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Defend expelled Nigerian students at OAU University, Ile-Ife

Defend the right to protest

12 May 2005

The authorities of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, Ile-Ife, have decided to expel seven students from university. The main reason for the expulsion is the studentsí political activity in the student union and follows student protests which were held in November last year.

The expelled students are: Okafor Abuchi, Olawoyin Akinkunmi, Adenekan Adeniyi Akanni, Akinola Saburi Akande, Yekini Samuel Wahab, Aderibigbe Muyiwa Adetayo and Adegbile Isiaka.

Adenekan and Olawoyin have in the past been presidents of the studentsí union and Akinola is the general secretary of the student union at the moment.

The university administration is basing its action on a report issued by an undemocratic disciplinary panel which was constituted by the vice chancellor in the aftermath of the student protest of November.

During the protest, Rasheed Laketu, a student at OAU, was killed by the police who were given permission to attack the protest by the university authorities.

The report claims that the vice chancellor was physically assaulted by students during the protest and that damage had been done to university property and therefore recommends the expulsion of the students mentioned above.

In a letter to the panel, student activists and CDWRN activists demanded their democratic right to protest and pointed at the undemocratic and disciplinary traditions of the university authorities. In the weeks before the November 3 protests, students had been involved in a campaign which demanded the reinstatement of the student unionís Public Relation Officer and another student union activist. Those activists were expelled because of their leading role in protests against the increase in fees in August 2004.

The protests also focussed around the question of improving learning and living conditions for students on the campus and the publication of last termís exam results which were withheld because of a dispute between management and academic staff.

The education system in Nigeria is highly underfunded. There is not enough staff and teachers and lecturers sometimes do not get paid for months. Libraries do not have enough and adequate material and technical resources. On the other hand, it becomes more and more expensive to be a student in Nigeria. It is organisations like the World Bank and the IMF which, in cooperation with the corrupt Obasanjo regime, pushes for more privatisation in the education system.

The Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights in Nigeria (CDWRN) and its associated Education Rights Campaign is active on the campus to fight for free and decent education for all.

At the same time we are engaged in a struggle for democratic rights such as the right to protest, to gather and the right to freedom of speech.

We urge the supporters of CDWRN and readers of www.nigeriasolidarity.org internationally to send letters of protest to the Vice Chancellor at Obafemi Awolowo University in Osun State, Nigeria to demand the end of student victimisation and the reinstatement of the seven students.

You can also send it by e-mail to rogerm@oauife.edu.ng and to registrar@oauife.edu.ng

Please send copies to CDWRNigeria@hotmail.com