Students from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have urged university authorities to reinstate the students’ union, to suspend all requirements of oath taking, and to reschedule examination dates in order to give students ample time to prepare.
UNILAG authorities closed down the university on April 7 after students peacefully protested the university’s poor infrastructure, citing frequent blackouts and lack of water as the main grievances. Last week, school authorities suspended the students’ union indefinitely.
University officials have also mandated that students take an anti-cult oath in order to resume their studies.
Students, through their lawyer, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, have subsequently pressed university authorities to “dispense with these conditions” and have threatened to sue if their demands are not addressed.
The students and their lawyer argued that because they were not expelled from the institution, there is no legal basis for them to have to take an oath for their resumption of studies. It is illegal for a university to force innocent students and their parents to sign an oath, according to Mr. Adegboruwa.
Additionally, the students emphasized that they have already paid for their accommodations and therefore cannot be denied to use and occupy them.
Finally, the students argued that they are entitled to the freedom of association by Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution and Article 10 of the African Charter. The dissolution of the students’ union violates this right.
The students and their lawyer outlined the following demands:
1. Suspension of ALL conditions of OATH, INDEMNITY AND UNDERTAKINGS, by students and their parents;
2. Lifting of the ban or suspension placed upon the Students’ Union
3. Shifting of the examination calendar by one month, to afford the students adequate time and access to facilities and academic materials for preparation for the said examinations. Most students were forced to leave the University campus under conditions of extreme urgency, without any opportunity or access to their academic materials and facilities, making it impossible for them to prepare for the examinations. To insist on May 9, 2016, as date for the commencement of examinations, will only be a punitive measure by the University authorities, now known to produce very brilliant materials for the growth of Nigeria. Many of the students are traveling back from their various locations across and outside Nigeria and would therefore need sufficient time to settle down, for serious academic activities.
4. Absorption of students representatives into the Council, Senate and the Congregation of the University, to afford them the opportunity of being part of the decision making process, which may affect them, their parents, their future and their careers.
5. Immediate dialogue with the Students’ Union, for the purpose of addressing all pending issues affecting the students and the entire university.
The students gave the university till April 29, 2016 to address these demands or face legal action.