The President of the Students’ Union of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta has given 9 reasons the union acceded to management’s decision on reparation fees.
The university management had asked each student to pay the reparation fee after a student protest on August 18 turned violent leading to destruction of several property in the surrounding community.
The union leader, Nwenonye Dennis, in a statement on Tuesday said the students also got some concessions from relevant authorities.
Read the nine reasons below:
1. The last five weeks have been the most challenging period, not only for me personally, but also for the students’ union arising from the protest of the 18th of August, which was unfortunately hijacked. Particularly as all efforts at controlling it at camp were rebuffed by some of our irrational colleagues. I could remember I was almost lynched by some irate students at camp.
2. The protest became violent, vehicles were destroyed and burnt, and the Vice Chancellor’s church vandalized, amongst other destructive activities. The University was closed down till this moment.
3. The University then set up a panel, as it is the usual practice the world over to look into the unrest; determine the remote and immediate causes of the crisis and recommend way forward to the Senate. The people whose properties were also destroyed filed claims for their damaged properties and the committee evaluated their claims in monetary terms.
4. We were invited to the Senate panel. The Panel even blamed us for not controlling the protest (which of course we tried to). And even recommended the suspension of the Union leaders and suspension of the students Union. It took serious lobbying efforts and appeal for the student union to still be existing at this moment. We also tried our best to ensure no student was directly indicted for the protest.
5. The Senate, which is the highest decision making organ on students and Academic matters, has decided upon the submission of the report of the investigative panel that resumption date be Oct 3, 2016. And that N5,000 reparation fee be paid by all students.
6. The students Union which I lead wishes to state at this point that we have no objection to this reparation fee. A look at history of violent protest both in and outside Nigeria, suggests this is a standard practice. As recently as April this year, Students of AAUA were asked to pay N15,000 as reparation fee. Also, In FUNAAB as far back as 2004, when the level of damage was not this much and when school fees was even less than N4000, N5000 reparation fee was paid.
7. We also wish to let Funaabites know that to ensure accountability for this money, the students’ union advised the authorities that a committee be set up to manage the fund, which has already been set up. The committee will ensure the payment of these claims to the claimants and the fee will be paid through Remita.
8. Lastly, we have been working assiduously during this break to ensure that we never experience the kind of terror and horror we experienced last term. We have been meeting with relevant stakeholders. Police, Communities and the management. And we can assure that there has been sufficient effort to ensure it never happens again. I can also tell you authoritatively that arrests have been made, some of them are even our students. The police are closing in on the robbers terrorizing us. We have also ensured and secured the police commitment to strike out the charges against our arrested colleagues.
9. Please I urge all Funaabites to be peaceful, maintain decorum and let’s continue to engage the authorities constructively on all issues. May God bless and protect all of us.