A group, Education Rights Campaign, has accused the Osun State Commissioner of Police of allowing his men to be used by the Management of Obafemi Awolowo University to harass students.
The group was reacting to the arrest and subsequent arraignment of students who protested against attempts by the school authorities to forcefully eject them from halls of residence on Wednesday evening.
The students had stayed back on campus during the holiday for teaching practice and Student Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) programs.
While justifying the forceful ejection, the school's management, through its Public Relations Officer, Mr. Abiodun Olarenwaju, on Thursday said the student's tenancy in the Halls of residence had expired the moment the session came to an end. He added that the students were expected to vacate the halls upon the conclusion of their exams.
But speaking with Sahara Reporters, Hassan Soweto, National Coordinator of the group said, “The public relation officer is been clever by half. He is not been truthful. We expect a higher fidelity to the truth. What he is saying is completely false and if it is true that he has said it then I believe his superiors should reprimand him. There is no student staying on campus that does not have an academic work to do. And we know the kind of academic work teaching practice, SIWES; these are academic work and these are the requirement for them to graduate. Unless the management is saying there is no teaching practice, SIWES, there are no students writing project unless if that is the case”
The arrested students: Gbenga Olaniran, Oyedeji Samson, Olajide Adedamola, Jimoh Oladipupo and Adeniji John were on Thursday were arraigned before Hon. Magistrate F.I Omisade at the Ife Magistrate Court on Thursday morning.
Hon. Magistrate F.I Omisade, remanded the students in prison till they are able to meet their bail condition of two (2) sureties on grade level 14 with five hundred thousand-naira (N500, 000) bail bond each.
Reacting to the arrest of the students, the group, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Hassan Soweto, accused the Eyitope Ogunmodede-led OAU management of infringing on the fundamental human rights of the students using men of Nigeria Police Force, Osun division as a tool.
“The five (5) students were arraigned on trumped up 3-count charges (misdemeanor, breach of peace and assault) today Thursday 22 March 2018 before Hon. Magistrate F.I. Omisade of the Magistrate court Ife who remanded them in prison after granting them bail with onerous conditions attached including two (2) sureties on grade level 14 with five hundred thousand naira (N500, 000) bail bond each. These onerous conditions are meant to keep them in prison for as long as possible.
“The conditions are also disproportionate to the charges levelled against these five students and show to what extent the police and the judiciary in Osun State have been seriously compromised by the OAU authorities in its bid to ensure that these five activists are kept behind bars. In particular, we accuse the Osun State Commissioner of Police of using his men as the private thugs of the OAU vice chancellor to harass students and members of staff. This is not new. The OAU authorities has a history of using the police and the court to clamp students and workers leaders in prison on trumped up charges.”
The case had been adjourned to April 3, 2018.