Lagos (Lagos State) – The Education Rights Campaign (ERC), an NGO, on Thursday lauded the University of Ilorin for releasing the certificates of two ex-students withheld 16 years ago.
This is contained in a statement jointly signed by Mr Hassan Soweto, National Coordinator and Mr Michael Ogundele, National Secretary of the group, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that the affected students are: Mr Lanre Akinola and Mrs Rasheedat Adesina.
According to the statement, the duo received their certificates after 16 years of legal battle.
The statement said the degree certificates were withheld since 1999 and 2001 respectively as punishment for their involvement in students’ unionism and struggle to end military rule.
It said Adeshina was Assistant Secretary-General of the UNILORIN Students’ Union while Lanre Akinola was member of Students Representative Council of the students’ union.
“The release of the withheld certificates has put an end to the erroneous belief of the administrators of academic institutions that they cannot be compelled to release academic results and degrees.
“It gives hope to all victims of repressive, dictatorial and vindictive administrations in every sector of the society that it is possible to defeat the oppressors.
“It also underscores the fact that the battle for justice may be long, victory is certain if we remain resolute and committed’’, it said.
The statement listed the predicaments of the duo to include participation in anti-Abacha rally staged on campus on June 4, 1998 and students’ protest against poor welfare conditions on campus on June 5 of the same year.
“Their predicament with the university administration under the leadership of the then Vice-chancellor, Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdul-Raheem, started in June 5, 1998 following students’ protest against poor welfare conditions on campus.
“The anti-Abacha rally staged on campus on June 4, was organised by Joint Action Committee of Nigeria (JACON) under the leadership of late Chief Gani Fawehinmi.
“The released certificates indicated falsely that Lanre Akinola and Rasheedat Adesina graduated in 2015 instead of 1999 and 2001 respectively.
“Nevertheless, it is a victory for students’ activism, the poor and oppressed people of the society. It is also a confirmation that there is a limit to institutional enmity and lawlessness.
“This victory came after the judgment of the Supreme Court in 2014 upheld the judgment of Appeal Court which had earlier ordered the release of the certificates and awarded damages against the university’’, the statement said. (NAN)