The Students’ Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike has condemned the University of Lagos (UNILAG) management over a threatening message issued via Telegram to students for speaking against hike in some of the charges imposed on them by the university authorities.
In a press statement released by the group on Saturday, the group said the threat message came from the office of the university Dean of Students’ Affairs, Professor Musa Obalola.
The statement added that the overt acts of the university management showed that they were not ready to give students’ interests priority while making decisions, and urged all the students to stand up and organise a formidable union to protect their interests.
The statement reads: “The Students’ Solidarity Group Against Fee Hike is aware of a recent development bordering on victimization and threat messages issued to students who have dared to express their concerns and frustration regarding the fee hike, criminal increment of hostel fees, the irrational extension of the school resumption date, and the lack of clarity on the date of hostel balloting.
“These threat messages were seen on one Telegram group with the name “New UNILAG Students Info,” where over 10,000 UNILAG students participate in online discussions.
“These re-occurring threat messages have been established to come from one “MUSS” account, who serves as the group admin and is rumoured to be associated with the Dean of Student Affairs (DSA), Professor Musa Obalola.
“We want to state categorically that such actions intended to create fear among students are not only infantile but they also go against the principles of freedom of expression and the healthy exchange of ideas that are fundamentals of successful academic institutions.
“It is our firm belief that every student has the right to express their opinions without fear of retribution, and this attempt at intimidation is condemned in the strongest terms.
“We wish to make it unequivocally clear that we won’t tolerate the intimidation of any student in the course of this struggle and any attempt to stifle the voices of students who seek to bring attention to issues that affect every student in the University, will be met with stiff and mass resistance.
“This is also a clear signal to some of our colleagues who may be under the illusion that this Management is interested in the restoration of the University of Lagos Students’ Union (ULSU) as promised.
“People who are threatening you already on a Telegram group cannot “give” you a Union that represents your interests. It’s time we all rise to organize ourselves in a Union. The legitimacy of our Union is not derived in a ceremony organized by Management.
“We believe that the academic environment should be a space where students are encouraged to express their thoughts, question the status quo, and contribute to the betterment of our institution and the country.
“We implore the school management to respect the rights of students to express their concerns without fear of persecution and to immediately cease any such actions that undermine the principles of academic freedom and open discourse.”
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