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EDO: UNIBEN suspends students’ union for kicking against eviction from hostel as sports festival begins

THE management of the University of Benin, (UNIBEN) has suspended the Students’ Union executive of the academic institution.

The decision was contained in a statement issued today by the Public Relations Officer of the university, Benedicta Ehanire, titled, ‘ÚNIBEN senate suspends Students’Union executives’

According to the statement, the management said the students’ union was proscribed following efforts of the union’s executives to instigate protest over a shift in the academic calendar of the school.

The statement suspending the UNIBEN SU read, “The Students’ Union executive of the University of Benin has been suspended and a caretaker committee is to be put in place UNIBEN

“The Institution’s Senate took the action to forestall a breakdown of law and order following the planned instigated protest by the Students Union body in reaction to the shift in the school’s academic calendar.

“The Union had persistently engaged in subversive activities including incitement of other students to disobey lawful instructions by the school authorities. This is in spite of concerted efforts by the Management, led by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lilian Salami, to provide their basic needs of water and electricity as well as enhanced infrastructure for learning.

“Consequently, the account of the Union has been suspended and their Secretariat, sealed. All members of the erstwhile students’ Union executives are to hand over their Students’ Union Identity Cards to the Chief Security Officer of the University immediately. They are also to vacate the privileged hostel accommodations accorded them latest 6:00pm today, Tuesday 30th March, 2021.

“The Senate praised the majority of the students who have resisted attempts by the students’ Union executives to drag them into unwarranted agitations.

“The Senate wishes the students the best in their on-going examinations and a restful break from the 1st of April, 2021, until their return to campus for the second semester on 18th April, 2021.”

But the Students’Union President, Benjamin Egwu, refuted the management’s claim saying that the management had always threatened to suspend the SU each time they had a challenge implementing a directive.

He added that the SU’s suspension had nothing to do with shift in the university’s academic calendar.

He noted that the management had asked students to vacate hostels immediately after their exams on April 1 for athletes participating in NSF, which is expected to hold between April 2 to 14.

He said, “We have informed the management of the students’ demands. We told management to find an alternative for the students to keep their luggage. The hostel is paid for and some of our members live in far places. I do not think that the problem is vacating the hostel, the major challenge is finding an alternative for the students to keep their belongings. As a union, we are already looking into that.

“Yes, the examination time table is also a challenge. The management wants to rush the calendar to accommodate the sports festival without considering our mental health. We are not against the sports festival, we are also youths but it should not hold at the detriment of our health and lives.”

Though the management blamed the suspension of the students’ union on the instigation of protest over a shift in the school’s academic calendar, our correspondent reliably gathered that the union was suspended over students’ refusal to vacate their hostels ahead of the National Sports Festival.

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