The management of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) has begun a probe into a conflict that involved a male student and a lecturer of the university.
Information Nigeria reports that a student identified simply as Gift, who is a 200-level student at the university, suddenly dashed into a lecture room where the lecturer, identified as Dr K.F. Ariyo, was conducting a class on Wednesday.
Sources on the campus disclosed that Gift was said to have mistaken the class for the one he was to attend and upon realising this, he quickly made attempts to exit the class when the lecturer called him back.
An anonymous student said the lecturer engaged the student in an argument, which eventually degenerated into a scuffle.
“He thought the class was meant for him as well. When he saw that the faces in the class were strange, he quickly dashed out. The lecturer then called him back. After a while, we discovered that the lecturer invited the security personnel to take the student. He also dragged the student’s phone,” the source said.
In one of the videos of the incident that circulated online, the student was seen struggling with a man said to be a security official.
The student was also seen making an attempt to press his phone when the lecturer shouted, “Don’t call anybody! Switch off that phone! You can’t be more than me, even if you’re the VC’s son, I won’t take this from you. Switch off the phone!”
“What did I do?” the student, Gift, was heard saying.
After some seconds, the man said to be the lecturer was seen struggling to take the phone from the student whose back was already on the wall. He was subsequently seen throwing a punch at the student afterward as other students in the class watched in amazement.
The Students’ Union spokesperson, Elijah Omisore, when contacted, condemned the incident, saying the union was demanding that the lecturer be prosecuted.
“We are investigating the matter. The lecturer is planning to apologise but we’re not taking any apology. We want the necessary prosecution,” Omisore told Punch.
Narrating the incident further, the union said,
“Around 10 am, the union leadership got information that a lecturer, Dr Ariyo, was harassing Gift, a Part 2 student. Information has it that Gift mistakenly walked into the lecturer’s class trying to locate the venue for his lecture but learned that it was not his class and left immediately. Still, he was called back by Dr Ariyo, and an argument erupted, leading to a physical assault from the lecturer against the student.”
“We demand an open hearing and a public apology from Dr Ariyo, to the generality of Great Ife students; That the lecturer and the entire department make a commitment that the victim and other students in the class won’t face any form of victimisation moving forward,” the statement added.
Contacted, the Public Relations Officer of the university, Abiodun Olarewaju, also condemned the action of the lecturer but said a probe into the matter had begun.
“We’ve seen the video. The Vice-Chancellor is not happy about it. We are not known for such behaviour and we have decided to go administrative concerning this and we will make our findings known. But for the main time, we just want the students to remain calm. The VC has called the Dean of the faculty involved, who will get in touch with the Head of Department and get in touch with that lecturer,” Olarewaju said,
Giving more details on what transpired between the duo, the Alliance of Nigerian Students Against Neo-Liberal Attacks (ANSA) in a statement dated November 8, 2023, described the lecturer as a serial abuser, who had assaulted many students.
The statement therefore urged the university students’ union government to intervene and probe what happened between Gift and Ariyo.
The statement said such an investigation was necessary to avoid students employing illegal means to secure protection over the “persistent inhuman treatments” they were subjected to in the hands of the lecturers in recent times.
The statement reads:
“The physical attack on Gift, a part 2 Physics student by one Dr K.F. Ariyo is shocking but not surprising as cases of physical assault is fast becoming a norm on the campus. Gift walked into Dr Ariyo’s class by accident while looking for the venue of his own lecture between the hours of 8-9am this morning was accosted in the most belligerent form by the lecturer.
“It is important to note that this was one of the Electrical and Electronics Engineering classes taken place at White House in Physics department where the he belonged. After entering the class he was prevented from leaving by the lecturer who by this time had levelled a barrage of accusations against him.
“He then called the security unit at White House who proceeded according to a trending video to frisk the student lifting up his arms forcefully as the lecturer ordered the security man to collect his phone. When they realised that the student was non-compliant they began pushing and dragging him.
“In the midst of these tense situation, Gift reached for his phone and in order to call for help. By now the lecturer was yelling at him to switch off his phone, so he had to ask the lecturer what his offence was. This was when the power-drunk lecturer pounced on him dragged the phone out of his hands lifting Gift from the ground severally in the process and gave him a punch in the occipital condyle afterwards.
“While doing this, Dr Ariyo kept repeating ‘you can’t be more than me’. This is a sign of inferiority complex in a figure that should stir up the learning spirit in students.
“Moreso, this unprovoked attack is a cult-like act which will breed nothing but fear in the university community. Several testimonies have equally emerged that the lecturer in question is a serial abuser and that many a student has fallen victim of his verbal abuse and physical assault.
“The rise and emboldening of elements like him is due in part to the perennial attacks of the union by the university management and the treacherous bootlicking of past and present union representatives who have made themselves lackeys of the university management.
“Should cases like this persist unanswered students are bound to look for means of protection such as joining neo-fascist gangs bringing back the horrifying days of cultism on our campus. This could also increase cases of assault and bullying among students.
“If the union does not swing into decisive action to get #Justice4Gift, then it goes without saying that worse days are ahead for students. The way the union representatives will handle this matter is will be a crucial determinant of whether or not such will happen again or if it will take an even worse form. We have not quickly forgotten how the assault of a student by the former Welfare Director, Dada Arafat, was swept under the carpet by union executives.
“Furthermore, students are still reeling from the docile handling of the more than 11 students still in EFCC detention till now. As far as we are concerned, students must take the bull by the horn and demand an open moderation of the case lead by the union executives in a venue where the generality of students can participate in this moderation and give the necessary punishment to the lecturer. He must be forced to pay the health bill of the student and be made to foot the bill for the replacement of all the student’s property damaged by him.
“The White House security unit must also be held responsible for this travesty of justice and the complicity of the security operative in the assault. He dragged the victim of the lecturer abuse to the security post but left the assailant untouched. This bias is why this case must be settled in an open moderation of Great Ife students as the school security cannot be a judge in their own case.”