UNILAG reinstates student activist, then summons him before another panel

University of Lagos (UNILAG). [Photo credit: Students Nigeria]
University of Lagos (UNILAG). [Photo credit: Students Nigeria]

A student of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Adeyeye Olorunfemi, who bagged four-semester suspension from the university authorities in 2016, has been reinstated. He has, however, been asked to face another disciplinary panel.

Mr Adeyeye, a student of the department of building, alongside some students’ union leaders, was suspended for participating in a students protest of April 6 and 8, 2016.

Those protests led to the school being shut and the indefinite suspension of the students’ union body.

Mr Adeyeye was also accused of criticising the leadership of the institution on their inability to manage situations as “democrats” in an article tilted: The Senate of the University of Lagos; a Conglomeration of Academic Ignorami, which he published on social media platforms.

The suspension of Mr Adeyeye was met with various reactions from civic groups and student organisations.

In the reinstatement letter addressed to Mr Adeyeye, dated September 20 and signed by the director of academic affairs, Aderonke Asiwaju, the management, after a meeting on September 17, ordered his reinstatement.

“Having served out the four semesters (2nd semester 2015/2016, 1st and 2nd semesters 2016/2017 and 1st semester 2017/2018 sessions) of rustication imposed on you by the Students’ Disciplinary Board on social misconduct, you are now cleared for re-admission in to the university with effect from 2nd semester 2017/2018 session.”

“You are therefore warned in your own interests to desist from such acts of misconduct for the rest of the duration of your studentship,” the letter highlighted.

However, in another letter dated September 24, the student activist was invited to appear before the students’ disciplinary board on October 9 over alleged acts of misconduct carried out during the period of the rustication.

While citing the acts of misconduct, the school accused Mr Adeyeye of leading a team tagged ‘SAVE UNILAG COALITION’ comprising of students from the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) into the school campus to disrupt the activities of the office of the dean of student affairs on March 31, 2016.

“On January 24, 2017, he gained entrance in to the 2017 convocation ceremonies and disrupted proceedings in a bid to seize the mace,” the school alleged.

In a telephone conversation with the reinstated student, he acknowledged the receipt of the two letters and spoke on the reinstatement and allegations made against him.

“It’s not a reinstatement like that, it is an attempt to gag free speech. So it is like saying ‘come in’ for them to win public opinion because people will be like; ‘the four semesters have elapsed. Their plan is to frustrate me even after reinstatement.”

Mr Adeyeye advised student activists facing victimisation not to relent in the pursuance of a sane society.

“(A lie) can go (on) for twenty years but it takes just a day for the truth to be revealed. Because we are in a system that is very oppressive, they need to summon courage.”

When quizzed whether he regretted the actions that led to his suspension, Mr Adeyeye stated that the only regret he had was not mentioning more names and not giving a detailed information in the article that got him suspended.

Meanwhile, an officer of the Anti-Neo liberal attacks on Nigerian students (ANSA), Oloniniran Gbenga, applauded the perseverance of the reinstated student and tasked Nigerian universities’ authorities and students on the need for justice and freedom of speech.

“I commend the sacrifice of Femi Adeyeye. However, his reinstatement is not a total victory yet since he has been invited to face (a) panel for other charges. The administration of UNILAG is only afraid of defeat. Nigerian students must consolidate efforts to free him,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

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