Students of the University of Lagos, UNILAG, Akoka, Yaba, have urged the authorities of the institution to re-instate the Students’ Union, suspend all requirements of oath taking and undertaking as preconditions for their resumption scheduled for May 2, 2016.
They also want the UNILAG to shift the dates of their examinations from May 9, 2016, in order to give room for students to settle down and prepare for the said examinations.
The authorities of UNILAG announced a compulsory closure and forced all students to vacate the campus and their halls of residence.
This followed the peaceful assembly of the students, to draw the authorities’ attention to the deplorable state of infrastructure and facilities in the university, leading to permanent blackouts and lack of water supply.
UNILAG has now imposed conditions upon the students, for their resumption, such as to subscribe to an oath of non membership of secret cults, indemnity and undertaking by their parents.
But the students, through their lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, have in turn urged UNILAG, through a letter dated April 27, 2016, to dispense with these conditions.
Adegboruwa in his letter said: “First, the students were not rusticated or expelled to warrant any oath for re-admission.
“Second, it is illegal to ask innocent students and their parents to subscribe to an oath not to commit a crime. Cultism is a serious crime in all statutes regulating crime and criminality.
“Third, the students have already paid for their accommodation in their various halls of residence and they are thus entitled to the use and occupation of these halls for the current academic session.
“They have also paid for their examinations and they are entitled to partake in the said examinations without any precondition.
“The students stated that by virtue of section 40 of the 1999 Constitution and Article 10 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, they are entitled to freedom of association, to elect their leaders and to maintain a union, without any interference from the University.
“Furthermore, the students maintain that they cannot be punished for the unilateral act of closure by the university, over deteriorating conditions in their campuses, that are not conducive for learning and intellectual exercise.
“These issues have not been addressed by the university authorities, before announcing resumption and the students fear that gathering over 27,000 students in a situation of total darkness, absence of water, etc, may lead to the outbreak of some epidemic.”
Consequently, the students have written letters to the Vice-Chancellor and the Governing Council of the University, for the following demands:
“1. Suspension of ALL conditions of OATH, INDEMNITY AND UNDERTAKINGS, by students and their parents;
“2. Lifting of the ban or suspension placed upon the Students’ Union;
“3. Shifting of the examination calendar by one month, to afford the students adequate time and access to facilities and academic materials for preparation for the said examinations. Most students were forced to leave the University campus under conditions of extreme urgency, without any opportunity or access to their academic materials and facilities, making it impossible for them to prepare for the examinations.
“To insist on May 9, 2016, as date for the commencement of examinations, will only be a punitive measure by the University authorities, now known to produce very brilliant materials for the growth of Nigeria. Many of the students are traveling back from their various locations across and outside Nigeria and would therefore need sufficient time to settle down, for serious academic activities.
“4. Absorption of students representatives into the Council, Senate and the Congregation of the University, to afford them the opportunity of being part of the decision making process, which may affect them, their parents, their future and their careers.
“5. Immediate dialogue with the Students’ Union, for the purpose of addressing all pending issues affecting the students and the entire university.”
The students have given UNILAG management up till April 29, 2016, to address these demands or face court action.