The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has rejected the expulsion of 29 students of the Federal College of Education, FCE, Gombe over their alleged roles in a protest in June 2016.
The association also rejected the institution’s withdrawal of the admission of 34 students and a directive for yet another 11 students to repeat one academic session over the said protest.
The News Agency of Nigeria, NA), reports that the June protest was over the lack of water and other basic amenities on campus.
Already, the punitive measures, announced by the institution’s Provost, Adamu Abbas, have been approved by the state ministry of education.
But NANS, in a reaction contained in a statement by Akolo Eggon, the Senior Special Adviser to the NANS President on Media, said that the institution’s action had negated the principle of fundamental human rights and fair trial.
The statement, which was made available to journalists in Maiduguri on Wednesday, described the action as “political victimisation,” and asked that it be reversed “within 14 days”.
“We are rejecting the resolution because the investigative committee set-up by the college’s management refused to involve NANS in its activities.
“NANS is the mother union of all Nigerian students and should be involved when serious decisions affecting members are being taken,” he said.
He declared that “this grave error has denied the affected students their fundamental human rights to fair trial”.
The NANS official expressed surprise that the school took such severe measures even after the affected students complied with the directive to pay N5,000 as fine, and secure undertakings and the endorsements from their respective district heads that that they would not be involved in such acts in future.
“The students have also paid accommodation charges and have been registered for the new academic session after paying all the necessary fees.
“By expelling them in spite of the aforementioned, the school is directly hampering the efforts of the Buhari-led Federal Government to restore lasting peace in the north-east region,” he said.
The statement said that NANS’ President, Aruna Kadiri, has set-up an 8- member committee to ensure that the actions were reversed within 14 days.
“The committee shall work with management of the institution and all relevant agencies to ensure that the rights and liberties of the affected students are fully restored without conditions,” he said.
NANS declared that failure to meet the demands within the 14-days ultimatum would be viewed by the association as “a direct confrontation and a deliberate attempt to test our might”.