Nigeria Police Arrest, Tortures 14 Student Union Leaders

About 14 student union activists were arrested this afternoon by the Nigerian Police who tortured, beat, and brutalized them as they met near YabaTech. These students congregated in Yaba following their attendance at a hearing at the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

The student activists attended a hearing on the case between some the rusticated University of Lagos Students’ Union (ULSU) and their university, UNILAG. Today’s hearing ended with Federal Court Justice Salihu Seidu adjourning the case to October 25th because the defendant, UNILAG, failed to show up in court.

SaharaReporters learned that the police viciously beat, brutalized, and arrested numerous student activists. Among those brutalized included: the NANS JCC Chairman Samson Moses Adewale, NANS JCC Sports director Muhammed, NANS JCC Secretary General Owolabi Oluseyi, two NANS JCC senators, and others.

The police swooped in on the student leaders during a meeting to decide next steps in their case against UNILAG for illegally rusticating students. During the police operation many students were arrested, according to sources.

Sources speaking to SaharaReporters said the circumstances surrounding the attack, and the Gestapo manner it was carried out, suggests that the Nigerian police were likely acting on instructions of UNILAG authorities. It will be recalled that the Nigerian police are implicated, alongside UNILAG officials, in the rustication of some student leaders.

Semester examinations started in UNILAG today and the court hearing today was expected to grant an order that could give the students the opportunity to join their colleagues in the exams. Unfortunately, the case was adjourned till October 25th, meaning the students would be missing the entire semester despite not having violated credible rules. Activists are saying that the action is punitive and a corrupt university management is punishing the students.

Meanwhile the Education Rights’ Campaign has condemned the premeditated and vicious attack today by the armed policemen in a message sent to SaharaReporters by the National Coordinator Hassan Taiwo.

“We strongly condemn this attack; it is unacceptable that the police would disrupt the peaceful gathering of students. These students were illegally rusticated by an intolerant management for leading fellow students in a protest in April to demand improved welfare conditions.

“As citizens of the country, students have the right to freedom and expression. The police is funded by taxpayers’ money and they shouldn’t be converted into the private thugs of tyrannical Vice Chancellors like the one at UNILAG.

“We therefore call on the commissioner of police to immediately release those reportedly arrested and caution his men from being further used by a despotic University authority to clampdown on students of the University of Lagos.

The students were first detained at Sabo Police station before being moved to Lagos Police Headquarters in Ikeja. They are being moved to Panti Police Station as at the time of filling this report.

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