It has come to the knowledge of the national secretariat of the National Association of Nigerian Students Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife the recent expulsion of two hundred students of Covenant University Ota, Ogun state by the authority of the university.
Information at the disposal of the office of the President elect reveals that the expulsions of the students were on the following premises;
That the affected students never attended the departure church service meant to be used as sign off from the school after the end of the semester.
That the affected students never attended the matriculation ceremony of the newly admitted students
That some of the students were suspended for failure to sign the head count
That five of the students were expelled for smoking and lastly,
That about sixty students were expelled for violating the core values of the University
After due consultations on the above mentioned issues and in consonance with the constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 section 10 and section 38 as amended, it is the position of the apex body of Nigerian Students that the authority of the Covenant University had violated the constitutional provision of Nigeria law viz; ‘the state or the federation must not adopt a religion as a state religion and that every citizen shall have right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and that no citizen shall be compelled to subscribe to a particular religion on the order of his parent ,guidance, mentor, etc.
Therefore, the secretariat wants to state emphatically that the federal government through the Nigeria University Commission and Federal Ministry of Education should beam its search light on the activities of the Covenant University as it appears that the institution is creating a process in the country that is capable of instigating religious intolerance, promote educational inequalities and discrimination. More so, that the University in the past years had been in the news for forcing its students and staff to undergo compulsory HIV and pregnancy text. This is highly condemnable as it violates their fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution and other international instruments such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights, African Charter on Human and Peoples Right, American Declaration of Human Rights, to mention but a few.
While it should be noted that The National Association of Nigerian Students will not in any way advocate for students who are found guilty of cases like cultism, rape, examination malpractices and other anti-social behaviour which we believe to be antithetical to the moral standard of what should be found on our campuses, at the same time we will vehemently resist any attempt to expel students on issues that are irrelevant under the guise of enforcing discipline and university rules and regulations that contravenes Section 1 sub-section 3 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended because expulsion of students without justified reasons is like capital punishment to an innocent soul as declared by Justice Kayode Eso in one of his land mark judgments: ‘ ….A Nigerian student is a priceless asset and at a threshold of been a useful service to the nation. We cannot afford to stigmatize them with offenses when they have not been found guilty by law’. Even where they have been found wanton of the unsubstantiated allegation leveled against them, there should be room for the strict observance of the twine pillar of natural justice of nemo judex incausa sua and aldi alterem partem which mean that you cannot be a judge in your own cause or case and that you must hear other side of the argument before passing judgment. In this case, the accuser or the prosecutor is also the presiding judge .Therefore; the judgment is nothing more than a black market judgment. All these act of the management as well as the proprietor contravenes sanity and intellectual rationality which dealt a big blow on s.36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of right to fair hearing.
We must equally say that while we commend the role of the founder of the covenant university Dr. David Oyedepo in education development in Nigeria, however, NANS will not tolerate any act capable of violating the rights of Nigerian students.
On the general state of education in the country, NANS want the government to increase the funding of education to meet with the standard prescribed by UNESCO of 26% of budgetary allocation to the education sector and ensure that necessary infrastructures are put in place as against the extension of prison called lecture theatres in Nigerian institutions that could make our educational system favorable compete globally.
We also want to demand that institutions like Imo State University, University of Abuja and other institutions that are having accreditation problems with some of their programs especially the College of Health Sciences should with immediate effect be attended to by the necessary authorities because many of the students are spending extra years in school. It is even ironical that the institutions mentioned above are battling with accreditation crisis when the country at large is facing shortage of health personnel on a spurious excuse of inadequate facilities. The question therefore is what is happening to the numerous resources that God in His infinite mercy has endowed this nation with?
While I assured all Nigerian students that their welfare is my utmost priority, I want to appeal that we all shun any act that is capable of maligning our image and character as a body and as an individual.
Aluta Continua, Victoria Ascerta.
Adelu Monehin James (Bobby)
National Association of Nigerian Students’
National Secretariat, OAU Ile-Ife.