Saturday, June 7, 2014

An Account Of The Lasu A Week Long Protest

      The Lagos State University students otherwise known as Lasuites started the first ever a week student protest in the history of Nigeria from 2nd to 6th of June. The preparation began few days after series of scattered protest that had no or zero impact on the government and the school management.         
          Earlier in the week before the protest, the Students Union president Yusuf N. Temilola (Optimist) Facebook account was hacked and infiltrated with posts such that accused the Lagos State University Students Union LASUSU of collaborating and being used by the opposition PDP to disturb the peace and later to cause violence in the state.        Also, the Lasusu president was threatened and sanctioned by the school Students Union Parliament for going against the Union constitution which later saw him suspended before he re-appealed after some days. I still find it to believe that the Union Parliament drama wasn't orchestrated by an outsider force as the Parliament speaker had claimed it was a move to correcting the Union president to go by the constitution. Well all that is bygone now as all students irrespective of their offices has unite to fight the cause that could have ignited the Lagos version of Boko Haram if the children of the masses had no opportunity to go to tertiary institution in the state in some years. The LASG through the school management  had announced a new tuition fee in 2012 for the newly admitted students. Faculty of Arts has the lowest with #197,000, and other faculties ranging from #240,000 to Medicine #350,000.         
           One would wonder where they had got support to embark on a week long protest, it is pertinent that I state here that all the students including the non participating student like I supported through various form of donations and kindness. It is indeed a cause that would be talked about by the future students of the Lagos State University!            
       Day 1(Monday) : The first day was more or less for swift planning and adjustment as the school management released a bulletin in the early hours of Monday pronouncing the students to go on immediate recess in what I called 'forced closure' in order to frustrate and forestall the proposed a week protest. Unknown to the management and their paymasters, the recess awaken the Aluta spirit of the students as many were earlier complaining that their previous protest had not been fruithful. Thanks to the social media as different post reeled out to motivate the students on Facebook, Twitter, Blackberry messenger and Whatsapp!

  Day 2 (Tuesday) : The beautiful Tuesday morning came with a stormy friendly weather, but this deter not the united student having seen the possibility of raining as they departed Idi-Orogbo, an open space opposite the main gate to occupy major highways in the commercial capital of Africa's economy giant. All was going on fine until the students protesters were nearly approaching the Nigerian Army Shopping Arcade in Oshodi when a team of fierce police unit of RRS pounced and attacked the defenceless and non violent students who were protesting against an increment targeted to depriving the children of traders, teachers, government workers, masses, etc that voted them into office from going to school. They shot at them canisters of teargas and shooting sporadically into the air to disperse the students which got scores of students arrested and several others sustained various injuries. It must be noted that the attack came barely 24hours after the Nigeria Police Force P.R.O Joseph Mbu refuted a rumour purpotedly banning "all forms of protest" which he called wrong accusation against the Police Force. The Lasu Students Union president also claimed they were not violent in any form and described it as ' the attack negate the propaganda of the Progressives'.           
          Personally, I still don't understand why the LASG skyrocketed her only state run university to such an exorbitant rate with no justifiable facilities to cover as leverage. I was nothing but disappointed when I got admitted to study H.I.R (History and International Relation) which later turned to French Language in 2010 when I saw the deplorable state of affairs with an unfriendly academic learning environment having forfeited a diploma admission to study Law in Uniabuja in the previous year!         
       Day 3 (Wednesday) : The early hours of the third day was a busy one for the Students' Union executives as they went for interviews from Channels Television to press conference and seeking to release their arrested co-students. In the noon, the students matched peacefully to the state High Court after news broke out from the dailies that the 10 arrested students were being charged for "public disturbance". They also spread their protest to other part of Ikeja.       
       Like a comment that followed a post on Nairaland on the protest, the person disclosed saying 'this students have been protesting for some time now with no one heeding to their plea'. I would like to use this opportunity on behalf of all Lasuites to say a very big thank you to all that has been supporting us in the fight against taking tertiary education from the reach of the common man's children in Lagos state. Those strong words of Femi Falana calling Lasu tuition fees an "anti Boko Haram" policy and challenging governor Fashola that he attented a free education in Uniben do gave us hope in the struggle. Mrs Oladele Olayemi Tosin (Iya Ibeji), the indefatigable Students' Union vice president and mother of three got a nobel peace and superb woman prize in my heart! She's indeed a great woman as she stands firmly in the ongoing struggle in all forms. Channels Tv, TVC, SharaReporters and all print media, blogs and not forgetting J.J. Omojuwa, we say a big thank you for all the special coverages and features as we hope to hear good news from government on monday as Speaker Ikuforiji proposed.      
            Day 4 (Thursday) : This is indeed a remarkable day of all the protest as students resorted to the school of thought of "facing the source and not the slave". The students all marched to the governor's office and blocked all entries to the Lagos House. After waiting for long to see the governor without his forthcoming, the muslim students observed their prayers and the girls were seen making fire to cook! In the evening as the students refused to leave, the commissioner for transport Kayode Opeifa and some other officials addressed the students that they should expect to hear from the government before the 9th of June.         

       Day 5 (Friday) : The spirit of  the students were all alive and to them, the struggle is promising as their previous day "OccupyLagosHouse" seem to have make much impact and the public empathy is becoming popular. The students matched as usual to the Ikeja area part of Lagos but got resistance to the governor's  office as the police had blocked all entries. After several hours, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, RT. Hon. Adeyemi Ikuforiji came to the roundabout to address the students. He advised all students to go back home and by monday, government would make known the outcome of its deliberations as there have been numerous deliberations in the previous days/weeks.            

    Finally, the greatest Lasuites and her "ever-reasonable" Students' Union has come out to tell the world openly that they are strong, focus, decent, composed and passionate about the future of education at an affordable, quality in a lovely academic learning environment. It is quite impressive that the Lagos State University students proclaimed notorious held a week long peaceful protest without causing lawlessness and violence in the state.    

Written by Ayorinde, Abiodun Seun (Effizy)


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