The management of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, (FUNAAB) in Ogun State, has expelled one of its students over a Facebook post drawing the attention of the public to the alleged indiscriminate arrest of his colleagues by the police and incessant robbery attacks on campus.
The student, Ifemosu Adewale, in his second year at the Department of Forestry and Wild-life Management, was issued his expulsion letter on Friday.
Before the Facebook post that led to his expulsion, Adewale was known on campus for a series of posts condemning alleged maladministration of the university including poor welfare on campus.
Nigeria tertiary institutions are known for several irregularities such as delay in the release of results, overcrowded and ill-equipped classrooms, dilapidated hostels, among others. Rather than attend to issues raised by students, authorities over the years scapegoat students calling their attention to these irregularities.
Examples include Olorunfemi Adeyeye, who was rusticated by the University of Lagos in 2016 and Kunle Adebajo who was rusticated from University of Ibadan in 2018 over critical articles.
Just like other victims of expulsion in the past, the university management in an expulsion letter to Adewale said the article written by the student was “misrepresentation of fact about the university.”
The letter read that “at the Student Disciplinary Committee meeting held on August 29, 2019, you were invited for the purpose of giving you fair hearing on the allegation of an act perpetrated through the Internet, that is inimical to the integrity and corporate image of the university.”
“Senate at its 217th Statutory Meeting held on Thursday, October 17, 2019, considered the report of the Student Disciplinary Committee on the allegation and thus decided that you have been found culpable of insubordination to university officials, defamation of character and act perpetrated through the Internet that is inimical to the integrity and corporate image of the university based on the extant rules and regulations on penalties for various offenses by students of the university.”
“Consequent upon the decision of the Senate, you’re hereby expelled from the university as provided for the offences committed by you. You should surrender all university properties in your possession including the university identity card to the Dean, Student Affairs”, the letter read.
Several calls and text message to the university’s spokesperson, Emi Alawode, since Friday to seek further clarification on the expulsion, are yet to be responded to.
When contacted, the student, Adewale, told newsmen that he appeared before the university’s panel to explain himself.
He said the university authorities found his defense worthless and were particular about him painting the institution in “bad light.”
In his reaction, Adeyeye said Adewale’s case is one occurrence too many and it is “becoming an embarrassment how intolerant to dissents our academics and public officials are becoming.”
“Students of the FUNAAB have taken to the media space many times, protesting the level of insecurity (armed robberies, rape) on campus and its environs. Instead of addressing the issue and seeking a lasting solution, the authorities resolved to expel a student activist who called the attention of the World to the plights of thousands. Very ridiculous.”
“From UNILAG to OAU, UNIUYO, UI, FUTO, FUNAAB etc, the story has been the same. All these are direct indicators that we are back in the trenches of jackboot absolutism. This is a call to all Nigerian students to rise at this time like never before and defend what is left of freedom of speech and association. To also demand proper funding of public education. If we do not rise now, it may be very difficult to hold WhatsApp meetings in the near future,” he UNILAG victim said.
In his reaction, an activist, Segun Awosanya, noted that he would take up the matter against the university.
“By the Almighty Grace of God we shall be taking up this case. The level of impunity in our citadel of knowledge is astronomical. An example will be made of this abuse of power by people who should know better. @SIAF_NG @citizen_gavel @PeluOlajengbesi @KcUzoka @AbdulMahmud01,” Awosanya wrote on Twitter.