The authorities and students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, will gather at the Amphitheatre of the institution on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of a cult attack which claimed the lives of five students.
The attack carried out in the early hours of Saturday, July 10, 1999, led to the death of 21-year old, 400-Level Law student and then Secretary-General of the Students Union, George Iwilade, fondly called Afrika.
Others killed in the attack were Eviano Ekeimu, (400-Level Medicine); Yemi Ajiteru, an extra-year student, Babatunde Oke, (100-Level Philosophy), and Godfrey Ekpede.
The then university’s vice-chancellor, Wale Omole, was accused by students of ‘aiding’ campus cultism by not being decisive in curbing it.
Although he denied the allegations several times, Mr Omole was relieved of his appointment on the recommendation of a panel of enquiry set up by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Education then headed by Tunde Adeniran, a professor.
Mr Omole told PREMIUM TIMES that he would prefer not to address the press again on the matter when contacted by our correspondent.
Lanre Adeleke, the then union president, said due to the corrupt judicial system in Nigeria, the suspects arrested during the attack were later discharged and acquitted without proper prosecution.
Tayo Iwilade, the younger brother to George, the SU Secretary, however, said the pursuit of justice is never over until justice is served.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Great Ife Students Union Action Committee, Dunsi Samuel, and the Chief Security Officer of the institution, Babatunde Oyatokun, told PREMIUM TIMES Monday that the 20-year remembrance ceremony ”is important to let the public know that OAU community still has zero tolerance for cultism”.
Speakers expected are lawyers, Femi Falana, Jiti Ogunye and Adeola Soetan among others.
Mr Oyatokun told PREMIUM TIMES that the remembrance would be an avenue for the authority ”to inform and liberate students in the essence of security and negative effect of cultism”.
“We have made some arrest in the past few weeks, and we are happy that the students and management have reach agreement to mark this remembrance. OAU will continue to have zero tolerance to cultism,” he said.
Mr Samuel, SU action committee chairman, also told PREMIUM TIMES that “the students and the management have reached a compromise that the remembrance will be held together although, the management was planning a parallel programme earlier but not anymore”.
Meanwhile, some students of the university said there is the need for reinstatement of a union to curb recent security challenges on campus.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how OAU suspended the SU activities in 2017 after a series of controversies involving embezzlement and physical combat amongst officers of the union.
Calls from different quarters to the authority to reinstate the union is yet to yield a positive response.