Professor Rahmon Bello University of Lagos

Authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) have continued to issue rustication letters to students, who participated in peaceful demonstrations in September, 2015. The action of the university authorities is an extension of the policy of victimization of the students, who peacefully expressed their displeasure over the poor welfare conditions on the campus.

Two students of the Political Science Department involved in the 2015 protests against bed bug infestation of students’ halls of residence have just been served letters announcing they have been rusticated.

One of them has already graduated, while the other, visually-impaired, was supposed to have graduated. Their rustication letters cited their participation in the September 2015 protests against the squalid conditions in their halls of residence.

The visually-impaired student, Mr. Lawrence Success Umezinwa, was sacked as Chairman of the Mariere Hall of residence and forcefully evicted from his room on the orders of Deputy Dean of Students’ Affairs, Dr. Karo Ogbinaka.

Mr. Umezinwa said he was brutalized by campus security men, with one of them poking him in the eyes. The visually-impaired student said he complained about his ill-treatment in a letter to the Vice Chancellor, Professor Rahman Bello, but nothing was done about it.

He added that some of the results of the courses he took were not uploaded for him on his portal by the university, a situation about which he severally lodged official complaints, which were ignored.

“I logged on to the UNILAG student portal to check for updates on my records, but I only saw a note that I have been rusticated,” Mr. Umezinwa said.

He explained that he was informed that his department also issued a letter conveying his rustication.

The case of Mr. Ochuba Chichebe Polycarp is more curious. Mr. Polycarp, who was similarly involved in the protests, has already graduated and was listed in the official convocation brochure among graduates of the Political Science department. Polycarp, who was awarded a degree in the second class (lower) division, confirmed to SaharaReporters on Friday morning that he has already collected his certificate and was astonished at his retroactive rustication. 

The letter, dated 21 March, referred to a belated outcome on a panel he appeared before on 16 October 2015. 

“The panel asked me what I wanted the university to do and I simply told them that the university should address the simple demand of students for the cleaning up of the hostels,” he told SaharaReporters. 

He added that the panel assured that it would pass on his suggestion to the university authorities.

Recently, some students were rusticated over similarly peaceful protests against poor water and electricity supply.

 

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