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14.01.2022 news OAU Queries Student Activists for Leading Protest Over Poor Health Service

Published 14th Jan, 2022

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

No fewer than 10 undergraduate students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) have been queried for their role in a protest over the death of a fellow student.

FIJ learned that five members of the central executive council of the institution’s student union, including the union president and vice-president, are part of those affected.

Expressing their grievances over the demise of Aishat Omowumi Adesina, a final-year student who allegedly died because of poor service delivery at the school’s health centre, the students had, in October 2021, boycotted examination and blocked highways. Subsequently, the management closed the school indefinitely.

READ ALSO: OAU’s Health Centre ‘Negligent’ as Student Dies after Complaining of Shortness of Breath

As the 2021/2022 session commenced on January 9, each of the affected students received their separate query letters from their departments, asking them to explain why disciplinary actions should not be taken against them for leading the protest.

One of the queried students denied all seven allegations in his query.

“I was not even on campus on the first day of the protest,” the student, who asked not to be named, told FIJ. “I joined the protest the second day, but all the allegations filed against me are false.”

Although the university gave a 48-hour ultimatum to respond to the query, the student said he was still consulting on how best to respond to the allegations.

Another student, who was also queried, said it is a usual practice. 

“The query is no big deal to me,” he noted. “This is not the first time I am receiving their queries. As far as I am concerned, the query is unofficial because nothing documented that I received it.

“I was only called by my colleague to go pick up a letter from my faculty. The letter was neither dated nor the time of collection appended with my signature.

“So, how am I supposed to count the 48-hour ultimatum?”

He said he did not play “any significant role in the protest” to justify an investigation by the university. He also said the school’s panel only submitted names of prominent student activists.

Sources told FIJ that some of the students are members of the #RevolutionNow movement, and this could have put them in the spotlight.

In response to the queries issued, Abiodun Olanrewaju, OAU’s public relations officer, said “The students were the arrowheads of the protest”.

“The query is just for them to explain some issues raised. As matriculated students of the university, they are adjudged to have known their matriculation oaths. If they have not broken any oaths, there will be no problem,” he said.

“But, if, through omission, negligence or any intentional act, the students broke the oaths in the course of their protests, there could be sanctions.”

The query questioned the students for pelting university officers and the public relations officer of the university with sachets of water.

However, Olanrewaju advised the students not to ignore the letter in their own display of arrogance.

“I will advise them to humbly address the highlighted issues in due time for amicable resolution,” he noted.

Published 14th Jan, 2022

By Gabriel Ogunjobi

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