Two months after a PREMIUM TIMES report, the management of Gateway Polytechnic in Ogun State has reinstated a student, Ayoola Babalola, to its school portal.
PREMIUM TIMES earlier reported that Mr Babalola, who was controversially arrested by State Security Service (SSS) and later released, was yet to have access to the school portal for his result and transcript.
Mr Babalola said the development has made it impossible for him to proceed with his Higher National Diploma ( HND) and Direct Entry since he graduated last year.
Few weeks after the report, the school management invited him for a peace meeting in order to release his results.
This newspaper also reported how Mr Babalola was arrested early this year and charged to court on six counts for alleged incitement and conduct likely to cause a breach of peace.
He was accused by the Ogun State chapter of the SSS of participating in protests and inciting violence through Facebook posts, according to the charge sheet.
Mr Babalola’s lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, shared a recorded phone call he received from an official of the secret police in December, where the agency said it was inviting Mr Babalola to answer questions on the issues that had resulted in the resignation of a lecturer, O.A. Salami, from the institution.
Mrs Salami had supervised the school’s newspaper which was edited by Mr Ayoola. She reportedly resigned after she was allegedly demoted by the school, following a publication in the newspaper condemning the detention of activist Omoyele Sowore and requesting the investigation of a national leader of the All Progressives Congress chieftain, Bola Tinubu.
Mr Babalola said he was arrested for publishing articles in a Campus Newspaper called GAPOSA Trumpet in which he served as the Editor. The publications criticized President Muhammadu Buhari, All Progressive Congress (APC) leader Bola Tinubu and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
PREMIUM TIMES gathered that the case is still in court. Mr Babalola said the state requested that the court case be transferred to Iperu Magistrate district for the presentation of witnesses and the judge granted the request.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES about the release of his results, Mr Babalola said the victory is for Nigerian students and Union of Campus Journalists.
He also thanked PREMIUM TIMES and Campus Reporter news website for playing the lead role in holding the school management accountable.
“The reinstatement of my portal is a development I welcome and I must say I appreciate. It’s a victory for me and a victory for Nigerian students generally and for the Union of Campus Journalists, because the current democratic space in Nigeria is being threatened by a lot of vices and it’s only more reassuring that if you stick with your ideology and you fight with the tools you have in the law, you will get victory.
“I feel good and I am happy. With this, I will be able to proceed with my education and generally I feel it will inspire other people to stand with their conviction because I see the media as a tool for social change and mass education. We can’t allow the people in power to dictate what is right for us. Generally, it’s a victory for those who want to lend their voices to social change.
“I can’t appreciate Campus Reporter and Premium Times enough, of course they have played the lead role in holding the management of my institutions accountable and I can tell you categorically that it’s by the intensified media reports by Premium Times and Sahara Reporters that has made this possible. I want to thank them and say they are doing an incredible awesome work.”
He ended by calling on educational institutions to help grow intellectuals and not cage them.
Incessant Press attacks
A recent report by the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ), shows that about 160 journalists were attacked in Nigeria in the last two years.
“The report was prepared by the PTCIJ’s press freedom project and collated cases through the Press Attack Tracker, a civic technology tool designed to track and report attacks on the press.
“The tool provides a data-driven advocacy response to the continued repression of the media through physical attacks, arrests and detentions, unconstitutional legal proceedings, repressive laws, and cyber attacks amongst others.
“The report shows that the police, thugs and political figures were responsible for most of the attacks faced by journalists. The other aggressors are civilians, the State Security Service (SSS) and security aides.”