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Amnesty For Nigerian Student; A Solidarity Call For Sanity

By EBENEZER ADURAGBEMI OYADIRAN
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Human rights are regarded as legal, social or ethical Principles of freedom or other entitlement in the society. Rights are considered fundamental to civilization being regarded as established pillars of every society and culture, so also education plays an integral role in the development of any society .

Truth to this
established fact, Sadly for us in Nigeria the
scenario is a very challenging one, there are
different challenges confronting the growth of
our educational sector in Nigeria one of them,
which is the havoc wreck of the quota system
imposed on us by the northern oligarchy in their
own favor which is frontally causing a structural
imbalance in our educational sector ,which needs
a very serious attention at the moment .
However government policies so far to the
educational sector has been patriotic in the
reverse order.
Last month people around the world applauds the
victory of the south African students over the
attempt to impose a steep rise in registration,
tuition and accommodation ranging from 8% to
12%.The student rose up in struggle under a
unified body called Socialist Youth Movement ,
and campaign for free and democratically
manage public education.
The feemustfall
protest started as a spontaneous movement from
a group of angry students who could not tolerate
the pro-rich policy of university management and
government any longer .
After ten days of Struggle, the African National
Congress ( ANC), government of Jacob Zuma
was forced to agree to 0% fee increase in the
year 2016,although the demand of the free
education remain unachieved yet , concession is
no doubt humiliating the defeat of a government
whose pro-rich have contributed to making south
Africa one the most unequal countries in the
world.
This victory in south Africa should serve as an
inspiration to students all across Africa and
especially Nigeria,i will like to use Ladoke
Akintola University of Technology,
Ogbomosho,Oyo state as a case study where
education is gradually being turned to the
preserve of the few rich through anti-poor
capitalist policies of underfunding and
commercialization of education .
No policy be they academic or not has ever
served to benefit the basic interest of the
students of Ladoke Akintola University of
Technology in recent history.
The institution’s
past is most noteworthy for its ceaseless
brutalization of its students.It’s most perilous

decline yet however began in the year 2010,
during the administration of Gov. Adebayo Alao
Akala and Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Oyo and
Osun state as the two co-owning states of the
institution.
The tuition of the institution was
increased from #40,000 t0 #150,000 simply
because the two states instructed the school
management to service the school and pay the
workers’ salary with the IGR (Internal Generated

Revenue) of the school, which led to a massive
protest of the student led by the then students’

union president of the institution, com. Adeniji
idowu Oluwaseyi also known as I.D Aluta, and
was later reduced to #65,000 for indigenes of
the university and #72,000 for non-indigenes.
The threat of tuition fee increment still looms till

today, as the school authority increases the
acceptance fee of the fresh student from
#20,000 to #30,000 and simultaneously with the
pre-degree acceptance and tution fee,to
further worsen this condition, the state of
security and welfare of the students have
declined rapidly since then,ranging from more
than two thousand cases of theft and robbery to
cultism and several cases of rape and physical
assault.
To all this, the reaction of the
administration has been far below expectation.
Coming down to academic affairs proper, the
situation leaves much to be desired. The
infrastructure present are either outdated or
incapable of catering for the large number of
students who are to make use of it.
Learning
proper takes place in often highly inconvenient
conditions with both lecturer and student finding
it hard to properly communicate. After
examinations, collection of result seem to be a
moribund task, with the management with-
holding the results under one guise or the other
for up to eight months, sometimes. The most
dismal issue however arose with the just
concluded pre-degree programme.
The just concluded Pre-Degree programme saw a
lot of the applicants getting far above the
stipulated 250 “cutoff” mark.
These students
were however disqualified and denied admission
into the institution because they failed to reach
JAMB’s stipulated admission score of 180/200.

All this after they had paid the tidy sum of over
#160,000 for just Pre-Degree tuition and
registration alone and studying for eight months.
It should be noted that in other parts of the
country, students who did not even bother with
Pre Degree Programme and did not even score
up to 180 points in Jamb walk majestically into
their department of choice all in the name of
quota system.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) said, ‘’Everybody is a

genius,but if you judge a fish by its ability to
climb a tree, it will spend its entire life believing

that it is stupid’’, the fact that these set of

students did not have 180 0r 200 points in JAMB
doesn’t mean they are dumb,the general public's

impression on the Pre – Degree programme is
that it is an alternative for JAMB, sometimes, we
talk of “merit” as if that is the panacea to all the

problems besetting our educational system.This
admits an open failure that after more than 53
years of our nominal independence, we are still
engaged in the politics of cut-off marks to our
secondary and tertiary institutions of learning.
Never has one had a better cause to doubt if the
government is still making efforts to “direct its

policy towards ensuring that there are equal and
adequate educational opportunities at all levels”,

as enshrined in section 18 of the country’s
Constitution. Such injustice must not be allowed
to stand. What gospel does the cutoff scheme
preach? Does it imply that the affected students
here are good enough for Pre-Degree but not for
proper tertiary education? And why exactly does
this act affect one part of the country but not
the other?
The above is the cry in virtually all State and
Federal institutions all around the country. Just
like South-African student , Nigeria students have
a lot of reasons to declare a national boycott and
mass protest on the scale of the sort of
nationwide mobilizations of student which they
were known for in the 80s under the then vibrant
and ever militant National Association of Nigeria
Student (NANS).
To start with, there are still a large number of
Nigerian youths who are deprived of freedom to
learn for a lot of reasons, poverty or prejudice or

the absence of adequate and effective
educational facilities and policies. And as
citizens of a democratic society whose moral
premise is that each individual has a right to that

