Re-open UNILAG now
SIR: We fully back the Students Union for organising the protest which in our opinion was long overdue. We call on the authorities of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) to immediately meet all demands and re-open the university so that the students can prepare for the first Semester examination.
The protest occurred over legitimate grievances as high cost of food and other items on campus, poor electricity and water supply, poor welfare conditions especially in the hostels, issues of academic injustice and arbitrariness of the Prof. Rahamon Bello-led administration of the University of Lagos. There is no doubt that cost of living at the University of Lagos is the most expensive among all federal universities in Nigeria. Mind you, this situation is not occasioned by the recent general increase in prices of goods and services in the country, although worsened by them. This is a situation which goes back many years. And it is a culmination of the cash and carry policy of the university administrations which essentially takes education as business and students as customers. This practically means students are exposed to all kinds of exploitation first by the university authorities in high fees and sundry charges and then by the vendors on campus who are charged obscene amounts for the rent of shops.
We urge the students union to boldly continue the agitation and struggle until the demands are met. The Education Rights Campaign hereby places before the university authorities the following demands:
(1) Immediate re-opening of UNILAG.(2) No student and union leaders must be victimized for participating in the peaceful protest.(3) Provision of more generators on campus to ensure electricity supply during outages from the distribution company. (4) An end to cash and carry education. All students who need to register pre-requisite courses they failed be allowed to do so without necessarily having to wait an extra year. (5) An end to all academic injustice. The UNILAG pre-medical students must be allowed to cross over to the University College of Medicine. (6) Immediate renovation of hostels, improvement in the conditions of toilets, bathrooms and water supply to the hostels. We demand more public hostels to eradicate squatting and overcrowding. (7) Proper funding of UNILAG by the Federal Government and democratic management of the university.
• Michael Ogundele,
National Secretary, ERC
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