Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city
The Committee for the Defence of Human Right (CDHR) has asked the authorities of the University of Benin (UNIBEN), Benin-city, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Edo State Government to reverse the dissolution of the UNIBEN Students’ Union Government (SUG).
Early last week, the University of Benin authorities suspended the Students’ Union executive of the institution and installed a caretaker committee in its place.
In a statement issued by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Dr. Benedicta Ehanire, the school Senate took the action to forestall a breakdown of law and order following a planned protest by the SUG in reaction to the shift in the school’s academic calendar.
“The students’ union had persistently engaged in subversive activities, including incitement of other students to disobey lawful instructions by the school authorities.
“This is in spite of concerted efforts by the management led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, to provide their basic needs of water and electricity, as well as enhanced infrastructure for learning.
“Consequently, the account of the students’ union has been suspended and their secretariat sealed. All members of the erstwhile union executives are to hand over their students’ union identity cards to the Chief Security Officer of the university immediately.
“They are also to vacate the privileged hostel accommodations accorded them by 6 p.m. March 30, 2021,” the statement added.
The university’s image-maker further praised majority of the students who she said had resisted attempts by the union executives to drag them into unwarranted agitations.
“The Senate wishes the students the best in their on-going examinations and a restful break from April 1, 2021, until their return to campus for the second semester on April 18, 2021,” she said.
But in a statement issued by CDHR in Benin-city yesterday and signed by its National President, Dr. Osagie Obayuwana, the group demanded the suspension to be reversed, noting that the action was a mark of high-handedness on the part of the authorities to have done what they did.
The CDHR in its statement titled: ‘Before They Shoot The Students’, raised the alarm that by the turn of events, the unavoidable killings of an Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) student, which led to the strike by Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) 35 years ago, may repeat itself.
It also wondered why the school authorities would want to reenact the ‘sordid’ extreme of Nigerian national life after 35 years, advising the university to toe the path of peace and dialogue with the students rather than the path of high-handedness.