Lagos State House of Assembly has ordered the management of the Lagos State University to re-open the registration portal for the over 1,000 students so they could complete the registration exercise.
It would be recalled that the students of the institution had, on January 22, protested the decision to close the portal disrupting the second semester examinations of the 2012/2013 academic session. However, the next day,the protest turned violent as the school’s property was destoyed. The police had to intervene to desperse the crowd, several persons have reportedly sustained injuries. The school authorities have subsequently released a statement informing of the LASU’s indefinite closure.
The Lagos State House of Assembly conducted a six-hour plenary session giving both the school management and the students a chance to address the lawmakers.
“The protest was hijacked by hoodlums” – SUG President
President of the LASU Student Union Government (SUG), Mojirade Hassan explained that students begged the management of the University to re-open the registration portal, but their pleas were ignored.
“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,” the said. “Rather than yield to their plea, the school management closed the portal. Students were still allowed to pay but couldn’t complete their registration exercise.
“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. In the process of the protest, some people were snatching phones, and a phone belonging to one of my members was also stolen. 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.”
“The issue is beyond the closure of the portal” – VC
On his part, LASU Vice Chancellor, Mr. John Obafunwa maintained that the portal was closed and re-opened several times, but still, some students were negligent and failed to pay and register.
“Some of the students still refused to register,” Mr. Obafunwa said. “It is unfortunate to suggest that the management has not been having the interest of the students at heart.
“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.”
Speaker of the House, Mr. Adeyemi Ikuforiji, who presided over the plenary session, said: “The house 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.
“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.”
He directed the school management to evaluate the damage and carry out the necessary repairs.
Mr. Ikuforiji added that the House would raise a committee to identify the reasons of the crisis and determine the culprits.