The Democratic Socialist Movement (DSM) strongly condemns the arrest of two of its members at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, today, Thursday October 11, by armed police at the behest of the management of the institution. The comrades are Taiwo Hassan Soweto, Secretary, DSM OAU Branch and Coordinator, Education Rights Campaign (ERC), and Olatunde Dairo, Public Relations Officer of Students Union, OAU Ile-Ife.
We demand their immediate and unconditional release
They were arrested after the authorities had unjustifiably closed down the campus and ordered students to vacate halls of residence as early as 7am.
The crime of the arrested student leaders is their leading role in the legitimate resolve of students to uphold their rights and interests.
The students of the university had on Tuesday October 9 held a massively attended Congress where they resolved that they would embark on a lecture boycott on Thursday and Friday October 17 and 18 to press home the demands for release from imprisonment of Akiola Saburi, President Students Union; hands off of student union by the university management and improved living and learning conditions on the campus.
Akinola Saburi has been unjustly incarcerated at the Ilesha Prison since August 1, 2007. Students also resolved to go to Osogbo on Monday October 15 to observe the court trial of Saburi which is due on that day.
The closure of the campus and arrest of the DSM members is attempt by the management to forestall the popular/mass action the students had planned for next week.
It will be recalled that the crisis started in the University late last year after students democratically elected a radical leadership, with Akinola Saburi as President and Olatunde Dairo as the PRO, defeating the sponsored candidates of the management. Students chose their leadership to ensure uncompromising defence of their rights and interests to quality university education. On the contrary, the management had wanted to impose a puppet leadership on the students in order to muzzle divergent views or opposition to their anti-poor neo-liberal policies.
We condemn highhandedness and arbitrariness which the Professor Michael Faborede led authorities have adopted as style of administration since their appointment last year. This is the second time the university has been closed down in less than one year for unjustifiable reason, besides the regular recourse using to armed police whenever students embark on legitimate action in defence of their rights and interests.
We call on Labour, teaching and non-teaching unions, human rights groups, pro-masses organisations and individuals locally and internationally to join us in the demands for the immediate and unconditional release of Taiwo Hassan, Tunde Dairo and Akinola Saburi, respect of rights to independent students’ unionism, improved learning and living conditions, immediate re-opening of the campus and end to culture of victimization in the university.
For more on the OAU Crisis http://www.socialistnigeria.org/page.php?article=1233
We also call for urgent protest letters be sent to: