LASU crisis: Hoodlums hijacked our protest – SUG President

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By Ebun Sessou & MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO

Following the violence that erupted in the Lagos State University, LASU, Lagos State House of Assembly, has directed the school management to re-open the registration portal for the over 1,292 students, to complete their registration exercise.

Meanwhile, the acting president of the Lagos State University (LASU) Student Union Government (SUG), Miss Mojirade Hassan said that the protest embarked upon by the students to register their displeasure over the closure of the registration portal, was hijacked by unknown hoodlums.

This came barely 24 hours after the students went on rampage, destroying the school’s property, burning tyres on the expressway and disrupting the second semester examinations of the 2012/2013 academic session.

*Protesting LASU students

*Protesting LASU students

The House gave the directive after a six-hour plenary session in which each of the parties-the school management and the students- addressed the law makers.

Speaker of the House, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who presided over the plenary session, said “The house also demanded that the school management re-open the portal for  two days while carrying out the necessary repairs to allow the affected students register for the second semester of 2012/2013.”

He also asked the school management to take stock of the damages done at the university during the crisis and carry out the necessary repairs.

According to him, “The students union executive must write a letter of apology to the school, and all the students of the school must sign an undertaken to be of good behaviour.”

Ikuforiji added that the House would raise a committee to look into the causes of the crisis and fish out the perpetrators for necessary actions.

SUG AND VC

Hassan who disclosed this while addressing the lawmakers on the floor of the House, explained that the issue got out of hand after the affected students staged a peaceful protest to the school Senate building to appeal to the management  to re-open the school portal for them to register.

The acting SUG added that despite all the pleas by the affected students for the portal to be re-opened, the Vice Chancellor, John Obafunwa and other management staff of the school turned deaf ears to the pleas of the students, ignoring some of the students who were kneeling down to plead.

According to her, “several meetings were held with the Vice Chancellor to ensure that the registration portal was re-opened to students who were ready to pay their tuition fee. Rather than yield to their plea, the school management closed the portal but students were still allowed to pay but couldn’t complete their registration exercise.

Hassan explained: “When some of the students approached the Chairman, Governing Council, Mr. Bode Augusto, he was telling them of the financial problems being encountered by the school. I told the VC that we want to meet with him and he told me that if it is about the re-opening of the portal I intend to discuss, he will disappoint me.

“I begged the VC to re-open the portal for at just two hours and I informed him that the affected students had threatened to protest if the portal is not re-opened but he said ‘they should go ahead, they will meet there’. The protest in front of the Senate was peaceful because the students were only carrying placards and they did not even sing.

Some of them even knelt down to plead, but when the VC and other management staff came, they didn’t address them but drove away from the scene.

“The students seeing this took to the streets and I still called the VC to let him know that the issue had gone out of hand but he told me to pacify the students. I told him it has gone beyond what I can handle. It was then he told me that he has involved the State Security Service (SSS). If the VC had addressed the students, the issue wouldn’t have degenerated to violent.

“The protest was hijacked by hoodlums because we saw some yellow buses coming into the school and in the process of the protest, some people were snatching phones and a phone belonging to one of my members was also stolen.

and when we called the line, the person said he’s not a student of LASU and that we should come to Alabarago to collect the phone,” she added.

Speaking earlier, Obafunwa alleged that some of the students chose to be negligent and that was why they failed to pay and register.

He explained that the portal was closed and re-opened severally and “some of the students still refused to register. It is unfortunate to suggest that the management has not been having the interest of the students at heart.

According to him, “The issue is beyond the closure of the portal because I witnessed what happened and if not for God, we would have been talking of obituaries this morning. The question is ‘do we really want a new LASU’? What we have done is to instill discipline in the students.”

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