UNILAG's authorities rescind closure order, students allowed to remain on campus

UPDATE 3: Following resistance by students, authorities of the University of Lagos have rescinded the decision to suspend academic activities in the university.

Our reporter quoted the Acting Vice-Chancellor, Prof Rahmon Bello, as telling protesting students in front of the Senate building that the closure order had been upturned. Students are now returning to their hostels to plan a fresh round of protests scheduled for Thursday, a student in the university said.

Prof Bello reportedly declined further comments.

UPDATE 2: UNILAG students are resisting the closure of their university. Hundreds of them are gathered in front of the institution’s Senate building, protesting the suspension of academic activities and vowing not to vacate the campus. Some students have even barricaded the university’s main gate, sending back their colleagues who made to obey the closure order.

UPDATE 1: The Federal Government has ordered the suspension of academic activities at UNILAG as students poured into the streets to protest the renaming of the institution.

UNILAG FM announced a while ago that all academic activities have been suspended for two weeks. Our reporter says students are already being sent home. They are to vacate their hostels by 11 a.m.

The students had earlier today barricaded the Third Mainland Bridge, which links the city’s mainland to Lagos Island, in protest against name change.

UNILAG's authorities rescind closure order, students allowed to remain on campus

Read our earlier post about today’s protest below.

Students of the University of Lagos, renamed after the winner of the annulled 1993 presidential elections, Moshood Abiola, by the president have began second day of protest against the change of name of the institution.

The students, currently without a subsisting union government, spontaneously inspired each other in the early hours of Wednesday to continue with the protest which was triggered Tuesday by a presidential national address to mark Nigeria’s Democracy Day anniversary, in which the president announced the name change.

The students, in splinter groups, are staging pockets of protests against the name change in areas around the Akoka campus of the university. The Third Mainland Bridge, a major bridge linking the main land to the Lagos Island, has been occupied by the students causing a major traffic glitch.

The students are also occupying areas in Alagomeji, Yaba, Sabo and the university’s main gate. Few lecturers and alumni of the school are joining the students in the protest.

The students, most, younger than the elections that earned Mr Abiola the honour, pleaded that their school be left out of national politics which they believe might ruin the school’s half century reputation.

The school authorities, although claiming ignorance of plans to rename the university after the politician, have summoned an emergency meeting with student representatives made up of faculty and departmental executives, hostel chairs and few select to curtail the rising resistance to name change.

Renaming the half century old school was intended to be a gesture immortalizing Mr Abiola who died in detention 14 years ago after five years of struggles to claim his presidential mandate.

Although Mr Abiola’s family are estactic about the president’s gesture, both students and alumni of the school kick against it. While the students and their lecturers stage street protests against it, the alumni have called an emergency meeting to take decision on how to stop the president through a court process.

Day one of the protests against the name change started spontaneously too, shortly after President Goodluck Jonathan ended his hour-long national address with the announcement proposing the name change. The first day was peaceful.

We at PREMIUM TIMES will bring you every detail of the unfolding story as it develops.

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