We call on ASUU and other Unions to Speak out against the Monumental injustice going on at the University of Lagos
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) asks Nigerians to hold the authorities of the University of Lagos responsible for the impending mass failure in the University. This is because the University is forcing students to start examinations on the 9th of May 2016 while lectures and test are still being held. This invariably means that students would be going into the examination without the mandatory one week lecture and test free week required for adequate preparation. The ERC condemns this and demands a postponement of examinations so that students can prepare adequately.
When the University was closed down on Friday 8th April 2016 following a students’ protest over poor welfare conditions, students were given just 4 hours to vacate the campus even as armed police men encircled the University. As a result many went home without their books.
Asking those same students who just resumed on May 2nd to start examinations on May 9 even while many lecturers are yet to conclude lectures is insensitive, callous and a recipe for mass failure. This is aside the fact that since May 3rd, many students are still busy signing and submitting undertaking forms in order to satisfy the undemocratic and despotic conditions imposed by the management for re-opening the University.
The public would recall that the University of Lagos was closed down on Friday 8th April 2016 by the authorities following students’ protests against poor welfare conditions and high cost of food items and other commodities on campus. One of the key grievances of students was the epileptic power supply on campus worsened by the failure of the University to account for 2 additional generators which if provided could, together with the 2 existing generators, guarantee nearly 60 percent electricity supply during period of outage from the distribution companies.
Up till now, none of these problems have been addressed by the University. In a bulletin asking students to resume, the University only promised electricity supply between the hours of 7pm and 7am. On water supply, the University is providing no palliatives. The issue of high cost of food and commodities remain thus further compounding students’ distress especially in the given situation where there would be no light for cooking in the day time and they would have to eat out. These are the terrible conditions under which students are being rushed to write examinations.
If the UNILAG management was sensitive and responsible, it would have postponed examinations for at least 2 weeks to give ample time for students to settle in and for lectures and tests to be concluded. Unfortunately, UNILAG, like other Universities, is being managed by sadistic and despotic officials who revel in the misfortune of students and staff.
We urge the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and other staff unions not to sit by and watch the University of Lagos do this to students. ASUU especially has often spoken out against injustice in the University system. This is one injustice too many in the University of Lagos and it deserves ASUU’s public condemnation. Already the same management has suspended the Students Union, dissolved the union executives and evicted them from hostels all because they dared to lead other students to challenge authorities’ anti-students policy. We call on ASUU, other staff unions, the labour movement and the general public to prevail on the management of the University of Lagos to postpone examinations and utilize the intervening period to address all the issues, especially that of poor welfare conditions, that precipitated the protest of April 6 and 7.
Hassan Taiwo Soweto
National Coordinator (07033697259)