Students of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, who were recently suspended by the management of the institution, have kicked against the allegation that they were involved in criminal activities.
The leadership of the Students’ Union of the university, who spoke on their behalf on Monday, said the suspended students did not engage in any criminal activity.
The student leaders argued that the affected students were suspended for expressing their displeasure over the poor welfare conditions on the university campus.
They said this in a press statement jointly signed by the President of the union, Oyekan Ibukun; its Secretary-General, Boluwajaiye Adeoluwa, and Public Relations Officer, Okediji Simon.
The OAU authority on Friday announced the suspension of four undergraduates of the university over alleged involvement in criminal activities and a breach of the university’s code of conduct, among other offences.
The students, who condemned the suspension, complained that two postgraduate students were also suspended for also protesting.
The statement read in part, “The leadership of OAU Students’ Union and the entire students of the university hereby use this medium to vehemently condemn the illegal and unjustifiable suspension of four undergraduates and two postgraduate students by the university management.
“It is very appalling that the university management could brand students’ peaceful protest and agitation against prevalent poor welfare conditions on campus on October 5, as ‘criminal activities’. We want to state categorically that the students currently on suspension have never committed any criminal offence as earlier posited by the university authority.
“They merely exercised their right to freedom of peaceful demonstration as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) and any attempt to curtail such rights is null and void.
“We use this medium to debunk the lies and allegations that have been made against our members. It must be clearly asserted that the students only embarked on a peaceful protest and what followed was their indefinite suspension from the University. We cannot allow this injustice to stand, as injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
The students demanded that the six students be reinstated.