Students indefinitely suspended by the management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, over alleged disruptive acts have vowed legal action against the school in pursuit of reinstatement.
The management said the affected students – Ibukun Omole, final year Civil Engineering; Oluwadele Babatunde, part three English Language; and John Udeh, part two English Language – posed threat to the members of the university community and its social service functions, and should, therefore, vacate pending review of their cases.
This was contained in separate letters, seen by PREMIUM TIMES, to the affected students. The letters were signed by the school’s Registrar ‘Dotun Awoyemi, and dated October 11.
The development followed the October 6 protest staged in the school in response to power outage, which reportedly last six days.
However, the management in its letters alleged the suspended students indulged in “criminal conducts” and disrupted academic and extra-curricular activities during the protest.
“In pursuance of your supposed grievances…you forcefully and unlawfully seized one cabstar van and two commercial buses belonging to members of the Natioal Union of Road Transport Workers carrying out their lawful business activities on campus…,” the school alleged.
Subsequently, the school added, the seized vehicles were used to convey “members of your group” to the More Police station in Ile-Ife Town “where other students, being interrogated, were forcefully recovered.”
But the suspended students told PREMIUM TIMES they were not culpable of the allegations and, thus, the authorities lied.
One of them, Mr. Babatunde said he had extended to the transport workers the “congressional decision of the students” to boycott lectures on October 6 to protest the power outage and that they (the transport workers) should not operate on the campus that day.
Yet, he denied participating in the protest, the roots of his suspension.
“On the day of the protest, I was with my HOD and not with those who protested,” said Mr. Babatunde. “I’m surprised to discover that I have been suspended.”
Further, he denied allegation of seizing commercial buses; rather, he said the transport workers cooperated with the students, after “I have sensitised them.”
He told PREMIUM TIMES he would seek legal means to challenge his suspension and seek reinstatement.
Similarly, another affected student, Mr, Omole said he was not in Ile-Ife when the protest was staged.
“As a matter of fact, I just arrived on campus,” he said. “I was in Osogbo during the protest and am surprised to receive the suspension letter.”
He added: “This is the second time I will be suspended by the management. The first time, I didn’t involve the legal institution; but now, I will have to take legal action.”
The suspension was condemned by the President of the Students’ Union as “an act of oppression of the students” in a statement, after his colleagues received their letters of suspension.
The spokesperson for the school, Abiodun Olanrewaju did answer calls placed to his for comments. He also did not reply text sent him Monday evening.
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