At a time when spirit of genuine student unionism is almost at an end in our universities, two student union leaders of the university of Abuja, Igwe Chukuemeka Cyprian and Oladeru Samson Olamilekan, graduating students of the university have found themselves facing the harsh consequences of speaking out against the unjust hike in school fees in the university of Abuja.
In their escalated selfless stand that the university management considered inciteful, they rendered their voice against the hike which, even as they would not be affected as they had finished their final examinations and are almost exiting the university, they considered insensitive and capable of making many students to drop out of school, their names were etched in the annals of heroic resistance, by the act of their summary rustication from the university without any disciplinary process followed.
A foremost human rights lawyer, Tope Temokun has taken up the mantle of defending these brave student leaders in court. With a resolute determination, they have embarked on a legal journey, seeking justice and the reinstatement of these rusticated student leaders, who have concluded their programs in the school after finishing their final examinations but just awaiting release of their final results in the university.
Armed with the conviction that the university’s disciplinary measures were not only crude but also unconstitutional, they have filed a lawsuit in court. Their prayer was clear: to challenge the oppressive rustication letters that were issued without affording them their right to be heard.
It was an assertion of the fundamental rights of students, reminding the university that they too are citizens of the country, entitled to the protections enshrined in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
As the legal battle unfolds in the next days, there is great anticipation for justice. Tope Temokun, their counsel, had argued passionately, shedding light on the flaws in the disciplinary process, that maintaining peace on campus should not come at the expense of denying students their right to a fair hearing.
The case will certainly spark a broader debate about the rights of students and the limits of disciplinary powers of the educational institutions in Nogeria. It will certainly become a rallying point for all those who believe in the importance of due process and the rule of law.
While the wheels of justice grinds on, the courage and resilience of the student leaders that inspire this process will certainly transcend the confines of the courtroom, resonating with students across the country who yearn for a fair and just educational system.
In the end, the outcome of the legal battle would shape the future of student activism and the university’s commitment to upholding the constitutional rights of its students in Nigeria. It stood as a testament to the power of collective action and the indomitable spirit of those who dare to speak truth to power.
As the story continues to unfold, the fate of the rusticated student leaders hangs in the balance. But one thing remains certain: their fight for justice will leave an indelible mark on the legacy of the University of Abuja and the broader struggle for student rights in Nigeria.