The management of Obafemi Awolowo University has placed activities of the Students Union of the school on indefinite suspension, citing cases of violence and unruly behaviour contained in security reports.
The Registrar of the school, Dotun Awoyemi, communicated the development through a statement released, Monday afternoon.
This came a day after the Vice Chancellor, Professor Eyitope Ogunbodede, issued a warning of proscription during a meeting with the leadership of the union and campus journalists. He said recent activities of the union had plunged the school into embarrassment.
On Monday, he made real his threat by suspending student union activities.
“Following security reports of incessant fighting and unruly behaviour during the congress of the Students Union and the recalcitrant attitude of their leadership, it has become inevitable for the University administration to suspend the activities of the Students Union of the Obafemi Awolowo University,” read the statement signed by Mr. Awoyemi.
Awoyemi said the decision was reached during the emergency meeting of the management held on Monday.
‘Sins’ of the OAU SUG
He listed the cases against the leadership of the union to include the June attack on the speaker of the parliament, allegedly by supporters of the president of the union, and the ”alleged retaliation by the supporters of the speaker later in September.”
He also cited the widely reported fight between the vice-president and the social director “in which head butts and stabbing were recorded” during a meeting of the union executive to make decisions in respect of expenditure of funds released on September 5.
Then, he mentioned the “vandalisation of the vehicle of the Ekiti State Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on July 14, 2017; vandalisation of NURTW buses on October 6, 2016; and forceful release of students under investigation from police custody on October 6, 2017 and recent serious fighting and open fracas at the meetings of the Union.”
He also accused the union leaders of spreading rumour of fees increment “and fabricated threats of invasion by cultists in order to deceive and falsely gain acceptance of the students’ populace to precipitate crisis, capable of disrupting the academic activities of the University.”
Based on the cases, the management reached the “inevitable conclusion” to suspend the union leadership until further notice, Mr. Awoyemi said.
“Any student or group of students who parades himself or herself as leaders or representatives of the students in causing disruption of the University activities, under whatever guise, will be dealt according to the University rules and regulations and Code of Conduct, and according to laws of the land,” he warned.
Struggle to defend suspended students in a limbo
The suspension of the union may have a negative effect on the hopes of recall of recently suspended students, whose sympathisers use the union as a rallying point of agitation.
At least, four student leaders are on indefinite suspension over allegations of involvement in violent activities.
But beyond that, the students now lack a body to engage the management on their behalf in the events of concerns over poor delivery of services.
Before the latest development in the crisis prone institution, the union president, Oyekan Edward, was removed from office by the legislative arm of the union.
The parliamentarians accused Edward of convening suspected cultists to the university campus ”to disturb the peace of the institution.”
The motion for the sack of the president was deliberated by 51 members of the Students Representative Council at their sitting on Saturday at the Awolowo Café. Edward has since dismissed his removal saying the process was illegal.