Tuesday 27 March 2018

UNIBEN 5: SUG President, PRO, Others Resign From Post

Four members of the University of Benin (UNIBEN) Students' Union Government who were rusticated early last month for leading a protest against increase in school fees, have resigned.
The leaders are the President, Comr Ogbidi Osemudiamen Elvis; Secretary General, Hon Justus Aidenagbon; Assistant Secretary General, Hon Innocent Momodu and Public Relations Officer, Hon Ehiabhi Goodnews.
The student leaders were rusticated for daring to lead a peaceful demonstration against fee increment. Their rustication followed their appearance at Student Disciplinary Committee (SDC) set up by management.
The SDC recommended four of them for rustication. Five others were exonerated. They are Goodluck Aregbor, Glory Charles, Eriamiatoe Austin Odia, Sylvester Asebofun, Prince Imonite and Edward Evbuomwan Eguavoen.
Against this backdrop, the Vice President, Miss Frances Okogwu, was immediately announced the Acting President by authorities of the university without ratification by the Supreme Parliament.

The demonstration was held on the 23rd of November, 2017 during the 47th Founder’s Day and 43rd convocation of the school. The authorities instead of listening to their pleas, responded by rusticating the leaders who led the protest. The affected students were also barred from holding any office in the campus or participate in Student Union activities.
According to one of the Union leaders, the decision to embark on the demonstration was taken after the union leadership met with students, following the announcement of increment in tuition and accommodation fees by the school.
It was learnt that tuition and accommodation fees were hiked by over 200 per cent for the incoming students. Before the increment, freshers usually paid N50,000. With the hike in fees, a fresher is expected to pay N133,400 as tuition. The SUG President and members of the union executives kicked against the hike, resulting in the protest.
During the demonstration, the students sought audience with the Vice-Chancellor and urged that the hike be reverted.
After the protest, the school ordered students to vacate their hostels till further notice. Soldiers were drafted into the school to ensure that students complied with the vacation order. Electricity and water supplies to the hostels were cut off. On December 12, the school suspended Students’ Union activities.
Meanwhile, on the 13th of February, 2018, five of the rusticated leaders were reinstated by management following series of intervention by concerned bodies. However, the reinstated leaders were not allowed to retain their various positions at the Students' Union level.
CAMPUS GIST gathered that on the 28th of February, 2018, the university's Chief Security Officer mobilized his men to the President's office, forcefully ejected him from the office and changed the keys to the door.
Since then, the Students' Union Government has been operating unchallenged without the four key leaders. Unarguably, the students have been robbed of their leaders whom they voted for to represent them.
This, among others, could have led to such a drastic but rare decision by the union leaders.

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