Rachel Thompson
Wed, Sep 6, 2023 8:05 PM

Protesting Students at University of Lagos Arrested: Education Rights Campaign Calls for Immediate Release

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Protesting Students at University of Lagos Arrested: Education Rights Campaign Calls for Immediate Release
The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has called for the immediate release of four student protesters arrested during a peaceful demonstration against the recent hike in fees announced by the University of Lagos (UNILAG). The ERC emphasizes that protest is a constitutional right and demands an end to attacks on democratic rights. The group highlights the refusal of the university authorities to negotiate with students and the impact of the fee increase on students from impoverished backgrounds. They stress that public education should be adequately funded and accessible to all, calling for a mass movement to challenge anti-poor policies and capitalist systems.

Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, witnessed a clampdown on student protesters from the University of Lagos (UNILAG) following a recent announcement of fee hikes by the university management. The Education Rights Campaign (ERC) has raised concerns over the arrests and is demanding the immediate and unconditional release of the detained students.

The arrested protesters include Comrades Giwa Topnotch, the Public Relations Officer of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), Femi Adeyeye, Philip Olatinwo, and Ayodele Aduwo. These individuals were exercising their constitutional right to peaceful protest against the steep fee increases enforced by UNILAG.

In a joint statement by Isaac Ogunjimi, Deputy National Coordinator, and Adaramoye Michael Lenin, the National Mobilization Officer of the ERC, they contend that protest is a right protected by the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the African Charter on Human and People's Rights. They emphasize that the Nigerian Police's arrest of activists exercising their fundamental human rights is a violation of the law.

The ERC firmly supports the protest against the fee hikes, which saw UNILAG students demonstrating their opposition to the university's decision to raise fees from N19,000 to as much as N190,250, depending on the course of study. Despite the widespread rejection of this increase by students, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, the university authorities insist on implementing the hike.

The ERC explains that the protest was organized after all other attempts to resolve the issue through dialogue were met with rejection by UNILAG authorities. Student representatives had met with the Vice-Chancellor and her team on August 2, 2023, presenting arguments against the fee hike. However, the Vice-Chancellor failed to reconvene the meeting after requesting time for consultation and feedback.

The ERC stresses that the government should take primary responsibility for funding public education instead of burdening poor parents. They highlight the current cost of living crisis, which makes the fee hikes unaffordable for many students. Without a reversal of the fees, numerous students will be forced to abandon their studies.

The ERC also demands the reversal of fee hikes in UNILAG and other institutions across Nigeria. They advocate for proper funding of public education and the democratic management of schools. Despite the economic challenges, Nigeria has ample resources to improve funding and eventually provide free education at all levels.

The group attributes the obstacles to achieving this goal to capitalism and corruption. Therefore, they call for the formation of a mass movement to challenge anti-poor policies and advocate for a mass workers' political alternative to dismantle the capitalist system and establish a socialist Nigeria.

As tensions continue to rise between students and university authorities, the ERC remains steadfast in their pursuit of justice and equitable access to education for all Nigerian students.

Source of content: OOO News 2023-09-06 News

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