Abiodun Onafuye/ Abeokuta
The Ogun state government has ordered the Governing Council of Olabisi Onabanjo University to shut the school ‘immediately’, to forestall the breakdown of law and order. Parents and guardians of the students have also been asked to call their wards to order as government said it will not tolerate “any act that will disturb the peace being enjoyed by the people of the state”
Government handed over the directive today as students unrest persisted over the slashed school fees by Governor Ibikunle Amosun.
In a statement signed by the Secretary to the State Government, SSG, Barr. Taiwo Adeoluwa, government said the decision to shut the university was taken in the overall interest of peace and order as the students of the university have continued to issue threats while rejecting all entreaties and concessions made by the government on their various demands concerning the recently announced reduction of school fees.
The government had on August 12 after extensive deliberations involving the leadership of the student unions in the 10 State-owned tertiary institutions, heads of the institutions and government representatives, announced reductions in school fees by as much as 61 percent.
The government also abolished the indigene/non-indigene dichotomy in the school fees regime and announced the 2014-2015 academic session as commencement period for the policy.
“However, while students in nine of the ten institutions commended the government for its decisions, OOU students insisted that the new school fees regime should take effect from the 2013/2014 academic session and that the fees should be further reduced.
“The OOU students premised their position on the fact that they are currently running the 2013-2014 academic session which will end in January. They also rejected the fact presented by students of other institutions that they are also in the same situation as some of them will only be concluding the 2013-2014 session in December.
“The government had also sought to convince the students that it could not afford to bear the financial implication of commencing the implementation of the new school fees regime as it will cost the government over N2 billion”, the statement read in part.
Students of Olabisi Onabanjo University,OOU, Ago Iwoye last week staged a violent demonstration in Abeokuta.
The protest,which was held for two days grounded commerce and traffic in some parts of the capital and it took the personal intervention of the State governor,Ibikunle Amosun before some normalcy was restored.
Amosun led the protesting students from the Kuto Roundabout,where they gathered to the main bowl of the MKO Abiola International Stadium,Abeokuta,where he addressed them and promised to look into their issue within a week.
He thereafter set up an ad-hoc committee to discuss with the students with a view to resolving the situation.
The statement further stated, “During discussions with the ad-hoc committee, OOU students maintained their stand that the fees must be further reduced and that the implementation must commence immediately. The explanation that no other State in Nigeria is saddled with the responsibility of funding 10 tertiary institutions and that to accede to their request would mean natural death for the institutions made no sense to them.
“The student leaders were within the week sending text messages round, urging their colleagues ‘to get ready for action’ as they are ready to unleash violence on the State capital. Security reports have since confirmed that because the students are acting under external influence, no concession made by the government will be satisfactory to them.
“Consequently, we have no option than to order the immediate closure of all the campuses of Olabisi Onabanjo University to protect the students and other residents of the State and their property.
“We urge all parents to impress on their wards, the need to maintain peace in the interest of all”, Adeoluwa stated.