education that will permit him to achieve his
maximum growth as a person, our duty is to
work for,and support , whatever measures of
reconstruction we deem necessary to remove
the social obstacles to freedom of learning.
Now despite over more than 10years economic
boom when Nigeria made millions of dollar daily
crude oil sales (with exception of the decline
during 2007/2008 global economic crisis) ,
funding of public education as been a meager
stipend while fees increased , not even talking
the wasteful time of ASUU strike .
The result is a big financial burden on working
class parent who have suffered untold hardship
to scrape together money to pay high fees at the
beginning of every academic session. Apart from
those who face autonomic exclusion and do not
even bother to make the effort to apply
,thousand more drop out of school after their first

or second year when their poor payment savings
suddenly run dry ,when there is a sudden hike in
fees or familiar member, lose jobs or fall sick.
For instance, after the Babatunde Raji Fashola
led Lagos state government in 2011 the school
fees of Lagos state University skyrocket from
#25,000 to an alarming #350,000, the full-time
students’ population of the university dropped

from about 20,000 to around 12,000 over the
course of the next three years. It took a massive
struggle involving students, education workers,
and groups like Education Right Campaign (ERC),
National Association Of Nigerian Students
(NANS), Joint Action Front (JAF), for the
skyrocketed fee to be reversed in August, 2014.
As a result, at government pro- capitalist policy
at turning public education into a profit-making
venture, funding for essential facilities in the
tertiary institutions is being cut. While grants
given to faculties and departments are never
enough to cover their most basic overhead cost.
After paying tuition, students will have to pay
huge amount of money as faculty fee,
departmental fee and other administrative titled
fees. Essential facilities like hostels, water,
electricity supply, security and medical clinics
are rarely allocated enough fluids. Government’s

mantra is that universities and tertiary
institutions should find creative ways of
improving their Internally Generated Revenue,
IGR, through increasing fees, applications for
grants from donor agencies and private bodies
and setting up enough profit ventures like ‘pure

water’ and bottled water businesses, pre-degree,

distance learning and ICT training programs etc.
While the idea that tertiary institutions should
engage in business and other ventures aside
their core objective often lead to wastage of
time, energy and resources on activities that
have no correlation to improving quality of
education in the respective institutions, this
practice also expose students and members of
staff to horrible welfare and working conditions.
In fact, so terrible are the conditions of study in

Nigeria that the students are dying in droves
across the country due to the negligence and
inadequacy of functional facilities and reluctant
personnel.
But while attention has rightly been
focused on the terrible condition of hostel where
students live like pigs,without any good sanitary provision and the

lecture theatres, libraries and laboratories which
are often denuded of the reluctant materials for
learning, it is only recently that the reality has
begun to dawn that so underfunded, under-
provisioned and under-staffed at the health
centers into which many students have gone,
never to return.
Another ridiculous scenario, under the pressure
of cut in allocation and the need to ensure that
only properly registered students benefit from
medical attention, even though they paid for it
already, the institution have now adopted a
ridiculous policy that authorized medical
personnel to withhold treatment unless an
identification of the health center is produced
regardless of their state at consciousness even
school identification card are not considered.
This has led to at least six deaths, this year that

I know of. Examples are Fathai Kolawole at
Ladoke Akintola University, ogbomoso, Mayowa
Alaran at the University of Ibadan, Oluchi
Anekwe at the University of lagos, Akintaro
Rapheal at the Polytechnic Ibadan and Maria
Atere at the Federal University of Agriculture
Abeokuta. They were all neglected at their
respective institution’s health centres and died in

the process.
Our society cannot continue to imbibe its fabrics
with incessant and apparent exhibition of
absurdities by the government and school
authorities in our institutions of learning.
In this
jet age when academic excellence and moral
uprightness is taking it pride of place in most
develop countries, our society must not pay deaf
ears by allowing our students to continue to
wallow in abject neglect of their financial status.

Without fighting for improved funding of
education and democratic running at schools, not
only would hundreds of thousand continue to be
excluded from higher education, even the few
who are fortunate to afford the high fees would
find themselves falling victim of the terrible
condition in the system.
In this wise, we have to
build a mass movement to demand that
education should not be both debt and death
sentence.
Unless something is hurriedly done, the condition
of public education look set to get worse in the
next period.
The situation in Osun, Oyo, and Ekiti
States where public education has come under
threats are indications of what to expect.Using
the economic crisis and revenue decline as an
excuse, the Buhari government could implements
austerity policies dressed up as cost-saving
measure.
During his first coming as a military ruler in 1984,

Buhari stopped the public- funded cafeteria
system which ensures subsidized meal for
university students. Given half of a chance, they
could completely convert public education into
something the children of the poor cannot have a
chance at having , and their excuse would be the
on-going economic crisis and the need for
reforms.
But one central lesson that all students in
Nigeria must take from the struggle in South
Africa is that even during an economic crisis, we
can force government to retreat on its neo-liberal
attacks on education and win big concession on
fees, funding, living and learning conditions also
correct the structural imbalance of the quota
system in our educational structure.
The situation is dire but all is not yet lost.
Proactive action here and now can prevent the
total destruction and desolation of even the
charade of Educational rights shown by the
Buhari led government. It is within the purview of
the NANS, ERC and JAF bodies to come to the
aid of students and summon the might and
power of all other student bodies to talk and/or
fight our way out of this malady, before students
from less privileged homes are finally and
blatantly denied their most basic rights to sound
and quality education. If care is not taken people
call Nigeria giant of Africa, Nigeria will not only

become dwarf but shrub of Africa.
OYADIRAN VICTOR
STARDOM
UNIVERSITY NEWS
Dr sleem reporting.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of EBENEZER ADURAGBEMI OYADIRAN and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."