By Tunde Oyekola, Osogbo
Post graduate students of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) , Ile-Ife, have accused the University management and the PG College of unabated victimisation and hostile treatment.
According to the students, the agitation against the exploitative tendencies of the university management, in which students were being charged after the completion of oral examinations, through protests and media campaign did not go down well with the management of the institution.
The students, at a press briefing at the correspondents’ chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in Osogbo expressed their plights, saying the studentship of four members of the students’ committee that spearheaded the struggle were terminated on the flimsy excuse of late payment.
They argued that while other students who are yet to pay their school fees were given till December to make payment, members of the committee were strangely slammed with dismissal.
The students added that even when several meetings were held and apology letters were written to the management and the PG college, the Provost of the college, Prof. Gbenga Alebiowu insisted that “the apologies were not
in conformity with his dictates.
“Worthy of note is the fact that postgraduate students on two different occasions (aside other countless individual attempts) met with the Provost of the College in interactive sessions held within the hall of residence to
extensively discuss challenges faced by postgraduate students of which “the continuous payment of fees after final oral examination,” topped the list without any positive response or result.
“After series of communications with the provost, which all proved abortive, an official letter of our demands dated 12th September 2017 was sent to the Vice Chancellor, which was ignored based on claims of native intelligence and due process.
“On 26th September 2017, there was a meeting of postgraduate students’ committee and the provost, which ended in a stalemate, yet, requested that the matter be rerouted back and addressed to his office rather than through
the Vice Chancellor.
“On 27th September 2017, postgraduate students collectively submitted the requested letter to the provost with a week timeline for response. During the one week timeline, responses we got were; decision extract that
addressed nothing in our request but rather putting students in more frustrating conditions.
“Directives were tailored towards putting undue pressure on students by compelling them to pay all outstanding fees else termination of
studentship; termination of four committee members studentship among which are students who have done final oral examination and another who the Senate had sat on his result. All this response had emerged just because we appealed that students should no longer be charged fees after final oral examination.
“Putting all of these efforts together, it is glaring that we as postgraduate students have exhausted all meaningful internal mechanisms
which have unfortunately yielded no positive result. However, it has become a truth that the Provost is not ready to critically consider our demands nor yield to appeals coming from different quarters but hell bent on ensuring that students are continually exploited and made to unsparingly suffer”, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the Provost, when contacted refused to make a comment, but rather reffered our reporter to the Public Relations Officer of the university.
However, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Eyitope Ogunbodede, in his response to the allegation through a text message said, “Sorry I am presently outside the country attending a summit on higher education. The termination was because the students did not pay their fees and were also insultive. However, the issue is now being resolved as the students have written a letter of apology. The PG College board will meet next week”.