UI Urged Not to Expel Protesting Students

5th July 2024

An international rights organisation, Global Rights, has joined its counterparts to call on the management of the University of Ibadan to have a rethink over the purported plan to expel protesting students of the institution.

The management of UI, in June, invited three students namely Aduwo Ayodele; Olamide Gbadegesin and Nice Linus, for questioning over their participation in a peaceful protest against increment in fees at the school.

In a statement, on Thursday night, the Programme Officer (In charge of Civic Space and Press Freedom) Global Rights Nigeria, Damilola Decker, urged UI authorities not to, through expulsion, victimise the three students.

According to him the students should be allowed to resume their studies without any fear of intimidation, harassment, or reprisals from the management and staff of the school.

The statement reads “Global Rights calls on the management of the University of Ibadan to immediately rescind its expulsion of three students – namely Olamide Gbadegeshin, Aduwo Ayodele, and Nice Linus for engaging in a peaceful protest against the sudden hike in tuition fees by the University’s management.

“The three students, alongside one Olorunfemi Adeyeye, were apprehended by army officers while protesting the fee increase at the inauguration of the Student Union government on May 13,

“While their action may have posed an inconvenience to the administration of the university, extant laws clearly prescribe their right to protest peacefully. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, provides great latitude for expressions and actions that constitute peaceful protest, specifically, the rights to freedom of expression, assembly, association, and movement.

“It is also a well-recognized fact that peaceful protests, especially by young people, have often been an effective means of bringing about positive social change in democratic societies all over the World. A university of the calibre of the University of Ibadan should, therefore, not be averse to its students exercising this right.

“It is our considered opinion that educational institutions are afforded a vantage position in helping to build a rising generation of civic actors who have an increasingly important role in
entrenching Nigeria’s democratic roots.

“Similarly, recognising the important responsibility, one of the Nation’s premier educational institutions should not set a bad precedent by truncating these students’ rights and access to education; it should seek to allay their concerns and those of others who are rightly worried about the ability of Nigeria’s children and youth to access quality education in the current economic climate.

“We recognize that the University of Ibadan has a duty to maintain its educational standards and responsibilities to its tutors while navigating the harsh economic terrain, but surely, the university should understand why students will feel the need to protest a significant increase in intuition fees.”

It added, “Consequently, we ask that any plans to expel Olamide Gbadegeshin of the Institute of African Studies, Aduwo Ayodele of the History Department (200 level) and Nice Linus from the University of Ibadan be immediately jettisoned.

“The students should be allowed to resume their studies without any fear of intimidation, harassment, or reprisals from the management and staff of the University of Ibadan.

The rights group said that the security agents who arrested them and Olorunfemi Adeyeye on May 13, 2024, because they peacefully protested, should issue them a swift and unreserved apology.

“The University of Ibadan lead the way for other tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria by engaging mechanisms that encourage ample and robust interactions with students.

“On our part, we stand solidly behind dissenting voices who choose to participate in their governance and seek social justice utilizing their freedom of expression through peaceful protests,” he stated.