The management of the University of Ibadan has suspended a student journalist, Adekunle Adebajo, over a critical article published two years ago.
Mr Adebajo, under the title “UI: The irony of fashionable rooftops and awful interiors”, wrote in The Guardian in April 2016 about meretricious projects at UI.
He drew attention to the deplorable state of the facilities at Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university.
Piqued by the article, the university, two days after the publication, asked Mr Adebajo to face the disciplinary committee.
In the following months, the student continued to face disciplinary charges which he always defended before he was eventually told he had rusticated for two semesters at the end of May.
But it was just on yesterday, Friday, that the rustication of Mr Adebajo became public, with his colleagues within and outside UI accusing the authorities of that school of being anti-free speech and oppressive.
“It is true, I was rusticated by University of Ibadan for an article written in 2016,” said Mr Adebajo on Facebook. “The verdict was made three weeks ago.”
Mr Adebajo, now suspended, belongs to the Faculty of Law where he was rounding off his degree as a 500 level student.
Student journalists under the aegis of Free Campus Press Movement have condemned the decision of the university management.
In a statement on Friday, they said, “Not only do we find this strange in the current dispensation of modern terms and in the post-colonial era, we also find it strange that the University failed to observe that this intellectual work did not in anyway abuse or defame any personality nor institution but rather aimed to improve the standard of the University.
“We are deeply disappointed that a University of prestige and calibre like the University of Ibadan will fail to observe that ethics of Journalism requires objectivity, we feel the objectivity of Kunle Adebajo was seen as subjectivity by the University management which is appaling.”
Stating further, they emphasised the importance of freedom of the press and sought actions towards the reversal of the rustication of Mr Adebajo.
“In the current age where Press Freedom is being preached, we find it very disheartening that the University of Ibadan decided to be the premier varsity in suspending campus Journalists. We will not fold our arms. we call on all well-meaning Nigerians to prevail on the University management to rescind the suspension of Mr Adebajo.
“We are embarking on a massive media campaign and social media campaign. We plead with all media stakeholders to support this move, using #FreeKunleAdebajo on social media, and help end this not just for now but for future of Journalism in Nigeria.”
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