Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, have accused the institution's Dean of Students' Affairs (DSA), Professor G.O Akinola, of high-handedness and actions capable of sparking a religious crisis on campus. The students, under the banner of Concerned Great Ife Students, made the allegations in an open petition against Professor Akinola.
Jointly signed by Comrades Emman O. Emma, Sodunola Obafemi and Uzor, the petition was copied to the university's Vice Chancellor, Registrar and the local chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU). In the petition, the students alleged that on 30 April, the DSA issued an order barring fresh students from entering the halls of residence with their parents. The order, argued the students, lacked common sense.
"It requires just common sense to conclude that parents need to assist their wards with their luggage and also know where their children will be residing. Such order is ‘understandable’ in the face of the poor welfare and ridiculous conditions the incoming students are subjected to, and the desperate act of the Dean to cover up," the students stated.
While at Mozambique Hall, where she issued the order, she was alleged to have descended on the leaders of the Muslim Students society of Nigeria (MSSN), whom she stopped from welcoming and assisting new members on the pretext of preventing indoctrination.
"Such an action from the Dean (who is supposed to harmonize all religious interests on campus for the sake of peace), is an open declaration of religious division among students," argued the aggrieved students.
They also claimed to have seen the DSA excoriating a fresh female student, who had her bag on her head. The DSA was said to have claimed that the bag containing the students’ belongings was too heavy and could not be allowed in the hostel. Her decision was protested by three students, whom she got arrested by the university security personnel.
"It was in the course of intervening in such prevailing anomalies that three students (Michael Lenin, Afoo and VON) asked the Dean certain questions. However, before much was said, the response the students got was brutalization by the university security personnel, ordered by the Dean. The university security personnel, led by ‘Baba Ibeji’, were drunk," alleged the students.
The students warned that the university is unsafe if it has drunkards in its security team. They also argued that the attack on the students, as ordered by the DSA, is an invitation to cultism.
"Students, who no longer find their safety assured by the university management will seek security elsewhere. Fundamentally, the Dean and the security personnel, who brutalized the students, for no just cause, have infringed on the rights and liberty of these students under the Nigerian law," stated the disaffected students. On account of that, the students are demanding that the DSA and the security man, ‘Baba Ibeji’ be sanctioned.