Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Nigeria, the struggle goes on

Here's a piece i've written for our su paper on the solidarity campaign with nigeria students, btw. if you click the link at the bottom theres a new piece up by some nigerian comrades who were also active at the student union in Nigeria in the past

Over the last few months, Bangor University Socialist Students society have been campaigned in defence of three arrested student union leaders in Nigeria; Akinola Saburi, Olatunde Dairo & Taiwo Hassan Soweto. Their crime? To stand up for the rights of students.
The saga began around this time last year when the three participated at various times in student agitation for a week long period free of lectures before exams. Revision time for exams is something that most people would find uncontroversial, but not the authorities at Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), in Ile-Ife, Nigeria.
Instead they decided to ignore the students demands and shut down campus twice for several months claiming concern for a breakdown in law and order as well as standing their own slate of stooges for the student union elections, which were overwhelmingly defeated by genuine activists.
It is at this point that the university authorities tried this latest ploy. In August Akinola Saburi, the president of the student union at OAU, was arrested without being charged. Some months later, whilst campaigning for his release, the other two students were arrested. They were later charged with ludicrous offences such as the attempted murder of a former University Vice-Chancellor in 2004.
The students spent months applying for bail and after much prevarication by the courts were granted it, but with conditions which are impossible for them to meet including large sums of money. They were forced to spend Christmas and the New Year languishing in their cells.
Is their situation that different from our own? Last year the university implemented cuts to the Ocean Sciences department that are still affecting students now without any real consultation. True, none of our students have been arrested on made-up charges, but then there was no mass campaign involving thousands of students at a time like there has been in Nigeria.
Students around the world should support each others campaigns for better living and studying conditions. We are still appealing for protest letters to be sent and as well as asking for donations towards the defence campaign for these student leaders. For details see www.socialistnigeria.ord/students

To find out more and how you can get involved in the campaign, contact us at

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