UNILAG students drag management to court over suspension of union

The University of Lagos students have dragged the institution’s management before a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, to challenge the dissolution, in April, of both the executive and legislative arms of the University of Lagos Students’ Union (ULSU).

Counsel for the students, Dr Kayode Owolabi, told the Nigerian Tribune, on Thursday, that the suit would be heard in court today.

“What we are seeking is interpretation as to whether the University of Lagos, its organs, and its principal officers have the right to proscribe, dissolve or suspend the University of Lagos Student Union, given the constitutionally guaranteed right of freedom of association, freedom to protest and freedom of assembly.

“We wish to find out whether the University of Lagos, its organs, and its principal officers have the right to dissolve or suspend the executive council of the union; whether they have the right to dissolve or suspend the students’ legislative council; and whether they have the right to suspend the constitution of the union.

“Generally we are asking that the court should make a final pronouncement as to whether the university’s authorities has the right to interfere in the running of the students’ union.

“This particular case is what we call, in legal parlance, public interest litigation. That prayer is not for the University of Lagos alone; it is something that is going to rub off on all similar unions across the land.”

“We want our democracy to grow; we want our rule of law to grow… so we must always test the water. If the university authorities, at any time they have some turmoil, can resort to proscribing unions, then that’s a bad omen; that is bad advertisement for our democracy, because it is the natural right of man to associate, protest, and to gather to deliberate. These are inalienable rights. If you take them away from human beings, then they are no longer humans.”

The management of the University of Lagos, had on Friday, April 22, 2016, dissolved the student union after a protest organised by the union led to the closure of the campus for three weeks.

Attempts made on Thursday afternoon to reach the university’s spokesman, Mr Toyin Adebule, were unsuccessful, as calls put across to his line were unanswered.