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OAU community reacts as student activists remain in prison

The students and staff of the Obafemi Awolowo University have condemned the school for handing over its own students to the police for prosecution.

CAMPUS REPORTER confirmed that Gbenga Oloruniran, a 400 level student of Geography; Olajide Ademola, a 500 level student of Electrical Electronics; Oyedeji Samson, 300 level student of Pharmacy; Jimoh Oladipupo, 300 level student of Biochemistry and Adeniji John, 300 level student of Electrical Electronics were docked at a Magistrate Court in Ile Ife yesterday.

They are accused of assaulting a university official.

The university on Wednesday came under public scrutiny when students accused it of violently forcing them out of their hostels. The school however says it had informed the students of its plans to renovate the halls of residence and gave them ample warning. The arrested students are those who resisted the eviction.

While reacting, Segun Omoseni, a 300 level student of Economics said that “the inhumane and illicit act of the university management must stop so it can focus on salient issues affecting the institution.”

“OAU management are tyrannical, the arrested students only came to help their colleagues whose luggage were thrown out by hall wardens. The management should learn how to be lenient and release our comrades.”

Uthman Rafiu, a Psychology department student who witnessed the crisis, told our correspondent that the institution made false allegations against the students.

“None of the arrested students moved closer to the university officers.”

Ayuba Quadri, a former member of the Student Union Representative Council, said the school had degenerated.

“The greatness of Obafemi Awolowo University becomes a sheer degeneracy which cannot be disconnected from administration’s mishaps.

“The administration has earned itself to be a sheer incarnate of “Abacharian Regime ” that was known for a total clampdown on human rights and persecution of innocent masses.

“However, the use of force to cow the students and instil fear into them and as well as the threat will not afford the school management the opportunity to always abscond away from their primary responsibility,” he said.

Another student, Koye Ladele of the Faculty of Law who was present at the court said: “Professor Ogunbodede administration has embarked on mistakes. The action does not affect students alone but even the reputation of the management too. The students have been remanded at Koshere Prison. The bail conditions are for armed robbers and seasoned criminals. They are towards ensuring that students remain remanded.”

When we contacted the Chairman of the Academic Staff, Niyi Sunmonu, he declined comments as he claimed not to have “comprehensive details of the issue”.

“I’m yet to have comprehensive details of what happened. However, I understand the case is in court. It’ll be prejudicial to comment on it”, Mr. Sunmonu said.

A member of the Non-Academic Staff, who pleaded anonymity to avoid victimisation, told our correspondent that the university is employing all moves to stop any challenge to the status quo.

“The university has returned to the military days. You will recall that our chairman was also arrested and docked for fighting a right cause. Get my assurance, the Non-Academic Staff are taking all steps to join the mass of students to demand justice.”

As at the time of filing this report, we gathered that the students who could not meet up with the bail conditions have been remanded in jail.

The conditions include, payment of N500,000 each with two civil servants of level 12 who are regular taxpayers standing as sureties.

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