Thirteen students of the University of Lagos who were remanded at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison by a Special Offences Mobile Court on Saturday have been released.
The students, who were slapped with two counts of unlawful invasion and disruption of activities on the premises of Television Continental in Lagos, were released after a hearing on their bail application on Thursday.
As early as 8am on Thursday, student protesters had besieged the Lagos State Task Force building in Oshodi, seeking the release of the students.
Bearing different placards such as, ‘Why are corrupt politicians free while students are behind bars’, ‘Drop all charges, release them now’ and ‘For improved welfare conditions for students’, the protesters chanted solidarity songs.
Speaking after they were released, the Vice-President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Monday Ubani, said the court lacked jurisdiction on the matter, adding that the court could only intervene in matters relating to environmental and traffic offences.
Also speaking, the Secretary, Save UNILAG Coalition, Mr. Juwon Sanyaolu, demanded the students who were rusticated should be reinstated.
Sanyaolu said a demand for improved supply of water and electricity should not have degenerated into rusticating the students.
One of the released students, Mr. Aina Oluwatomi, criticised the management of the UNILAG for being intolerant to pressure groups on campus
He said, “UNILAG has become a place where we only have obligation and no rights. If you are seen as a dissident at UNILAG, you will earn at least two semesters of rustication. The university management has become intolerant of critical views and right to freedom of expression and association.’’
UNILAG authorities said on Tuesday the 13 youths were not their students, according to statement by the Deputy Registrar, Information Unit, Mr. Toyin Adebule.
The statement read, “University of Lagos, hereby states that the 13 students remanded by the court as reported by different newspaper and electronic publications to be UNILAG students are not students of the institution. These ‘students’ comprise rusticated students and some students from an institution in Ogun State.
“Let us emphasise here that the rusticated students are requested to apply for re-admission after serving their punishment. Until re-absorption, they are not considered bona fide students of the university.’’