The Untold Realities of UNILAG Students

Wole Soyinka — ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’

Did you know that the management of UNILAG placed a ban on students’ protest?

Well, let me explain.
Every fresh undergraduate is expected to sign an indemnity form. The signing of this form automatically stops every student from protesting because the penalty for such is expulsion. By this, we are expected to remain silent even when our rights are being infringed upon.

This means that students cannot protest against the excesses of the security unit, Alpha Base. Most times, this unit brutalise students for no reason at all. I remember a time one of them seized my bag because i refused to pay bribes to enter JAJA Hostel. Of course, you need to pay bribes if you are a squatter. These individual connive with the hostel porters to extort students because they know that there is no student union to defend us. These individuals know that the students cannot protest because of the indemnity form we signed.

Also, the hostels are really under equipped. Many a student attends classes without having their bath because of the lack of running water. It becomes more pathetic when you see the deplorable state of the bathroom. While you may counter this by saying students are the architects of this “disgustingness”, it is also important for you to remember that bathrooms cannot be kept clean if there is no water. Let that sink. I wish a senior lecturer or the VC could pay an unannounced visit to these hostels. This is an issue that we need to protest against. Sadly, we have no student union, and we are also being restricted by an indemnity form.

I have met so many wonderful lecturers in the department, some of whom are my friends on Facebook. Likewise, I have also met the ones who may sometimes be inconsiderate. How would you describe a lecturer who misses classes, only to fix them at a date that isn’t feasible? Let me explain a scenario. In 100lv, many students do a lot of borrowed courses. For example, law take electives from English, medical sciences take from pure sciences while English take from linguistics. With this knowledge, it is expected of the lecturers to reschedule their lectures when all the departments that take the course are free. But this is often not the case because these lecturers dictate when they would teach, even at the expense of their students. This explains why a linguistics lecturer held classes before the exam for students in his department. Mind you, other departments were not aware. Perhaps, this should offer an explanation to why two different courses offered by students may run simultaneously. Remember, we can’t protest against this because we are bound by a form. Remember, these same students are going to take up positions in the society someday; hence, truncating their ability to fight oppression is synonymous to promoting injustice in the society.

Martin Luther King said: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Signing an indemnity form isn’t unreasonable. However, it should probably be modified to suit the challenges faced by students. Students should be allowed to kick against injustice without having the fear of expulsion. Need I mention that UNILAG students living off campus are also victims of SARS harassment? A student union, for sure, would provide a great platform to tackle this.

Just like Wole Soyinka said, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny.’

Restore the student union!
Modify the indemnity form!
Give us a platform to protest against injustice!

© It is none of your fucking business

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