Wale Eleto, ERC Coordinator
23 June 2005
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) condemns in its totality the killing of students of Onabisi Onabanjo University, OOU, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State by the Ago-Iwoye vigilance group and at Oba Abdul-Rasaq Adesina Adenugba palace on Thursday 16th June, 2005.
This crisis erupted when a student staying at Igan, close to Wesley Primary School, was returning from an outing at about 12 midnight was allegedly accosted, detained and tortured to death by members of a vigilante group set up by Oba Adenugba. Reacting to the death of their colleague, the students mobilised themselves to monarch palace to protest his extra-judicial killing. Instead of getting a better response that would soothe their anger, what the students got from the palace were gunshots that fell two of them. This apparently provoked the students to set ablaze the palace. The town vigilance group, in retaliation, attacked the students, raping, maiming and brutalizing many of them, forcing the students of the institution to flee the town for their dear lives.
The ERC therefore condemns in all ramifications the killings and brutality meted on the students and calls for an immediate representative panel of enquiry to investigate the immediate and remote causes surrounding the crisis with a view to bringing to book all those involved in the crime no matter how highly placed they may be and with a view to find lasting solutions. To us in the ERC, the composition of the panel of enquiry must comprise the representatives of students’ union, Non-Academic and Academic workers’ unions, university management, police, members of community etc as against the arbitrarily composed and unrepresentative five man committee set up by the government to look into the crisis.
This barbaric incident is a reflection of the crisis in the education sector in particular and the society in general. The age-long neglect of education sector through under-funding of public education at both Federal and State levels was part of the remote causes of the recent crisis that engulfed OOU. Many tertiary institutions that were built by governments since the 1980’s, like OOU, have been mostly without hostel facilities, a situation that has often erupted in conflicts between students and their host communities in many parts of the country.
The ERC therefore calls on the Ogun State Governor to immediately make good his promise by ensuring that adequate hostel facilities are built for the OOU students as part of the long tern measure aimed at easing tension between the students and their host communities. Similarly, we call on all relevant education authorities and governments across the country to make provisions of adequate and decent accommodation for students as a necessity as opposed the prevailing ideology which regards same as a luxury. This we believe will go a long way to ease off the perennial conflicts and tensions between students of tertiary institutions and community people.