Students’ protest at the University of Lagos continued to take dramatic twists following an indefinite close down announced by the authorities of the institution on Thursday.
The protesting students were aggrieved over what they described as hike in price of commodities on campus, irregular sharing of power supply, unavailability of sachet water and slow down of works at the sites of the university halls of residence.
Meanwhile, in the build up to the protest, the UNILAG Students’ Union (ULSU) had on Wednesday has ordered students to embark on demonstration to express their grievances.
The public relations officer of the ULSU, Jumai Fagbui in a statement titled: “Our reasons for the protest,” described the issues as affecting the mental capabilities of the students.
Led by the ULSU President, Mohammed Olaniyan and the speaker of the ULSU Parliament, Adeyanju Adeonipekun, the protest on Wednesday took off from the students union building, beside Amphitheatre.
The students marched across also faculties to mobilize for the protest before they headed to the senate building where the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ramon A Bello was expected to address the angry students.
But, the protest continued on Thursday as the the Vice Chancellor was unavailable to address them.
The management , in a statement issued after an emergency meeting with the university senate on Thursday had noted that “the issue of poor municipal services is a national one.”
Following students lingering protest, the management further directed that the university be close down with immediate effect, in order to forestall further breakdown of law and order.
The statement which also announced the suspension of all academic activities till further notice, directed the students to vacate their respective halls of residence not later than 10am on Friday.
“All students are hereby advised the comply with this directive. Any student that chooses defy this order will face the wrath of the law as the police have been directed to enforce compliance,” the statement read in part.
CfhtspWWEAEcgy-The directive seemed to meet the deaf ears of the students leaders as they defied the order.
USLU was quick to give a counter directive to the students urging them to remain indoor until further information by the Union.
The union said it was unfortunate that the UNILAG management could not manage what it described as a simple issue.
A jointly signed statement by the ULSU executives, added that the Vice Chancellor has demonstrated his insouciance towards the welfare of the students.
ULSU said, “In light of this public display of irresponsibility, the Union wishes to state that:
1) It is an inhumane move with a dastardly motive to demand the vacation of students from the University community. This is because it has got to the notice of the Union that certain hoodlums are around the school to waylay students who are trying to leave the school.
“2) Also, students who leave in distant areas have confessed that they do not have transport fare to transport themselves home. This is understandable as the notice for vacation just got to students this morning at about 6:30, leaving us with less than 4hrs to vacate.
“This is a display of lower drunkenness and gross irresponsibility on the part of the VC and the University Management as a whole. They have displayed that they do not have the interest of the students at heart. They have shown that they are misfits with regard to parenthood.”
Olaniyan noted that the decision of the management to sack the students from school could make students become victims of adverse circumstances by hoodlums.
ULSU – UNILAGThe ULSU leader who said leaving the school at that moment was dangerous assured the students that the union was on top of the situation.
It was, however, learnt that the union president and his PRO were arrested by the police on Friday morning.
Reacting to the arrest, Olaniyan confirmed the arrest. He note that they were released on Friday morning from the police station but had their phones seized by the police.
In a separate statement, Olaniyan advised the students to join the protest urging them to resist the urge to engage in any acts of violence or vandalism.
“We also endear students to avoid confrontation with policemen on campus,” he added.
Students claimed the protest has been peaceful as there have been no casualties recorded from Wednesday till Friday.
But, as of the time of filing this report (Saturday) battle-ready policemen were still seen at various joints in the campus just as students in their numbers trooped out of the campus.
Meanwhile, the police may be waiting for the night to descend before they reach for the rest of students, who are still present in the halls of the campus.