By Opeyemi Babalola
Education Rights Campaign (ERC), has insisted on the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators behind the killing of Comrade Nurudeen Alowonle alias Omomeewa, who was killed on Wednesday night after appearing before a panel at the Lagos State University (LASU) over alleged admission racketeering and unlawful possession of university documents.
University Times International (UTI) had reported how the former LASU Students’ Union presidential aspirant was allegedly shot dead while in company of a senior assistant registrar, Waheed Majekodunmi, simply identified as Majek.
Several controversial reactions allegedly linking his death to the school management have emerged after he was confirmed dead on Friday in a statement by the Students’ Union Government of the university.
However, the institution same day issued a statement denying its involvement in the death of Omomeewa.
The university’s spokesperson Mr Ademola Adekoya, in the release, stated that the deceased was killed outside the university campus contrary to the report making the rounds that he died near the school main gate in Ojo, Lagos, absolving the school authority of any complicity in Alowonle’s death.
“Also regrettably, since the sad incident, the social media had been awash with several accounts, many of which are inaccurate and misleading, of circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident. We had refrained from making a hurried statement until now in order to ascertain the facts considering the very sensitive nature of the incident, the university’s spokesperson, Mr Ademola Adekoya said in a statement.
“The incident took place in the evening of Wednesday 18th August, 2021 outside the University campus, along the Egbeda Igando Road,” Adekoya added.
As of the time of this report, no suspect has been arrested in connection to Alowonle’s death.
However, in a statement on Saturday the ERC, demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of the killers of Omomeewa.
The group also blamed the institution for subjecting the deceased to varying levels of victimisation over the past three years on issue bordering on alleged admission racketeering.
A statement signed by ERC Deputy National Coordinator, and National Mobilisation Officer comrades Ogunjimi Isaac and Micheal Lenin respectively, described Omomeewa’s allegation before the institution’s panel as a ‘false allegation’ meant to demean his studentship status.
The released stated: “On the 28th of October 2019, Yusuf Nurudeen Alowonle was framed up by one Mr. Moses Michael ICT (a staff of LASU ICT Unit) and Mr. Aneyo Tosin a.k.a Young Prof (a graduate of LASU and an ex-staff of LASU external system) who planted on him 13 printed stream 1 admission screening report of admitted candidates in a sealed envelope upon which the Department of State Security officials and LASU Students Investigation and Enforcement Unit officials alleged him of admission racketeering and unlawful possession of university documents.”
“ERC believed that he was killed as a result of his activism and love for fighting for students welfare on campus contrary to a robbery gone wrong as presented by the police.
The statement continued: “We hereby demand immediate arrest and prosecution of Omomeewa’s killers. We also call for the setting up of a probe panel democratically constituted by elected representatives of the Students’ Union, staff unions, trade unions, socialists and civil society organisations to unravel the real motive behind the attack including, if any, the complicity of the Lagos State University administration which had invited him to the campus to yet again answer to false charges at the Students Disciplinary Panel about a year after he had graduated from the university.
“Comrade Omomeewa graduated from LASU’s Faculty of Education in 2020. However, his result and certificate were seized on the excuse that he had a pending case at the disciplinary panel and consequently he was not allowed to proceed for National Youth Service. This is notwithstanding the fact that the university management had failed to pursue this false and contrived case diligently over the past two years. The disciplinary panel had sat very perfunctorily, postponed sittings several times for no genuine reason and refused to call key witnesses thereby unnecessarily dragging the case for over two years from 2019 till 2021. The reason for this was simply because this was a phantom case of admission racketeering which the university was in no position to prove.
“What happened was that in October 2019 the university management tried to ensnare Omomeewa in a case of admission racketeering by deploying operatives of the university’s security arm and the Department of State Security (DSS) to plant incriminating materials on him. The whole motive behind this was to provide a pretext to victimise Omomeewa who had by this time, and through his activities alongside other members of the ERC LASU branch, become one of the most notable and principled student activists on the campus who was always prepared to oppose any anti-student and anti-worker policy of the university administration in sharp contrast to so-called student leaders who readily sold out students interest to the management or preferred to be silent in the face of tyranny. For instance, some of the anti-student and anti-worker policies opposed by late comrade Omomeewa and the ERC include the attacks on the democratic rights of students by campus marshals while trying to enforce a very backward dressing code instituted by the Fagbohun administration, the increment of Acceptance Fee, balkanisation of the admission process into Stream 1 and Stream 2 in a bid to cleverly increase school fees through the backdoor etc.
The body further stated that the deceased in his lifetime pitched tent with some of the dismissed leaders of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) of LASU which openly challenged some policies the union considered ‘anti-workers’ under the immediate past administration.
“We believe it was this kind of principled support and solidarity which Omomeewa offered to a workers’ union that earned him the eternal hatred of the immediate past administration and it is the source of the travail of Omomeewa for the past four years as a student activist and now his death.
“For instance, the (immediate past) management ensured that Omomeewa never emerged as the 29th President of the Lagos State University Students Union (LASUSU) in the year 2019. This was despite the fact the obvious fact that Omomeewa had the most votes. Yet without formally assuming the office of the President of LASUSU, no one can dispute the fact that Omomeewa was a leading and prominent voice on the campus against exploitation and oppression. This can be seen from the outpour of emotions from students and staff since yesterday when the news of his demise emerged.
“It is to Omomeewa’s eternal credit as an indefatigable leader of the ERC that his last political outing was his participation at the first post-lockdown physical meeting of the ERC LASU branch which held in the afternoon of the very same Wednesday when he met his end. After appearing at the panel, Comrade Omomeewa, alongside others, decided to use the opportunity of his presence on campus to attend the meeting of the branch which he had labored to build for many years. He also stayed up late on the campus in order to have meetings with different workers collaborators of the ERC.
“One of latest major activities of Omomeewa was a leading role as the Lagos coordinator of the ERC in the intervention of the organisation in the ongoing struggle of the parents of Lagos State Model Colleges against the hike in boarding fee from N25,000 to N50,000, something that is unaffordable for many working class and poor parents.
“We are eternally grateful to Omomeewa for his work in building ERC and his role in the struggle of students, workers and the oppressed masses. Many generations of LASU students and activists will continue to remember his legacy and will strive to draw inspiration from him.
“While mourning Comrade Omomeewa, the ERC wants to use this opportunity to demand an end to tyranny and victimisation of students and workers activists in tertiary institutions in Nigeria. In this wise, we demand the immediate recall of all victimised student and staff activists in any tertiary institution in Nigeria and the restoration of all banned unions. We also demand immediate recall of all sacked workers and leaders in Lagos State university (These include Dr. Isaac Akinloye Oyewumi, Dr. Adebowale Adeyemi-Suenu, Dr. Anthony Dansu, Dr. Adeolu Oluwaseyi, Dr. Oluwakemi Adebisi-Aboderin – all elected officials of ASUU-LASU) and the adequate funding and management of the institution.”