The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has condemned the closure of the university for two weeks by its administration. It described the decision as “unwarranted and undemocratic” and expressed strong support of the protest of the students over the non-availability of water and electricity supply on their campus.
The university’s administration shut down the campus for two weeks on April 24 in response to the action of the students on April 23rd and 24th to demonstrate against a three days without water and power. “This to us is an irresponsible measure always taken by university managements across the country to cover up the real issues behind students protests and also to punish students by unnecessarily disrupting the academic calendar,” ERC said in its statement today, calling for reopening of the campus not later than next Wednesday, May 9. That is when the two-week break imposed by the University management would elapse. The Campaign criticized the poor living condition of students of Ibadan, Nigeria’s premier university, saying that the ignoble situation clearly underlines what is obtainable in many other tertiary institutions in the country where students are made to live and study under appalling conditions. In addition to the reopening of the campus next week, ERC is also demanding the following: • Immediate provision of adequate water and electricity supply;• That none of those who participated in the protest should be victimized, and that • The government must fund public tertiary institutions adequately starting from the immediate allocation of the UNESCO standard of 26% of the annual budget to public education and up to providing free education at all levels, as public education is the only alternative available for working class and poor middle class youths. ERC lamented that in campuses where hostels are available, water and power supply are inadequate with students having to trek distances to fetch water and live in the dark for weeks. Students, it said, are faced with the challenges of ill-equipped libraries and laboratories, congested classrooms, high student-teacher ratio among others. Commending the courage and audacity of the students in embarking on their action, said the struggle must be linked with a national campaign for the provision of adequate infrastructural facilities on all campuses in the country. It also pointed out that adequate funding of the system without democratic running of the university exposes the funds to misappropriation by university administrators. “This is why we have also been calling for the setting up of a budget monitoring committee in all campuses with the involvement of elected representatives of education workers and students to hold education administrators accountable,” ERC said. SaharaReporters recalls that only five weeks ago, on March 29, Mr. Anyim Pius Anyim, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, declared at a University of Jos fundraiser in Abuja that the government might soon the stop funding of universities altogether. Government officials often say they lack funds for public projects or that the government can no longer subsidize the public interest, while they budget lavishly for their personal comfort or heavily subsidize the massive corruption from which they and their collaborators benefit.