Chinedu Bosah (Secretary Education Rights Campaign)
11 October 2007
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) strongly condemns the arrest of Olatunde Dairo, Public Relations Officer of Students Union, Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife and Taiwo Hassan Soweto, Coordinator, ERC, also a student of the institution, and demands their immediate and unconditional release. Both student leaders are also members of Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM)
The duo was arrested today, October 11, by the armed mobile police invited by the authorities of the institution to eject students out of the campus. The university was closed down today for no just reason.
However, the closure may not be unconnected to the renewed demands of students for the immediate and unconditional release of Akinola Saburi, President, Students’ Union who has been unjustly incarcerated at the Ilesha Prison since August 1, 2007.
The students of the university had on Tuesday October 9 held a Congress where they resolved to go to Osogbo on Monday October 15 to observe the court trial of Saburi which is coming on that day. The Congress also resolved that students would embark on lecture boycott on Thursday and Friday October 17 and 18 to press home the demands for release of Saburi, hands off of students union by the management and improved living and learning conditions on the campus.
The crime of the arrested student leaders is their leading role in the legitimate resolve of students to uphold their rights and interests.
We condemn highhandedness and arbitrariness which Professor Michael Faborede led authorities have adopted as style of administration since its inception last year. This is the second time the school has been closed down in less than one year for unjustifiable reason, besides the regular recourse to armed police whenever students embark on legitimate action in defence of their rights and interests.
We call on human rights organizations, Labour, teaching and non-teaching unions on the campus to join us in the demands for the immediate and unconditional release of Taiwo Hassan, Tunde Dairo and Akinola Saburi.
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