Human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, on Friday called for an immediate lifting of the ban on students unions in all Nigeria universities.
Falana said this while delivering the ninth convocation lecture of Caleb University, Imota, Lagos, titled “Managing Freedom and Illusions of Achievement.”
He lamented that instead of producing critical thinkers, our universities have specialised in producing robots, as the lack of student unionism in public and private universities was breeding graduates without a mind of their own.
The legal luminary noted that students and staff unions would contribute meaningfully to the search for solutions to the myriad of problems confronting the country if they are allowed to operate without fear of proscription.
“Our first-generation universities were citadels of learning, as they promoted ideas and encouraged students to challenge the status quo.
“It is on record that some of the best legislators in the country were former members of the students’ parliaments.
“There were progressive lecturers who spoke truth to power without harassment from the management of tertiary institutions,” he said.
According to him, there must be a deliberate policy on the part of progressive students to take the National Association of Nigeria Students back from the government.
Falana said “The other day, an alumnus of a private university was charged for cultism and cybercrime, denied bail and detained in a prison for many months for criticising the facilities in his alma mater.
“Six lecturers have just been dismissed in another state university for exposing mismanagement of the funds allocated to the school.
“To cover up such corrupt practices and other iniquities, the management of the university have subjected all academic and non-academic staff to swear to an oath of secrecy,” he said.
The SAN said the laws of the land and the rules and regulations of every tertiary should be observed and respected by all and sundry.
According to him, it is only by following laid down rules that impunity and abuse of office could be fought and defeated in the society as a whole.