The senate of University of Ibadan, UI, has ratified the steps taken by the authorities towards resolving the crisis which engulfed the premier university following the rustication of a 400 level Petroleum Engineering student, Tunji Epeti Michael.
The students had embarked on violent protest over Epeti Michael’s expulsion whom they alleged was punished for participating in a protest over lack of light and water sometimes on November 19, 2015.
The authority, in a step seen as forestalling serious outbreak of order, shut the school indefinitely, but majority of the students remained adamant, shut the gate even against some of the students who wanted to vacate the campus.
The students had demanded among others immediate reopening of the school, unconditional and immediate reinstatement of Tunji Epeti Michael, quick redress of the water and power distribution on campus as well as address the ‘undue’ placement of fines and harassment of students by porters in the halls of residence.
However, the university had debunked the claim of rusticating only Tunji Epeti Michael saying that nine students were either rusticated/reprimanded, or discharged from the Independence hall for either leading a protest or illegal occupation of the hall.
An emergency Senate of the University of the University which was presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Professor Idowu Olayinka ratified the decision of the management to close the school and dialogue with the students while condemning what it called the invasion of the university by students of other institutions with hooded attire.
It was gathered that the Senate of the Institution stated that Tunji Epeti was supposed to be at his place of Internship for six-months when he allegedly came back to lead a protest in the Independence Hall owing to his political ambition to become the Administrator General.
The Vice Chancellor was said to have disclosed that while the university requires N80 million per month to maintain overhead cost and maintenance of Halls of residence, it had only received a total of N42.5 million covering January-April, 2016 calling for more funding from the federal government.
While noting that immediate opening of the school is impossible since the Governing Council which will consider the letter of appeal against Epeti’s rustication will seat on Monday 16, May 2016 during which the decision would be communicated to the senate.
“I have gone around the halls of residence to see what the condition is like and I know it is not up to the standard our students should be living in but what do we do when the money/overhead cost from federal government fall short of what we need?
“We presently accommodate about 8,000 students in halls of residence. There is absolutely nothing we can do without funding.
“At this stage, it is not feasible to grant an unconditional and immediate reinstatement of Tunji Epeti Michael. His appeal would be tabled before the governing council for consideration at the next meeting that would hold during the week beginning 16, May 2016.
“A bi-partisan ad-hoc committee will be set-up, comprising members of staff and representatives of students to work out modalities in short, medium and long terms for improvement in the provision of municipal services on campus.
“The re-opening of the university would be contingent on the satisfactory resolution of the first two points. Management would deal speedily with the purported undue placement of fines and harassment of students by porters in the Halls of Residence,” Olayinka submitted.