The National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS, has expressed sadness over the news of the murder of Ahize, a 500-Level Civil Engineering student of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife who was initially apprehended for phone theft (later retrieved).
The students’ Union described the tragic incident as unfortunate and an unprecedented one in a statement made available to Vreporters on Thursday by its Public relations officer, Giwa Yisa Temitope.
The students’ body says the incident is a reflection of the long trajectory of different campuses in terms of modernisation of orientation, and the debasement of social development in the students’ movement generally.
The statement read in part, “However, that it happened on OAU campus which is one of the most active Unions in the history of NANS is not only sad, but calls for deep and sombre reflections.
“We believe strongly that the death of the student is caused by the absence of the modernisation of unionism, the weakness of the union organs and structures, and the arbitrary poverty in the country which made Ahize to steal and also made the hungry mob to be so stupidly angry. It is no gainsaying that the Union has not been allowed to grow in terms of years of banning and victimisation which has made students to lose touch of the right orientation as regards what their Union represents. Also, the strikes caused by the government has allowed much reactionary lifestyles on campuses.
“The murder of Ahize is such an internal affairs of the Union which we hope will not tarnish the long history of the Union because, we understand that Great Ife Students’ Union does not in anyway support assault not to talk of murder. The ethos of the Unionism on that Ivory tower is built on Solidarity, Equality, and Democracy. However, the message this incidence has sent to us is that campus activities must be subjected to public scrutiny, and that the long traditions of Great Ife is being eroded by the excessive incursions by foreign and external forces which has allowed for the Union leadership to be moribund and chasing unprincipled clouts. The conservative way of punishment should be changed and new ways of punishing theft and other crimes should be built. This will be done by making sure Great Ife Students Union remains the metaphor for building a nationally virile and scientific students movement.
“”Maximum shishi” which is being talked about came into use in terms of response to neo-fascists attack most especially after the July 10, 1999 massacre in Ife, which till date the Federal Government has failed to release its official reports nor punish those who caused that night of horror”.
NANS urged the Students’ Unions to learn from the OAU scenario that we need be more technical and more democratic in terms of dispensing punishment.
It stressed that students’ bodies across campuses should aim at corrective means other than punitive measures laced with discipline, not targeted punishment .
“As a body, we shall commence a national campaign against mob unionism and start an education for virile, creative, active, independent and congressional unionism on our campuses. We shall also wade in while calling on the management to include NANS national leadership in the committee to be set up to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death.
“While condoling with the families of the deceased, we shall pay them a visit over the demise of their son. We shall also make sure justice is never suffered nor bent by cooperating with Police and all relevant authorities investigating the death.
“To Great Ife Students, we as the National Association of Nigeria Students (NANS) posits as follows:
“1. We welcome the swift intervention of the Students via the Congress. We agree with all resolutions of Congress. We believe that we need more robust discussion as to a lasting resolution to this heavy issue at hand.
“2. We send our condolences to the family of the late Ahize. This death is a big loss, and rubs humanity of the chance to instil grace and positive discipline.
“3. We stand in Solidarity with the Great Ife Students Union. We admit that the Union can make errors, but same must be handled for corrective means. NANS hereby ask our legal team to immediately intervene on the cases and come up with legal standpoints for the Congress.
“4. NANS will be meeting with the Great Ife Students Congress very soon. We must fashion a positive way-forward for all students, and make sure we do not repeat the mistakes of the past, while facing the future with the lessons of the moment.
“5. We salute the entire Great Ife community, our beloved sister unions in ASUU, NASU, ASSUTON, and SSANU. We thank for the solidarity in this disheartening period.
” 6. We also commend the management for its understanding thus far. The way to have the best students that would lead the best future is to give the enabling environment for students to learn appropriately for themselves and the entire society.