The University of Benin Chapter of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, UNIBEN ASUU, has condemned the rustication of five student leaders by the university management.
The union expressed its displeasure in a public statement dated February 7 and signed by J. U. Iyasele and R. N. Chikogu; the Chairman and the Secretary of the union respectively.
“The union wishes to state that protest is a legitimate instrument in every democracy for responding to and resisting unfair and unjust laws and policies. For this reason, the union considers the rustication of five students of the university, based on their participation in the peaceful protest which trailed the increase in the fees charged at the university to be high – handed.”
The academic staff however assured the public that the leadership is interacting with the administration of the University of Benin with a view to arriving at a peaceful resolution of the matter to ensure industrial harmony in the University.
“The University of Benin branch of Academic Staff Union of Universities thus dissociated itself from (i) the recent increase in fees and charges at the University of Benin and (ii) the rustication of five students including some leaders of the students union of the University of Benin”
The management of the University of Benin, last week, rusticated five students for allegedly staging protest with the aim of disrupting official programmes of the school last year.
The affected students included Elvis Ogbidi, Students’ Union president; Justus Aidenagbon, secretary-general; Innocent Momodu, assistant secretary-general; Goodnews Ehisbhi, public relations officers; and Benjamin, also known as Sankara, an activist.
Apart from the University of Benin, student activists at various Nigerian universities, including the University of Ibadan, University of Lagos, and Obafemi Awolowo University, have faced sanctions from authorities for leading protests against poor welfare, increment of fees and other irregularities.