By Timothy Agbor, Osogbo
Fifteen years after five students of the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile Ife, southwest Nigeria, were gruesomely murdered in cold blood by a group of cultists, the students of the institution on Friday, 11th July, 2014, intensified their campaign against cultism with a call to the Federal Government to wade into the face-off between the students and the institution’s management.
Addressing a press conference in Osogbo on Friday, 11th July, 2014, in marking the 15th remembrance of the murder of the five students who were murdered by a group of cultists on July 10, 1999, the President of the university Students’ Union, Comrade Ibikunle Isaac called on the Federal Government to order the Prof. Bamitale Omole led administration to re-open the university.
It would be recalled that the management has shut down the institution and ordered the students to vacate the campus following the protests by the students over the hike in their tuition charges.
The students’ union president noted that since the massacre of the then institution’s Students’ Union Secretary General, George Iwilade a.k.a. Africa, Yemi Ajiteru, Eviano Ekelemu, Tunde Oke (Sabo) and Godspower by agents of secret cult, the university had maintained zero tolerance for cultism and has been intensifying campaign against it on campus.
His words: “Ever since the attack, OAU students have maintained a NO TO CULTISM and further intensified campaign against cultism on campus. This has made us to assign to this date (July 10), a day to resound our stance against cultism on OAU campus.
“The advent and thriving of cultism in Nigerian tertiary institutions being a result of the above stated. The education system having been rendered fragile consequent upon failure to develop it and excessive billing of Nigerian parents, has become a haven for cultism as Nigerian youths see this as a way of making survival through the system either by killing for money or bullying students and lecturers.
“The 1999 attack on OAU campus was an aftermath of a struggle against increment in fees as implemented by the Prof. Wale Omole led administration February that year. A relic of the 1999 struggle is still being perpetuated recently in OAU 15 years as the present Prof. Bamitale Omole led administration has increased fees affecting all students.
“OAU students have maintained a NO to the current regime of charges in the university. The university has been militaristically shut down by the Vice Chancellor but we remain undaunted in the struggle to save public education. Consequent upon interventions from various quarters on this matter, we are open to negotiation,” Ibikunle declared.
He therefore urged the university management to re-open the school and reverse the hiked fees calling on the federal government and other concerned sectors to intervene with a view to saving indigent students from being deprived of university education.