after a series of consultation as a reparation fee. Not only limited to this, on the 6th of May, the management of the institution published a list of 25 students who were suspended indefinitely as an aftermath of the protest.
Aside this, our attention has also been drawn towards the suspension of 6 members of the AAUA staff which included the ASUU chairman, Sola Fayose, by the same university management on the 26th of October, 2016 just after the 3 months strike of the staff union. As reported by The Nation newspaper on November 3, the management claimed to have suspended the staff members in order to restore sanity to the institution as they (6 members of the staff) are found guilty of “indiscipline”.
Consequent upon this background, ERC propose these questions and demand answers from the university management;
1. Is it against the University rules for student to demand a better output from the university health center?
2. Are the 25 suspended students the only people who participated in the protest?
3. Why are the suspended students not invited for fair-hearing as it is the very first step before any other action?
4. Did students really destroy properties worth over N300,000,000 (N15,000 estimated for 20,000 students) ?
5. If the suspension of the 6 members of the staff (ASUU chairman inclusive) is not to divide the staff union, why has it come immediately after the strike of the staff union?
6. Why were the affected members of the staff not invited to a panel before such decision was made?
7. Why has the suspension hammered on the leadership of the union who just led his union on a 3 months strike demanding for their rights from the management?
8. Are only these 6 members of the staff involved in the said “indiscipline? If yes, where is the report from an investigating panel?
While we await a response from the Ajibefun’s led AAUA management, it is imperative to clear the illusion that the management of the institution has designed for the whole Akungba community. The management of the institution as well as the Ondo state government under the governorship of Olusegun Mimiko, a one-time senate president of Obafemi Awolowo University has colluded to eliminate the obstacles against their profit-minded running of the institution. No wonder a whopping N300,000,000 was criminally realized from the students when the damaged properties cannot be worth more than N3,000,000.
While the demand of the recent ASUU strike for payment of 3 month salaries arrears and 7-months deduction, was not met, the chairman of ASUU was suspended after tricking the staff unions to resume. It is more than clear at this stage that the Memorandum of Understanding issued by the management is not unconnected with their attempt to silence the union through the suspension of their leaders, thereby shutting the staff union. We however condemn this action of the university management and charge the staff union never to accept such victimization.
Also, events have vividly shown that the suspended students are radical students’ activists that have, for long, demanded a better living and learning conditions from the management. Even though some of the suspended students were not in school environment at the time of protest, the anti-students management seizes that opportunity to implement its autocratic decision without inviting the students to any panel for fair hearing.
Given the foregoing, we hereby call on the staff and students union to jointly resist the victimization on their leaders and colleagues through organized mass rallies, pickets, press statements, and lecture boycotts to demand
immediate reinstatement of the affected workers and students
These and many more policies are characteristic of pro-capitalist government and undemocratic university management. That is why ERC is calling on workers and students, in addition to struggle for improvement and against attacks, to join us in building a mass-based political movement on a socialist basis in a view to overthrow the capitalist and replace it with a government of the millions and not the millionaire robbers. It is until education is adequately funded and democratically run and the system of government is mass based that the fundamental problems facing Nigerian education can be totally eliminated.
Owoyomi Damilola Owot
Ondo State ERC Coordinator
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