Student activists at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, have taken the campaign for reinstatement of their suspended colleagues to the social media.
The students our correspondent monitored on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp are now using hashtags #REINSTATEOAU4 , #ReinstateOurUnion and #ReinstateGreatIfeStudentsUnion to demand the reinstatement of Oluwalade Babatunde, Omole Ibukun, Jacob Grace and Udeh John.
OAU management had suspended the four students in October, after a protest against a six-day power outage on campus.
That was followed by the indefinite suspension of the Students’ Union activities by the management
Koye-ladele Mofehintoluwa, a former parliamentarian in the students’ representatives council, in a Facebook post on Saturday, decried the “decision of the management towards taming the consciousness of the students.”
He said the suspended students were innocent of the allegations of violent protest. That’s the view shared by other campaigners for their reinstatement.
“They were not criminals! The management is unwilling that a Union continues to keep them on their toes and have used slight and somewhat nonexistent excuses to clamp down on the students movement. It is not a Management Union. It is a student Union,” said Koye-Ladele.
Another student, Muraina Mujeeb, who joined the campaign on Twitter, declared: “Our colleagues are not criminal. They have the right to be heard.”
Also, the Secretary of Alliance of Nigerian students against Neo Liberal Attack (ANSA), Gbenga Oloniran, said that the suspension coupled with some anti-students policies like fee hikes, would lead to more attacks against students very soon.
“We can only say for now that more attacks and struggles will break out in no distant time,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Eyitope Ogubodede, told the Association of Campus Journalist, ACJOAU, on Saturday, that the students union would be reinstated as soon as there’s guarantee the union officers would be transparent.
”what we don’t want is a group of people that will not represent the ideals of Student Unionism in OAU, we want Students Unionism back as soon as possible, you’ll realise that we didn’t do anything to the Hall Executives which is still part of the Students Union,” he said.
He didn’t speak in reaction to the campaign for the reinstatement of the suspended union leaders.
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