*OPEN LETTER TO THE VICE CHANCELLOR OSUN STATE UNIVERSITY, PROFESSOR LAPADE*
NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIAN STUDENTS OSUN AXIS POSITION ON OSUN STATE UNIVERSITY
You will recall the recent violent protests of the Osun State University Students on 21st January 2017 in response to the constant harassment of police Special Anti -Robbery Squad and shooting of the two students that almost led to the death of two of our colleagues and left several others injured. This led to pandemonium and disturbance of public peace within and outside of state capital Osogbo. The jurisdictional divisional police office, Oke Baale, was also almost razed.
Immediately after the dust raised by the incident settled, the leadership of the NANS/JCC Osun swung into action to investigate and evaluate the remote causes of the crisis, in a bid to develop a long and short term solutions to stem the tides of criminalities, police and hoodlum harassment invasions of the school community, burglary, armed robbery, and to ensure stability within and outside the six Uniosun campuses. The emerging facts compelled the NANS osun leadership to convene an emergency senate meeting for the consideration of NANS/JCC leadership investigation report and further action.
HISTORY OF RECENT CRISIS:
Crisis history in Osun State University appeared to have begun since the creation of the University by the splitting of Uniosun into six campuses by formal Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola. Administrative convenience, students accommodation and other students welfare issues, host community hostility, insecurity among others became a recurring decimal in all the campuses.
Recent among the major crisis include:
- In August 15th 2014, two students and a lecturer of Faculty of Art and Humanities, Ikire campus were involved I a motor accident and died. Their death sprang violence as many students considered it as avoidable if the University authority had released the school bus for the excursion and the deceased went to. The students requested for the release of the school bus for a tour but the request was turned down and the opted for a commercial bus which was believe not to be in good condition and subsequently led to the ghastly motor accident. The campuse was on 16th of August 2014 closed indefinitely by the Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbosa to douse the violent protest by the students of the faculty. The unpleasant accident involved three person including Mr. wale Farawe, a lecturer who major in History and international studies, and a student, Binuyo David. The closure of the school lasted for months until the parents until the parent were invited and the students were slammed N50, 000 each for damages before the visitor eventually reduced it.
- For the past 3 to 4 years there have been incidents of armed robbery, and criminalities in virtually all the communities of the six campuses of the university which has further exposed the life of the students to danger, many of our students were victims of the insecurity for a very long time. Throughout 2016 hardly will a month pass bye without the students recording a case of armed robbery, burglar etc.
- In recent time, cases of sexual harassment, victimization of the students and many other forms of harassment either by the school lecturers or members of the host communities. That of Dr. Ojoniyi who was recently dismissed is still fresh in the memory of the students.
- Also in November 2016, a 400 l student, Rofiat Adebisi was killed by ritualists which almost degenerated to a full blown crisis. Also in late January a private hospital was almost razed ablaze as a result of the death of a students who was said to be a sickle celler.
- On January 21st 2017, two students Abiola Kazeem and another one identified as Ibrahim were shot by the Special Anti-Robbery squad(SARS) from Zone 11 which led to violent Demonstration that almost threw the State Capital Osogbo into Commotion. The angry students protested angrily as a result of the constant extortion by the police in the campus area. We appreciate the Commissioner of Police to brought the two police officer to justice.
- On Monday 26th June 2017, a 400 level students of Osun State University, Department of Microbiology had gone missing. Oluwafemi Oluwatimileyin reported missing around 10p.m on Monday 26th, 2017 and his whereabout is still yet know. This is coming barely months after another final year student was kidnapped and killed by two ritualists. We are calling on the police as a matter of urgency to investigate the whereabout of our dear colleague.
- These and many others are the predicament of Uniosun students which has subjected the university to ridicule, and persistency exposes the lives of our students to dangers.
A lot of people have started putting theories together as to why all these are happening. Some are putting the blame on the University Vice Chancellor and management. We on our part do not share such sentiment. We were able to identity the following:
- The absence of a vibrant and Democratic Students Union in the University is one of the major identified problem of Uniosun. The Students Union would have demonstrated the capacity to stem the tides of crisis and liaise with appreciate authorities for quick intervention during emergency cases. In Uniosun the case is different,students are often uncoordinated and without leadership or direction during crisis period leading to escalation of issues that could have been settled easily if a Union is in place. The University authorities also very convenient with the absence of a Democratic students leadership so as to continue to exploit the students and create phobia in their minds unchallenged.
The atmosphere in Uniosun is that of master and apprentice relationship rather than that of lecturer and students. The denial of Democratic values has given birth to the disallowance of expression of students interests, feelings and predicaments. In such situation students will resort to self-help as a result of piled up anger and grief which were never allowed to be discussed or at any point in time addressed.
The absence of clear-cut structure for students, host communities, landloads, security agencies, university authorities to meet, synergize and address residential and security issues.
Annual rotational method of appointing Dean Students Affairs which has made all the previous occupants of that office learners all through their term in office and with little o no experience to handle emerging students crisis.
Some criminals (Not Students) have equally seen the campus area as a save heaven and they use the cover of studentship to perpetrate all manner of rude criminality especially in Osogbo campus. This is the of the securities agencies for always invading the campus areas and often harass innocent students.
Cultism is also the expulsion of some students of the university recently affirmed the outcome of our findings.
- Immediate constitution of Democratic Students Union election in the university following these listed procedure:
A. Inauguration of the Students Electoral Committe under the supervision of Dean Students Affairs to usher in a Democratically elected Students Union.
However, the multi campus structure of the university calls for a need for both the management and concerned stakeholders to have an harmonious understanding on how we proceed on this. We are willing to expatiate More on this if and when call upon.
We urge the management to commence all this process as fast as possible with a time frame to have a democratic and acceptable students union on ground.
B. There should be more channel of communication between the university authority and the students especially in emergency cases.
C. A Town and Gown committee should immediately be set up to address important welfare issues in particular the issues of non-students using the campus communities as hideout to commit crimes.
D. The university must henceforth stop the annual rotational methods of the appointment of the Dean Students Affairs, the duration for the office should not less than 4 years to enable the occupier of the office sample time to understand the complex nature of handling students issues, as well as students transitional challenges as well as sustaining the momentum between the students band management.
We strongly hope that these recommendations will be giving the necessary urgent attention it deserves.
Miftah Saheed Taiwo
“Catalyst to positive change”
NANS/JCC Chairman Osun Axis
P R O
Commissioner for Education
Director of DSMG
S A to the Governor on tertiary institutions
S A to the Governor on Students Matter s
Commissioner of Police Osun
Director of State Security Service
GistNaira Reporter Media