From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
National Association of Nigerian Students, (NANS) Zone B, yesterday, gave the management of University of Benin (UNIBEN), a 72-hour ultimatum, beginning from 30th March, to reverse the suspension of the Students Union Government Executives of the institution or face a mass protest.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Coordinator, NANS zone B, Comrade Etinyene Friday Offongekpe and made available to newsmen in Benin City.
Comrade Offongekpe said suspending the SUG Executives should not have been the first option but dialogue which has always been the best way of solving problems, stressing that NANS will not rest until the issues surrounding the suspension are resolved.
“After proper consultation and consideration, the zonal leadership assured the wrongly suspended Executive of SUG, UNIBEN total support and solidarity even as we advise the management to review this decision and give room for dialogue, failure to which, NANS will mobilise the zonal leadership and national leadership to university of Benin until the Exco is reinstated.
“While the management should expect a mass action in University of Benin if nothing is done within three days from today 30th March, 2021”, he said.
Offongekpe who in his statement, titled, “An injury to one, is an injury to all”, said the leadership of NANS received the news of the purported suspension of a legitimate elected Students Union Government of University of Benin, Edo State via phone call from the SUG President’s, Comrade Benjamin Authur.
The coordinator, NANS zone B, said the embattled SUG President told him that the management sent the students parking from the university hostels because the facilities would be used for the upcoming National Sports Festival without providing the students with an alternative accommodation.
He said the union’s president informed him that all attempts to reach the management (VC) failed as the Dean gave them three reasons why the university’s Senate took the decision of suspending the elected union’s executives with an alternative to hand picked some students to form a caretaker committee for the students activities in the university.
He called on the UNIBEN union members, zonal executives and NANS comrade in the state to maintain status quo as the report has gotten to the zonal and national leadership of NANS.
Recall that the University of Benin (UNIBEN) earlier in the week, suspended the Students’ Union executive of the institution and installed a caretaker committee in its place.
In a statement by the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the institution, Dr Benedicta Ehanire, the institution’s Senate took the action to forestall a breakdown of law and order following a planned protest by the Students Union body in reaction to the shift in the school’s academic calendar.
“The Union had persistently engaged in subversive activities including incitement of other students to disobey lawful instructions by the school authorities.
“This is in spite of concerted efforts by the management, led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Lilian Salami, to provide their basic needs of water and electricity, as well as enhanced infrastructure for learning.
“Consequently, the account of the Union has been suspended and their secretariat sealed. All members of the erstwhile Union executives are to hand over their Students’ Union Identity Cards to the Chief Security Officer of the university immediately.
“They are also to vacate the privileged hostel accommodations accorded them latest 6:00pm on Tuesday, 30th March, 2021,” the statement added.
The university’s image-maker went on to praise majority of the students who have resisted attempts by the Union executives to drag them into unwarranted agitations.
“The Senate wishes the students the best in their on-going examinations and a restful break from the 1st of April, 2021, until their return to campus for the second semester on 18th April, 2021.”