By Olufemi Alfred
If every mass demonstration of students and workers have been faced with retrogressive reactions from the authorities, against which it was done, autocracy in its raw form would have dwell gallantly with us.
This is not to sympathize with the expelled comrades from University of Lagos , the suspended students from the Federal University of Technology, Owerri nor with the suspended students of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife but to state the effects of these reactions from university managements on the state of human rights across the nation.
Some of the suspended and expelled students on the grounds of spearheading or being part of demonstrations are those who have seen the state of this country and wanted a change.
Over 70% of students of Nigerian universities desire a place out of this country for further studies. It is not because of anything spectacular but that of the deplorable welfare of schools, which is as a result of the poor funding by the Federal government and some anomalies on the part of the Tertiary institutions management. Little wonder why an average student looks around for any scholarship to study abroad.
If the performance of the educational sector of a country will improve, it will be determined by the actions and inactions of the educated populace of such country. That fuels the passion for student activism in most of these students.
However, sometimes in communicating their demands to the managers of this institutions, they tend to be rude, impolite and not diplomatic. Their demands on welfare, health and academics are always right as it’s evident in some of the recent studies about the state of these schools.
Meanwhile, reciprocating the gesture of mass actions, in terms of demonstrations and protest, with suspension or rustication of such students is not laudable.
These actions will not only achieve their goals of putting these students activists to silence but will also have a negative impact on the clamour for the freedom of speech, that of the press and other human rights that are being trampled upon in the country.
Moreover, this does not help the ‘not-too-young-to-run’ campaign because the society and the world at large do not need morons but radical students with critical thinking ability at the helms of affairs. How do we achieve that with incessant suspension, expulsion and arrest of students with the needed qualities for the ‘change’ that all our sectors are devoid of? Apparently no feasible way!
This is a clarion call to government agencies and parastatals, tertiary institution officers, non-governmental organizations and other progressive movements to see this as a condemnable act of putting to silent the voice of the masses and dampening the consciousness of Nigeria students. Let the voice of students be heard because they also, like journalists, are the conscience of the society.