A civil rights group, known as the Campaign for Democracy and Workers’ Rights, has accused the management of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife ,of allegedly masterminding the arrest, arraignment and detention of five students of the university at the prison in Ile-Ife, Osun State.
The five students, namely Oyedeji Samson, Gbenga Oloniniran, Adeniji John, Olajide Ademola and Jimoh Oladipupo, were arrested by the police for allegedly assaulting a warden and porters attached to a hall of residence for female students on campus, known as Moremi Hall.
The students were arraigned before a Chief Magistrates’ Court in Ile-Ife on Thursday, but they were remanded in prison custody as a result of their failure to meet the conditions for bail.
Reacting to the situation, the State Coordinator of the CDWR, Mr. Kola Ibrahim, in a statement made available to our correspondent in Osogbo on Monday, claimed that the management of the university allegedly orchestrated the incarceration of the five students.
The statement read in part, “However, this action of the OAU management is not new under the Prof. Ogunbodede-led management.
“Prior to this time, the management had proscribed the Student Union on the campus because the students had the effentery to impeach the union president and secretary.
Currently, there is no student union in OAU. In a bid to effect the proscription of the union, the university management sealed up the student union building and in the process brutalised many students, most of whom were passing by the building.”
But the management of the university explained that the five students were not arraigned in court because of the protest against their eviction from the halls of residence, but because they allegedly assaulted its workers.
The Public Relations Officer of the university, Mr. Abiodun Olanrewaju, said this in a statement issued on Monday.
He said, “On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, the hall warden and porters at Moremi Hall (a female Hostel) moved round the hostel and reminded students unlawfully occupying the hostel to move out. The students were complying when, all of a sudden, some men came out of nowhere and forcefully moved the belongings of the female students back into the hostel on the grounds that the university had no right to ask them to pack out.
“Attempts by the warden and university staff at the scene to invite their attention to the earlier notices directing them to pack out drew the ire of these men, who not only were extremely rude to the hall warden but also harassed and physically assaulted the hall staff and held them hostage
“The men who assaulted the university officials were later reported to the police who, upon investigation, decided that they had a case to answer and, consequently, filed charges against them in the court. It subsequently turned out that these men were students of the university, who were not on any academic programme and did not belong to the group exempted and accommodated in the Akintola and ETF Halls, as earlier pointed out.
“It is in the best interest of all stakeholders, students who are allocated bed spaces on campus, parents, lecturers and the university that the hostels are renovated for the next academic session.
“It is, therefore, clear that contrary to the rumours making the rounds, the students charged to court were not charged with protesting or dissent.
“The university, as one of the leading academic institutions in the country, respects dissent and will not punish any member for expressing his or her opinion. However, criminal conduct will not be tolerated and will promptly be reported to the appropriate law enforcement agencies.” (PUNCH)